(Originally placed as a comment in response to Fr James Martin, What is a Gay Catholic to do?, 24th November, 2009)
Fr. Martin, I am profoundly glad that you raised this extremely pertinent and appropriate question which the Church so desperately needs to consider and reflect upon in our current day of age.
The current insensible, inhumane teaching which the leaders of the Church espuse as the only holy and logical path towards holiness for LGBT individuals is reprehensible.
As a gay Catholic, I can attest to having tried to live this way for many years. Weekly I repeated the same cycle, rushing to Confession to cleanse myself of the ways in which I had acted “inappropriately” to my sexual attractions. I resigned myself to celibacy, because I genuinely thought that the Lord spoke to the Church through its leaders, and if this was the teaching that the Church was proclaiming it must be inspired by the Holy Spirit, no matter how hard and terribly unhappy it was to carry it out.
So throughout high school, as I watched my friends enter into loving relationships filled with emotion, solace, and intimacy I would cry myself to sleep at nights wondering why I could not enjoy the same thing, but still resigning myself to the fact that this was my vocation as a gay man, according to the Church, to carry my cross in imitation of the Lord.
Then, a turning point occured within my life. I began to become exposed to other sources of Catholic thought. I became aware of numerous Catholic personalities such as Fr. Hans Kung, Fr. Karl Rahner, Sr. Joan Chittister, Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Bishop Jaques Gaillot, Garry Wills, Fr. John McNeill, Fr. Richard McBrien, and numerous others who provided strikingly corrobable alternative points of view within the Catholic spectrum.
After an intense period of reflection and prayer, and the experience of voting in the election of 2008 and watching Sen. Barack Obama triumph and become the first African-American President of the United States I asked myself, “If our nation can usher in such a profound sentiment of change, why can’t the Church?”
And from that point on, I received a heartfelt consolation from the Lord that He had created me and loved me as I was so I had nothing to be ashamed or fearful of. Since then, I have agreed to disagree with the leaders of the Church on how to live out my sexuality.
I think the road that the USCCB is going down is terribly disturbing and extremely embaressing for the Catholic Church. Even if they are opposed to the legalization of same-sex marriage couldn’t they engage in some sort of compromise like the LDS did to show that they truly mean what they say when they respect the “dignity” of homosexual persons? Supporting legislation such as this, even if it wasn’t marriage, might give them some sort of vein of credibility and would disprove the notion that so many have probably gathered from their actions, that they are just a homophobic and bigoted group of old men…
Honestly, I just can’t understand why Pope Benedict and the shepherds of the Church are so fearful of homosexuality and why they think that the legalization of same-sex marriage will ruin the perfect order of humanity? If they don’t agree with the decision they don’t have to partake in it. End of story, why all the noise and vitriol, comparing love between gays and lesbians akin to bestiality?
Don’t they understand that if a more pastoral approach towards homosexuals was adopted their credibility would not be undermined, as they of course probably fear due to their claims of “infallibility”, but would only be strengthened as the public would see them finally come to terms with what modern science and psychology has to say so compellingly about this issue.
The bishops of the Church would do well to heed the words of the Lord in this particular action of discrimination:
“Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me; in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men!”