Guest Post: “The Ministry of Writing Letters.”

Dr Joseph Gentilini is a gay Catholic who has discerned for himself what he sees as a “ministry” to serve the Church by writing to all the US bishops about his experience as a gay man, and how it contradicts the foundation on which rests the Catholic argument in opposition. I wrote earlier this week on the merits of this example, and how we would do well to follow his example.

Dr Gentilini has shared with me a reflection from his journal which shows precisely how this is indeed a ministry, and has generously allowed me to publish these most personal thoughts.

Last night they had Benediction before Compline with incense, etc. – old theology in a way but it still resonates with me. As I did many times during this retreat, both in the early hours of the day before Matins and also throughout the day when the spirit moved me, I just told God: “I want you. For all eternity I want you.

At one point in the retreat, I imagined a conversation with God over the ministry I have to write the American Catholic bishops and sharing my story. Several persons have told me that this is truly a ministry that God has called me to. So…I imagined a conversation with God and asked him why he gave me this ministry.

The “answer” I imagined was this: Read the rest of this entry »

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Speak the Truth in Love: Write Your Bishop.

The Lord Jesus promised, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (Jn. 8:32). Scripture bids us speak the truth in love (cf. Eph. 4:15). The God who is at once truth and love calls the Church to minister to every man, woman and child with the pastoral solicitude of our compassionate Lord.

-CDF, “Homosexualitatis Problema”

“Speak the truth in love”, advice which the institutional church singularly fails to follow itself. (See “Excluded From God’s People”, for a description of this failure). The advice, however, remains sound. Vatican teaching on sexuality has the remarkable characteristic of being distantly removed from any grounding in the facts of real human lives. This is especially so for gay, lesbian and trans lives, but is hardly surprising, given the ivory tower manner in which Catholic theology is developed and preserved. Yet it should not be so. The Church claims to be a listening church, and pays at least lip service to the place of reason, science, and the continuing revelation by the Holy Spirit, speaking to us through experience, in developing Church teaching. But this of little value unless there are voices speaking from that real experience to which the Church may listen.

 

The Road to Emmaus

The gay Catholic theologian Michael B Kelly has argued convincingly that for many, possibly most, lesbian or gay Catholics it may be necessary to leave the church, literally, or figuratively, for a time. Thereafter, he says, we need to return and speak to the church in prophetic witness to the truth of our lives. We must, he says, take the road to Emmaus, away from the established rulers, but after meeting the risen Christ take the road back again. (One of the ways he is doing this himself by conducting research on gay men’s erotic experience as a path to spirituality, and writing about what this experience can teach the wider church about spirituality.) Read the rest of this entry »