On days like today, it is hard to be Catholic.
Today, the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (a body whose purpose is to promote and safeguard the faith) answered a question we have all been wondering about. They proclaimed that Roman Catholic Priests are not allowed to bless same-sex unions.
Admittedly, this is not a surprise. This is what the church currently teaches. What hurts is that in recent years, Pope Francis has opened up his arms to the LGBTQ+ community. I was hoping this open stance was a harbinger for change.
I was hoping that a window would be opened for the plethora of Catholics who feel unloved in this church. There are so many.
The church would say they love every gay individual despite their gayness. But that love feels unfulfilled when the church also teaches that the love that person has for another is their personal cross to bear.
Love is not a cross to bear, love is what releases us from that cross.
Christians (not just Catholics) are still righteously proclaiming that Jesus teaches about the definition of family all throughout scripture, yet nowhere in scripture does Jesus talk about homosexuality. Nowhere does he condemn a non-traditional marriage (although I struggle to use that term, being that the most traditional biblical marriages consisted of one man and many wives).
In almost every scripture people point to when claiming God is against homosexuality, what we find through biblical exegesis is that God condemns people for their lack of hospitality. He doesn’t condemn people for who they love, he condemns people for treating others with anything less than love.
Catholics who think as I do fill the pews, but we have been trained to remain silent. We hold our beliefs that counter church teaching close to our chest instead of working together to bring the truth we feel in our hearts and read through scripture to light. Even writing this right now feels frightening. If I were still working for the church, I could quite possibly lose my job simply for voicing my support of the blessing of gay unions. The potential for this to happen is one warning sign that the church still has work to do. This particular teaching is not core doctrine. There is undeniably room for theological growth.
I will never pretend that I know everything there is to know about God because we believe that is quite literally impossible. God has given us glimpses of himself through scripture, creation, and tradition, and after thousands of years, our search has not ceased. There is always more to learn as we grow together in community. This is why we need one another. Our understanding of God grows as we more fully understand one another.
What I do know is how to love. My life has been filled with nearly infinite examples of how God has loved me and I refuse to stop loving my people in the best way I know how. For now, that means loving and supporting my gay friends while still sitting here in the pews in the hopes that staying is my part of doing the necessary work of bringing myself and my church more fully into God’s love.