All over the media you kept hearing story after story of negative things: priests, bishops and cardinals saying they wouldn’t serve communion to those that support marriage equality, teachers being fired from Catholic schools for being gay or getting married to their same-sex partners, churches asking volunteers to step down from their duties because of their same-sex marriage. Gay Catholics were made to feel as it they didn’t belong here, that we weren’t wanted in the church.
I definitely felt that way. That is why I exiled myself away from the church for almost a year. I love the friends I have made at the church. I know that there is a difference between what is said in Rome (or by the higher ups in the church) and what is said at my home parish. I have never heard a negative word coming from the parish itself and the message that is preached is one of love and acceptance.
Polls show that Catholics themselves as a group are more in favor of marriage equality than not. I read an article recently on the web, the headline was “The Catholic Church is not Homophobic, but are it’s Bishops?”. I have to wonder if this is true.
When I was coming out and struggling with my sexuality, the therapist I was seeing encouraged me to talk to a priest. He set up a meeting with one priest in the valley. I met with him, and he told me the church’s teachings on gays. The basic message was one of love and acceptance for the gay person. The main issue of contention is the sex issue. Hence the phrase, love the sinner — hate the sin.
Some of my Catholic friends have gotten all excited about what Pope Francis has said regarding gay people. His comments are refreshing. But I am not jumping up and down yet, like some of my friends. Bottom line is nothing really has changed. He just said that we should focus much less on divisive issues like same-sex marriage and abortion and more about being of service and helping the poor.
My relationship of 25 years is a beautiful thing. Yes, we are intimate. Sexuality is a gift from God, and I am grateful that I get to share it with a loving partner. No priest, politician or family member can tell me that my relationship is not valid. Sex is a part of our relationship. Get over it people! We plan on getting married later this year.
So where do things stand for me and the church? Well, let’s say I am open to hearing more. I will always be connected to the church in some way, whether through friends or family. My personal relationship with God transcends what any church can define. He is in my corner and watching out for me.
A few more things… I can’t see how the Advocate named Pope Francis the person of the year. That was going way too far. Just this past week, the UN condemned the Vatican and their handling of the sex abuse scandals. And yet another story of a lesbian being denied communion at her own mother’s funeral too hit the internet. The Catholic Church needs to listen to their people. And make some changes. But I am not going to sit by and wait for them to happen.
KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.