While the Catholic Church’s open arms are often a source of inspiration to me, I couldn’t help but feel disheartened by the recent announcement that Rome would happily “absorb” those Anglicans who took issue with their own church’s stance on women and LGBT individuals. It felt a bit like a slap in the face. “You don’t think women and gays* should have full rights within their religious communities? Neither do we! Come on over!”
I admit to feeling afraid of a church which actively “recruits” those who have the most conservative mindsets — that I feel afraid of the places where I feel welcome diminishing, that at any time soon the scales could tip and it could be just too much, that I might give in to a former priest’s suggestion that people like me “leave the Church” if we don’t agree with everything, because a “smaller, purer” church is better than a larger, impure one.
Except, who among us is able to claim purity, anyway?
I’ve entertained ideas of something of a “church swap.” “Hey, I’ll trade you a bunch of conservative Anglicans for a bunch of liberal Catholics!” These ideas are only half-joking. Because the more welcome we make those who deny full personhood for women and gays, the less welcome people like me become–who fall into both categories. It has me questioning again where my breaking point is, how strong my love and devotion to the faith of my heritage really is. I don’t know the answer to that question yet. Do you?
* I use ‘gays’ for the sake of brevity here, to imply ‘not straight’ and to stand for the whole range of the GLBTQIA spectrum (I’m a ‘B’ myself ;)).