Today I want to break from the homily-style format of my first two posts and simply take an inventory of what being a gay Catholic means to me at 27 in the Green Bay, WI area. I’m trying to be neither positive nor negative here — just realistic. I’m sure your experience has been different (surely there are better and worse places to be a gay Catholic than northern Wisconsin), and perhaps this post will encourage you to share.
What does being a gay Catholic mean for me right now?
- My byline has part of the answer. Right now, being a gay Catholic is spiritually not enough for me, which is why I’m also a member of the MCC church. Simply put, my Catholic parish is not gay enough for me, and MCC is not Catholic enough for me, so I need both.
- It means having walked out during Mass once because you couldn’t take it and wondering if it will happen again.
- It means opportunities to pray for your enemies (those who hurt you), taking the opportunity, and realizing how dang hard it is.
- It means staying in touch with other LGBT Catholics and allies who are filled with faith so that you remember the good things about your faith.
- It means championing inclusive language and female ordination and many other “progressive” things because you understand what it’s like to not always feel like a full member of the church.
- It means knowing that you can find someone who will officiate your wedding, while at the same time wondering if anyone at your church will want to recognize your anniversary.
- It means being thankful for a faith that has room for many theologies and that realizes that there are no simple answers.
- It means needing to talk, and having the opportunity to do so, only to pause a moment to recall if you’re out to the person you’re about to talk to or not.
- It means being thankful that your priest knows you, knows you have a boyfriend, and has shown you nothing but love.
- It means being creative
- … in figuring out what a healthy gay relationship looks like when your church doesn’t always want to talk about it
- … in interpreting heteronormative scripture so that it applies to you
- … by whispering “and everything in between” whenever we are told that “male and female God created them”
- It means being nominated to sing at the cathedral and not being sure you want to.
- It means being thrilled to hear the phrase “gay or straight” in father’s “all are welcome” speech and yet still wishing church felt more gay-friendly.
- It’s thinking that Pope Francis’s “who am I to judge” remark is progress but still far from ideal.
- It means refusing to leave the faith that you love because it’s your faith and you are the church; it means wanting to worship like everyone else, and it means having hope for a future of progress.