This blog was not written by me,but rather submitted to me by someone who wishes to remain anonymous.
As many things have come to light in our country over the past few months, I have found myself asking many questions. Injustices happen in our country, but why is it that we are sitting here arguing over them instead of having conversations about them? As I have scrolled through social media, most posts that I see make me feel like there are only two sides to be on. It seems that our society is always pushing only two options and oftentimes to extremes. Either you are for the cops, or you are for black lives. Either you are pro-LGBTQ+, or you are completely against it. Let me be very clear- I know that this is not everyone. I know that there are people that back both good officers and black lives. I know that there are people who love the LGBTQ+ community without agreeing with everything that they stand for, but more times than not, this is not the case. More times than not, we find ourselves having to choose one or the other and fighting for that stance rather than having a conversation with someone on the other side to try and understand them. Now, I am not going to focus this article on the matter of cops vs. black lives because I have no experience in this area, but I do have a little bit of experience when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community and the Catholic Church.
Before we get too deep into this, I want to make a few things very clear. First thing, I am going to always use the phrase homosexual actions when speaking about the Church’s teaching because this is exactly what the teaching is refering to. The action. Not the person. Second thing, I am a female who is attracted to females and I am a practicing Catholic. For some of you, that may be confusing, so please just keep reading. Third thing, I fully stand behind and believe the Church’s teachings on homosexual actions. Lastly, I LOVE the Catholic Church, and God willing, will always remain a faithful, practicing Catholic. Now you are probably quite surprised. Maybe you have never thought that someone could be both gay and Catholic. Maybe you do know someone who experiences same-sex attractions and says they are happy living a chaste life, but you don’t really believe them. Maybe you think that they are just saying that or they are fooling themselves or, my personal favorite, they are “brainwashed” by the Church. I will be honest with you, I have not always loved the Church and her teaching on homosexual actions. In fact, I almost left the Church in college because of the teaching on homosexual actions. So why didn’t I leave? Why did I stay? What changed my mind? I met some people who didn’t just care about the fact that I was a girl and I liked girls. I heard a talk from a priest whom I could tell truly cared for and loved those who bore the cross that is same-sex attractions. I saw that there were people in the Church that wanted to have a conversation about who I was as a person, not just my sexuality. Most importantly, I had a profound encounter with the person of Jesus Christ and knew that the Church was my home.
As Pride Month has come and gone, I have found myself wrestling with what it means to support the LGBTQ+ community and be Catholic. As I have scrolled through Facebook, I have felt once again that there are only two ways to live, either in full support of the LGBTQ+ community or against it. I have felt that if I am Catholic then I must not support LGBTQ+, but that is conflicting for me because I do consider myself to be gay. I saw an article one day that was about why Catholics should not support “Pride.” I’ll be honest, I did not 100% agree with the article. I’m not saying that we as Catholics should go out and participate in the nearest Pride parade, but I am throwing the idea out there that we should remember that Pride is more than just about gay marriage. There was once a time that it was illegal to identify as gay. People were (and still are) beaten and even killed or driven to suicide for being gay. The LGBTQ+ community has not always been seen as equal or even as a human being. Now, I am not trying to dog on the Church. The Church has made great strides in the work that it does for the LGBTQ+ community, but I would go out on a limb and say that most people in the LGBTQ+ community do not feel accepted by the Church. Why is this? I think that it is because so often, when we hear a person’s sexuality is something other than straight or that maybe they don’t identify with the gender that they were assigned at birth, we either stop the conversation or we start trying to tell them why that is wrong. This is not what we are called to do. Jesus did not immediately tell Matthew why he shouldn’t be a tax collector, he first reclined at table with him. He got to know him as more than just a tax collector. He shared a meal with him. We as a Church, myself included, need to be more like Jesus in this area. We are never going to change anyone’s mind or heart on this teaching by giving our best apologetic argument over why homosexual actions are morally wrong. Jesus is the only person that can do that, and we are called to be His hands and feet on the Earth. So instead of staying on one side of the argument and always pushing for what is right, enter into conversation with those around you who may be experiencing same-sex attractions. See past their sexuality. See the person. Instead of starting the conversation of “why the Church’s teaching is true,” start the conversation with “tell me more about you.”
P.S If you would like to have a conversation about this topic or go more in depth with it, please reach out to Mikayla and she will be able to connect us. Also, please take 40 minutes to watch the documentary The Third Way. It would be a great first step in understanding the Church’s teaching on this topic.