Confessions of a Millennial, Gay Catholic: Being Gay and Catholic
This post was written at the beginning of December 2018
Five words have made being gay and Catholic easier over the past five years. Those words are: Who am I to judge? But recently, that easy confidence I had seems to be wilting in face of comments made by clergymen from across the world and out of the lips of the man who uttered those five words.
If you have been following Catholic news lately, you would have heard that Pope Francis is concerned about having gay Catholics in the priesthood. This new statement, which you can find in the new papal book, follows similar statements made by other members of the clergy this autumn, especially in regards to the sex abuse crisis.
I know that in previous posts I have tackled this issue somewhat, but it seems that we still need to come back to it.
The problem now is that the Pope is talking about gay Catholics in a bad light. But, as I read what he is saying, I am forcing myself to step back and take a breath and remember an important fact: the Pope, like most of the clergymen who are saying atrocious things about gay Catholics are older than 65.
I am also reminded of the fact that the non-Canadian, non-Western Church is, sadly in my opinion, still stuck in the 1950s and far, far too conservative and unwelcoming.
The Pope, let me be clear, is not saying that there is something wrong with being queer. So, at least there is that. What he is saying, and unfortunately the thing to which he is alluding, is that gay priests are a danger to the Church and to young people. This is where I take significant issue with what he is saying.
Let’s break this down:
- We don’t actually know how many priests are gay because we make it difficult for them to be honest about themselves;
- Regardless of that number, who cares?!
- Let us return to scripture (and for most of us, this line is on the first page of the Bible): God made humanity in His image, which means, thankfully because we need some flare in our lives!, that God is also gay, but He is also straight, and bisexual, and two-spirited, and transgender, and anything else.
The problem with the people in ecclesial power often being older than 65 years old is that they are alienating the future of the Church and of society at large by taking such positions and refusing to use the acronym LGBTQ+ in the final report of the synod on youth.
With the continued alienation, and therefore a lack of belonging, I believe that we shall see an increase in people calling themselves ‘lapsed Catholics’, ‘cultural Catholics’, and ‘former Catholics’.
This is an issue for the Church as much as it is for the people who are feeling alienated. The harder it becomes to be gay and Catholic or woman and Catholic or whatever, fewer young people will be filling the pews in North America and elsewhere.
Do I have a recommendation? Perhaps let’s move onto more pressing issues. And perhaps, let’s look at what the Bible says: 1) God made humanity in His image; 2) Christ told us to love one another; and 3) Christ told us to welcome the stranger (not that queer Catholics are strangers).
Will my words be heeded? Probably not by many. But if there is a continuation of this sort of statements from the Vatican, from the pontiff, and from clergymen around the world, I worry about the future of the Church and about the faithfulness of my generation and future generations to the Church.