Out of the Closet-Gay Catholics
by Mario Gerada
The gay community and the Catholic Church seem at the moment to be opposed to each other and with little hope of reconciliation. The feeling that a gay person cannot be a practicing Catholic while enjoying steady gay relationships is often felt. Some gay people themselves might feel that they have to choose between their own sexuality and Church membership – a choice imposed on their conscience. Is such imposition licit? Gay Catholics find themselves struggling with several issues like: must I confess as sin something that to my conscience is not sinful? Am I doing wrong in taking Communion? Is the law against sexual relationships outside of marriage applicable to me as a person who cannot contemplate heterosexual marriage? Can I never have the comfort from my Mother the Church that God loves me as I am and blesses me and my relationships and will not condemn me to hell? It is my opinion that very few realize the extent to which such questions torture and trouble the soul of a gay person.
I personally feel that both Church authorities and the gay community fall into the same trap. On many occasions the focus of the debate is Church Law. If the focus of the debate is shifted from Law to the Person of Jesus, than the struggle between the Church and the gay community may find some rest and reconciliation. The debate between the Church and the gay community should not merely be about Church Law but about Jesus: how He perceives gay people, how He lives in the love of gay relationships, for wherever there is love, there is God. So the Bible and the Catholic Church teach.
Focusing on Jesus means that the Catholic Church fulfills its God given duty to guide and nourish the faith of gay people as they pray and strive to approach Jesus Christ without fear and shame. Can a practicing gay person never have the peace and joy that Christ promises to those who are His and who love Him – in the Catholic Church? It is my opinion that Church Authorities need to offer more opportunities for gay people to meet Jesus and experience His love, healing, reconciliation and forgiveness rather than perpetuate feelings of fear and rejection. Church Authorities, whatever you do to the least of your brothers and sisters you are doing to your Lord. The Catholic Church teaches that grace builds on nature. I ask the Church to consider our nature as gay people, and guide us as to how grace builds on that. I will not play the theologian, as I have my trusted Church authorities to do that. I am willing to obey my Lord who, I believe, wills that I be a faithful member of the Catholic Church. Will the Catholic Church reach out to me or am I to be forever an embarrassment and a problem for her?
© 2019 Mario Gerada
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