by Mario Gerada
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you."
Jeremiah 1: 5
Jesus, the Bride & Rainbow Children
Christianity is a religion about love. When the Church speaks about God and His ways, about the Christian way, about Christ and humanity, she is talking the language of love; which implies human intimacy, community, the intrinsic dignity of each and every human being, faithfulness and commitment towards each other, of Man who is in need to be part of a family, part of a community- as planned by God.
the Church talks about the homosexual person, that is about us gay men and
women, she speaks of chastity [forced rather then a free choice], of ‘intrinsic
moral disorder’ [an improvement in use of terms since up to a few years
ago the term ‘intrinsic moral evil’ was used], of living a life
carrying this cross for the love of Christ- again a suffering imposed rather
than a Christian understanding of suffering, that is a willing and joyful
acceptance of it for the Love and kingdom of God. Very few speak of the Good
News to the LGBT.
Sometimes too much theology, too much reason and too much philosophy may block our way to God. In my own experience, the way is a simple one- written in a language which all human beings can understand; the language of Love. Like Jesus’ parables – a language that all could and can understand. Often times, I myself get confused and ‘blocked’ when I start reasoning too much! However in prayer the answers seem to come easy.
Our Lady of All Nations, in her 38th message given on the 31st of December 1951 reminds us:
‘Simpler Doctrine does not exist
I will let you see what is going to happen. It is through terrible strife and calamity that the world, those who have turned away from the Trinity, will come back to the Church. Therefore I say once again: Rome, seize your opportunity. Be broad-minded and act in love alone. Love can save this wretched world. Bring all peoples back to their Creator. Teach them how simple it is to see the Creator. People are to treat their neighbors as themselves. Simpler doctrine does not exist. Let everyone hold fast to these two things, for then you have the Church of Rome in your hands. Simple faith- that can bring salvation to the people.’
In the case of gay men and women ‘simple faith’ is not always used. More often than not the Church’s official messages sound confusing, conflicting and very contradictory. Most of the time they are a stumbling block for us the LGBT- a scandal.
‘Love’ is not confined to one to one partnership; however in the latter we common, mortal human beings can experience the fullness of the agony and ecstasy of Love. In the case of us gay men and women, it is to enter into loving-relationships with persons of our own same-sex. When confronted, religious people rightly argue that there is nothing immoral in this- if the relationship is a non-sexual one, but where is the Church talking about this kind of love? What is mentioned over and over again is sex talk, immorality, and intrinsic this, that and the other.
Often times I gasp in astonishment at how the bride of Christ can be so insensitive and cruel in its approach towards us, also part of the body of Christ- her husband. On the other hand, the teaching on simple doctrine [love] applies to us LGBT too. We need to check how we are treating the Church ourselves, our neighbour too.
Friendship with Christ
‘Set me like a seal on your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is strong as Death, passion as relentless as Sheol. The flash of it is a flash of fire, a flame of Yahweh himself. Love no flood can quench, no torrents drown.'
Sg 8: 6-7
Christianity teaches us that our love for God cannot be separate from our love for Man. Religious people choose to live this love in religious communities. Some heterosexual people choose to live this love in families, others choose to remain single, but why is it that there is no real choice for the gay person? [Or so it seems from a Catholic perspective?]. Some LGBT persons are neither called to be religious nor can remain single as Man was not created to live alone, so why is it so immoral that society is trying to create safe networks for gay people to share lives and build their own families, on value such as faithfulness, commitment and long-term love and care?
The official discourse of the Church on LGBT people sounds as if the gay person has to butcher himself or herself up; this seems to be the only way to Our Lord Jesus Christ, at least as presented to us officially. It seems to me that once you start trying to close your heart to another human being, you automatically close your heart to God. The opposite applies. Once you open your heart to love, you also open your heart to the love of God and are able to receive His blessings. Trying to tear away love from your heart, for another man, for another woman, tears away part of one’s own heart, that same heart that is called to love God and receive God’s love. Closing one’s own heart for this ‘immoral’ love ends up resulting into closing one’s own heart to God too. Once love touches the human heart, the heart is then able to respond and receive the Love of God. The two are united and not separate; it works in the same way for LGBT persons too.
When talking on gay issues the focus is usually sex, but I believe the real issue at heart is Love. Someone needs to proclaim to LGBT persons that we are free to love and receive love, both human and Divine. I believe this is the Good News that needs to be proclaimed to LGBT people. For those of us Catholic and Christian we all know that only Jesus can lead us to true love and therefore true freedom. Of course, the sexual expression of that [from a Catholic Point of view] is another matter which needs to be further discussed, studied and discerned. However please lets keep in mind that sex is a struggle for every [Catholic/Christian] human being; married, unmarried, priest, monk, nun, single, straight and not only for LGBT persons. So please let us keep sexual morality in perspective.
I am asked why I keep on writing and talking about the same issue. Why do
I give so much importance to LGBT/Christian issues? I realized that the reason
is not gay issues per se but rather the Catholic Church itself; Christ Himself.
Can you imagine Jesus talking to a gay person the way the Catholic Church
officially speaks to us? Can you see Jesus speaking of intrinsic moral disorder,
this that and the other to us? I firmly believe it is not so and therefore
that is the reason why this issue is so much at heart. I believe the Church
needs reformation on this whole debate. First because the Church’s words
are often interpreted in a harmful way and thus lead many faithful away from
the Church itself and Christ; secondly, the Church is harming herself when
speaking in such painful tones, we too are part of the body of Christ and
part of the Church itself; and thirdly it is misrepresenting Jesus Christ
and His Gospel in dealing with this part of humanity. However I also believe
that it is Christ Himself who needs to bring the LGBT community and the Church
closer to each other rather than the other way round. I also believe that
the way forward is open and genuine dialogue and prayer – together.
The LGBT Community Needs the Church Too
‘God has imprisoned all human beings in their own disobedience only to show mercy to them all.’
Rom 11: 32
Sin is also part of the gay story and that is why the LGBT community needs the Church, needs Jesus and salvation too. Like any other human story the gay story is a story of loves lived and not lived, of tragedy, of suffering, of joy, of friendships, of hurt, of pain, of death, of murder, of prejudice, of bullying, of suicide, of beautiful artistic expressions, of great contributions to the world, of great injustice, of great mortal sins. We too need the life-giving cross to be central in our own story, both individually and as a community, to raise our human story up, into the life and story of God. I believe it is only the True Holy Spirit who can open for us the rainbow path to God!
“Every day, God comes to us in human form - and we turn our back.”
-Gerard Thomas Straub
‘And nobody puts new wine in old wine-skins; otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins and run to waste, and the skins will be ruined. No; new wine must be put in fresh skins. And nobody who has been drinking old wine wants new. ‘The old is good,’ he says”
Lk 5: 37-39
‘Yahweh my Lord is my strength,
he will make my feet as light as a doe’s,
and set my steps on the heights.’
Hab 3 :19
‘The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame’
© 2008 Mario Gerada
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