I am beginning to question whether or not my relationship with the Catholic Church is a healthy one at all…Anonymous
I feel grateful to have never questioned whether or not God loved or accepted me in my coming out process.
The more challenging piece was my own love and acceptance. When there weren’t direct homophobic messages from society at large, there was a stark lacking of representation for me of what living my life as an authentically, gay, queer, Catholic man.
Over the last ten years, I’ve worked on trying to understand my sexuality more, and how being gay has always been a part of who I am. This lifelong process of “who am I” gives me space for gratitude for discovering the parts of my personhood that were never lovingly cultivated over the years, but rather, buried under the weight of harmful messaging. In some ways, these parts of myself feel as if they are Lazarus, being raised from the dead.
As of late, I’ve been sitting in an overwhelming sense of grief- perhaps not unlike what Jesus felt as he wept for his friend Lazarus in the tomb. My grief is not for my sexuality- rather, I grieve for the loss of time to live in the light of my queer, gay self. Like Jesus, I weep over the trauma that not only I experience- but the lack of safety other queer folkx have experienced- which is often linked and perpetuated by the Catholic Church.
For some, this has created what has seemed a duality in nature- being gay and being engaged with a Catholic spirituality. For me, regarding sexuality and romance- faith has been central. My parent’s Catholic faith has been the bedrock of my family and their relationship. Perhaps this explains why every person I’ve ever dated has been Catholic. And yet, each of these romantic relationships has ended because of the fear of lack of safety if these men lived openly gay lives, themselves.
While perhaps you (who are reading this) and I can make it known in the ways that we live, act, and speak that we are a church that welcomes and celebrates queerness, at what point does my involvement in a larger organization betray the trust, boundaries, and safety of those of us that the homophobic and transphobic teachings of the Church impact daily? I sit with this question a lot, lately. Could I invite you to sit with me in this question, as well?
I feel grateful to never question whether I believe in an unconditionally- loving God. However, I am beginning to question whether or not my relationship with the Catholic Church is a healthy one at all, or whether it is simply an abusive relationship disguised in sheep’s skin.
And for that, I am grieving.