Hard to Leave, Hard to Stay

I can only maintain resistance and presence in the Catholic Church today by being openly and honestly my whole self.

James Reding, School of Theology and Ministry, Boston College, MTS ‘22

The spiritual traditions of Catholicism are dear to me. Whether monastic liturgy of the hours, Ignatian principles of discernment, or Marian devotion, I always find some avenue for my spirit in Catholic prayer. I would include in the church’s spiritual tradition the Catholic emphasis on communal life centered in a parish. I grew up in an area where folks were readily identified by their parish, and in my three years working at a Florida parish before coming here, I saw the good that our parish was able to do as a neighborhood hub. There can be so much love and friendship in a strong parish, and I consider myself lucky to have experienced that twice. 

As a gay Catholic, staying put is so difficult, because it seems like every day there are clerical and lay leaders of great authority and prominence waking up with new ideas of how to pry me out of the church! I can only maintain resistance and presence in the Catholic Church today by being openly and honestly my whole self. This allows me to connect with others who experience similar pain and with those eager to share allied compassion. In turn, I am able to protest the label of being sexually’disordered.’ In doing so I have been able to extend consolation, affirmation, and strength for authenticity to others. 

At the end of the day, God made me who I am – all of me. As Mayor Pete said in the 2020 primary campaign, ‘Your quarrel is not with me, but with my Creator.’

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