Prophetic Witness

I re-compose my own marginality as a sacred place…

Alfred Pang, PhD., School of Theology and Ministry, Boston College, Theology and Education

I have enough reasons to leave the Catholic Church. My sexual orientation as a gay person is officially regarded as “intrinsically disordered.” The institutional Church tells me that I am loved by God, but also deems me a defective heterosexual redeemed only through the path of chastity (read: sexual abstinence of enforced celibacy). No matter how committed I am to serving God’s people in ministry, I could be fired (or not hired) on account of who I love and marry. More recently, the Church reminded me that it does not have the power to bless same-sex unions because God “does not and cannot bless sin.” For how long, O God, do I need to put up with this?

I should have left the Catholic Church, but haven’t. Yet I cannot say that I chose to stay on either. I remain Catholic primarily because of God’s call through my baptism. God calls me as beloved, to be who I truly am, and to bear God’s loving presence to others in and as Christ’s body – crucified and resurrected. My theological studies and involvement with Gaudete – an LGBTA-Allies community – at the STM have deepened my understanding of this baptismal call: it demands a commitment to justice rooted in a deeper conversion to God present in the poor and socially vulnerable as one of us. 

It is from this perspective that I re-compose my own marginality as a sacred place wherein God’s Spirit is forming and transforming my prophetic witness as a Catholic theologian and educator. Christ chooses to share in my wounds and touches the lives of others through them. Whether I leave or stay in the Catholic Church, one thing is clear: through my baptism, I belong to God in Christ Jesus, and whose Spirit never leaves us abandoned when we set our hearts to live with authenticity and integrity in faith. Being gay is integral to who I am as God’s gift, and I come out because I am Catholic, not in spite of it.

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