Relationships and conversations that once centered queer joy began asking the increasingly fraught question – why stay? – in the Catholic Church amid such divisiveness.Anonymous
My queerness is something that brings me so much joy. It was, perhaps, a surprise when I first discovered it, but came to be something that I love about myself, something that helps me be more ‘me,’ and so brings me into deeper and more authentic relationship with others and with God.
It was challenging, as I began to become a theologian, that my queerness, this beautiful part of myself, became a growing source of tension with colleagues, priests, friends. More and more I found myself defending and defining the inherent dignity my queer and trans sisters, brothers, and abundant others, against those hardened by doctrine rather than practicing compassion. Relationships and conversations that once centered queer joy began asking the increasingly fraught question – why stay? – in the Catholic Church amid such divisiveness.
I once thought my vocation was to stay Catholic, to help breathe life into the institution by being present and inviting interpersonal moments of encounter. Instead, I found that the constant struggle led not to hope but the feeling of despair: the certainty that tomorrow’s encounter would be exactly the same. One day, instead of asking ‘why stay?’ the small voice inside said, it’s okay to go.
I sat with that voice for some time. I realized that while my queerness is not a choice, my constant wrestling with the Catholic Church and theology is. I could continue to consider myself an oppositional Other, an embodied threat to Catholic anthropology, which would only breed self-hatred, or I could instead move toward what womanist theologian Emilie Townes describes as ‘wholeness.’ I choose to affirm my body and spirit, in all of its marvelous particularity, created in radical relationship with others, seeking connection, justice, and queer joy.
Offered in love & light.