Dear Father, I’m Not Straight

I’ve been trying to follow best I can recent developments within the Catholic Church. I’m a pretty good Catholic although it’s not always the most comfortable fit. I dislike it’s official stances on sex and sexuality, it’s regard for its image over justice and care of its more vunerable, and I don’t like the sluggishness of Vatican II reforms.

Yet I love it. I accept the faults because I see a lot of good. I’m blessed to live in a community that is highly dedicated to solving problems of poverty and discrimination, justice, community, and all the while with an exhuberant passion to God and others.

I was happy to find that a couple surveys have shown that Catholics are the most likely of all Christians to support gay marriage. And in the churches I’ve belonged to, I’ve never heard anything but gay-positive talk. The idea of my current priest delivering a sermon on the evils of homosexuality is fucking laughable. As with any priest or bishop I’ve come to know.

So it strikes me as odd that despite evidence both personally anecdotal and statistical that we’re still bogged by a notion of the RCC as an overtly ‘conservative’ institution. People poke jokes about the Galileo mishap, but forget Francis Bacon and others who kept the sciences alive and kicking in Europe’s history. Sexism in the church is real, but so are some real feminist icons. It’s 2013 and I’m worried my imaginary daughter falls in with some Fox News commenter who thinks women should be subservient to their husbands; I’d rather she see herself as St. Catherine of Sienna, who basically ran Europe in the Middle Ages.

There are Catholic conservatives. I raise no objection and pax vobiscum. But it does feel like more progressive Catholics are always so apologetic and treading lightly, whereas some like Rick Santorum or Mel Gibson can speak near heresies and rather than be called out get heralded as Catholic icons.

Progressive Catholics like myself are nothing new. Neither are conservative ones. We’ve always had a wide scope and I think it would be good for all these big reforms to include our voice and theology. We’re here, but we’re not heard. The loudest voices of authority in the Roman Catholic community are a minority and the voices in opposition are stiffled. People like me have to say silly stuff like “I’m Catholic, but I’m not the _____ kind.” It’s fucked that I should be apologizing for myself for my religion. It’s fucked because while I can’t deny grave mistakes are in the story of the Church the priest of my church knows I’m into guys as well as girls, but he doesn’t care. Nor did the priest who retired before him. Neither did the priests I knew back in Michigan. Nor did the cardinal I met (who’s gay!)

And no cheap political victories! Washington can play that crap, but I think or hope the Church can rise above pundits and talking points. I’d embrace some real engagement with all Catholics, or an ecumenical community, we’re all polite adults, right?


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