Thursday, May 17, 2012

Treating Gay Catholics In the Church As Family

The Catholic blogs are sort of abuzz with the article of a  Catholic theology doctoral student , who is  gay, and chaste ,  at  First Things. See Dan Savage Was Right .

I thought Rod Dreher had one of the best engagements of it today that also takes it out of the "gay" only context. See his post One Crazy — Or Very Brave — Gay Catholic.

In that Rod's post there was a good comment from Joel Hunter:

Let me push back a bit on Gonnerman's claim: Where exactly are all these parishes/churches/congregation that would not welcome a celibate struggling with same-sex attraction?

Let's test the theory. If you are a Christian ask yourself, "Would my church not welcome them?" I suspect the vast, vast majority would both say that their church would be welcoming . . . but the problem is other churches.

This strikes me as what I call the "Other Church Syndrome." People admit that it is not an issue at their church but assume it must be a problem with someone else's church. If it is (and I admit, it could be), why don't we hear more people saying that their church shuns people struggling with same-sex attraction?

And I think I have read dozens of articles saying that Christians should be more loving toward chaste homosexuals, but not a single one that says, as Gonnerman claims, “I’m sorry, we can’t do anything about bullying, because it says right there in Leviticus, in Timothy, in Romans that being gay is wrong.” (Seriously, has any Christian outside of Westboro Baptist ever said anything like that?)

If this is a problem then we should start naming names by calling out these guilty congregations. It's unfair to slander the entire Body of Christ by making claims that a problem no one ever seems to provide evidence for is pervasive within the Church.

I get where Joel is going with that ,and  agree to a certain extent. The Catholic Church of the 80's and 90's on a Parish level , in the Academy, and indeed in many Bishops offices seemed anything but slamming gay people in a cruel way. In fact I think it is sort of this wink wink nod nod  toward illicit behavior that the now more conservative clergy is sometimes reacting too.

However this is where Rod's piece comes in handy. That is how he and just average single  people are treated in the Church as they lived according to its teachings. As someone that is a DIVORCED CATHOLIC I get that. There is a difference between come to Mass , and then treating and loving someone like family. It may not be intentional at all , but when everything is FAMILY FAMILY well......

As Rod points out:

 It’s not only true for gay people, but also straights who are single, either by choice or unchosen circumstance. In my case, when I became a serious adult Christian, I knew that I couldn’t be a Christian conditionally. I had tried that; it didn’t work. Specifically, I had tried exempting myself from the clear, consistent teaching of Scripture and Tradition about sexual morality. I read all the liberal theologians, and tried to believe it — but it was, to use a Savage-ism, bullshit. And I was lying to myself to think there was any truthful way forward but the narrow path. Like Gonnerman, I found that the Church’s teaching really is liberating, even though it required a lot of painful asceticism on my part (the most painful of which was the real possibility that it might be like this for my whole life; there was no guarantee that I would ever marry). How much easier the burden of chastity as a single Christian would have been if I hadn’t felt so alone in church. The clergy didn’t seem to care much, either intentionally or not, nor did anybody else. Most of the young adults I knew who bothered with church at all had no interest in being faithful to its sexual teaching, and so were no help. Everybody else was bound up with family life, and the culture of family life.

We are told or at least some of us were told many of us might have a situation or a Vocation for the single life outside being a cleric or a religious. The problem is how can we get help living that out.

There are a few things I would nitpick about  Gonnerman's article. For instance I think making sure that Anti Bully Legislation is drafted in a way that does not created more problems than it purports to solve is important. Too many times I see people that worry how the i 's are dotted  , and the t's are crossed are thrown into the PRO BULLY side.

Anyway more later perhaps. These are just initial thoughts.

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