Once a Catholic. . .
The website for WBEZ, a Chicago public radio station, has a poignant essay on the pull of Catholicism for one lesbian woman, even in the face of discrimination. You can read the entire essay here.
Catherine Smyka reminisces about the many personal and family occasions that took place in her parish church. While she laments that her wedding to her lesbian partner will not be able to take place there, she still has fond memories and a close connection and attraction:
“I know now I won’t be able to get married at St. Celestine’s. There will be many more exchanges of vows under that vaulted ceiling, but not mine—but I do have history there.
“No matter who I see on those steps or what happens in the future. No matter where I get married, or to whom…my story still started right there.”
Many people ask New Ways Ministry, “Why do LGBT people remain Catholic?” It’s a hard question to answer because the reasons are so diverse. Each person answers that question in a unique and personal way, as Catherine Smyka did in her essay.
What’s your reason? Whether you are LGBT or someone who supports them, why do you remain connected to Catholicism?
Please post your answers in the comments section.
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry
Catholic LGBT persons and those who support them remain Catholic not only because Catholic faith and practice powerfully impresses itself in the self. It also bears saving truth about the human person and human relationship. The Church is the principle institution in our world which affirms that love is giving, not getting. The Church proclaims that human persons have inalienable dignity not because of government enactments or cultural affirming (how quickly they can change!) but because God created us, redeemed us and has given each of us a place in the Kingdom. The Church proclaims, and lives by, God’s love and holy purpose for us. When members of the Church have failed to recognize all that these things mean those who can see need to pray and work harder to help them see. This means not dropping out but loving more.
I finally had to “leave” the Catholic Church after 40+ years of being intrigally involved-getting both an undergrad and graduate degree at a Catholic College and becoming an associate of the Dominican Order. My partner, son and I now attend a wonderful UCC church where I teach Sunday School. I deeply miss my Catholic faith, espeically the liturgy-communion. I tried so hard to stay, but it got to the point where I would be so angry after mass that it wasn’t healthy. I want to praise God with a complete heart. I grew weary of being angry and I don’t want my son (who is also biracial with two moms) to not feel we can be proud and shining examples of God’s love. Even so, I miss it terribly.