I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: A wonderful by-product of the often contentious debates surrounding marriage equality has been that it has motivated people to go deeper into their faith for spiritual nourishment.
The latest example of such depths is a letter to the editor by Maren Ortmeier to InForum, a news organization for the metropolitan area of Fargo, North Dakota, and Moorhead, Minnesota. As you may know, Minnesota voters will be going to the polls to vote on a proposed constitutional amendment to ban marriage equality.
Ms. Ortmeier’s letter reveals a deep spirituality, rooted in traditional Catholic practices and images but open to new understandings of the modern world:
“Christ in the Eucharist has the ability to transform us, often motivated by love or suffering. Since Jesus’ agenda was solidarity with suffering itself, our hearts are invited into the pain of the ‘other.’ Many homosexuals have suffered deeply and have been denied their life potential as society and religion tried to shame them. But not only was Jesus present in their suffering, he also never played the ‘shame game.’ Ironically, it was the act of accusing that made Jesus mad, not the so-called sinner. . . .
“In times of motherly despair, I picture Mary standing at the foot of the cross. She knows a mother’s pain. I know many Catholic mothers who have gay children and who feel betrayed and isolated by the church. Mother Mary knows their pain. We all desire to feel loved and respected. . . .
“Centuries of Catholic monastic life taught us celibacy is best lived in community voluntarily, not in mandated isolation by shame. Mothers know God doesn’t make children who are ‘less than.’ Loving mothers should be a guiding light in this issue, as it is Mary’s love for Jesus that most closely reflects God’s love for us.”
Ms. Ortmeier’s concluding paragraph cites two traditionalist bishops whose message can easily and fruitfully be applied to the marriage equality debate:
“How can we honestly sing songs like ‘All Are Welcome’? How can we remain immune to another’s pain when our traditions call us to act on their behalf? This pre-emptive strike (the amendment) prevents needed and deserved discussion of civil same sex partnership. Cardinal Dolan and Bishop DiMarzio said in a statement: ‘There is too much finger pointing and not enough joining hands. Solidarity is critical to ensure the dignity of all.’ Well said.”
I think Ms. Ortmeier’s argument is “VERY well said.”
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry