A few times a year, Bondings 2.0 features pieces on different individuals’ experiences of being LGBT and Catholic. Even in the age of Pope Francis, many people outside the church cannot understand why an LGBT person or an ally would remain within Catholicism. And, indeed, many people in the church struggle to reconcile multiple identities.
Xorje Olivares has added his thoughts on this conversation at Vice [Editor’s note: the full article contains content which some readers may find inappropriate.] Olivares reflected:
“I, like most LGBTQ Catholics, am a modern-day, socially-conscious parishioner in a stunted and horribly antiquated institution, albeit one that I return to each week because it’s what I know best as the product of a devout Mexican-American household. It feels right to me, since I genuinely understood elements of my faith years before I ever had a grasp on the nuances of my sexuality.
“But my Catholic identity came first, and you may be surprised to hear that it was my faith itself that helped me come to terms with my sexuality during my adolescence. Despite growing up in a predominately Mexican-American community that placed a lot of value in the concept of ‘machismo,’ I felt then, and continue to believe, that God made me and millions of others different. And I never questioned His intentions or asked that ‘this cup be taken from me’ (as Jesus did prior to the crucifixion) because I always viewed my sexuality, and my individuality, as a gift. For God never errs, correct?”
“Being gay and Catholic are both choices—the only difference is that God made the first.”
Despite the challenges, and the criticism from queer friends who are not in the church, Olivares has thankfully found his place at the intersection of being gay, Catholic, and Mexican-American.
LGBT ministry in Hispanic Catholic contexts has its own particularities. Professor Elsie Miranda will be speaking on “Hispanic Catholic Culture and LGBT Issues” at New Ways Ministry’s Eighth National Symposium, Justice and Mercy Shall Kiss: LGBT Catholics in the Age of Pope Francis, is scheduled for April 28-30, 2017, Chicago, Illinois. For more information and to register, visit www.Symposium2017.org.
—Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, April 1, 2017