In December, Bondings 2.0 invited readers to share the stories of their relationship with the Catholic Church by writing on the theme of “Why We Came, Why We Left, Why We Stayed.” We “borrowed” this topic from a feature that Commonweal magazine published recently. We felt it was important for LGBTQ people to share their own stories, so we made the invitation to our readers.
We asked contributors to keep their contributions under 500 words, and also asked how they would like to be identified in terms of name and gender/sexual identity, location. Anonymity was offered as an option.
We received many responses, and we have been posting a selection of them them over the last few months on Sundays.
However, because our Sunday Lenten reflection series has started, the “Why We Came, Why We Left, Why We Stayed” series will be moved to Saturdays during Lent.
To read all the previous posts in this series, click here, or click on “Why We Came. Why We Left. Why We Stayed” in the Categories section of the right-hand column of this page. Many thanks to all the contributors!
Name: C.R. Martinez
Identified: Queer Woman, Teacher, and Youth Minister
I neither leave nor remain. I am in limbo. Ten years teaching, six years studying in school, a decade ministering, hundreds of students taken on retreat, dozens and dozens of LGBTQ students lives’ made more livable for the safe space my classroom provided them: these are but a few of the numbers that mattered most to me before the day I was told I could no longer teach or remain in my position as Campus Minister because I was married to another woman.
The message sent was clear: my hands were not worthy to pass on the love of God because of the person I’d chosen to marry and love as Christ loves me. I’d clung to this love I found on the cross my whole life long and especially when my family struggled to accept me. I turned to my faith, to my church to be the home I did not have at the time. Today I feel like someone without a home at all, without refuge.
Still, I remain one foot in and the other outside the threshold. I still cling to the hands of a love that does not want me, that was willing to benefit from the gifts God gave me, but only in secret, and never beneath the bright light of truth. I have yet to come to terms with this loss despite having lived in its shadow for over a year now. What am I to do with hands purposed for this work and nothing else?
The glaring truth that I have been ignoring is that there is no place for me in the Church anymore and that there is nothing that my knowledge can do to save me. The years spent studying the theologians that came before me provide no solace. In reality this is not a journey that my mind can navigate. It is a matter that must lean upon the only part of me that stands a chance at approaching the divine: my heart. It is a heart that loves God despite the pain inflicted by this Church on so many others like myself. I believe God understands, that Mary understands the angry words I hurl in prayer.
The blessed Virgencita I’ve called mother all my life longs to gather me to her heart and comfort these shaking fists. She knows that I will come home eventually. It remains to be seen whether that home will be the Catholic Church. I rest only on the hope that God has given me a gift in this suffering that will allow me to grow in patience, love and humility when the time is right.
— C.R. Martinez, March 16, 2019