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!
Why I Stay: ‘God brought me to both my Catholic and LGBT identities’
Name: Katherine P
Identified: LGBT Person
Growing up, I had no awareness I was asexual and agender. However, since puberty I felt an unease and disconnect about my body.
After I was baptized I plunged myself into the Church taking an extensive interest in theology. I thought my faith was deepening, but I was instead becoming more dogmatic.
I later fell ill, which I believe was a sign from God telling me to stop. To pass the time I spent a good deal of time online, encountering many kinds of people. In listening to people who were LGBT I found myself questioning old attitudes.
I prayed to God about this. I saw that these were good people, and that the relationships they cultivated with one another brought them love and joy. So if they found fulfillment and virtue, then perhaps it was all right.
I also realized I was asexual. This caused no conflict as I thought of it as a gift from God. Previously, I thought everyone was like me and I was judgmental to those whom I believed acted outside of the Church. I realized I had no right to judge. I became a kinder person.
I re-evaluated myself more. I discovered the agender identity and felt a great joy in it since this was a term for the feelings I felt. I concluded that God made me this way, and I felt at peace, which I feel was a blessing from Him.
I started to see that I had not been romantically attracted only to boys, but that some of my intense feelings towards particular girls had been romantic, too. Since I didn’t intend to have any sort of relationship unless it was God’s will, it didn’t really trouble me.
But one year, a friend who is also queer confessed love for me. I saw I felt similar. Afterwards I spent months praying to God about this, asking Him if it was all right. It was the one time I agonized about anything. But I realized something: this relationship was making me a better person, that it was bringing me closer to God, that it was helping me love and relate to humanity as a whole and I realized that this was God’s will for me.
I became aware of the issues between LGBT people and the Church and tried to educate myself. I became joyful at progress and saddened at backwards steps, however, I am filled with the hope that the Church will arrive at a place where LGBT people can feel accepted and loved the way God wants them to be, and I want to help make that possible. My prayer to God at this moment is for this reality to take place.
I stay because God is here, because God wants me to be here, because He’s brought me to both my Catholic and LGBT identities, because I believe my prayer can help fulfill the Church, and because I hope one day, God will use me in some way to bring His love to LGBT people.
—Katherine P, March 23, 2019