I've spoken in length about gay marriage and to a lesser extent I will add some to that as well. But I would like to mostly focus on gays in the Church.
I want to make myself abundantly clear before proceeding. I'm not homophobic. I do not have a problem with gay people. I have worked with gay people and am friends with gay people. I don't agree with active homosexuals, but I don't have a problem with gay people.
The CCC (Catechism of the Catholic Church) states:
2358: The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
So any remarks against homosexuals (especially uncharitable ones and those directed against specific persons) in any Catholic forum (a church, this blog, etc) is a big NO NO. Whether you are homophobic or like me simply don't like their "life style" it's against Church teaching to mistreat a homosexual. Period.
So let me tell you a bit of a story. I'm not a bitter former employee when I say this so I won't give the church's name, but I worked at a Catholic Church where the Priest knew that the music director was an active homosexual.
First things first, the music director was and is my friend. I would never speak ill of him. His actions on the other hand, where not good. I commit sin and have and did and do. My sins are a little more shrouded unless someone knows or sees me commit them. My friend was hired by the church knowing that he was gay. He was not open about it to the parish at large, but he also excommunicated himself (never received communion). I applaud that.
An issue came up at church: the vote about gay marriage. He decided to speak to the Bishop saying that leaving pamphlets and asking people to sign petitions in the physical church was wrong. As he pointed out, Mass is for worship not for campaigning. And I agree with him. Even if they asked me to sign something banning abortion going into Mass, I would not because that's not what Mass is about. But that's my opinion and not everyone shares it.
The Bishop called a meeting with him because he was an employee as well as talked to the parish priest. What my friend told me was that the Bishop said that as long as my friend was not in a relationship he could remain employed, but as soon as he was in a relationship, he needed to resign. At the time, he didn't have a boyfriend.
It became sort of a "don't ask don't tell" policy at the church even though I'm sure the priest and his pastoral administrator knew about it. I mean the boyfriend would come to church functions. How obvious can you get? He wasn't fired nor did he resign until he moved. He also had a ceremony of sorts with his now husband?. It was outside of a Catholic Church, so don't panic.
My problem with this whole scenario is two fold: 1) he had an active relationship and 2) the Bishop specifically instructed the parish priest to remove him from his job should he engage in an active relationship, but the priest did not.
At the time, I was a new employee in the office. I wasn't the favorite and my friend was. I knew that I would make the situation worse if I told the Bishop. Plus I didn't know how to make this situation come out good. I didn't want my friend to have to deal with public ridicule and it was already hard enough when he "came out." Remember the CCC says we have to be charitable and understand their crosses. I knew that not everyone would behave this way. Yet, I knew that it was wrong. The Bishop had already instructed them, yet the priest was ignoring it. I guess you could say I chickened out and kept my mouth shut. I also was a little more "gay friendly" than perhaps I should have been. I could have also taken my friend aside and made my stance known, but I didn't do that either. It's something that in hindsight I regret. Perhaps pointing out the obvious abuse would have made my own personal hell working for that church better. I don't know.
About the active relationship, the CCC has this to say:
2359: Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
There's a lot of whining from some homosexuals about this statement. I've heard the "I was born this way" speech a number of times. Just because a person is born that way doesn't mean they get what they want. People who were born on the heavy side would love to each cake, but know that it's not good for them to do so. I was born a woman. I can't change that either. So am I going to whine and cry because I'll never be a priest? No. At some point, you have to grow up and face reality that you can't always get what you want. No matter how much my heart is set on being a priest, I have to face the reality that it's not going to happen because God made me a woman. (BTW I'm not actually interested in being a priest; I'm just using myself as an example. One could use the same argument for women who want to be ordained). So too do homosexuals need to face reality. You may have been born gay, but that doesn't give you the right to have sex with a member of the same sex. Sorry. God's the Dad in this family and he has spoken. You can throw your fits, but he's just going to ignore them.
Sorta switching around a bit, Hubby and I have had numerous discussions about civil marriage. I've said there needs to be a separation of Church and state. Hubby got into a heated debate with a co-worker (not in person; it was in a forum). The person said that she was for everyone having the right to be married. So Hubby asked her if that included people who wanted to marry more than one person (polygamy) or marry their sibling or their dog or their motorcycle. As he pointed out, once you open the flood gates with the "it should be a right for everyone" then where does it end? Because as soon as gay marriage is made okay on a national playing field, the polygamists are going to say it's their right too. Her response was the same, she was for "everyone having the right to be married."
Hubby and I think the only compromising solution to this is thus: no more civil marriages. Take that power away from the state and privatize it. Because if you think about it, a civil marriage outside of any religious institution is not a marriage in the eyes of the Church. (Yes, I just said that if you're married by the Justice of the Peace, you are not married. Go ahead throw your tomatoes). The only thing a civil marriage insures is that 1) you get a tax break 2) you children and "husband" don't have to have to submit to a paternity test 3) if there is a medical issue, they are your legal next of kin. If we would like insurance companies, investment companies, etc do a beneficiary, living will, etc. on a much larger legal scale, then we would have no need for civil marriages. This would also eliminate that pesky problem of gay marriage since officiants would not have to officiate a marriage if they did not want to. Some countries already have something similar, where you can be married at your church, but unless you get a civil document you are not recognized by the state as being married (and vice versa). I know it would be annoying to have to get two pieces of paper signed and would still be problematic but that's the best solution we can think of. Because as I said, you're not married even if you are straight in the Church's eyes unless it happened in a church. (yes, I know it's a bit more complicated than that with dispensations and all, but you get the gist.)
Okay this has been an interesting blog post. Somehow I managed to fit a whole lot of hot button topics all into one: women's ordination, gay marriage, gays working in the Church, civil marriages.... At least let me get my laundry put away before you start trying to hurl me into the nearest dumpster.