ANALYSIS: Can gay Catholics find a home in the Catholic Church?

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Joseph Amodeo led a group of gay Catholics who tried to get into St. Patrick's church in New York City but were turned away. Photo courtesy Gay Marriage USA

Joseph Amodeo led a group of gay Catholics who tried to get into St. Patrick's church in New York City but were turned away. Photo courtesy Gay Marriage USA

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(RNS) As U.S. Catholics grow increasingly accepting of homosexuality, there's going to be inevitable conflict as an uneasy “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” policy clashes with gay Catholics' increasing visibility in the form of marriage licenses or wedding announcements.

  • Marco Luxe

    Nothing says confused more than the fact that the Rev. Paul Check, head of Courage, a church-approved ministry that encourages gay Catholics to remain celibate, declined to be interviewed. The Church is simply confused, IMHO because its hierarchy of old men chooses to isolate itself. [See Sisters Religous]

    The Church must find a way to remake its catechism on sexuality, and its near exclusive focus on biological reproduction. The old dogma makes sense only if we, like other mammals, had a limited rutting season. However, sexuality is a continuing gift from Gd that extends beyond mere reproduction.

  • Of course it’s possible for LGBT Catholics to “find a home” in the Catholic Church – countless numbers of us already do. At the level of practical pastoral practice, many Catholics find that they experience no difficulty at all in finding a genuine welcome and full acceptance in their local parishes. What makes the exceptions newsworthy, is precisely that they are exceptions.

    The evidence from opinion polls, in the US and elsewhere, is that most Catholics just don’t buy the party line that same – sex relationships are even a matter of morality – much less gravely disordered. It’s not gay and lesbian Catholics that are out of step with the Church, but many bishops. It’s not same – sex orientation that is “gravely disordered”, but the dangerous and destructive sexual doctrines that emanate from the CDF in Rome.

    The main reason this is hitting the news, is that it’s becoming increasingly evident that bishops like Dolan simply don’t have a clue – as they themselves acknowledge. They have a steep learning curve to go through, but go through it they will, aided by the vastly superior example of Francis in the Vatican, whose every step and utterance seems to emphasise, like the Gospels, that love and pastoral sensitivity are vastly more important than doctrinal laws an the trappings of ecclesiastical office.

  • John Justice

    tehre are some churches (cath) that are far more progressive, eg St. Bernadetts in Severn MD. A progressive catholic friend was decrying the church and its ancient ideeas and political BS so I told her of this chruch andd I’m sure there are others

    But the ultimate solution to the church is for everyone who beleives that gays are part of Gods creation should leave it, keep their money and join the Episcopal church, which will even in some dioceses do gay religious marrriages (I have no idea how many but rumor is a majority) I’m told the liturgy is similar.

    You’ve got to get the catholic church via their pocketbook, but IMO the church will go to their grave with their backwards dogma and mch of the world will celebrate.

    BTW all you have to do to find in most cases gay friendly denominations is see if they allow women to be religious leaders and support birth control so women are not just baby factories

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  • Allan

    One could equally ask, “Can adulterers or fornicators find a home in the Catholic Church?” The answer is the same, “Only if they repent their sins and agree to try not to sin in the future.”

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  • Jay

    Well seeing as how the pope said even atheists are now redeemed, Gays, YOURE IN! Yaaayyy….

  • Jay

    Nope, the pope sais even atheists are a ok. They are without a doubt a bunch of non believing fornicators.

  • John McGrath

    Some of my gay Catholic relatives, very religious, very generous with donations, were perfectly happy in the the church … until … the sarcasm of snide Adam & Steve chuckles and other sarcastic insults made them realize that there is very little Christian charity among Catholic clergy. They are now happy in another congregation, made up primarily of kind-herated ex-Catholics, mostly straight and married.

  • John McGrath

    The short answer: in the long run, no. They will leave or be forced to leave.

    The unasked question is: Will approving parents of gay kids stay in the Catholic church? I think the answer is the same: in the long run, no.

  • Ahhhh! THE ECUMENICAL cATHOLIC COMMUNION, where all are welcomed, and the beautiful diversity of God’s creation is celebrated and all people are validated as God’s children!!! WHAT A WONDERFUL WAY TO BE CATHOLIC!

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  • Jim McCrea

    The more important question is: why try? The salvation of my soul is not dependent on being a Catholic. Life is too short and too important to spend it dealing with issues that are, in the final analysis, irrelevant, i.e., trying to by LGBT Catholics.

  • Jim McCrea

    The 11th commandment is: Thou shalt NOT fund fiends and fools. If you continue to do so, then kwitcherbitchin.

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  • Mark from PA

    I find it troubling that Father Paul Check, head of Courage, seems to be quite silent when it comes to mistreatment of gay Catholics. He seems to be afraid of offending people that hate the gays. In New York City, a man was recently murdered and there have been several attacks on gay men. Where is the voice of Courage here? Courage needs to find some courage and speak out against attacks on gays and discrimination against them.

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  • Maltie Mustang

    I was so very naive 55 years ago that I did not even know what a homosexual was.
    I did know what “impure thoughts” were, and I sure had plenty of those.
    I still have them and I am old.
    The classic story told by the nuns back then was little Johnny was walking home from school and he was thinking about how delicious little Mary was in her knee socks and scratchy wool uniform when he stepped off a a curb and got hit by a bus.
    Not only was little Johnny (11 years old) dead as a door nail, but his poor little soul was now burning in Hell… for ETERNITY…(where it belonged) for enjoying those thoughts about little Mary.
    Basically, the Catholic Church hates sex.
    Booze and gambling and maybe smacking the old lady up the side of the head on a Saturday night after a few drinks was understandable, but sex…without following all the rules of engagement with the Church in bed with you…. well….that is simply punishable by the fires of everlasting torment….and that is in spite of what Father Horntoad was doing on the side…when no one was looking.

  • gilhcan

    Home is a place where one is welcome. We continue to see numerous places called “home” that are anything but, both at the personal level and in groups. The Catholic Church, like the Boy Scouts of America, are two such groups. As long as they maintain one bit of the ignorance and fakery that continues to pervade and support their hateful prejudice toward gays, there is no home, there can be no home. When the clerics of the Catholic Church, from popes to parish priests, honestly face their own sexuality, stop creating male-only havens of distorted sexual maturation like their seminaries, rectories, and community houses, stop their sexual abuse crimes, and stop the cover-up of those crimes and court-ordered awards for abuses, only then might they begin to face the reality that God created queers just as God created straights.

  • gilhcan

    If you’re serious, your right and good.

  • gilhcan

    So true. But the “righteousness” of the Catholic clergy and many of its illiterate lay people will be bigger hurdles impeding the “charitable,” much less intelligent and informed acceptance of gays than it was for the acceptance of the declarations of Vatican Council II.

    As long as people like John Paul and Benedict can get away with their negative, deceitful descriptions of homosexuality as an “intrinsic disorder,” nothing will change. Francis or his successors must make that clear.

    Better still would be that the Catholic Church separate into independent national communions who “council” from time to time in the spirit of Jesus, and not in the spirit of Catholic history. Churches can be catholic without dogmatic dictatorship. That has been modeled by many of the Reformation churches.

  • Mike M

    The Catholic Church is slow to change but it does change. The general public has very mixed emotions on the subject same sex marriage so how could anyone expect the Catholic Church to throw open her doors over the course of a couple of decades. To people who feel that a couple of decades is long enough please keep in mind how long the church has been in place. As a Catholic I have conflicting thoughts on sexuality but the one thing I feel strongly about is that there are far too many non-Catholics expressing feelings on how my church should be run. If you are gay and Catholic I want your voice to be heard. If you are a non-Catholic then this is really not of your concern.

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  • Dee

    You cannot remake truth. The Catechism teaches the Truth, handed down by Jesus Christ, Himself. Go ahead, tell God to change what he created. What an audacious thing to say.
    The reason why he refused to be interviewed — if he truly was — is he knew he wouldn’t get an honest interview. They have their agenda. Why bother.
    And, furthermore, one is not born homosexual. And that’s the truth. Don’t look for the Catholic Church to change, That’s why they’re trying to wipe it out. Good luck with that. It takes COURAGE to tell the truth.

  • theresa

    WE are supposed to change for God, both the other way around. The Bible is not a bag if of trail mix that you pick and choose what you like and ignore the rest. If you disagree with the Catholic church… Go be great some place else, don’t expect the Church to change just to make YOU happy. Right and wrong is clearly defined in the Bible… Its lasted over 2000 years… If you don’t like it, too bad. Written by God and should not be edited by man. Idiots can try and call all priests names because of a few bad men who abused and happened to be priests. Abusers are also teachers, police men and women, mail carriers, etc. Etc. So get over yourselves. If you don’t like the rules of the church written by God (He trumps you btw) then move along. Stop trying to force your beliefs on others. You have a choice in your religious organizations.

  • Edward Ngugi (kenyan)

    I support your stand theresa we are called to change our evil ways to be one with our mighty creator. if not the choice is ours ” in front there is water & there is fire have your pick and enjoy your life. in Kenya we say “BARIKIWA” meaning “BE BLESSED”