I was ready to blast the Catholic church, after I read "'Fallen away' Catholics urged to return," by Douglas Todd, in the December 17, 2012 edition of The Vancouver Sun.
You want to know, I was ready to ask, why so many of the flock do something Sunday morning other than attend Mass? How about because the Catholic church (and other churches, for that matter) has ruined countless lives–in the case of gay and lesbian people, by convincing them that being gay is wrong, resulting in widespread self-hatred and leading to countless problems, from difficulty finding life partners and to even suicide.
But that's not where it's at here at "This Gay Relationship." Not any more.
Some could argue, based on posts I've written in the past, that I had it in for organized religion in general and the Catholic church in particular (I've been a recovering Catholic for over two decades). And that may have been true. But I'm enlightened now, or at least I try to be. In all areas of my life, I try to live by the dictum, "It is what it is"–meaning it's going on, whether or not I like it, and I can't control or change it. So why go crazy trying? Why waste my time?
The fact is, however wrong the pope and the Catholic church are, on matters related to abortion, contraception, homosexuality, and so on, their antiquated message has been the same for centuries, and, no matter how angry I get or how much I try, I will never change them. Period. End of story.
So what power do I have over the church, then?
On a personal level, I have the choice to attend Mass, or not. To place money in the collection plate, or not. And I choose not to on both counts.
The reality is, if enough people decide to withhold their attendance and their financial support, as has been the case for many years…well, you see what happens. The church feels threatened, sees its revenue source dry up, and spends half a million dollars on TV ads, attempting to get people back, erroneously placing the blame for dwindling attendance on parishioners's busy lives and not where it should be–on doctrine.
And as a writer with a voice, I have this blog.
Let me tell you this: In the past almost four years, I've received many comments and emails from people in countries around the world, most of them struggling to reconcile the religious teachings they were subjected to as children–telling them there's something wrong with them because they're gay–with who and what they know themselves to be. I've read their words, and I've felt their pain (because their pain was my pain not so long ago). I know the church has no right to do that to them or to anyone.
Making a gay person feel horrible, even suicidal, about his sexual orientation, over which he has no control, is not the right of the Catholic church or any other church. It's also not what the church should be about.
This is what religion does, Catholic and otherwise. This is NOT what God does.
And, if you've had enough of religion–just as I'd had enough of it around the time I came out over twenty-five years ago–and you know in your heart, as I do, that God accepts and loves you as you are, and what you are isn't bad or wrong, because countless millions of people around the world are just like you, and we can't all be wrong, and, at the end of the day, all we want is what everyone wants, to love and to be loved, and how can that be wrong?–if you know all this, then I challenge you to speak with your feet and your dollars. Don't attend a church you know wouldn't support and love you, would make you feel miserable about yourself and even try to change you, if it knew what you are. Why do that to yourself? You have nothing to gain.
No, we can't change the Catholic church, entrenched as it is in dogma irrelevant then and now, but we can sure send the message some of it's teachings are unacceptable by not showing up and by not giving money. Just think, if enough people did that–hit the church where it really hurts, in the bank account–maybe then we'd see the change we know is long overdue.
I saw my first ad from catholicscomehome.org last evening while watching TV. I have to say, they did an impressive job. The ad was compelling, and it's obvious the church got it's money's worth from the advertising firm they hired.
But it's still the same old church, with the same old rhetoric. From the perspective of gay and lesbian people, there's nothing new about how the church now accepts and loves us for what we are. So go home? There's no home for me there.
Good thing God accepts and loves me as I am. I'm home with Him. He's all the home I need.