Post # 1
Despite being Catholic, I’m choosing to write on this board vs. the Catholic one because knowing Catholics, they’ll want to tear me apart.
I went to Catholic schools all my life. I’ve been going to a Catholic church all my life. I believe in a good portion of what they teach. However, I’m against the church’s stance on homosexuality. My background is social work and I have a hard time believing that just because someone is gay they don’t get the same rights as everyone else. It really has become an ethical dilemma. I really am not trying to start a political/religious argument here because everyone has their own opinions, which I respect. I also intern at a Catholic church rectory right now and am irritated by the passion behind the employees in the church to be against homosexual marriages and rights.
This being said, I’m getting married in the Catholic church but am now having kinda a crisis about my religion. I’m very close to the pastor who is marrying us and would be comfortable enough talking to him about this but feel that will open up a whole can of worms I don’t want to deal with prior to getting married. Also, my family is all Catholic and I know my dad would have a heart attack if he knew my feelings. I want to get married in this faith, I have no doubts on that. I’m just doubting whether following this, what to do. I still view religion, faith, and church as important but I know I won’t be seen a practicing Catholic if I don’t agree with all of their teachings.
I’m curious what other faiths are okay with homosexual marriages and rights? I’m really unsure what to do and it’s really tugging at my heart.
The other factor that bothers me and Im concerned with is that my mom passed away a few years ago and is buried at a Catholic cemetary. You have to be Catholic to be buried there and I wish to be buried in the same cemetary as she. If I were to change religions I’m guessing I then couldn’t be buried there. So what do I do? I know it sounds crazy but I almost want to attend a church that isn’t against homosexuality but then when I get near death, still receive the anointing of the sick and be buried in that cemetary. I know it won’t work this way and I know the Catholic church would have a fit but I can’t stand by this when I disagree with it so much.
Post # 3
So as a former catholic (went to catholic school, grew up catholic etc) I totally get where you are. I love the “smells and the bells” of the Catholic church and the community, but there are many things I can’t agree with and went on a search for a church that was more open and accepting. In addition, I have a huge belief is social justice that I think as a social worker you are already probably pretty involved in. I have been attending a Unitarian Universalist church and they are what is called a “Welcoming Community”. So perhaps you could find a community that is similar. Unitarians are quite liberal so you might be taken aback at first, but there are a lot of former Catholics in the group so it may be something that you would find would work for you.
I don’t think this is something you have to figure out right this moment. Get married, then perhaps try out other churches and see if you can find one that fits better with your morals. As for the burial issue – I don’t know your age or health, but I would venture to guess that it will be quite a while before you have to deal with the death issue and who knows how you will feel at that point. Also, you never know the rules may change by then. I can’t see staying in a faith I can’t stand behind for my whole life just so I could be buried in their cemetary. I know plenty of Catholics who don’t believe everything that they are “supposed” to, so perhaps you just need to talk to people who don’t work in the rectory and are a little more liberal in their beliefs.
Post # 4
It sounds like the real issue here is that you are not sure Catholicism is the right religion for you, but because of familial/social situations, you think it would be better to go along with it rather than try to make a change to a religion/church that better suits your personal beliefs. It’s hard to go against your family and friends and culture, especially when something so precious (i.e. being buried in the same cemetery as your mom) would probably be taken away from you should you change. On the other hand, how long can you really ignore your personal convictions? If you’re unhappy with the Church, just going through the motions is probably going to make you more unhappy and distance you even more from Catholic teachings; it’s not going to get easier for you, just harder.
I think you should start exploring whether you want to leave the Church NOW rather than later. It may disappoint your dad, it may be hurtful to think about not being buried next to your mom, but you shouldn’t have to pretend you believe in something you don’t. What happens if you have kids, and your family expects you to raise them in the Church? If they have the same questions/disagreements with the church you do, it’s going to be near impossible to explain why you’ve stayed in a religion you don’t believe in.
Fwiw, I grew up in a non-denominational Christian household; my parents weren’t happy (and still aren’t very supportive) of my conversion to Catholicism. But it was the right move for me, and I couldn’t lie any more about believing in my parents’ church when so much of it was against my personal faith. Also, I (like many other Catholics I know) also believe that homosexuality is not wrong, and that gay couples should equal rights to marry. Stricter Catholics wouldn’t agree with me, but I don’t think disagreeing with the Church automatically excludes you. And I know that Unitarians are very liberal and accepting, if you are looking for a place to start.
Post # 5
I really think you should talk with your priest but also, (and I’m not religious) talk with God. Forget the humans involved in the church that are afflicted with human emotion, judging and pride and spend some time trying to sort out your feelings with God. Do you really believe that it’s your place to prohibit people to love and marry? If not, then see if you can find some support groups online that talk about having a dissenting view on teachings of the church. I agree with you that God would not want people judging others or meting out punishments (limiting people’s rights) in his name. I think above all we’re supposed to love each other and help each other WITHOUT conditions. There may be many other Catholics that feel exactly as you do that you could learn from. Good luck.
Post # 6
Just FWIW-I grew up in a Catholic family. Heck-I even have an ancestor that is now a saint. But in my adulthood I joined a pretty liberal United Church of Christ . I guess that some of them are less liberal than others-and maybe this one is more liberal than some, IDK. But I do know that a few years ago-people in this congregation actually studied the bible along with the pastor, and delved into that actual debate about what the bible says regarding homosexuality. Unfortunately I was working, and didn’t have the ability to go to those bible study sessions, but what came out of that was that at least this particular church is inclusive. Certainly a part of me still “feels Catholic”, and appreciates that I was raised Catholic, but I understand because I feel that all people are under God and that God is an inclusive loving God-not a punishing God. I don’t agree with all that Catholicism teaches-so for me, I found a better fit with my beliefs. Just wondering though-I believe when I got married, I had to agree to raise my children Catholic? Good luck with whatever your decision.
Post # 7
Hello I’m sorry to hear this. I attend a christian church that believes that homosexuality is wrong, just the same as it thinks that lying is wrong, adualtry is wrong and stealing is wrong. A sin is a sin, is a sin and everyone of us is guilty with no sin worse than the next. The church strongly preaches the truths of the bible, straight out of the bible. Now someone who is gay is welcome just like someone who is divorsed it welcome. We are all there for the same reason to be forgiven and saved. With that said they will not ever say it is okay to be gay and they will never tell me it is okay that I live with my boyfriend, but I’m welcome just as much as the next person.
I love my church so much though. It is the only place that has tought me that I can have my own relationship with God. Like another poster wrote pray about it and listen. God will tell you what he thinks you should do.
Post # 8
For starters, please know that not all Catholics are anti-homosexuality. Check out http://www.dignityusa.org/ for instance.
For another, realize that the Catholic Church has a different opinion than many other Christian churches. To be homosexual is not sinful in the Church’s eyes, just homosexual acts. (I’m NOT saying that I agree with that, its just the Church’s position). I couldn’t be part of a Church that said things like all homosexuals are going to hell or that said homosexuality was a choice. The Catholic Church doesn’t say that.
I struggle with the Church’s teachings too. I don’t believe homosexual acts are sinful. I have a friend who is a Catholic and a lesbian, and I know it’s a struggle for her. To me, staying in the Church isn’t about agreeing with every issue, but about Christ and the sacraments. This is an area where I don’t think the people in the Church are living up to it being the body of Christ, but that doesn’t mean that I want to abandon that Church. I want to stay; I want to be there when it changes.
It is my Christianity that has lead me to desire equal protection and rights for all sexual orientations. God did not discriminate – why should we? It is frustrating when people are close minded, but remember that as a Catholic you aren’t required to discriminate or hate gay people. You are required to do the opposite – to love and fight for all.
I think this is the civil rights issue of our generation and I truly believe that one day all people, LGBTQ or straight, will have equal protection under the law. It saddens me to think that when my children study this issue in their textbooks they’ll ask why Christians fought against this.
Post # 9
God knows your heart. He doesn’t agree with the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality either, and he knows that you want to be buried near your mother, therefore you would be choosing this for the right reason. You know what is right and wrong in your heart and that is all that matters.
Post # 10
I could have written a lot of that post, if you switched ‘Catholic’ to ‘Baptist.’ I tried to switch churches and got so much grief from my family that I just stopped going. I grew apart from God, which was never my intention. This week, actually, will be the first week in years that Fiance and I are going to attend a church that will hopefully align more with our beliefs (well, mine anyway. Fiance is agnostic but is supporting me in my effort to find a more liberal church).
I would urge you to do a lot of praying and attend some different churches. You already know what you believe, don’t lose that because you get fed up with the church.
Post # 11
I don’t feel that you have to agree with everything a religion teaches to be that religion.
If you feel awkward working in the church I would give that up, but I wouldn’t give the religion up.
Post # 12
Realistically, you aren’t going to find a church that agrees with every one of your beliefs (speaking as a liberal Christian, I can attest to this.) The closest you can usually come is to find a church that agrees with your spiritual beliefs and about 80% of your social beiefs, and that does not persecute anyone in an active way. Then just compartmentalize best as you can, and be the voice of mercy and change that the church sorely needs right now in this area.
Leaving your faith is a big step, and not one to be taken lightly. I think you do need to talk to someone more qualified than the folks on WB about this if it’s bothering you this much.
Post # 13
Thanks so much to all of you! You all made very valid points. I have yet to pray about it, honestly which is def going to be my first step. I do take this very seriously which is why in my eyes it is a crisis. Yes, something that I don’t have to make a decision on immediately but still something that weighs heavy on me. I really had an Oprah “light bulb” moment today about it. Thus, wanting to get other Christians input. When I feel it’s best I will talk to my pastor about my concerns which may just further my exiting the church….who knows. Needless to say, thanks ladies!
I wanted to talk to Fiance (who is also Catholic, a liberal Catholic) about it but he’s a CPA and extremely stressed right now so I’m avoiding discussing this till after april 15th. Yes, I know how important it is to discuss religion prior to getting married.
Post # 14
@jo.lee: Good for you. I hope you find what you’re seeking!
Post # 15
@jedeve- well said.
To the OP: I hear you and I understand your struggle. I am Catholic, was raised Catholic, my whole family is Catholic. I have two sisters, one who is gay. She is still Catholic as is the rest of my family. Being Catholic doesn’t mean you have to hate homosexuals. Homosexuality is going to exist whether or not you denounce it. Same with premarital sex and abortion. It’s interesting to me that they sit in judgment of others, when they have actively participated in the cover up of the biggest child sexual abuse scandal in the history of man, resulting in the bankruptcy of countless dioceses, and driving away parishoners. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of hypocrisy surrounding the Catholic Church and their teachings- so for me, it’s a balancing act. I continue to value my relationship between myself and God and worship as best I can. I will never, and could never, ever, turn my back on my sister- and I don’t think God is asking me to.
Post # 16
I agree with prior posts that the key issue in Catholicism is not orientation but behavior.
One thing I might suggest, and I don’t know if you are open to this or not – have you considered really going deeper into why the Church teaches what she does about homosexual acts? It’s not really based on the Bible, at all. Rather, it’s based on very deep theological investigations of sexual ethics.
I don’t know how familiar you are with it? But in my personal experience I find that people who object to the Church’s teaching are often coming at it from a very different perspective than the Church, or even In My Humble Opinion Jesus himself would. In the 21st century western world we tend to argue about sexuality on the basis of the answer to the question, “what is sex?” Usually the answers revolve around pleasure.
But the appropriate question to answer when developing a system of sexual ethics is, “WHY is sex?” Why do we have sex? What is the purpose of it? Is it for pleasure, politics, economics? Is it an expression of love, a religious act, is it for procreation? All of these things? None of these things? The Church is interested in answering the “why” question, not the “what” question, and that is where a lot of ordinary janes and joes struggle, because that is not the the type of inquiry our culture teaches us to ask.
One of the great things about the Church is that we are allowed to properly form our conscience… if you sincerely believe that homosexuality is not sinful then it would be wrong for anyone to try to make you act otherwise, and you should not act otherwise. However the key to that is “properly forming” your conscience. You don’t have to necessarily be where the Church wants you to be, but you do have to be open to the Holy Spirit and working hard to understand and appreciate what the Church is trying to say to humanity. Part of that is reading and educating yourself about the teachings, the centuries of in-depth (and very humane) philosophy behind them. I can PM you a list of of books you could look into to get started if you are interested 🙂