By now most people have heard the story about Cardinal Dolan refusing to allow gay protesters enter the church for Mass. I was very upset when I read the story, and stayed that way most of the day. This story laid heavy on my heart, but I didn’t know exactly why. I can connect with being gay and Catholic, and even though I wasn’t there and haven’t attended Mass in years, I still felt betrayed and rejected by the church.
My first reaction was to send a letter to the local parish where my membership is still recorded, and instruct them to remove my confirmation from the church. I’m glad I waited a couple of days, because I’m simply not ready to do that. I do not want to do that. And that is the real reason that I have been so upset about this story.
My spiritual beliefs have changed many times since the days I attended Mass every weekend, and at times daily. I have broadened my views of the world and God. I have found new ways to have a personal relationship with God, and learned that the Christian church does not hold the only path to Truth. I have answered many of my own questions about life, and found new questions that may never be answered. But in my heart, I will always be a Catholic. I still find comfort and protection in Mother Mary (even though I’m agnostic when it comes to the virgin birth story), and I still want to share in holy communion.
I have always known that one day I would return to the Catholic church, like the prodigal son coming home. I had visions of a warm, welcoming return, and being included in the life and struggles of a local parish. I know I could return now and not mention that I am gay and have a husband, but I’m not willing to go back into the closet.
This story upset me because it was a reminder that I can’t go home yet. The church isn’t ready for me. I will not remove my name from the church records though. I will continue to hold out hope that one day soon the Catholic church will welcome everyone, without judgement, just as Jesus did. One day the church will change, one parish and one priest at a time, and I will return and rejoice in the church’s own salvation. One day, the church will broaden its view of God, and the holiness of life, and we will celebrate the mystical Mass together, fully reverent of the gift that it is. And when that day comes, my spiritual journey will start all over again.