Earlier this month a historic synod convened in Rome which came to consider the responses made by clergy and laity to a survey on the family which had been issued by Pope Francis earlier in the years to diocese all over the world.
I am 50 years old and even as a young man in the mid 1980’s I was aware that there was a widening disconnect between the teaching of the church and the attitudes of those like me who have remained active members of the church, and those who fell away from the practice of their faith in attendance at Mass.
In recent years following years of struggle with my homosexuality which I rejected as being somehow a scourge on who and what I was meant to be – I was wrong – I have come to a place of acceptance that my sexuality is not a sin and in no way should I have ever felt it was appropriate for me to suppress it in order to conform to what was expected of me
The church is slowly moving to acknowledging that a persons sexuality does not preclude them from sharing in the Good News given to us by Christ in his ministry on earth, his brutal crucifixion and redeeming resurrection.
Pope Francis is reputed to be on the side of greater openness within the church for acceptance of homosexuality and although this opening synod did not fully back the wording of the text to be more open to homosexuals, it did open the door more more discussion before the closing synod next October.
I am not asking for the church to change its teaching on the issues such as gay marriage – I don’t actually support the marriage of two people of the same sex within church but I do support civil partnerships perhaps blessed by the church – but I want the church to open its doors to everyone who chooses to be a Catholic regardless of their sexual orientation.
As Pope Francis said recently – “Who am I to judge if a gay person seeks God with a sincere heart”
I have suffered terribly throughout most of my adult life over what to do about feelings I had in respect of my attraction to men. I prayed for these feelings to be lifted from me – now I am learning to celebrate these feelings, whilst remaining faithful in my marriage to my amazing wife, without judgement and fear. I am being open to God and to the world as He made me and my faith in the teachings of the Catholic Church are stronger for being able to bring all of my gifts to the church.
In a poem written by St Thomas Aquinas (1225 1274) as published in Love Poems from God, Daniel Ladinsky (see my earlier blog) there is a quote as follows:-
“Whenever He looks at you
God sees nothing in us that He has not given
Everything is empty until He places
what he wishes into it”
My next blog will be: Let your life speak