Sieze the Rays of Hope
Roman Catholics are numerically the largest religion in the United States. Whether they are going to Mass every week is another issue.
As a Gay Roman Catholic, my life has been a balancing act. I have tried other faith traditions and found them uncomfortable, if not lacking. In the gay community, being Roman Catholic is often tantamount to consorting with the enemy. I am told that many people in A.A. regularly recall the abusive behavior of the nuns and brothers in grammar school and high school. [I venture to say that 99% of them have passed away by now). Other people like to call themselves "Recovering Catholics" and have the t-shirts to proclaim it to the world!
I am about the most liberal Roman Catholic you will find. I do not agree with some or their moral teachings (obviously totally disagree with their constant anti-gay agenda and the preoccupation with a woman's reproductive choices). I also find that the hierarchy looks ridiculous in their official "drag" and I find that what the church considers important issues don't really mean much to the average person in the pews. Those people, by the way, ARE the CHURCH,
In about six weeks, there will be some changes in the language of the Mass. They are sometimes awkward phrasings of concepts which could be prayed best if left alone.
My struggles have been arduous, and there have been times when I stopped going anywhere near a Catholic church. There were times I was pretty much forced to attend (weddings, funerals) and I started to discover that some changes had been made. I also noticed that there were many progressive priests-- and there were the college liturgies with guitars and communion bread which was really bread! Just a word of warning here-- if you meet a young priest today it is not safe to assume that he is liberal. Often it is just the opposite.
There are many issues regarding the Catholic Church that I would answer if you asked. Hell, Jehovah's Witnesses have put a mark at my curb to warn other members of the sect to not ring the bell. Honest to God, if you ask a question , I'll respond, and it will not necessarily be official party line from Rome. Most often, it will not be.
My purpose in broaching this topic is to inform you of a special group which may interest you. On October 12 (and every second Wednesday of the month) THE GAY AND LESBIAN FAITH SHARING GROUP meets at the Parish Center of Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church (200 Randolph Avenue) in South Plainfield from 7:30-9 pm. The group is open to gay and lesbian adults (18 years of age and over) and their families. The meetings include faith sharing, prayer, conversation and support. For details, please call Father John Alvarado at (908)-756-0633, extension 125.
I've been told by both a minister and a rabbi (at entirely different times) that it is their experience that a Catholic can leave the church, but the church never leaves the Catholic. Amidst the scandals and the very deservedly bad public relations of the past, it is a very hopeful sign that there are still groups within this church to advocate for change. It cannot be accomplished alone, and this is where you will meet other gay and lesbian Catholics and their families who have a vision for the church. You are most welcome to join us.
And if you seriously have a question for me, feel free to respond with a comment (question/observation).