Thursday, June 28, 2018

Building Bridges

It’s hard being a Catholic with gay friends.  No doubt it’s even harder actually being a Catholic with same- sex attraction.  I say it’s hard because I’m so often torn between wanting to be a good friend to my gay friends– celebrating with them when they find love, commiserating when it goes wrong, attending their weddings, and being a Catholic who wants to be faithful to Church teaching. 


The Catholic Church still holds that homosexual acts are sinful because they fall outside the remit of Christian marriage between a man and a woman.  The YouCat says: “God created man as male and female and destined them for each other in a bodily way as well.  The Church accepts without reservation those who experience homosexual feelings.  They should not be discriminated against because of that.  At the same time, the Church declares that all homosexual relations in any form are contrary to the order of creation.”


You may still struggle with that statement, and with how to navigate upholding God’s truth while also being a loving friend.


I was encouraged by the warmth and sensitivity of an article by the Catholic Bishop of Auckland, Patrick Dunn, published last year.


In a piece titled "Building a bridge, our gay brothers and sisters" and published by NZ Catholic, he wrote that he, like many people in the Church, has gay friends and family members.


"For some years I have been troubled by the sense of rejection they often feel with regard to the Church," he wrote. "Could we find some new way to converse with the LGBT community?"


He goes on to say: "Compassion calls us to 'listen' to people. What is it really like growing up as a gay boy, or a lesbian girl, or a transgender person?


"Deeply embedded in Catholic Church teaching is the call to stand by all who feel marginalised or threatened.


"Sensitivity prompts us to be alert to the 'feelings' of others, but we cannot know their feelings unless we are their friends.


"Devout Catholics may say that our first responsibility is to tell people to stop sinning.

"But that was generally not the approach taken by Jesus. He was more often the butt of criticism for dining with sinners and clearly enjoying their company."


Read the whole article here: