Here’s the thing:
I’m not surprised at what the Pope has said.
I’ve been thinking about this all day and I keep coming back to the same thing, I am not surprised at all.
I was raised to be Roman Catholic. My stepmother had me baptized when I was seven years old so that I would conform to her faith. I didn’t mind at first. The catholic church was a big part of my life when I was younger, and I even taught Sunday school. I loved it, all of those bright eyes turning towards spirituality and hope. I loved leading the children towards what I thought of as a light in my life. That light would go out very soon.
At the time, I already knew what I was. I knew that I was gay but didn’t have the voice to speak it out loud. As far as I knew, I didn’t know anyone else like me. I had an inkling that the less said the better, but it was a young kid in one of my Sunday school classes that brought things to light for me.
I was leading them through what the new testament says about love and how God is love, etc. He raised his hand and asked me what God had to say about men that loved men, as his uncle lived with a man and the kid was trying to figure out if this was a bad thing to do or not.
I had read the new testament through three time at this point (I was big into my faith remember) and told the child confidently that the new testament says nothing about men lying with men. The child went home happy but a few days later one of the priests told me that he wanted a word with me. I happily went into his office and when he closed the door, I saw how angry he was.
They had received a phone call from a child’s mother about a Sunday school class I had given, telling the child that there was nothing in the new testament about homosexuality. He looked uncomfortable. He said that just because there’s nothing really said about homosexuals in the bible doesn’t mean it’s not wrong.
I looked at him, stunned. I was being told that what I was, what I knew I was without a shadow of a doubt, was wrong. It was bad enough that I was already in the closet at the time and had a girlfriend. My family at the time was very set against homosexuality of any kind, my father in particular. I had looked at the church as a saving grace. As far as I understood it, God is love. It appeared that I was wrong.
I felt cheated somehow, as if this God was supposed to love me chose not to love me because I was gay. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that people will use any way they can to justify their own thoughts and agendas, whether it be religion, media, music or what have you. I realized that it had nothing to do with me, but everything to do with them.
As a former catholic, I can’t say that I’m surprised at what the Pope has said. In fact, I would have been shocked if it had been anything else but that. However, I want him to look on every gay union and tell me why they do not deserve a blessing from the church, should they want one. What makes the love of any GLBTQIA+ undeserving of such a blessing? What is it that makes such a union illicit and sinful? I’d really like to know. Since the new testament doesn’t say anything about homosexuality, I’d really like to understand where the hate comes from. What is it that makes my marriage to my beautiful husband sinful? What makes it illicit?
In the end, I know that this doesn’t really affect me, but it has always perplexed me. I thought God was love, not hate. I thought God was acceptance of all, not only of some. While I’m not surprised in what the Pope has said, I am disappointed.
I’ve been thinking about this all day. It took me so long to become comfortable with who I was and the gifts that I had to offer, regardless of what was considered right or what society at large thought of me. I hate that every act of love I show my husband, even something as simple as holding his hand, is seen as an act of protest. I don’t believe in hate based solely on my sexuality. I hated myself for too long because of it.
In the end what it boils down to is that God is supposed to be love and light. Well, if God can’t be love and light, I’ll just have to sparkle all the brighter.