Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why the church is breaking my heart

On a recent episode of Mike and Molly (a CBS comedy), a Catholic priest tells the couple that they can't get married in the church because Molly isn't a practicing Catholic. She responds, "I'm a practicing Catholic, I've just missed a lot of practices."

I've been tempted to use that as my excuse for my poor Mass attendance since moving to Rochester. The truth is that for the last 18 months, I've been pretty fed up with the politics of the Catholic Church.

First, it was the Archbishop in the Twin Cities who spent donor dollars to mail anti-gay propaganda to all registered Catholics. After which, I made sure I was no longer registered anywhere. Then the Bishop of the Winona diocese started the same anti-gay campaign in my new diocese.  I will never, ever, believe that Christ would approve of treating people like this. And for the church to lead the charge is heart-breaking.

My first exposure to a gay couple was actually in my home parish growing up. These two wonderful, selfless women, who have volunteered unmeasurable hours to help the parish, are now being told that their church doesn't believe they should have the same rights as others. Not that either of them would speak out against the church. So I guess it's up to me.

I think about them every time the church's opposition is brought up. They're older now and for one, her health is poor. Just as with a heterosexual couple, the healthier person is caring for the other. But what rights will she have if the other is hospitalized? Have they had to set up lots of legal contracts to make sure that nothing stands in their way? As if their love was a business arrangement?

Recently, I read about a Catholic priest and two Catholic laypeople speaking at a mandatory student assembly where they compared homesexuality to bestiality. The same trio, according to one student, also said that children adopted by single parents were "sociologically unstable."  I was very proud to learn that many of the student wouldn't stand for such junk and argued back. Unfortunately, the damage was done and many students left school very upset.

I'm not sure if I'll officially join another Catholic parish. That's sad for me because I've always thought of my Catholic faith as part of my heritage - not just Catholic, but Irish Catholic.  One saving part for me is that I've always considered my "faith" and "the church" as two separate and unrelated things.

P.S. If you know of any of the Catholic Churches in Rochester that are rejecting the Bishop's stand, let me know by sending me an email at MEHarty at

1 comment:

LutherLiz said...

There is a lot I admire about the Catholic church - their stance on women, homosexuality and politics are NOT them. I'm sorry you feel this way. For what it is worth the ELCA Lutheran's voted to support gay marriage and ordination of LGTB people if you want to come visit the Lutheran side of things.


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