Can You Be Queer and Catholic?

Posted by Censor Librorum on Apr 23, 2006 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

That is the question that’s often asked, whether by conservative Catholics or queer activists. My answer is, “Yes, I’m both. Queer and Catholic are both part of who I am; and I also, deliberately, consciously, choose to act on both my sexual and spiritual desires.”

I feel no less a faithful Catholic for being a sexually active lesbian than the Catholic sitting next to me in church who practices birth control. Or the divorced and remarried Catholic. Or any other Catholic who has sex outside of marriage, whether married or not. What percentage of lay Catholics would you say that covers?…Oh, about 99%.

There is a lot about sexuality and relationships that the Church needs to learn from advances in the sciences and the lived experience of people. More and more, we are discovering sexuality, family and even gender are not rigid and for life. The model of a family as consisting of one male, one female, and 2.5 children is not the uniform standard in Nature or human communities today or in history. In the embrace of the commonplace, the institutional Church often grinds along at a much slower pace than the rest of us, and often takes awhile to catch up with her people.

Here are questions I would pose next to the one about Queer and Catholic: Is it possible to be homophobic and a faithful Catholic? Is it possible to be Christian and homophobic? I don’t think it is. How can you profess hatred, agitate for discrimination, and call yourself Christian at the same time? I think homophobic Catholics need to sit down and examine their conscience. How does what they say and do regarding gay people reconcile with Christ’s teaching to love one another…the second most important commandment after loving God. That’s one of the hard parts of the Gospel, and probably why it gets ignored so much.

It is much easier to condemn than to make an effort to get to know and understand. But that is what we are called to do, if we are really faithful Catholics.

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6 Responses to “Can You Be Queer and Catholic?”

  1. A Says:

    We don’t condemn you or your actions, God does. And homosexuality is one of the very few things that is actually “condemned.” Jesus forgave the adulterer, but also told her to sin no more. By consciously choosing to be actively homosexual, you are consciously choosing to ignore what God, not me or the church, condemns. I understand that must be difficult to live with. But apparently not as difficult as being a non-practicing, or celibate, homosexual.

    Most Catholics and other Christians are forgiving, because that’s what we’ve been taught. I beleive that if Jesus were here today, he would love you and forgive you, but would also tell you to sin no more, just as he would do for everyone. The Catholic church is not asking for anything more. Jesus welcomes everyone, just as most Christians do. However, he holds all of us to the highest standard. And although he loves each of us, there are consequences for the choices we make. Again, these are not my words, nor those of the church, but rather His.

    However, we are all sinners and in that regard, you are no different than the rest of us. But it all seems to come down to the word condemned, and that’s from God’s mouth, not mine or the churches.

    Homosexuality has been around as long as prostitution. The church has never accepted either behavior and probably never will. It’s not a matter of catching up with society. Our society is not as old as the church or homosexuality. Nor does the society as a whole accept homosexuality as normal. It is not normal behavior in the animal world and it is clearly not normal in the humann community. However, it continues to happen and we do acknowledge that it is present.

    I am neither homophobic nor hateful towards homosexuals. So, can you really call yourself a Christian and be an active, practicing homosexual? I can dress up everyday as a woman, but the fact remains that I am a man. Which are you, a practicing Christian or a practicing homosexual?

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Dear A,

    When God walked among us, Jesus did not directly address the morality of gay or lesbian sex. There is no reference that he approved; nor any reference he disapproved. The one thing he did say was that in order to be his followers we needed to love one another. Period.

    Men have used God to condemn homosexuality. God has never condemned homosexuals, or, taken the opportunity to praise those who do. One thing Jesus did condemn was neglect of the poor; so if we both want to go to heaven, we better do all we can in this regard, such as electing candidates wbo make helping the poor a priority. I vote Democratic, do you? Also, if you read the Bible, you will note Jesus’ ministry was not to gentiles, only to his fellow Jews. He was very clear about that. So, neither you nor I would have been loved and welcomed by Jesus. He was approached by a few gentiles desperate for his help. Jesus said they were healed or saved by their faith, nothing else. Jesus did not attach conditions to his help or works.

    If you would like an interesting take onLot’s family, sodomy, sex and the literal reading of the Bible, here is a good read:

    Should we read the Bible literally; or, make some adjustments for time, place and culture?

    Karen – LCSW

  3. Anonymous Says:

    In response to A:
    – Where in the Gospels does Jesus condemn
    or even speak of Homosexuality? What pushed Jesus’ buttons the most and quite often, was the hypocrisy of the religious authorities and the greed of the rich.
    He condemned that over and over, with anger and sadness.
    – The story of the adulterer quoted by A is interesting as it is not Jesus which brings it up; the woman is dragged in front of him in order to trap him! Probably because he
    was not seen by the pious and religious authorities as strict enough in his dealings with `sinners’..and women. Remember he ate with prostitutes!!!
    – While it is true that homosexuality (only male homosexuality actually)
    is condemned in the Scriptures in few passages, a lot of other behaviors are condemned much more
    often and with much more insistence. Of those some are not longer on the sins list. Conversly, others are today illegal and immoral which were not in the Scriptures. For instance money lending, the eating of shellfish or pork, public speaking by women were condemned. Slavery however was accepted as well as wife beating!
    – I am glad A brought up the animal world as proof that homosexuality is un-natural. In fact, homosexuality is common in some animal species. Not only in seagulls but in our closest cousins, the Bonobos. See article on this site.
    To sum up, A, know that there has been an evolution in our moral criteria, in our understandings of right and wrong. Jesus enlarged the scope of the 10th commandments in his Sermon on the Mount. However not a word on sex, straight or otherwise.
    Remember Jesus’ request to the scribes and the pharisees “to understand and obey the
    spirit of the Law and not the letter of it!”

  4. Anonymous Says:

    To continue to the response of A: In response to A as well. ” Are you a practicing Christian or a practicing homosexual?” Its not an either or? Are you a practicing Catholic? In that case, one might want to open the catechism on conscience. Surely, we are all ‘sinners.’ We are surely called to a higher standard, through baptism, as witnesses to God. As said, I have several bibles, studied theology- have a catechism, and talked to numerous religious individuals. I don’t remember God or Jesus condemning homosexuality. Is that in a newer version? And don’t we find it so interesting that Jesus spoke of Sodom- yet talked bout inhospitality? Humm, and that was homosexual rape. Not only rape, but ‘homosexual’ rape.

    Its certainly something that in my own life the most happy-compassionate-less judgmental individuals- have been those who were gay or lesbian. Not only is judging sin majorally wrong, but categorizing sin is a big no-no according to Catholic dogma. I don’t care if someone went out on the street and killed 5 people. We know nothing of their moral position, or state of mind. The best to do, is to stay away from any “Categorization” of sin and just love them. We are most like Christ when we unconditionally love others; not loving them ‘despite what we believe to be sinful.’ This is the sentiment of the gospels. And yes, Jesus sat with prostitutes. He sat with the worst sinners. Because they were in most need of redemption. God disliked those acts that were considered hypocrisy. He calls for people to rise up to a new level. And a lot of people who are not gay fail this test. They have the best Christian intentions, but a lot don’t get there with regards to same-sex love. Saying we are all sinners and God forgives us is great. Its true; but it goes beyond that. We must worry about our own personal ‘sin’ before trying to deal with other people fixing theirs:

    “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment that you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Matthew 7.1-5

    This goes far beyond condemning through judgment. It’s about total love. Leave the total categorization of sin and judgment up to God- Its too great for us. And if we want be good Catholics, we are called as such.

    I am glad someone mentioned the case of homosexuality within the animal world. No need to add much, but as was said- it exists. The bible didn’t even have a word for ‘homosexuality’ yet its proscription has always been around? Not quite.

    What some good-willed Christian or conservative Christians don’t want to admit is that there is a current dilemma in the church regarding sexuality; including gay and lesbian relationships. Before Vatican 2, I couldn’t even have a Lesbian orientation! To say the church is set in uniform-perfect rules would be incorrect. I don’t follow a legalistic or physicalist mentality. The church will admit its dogma or existence does base itself on the historical conditions at the current/present time. It is normal, and more and more individuals are coming to this realization- both in the human world and animal world.

    Certainly, rare- scenarios of true love can be blessed. According to our conscience, we are rising to higher levels. And if they were never blessed to begin with- then in the end we trust in God mercy. After all, in that case, as Jesus said “The greater the sinner, the greater his access to the fountain of my mercy.” Luckily most of us Lesbians have seen both sides, and know how immoral the other side is for us. It not only is wrong, but at least a Mortal sin for some people I know. Wow!!! A complete break of my relationshio with God to not only pursue a ‘normal’ relationship with a man, but even to be ‘celibate’! A sure way to evil for me and some people I know. Incredible.

    P.S I don’t see the church legalizing prostitution anywhere, but interesting thing, the Church legalized same-same marriage in Spain; among other places. That’s interesting. We cant tolerate that which we don’t want to accept.

  5. Mina Says:

    How can one live as a practising Catholic and at the same time be in a same-sex relationship so that you are also allowed to take part in the sacramental communion and not to feel quilty about your way of life? There’s a question I have been pondering over and over again. When I will find the answer I will immediately join the Catholic Church, which I love very much.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Dear Mina,

    The beauty in Catholicism is that through ritual, music, prayer and presence it brings us closer to God in ourselves and others. If that speaks to you – please, join us.

    I can take Communion as a practicing Catholic because I believe in my heart and soul that traditional church teaching on sexuality is not based on love, but fear. I also believe that sexuality and sexual expression is tied with an individual’s spirituality, and to artificially suppress it or deny it is wrong. God did not make us to be alone.

    Please remember Jesus did not associate only with those people who kept the laws. He walked and talked and ate, blessed and healed those who did not, too. The people at Jesus’ table were those who loved and followed him. All were sinners, and welcome, at his Eucharistic table.


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