Here in Faith

Posted by Censor Librorum on Oct 18, 2008 | Categories: Lesbians & Gays

Gay and lesbian Catholics in the Chicago area gathered in prayer and discussion at Loyola University on June 14, 2008 to share testimonies and network on how to become more visiblde in their faith communities and the Catholic Church.

More than 70 parishioners and clergy members participated in the event from several area parishes,  including St. Clements, St. Gertrude, Old St. Patrick’s Church and St. Nicholas in Evanston.

Here in Faith: Creating a Welcoming Catholic Community Through Prayer and Story, was sponsored by Call to Action, a national Catholic social justice organization, in partnership with New Ways Ministry and Dignity Chicago.

“The church belongs to lesbian and gay people as much as the church belongs to anyone,” Sister Jeannine Gramick, co-founder of New Ways Ministry said. sisterjeanninegramick.jpg

The discussion opened with prayer and testimonies from various gay and lesbian Catholics where they discussed how they coped with coming out.

Parents of gay and lesbians sons and daughters discussed how they were able to accept their children’s sexualities.   Other speakers related how they were able to find gay-friendly Catholic parishes in and around Chicago.

“With the help of the Holy Spirit,” said Linda Wesp,  “I was able to come out to my parents and realize that God had worked in my life through the gift of an amazing relationship.”

Michael Herman, a former priest who helped to organize the event, shared his experience entering the priesthood from his institutional seminary training. In 2005, after the Vatican released  a decree   condemning the ordination of homosexual priests, Herman left the priesthood   and became outspoken against the Church’s doctrines in the media. michaelherman.jpg

“It really wasn’t the viewpoints of the church that changed: it was pushing it in the faces of people that was so insulting,” Herman said.   He said at that time it was a difficult struggle because he loved his priesthood.

“It was a hard decision…I told (my parish) that I was born Catholic, I was born gay but that I was not born a priest. I knew that I could go on being a gay Catholic, but being a priest was no longer possible.”

Pat Sabol came to Here in Faith because it is important to him to find a way to unite his sexual and spiritual identity. “They are both such intricate parts of my life.”

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4 Responses to “Here in Faith”

  1. Benny the Bridgebuilder Says:

    The Roman Catholic church is based on an out of date fundamentalis ideology. It has crucified itself by not being prepared to budge from this. It is still operating on the basis of “error has no rights” both in the area of ecumenism and gender.

    The sooner it withers away the better.

  2. Thom Says:

    Benny, there are other paradigms beside the dominant, vocal one. I wouldn’t be so quick to push the Church away. There is much good to do, and little time in which to do it.

  3. Karen Says:

    Dear Benny, the only way I can continue to identify myself as Catholic (or even Christian, for that matter) is to focus on the church not as an institutional entity, but as a community of people. Some of these people are nasty and arrogant, but they are more than balanced by those who are kind and compassionate. We all don’t agree and never will. The Church is human.

    Certain people–some bishops and others–try to make the church just a place where the Magisterium rules, because it fits their view of the world, makes them feel powerful, and organizes the world in a way they want it to be.

    But I believe it is the Spirit at work for other voices, other people, to witness to the goodness of their lives even though parts of those lives are currently at odds with Church teaching.

    Church teaching has and can changed. It took centuries, but individuals and civil authorities in Europe and the Americas finally had an impact on the Church’s view of slavery.

    I believe the same kinds of pressures–even more so now because of our vastly expanded communications capabilities with the internet–will bring about the same kinds of changes for women, for gay people in some future time to come.

    At least, that is the hope that keeps me going. And all the good people I have found in our church.

    Please keep in touch.

  4. justme Says:

    Very well expressed, Karen.

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