In today’s Guardian is a letter that I truly applaud. Normally I would post an extract and than give you a link to find the rest … but this is such a good letter, such a truly outstanding statement of human decency, I’ve put it all here …
I walked out… into the fresh air… I am ashamed to call myself Catholic today. I am heterosexual and I have a solid marriage and have two beautiful and amazing children. But I am astounded at the bigotry that was read out at mass last Sunday. If you follow the following argument through, priests will start sprouting small moustaches and change the sign of the cross to a Nazi salute. My adrenaline was pumping and heart was palpitating, and I was already sweating. I could not sit in that room.
To ostracise a whole group of people, to demonise them, to exclude and deem them a laughing stock and not real human beings with human feelings is an outrage, an atrocity and unbelievable in this modern age. And what I was reeling at most was the hatred. Religion is about love, surely?
All the parents came to the parish hall for the sacramental programme for the forthcoming communion and confirmation catechism. But the priest decided to open up the meeting with his latest – direct from the bishop – rant. I felt as though I had been transported in a time machine to the Embassy Club, with Bernard Manning as the headliner – only in this comedy club it was the parish hall, and the local parish priest was the comedian spouting bigotry. These are some of the things he said about gay marriage…
“Sure, ye can say about someone ‘ah, sure, he loves that dog, it’s as if they are married.’ But it’s not a real marriage. Or that someone might be married to their job. But a man and a man is not a marriage. Fact.” He did not mention lesbians. Maybe they don’t really exist? Parents who were sitting in the parish hall started heckling things like “God is Love!” “Love one another,” “It is a marriage!” Myself joining in.
Then he started to weakly defend himself with thin arguments eg “Ye can see an advert in the paper but ye don’t have to buy it.” ie if you are gay, keep it to yourself, do not exercise your love or (Heaven forbid! Well, the Catholic church forbids it!) think of marrying the person you love.
“Ye need to have grapes to make wine.” This was the comment on being able to have children. And I suppose he is right on this one, in the simple, old-fashioned sense of how you make babies ie the seed of a man and the egg of a woman. But there are lots of assisted pregnancies within heterosexual couples who are infertile and who are given (the gift, God’s gift of) children via IVF, surrogates, egg donations, adoption etc. I myself took injections of Heparin to have my second child. So is my (Catholic) marriage a sham because science helped me create a family? A happy, stable, loving family at that. There are gay and lesbian couples that also have children with biological assistance and bring children into loving, happy, stable families just the same as heterosexual couples.
A small number of parents walked out. I was one of them.
So why the condemnation? Why the exclusion? There is a new definition of marriage that excludes gay marriage. The Catholic church does not accept that a gay marriage is a marriage. It does not bear fruit. And the Catholic church believes that children are a gift from God and that to interfere with God’s will, ie assisted pregnancies, is wrong. Well, Catholic church, listen up. Gay couples do have families. Assisted pregnancies at that, but they do bear fruit.
But what would Jesus do?
Jesus walked among the lepers, the lame, the poor, the needy, the criminals, the prostitutes (he even had his feet washed by one), the disabled and all the outcasts. He loved everyone. Including the gay and the lesbian? Well, the Catholic church is not sure about them. So if the Catholic church is pointing at the gay community shouting “Unclean, unclean!”, who is next? Black people, single parents, the disabled, women? Yes, bring back the dunking of women in the village pond and burning at the stake while you are at it! Don’t get me started… when are women priests going to be ordained into the Catholic church? Er… let me think… never! Well, not in my lifetime anyway.
Well, the gay married couple that I know have one of the best marriages I am glad to know. They are joyfully wed and live in marital bliss. They have gay friends who have had families (via assisted pregnancies) and live in happy, safe, secure family units giving their children a great start in life just like heterosexuals. Yes, we want the same things for our children. We are the same. And we are different. And we are good people. Embrace difference. And the gay married couple that I know are normal people, with normal jobs. One of them is a detective in the paedophile branch, and the Catholic church knows all about that…
And anyway, why are unmarried men in frocks telling us what marriage is?
Name and address supplied
I have no idea who the author is, and it is also clear that he is a believer. Yet what is also abundantly clear is that he has decided to give a higher priority to being a decent honourable human being … and for that alone, I truly applaud him.
What is also greatly encouraging is that he was not alone, he writes, “Parents who were sitting in the parish hall started heckling things like “God is Love!” “Love one another,”. It is indeed encouraging to find such basic human decency bubbling to the surface when confronted by irrational immoral rants.