After my recent blog post about controversial issues regarding the Catholic Church, I have been asked “So, this is where the Catholic Church stands, but where do YOU stand?”
Well, let’s look at what is obvious in my life. I am a married woman. I am married to a man. I have been with him for over 25 years and married for over 22 years. I have no interest in being a part of a homosexual union.
Next, I am the mother of three children. I’ve had over four miscarriages. I’ve never had an abortion. At my age I cannot physically have more children. Each year I take my daughter to pray for the “40 days for life” against abortion to teach her that adoption is a better option. It should be very clear that I will not be procuring an abortion for myself or anyone I know.
There is nothing in my life that prevents me from remaining a faithful Catholic who is completely true to the Catholic teachings. By the grace of God, I do not have the same conflicts and struggles that many other people have to face in life in relationship to abortion and homosexual unions.
As a minister to other women, I have great compassion on women who have suffered an abortion. Abortion is really a result of a suffering society. Women should not feel forced to kill a part of themselves in order to get by in this world. Someone else has failed these women. We, as a society have failed these women. If you are willing to stand outside of an abortion clinic and promote adoption, you had better be ready to support these women who choose adoption. Are you willing to take them into your home? Are you willing to adopt their baby? Are you willing to procure the counseling they need? Are you willing to buy diapers for their baby and babysit?
As a Catholic hospital chaplain I have great respect for the homosexually inclined priests I’ve met who have taken the time to get to know me. These priests have treated me with respect and supported my theology studies. I have great respect for the men I’ve met who have homosexual inclinations and have chosen to work as male nurses. Many of these men are some of the best nurses I’ve known.
What I am against is homosexually inclined priests and bishops who claim to be celibate; yet, have sexual relationships with altar boys, seminarians, and/or each other. I think these priests would be better off leaving the church and finding a different church to be a part of where they are free to have open homosexual relationships instead of abusing the people whom they are called to work alongside, or minister to.
In today’s society, sexual harassment and abuse is less and less tolerated. Priests can no longer take a housekeeper and engage her in an intimate sexual relationship without violating ethical standards for their profession. In our American culture, you cannot ethically have a sexual relationship with an employee. Priests cannot ethically hear the intimate confessions of women and then later fantasize about these women in private. Priests cannot ethically lure women into having emotional affairs and call that a “spiritual marriage.” Priests who have homosexual inclinations cannot ethically engage in emotional affairs with other men or fantasize about a male parishioner or a fellow priest. This is where I stand.
If a priest is not happy with his celibacy vows, he needs to follow St. Paul’s direction in 1 Corinthians 7:9 which says “But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” During my lifetime, I’ve encountered way too many Catholic priests who have not been able to control themselves. Marriage is a virtuous calling in life. Marriage is holy. Married people are not “of less value” than celibate people in the eyes of God.
If a Catholic priest is content living a celibate life, that is excellent. My understanding of celibacy means abstaining from having sexual intercourse with other people and animals, as well as abstaining from having enmeshed emotional affairs. However, if a Catholic priest cannot live a celibate life according to this understanding of celibacy, than he ought to walk away from his celibacy vow and live a life of integrity where he does not have to hide who he really is in shame and fear. Now everyone knows exactly where I stand.