I hardly know what to say about the revelation that the pope met secretly with Kim Davis while here in Washington. I cannot say I was surprised, given the harsh anti-gay things he said when he was Cardinal Bergoglio and his inviting the likes of Tony Perkins to a confab last year. But after my first angry reactions as I was reading my Twitter feed, I thought of my gay Catholic friends, some of them extraordinary activists and the most admirable of people. Then I thought of love ones whose spirits were crushed by religious homophobia. And I thought of the representatives of the Archdiocese of Washington that fought us on every major piece of pro-LGBT legislation before the D.C. Council for the past three decades. And my main feeling is great sorrow.
I left the Church 45 years ago, not because I was gay but because I did not like the authoritarian mindset and the expectation that I should let others do my thinking for me. But though you can leave the Church, the Church does not so easily leave you if you were born and raised in it. This is family for me, who growing up had a nun for a cousin and a priest for an uncle. I know that people I care about and respect are in pain. I don’t feel like marshaling arguments right now. Even though I myself counseled against wishful thinking with this conservative pope on account of his pastoral gifts, that doesn’t remove the sadness one bit.
All I can say, as I said long ago to a lover whose guilt and self-hatred stole him from me, is that you are not disordered, and no God could be sadistic enough to give you this love and this desire and then condemn you for it. That so many persist in doing so, and urge the cruelty of lifelong celibacy on us as the only acceptable option, is wickedness supported by cherry-picked lines from ancient texts most of which the quoters blithely ignore. I can’t blame anyone for getting their hopes up. I learned a crucial lesson long ago, that each of us has a separate journey to make.
Just consider, if you are a bit frayed at the moment, that there is more fellowship around you than you may realize.
One of the good early reactions to the confirmation from the Vatican is from Francis DeBernardo of New Ways Ministry.