I’m not LGBTQ, but I don’t Belong Either

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2019/08/18/churches-need-less-tradition-more-flexibility-welcome-teens-column/2011731001/

This article and others like it have been posted and talked about on my online and in person Catholic groups over and over again. There’s always a couple of people kindly talking about it and then the avalanche of more traditional Catholics who start mocking the author and saying, “Oh they just want the Church to be open to whatever, be ok with doing anything, anything goes, they just don’t like rules.” It’s so frustrating to me because they get so caught up on deciding that this girl is a sinner and therefore shouldn’t get to belong in the Church, in their eyes, that they forget that this girl is a PERSON, and God loves people.

Catholicism is not an exclusive club for the perfect people, though it is often treated that way. I think a lot of people like the idea that they are the people who are “right” they are “God’s people” and everyone else is wrong. There is something liberating to that, I get it, that makes you one of the ones making it through the narrow gate, as it says in Scripture, and “they” are the evil ones.

Let me just come forward now and say, I always felt like I didn’t belong. I wasn’t doing something wrong. I wasn’t a bad kid. I was a praying the rosary daily, offering it up, making sacrifices, going to Mass, and being kind kid, teenager, adult. I was M-I-S-E-R-A-B-L-E. I was terrified of doing something wrong and God would hate me, I was shunned in multiple Christian groups, once for a rumor because I quoted a sex joke on MySpace-so that all made all rumors about me true, once because I danced at Homecoming(no I didn’t grind but that’s what everyone thought), once because they thought I was on birth control, when I had really had miscarriages. I was HATED by the Church no matter how hard I tried to do things right.

I cannot tell you how many times I have raged about what a horrible place the Catholic Church is, and I am not one of the people who are just made because they don’t want to follow the rules. Stop blaming it on some public sin, or then not being good enough. The Church, as it stands right now, is not a welcoming place. There are Churches that are welcoming, there are a few groups that are welcoming, but they are few and far between and the hurt we are causing is monstrous.

The Church has a huge power, and that is to connect people with God, or to disconnect them from Him. My friends are falling away because they do not feel welcome or loved. I have wanted to fall away because I often do not feel welcome or loved. At my amazing Alma Mater, Ave Maria University, I met people who taught me that God is love, and He wants us unconditionally, and any rules He makes for us are to help us to live better lives. That God is a God who finds ways to heal people whether it is in Mass or not, He finds ways to help people, even if it’s a walk in nature. That is the God St. Paul talked about in Scripture when he talked about “easing burdens” for the people.

If it were not for that experience, and some that I am happy to be having right now, I would not be Catholic anymore. I would have run as far away from the Church as I can. Instead, I cling to what I can find of the God I recognize as a God of love, and I try to bring Him to others. I do not shame the people I know who have left because I have felt their pain, and I have seen how they have been hurt. And, for better or worse, I point out what the Church is doing wrong, because I pray and hope that one day Gods mercy and love will be what people think of when they think of the Church, and not anger and hate.

Mother Teresa, who ministered to all faiths, and saw the pain humanity is in, pray for us.

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If I Could Make A Change…

I’m about to be a little dangerous. Brace yourself.

I am reading Renegade Women in Film & TV, and let me tell you, it is incredible and inspiring. The phrase that I can’t get out of my head is “A woman living a creative life is bound necessarily to do things sometimes defiant by convention.” Following the introduction’s inspiring ode to the ability of women to change the future, with a nod to Geena Davis’ quote, “In the time it takes to make a movie or create a television show, we can change what the future looks like,” RWFTV prods the fire in the reader’s soul, prompting her to move-prompting ME to move. I say move because RWFTV doesn’t tell you exactly what change you are supposed to make, although it does praise the changes certain women have made. It encourages the reader to make their own change. I am inspired to ask, what would I change about what the future looks like?

Little movements I already make are easier to put into words. I want a world where sex is allowed to be fun and sacred. I want a world where everyone is kind to each other, and mindful of each other’s suffering. I want a world where the rat race is not more important than love of other people.

If I really think about it, though, what is the thing I want to change that shakes me up, that defies convention, it’s scary. I’ve got a story about oppressing women, and people that hasn’t been told. If I could change the future, I would revolutionize the Catholic Church. I would expose the religious and emotional abuse that I have witnessed and endured. I would condemn the physical and sexual abuse that gets swept under the rug or dismissed sometimes. I would scream at the Churches that are lazy and neglecting the needy. The worst, though, is I would fight the Catholic Church on the way they do things. I would scream at every condescending housewife married to a banker or a lawyer that condemns women who are having abortions because they don’t know how to pay rent. I would verbally punch every arrogant white old man for their racial prejudice disguised as concern for the economy, justified by God wanting us to take care of ourselves of course. I would satirize the newlyweds who look down their noses at homosexual couples who live in monogamous relationships, while they themselves didn’t wait for marriage either.

I would condemn the hypocrites and the Pharisees that live in our day. Here’s the problem though. They aren’t all bad. They are just good people who are trying their best. The heteronormative newlyweds cannot fathom how a homosexual couple could find the same kind of happiness as them, plus half of them have never seen a homosexual couple in the first place. The old white men have been taught not to have any emotions, but they are scared as shit because the whole world is changing, and not in their favor. The condescending housewives are terrified because they love babies, and the loss of a child’s life is the greatest pain you can imagine.

So the problem is how to protest a culture or society that has taught us cruelty and anger. Jesus dined with the sinners, yet Christians now teach their children that “you are the company you keep.” I am not saying to be reckless with your trusted circle, Jesus chose His apostles carefully. What I am saying is that just because you care how a person feels, does not mean you agree with everything they do. I have been criticized over and over and over for being on a side that I am not on. Why? Because I cannot stand to see the people hurt. I am not pro-abortion, but I will point out when pro-lifers are being hateful and extreme. I struggle with the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t love Jesus and the Church’s teachings in general. I hate NFP with a bloody passion, ( 😉 if you got that joke lol) but I follow it because, for me, it’s physically better than the alternatives.

My point is that if I become my authentic self, I will protest things the society of the Church does and says. The actual Church founded by Jesus is a priceless gem to me. I love it with everything in me. Half the time, though, it’s impossible to see that Church in the Church’s modern life. I say, far too often for my comfort, that I hate the Catholic Church….*pause*…as it is today, but I love what it’s supposed to be with everything in me.

So, if I could change anything, that’s what I would change. I would turn the Catholic Church on its head, and I would make it a force for good so immovable that no one could deny that it had changed the entire world for the better. It could do that. If one person being who they were meant to be could set the world on fire, what could we do with thousands?

We could have free hospitals for everyone, that are genuinely looking out for the health of others. We could have free schools for everyone, that are the highest educational caliber. We could have places for people to go who are hurting, no matter who they are, no matter what kind of hurt they are experiencing. We could teach the whole world how to love each other with an all-consuming passion ignited by the eternal Spirit. We could show the entire world that the Catholics do not need to be afraid of science, or truth, or other people’s opinions, because if we are right, then they only share in our truth. We could teach the world about respecting other people’s beliefs because we believe that God reveals Himself in a million different ways.

There is a saying that every young Catholic knows, I don’t know where it originated, but it says, “If only seven people were to be saints we would change the whole world.” What if we had a thousand?

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