Following the recent marriage of gay priest Fr. Bernard Lynch in County Clare (congratulations in the event if you’re reading this) and his condemning of the Roman Catholic Church for the “destruction of gay people’s lives”, we are forced to once again question the current customs of contemporary Catholicism. How do the traditions of this organisation stack up in a modern era of tolerance and equality?
We live in an age where we have seen magnificent progress following an arduous battle for acknowledgement and the basic human right to pursue happiness on behalf of the LGBTQ community. There will always be those vehemently opposed to this community and its values. Nonetheless, when arguably the most powerful organisation on Earth denies you your most fundamental rights on account of who you were upon coming out of the womb, something is egregiously wrong.
Catholicism is an enormous religion with a following of over a billion people. This means that millions of its members are cast aside by the very people they turn to for guidance. Gay Catholics. Of course the Bible isn’t the only Holy Scripture to condemn homosexuality, but speaking as a man from a staunch Catholic background, who has gay friends, the Church’s stance is more than unsettling, it’s infuriating.
This isn’t an effort to undermine any Catholics who subscribe to their teachings and ideologies, it is merely an inspection of the grave hypocrisy at play here. Fr. Lynch is correct in saying that many Catholic practitioners have mistreated the gay community. Pope Francis has said this himself, albeit with the inclusion that gay people cannot marry and that the “gender theory” not be taught in schools.
Considering the history of the Church, this begs a most obvious question; why was this homophobic wrath not inflicted on abusive priests for so long? A scandal so global and so malicious in nature that the Pontiff, at the time the stories broke, stepped down from his position. How was such carnage not only allowed but enabled by our benevolent conduits for the Holy Spirit?
The very concept of an all-loving deity damning its children to eternal suffering for how he/she created them is preposterous. What the Church needs to understand is that there are no such things as homosexual “tendencies”. You’re either gay or you’re not and it isn’t your decision. Why would any practising Catholic choose to be the kind of person they know will have them ridiculed and exiled from the faith that provides them with strength and solace? We are who we are and religious philosophies should reflect the reality of their followers. We are not all the same, nor have we ever been.
The preponderance of the Catholic faith do not adhere to all the laws outlined in the Bible. The Church itself has also redacted statements decreed in the Bible centuries ago, a recent example being that unbaptised babies no longer descend to hell but go to heaven. Pope Benedict declared this in 2007. This was likely done to appease the Catholics of the world whom had lost their children too soon. It was humane and decent thing to do, you can do it again for the LGBTQ Catholics. A gay man that has dedicated his life to your teachings and found peace and happiness in his faith in God does not deserve to have this stripped from him because you cannot show compassion through your archaic sensibilities.
This is precisely what happened to the aforementioned Fr Lynch, whom has been described as a “human rights champion” for the work he did during the 1980s AIDs pandemic in America. To think that someone this outrageously compassionate could be stripped of his livelihood and faith in the modern age is appalling.
The Church may one day embrace the LGBTQ folk with more of an open mind, but until that day all we can do is ensure that we are more progressive than they are. That people of all orientations and genders are accepted for who they are. We do this by instilling in our children the same principles that the Catholic Church preaches, but does not always practice, love, tolerance and forgiveness.