I am catholic. The Church should welcome everyone, homosexuals too.

“Let’s go to church, people!” my mother shouts to us every Sunday morning.

My sleep is not essential because the enthusiasm with which I wake up is astounding. I love my religion. I love Catholicism.

The older I get, the longer my prayers, and the more I realize the importance of the foundation that my family and my church have given me: a belief system with answers to all the questions that man doesn’t. did not answer. This same belief system shaped the calm person that I am. Without it, I would be lost, meaningless.

I am far from alone. The Roman Catholic Church is one of the largest religions on the planet – and growing. The faith claims more than 1.3 billion followers worldwide. For most of these Catholics, religion is the foundation of their identity; however, for a significant minority, religion prevents them from embracing their identity. The more they discover who they are, the more their authentic self is removed from the doctrines of their founding religion.

I’m talking about Catholic homosexuals.

Are you gay or Catholic?

Although I am not gay, for others, like Matthew LaBanca, being gay means having to choose between Catholicism and one’s identity, but never both. LaBanca’s story, one of many, about him as an LGBTQI+ member losing his job as a parish music director in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn the moment he married his boyfriend, attests to the lack of common ground.

Are you gay or Catholic?

Logically, due to Catholic rules, he couldn’t marry his boyfriend in the Catholic Church, who had witnessed his best and worst times for 46 years. Why? If the Bible says that we as human beings must hold to the fundamental principle and commandments of the Catholic faith – “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” – then why do individuals not accept not everyone as it is? If you would like to be fired from your job because of your identity, then fire people for who they are.

I am Joseph – a name with religious heritage that my great-grandfather trusted me to inherit. I attended faithful Catholic schools during the formative and teenage years of my life. I have taken on leadership roles that require me to go to the basilica every morning to teach my peers how to perform mass properly. These positions often meant that I addressed questions about religion and why things are done differently in the Catholic Church. Although I rarely got solid answers – if anything, I had even more questions – one thing I knew for sure was that in Genesis 19 God destroyed Sodom and Gomora for their grievous sins, in especially their acts of homosexuality, which implied that God was opposed to homosexuality. .

But I believe that only God can pass final judgment on who lives or dies; therefore, I reject the prejudice and otherness of the LGBTQI+ community by the Catholic Church, and I will continue to hope, pray and express my belief that the Church should do the same.

It takes a faithful, straight Catholic to dismantle prejudice against homosexuals.

I know some might ask, “Why not just leave the Church and find one that is more open and liberal?” My response is that just like it takes a Ugandan to bring about change in Uganda, it takes a faithful, straight Catholic to dismantle prejudice against the LGBTQI+ community in the Catholic Church. Also, no human is perfect; Church leaders are also human. Thinking of them as perfect humans is a deceptive mindset. This is a fact that Jesus recognized.

In Matthew 16:23, Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have God’s concerns in mind, but only human concerns. From this Bible verse, Jesus rebukes the rock of the Church, Peter, indicating that the leaders of the Church have no right to judge what is good or bad because they are not themselves perfect beings. The role of Church leaders is to provide a safe space for everyone to grow and a belief system with answers to questions that man has not answered.

I believe that to deny the existence of homosexuals is to question God’s choice to create a very diverse world. Everyone should be celebrated regardless of their sexuality.

It’s my prayer tthat gay Catholics should keep their jobs, that the Catholic Church should welcome everyone, and that only God should judge what is good and what is bad. Amen.

Martha J. Finley