May 13, 2010

Loss and Liberation from the Formal Institutional Church

A very interesting post from Confessions of a Liturgy Queen (which I'm shamelessly borrowing in part-thanks to Glorfindel for alerting me to this blog!) A 'lapsed' Catholic forty years away from the fold, returns to the Church, only to withdraw from his parish because of the institutional homophobia of the Church. He finds this withdrawal both painful and liberating, an experience which mirrors my own, and that of many marginal Catholics in these days.


A Priest's Loyalty

It has been almost two weeks since I wrote to my parish priest to tell him that I was excusing myself from membership in the parish I love because I could no longer accept the institutional homophobia of the Church and at the same time maintain my personal integrity. I copied the priest-in-residence in the e-mail. Both of these men know me quite well. As of today, I have not received a response from either priest.

I am frankly not sure whether I am surprised or not by their silence. I do know that I am disappointed. And although I do not like to admit this, I am hurt. I feel as if I have been left in the cold; it may even be that they are glad to be rid of me because my absence means there will be no more letters or comments on the Church and homosexuality. Or they may have sought advice from the Chancery and been told that the best response is no response; after all, this guy has chosen not to accept the wise teachings of Mother Church.

Anyway, although I am obviously feeling sorry for myself over this, and these feelings certainly cannot be separated from what I write here, the purpose of this post is not to elicit sympathy (after all, it was I who made the decision to withdraw; I was not kicked out of the parish) - so please do not offer any. It is rather to muse about what might be going on in the minds of these two men. And I do mean muse - or speculate - as I am in no way privy to their thoughts, nor am I a psychologist.

In the two weeks since I withdrew from my parish, I have felt the loss keenly. Yet I am also beginning to experience a kind of liberation. The Church has unwittingly freed me to explore other options like the Old Catholic Church, which welcomes everyone without judgment, and gay-friendly Anglican communities. No matter which option I choose, however, I believe that if I were ever fortunate enough to find a Roman Catholic parish in which the pastor was truly modern and truly pastoral, I would return in a heartbeat. 

Read the rest of the article here: Confessions of a Liturgy Queen


FDeF said...

Maintaining one's integrity sometimes demands hard choices. Having been away from the liturgy for many years, I no longer miss it and on those rare occasions when I witness it, I find it foreign and strange, almost bizarre. What I do sometimes miss is the spiritual connection, the sense of being grounded in faith.

Glorfindel said...

Glad to be of service! The problem, of course, is that you can't actually "excuse" yourself from going to Mass on Sundays. No matter how bitter the cup, it is God's will and not ours that must be done.

Jayden Cameron said...

Well, I can sympathize FD. I attend formal liturgies only sporadically and while I'm aware of the spiritual connection throughout, the rite in its present Catholic cultural setting does make me uncomfortable. Not so the Eucharist celebrated by the Old Catholic Church, which is closer to my own heart. Glorfindel, I think "God's Will" is a personal matter of conscience for individuals, Christian or otherwise and even St. Thomas Aquinas would agree. I do feel the injunction to 'honor the Sabath' which we have inherited from the Jewish tradition is a worthwhile reminder of the need to pause and separate ourselves from our work and its idolization, to honor the divine source of our lives and discover our core identity in a deeper spiritual dimension. Even the official church has relaxed the 'requirement' of Sunday attendance at Mass, no longer insisting on the 'mortal sinfulness' of skipping for no reason. We are no longer children in need of stern proscriptions and commands from our mother.