More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church - Vol. 1

By Christine Firer Hinze; J. Patrick Hornbeck II | Go to book overview

14 Tainted Love

The LGBTQ Experience of Church

JAMIE L. MANSON

National Catholic Reporter

My reflection on the experience of gays and lesbians in the Catholic Church comes from my own story as an outspoken Catholic lesbian and also from my years of sharing in the stories of the countless gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer Catholics whom I encountered as a church minister over the past six years.

For me, all of these experiences and stories boil down to this truth: All that LGBTQ Catholics really want is to go to church— and, in some cases, to serve the church— without being made to feel that our sexual orientations and/or gender identities taint our faithfulness to the church and to God.

My partner and I share a deep passion for serving the church, especially by working with the poor, the hungry, and the homeless. Our commitment to this work does not come simply from a desire for the common good but from the yearnings of our spirits. I’m a Catholic with a Master of Divinity degree, and my partner grew up Evangelical and attended a Midwestern Bible college. Part of what brought us together as a couple is our mutual conviction that the margins are a sacred place where we have some of our deepest experiences of “church,” the way Jesus envisions and incarnates it in the Gospels. It is in the face of the broken and desolate that we most clearly see the face of Christ.

Yet, because we’re in a same-sex relationship— as opposed to remaining celibate, as Catholic and Evangelical beliefs would have it— we walk into most churches and church-related activities with deep trepidation. We look around the room to see if we can locate any congregants who appear to be gay and not out of place. We know to avoid holding hands during prayers unless we feel confident that it is a safe space. We know not to be immediately forthcoming about our relationship if someone talks to us after the service.

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