Wednesday, May 16, 2007

How does one address a Bishop, Part II

Oh, I don't know. How about "Sayonara, Dude."

I was NOT impressed. In fact I'm pretty upset and even a bit angry.

It wasn't exactly a one-on-one chat with "His (not-so-)Excellency" afterall, which was fine by me. There was a box where one could submit questions before-hand. I didn't submit anything of real contemporary interest, and my question got skipped, which is fine.

But he did spend an inordinate amount of time on "the gay issue" as a result of a couple of questions submitted by my fellow retreatants. I was 2nd row center, and were it not for the fact that the Bishop kept inching his way down the center aisle as he spoke, and was pretty much at my shoulder the entire time (the Bishop has rather bad breath and spits just a bit when he speaks), I'd have walked out. In fact I wish I had anyway. I just don't need that kind of shit in my head anymore. I've grown up with it, I know what the "standard line" is--and it's wrong. It's wrong for me, it's wrong for most gay people and it perpetuates the marginalization and impedes the full mental and spiritual health of the gay community. It also shortchanges straight people.

I know I'm not making a lot of sense here, but I am angry. And I am coming down off computer withdrawal. I have written this post over and over in my head last evening and on the drive home. I skipped out early on the retreat. I couldn't stand the thought of attending mass with "His Bigotedness" and I was just generally over it. So I had to get out of there. I slept in, skipped the rest of the retreat and checked out please bang my wife while everyone was a mass. Ate breakfast at a cute little townie cafe in Syracuse and had my spirits lifted a bit watching the goings-on and the conversations taking place all around me there.

I contemplated leaving the Church. Going Episcopalian or Unitarian-Universalist or something. Lutheran, Buddist, A-religious, whatever. But then I remembered the reasons why I became Catholic and why I stay: there ARE safe spaces out there. Safe communities, people who know and believe differently. And I don't really give a hill of beans about "The Magesterium" anyway. Never have. It's like politics, which I don't pay a lot of attention to anyway. There's St. Tom's and my gentle and wonderful Wise Counsel. There are my wonderful, wise, and gentle Groovy Sisters. There are friendlier dioceses, with gentler, more pastoral bishops and masses and masses of people who don't feel the need to equate pedophilia with homosexuality in front of a room filled with 18-40 year olds. Who find it unnecessary to instruct their parishoners that they should freely and frequently assert how much they don't believe homosexuality is right: lest we forget we're not entirely welcome at the table in our wholeness. That there are strings and conditions attached to our being deemed worthy. Despite the venom that rises when I hear yet again the sentiment, "Love the sinner, hate the sin," I know that if we truly profess to belong to "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church," there simply MUST be room for everyone. By leaving, I would be letting "The Old Boys' Club" win. And I am not willing to concede that. Not yet anyway.

My resolve is tested, yet it remains. I belong here. I am Catholic. I am disappointed, angry, upset, and frustrated. But Catholic I remain.