August 24, 2013

In Jesuit Video, Author Sees “Next Step” to Integrate Gays into Catholic Church

Running time: 3 minutes, 23 seconds.



IN EPISODE 3 of a Jesuit video series on gay Catholics, author John Paul Godges characterized parishes that have been welcoming to gay Catholics as “few and far between” and called for greater integration of openly gay Catholics into all parishes.

“I hope that in the future, lesbian and gay and bisexual and transgender people can be open and visible in the church and not have it be any big deal,” Godges told the Jesuit-run network, an affiliate of Loyola Productions. “I think that has been the case in the churches where I’ve been able to feel welcome. The problem, though, is that those parishes are few and far between. And when gay and lesbian Catholics learn about the existence of these isolated parishes, first there is a sense of surprise; and second, an opportunity to participate only in those parishes.”

The author of Oh, Beautiful: An American Family in the 20th Century, Godges described a typical scene in a welcoming parish in contrast with others. “You have openly visible gay and lesbian lectors, musicians, ushers, pastoral ministers, and they can be honest about who they are, whereas in other parishes, there would not be enough comfort for people simply to be honest and open and public. There would be a fear that you would have to forever justify your existence, your membership in the parish.”

Some parishioners might confront openly gay members with questions like, “How can you come here and throw it in our faces?”—simply by honestly admitting to be a self-avowed homosexual. “Well, that’s what makes it so unwelcoming, so exclusionary,” said Godges, “is that gay and lesbian Catholics who have a lot to offer, don’t have a lot of opportunities to offer it.”

For the future, he hopes to see more “open, public integration. That would be the next step. That’s how the other parishes could follow the leadership of the vanguard parishes. Those parishes aren’t doing anything radical or revolutionary. They’re just accepting people for who they are.”