The Boston Globe continues its coverage of the fallout from the canceled "All Are Welcome" Mass at a parish in the city. The latest article talks to Catholics who are gay and lesbian and who choose to remain in the church, rather than leave for greener pastures in other denominations.
The article interviews a few guys who say that they are able to stay Catholic in spite of the hostility they encounter from the Vatican and some members of the hierarchy by focusing on their local parish community, and the sense of welcome they find there (this sense of church as relationship is the focus of a piece I wrote for The Huffington Post last week).
What I find even more interesting are the comments from a young woman who converted to Catholicism in her 20s, even though she knew that the institutional church was hostile to her sexual orientation:
Not all gay Catholics have grown up in the church. Kelly Stewart, 23, converted to Catholicism on Easter last year. She was drawn to the faith by the church’s record on social justice and the work of Catholic activist Dorothy Day. The Catholics she knew personally were “positive and affirming’’ toward her and other gay people, she said.
But church teachings on homosexuality complicated the decision to convert, said Stewart, who studied at Middlebury College in Vermont and lives in Maryland.
She said she worried “that by choosing to be a member of an institution that has some antigay policies and supports antigay legislation,’’ she would be giving tacit support to those positions.
But she came to see “discrepancies between what Catholics believe and what the church teaches,’’ and she learned about Catholic reform movements working to change church doctrine.
“It seemed like a good way [to participate] and not feel I was consenting to teachings that I feel are harmful to gay people,’’ she said.
Michael J. O'Loughlin