"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them" (Gen.1:27)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Letter to Bishops Loverde and DiLorenzo

Dear Bishops Loverde and DiLorenzo,

I am not a resident of Virginia, so perhaps my thoughts will be of little concern to you. However, as a resident of the District of Columbia, a parishioner in the Archdiocese of Washington, and an ordained priest, I am writing to share with you my extreme disappointment that you and the Catholic Conference of Virginia have taken on the proposed amendment to the Virginia state constitution that would effectively ban same-sex marriage. Your position has received much media coverage (cf. Va. Bishops Push Voters on Ban), and so my letter is an attempt to share with you the perspective of someone who is fully Catholic and fully opposed to your position.

I am confident that in time, the Church will come to regret its formal teachings that have condemned gay men and women in so many ways, even to the point of using terms that undermine gay and lesbian people as children of God. As an institution that moves ever so slowly (consider, for example, how many centuries it took for the "official church" to remove its condemnations of Copernicus and Galileo for stating the truth that the earth revolved around the sun), I am saddened that this change will probably not come in my lifetime.

However, when Church leaders move from the realm of the ecclesial into the public square and use their ill-founded understandings of sacred scripture, history, sociology and psychology to perpetuate myths, misunderstandings and even hatred, I feel I must speak out. Rather than identifying each and every item in your letter that "misses the mark," I pose to you a very simple question: Do you believe that God's children -- including God's gay and lesbian children -- are created "in the image and likeness of God"? Is your answer to this question an unconditional "Yes!," or is it a lukewarm, "yes, but...."? If and when you fully embrace the core teaching of Christianity that we are all gifted with the goodness of human dignity, then you will begin to see how far your "teaching" is off-base.

There are many resources available that more fully express a Catholic and Christian understanding of the issues involved. Here are two of the best:
Dignity/USA-Frequently Asked Questions
I hope you will thoughtfully and prayerfully avail yourselves of these resources.

Please be assured of my prayers for you and your ministry. In particular, I will pray that God give you an abundance of His Spirit to help open your eyes -- just as Jesus opened the eyes of Bartimaeus -- to the humanity and fundamental goodness of all God's children, including those whom God has created gay and lesbian.

Pax et bonum!

Timothy MacGeorge, M.Div., MSW
Washington, DC

Irreconcilable Differences

Sometimes I think that American culture is sorely lacking in integrity. According to Webster, integrity is "firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic value." A person with integrity has a high degree of consistency between the values he/she claims to embrace and the actions or behaviors in which he/she engages.

Values -- whether moral or artistic -- are expressed in a whole variety of ways. One of these is the way we choose to spend our time and our money. Take entertainment, for instance -- especially the kind that requires a little cash. The books we buy, the music we purchase, the big-screen movies we watch -- in some way these are all expressions of our individual and collective values. If that's the case, then what are we to make of the fact that this past weekend, the biggest box-office hit was a movie ("Saw III") whose director was thrilled that the gratuitous violence and bloodsheed actually caused one viewer to vomit?

I ask this question particularly in light of the claim of those "on the right" (especially the "religous right) that Americans en masse embrace "family values," want to "protect children," and that our's is a "Christian culture"?

I wonder how many American families first went to church yesterday morning and then headed to the theaters in the afternoon? Given the price of admission these days, they probably doled out more for the blood and gore of "Saw III" than they put in the collection basket. For many churches, yesterday's main scripture reading was the story of Jesus' healing Bartimaeus, the "man born blind." I suppose many among us would prefer to see people being violently blinded or otherwise bloodied, maimed and tortured instead of listening to and taking to heart the call of Jesus to serve others and be a healing presence in a world already terribly bloodied, blind and broken.

Monday, October 16, 2006

"It's not about your lifestyle" -- yeah, right!

It's not a gay thing...really!

This is one of those stories that not only makes me angry, but also embarrasses me as a Catholic.

Apparently a number of Manassas (VA) residents, several of whom are parishioners at All Saints Catholic Church, don't want local officials to approve the home-business application of a particular massage therapist. Even though other similar applications have been approved with no objection, this particular applicant -- who just happens to be gay, and who just happens to share his home with his male partner -- should not have his application approved because of fears that his business might detract from the neighborhood's "family-friendly atmosphere."