Response to NY Times article.
“Can the Catholic Church ‘evolve’ on L.G.B.T. Rights?”
By John Gehring. Mr. Gehring is the author of “The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic Church.” July 5, 2018
I do not see the teachings of Jesus or the Catholic church to be in opposition to respecting the life and dignity of all human persons. God’s love does not discriminate based on sexual orientation. God loves us All, equally.
If you are LGBT, you are loved and God made you beautiful and unique. God’s love for you is not and shall never be less because society seeks to marginalize you. You should have the same civil and human rights as any other human being.
The sacramental union between man, woman, and God, however, is not a ‘civil’ or human ‘right.’ It is a covenant relationship with God. It too is unique and special.
While civil marriage contracts should be a ‘right,’ open to all citizens, the sacrament of marriage is a sacramental contract with God.
The Catholic church sees this union as sacred, holy, and a separate action to that of simply loving our fellow humankind equally. Respect for the life and dignity of all is integral to our Catholic faith and the sacrament of matrimony includes and magnifies this love and respect.
This covenant relationship will never change, regardless of love for all. It’s not a matter of respect, dignity or love alone. God loves all and asks us to do the same.
Sacramental unions are not civil unions, even though society embraces them both as one. All have the right to marry, but not all marriages include a covenant relationship with God. Those are unique, special and cannot be broken or dictated by civil law.
I do not see respect for the specialness of this heavenly contract as being in direct conflict with the rights of others, regardless of sexual orientation.
As a divorced, Catholic heterosexual, I am loved and respected by the Catholic Church. I choose to be a committed single and do not openly seek an extramarital relationship. Even though my civil marital contract has been severed, the sacramental contract remains until I seek an annulment.
To get an annulment, the church must determine if my union was in fact truly sacramental in the first place. I am not free to remarry. In civil courts, I am free and have the right to remarry, but not in the Catholic Church.
A covenant contract between man, woman, and God cannot be severed in a civil court of law.
The real issue I feel should be sacraments. Many LGBT Catholics are denied sacraments. Receiving communion, in particular, is important to all and all other sacraments flow through and from the Eucharist. Many are denied all sacraments because any extramarital relationship, regardless of orientation, is considered a sin.
If I remarried, I could not receive sacraments. For Catholics, the grace received through the sacraments is critical to our continued spiritual health and growth. To be denied this is indeed very painful. The very definition of sin IS ‘separation from God.’
It is NOT a sin to be born a certain way. We are all wonderfully and beautifully made by God.
I think most Catholics agree that God’s love does not end. It is always there. Sometimes WE separate ourselves from the sacraments by choice, but God’s love is always there regardless. THIS is where the church must address how to love others as yourself. Teaching love and respect for the dignity of self and others begins with God’s love. How do we as a church minister to and promote committed singles as well as healthy sacramental unions?
As a Catholic committed single, I am strengthened by Paul’s words in 2Cor. ‘Your grace is sufficient…’ I can live without sex, but I am addicted to the grace I receive through the sacraments.
With love and respect, C Dianne Phillips
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