3.18.2005

Our "enlightened" Church strikes again

I just had this news article forwarded to me by a non-Catholic friend. Apparently San Diego Archbishop Richard Brom has ruled that none of the 98 parishes in the diocese are allowed to hold Christian Funeral rites for a Catholic owner of a Gay night club. The man in question, John McCusker, age 31, died Sunday of congestive heart failure while on vacation. His family have been welcomed by the local Episcopal Cathedral so at least he will still have an appropriate send off, although not in his own church.

You really have to wonder what Christ would think about this. I've said this before, but I've always thought that given who Jesus spent time with in the Gospels (the marginalized and "sinners" of his day), I have a feeling that were he to visit the 21st Century American church he'd focus his pastoral energies on our own marginalized gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.

I also wonder if our leaders think about how counter productive decisions and publicity like this are to the cause of evangelization. I'm sure there are people planning to join the Church next weekend (gay or straight) who might think twice about their decision when they are confronted with the reality of our church hierarchy, as illustrated by this story.

But what do I know? All I know is that I will be sure to include Mr. McCusker and his family in my prayers this evening.

4 comments:

Sylvia said...

I couldn't agree more. I wonder, how does one reconcile taking a vow of obedience if one disagrees with some the Church's "teachings"? I wonder this for myself (hypothetically, of course ;-)

Is this something you can talk about with your spiritual advisor? I know there are plenty of Sisters out there with one or two things to say about some of the Vatican's pronouncements (and I love them for that!) but is that the sort of thing you must keep under your wimple until you're in or what?

Susan Rose, CSJP said...

Sylvia,

Well, first of all no vows yet so I'm off the hook!

Seriously though, I've been reading a lot about obedience. I recommend Sandra Schneiders and Barbara Fiand.

My understand of obedience has broadened. It's not blind obedience to the hierarchy. It's obedience to the Spirit and interdependence with the community and the church.

And yes, I definitely talk about this with my spiritual director!

And I'm sure will do a lot of discernment about this through pre-candidacy, candidacy, novitiate, temporary vows and all the years of being a Sister (if that is indeed what God has in mind for me).

Sylvia said...

Thanks for the tip. I have read Schneiders' Women and the Word.

I dug up an old piece I did on the evangelical counsels (actually it was on the garden plants that represent them!) and FWIW this is what I wrote on obedience:

The vow of obedience is not simply a matter of following orders unquestioningly but it is a call to greater discernment about whether all of one's actions, whether self-willed or not, are in accord with God's laws. Another meaning of the word "obey" is "to be actuated by" or "to respond to," so one could see obedience as a conscious reponse to and motivation by the call to a life of charity.

So I guess, like you say, it's a life-long process.

Soul_Seeker said...

Amen to that! I also believe that if Jesus came in this century, He'd reach out to gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered folk and make sure they were welcome in the fold. I guess we're challenged to continue His work, to be His hands and feet and reach out to those who feel so alienated from the church (after experiencing God's healing in our own lives).