Unconditional love means never having to say its sinful

Unconditional love means never having to say its sinful

Bishop J. Terry Steib of Memphis writes in his diocesan newspaper this week that the Church is home to all people of God, but that a number of Catholics no longer feel comfortable in their home. Amen to that, I found myself saying, all of us othodox Catholics marginalized by heterodoxy and bad liturgies and weak-kneed bishops feel like we’re being stripped of our home in the Church.

Unfortunately, that isn’t what the bishop was talking about.

Recently I met with such people. Many of them were born into Catholic families, baptized as infants and attended Catholic schools. They have embraced the faith handed on to them. Others, through the examples of friends and having felt called by God, became Catholics through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. For all of them, being Catholic is at the core of who they are. At the same time, they are people who are not sure of “their place” in their home. They are people _ wonderful, good Catholic people _ who are gay and lesbian.

The bishop tells us that gays and lesbians don’t feel at home in the Church, that they feel unwelcome. What is making them unwelcome? Is the bishop claiming that there are gay-bashers in the pews and pulpits, spewing hatred at them at every turn? Are they being forced out of the churches with no opportunity to repent of their sinful lifestyle?

Or is it the Church’s teaching that homosexuality is a disorder that must be overcome, that homosexual activity is a sin, and that temptation to homosexuality is not something to be celebrated, but instead is to be avoided? Is that the hatred that makes them feel unwelcome?