The pronouncement last week that the Roman Catholic Church would not bless same-sex unions was a major disappointment to many who hoped that the church was becoming more welcoming to LGBTQ people. While Pope Francis may have been in support of civil unions, the church has decided that those unions have no place in the church. In typical church double-speak, LGBTQ people are to be welcomed and valued, as long as they understand they are intrinsically disordered and their lifestyle is contrary to God’s plan. To offer a blessing might be confused with the Sacrament of marriage, and the church “cannot bless sin.”
In the National Catholic Church we don’t bless “holy unions” either. We offer the Sacrament of Marriage to any couple who wished to make a commitment to each other and to God. A “blessing” infers a second-class acknowledgement. Your union doesn’t rise to the level of a sacrament, so we will just bless it instead. Not at Holy Angels. We believe that God intends to sanctify the union of hearts regardless of the gender of those hearts. In God’s eyes, love is love. In the National Catholic Church of North America, we acknowledge and affirm that with a Sacrament of marriage.
In defense of the RC position, they may proclaim that they are not condemning the love, but merely the expression of that love. In short, gay sex is sinful. Actually, in the teaching of the RC, all sex is sinful unless it is open to the possibility of having children. It took centuries for the church to acknowledge that sex could also be for the “unification of the spouses.” So as with many other things, it all comes down to the sex act. And act-centered morality leads to a rigid and judgmental spirituality.
True spirituality sees our humanity, our bodies, and yes, sex, as gifts from God. It is not the act, but the intention of the person(s) that can determine whether something is a sin or not. Actions that do not respect and uphold the dignity of the other are sinful. Whereas acts that are done in love are truly blessed. As Fr. John McNeil said in his book “Sex As God Intended It,” all sex that does not hurt another is good sex and a gift from God.
As we continue our journey towards Easter we focus on God’s gifts of love. We embrace our humanity as an integral part of our spirituality. And we strive to let our words and actions be motivated by love.
May your week and this season of Lent be blessed and filled with hope, peace, joy and love.
Fr. Jamie, Pastor