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Posted at 2:56 PM ET, 11/16/2009

A closet Catholic's lament

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Jennie Kushlis
Washington

I was deeply saddened to learn that the Roman Catholic Church has gotten so involved in the local debate on same-sex marriage. More accurately, I cringed with embarrassment that the only faith I’ve ever known for 25 years would come out looking so stodgy and archaic (undoubtedly, the same way my mom will cringe when she sees this post).

I’m what you’d call a closet Catholic. On the rare occasions I attend Mass, I am comforted by the familiar recitations, songs and persons in the pews. I feel like a child again, safe and carefree. I also take great comfort in knowing there’s someone out there, much larger than myself, watching over me.

But I can’t understand for the life of me how the church that gives me such a warm and fuzzy feeling is the same church whose stances on modern issues directly oppose the love and nonjudgment it preaches. And I’m appalled by the suggestion that the church would rather deny desperately needed social services than admit its hypocrisy.

As a nostalgic Catholic who admires love between two adults, no matter their sex, I beg church officials to stay out of debates that serve only to disgrace the church and its members. I’d really like to attend Mass this Christmas Eve, but the church is making it hard for me to stomach the idea of entering the building.

By washingtonpost.com editors  | November 16, 2009; 2:56 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., same-sex marriage  
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Comments

I am completely with you. Blackmail, pure and simple. Withholding help from the neediest among us to try to enforce Catholic dogma on the masses (Catholic or not) makes it impossible for me to practice my already very wobbly faith. God loves us all, or so I was taught by the nuns as a child. There is no understanding this position from a human perspective. My church greatly disappoints me and I am deeply saddened by it.

Posted by: publicservice2 | November 16, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Ms. Kushlis's sentiments. It appears that the leaders of the Catholic church, in Washington DC, feel that they can dictate to their members, whom they shall love. What does that say about the instruction to "love thy neighbor" ? Additionally, imagine the sorry financial state organized Catholicism would be in if ALL parishioners, who were offended by the decades of sexual abuse that many priests committed, decided to withhold all of their financial contributions? I salute all Catholics who rely on their heart for discernment on these important issues. C. Hendrickson, Havertown, Pa.

Posted by: chendricrn | November 16, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Might I suggest to the author that the Roman Catholic faith is about far more than having "such a warm and fuzzy feeling?"

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that sexual activity between members of the same sex, just like sexual activity between unmarried people or between people who are married to others is wrong and a sin. She could no more give benefits to same sex partners of self-identified gay employees than she could give benefits to unmarried heterosexual partners of heterosexual employees. And simply going along with such a law without saying anything would be the height of mean spirited cynicism, as it would endorse for worldly reasons behavior that she believes cuts its practitioners off from the Body of Christ.

When the Church said what she did about this law she wasn't making a threat or attempting to extort anything. She was making an observation of cause and effect. She could no more endorse the farce of same sex marriage than she could command to run up hill or the sun to rise in the West.

So maybe your best course of action is to either find out just what and why the Church teaches what she does (and in the process likely find out the source for the warm and fuzzy feelings of which you are fond) or take a break from Catholic practice for a while. There are plenty of denominations around that will endorse the spirit of this world. You might be a lot more comfortable in one that bends its doctrine to accord with your priorities rather than in one that keeps urging and expecting you to bring your priorities in conformity with God's.

Posted by: DCMorrison1 | November 16, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

With all due respect to the author, you can not call yourself a Catholic, let alone a Closet Catholic (no such thing) if you only hear mass 'ON OCCASSIONS.'

Also, be glad and be blessed that you're not identified with a HATEFUL church anymore (so everybody says).

FREE yourself ...

Posted by: jbedia | November 16, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Jennie,

There are about 35,000 Christian denominations in the world you can choose from. Just find out first 'WHY' these other religions/denominations were formed.

You will be surprised why!

Posted by: jbedia | November 16, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Jennie,

Also, if you attend mass enough, you will understand the church's position. You don't have to agree with it but at least you can understand.

In Chirst!

Posted by: jbedia | November 16, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

DCMorrison1,

Your points would be worthy of discussion, if they reflected the actions of the Church hierarchy. But they don't. HOw many programs is the Church threatening to end if DC doesn't condemn pre-marital sex between heterosexuals? Zero.

The bishops and the Pope seem obsessed with two issues: abortion and homosexuality. Personally, I think the abortion issue is extremely complicated, and I can understand why people would be opposed to it. But the Church's stance on homosexuality---particularly considering the prevalence of homosexuals in the Church's pulpits---is sad.

And the Church does not enforce its prohibition on pre-marital sex among heterosexuals, with anything like the vigor with which it pursues an anti-homosexual agenda.

Posted by: TripLBee | November 17, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Dear Jennie,
God created us all with a free will. Its a great blessing and also a great obligation. We are free to choose to do His will or not. The Church was established by His Son to provide us with help and guidance to know His way. My personal experience is that as humans we only discern His way with great difficulty. Perhaps you have a different experience, though I doubt it. Viewing the Church's teaching as "stodgy and archaic" may say more about your difficulty discerning God's will than it does about the Church's actions.
Yours in Christ

Posted by: bruce18 | November 18, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Jenny, Jenny, I got your number...

That big old nasty catholic church is being mean to gays. Wake up and smell the coffee. Yes, this is about freedom, and political power being used against a tormented minority. The government and the gay lobby are trying to force their politically correct beliefs on the Catholic church. For them, tolerance is a one way street.

You are too young to remember when we were free, but sadly, you may live to see the day when we are forced accept such oppression. If you want a preview, google "canada thought police"

PS - It is good thing that your mother comes to mind during all this. There will be a day when you'll realize what she has tried to do for you. You will cringe, but she will still be there for you.

Posted by: tommy2tone | November 19, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

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