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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jesus Loves The Little Children (Except If Their Parents Are Gay?)

I know this is quite late in response, but its importance has redoubled in recent weeks. As you can see, I’ve tried to look at this from both sides as well as I can and yet I still cannot agree with the decision on the Bishop’s side. This is for a number of reasons, the most obvious involving my own previous enrollment at a local Catholic school in my own area. Which I hardly remember, since I went to mass two days a week at the school and yet also went to a Protestant church on Sundays. And my parents will tell you of an incident (not a huge one, methinks) where after the children’s service with the minister, I crossed myself out of habit and apparently the congregation was a bit stunned. I can’t imagine why they’d be so stunned, unless they were so sheltered and willfully ignorant that they just didn’t know there was a Catholic school two towns away. There’s no excuse besides a pathetic idea of community solidarity that keeps a group of otherwise reasonable people from acting normally when a child raised Protestant and yet going to mass during the week makes the sign of the cross out of a behaviorally induced habit.

But there’s a whole other problem with Catholic interaction with non-Catholics in the community. I was accepted into this Catholic school, since according to the website they accept other faiths, but if it’s anything like the school in Boulder, it stipulates that the parents accept a few points: 1) their child will go to mass during class hours two times a week and 2) the parents will not object to the Catholic mission of the school itself. My parents didn’t have a beef, since it was a good education. The issue stands though that the church in Boulder is cherry picking what is an issue. The justification hinges on the idea that if you are raised by gay or lesbian parents then you will be “confused” and you will think that your parents are bad because the teacher says so in confirmation class or some such nonsense. But I would think they can excuse such a thing as long as the parents are not in a direct conflict with the Catholic Church itself. Being GLBT and Catholic is one thing, being GLBT and protesting the Catholic teaching would be a different thing entirely. The parents in question are incredulous, and for good reason, because their two children had been going to this school for three years and there had been no problem. But apparently once a child goes into kindergarten, then the GLBT-Catholic issue comes to the foreground. I can’t imagine why, since I don’t remember learning anything about Catholicism as a child that wasn’t erased from my mind in consistently going only to Protestant services afterwards. The sign of the cross, the taking of “Eucharist” instead of “Communion”, and maybe the funny collars that I remember seeing the priests wear were the only things that probably stuck, minus the crossing which I probably never did again unless I was at mass.

The argument from the bishop himself continues in the vein that he is defending Catholic teaching along with protecting the children. There is no reason to argue on that point if this was about parents that argued that there is nothing in Catholic teaching against GLBT, which they weren’t. In fact the parents are both baptized Catholics and one was raised in Catholic school consistently. If the school let the kids go to the preschool for three years while knowing their parents are lesbians and thinking to yourself “Hey, isn’t that against Catholic teachings?” and then deciding when they’re going to kindergarten, “Nope, we can’t have that,” then they’ve already shot themselves in the foot. I don’t see how there’s a large difference between preschool and any grade afterwards. The obvious answer though would be confirmation, which usually occurs around the age of reason, which most churches put around 7 or 8. I’m surprised they didn’t start confirmation classes around 3rd grade, which for me would’ve been around the corner. But if that’s the case, then I would think Catholic schools would only have a problem admitting children of GLBT couples around that age. Beforehand, I don’t see why it’s an issue. Even if they teach that marriage is between a man and a woman, the child can distinguish that the Catholic Church can be right in one sense and yet their parents still love them and that “God” loves them as well, even if they’re different. Wouldn’t the Church perform a dual rejection of the child and the parents, where both the child and the parents are not allowed to associate with the Church until they “change their ways,”? Instead they seem to suggest that the child can’t go to the school and yet to my knowledge they don’t have a problem with the child or their lesbian parents taking communion. If they want to apply this universally, they shouldn’t have allowed me into the school, since I would just be “confused” by the Protestant teachings that I was raised in on Sundays. They can allow that “heresy” to continue, but a gay/lesbian family is somehow worse; except it’s not. The hairsplitting of mortal or venial sins only makes one reject the theology all the more in that it tries to micromanage such a thing that’s to be taken on faith and yet can be explained rationally to the point where the wall of mystery comes up. Even if this situation changes, I doubt it will matter, since the point would stand. Catholics have the right to discriminate about whatever they can justify as against their teachings and yet also have a duty to ignore people in contradiction of the faith as well in the spirit of tolerance (not acceptance). And yet here we have them accepting the family in communion and mass and deciding that they can’t allow them into the school, even though the children have been baptized in the Church. Why alienate the child from the school when they already feel a part of the faith community? Just a Colorado Catholic thing, I suppose. Until next time, Namaste and aloha.

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