Yesterday we celebrated the feast of saints Peter and Paul and as a gay catholic, we had every reason to enjoy this celebration after reading the Pope’s personal and hand written letter to the very well known Jesuit priest and LGBT advocate, Fr James Martin..
Just as Peter and Paul worked together to spread the gospel so too does it seem are Francis and James working together to bring the gospel into the heart of the gay community.
Like any of us in this area, James has received his fair share of abuse and hate from hard core traditional catholic who believe that LGBT people are the spawn of Satan and yet he continues on and God bless his Jesuit community for supporting him and not bending to the opposition. Of course Francis too is a Jesuit and while people may knock him, we’d do well to remember that the Jesuit charism is all about discernment of spirits and it seems that the discernment on this one is pretty clear!
Francis doesn’t launch into who’s having sex with who or if the gays that Fr Martin is helping are chaste or having sex, he knows well that they are not perfectly chaste and are probably having lots of sex. He lives in the real world.
But what his letter shows is that he understands the gay community’s need for ‘closeness, compassion and tenderness’.
Francis doesn’t go for the Hitler type of approach that many opt for in this area. He goes for the gentle and understanding approach with the heart of a loving Father drawing close to His children.
He emphasizes tenderness because he understands. Wounded and rejected people need a lot of tenderness and compassion to heal their wounds especially when many of those wounds have been inflicted on them by people representing God (parents, priests etc.).
Even for me Francis’ letter has brought a tear to me eye. Words could never express how much being catholic and gay has caused me to suffer over the years. From France to India to Australia to Bosnia & Croatia and even here in London, the abuse and hostility from many conservative catholics has never stopped and even poor Fr. Keith here in Notting Hill got so criticised so many times for helping us!
But God bless him because like the Pope his eyes are on Jesus and on showing the love and mercy of Jesus to the marginalised and he has never as much as even flinched as daggers were thrown at him.
And so today I wake up very thankful to the Pope, to Fr. James Martin and to Fr Keith.
They are forerunners, men of vision, men of faith and men of mercy and of course they too have their own weaknesses but to quote saint Paul God’s power is made perfect in weakness.
So please keep on praying for us and supporting us as we are surrounded by much hatred and hostility, that we may keep on going and shining the love and light of Jesus for all the LGBT community and world to see.
Love to all!