Last night I was at listening event for LGBT Catholics for the Synod.
In short it consisted of sharing and listening to the people and answering some questions about our experience in the church.
Visibly there was a lot of hurt and many voiced the same concerns.
Same sex relationships not being recognised or blessed, the words “intrinsically disordered” in the catechism etc.
After the listening we gathered our thoughts and they will then be sent to the parish and eventually make their way to Rome I guess.
To be perfectly honest I have major doubts about the Synod because I do not trust our bishops that they really will listen to the holy spirit speaking through the people as the Pope desires.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea, I’m just not all that optimistic about the results because the church is just so divided and change seems to happen agonisingly slow.
Some time ago you may recall that I was refused absolution in Soho simply because I have a same sex partner and for no other reason.
After the incident I decided to write to the parish priest who was not the priest who refused me absolution.
In my message I expressed my hurt and disappointment for this to happen after 15 years and especially for it to happen in a catholic church in the middle of London’s most prominent gay area where there is no outreach or evangelisation initiative from the church.
Anyway the priest responded to me by letter. I opened it hesitantly wondering if it was going to be friendly or not….
And to be fair, I was touched that he had taken the trouble to reply at all because in my experience in the church, most people in authority ignore you unless you have something nice to say or have money to donate…..and in my case I usually had neither!!
So what did the letter say?
It acknowledged my email, thanked me for getting in touch, said he couldn’t comment on confession and assured me of prayers.
“Great I thought, just what I need, more prayers!!”
To be perfectly honest the letter was very disappointing and was something like what a politician might write.
He could have put a bit of heart into it , acknowled the hurt, apologised for the incident and assured me of his support and the importance of bringing the gay community back to God.
And so last night as we did our listening and reflecting I couldn’t but wonder if Rome will react in the same way….
Will they gather up all the hurts and concerns of the people and after much noise write us a fancy letter saying “we have heard your voices and we are praying for you”.
At times Father Ted comes to mind and as a priest once said to me “whoever wrote Father Ted had the inside line”.
And of course the LGBT issue is only one of so many others such as the role of women in the church, pastoral care for divorced and remarried people, the healing and deliverance ministry etc.
The list goes on.
One wonders at times how things will ever change when there is such resistance to Jesus among the hierarchy and when politics, power and popularity are more important than prayer, mercy and justice.
On this note Pope Francis recently released a document or guidelines known as “Beatitudes for Bishops”:
But will Francis’ pleas to his bishops to wake up and to cop themselves on fall on deaf ears?
Will the results of the Synod be nothing more than a thank you for responding and we will pray for you?
Only time will tell but in any case it’s still good and important for each and every one of us to speak up because on judgement day all these letters and notes will be piled up and Jesus will say:
Have a great day!
P.S. let us keep Pope Francis in our prayers as he faces such hostility and resistance from so many of his bishops.