I grew up as a member of the Catholic church- in fact, I had a phase in my life from ages fourteen to fifteen in which I was extremely religious. One entire side of my family participates in Catholic ideologies; before the pandemic struck, most of them attended mass every Sunday. Although most of my extended family is entirely Catholic, I did not imagine myself attending a Catholic college, nor did I think that, if I did go to one, I would enjoy it as much as I do. I have almost entirely separated myself from Catholicism, and if anyone asked me, I would say that I truly do not think about it too much. However, I find it affecting my life everyday in very tiny ways, especially this week.
On March 15, 2021, the Vatican decreed that the Catholic church would not recognize or bless gay marriage. I had found this out not through gossip or word of mouth, but because “Vatican” was trending on Twitter. Admittedly, I only use Twitter in times of extreme boredom, and upon seeing that the Catholic church was trending, I knew it would be nothing good.
When I decided to find out what scandal the Catholic church had gotten into this time, my heart sank. About two seconds later, I had thought to myself “this should not surprise me.” Despite Pope Francis’ neutral stance on gay people themselves and the “cool” persona he displayed, he still represents the Catholic church: a notoriously controversial and hateful organization. When it comes to the church, I have found it’s more beneficial to be a cynic than it is to have any semblance of hope that things will change. This decree proved that point exactly.
While Catholic people themselves are hit or miss, the institution that they follow is an absolute nightmare. For a religion that claims to “love thy neighbor as thyself,” they are clearly not practicing what they preach. The church has yet again missed the mark so much that they created an entire new mark, and then missed that one too.
My disappointment quickly turned to rage as I continued to look through tweet upon tweet about the hypocrisy of the Catholic church. I know that the Catholic church has homophobic standpoints and that not every Catholic person agrees with them, but it is astounding to me that there are still people within the church that make excuses for it.
If the church wants to claim they’re “holier than thou,” how is it that it is a sin to love someone of the same sex, but not for priests to literally prey on young boys and girls, cover it up by transferring the priest, and never hold them accountable? According to NBC, 600 cases of sexual abuse by priests have been filed in Northern California alone – is that not absurd? And how is it that those priests usually perform homosexual acts when they are molesting children? Maybe it’s just me, but that’s a bit hypocritical.
“The door has been shut on the gay agenda,” the Catholic church claims, but gay people do not actually know what the gay agenda even means other than a way to demonize our community. The “gay agenda” is most notably used as anti-gay rhetoric, contradicting the name itself. Though queer people have taken this in stride, even going so far to use the term sarcastically, it is still harmful for us to have to deal with everyday homophobia from prestigious, long-established organizations that influence our lives more than we’d like to admit.
The Catholic church is a halidom of hatred. It contradicts itself on the daily. God could not care less about gay people – the line everyone refers to is actually about pedophilia, which is something that the Catholic church actively particpates in. Before criticizing other people, perhaps take a look at what your own institution stands for.
If stability and comfort is what you want in life, that’s fine by me, but if your stability and comfort promotes the hatred of other people and disgustingly hypocritical rulemakers, then there might be something more “intrinsically disordered” in your belief system than in gay people. I challenge you to take a good look at yourself in the mirror, ask yourself what your values are, and see if the institutions you support and uphold are reflective of those values. If they’re not, what is really stopping you from dropping them? Your beliefs, or your comfortability?
This is also not the first time the Catholic church has gotten into trouble. If someone you loved treated you this way, would you keep them around? Would you change the way that you see them? If someone treated your friend or loved one this way, would you continue to support it, or would you simply leave it behind?
You do not have to abandon God – in fact, I would never ask anyone to do that. Perhaps, though, this event might be a good time to reevaluate what matters to you and decide whether or not it’s really Catholicism that you believe in or the true teachings of the Biblical God. There are countless crimes committed within the church that are absolutely atrocious, and instead of letting them go, we need to say something.
Fairfield University: as a queer person attending your Catholic insitution, I want a response to this. You dropped the ball with Black Lives Matter, but this is your chance to make sure your marginalized students feel supported. If you truly celebrate the “God-given dignity of every human person,” stand up for those who are being attacked by the Catholic church and make your campus a safe place for everyone.