From: Finbar McMullen, FSC
A few months ago, something happened in the Catholic Church that I thought would never happen. At a parish in Austria, a young man was elected to the parish council because of all the good that he was doing, and for his very evident attachment to the Church. However, there was a problem; he was in a registered same-sex relationship, a fact that made him ineligible. The pastor would not budge, and the people were upset. Emboldened, perhaps, by the 400 priests who have made a public protest against the status quo in Rome, the parishioners made an appeal to Cardinal Shonbrone, Archbishop of Vienna. He could have said: “A rule is a rule,” and let it go at that, but he mulled it over and decided that he should invite them to lunch. After a lengthy one, he decided to let the election stand. I don’t know what they talked about, but he was evidently impressed by both of them.
Would it not be equally wonderful if the people in Rome, who tell all the Catholics how they should live, would invite a group of divorced Catholics over, and ask them how they are affected by the law against remarrying? And then do the same with those who have remarried, but are unable to receive Communion. “Oh! We see.” Don’t neglect the lesbians and gays. How does our vigorous stand against homosexuality affect you? “Really?” While they are at it, how about asking married couples how the ban on artificial contraception would affect them if they really had to follow it? As for priests, what is it like for you to be dealing with two or three parishes? And for one of those parishes, what is it like that you do not have your own pastor? If you had a former Episcopal or Anglican as pastor, would you be able to support his family? While we are at it, don’t overlook Latin America. What is it like for you as a pastor that you need to travel 25 miles to get to some of your parishes? How often can you make the rounds, two or three times a year? For one of those villages, what is it like for you that your priest comes around only a few times each year? “That’s too bad.”
Eventually those people in Rome might come to realize that people are more important than ideas. It is not that ideas are unimportant. God gave us reason so that we could think about things. Thinking leads to ideas. But Jesus said: “By their fruits you shall know them.” He wasn’t talking just about trees. Again, “If bad tree bears bad fruit, cut it down. It is just encumbering the ground.” A person can have every intention of doing no harm with an idea, but others can take that idea and do great harm. If you need an example of this, Google “Jonah Mowry.” This constant hammering of homosexuality and same sex marriage by religious leaders provides fuel to those who get strength by having someone to hate. This is the real world.