Walking into my parish church Aug. 13, I took notice of the sun streaming through the skylight in our church commons, gleaming on the water of the baptismal font. It was a bright and warm summer afternoon, typical for August in Indiana. On this afternoon, I had been summoned to a meeting with my pastor of 13 years.
After a polite exchange and a thank-you for meeting, my pastor recounted to me the news of a rumor mill among a group of parishioners. He was troubled by reports that I had publicly questioned the church’s teaching on same-sex relationships and that I had criticized the actions of certain Catholic leaders. Some postings on social media were at the heart of this concern.
My response was simple. I have chosen to be honest about my journey of faith as a gay Catholic person. I believe that same-sex relationships are a blessing and a sign of God’s goodness in the world, and I have indeed raised concern over practices within the church that I recognize as pastorally and spiritually damaging to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. To be sure, this understanding has been informed by a deep process of prayer and discernment over many years.
During the course of our meeting, my pastor notified me that I could not publicly disagree with official moral teachings and simultaneously hold positions of leadership within the parish. He asked me how I wished to proceed. It quickly become clear that I could not continue in volunteer parish ministry if I held firm to my convictions on the issues facing LGBT Catholics. My choices were quite limited. As a matter of conscience, I made a heartbreaking decision that afternoon. I resigned my position on the parish council. I resigned my position on the young adult board I had helped to found a year earlier. And I resigned my position as sacristan and eucharistic minister.