Wednesday, September 24, 2014
In and around Rome, the talk is of Pope Francis’ sage acceptance of the 21st century, of his empathy, of his departure from the stern moralizing on matters of the heart that his predecessors engaged in.
In Montana, a gay couple who have been together for more than three decades have been told that they’re no longer really welcome in the Catholic parish where they’ve been worshiping together for 11 years.
This happened last month, in the town of Lewistown. By all accounts, these two men, one of them 73, the other 66, had done no one any harm. They hadn’t picked a fight. Hadn’t caused any particular stir. Simply went to Mass, same as always. Prayed. Sang in the church choir, where they were beloved mainstays.
There was only this: In May of last year, without any fanfare, the men had traveled to Seattle, where they had met and lived for many years, to get married. And while they didn’t do anything after to publicize the civil ceremony, word eventually leaked out.
So in early August, a 27-year-old priest who had just begun working at the parish summoned them to a meeting, according to local news reports. And at that meeting, he told them that they could no longer be choir members, perform any other roles like that or, for that matter, receive communion.
If they wanted those privileges restored, there was indeed a remedy, which the priest and other church officials spelled out for them over subsequent conversations. They would have to divorce. They would have to stop living together. And they would have to sign a statement that marriage exists only between a man and a woman.
Translation: Renounce a love fortified over 30 years. Unravel your lives. And affirm that you’re a lesser class of people, barred from the rituals in which others blithely participate.
With those little tweaks, the body of Christ can again be yours.
In one sense there’s nothing revelatory here. For all the changes afoot in enlightened countries around the world, the church remains censorious of same-sex marriage — fervently so, in many instances — and Catholic teaching still forbids sexually intimate relationships between two men or two women.
But there are details to note, rue and reject. One is the hypocrisy (or whatever you want to call it) of punishing a same-sex couple for formalizing a relationship that was already obvious, as these men’s partnership was.
Such punishment has befallen many employees of Catholic schools or congregations since the legalization of same-sex marriage in many states allowed them civil weddings. Teachers long known to be gay are suddenly exiled for being gay and married, which is apparently too much commitment and accountability for the church to abide. Honesty equals expulsion. “I do” means you’re done.
I reached the Montana couple, Tom Wojtowick and Paul Huff, on the phone Tuesday, and Wojtowick expressed befuddlement. “We’re just two old men,” he said, and their relationship was no secret. “We’re only 5,900 people in this town, and Paul and I are really well known.”
“The deepening of a loving relationship cannot be forced. At times a person needs variety, which may even be the remedy for healing their repression. They may need variety because they aren’t ready to look at certain pages of the book of their life yet. There is nothing wrong with this. These are just moments along the journey. We must not fall into the trap of the idealized self which expects us to give what we don’t have to give. The idealized self is a cruel tyrant who demands that we be something we are not. It asks us to surrender ourselves to a relationship, even if we are not ready for that.”
Sri Prem Baba
“I know that many people who are with me are praying for others who are ready, that they may wake up. This is a spiritual current for awakening. It is a vigil happening around the globe. This vigil is made up of current of souls that are mature enough to understand that they need to pray for their brothers and sisters.”
Sri Prem Baba
Touch the Core of Time | September 23, 2014
Through spiritual practice we can go beyond our egoistic point of view. We can touch the core of time, see the whole world in a moment, and understand time in deep relationship with all beings. Then we cannot be isolated and cold people. We become beautiful and warm people, appreciating and helping all beings.
- Dainin Katagiri, "Time Revisited"