Same-sex marriage is a polarizing subject within the Catholic Church. As a lay member of the church caught up in this war of words, I try to avoid letting anger turn me into an unloving Catholic.
God loves us all and will turn nobody away. Everyone’s life is just like the Bible: We all experience inspiration from God.
This is not to say that we, armed with the Bible, possess a monopoly on truth and reason, or are uniquely able to pass judgement on all people. If one’s heart is not full of love, one’s words will ring hollow. Therefore, it is important that we follow God’s commandment to “love your neighbor as you love yourself” and reappraise the same-sex marriage issue.
God created me as a homosexual, but this does not mean that God loves me any less. On the contrary, my homosexuality is the greatest blessing that has been given me.
My belief in Catholicism has not led me to hate myself for being gay; it was the unconditional love of God that gave me the courage to accept who I am.
At first I was unable to accept myself, because I was afraid that my sexuality would cause me to lose everything that I hold dear. However, God’s love let me know that I need not feel afraid.
When addressing the issue of same-sex marriage, Catholics should hold on to the fundamental point that when we love, there can be no fear.
The underlying reason for the large number of Catholics that oppose same-sex marriage is an intrinsic sense of fear. They are afraid that society might lose its order, afraid that their children might turn bad, afraid that the world they are familiar with is slipping away.
However, our belief teaches us that we cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering of others, because Jesus suffered greatly. When we see gay people suffer today, we should remember the suffering of Jesus. Minorities are victimized because their difference makes us scared. It is only through recognizing this fear that we can practice God’s love.
Pope Francis has already apologized for actions of the Catholic Church toward homosexuals.
I would like to share my own previous fear of homosexuality. I used to worry that if I were homosexual, then my father and mother would be heartbroken, not least since I am their only son.
I also worried that my friends would desert me for engaging in “evil” and “promiscuous” behavior. I was unable to throw myself into the work of helping others that I so longed to do, since nobody would want to receive assistance from a gay person.
During this process of self-denial, I tried a heterosexual relationship, but since I was being untrue to myself, I could only give my then-girlfriend false emotion. Although I was willing to be close to her, I held back, unable to give her my entire self. The relationship ended up hurting us both, so that, to this day, I still feel a sense of shame.
I searched for a “cure” through God, but in prayer, I could feel God’s acceptance and love of me. Finally, I stopped living in fear and vowed never again to live a life of self-deception and deception of others.
If I believed that God only gives blessings to the love of heterosexual married couples, then I would probably already be married by now. If a person’s sexual desires go unfulfilled, they will undoubtedly harbor feelings of remorse and self-reproach and end up off-loading that pain onto their partner. How can a child grow up to become a healthy adult in an unhappy marriage such as this?
The pope recently warned people not to be poisoned by an “epidemic of hostility” and to avoid labeling that incites hatred. The debate over same-sex marriage has caused many Catholics to feel heartbroken, because we are using division to sow fear and create confrontation. Instead of showing love for one another, Christians are being divided by hatred.
I would say to my Catholic brothers and sisters: I used to feel the fear that you are feeling now. By embracing same-sex marriage, you will allow the next generation to learn how to love one another; it will not turn the next generation into a generation of homosexuals.
The greatest pain suffered by homosexuals is that, living in a heterosexual world, we cannot see the hope that we should be entitled to feel as people. Please allow us to return to the love of God. Please learn from God’s example, turn nobody away, give others hope and give gay people love — and let them know that their love, too, is blessed by God.
Frank Wang is an associate professor and director of National Chengchi University’s Graduate Institute of Social Work.
Translated by Edward Jones
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