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LETTER: Who am I to judge?

Pope Francis - Reuters file photo

Pope Francis’ stated acceptance of civil unions for homosexual couples comes as a welcome sign of progress.

I am heterosexual, and a believer in mating for life like Konrad Lorenz’s greylag geese.

But being heterosexual does not mean I have any objection to homosexual partnerships, nor does it compel me to doubt the value of love between same-sex partners. Love is love is love.

As a lifelong Roman Catholic, and therefore quite aware of the Vatican’s default setting of resistance to change, I celebrate the courage and the humanity of Francis.

The church has needed a pope like Francis for many years, but was guided instead by legalistic minds.

To my mind, a very useful first step would be to repeat, over and over, as a kind of mantra: “Who am I to judge?” It’s one of the attitudes that Jesus of Nazareth encouraged his followers to adopt, and I’m sure he’d urge us to adopt it too.

Since the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, we have been a bit timid, wondering if we dared to take the steps prescribed by the bishops in council, guided by the holy spirit.

Some of us have taken refuge in nostalgia for the “certainties” of  the 1950s and earlier, afraid that “our” church has taken a wrong turning. There is a move toward gnosticism (or maybe it’s mysticism), a belief in an inner circle of the devout, who keep a keen eye of the rest of us, tut-tutting about our “laxity.”

Papa Francesco will lead us out of our spiritual bunkers if we’ll have the generosity of spirit to take the first step.

To my mind, a very useful first step would be to repeat, over and over, as a kind of mantra: “Who am I to judge?” It’s one of the attitudes that Jesus of Nazareth encouraged his followers to adopt, and I’m sure he’d urge us to adopt it too.

Our gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans brothers and sisters are children of God, and as such are no better or worse than the rest of us. And who is to say that an act of love between two same-sex partners is any more sinful than our self-righteous condemnation of them?

I’m not surrounded by gay friends all the time, but the homosexual men and women whom I do know personally are fine decent human beings.

One lesbian friend has become a hero of mine — the courage and determination she has shown in fighting for her place in society have filled me with hope (you know who you are).

Now, let’s hope Papa Francesco will accept same-sex marriages in Catholic churches, before he is replaced by another of those backward-looking pontiffs.

Ed Healy,
Marystown   

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