Dear Bishops Loverde and DiLorenzo,
I am not a resident of Virginia, so perhaps my thoughts will be of little concern to you. However, as a resident of the District of Columbia, a parishioner in the Archdiocese of Washington, and an ordained priest, I am writing to share with you my extreme disappointment that you and the Catholic Conference of Virginia have taken on the proposed amendment to the Virginia state constitution that would effectively ban same-sex marriage. Your position has received much media coverage (cf. Va. Bishops Push Voters on Ban), and so my letter is an attempt to share with you the perspective of someone who is fully Catholic and fully opposed to your position.
I am confident that in time, the Church will come to regret its formal teachings that have condemned gay men and women in so many ways, even to the point of using terms that undermine gay and lesbian people as children of God. As an institution that moves ever so slowly (consider, for example, how many centuries it took for the “official church” to remove its condemnations of Copernicus and Galileo for stating the truth that the earth revolved around the sun), I am saddened that this change will probably not come in my lifetime.
However, when Church leaders move from the realm of the ecclesial into the public square and use their ill-founded understandings of sacred scripture, history, sociology and psychology to perpetuate myths, misunderstandings and even hatred, I feel I must speak out. Rather than identifying each and every item in your letter that “misses the mark,” I pose to you a very simple question: Do you believe that God’s children — including God’s gay and lesbian children — are created “in the image and likeness of God”? Is your answer to this question an unconditional “Yes!,” or is it a lukewarm, “yes, but….”? If and when you fully embrace the core teaching of Christianity that we are all gifted with the goodness of human dignity, then you will begin to see how far your “teaching” is off-base.
There are many resources available that more fully express a Catholic and Christian understanding of the issues involved. Here are two of the best:
Dignity/USA-Frequently Asked Questions
I hope you will thoughtfully and prayerfully avail yourselves of these resources.
Please be assured of my prayers for you and your ministry. In particular, I will pray that God give you an abundance of His Spirit to help open your eyes — just as Jesus opened the eyes of Bartimaeus — to the humanity and fundamental goodness of all God’s children, including those whom God has created gay and lesbian.
Pax et bonum!
Timothy MacGeorge, M.Div., MSW