No, I am not a Heretic

(Disclaimer: I’m very cranky.)

So people are talking a lot about gay marriage because SCOTUS (The Supreme Court of the United States) is hearing arguments on the issue. What did I do? I got on Facebook in the middle of working and posted some comments/updates and I ended up with a million messages asking me if I supported gay marriage and if maybe I needed to have the Church’s teachings explained to me. I have talked to most the people who sent those messages (if you are one of them and you’re reading this, please don’t message me asking me if I hate you. The answer is no, but I have to get some things off my chest).  I  thought  I should just go ahead and write this blog post.  I think it’s crazy that people can jump to assumptions that I am a heretic and/or need “help” understanding teachings when I express an opinion that is anything other than “gay people are going to hell”.

Here are a few of my thoughts aka opinions. Last time I looked, I was allowed to have opinions. Someone let me know if there’s been a memo that I missed that states that I can’t.

Legally speaking, I think that gay people should have all the same rights as everyone else, even be free to live in committed relationships if they want to. They should be able to work, have a person they love make health decisions for them and keep their kids if they have already adopted them and their partner dies and everything else, just like the rest of us. But that doesn’t mean they have to have a marriage license to do that. Plenty of couples live together and have kids and work and own homes without being married. Think Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. In fact, if you talked to straight couples a few years ago you would have heard “We don’t need a piece of paper to prove we love each other” from a lot of straight couples living together without being married or planning to get married. So why the big deal about that piece of paper now when it comes to gay couples?

Then there are the signs people are holding outside of SCOTUS. I don’t like signs that say “Homo sex is a sin”. Why? Because so are a lot of other things. Like being a self-righteous jerk face who thinks that none of their sins are worthy of being put on poster board, but those of others are. I have been on the other side of those signs and they did nothing but make me never want to be part of a religion who thinks that is “love”. What difference does it make if you are right, if nobody cares and wants to get as far away from you and your faith as possible?  If you are supposed to be bringing people to Christ and your actions make people want to have nothing to do with Christ, then I think you are failing. I know that we are supposed to speak the truth and I know that we aren’t always supposed to say what “feels good” but there is a difference between speaking an uncomfortable truth and being a jerk. We all know that because when someone is a jerk to us, even if they are telling the truth, we are hurt. Think about that when talking to people because hurting others isn’t how to be the light of Christ. Calling them “homos” and blasting them as the end all, be all of sinners isn’t kind, it isn’t loving and it’s not going to help anyone understand that they are loved by God. And that is the first step of evangelization.

For everyone wondering if I understand the Church’s teachings on Marriage. Yes, I do, thanks for asking. I am also aware that mercy and love go a lot further than stupid signs and condemning others. I have great priests who help me navigate through this life of mine which is now ruled by Jesus who doesn’t let me cuss people the eff out anymore which is what I want to do 97% of the time.  I am Catholic, I know the Catholic teachings are Truth Himself, but I also know that I can not force anyone to follow my Lord and even He doesn’t force Himself on anyone. I can’t force Protestants to be Catholic, I can’t force Atheists to go to church on Sunday and I can’t force gay people to understand the difference between legal “marriage” and Sacramental marriage. All I can do is be the best version of myself so that every person I meet wonders what it is that makes me who I am and when they ask I can tell them: Jesus. And if they don’t ask then they know that they are loved even if it’s just because they are a drag queen who had a Catholic ask them how their dress project is going. If that makes me a heretic who needs to be told the Church’s teaching on marriage, then I must have missed something in RCIA because Catholics loving me even when I was a sinner (who, unknown to them, was planning a welcome home orgy party for her boyfriend while going through RCIA), is why I ended up in this Church (and not having said orgy party).

I became Catholic with the help of great priests and people who refused to see me as my sins but instead loved me because I existed. They told me that God loved me just as I was, not that He would only love me if I was “good”. It is  because of those people  that I came to encounter Jesus and fall in love with His Church. Because of that, I am married. And on the days when I want to walk away from this marriage, this Church, this life, I remember that I am loved and I stay.  I was so hard hearted and if I speak against things it is not because I don’t get Church teaching or because I am opposed to those teachings, but because I know what helped break through my deafness. Maybe that won’t work for everyone, maybe some people need tough, in your face, you are a huge sinner, signs to help them see Jesus, what do I know? But I am gonna go out on a limb and say that that doesn’t work. No more than yelling at women going into abortion clinics to not murder their babies works.

Just because I disagree with the use of signs and that I think laws are no way to force morality on anyone doesn’t mean that I am a heretic.


7 thoughts on “No, I am not a Heretic

  1. Facebook is quickly becoming an occasion of sin for me – whether it’s envy of other people’s successes, or the blood boiling in my head because of political garbage, or feeling the need to “prove that what they’re saying is wrong!”

    What you’re saying makes total sense. I’m not Catholic, so our views on gay marriage are a bit different, but ALL Christians need to understand that shouting at people, calling them degenerate sinners, etc, does nothing helpful. It only causes pain for people who are already hurting.


  2. Okay, I have been reading you long enough to know that you are not a heretic, that you take the term “convert” to new heights, so much so that I have very deep respect for anything you say, even if I would have said the opposite until I read you. You speak from the depths of your own experience in a way that is meaningful and convincing. But I still don’t understand how you got from where you were to where you are. That is, I know, because you have said often, that you were drawn to the Catholic Church because good people there led you to understand the love of God, as He gives Himself to us in the sacraments of the church. But how did you learn, really learn, not to be a heretic? This is a serious question. I have met many good people who call themselves Catholic, and want to be part of the Church, who still think it is really all right to make up their own version. I understand that you won’t make converts by yelling and people and trying to shame them, as if that somehow might show them that God loves them, but I think that many of the people who are making you cranky are, in their own way, trying to address the problem that a lot of people don’t actually know right from wrong. I can’t say this very well, and I bet if you understand what I am trying to say then you can put it in a post much better than I am saying it. So it is one thing to say to a person living in an immoral relationship “God loves you and is calling you by name” and another to say “and he wants you to stop living that way.” I think that it is too easy to get the one without the other. So why didn’t you have the orgy party?

    Is this making any sense?

    And, BTW, if people who read you on Facebook do not understand you as well as your faithful followers on this blog it is because Facebook is not really a very communicative medium. Forget Facebook! Write for us!


  3. Thanks for this. I’m on my way to confession and I’ll think about it there and write up something.


  4. Further attempts to clarify: If this is less clear, rather than more clear, ignore it. I am not trying to say anything different than I was before.

    At least some of the people you are criticizing for yelling at people are in their own way trying to “instruct the ignorant” which is one of the spiritual works of mercy. Maybe not all of them, and maybe even the most sincere are not doing it the best way, but they are trying in their own way to establish clearly what is right and what is wrong.

    If some of these people who are trying to set clear moral guidelines are wrong in where the lines are, OR they are right about where the lines are but they are saying it the wrong way, then they are ALSO sinners in need of guidance. So if you are trying to instruct them about where the lines are, or how to say things, then you are doing the same thing that they are. The difference is that you think that you are talking with fellow Catholics, so you can skip some of the steps. But if you are talking with sinners in need of repentance and reform, shouldn’t you do it the same way that you want them to do?

    Late in life I finally realized that my besetting sin throughout most of my life has been not that sometimes I got mad and yelled at my kids and my husband, or was rude to the person who cut in front of me in line, it was being a sanctimonious prig, a Pharisee who was thankful to God that “I am not like other men!” Several things helped me to this very uncomfortable realization, but definitely one thing was the number of people who accused me, angrily, yelling, not being nice people, of exactly that. I don’t think that anyone ever said nicely that I really needed to get over my pride. People who were nice to me just made me feel more and more justified in my supposed virtue. So I think that sometimes the yelling does some good.

    But not on Facebook, which as far as I can tell is a major impediment to communication.


  5. I haven’t forgotten about this, I have been working full time and haven’t had a chance to write, I hope that changes soon’


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