“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them."
– First Commandment
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Shifter Media LLC.
I was raised in the Catholic culture. I was taught the practices, the Bible, everything down to the mysteries of the rosary. It’s a strict and delicate religion that relies on the ironclad faith of its patrons. The way members are initiated to the faith is through a sacrament called Confirmation where the child takes on the name of one of the Saints and performs projects to be granted acceptance. I was one of these children working so diligently to be welcomed into Catholicism. I loved my faith and God. But I didn’t exactly like others that were Catholic. Catholics are as notoriously strict as they are Republican, and I’m about as notoriously rebellious as I am left. And why would I want to devote myself to a hateful deity? And why would I want to associate with people who feel the same way? So, I broke away from the church.
The church confirmed me in eighth grade when I was 14. I argued with the brick wall that was my mother trying to explain why I didn’t want to be a member of the church, but that didn’t achieve much. We eventually made a deal. She promised me I wouldn't have to go to church ever again if I just got confirmed. Throughout high school, I resented the hell out of Catholicism and actively went out of my way to tear into the ideology and anyone who followed it. A detail I should mention, is this is around the time I had my first girlfriend and began to explore my sexuality. I felt like there was no way for anyone with self respect to exist as a queer Catholic, therefore anyone who was a religious and queer was just stupid. That included myself.
I knew that was a closed-minded belief. I let myself believe I couldn't have a spiritual lifestyle because my own God would reject me. Honestly, I rejected Him. I still do. Now, I know religion acts as a crutch, a comfort, and sometimes is the only thing that can keep people going. All religious groups have been persecuted throughout Earth’s history and there’s valid reason for people to want to keep their religion alive even if they don’t necessarily agree with everything their institution practices.
I haven’t made my peace with God or Catholicism. But that doesn’t mean I get to hold back anyone who prays to God as a queer person. And the church shouldn’t either. Recently, the U.S. Bishops published a disgusting, sacrilegious draft that would sanction pro-choice and pro-LGBTQ+ politicians from receiving holy communion. And yes, I am saying the U.S. Bishops are sacrilegious. Under no circumstance can you be God’s mouthpiece and revoke a person’s right to communion unless they commit a mortal sin. Mortal sins include the long-standing evils of murder, wrath, adultery, etc. These are the gravest offenses, which threaten the soul with eternal damnation...unless the sin is absolved before death through reconciliation. If even God can find a way to forgive murder, the U.S Bishops can handle politicians that believe in giving women control over their own bodies and allowing people to love who they love.
Furthermore, if God can find a way to forgive murder, which the U.S. Bishops believe abortion is murder, then God can forgive pro-choice Catholics like U.S. President Joe Biden. And there is still no reason to ban him from communion. If we pretend we are God and that we have a say in people’s relationship with Him, especially by banning those with differing beliefs from receiving Eucharist–– we disobey the First Commandment.
The Catholic Church has become the false idol it preaches against. They are God. They have been for centuries and no one has stopped them. We have not had a prophet since biblical times. Even the Pope, the highest authority in the Catholic Church, has no direct line to God. The clergy must stop acting with power they don’t have. They’ve obliterated their relationship with the queer community. And crucify pro-choice women. On what authority? Their power, the clergy’s power, is derived from the members of the Catholic Church. Not God. So why do they get any say in our relationship with Him? They shouldn’t.
I’m working on finding a spiritual path that I’m comfortable with. And I want queer people, women and left-leaning people in general to have a faith to turn to if they so desire. Institutions like the Catholic Church do so much damage to people within their organized religion when they lord their relationship with their god(s) over them. It’s time to let progressives have a voice in religion and it's time to actually welcome everyone.
It’s time for the clergy to stop playing God.