I guess it will come to no surprise that I was the only person on the panel doubting his or her belifs. I shouldn't say only one. BioMom and I have endless discussions about what it means to be Catholic and religious, and spiritual. But, effectively, she seems to somehow get more out of Catholocism than I do, and well, she has more of a strong, positive base than I do.
Maybe its just that she is able to be more optimistic than I. See the glass as half full, as it were.
Seeing the half-empty part, I focused on the less-than-supportive few of the rather huge audience.
When we got there, the front row was filled with a group from Catholic Parents Online praying the rosary (presumably for us sinners). While their Website seems fairly innocuous, they are a strong anti-glbt group pushing the Vatican to desist support to catholic glbt groups and progressive churches in the area.
We each said our little spiel. A gay may couple who had gotten married in 1986 was all "HUAH" (in Westpoint language) about the church. BioMom talked about her extensive Catholic background (see previous post). I didn't know this but at one time ALL of her aunts were nuns.
Then there was me. I grew up in Omaha Nebraska in a strong catholic family. I was the first of four kids to not go to catholic school. One of my brothers was a Christian Brother for 15 years before he came out and eventually escaped to more politically aesthetic ground in the Episcopalian Church. I recalled naively exploring the issue of being gay in the Catholic Church when I was coming out in college. I sought council from our family priest Fr. Quinn and my brother. My brother eloquently told the Church's position through a metaphor: The church considers you an Eagle, but you can't fly.
Of course, afterwards, the CPO members flocked to the doubter (BioMom expertly focused her attention on the more supporting people coming up to us after the talk while I got cornered by the CPO group).
Their leader implored that I seek The Truth.
That implies that I am seeking The Truth.
That I even believe in A Truth.
That's the trouble with being an academic: its hard to even talk to such fundamentalist-faith-based people. In my opinion, the church is a political entity and a social construction. The fact that there is a Vatican II implies that humans felt that something needed to be changed.
Its like talking to a wall though as these people think that any change is divine providence.
In an attempt to see the event through BioMom's lenses, I recognize the strength of the more supportive group; also involved in their own struggle with the Church. One woman, the mother of a gay man asked if she was betraying her son by remaining in the Catholic Church. She admitted that she comes and goes, waxing and waning in her faith with her personal struggle.
The room was also filled with people wearing anti-war buttons and other symbols of social justice.
If I can hope for anything, it is to learn from BioMom and be able to share in this strong, but struggling community rather than focusing on the ever-increasing fundamentalist mini-majority in this country.