Looks Like Normal

Played a wedding yesterday. A nice couple, perhaps above-average happy. The pastor’s homily was excellent, as usual. He often uses a familiar (to me) story from Anthony de Mello–and he did again yesterday. I find myself reflecting on my own marriage during those words. After 15.6 years, how are we doing? Sometimes, it’s not so clear. My wife likes to rub wedding bands during the nuptial liturgies we attend. And the blessings that occasionally pop up at Sunday Mass. Yesterday, I found myself rubbing mine, sliding my fingers over the grooves as I listened to homily and vows. Is it normal for middle-aged guys to tear up slightly at a stranger’s wedding?

A nice piece on Religion Dispatches earlier this week, making a case for normal. Candace Chellew-Hodge gets a good dig in at the USCCB prez, first quoting him:

“I love my mom, but I don’t have the right to marry her,” said the archbishop, whose national public profile as a spokesman for church values rose last year, when he was elected president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Dolan could have a point if those census figures, or any other research, showed that gay people were even slightly interested in marrying their parents. Heck, most gay people would just love to have a relationship with their parents, but many of them remain estranged because of anti-gay crusaders like Dolan who have spread the lie that being gay is somehow akin to wanting to marry a parent, a dog, or a piece of furniture.

My pastor preached yesterday that God makes people incomplete. We are born with a yearning to share our lives, and to find a person who is different from us, yet somehow complements us, and fills much or most of our inner longings.

I’m convinced that scientifically, most LGBT people are born this way. God-given, in other words, in the same way God made me to be attracted to women. That’s not a theological reality, but simple biology.

But part of human normal is the longing to join to another person–and this reality must be recognized. I believe it eventually will be.

I think people are called to celibacy–to set aside in a constructive way their longing and desire for completeness. This can work most effectively in a religious community, with the support of that community. In rare cases, it can work for hermits. I find it hard to believe it works for ordinary normal people who want what everybody else on their street wants …

What it proves is that more and more people are catching on to the lies being told by the religious right. Gay and lesbian people don’t want to “redefine” marriage—they want the same kind of marriage everyone else has, complete with kids, a dog, and a nice neighborhood. Weird, right?

Right. It only gets weird when gay and lesbian people want to force heterosexuals into marrying people of their own sex. That would be wrong. And abnormal. But I haven’t seen that kind of weird in western society just yet.

About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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