|The Church where I got married!|
I'm not going to start blogging about religion. It's a subject that makes people uneasy. It makes me uneasy and I'm Catholic. If you're imagining me whispering the rosary with a black lace mantilla on my head you can stop it now. There are Zulu warriors above my bed not a sacred bleeding heart.
To be honest, the only thing that really matters to me is the bit about 'love they neighbour as thyself' - and that's a big enough challenge for a lifetime without needing to complicate things with other rules.
The resignation of the pope and the discovery of yet more cases of sexual misconduct has made it even more confusing to be a Catholic than usual. The Roman Catholic church works hard to appear a righteous establishment but fails miserably. Often I've sat in church and thought: "I'm a rational human being, what am I doing here?"
The upsurge of right wing Catholics desperate to maintain the old ways and stop the church becoming more inclusive would depress me if I thought about it too much. Because it's simple, isn't it? The whole message of Jesus is to love people unconditionally, even when people are virtually unlovable. It's an easy concept even if it's very difficult, borderline impossible to do.
The problem is the church is getting too fussy about this idea of their 'neighbour'. It doesn't think everyone should be loved after all. It doesn't think gays should be loved quite as much, or divorcees, or religious women, or women in general.
On Sunday the priest chose to speak out about everything that had been nagging at his heart. He began by telling us about a woman in the parish who had been married, had had children, and had later divorced. He told us that she had found happiness late in life, and he really wanted to bless her. "I can bless a dog, I can bless a car, but why can't I bless two people who love each other?" he asked.
He spoke out about discrimination against gender and sexuality. "Why is so much energy wasted on looking at what people are doing in their beds rather than what's in their hearts?" He was visibly moved as was most of the congregation who had been yearning for this truth to be shouted from the rooftops for so long.
The priest got a standing ovation for his sermon. And that gives me hope. I'm not going to blog about religion. But I just wanted to share that hope, in case, like me, you needed it.