The Catholic Church has been quite vocal in its opposition to marriage equality in the United Kingdom, despite Parliament’s intention to pass it. Perhaps none has been more outspoken than Westminister Archbishop Vincent Nichols, who admitted that the Church doesn’t even recognize the existence of homosexuality and is prepared to fire teachers who marry someone of the same sex.
One 65-year-old nurse from Northern England was tired of the rhetoric she was hearing at Church, and decided to write to Nichols expressing her concern. In it, she calls out the Church’s obsession with social issues to the detriment of addressing real problems in society. She asked to remain anonymous, but shared her letter with Gay Star News. Here’s an excerpt:
I do not find it at all easy or even possible to uphold the church’s teaching on homosexuality. Among gay people of my acquaintance are those who have a deep spiritual life, to have one’s sexual orientation, an orientation that one is born with, described as an ‘objective disorder’ and to hear homosexual acts described as ‘intrinsically evil’ surely makes it almost impossible to feel at home or welcome in the church. It is utterly unrealistic to expect homosexual people to live celibate lives (We all know that many priests find this very difficult and sometimes impossible). The revelations of clerical sex abuse have led many of us to look with a very critical eye on the so-called celibate life and to realize that it has all to often lead to warped and destructive behavior.
The world is facing disaster on all levels and this church, when not obsessing about matters sexual, spends an inordinate amount of time on pointless activities such as changing the liturgy back to a correct translation of the original Latin — a language not spoken by Jesus but spoken by the oppressors of his time and country. Do you imagine that this obsession with precisely translated texts will win you a single new adherent? To me, you (particularly but not exclusively the hierarchy) appear to be a frightened group of men preoccupied with titles, clothing and other religious externals. You seem, with some wonderful and brave exceptions, to pay only lip service to ecumenism and matters of social justice. I would love to see the so-called ‘Princes of the Church’ (Where did all these triumphant, utterly anti-Gospel titles you award yourselves come from?) get rid of the silk, the gold, the Gucci shoes, the ridiculous tall hats, croziers, fancy soutanes etc etc and substitute bare heads and a simple pilgrim’s staff on all liturgical occasions and that might be taken as a small outward sign of your inner acceptance of fundamental Gospel values.
The woman has apparently received a reply from Nichols, but it unsurprisingly did not address the substance of her comments. Polls suggest that she speaks on behalf of many Catholics who stand far-removed from the Church’s teachings on such issues. Read her full letter.