Let’s see how much I can post before Sandy knocks out our power!
Anyway, I got a lot of great new questions on my whirlwind speaking tour of Pittsburgh and its suburbs. Some of them were really tough to answer (“Why did you accept the teaching authority of the Church?”, to which I suppose the unhelpful but true answer is, “I really wanted to receive the Eucharist”) and some of them can’t really be answered at all, but only lived through (“What does it mean to suffer in Christ?”).
But I was struck by how easily the Slippery Rock students grasped my main message, which was that there are vocations available to gay people in the Catholic Church–we, too, are called to love and be loved–and that we need to do more to honor those vocations and help people find them. In the Q&A they actually added to the list I’d already presented. I’d talked about devoted friendship, service to those in need, hospitality, community, art, and prayer as forms of love, because those are the ones (except community!) which have been most important in my own life. And the students asked me, “Have you thought about being a missionary?” “Have you thought about adopting children?”Now, people who have ever seen me try to read a map or entertain a child are already giggling! But the point isn’t that these two paths are totally wrong for me (although they are). Nor is the idea that these vocations are solutions to the “problem” of gay or same-sex attracted Catholics. (Adoption raises its own issues because I do think a mother and a father are typically best for kids where that’s possible, and I think lots of people who disagree on that point would nonetheless agree that two parents are typically better than one. But there are going to be kids for whom being adopted by a single parent is the best approach, and a way of restoring to them their birthright of familial love.) The point is that the students were thinking creatively about finding ways to give and receive love.