One of the big questions of the 21st Century to me seems to be why homosexuals stay in the Catholic Church? It's pretty apparent that they don't agree with much of what the Church teaches and requires.
Minnesota Public Radio, few of whose members and virtually none of its employees have Mandatums from their bishop authorizing them to teach Catholic theology, has opened their airwaves (webwaves?) on its Speaking of Faith program to the world to let modern Catholics speak out on why they are Catholic or what they think of the Church or whatever else is on their mind. The results can be found here.
One Lacey Louwagie of Duluth, a self-identified bisexual and weekly Mass attendee in her comments, shares why she stays in the Church:
Both sides of my (rather large) family are Catholic, so part of the solace I take in Catholicism is the connection to my childhood and my history. But all my life, I've examined and been at odds with many of the Church's teachings, and as an adult was fully aware that I didn't have to stay. I did a lot of soul and church-searching, and eventually made a conscious decision to stay because I love the sensualism in the Catholic Church, the invoking of the elements of fire (candle), air (incense), earth (palm leaves, ashes), and water (holy water, baptism). I love the concrete-ness of the faith, with rituals that invoke all the senses. I need a faith that I can touch: the smoothness of the beads under my fingers as I pray the rosary, the taste of the host as it dissolves on my tongue. I also love Catholicism's rich artistic culture, and appreciate the beautiful art, literature, and music that has come from a Catholic inspiration.
With all that said, there are still many days when I question why I stay. I find very little in official Church doctrine that I can stand behind; my main concerns come from the Church's stance on women and homosexuals -- issues that, as a bisexual woman, cut close to the heart. The Church's refusal to ordain women, despite ample evidence that women were leaders in the early Christian traditions and the Bible, is not only appalling but soul-crushing. The Church's stance on birth control removes the element of love in sex and replaces it with an element of fear (and the Church's teaching on birth control is essentially a classist one as well, with the Church urging couples who cannot afford to care for many children to "abstain" to limit their family, while the implication is that wealthy couples can have all the sex they want). The Church's teachings on homosexuality and birth control both fly in the face of "natural law," which they often cite as "justification" for both teachings. But homosexuality occurs in nature at a consistent rate, while the evolutionary function of sex in humans is for bonding, not procreation. I dream of a Church that one day embraces the best of its teachings on social justice, to stop perepetuating oppression and spiritual violence upon so many of its people.
Unsurprisingly, there is no mention of God, love for "Him", bearing the sufferings of the Cross of Calvary or worship in her statement. Also unsurprisingly, her reasons for staying are very physical, sensual and indicative of a need for immediate and regular gratification.
Thousands, maybe millions, of homosexuals stay in the Church for probably those same reasons. Many of them find employment there and often head key ministries as staff or volunteers. They consider it a wonderful venue and outlet for their senses of artistic expression. It is no wonder that puppets, tambourines and dance are regularly seen as improvisational (unauthorized) modifications to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.