Sassy Senior Citizen Urges Priests To Drop The Anti-Gay Talk And Get Back To Work

sophiaWe think we’ve found another grandma we’d like to adopt.

A retired 65-year-old nurse wrote a scathing letter to the Archbishop of Westminster, England’s most senior Catholic official, telling him and his fellow gay-bashing clergymen to spend less time obsessing over the purported downfall of traditional marriage and start worrying about society’s real problems.

In the letter, attained by Gay Star News, the former nurse — who asked to remain anonymous — cites the poor economic climate, the lack of employment, the sad state of schools and hospitals and the uncertain fate awaiting today’s youth.

She suggests that the so-called “Princes of the Church get rid of the silk, the gold, the Gucci shoes, the ridiculous tall hats” and pick up a “simple pilgrim’s staff” and get to work addressing these far more pressing issues.

The letter is certainly worth a read, and though it was intended for the UK’s Catholic clerical community, her message is universal:

Dear Archbishop,

I listened to your letter of Sunday 3 February in which you asked us as a matter of urgency to either send a postcard provided or write to our local MP to request him to vote against the government’s proposed legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. I came out of the church with two thoughts and one resolve. Firstly I thought ‘Lord pity and help any gay person sitting listening to that letter’ not a word a charity or understanding did it contain. Secondly I thought or asked ‘Where in that is the love of Christ for all humankind?’ My resolve was not to contact my MP.

That decision was not made because of the tone of your letter however. 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.

To return to same-sex marriage, can it be abhorrent that two people of the same sex would wish to experience that emotional and physical closeness that marriage offers? We believe that God is love and so it must follow that in every loving and committed relationship God must be present – or does this, in your understanding, only apply in heterosexual relationships? Is heterosexuality more valued by God and by the church than homosexuality? You are, I suppose, aware that there are more than a few homosexual men in the priesthood and that nowadays heterosexual men are much less willing to embrace the celibate life. Is the good work done by such men less valuable in the eyes of this church? If so is it further evidence of its dysfunctional state?

I am 65 years of age and have been married for almost 30 years. I would so have appreciated an explanation from you or any of the hierarchy exactly how my long and happy marriage will be threatened by the union of gay couples. When I meet people in my day to day existence they talk about the economic climate (bad), lack of employment (bad), uncertain future for their children (bad), state of schools, hospitals (bad) – never ever has anybody expressed concern about a threat to their marriage by the proposed legalizing of same-sex marriage. You, the church, claim that marriage is the bedrock of society and indeed it is but you also seem to consider it so fragile that allowing a few gay people access to it will endanger it forever. Here the implicit homophobia cannot be ignored.

Sadly you still think your pronouncements will be accepted without question by a meek credulous herd. You have spent far too much time telling us just how sinful we are while drawing veils of respectability over your own grievous wrongdoings.

I sometimes despair of this church, this institution. It seems to me in my reading of the Gospels that Jesus had no problem whatsoever with those who were considered outsiders or exceptions. He appears to have happily shared meals with prostitutes, drunkards, lepers, Gentiles and I do not doubt with people of same-sex orientation since such an orientation has existed since time began. The church seems much happier with its version of order over compassion and love towards the so-called exceptions. It has an appalling history of excluding and torturing those who do not think or subscribe to its definition of ‘right’.

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.

I seem to have digressed somewhat but to return to where I started, same-sex marriage. I will always be unsure of the validity of any principle or opinion that makes one act in an unkind or intolerant way. Toleration, of course, has its limits, I want you to cry out against injustice and cruelty. Explain to me please exactly how marriage will be ‘changed forever’ by the proposed new laws, specifically tell me how my marriage will be threatened.

I admit that I am not very well versed on biblical texts and I know that there are those who can find a text to confirm any prejudice without having to resort to any sort of reasonable debate but surely if we accept one piece of scripture (Lev 18:22) which declares homosexuality to be an abomination, to judge what is right or wrong, we must accept them all. Following this logic we are therefore forbidden to wear garments made of two different kinds of thread (Lev 19:19), men must never have their hair trimmed especially around the temples (Lev 19:27). According to Lev 25:44 I may possess slaves provided they are purchased from neighboring nations, not sure if this applies to non-members of the EU! As for organizing the stoning of transgressors – well, a logistical nightmare!

Archbishop, we have grasped the principles of evolution, stopped burning witches and holding heresy trials, discounted the flat earth theory. Do you now think we could move the debate about equal human rights for people of same-sex orientation and also the status of women in the church on by a few millennia please?


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  • hudson

    I love this woman. Sadly, I doubt she’ll get any kind of reasoned response……….

  • marc sfe

    This woman is fantastic! This should go to every eff-ing person in the catholic church. She nailed it!!

  • Chad Hunt

    Love it, and her.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    The Church spins up hate-dollars for themselves. This woman’s letter is awesome. I bet she’s a fantastic nurse too. I cringed a bit when we were compared to lepers and all, but the point was not lost.

    This Church is dying and it is precisely because they don’t feed the flock, spiritually speaking. To read politically motivated letters to the congregants is insulting to the transformative notions of the Word. The gold, silk, and men “playing Church” is insulting to the Root of the Word.

    The hate is merely a symptom of a Church gone foul. The last tether to power is a political one and darkness abides in this worldly mindset. Credibility is lost, trust is lost, reputation is irreparably damaged and they have only themselves to blame for creating a counterfeit insult to the heart and mind of Christ.

    I do not understand why the author of such an insightful letter would waste one precious moment of her life gracing their pews. That is something beyond my understanding. My mother cannot stand the Catholic Church and, yet, she attends weekly. Beyond me.

  • Caliban

    DAMN! An incredibly educated and reasoned response to the Catholic Church, not just about its response to gay marriage, but how far it has wandered from the teachings of Christ, who it purports to represent.

    I am not a believer, but I believe that the teachings of Jesus, as opposed to those of his alleged hangers-on and the well after the fact writings of others, can be a positive force in the lives of people and communities. But the hate, fear, and insularity of many so-called Christians has caused me to dislike religion and its adherents altogether, assume all of them are are self-righteous and hateful until they prove otherwise.

    More believers like this woman speaking out could change that impression.

  • RomanHans

    Her note actually makes me sad. As she says, organized religion could be a great, positive force in the world. Instead they’re all focused on who’s sticking what into whom.

  • Charlie in Charge

    Spiritual strength and love – three snaps in a Z formation for this one.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    Charlie in Charge, “Three snaps in a Z formation” so cute.

  • 2eo

    She was also the youngest church attendee in the British Isles, the age has jumped up to near 80 with her leaving.

    Also, inferring and demanding that christians integrate and grow up. Not in this lifetime.

  • Dakotahgeo

    You miss all points if you do not yet understand that the Roamin’ Catholic Church is the Roamin’ Catholic hierarchies’ sex toy, and they will not give up ownership OR control of that… making, of course, all communication with them impossible. Let ’em crash and burn!

  • stormrage

    That was terrific!

  • EManhattan

    All of this has been said to the Church hierarchy many, many times.

    They do not care – it is not in any way a democratic organization, and their theology has always been made up by the Church as they go along, with no embarrassment or apology when they turn out to be dead wrong. Like when two different popes decreed that the earth neither rotates on its axis nor orbits the sun, and that it is a major heresy to believe or to teach that such motion is real. Or when pre-Magellan popes decreed that it was heresy to believe that people lived in the southern hemisphere. The list of their absurdly incorrect theological positions is long.

    The Church is as wrong about the nature of gay people and women as it was about cosmology and the global distribution of human populations. But they don’t care, they don’t have to – they are the Church.

  • D9W

    If I was the ‘adversary’ I would do my best to get the ‘Church’ to focus on everything but what it’s founder commanded it to do. But thanks to the people in dresses and big hats, the ‘adversary’ does not have to work too hard. It seems people like this lady would be the real threat to those who want to spin their religious “Big Wheel”(s) in big religious circles going religiously nowhere. Well that’s the thinking behind the “screw tape letters” by C.S. Lewis.

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