Ever since I can remember I’ve been a “doubting Thomas.” In fact my husband, a former seminarian, has raised an eyebrow or two when I’ve taken to interpreting Catholicism differently from that of the Church.
I’m no pushover as a follower. Perhaps that’s the black sheep in me. Or perhaps it’s because I’ve always been a rebellious, youngest child. Tell me I can’t do something, and you’ve got me wondering…”Why not?”
Give me something I can understand and own for myself, and I will follow you to the moon and back. But never try to pull the wool over my eyes, for you will probably lose me. Perhaps forever.
At the moment I’m once again a “doubting Thomas.”
For those of you unfamiliar with the phrase, “doubting Thomas,” it refers to one of Christ’s followers who, when confronted by the risen Christ is unable to accept that He is, in fact, risen from the dead. So that Thomas can believe, Christ instructs His disciple to place his finger into the holes in both hands where the nails were, and into the hole where a soldier’s lance pierced His side.
Only with physical proof could Thomas accept that his Lord and Master had indeed risen from the dead
Maybe that’s what I need. A face to face meeting with God.
You’re probably wondering what set me off this time. Well I’ll tell you.
Eastside Catholic School, an institution of some repute within our community, is in the midst of an uprising of sorts.
The school’s president and CEO, Sister Mary Tracy, fired Mark Zmuda, the vice-principal after learning that he married his gay partner last summer. She did so because, historically, the Catholic Church preaches against the evils of homosexuality. And according to her, she was acting on behalf of the very conservative Archbishop J. Peter Sartain formerly of Tennessee, who now heads the Church here in Seattle.
The outpouring of support for Zmuda from students, parents, the alumni, and the community-at-large has grown exponentially within the last several months. The protest has been brought to the attention of CNN’s Anderson Cooper and will probably make it onto Stephen Colbert’s show.
At this juncture it seems Sister Mary Tracy acted on her own.
The website of the archdiocese clearly states that it has no jurisdiction over Eastside Catholic School. “…this school is a Catholic institution that is separately incorporated and is not part of the Corporation of the Catholic Archbishop of Seattle. It is not sponsored, directed, administered or managed by the Archbishop of Seattle or his delegates.”
It’s almost a certainty that she won’t be turning to Pope Francis for help since he has publicly stated that he is fine with gays.
And it’s that papal statement upon which the protesters have decided to hang their cause. If the Pope is up for change, then why isn’t Sister Tracy?
Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that the school’s theatre director, also gay, intends to marry her partner this summer. To make matters worse, her contract was renewed along with an increase in salary.
Alumni member Mary Helen Nuxoll Kopczynski, class of 1996 and the school’s first female student body president, now residing in NYC, also questions how two long-time Jewish teachers at EC can follow Catholic doctrine since the school fired Mark Zmuda for “not following Catholic doctrine.” Kopczynski goes on to say that 17 teachers were fired in 2010 for wanting a grievance policy; they were each paid $7,000 for their silence. Kopczynski remarked
We are the crusaders, we are the product of this school and we don’t agree. I’m having a tough time understanding these weird unilateral, dark decisions.
In addition, Kopczynski said the alumni want to see the school’s board include two parents, two teachers and two alumni, not just ‘rich people.’
She said the school’s attorney, Michael Patterson, donated $90,000 to the school and he is also the attorney for the archdiocese, which would seem to be a conflict of interest.
An adult protester made note that “If Jesus were here today, he wouldn’t be in Sartain’s office, he’d be out here with us.” You’d think that was a no-brainer, right?
Unfortunately the Church bureaucrats get so caught up in their rules and regulations that they forget to live like Christ. They keep Him high up on a pedestal away from His followers.
And so, here I go again…
…i’m a doubting thomas…and glad of it…
Ahhh . . no where do I claim that GAY PEOPLE ARE EVIL. Ever heard of the phrase . . . .love the sinner, hate the sin?. My God also loves everyone. After-all, my God is the only god in all the pantheons of gods who died for His creation. Therefore, we worship the same God. But, our God is also a JUST God for, even though He loves us with a love we humans cannot comprehend, He also commands us to “. . . go and sin no more.” What is my definition of “Heaven”? God’s love. So, why should anyone turn away from such love by turning away from God and succumbing to the siren call of earth’s carnal pleasures? God created everyone of us for a purpose and a purpose for every function. To glorify the work of His hands. I heard a phrase recently that said . . .”if God does not judge the United States, then He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Ghomorra”. We cannot continue to spit in God’s face and expect to be saved. God may be all loving but, He certainly isn’t stupid.
Talking about rebelling . . . .I have rebelled against the Catholic Church for almost 50 years, now (since UH days), Last Easter I heard a priest say “just because you disagree with the Church, should not be a reason to not receive the sacraments”. I am back and, yes, I still have disagreements but, with the Church not Christ.
In my nightly rosary, all my ohana is remembered with the fondest aloha. I remember all the good things about my family. In fact, I believe Momma loved me so much that, she was willing to give me away at birth. To a loving family (Holokais).
Will always have your family in my heart. No matter our disagreements . . .aloha, sis
Having many gay friends and a nephew who married his long-time partner and is parenting 3 daughters abandoned to foster homes by heterosexual birth parents, I do not think of gays as sexual aberrants like you. I’ve moved beyond seeing them as only one-dimensional, as have my family. My husband works with gays, as does my daughter. You set yourself up, Ben, as speaking for God. We only speak for ourselves and what God is to us. Your heart is full of your own misgivings and misinterpretations as I see it. We do not love the same way. It’s difficult for me to accept your way of thinking. You seem too self-righteous.
Ah religion.. the source of all world conflict. Great post, hope it goes better than you “doubt.”
I guess God knew She would be open to interpretation, since we were blest with free will. I’m still on the fence about the Catholic Church. I grew up believing wholeheartedly in its teachings. However now that I am into my golden years with the end in sight, I see the Church’s flaws. After all, it was mankind who constructed the trappings that go along with the practice of faith…in all its various forms. And just as the Pharisees were misguided in Jesus’ eyes, so too are our religious leaders. I have no doubts when it comes to loving others as I love myself. My only doubts are about those who pigheadedly refuse to do the same. hugs for your thoughts…
What a mess with a bit of CYA going on, as always. The worst thing that ever happened to the teachings of Jesus is the institutional church, in my opinion. And, on top of that, there are no words of Jesus on the topic of gays.
I agree that the bureaucracy men established to nail down the practice of religion has gotten in the way of what it is we should believe. I do not believe in a God whose followers belong to an exclusive, religious country club. I believe in God as a shepherd who welcomes all into his flock. hugs for weighing in on this thorny issue…
Christ created the institutional church. I’m sure you read the Bible. It is man that corrupts the teaching of Christ. For example: True, Christ does not mention “gays” in His teachings. Why? Because, there was a time when the word “gay” meant to be in the state of happiness. Another example: the term “gay priests”. If a practicing Catholic priest or nun is celibate (as their vows says), is he/she heterosexual or homosexual? Neither. Is an effeminate man heterosexual or homosexual? Neither. It is the “act” that is the determinate. And, in our eyes as Christians, it is the “act” that is the sin because the “act” is against God’s (nature’s) law.
My family has told me to ignore your rantings, Ben. And perhaps I must, because you have a tendency to railroad your opinions until the other person is beaten to a pulp. You put a wedge between yourself and others that is difficult to overcome. Aloha…
Ahhh . . so many errors to correct. Firstly, Sister Mary Tracy answers to a higher authority than the archbishop OR EVEN THE POPE. She answers to Christ. And, the last I’ve heard, Christ has not changed His mind about the “abomination” of homosexuality. And, neither has Pope Francis although, he has a tendency to speak in a way that both sides of the spectrum can interpret what he says in the way that supports their arguments. I have read his speech. He says that we must love the person who is gay. AS CHRIST LOVES HIM, Christ allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross to bring salvation to SINNERS. Not to the holy. Christ will NEVER turn His face from any of us. It is we who turn away from salvation or accept Him. Pope Francis specifically states that he supports the historical teachings of the Church. So . . . .if you deem yourself a “rebel”, then I applaud you since I have always considered myself one too. However, When it involves my eternal salvation and the salvation of the ones I love (you), I will trust the Bible and not “rebel” against the word of God. I have ‘gay’ members in my family and will never stop loving them and praying for them because God’s love is much, much more glorious that earthly lust.
Sorry, Sis, but the Church’s obligation is to Jesus Christ , , ,not the culture of the times.
We have always walked to the beat of different drummers, Ben. Our politics are different; and so are our religious convictions. My God is merciful and loving. He forgives all and invites all to be with Him if that’s their desire. I don’t happen to believe that gay people are evil. I don’t think God does either.
As always…we go our own way. hugs to your family…