I felt so sad on Monday when I read that the Vatican is barring the blessing of same-sex unions, declaring that “God cannot bless sin.” It was a nasty reminder that I choose to stay in a religion that excludes nonconformists and women, and passes judgment on people even when they’re living their truest, most love-filled life.
My husband and I have chosen a parish for our family with a culture of inclusion, and one with priests who preach love instead of judgment. Indeed, it’s a parish where I feel encouraged and expected to see the world with love-filled eyes and assess what is right and wrong through that lens. The dissonance between that message and the Vatican’s message this week is profound and is wearing on me.
For anyone trying to sort out the same sense of dissonance, or for anyone hurt personally by the Vatican’s culture of exclusion, I offer this letter from Father Clay:
Sin is a betrayal of love, not a breaking of rules
Here are some suggestions for allowing God to transform us beyond purity and duty into the reign of God:
- Be quietly aware of the Love (God) that is within all of us.
- Want and desire that Love to slowly transform us into compassion.
- Accept that we are human with our limitations and flaws.
- Be quietly aware of the ways we harm ourselves and others.
- Have compassion for ourselves and others.
- Be quietly aware that we are good and that our goodness can blossom.
- Be quietly aware that Love is not mad at us and only wants us to grow in goodness and happiness.
- Be quietly aware that Love cherishes us.
- Laugh and take delight in how mixed up we are.
In conclusion, sin is a theological category. It is not a legal or canonical category. Sin is a betrayal of love and is not the breaking of a rule.
There are times when breaking a rule is a betrayal of love and so would be a sin.
There are times when no rule is broken, but there is a betrayal of love and so there would be a sin.
There are times when a rule is broken, but there is no betrayal of love and so there is no sin.
Smile, God Loves You.
From the letter “Purity and Duty” in Awesome Love by Father John Clay, (c) 2013
One thought on “Love is not a sin”
Thank you for this! As a young gay guy I felt a lot of guilt, shame, and denial while growing up in the church. I didn’t end up in any relationships or even have my first kiss until 2017 (my first boyfriend) and I was alone and I internalized everything. I hated myself. But supportive, thoughtful, and tolerant people like you give me courage!
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