Good Friday: Claiming a Place

BY FR. JAMES MARTIN, S.J. | March 30, 2018
Good Friday
Today’s Readings

In my work with LGBT people, I have been both alarmed and appalled by the stories I’ve heard from them about their treatment by their churches—Catholic and otherwise. An autistic gay man recently told me how his local pastor had refused to give him Communion. The man was not sexually active but had simply come out to his family and friends. As a result, the priest told him that he could not present himself for Communion line but, if he wanted he could receive “privately” in the pastor’s office.

“The Church is the cross on which Christ is crucified today,” wrote the 20th-century theologian Romano Guardini, and I think this is some of what he meant.  

Of course, the Church is also the source of infinite grace for people—and for myself. But it is imperfect—those in it and those who lead it can sin. Thus, it can be a source of crucifixion for people.

[Brian Talbot via Flickr]

So how do we break forth and claim our places in the church? And how do we help to build a church that is more welcoming? First, by realizing that all of us baptized Christians are part of the church. Be rooted in the sacramental grace of your baptism, your membership in the church.  Let no one tell you that you are not a “true Catholic” or a “true Christian.” And resist anyone who tries to label others as “bad Catholics” or “bad Christians.” Second, by remembering that we all have a right to participate and make our voices known. The Second Vatican Council, in its document Lumen Gentium, said, in fact, that lay people are sometimes “duty-bound” to express their opinions. Third, by remembering that in the midst of sin there is grace; in the midst of inertia there is progress, and in the midst of death there is new life.  

Sometimes, though, we have to fight to see it all.

5 replies
  1. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    Thank you, Fr. James, for your encouraging words of forgiveness and as forgiven, urging us to spread the Love by sharing God’s Word in church, and any and everywhere we encounter the “other”….we are all ONE in God’s Love…..

  2. ROB
    ROB says:

    Thanks for this article Fr James. HOWEVER, the image in this story has an upside-down flag. As far as I know the red should be on top. Just an FYI.

  3. Frank Hannon
    Frank Hannon says:

    “And how do we help to build a church that is more welcoming?” Please correct me if I am wrong, Fr., but by “more welcoming” to homosexuals, what you really mean is denying that homosexual conduct is sinful. Well, our Rise Lord is not a liar, nor is His Bride. The Church has as much standing to rewrite doctrine on that or on any other matter as She has to rewrite the law of gravity, and your thematic suggestion to the contrary is a monumentally grave disservice to thousands.

    “It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.” Luke 17:2

    “For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4


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