I converted to Catholicism in March of 2013. I wouldn’t necessarily say I was anything major before that — I think technically I was Protestant — but I converted in part because it seemed relevant / interesting (my mom grew up Catholic) and in part because my wife is Catholic and her family is pretty devoted Catholic. I had no real base in “Oh, I believe this or I understand this” or whatever, aside from having a general sense of faith and belief in a higher order. All that said, the one thing that most confused me about being Catholic before I became Catholic was the homosexual marriage thing — or acceptance of homosexuality in general. If you had to pick a one-word theme for the Bible, I’d argue “love” seems to be a good choice. So if two people love each other, why are we preventing them from being together just because they’re the same sex? Because of a book written centuries ago that has numerous other inconsistencies?
It seems like a lot of younger Catholics feel the way I do — look at the chart embedded in this post. It goes down by generation — 18 to 29 year-olds have an 85 percent acceptance rate, whereas 65+ is lower than 60 percent — but the overall acceptance rate for homosexuality is 70 percent, which I would argue is pretty good for the Catholic faith over time on this issue. I got this chart from Pew Research, and they mention Pope Francis’ more-inclusive language on homosexuality. I’d agree with that — I know a lot of Catholics through my mom (i.e. her family), and a good deal of them said they felt they could “come back to the church” because of Francis and his more liberal attitudes on some of these issues.
Same with my in-laws: my wife’s good friend is a lesbian, and when she got married, my mother-in-law had concerns as relates to the church (that was probably 2006 or so). I talked to her about it in 2013 and she said she’s fine with it, and that her kids influenced a new line of thinking about it. She’s probably 55 or so, so she’s in the “67 percent acceptance” group here. This is a woman that, even 10 years ago, would take the Bible at absolute full face value — so a shift of that proportion is pretty significant, honestly.
It’s good to see the Catholic church evolve, though. I don’t think I’m any kind of intelligent person or religious scholar (definitely not the latter), but that always did confuse me. If the entire theory of the Bible and Jesus is that he gave himself so we could live — the ultimate act of love — then why do we worry about the form love takes? Because of some other passage? That’s dumb. If we think that way, we shouldn’t be wearing cotton, you know? Major documents can be inconsistent. That’s fine, and it happens — but don’t miss the overall point (love and sacrifice) just because of a couple of lines here and there.