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Faith in Action

How Open Is the Catholic Door?

Emma Baran

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One of the most controversial issues facing the Catholic Church today is the Church’s views on homosexuality in regards with the LGBT community. According to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, people who are attracted to the same sex should seek help through the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation:

“The Church seeks to enable every person to live out the universal call to holiness. Persons with a homosexual inclination ought to receive every aid and encouragement to embrace this call personally and fully. This will unavoidably involve much struggle and self mastery, for following Jesus means following the way of the Cross…. The Sacraments of the Eucharist and of Penance are essential sources of consolation and aid on this path.”

This past month, Slate’s Ruth Graham published a well-written piece about the efforts to canonize Fr. Mychal Judge. Fr. Judge is widely known for his heroic relief efforts following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He rushed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center to help victims, and a camera crew later found footage of him praying in the lobby of the tower while wearing a helmet reading “F.D.N.Y Chaplain.” He also administered last rites to a firefighter who was dying. Unfortunately, Fr. Judge passed away that day due to fatal injuries. Firefighters later presented his helmet to Pope St. John Paul II.

Many people consider his circumstances of death to be fitted in the new category of canonization, “the offering of life”, which was announced by Pope Francis this past summer. Many disagree, however, due to the fact that he was gay.

If you asked somebody who didn’t know who Fr. Judge was, they probably would tell you he should be a saint. “I think that he could be considered a saint because he sacrificed his life to help save other people, which is a very heroic act,” says Ally Galanty, a 2017 graduate from Divine Child High School. Due to his sacrifices, he can technically be considered for canonization.

When Galanty was told why others disagree about Fr. Judge’s efforts to be canonized, she responded with: “Regardless of his sexuality, if he is up to be possibly canonized a saint because of his actions, his sexuality shouldn’t matter.”

In the end, what truly matters is how we live our lives as Catholics. If someone like Fr. Mychal dedicated their life to following in Jesus’ footsteps, his sexuality should not have a major impact on his legacy and his canonization efforts. People should see that he made greatest sacrifice one can give, his life.

“If a homeless person shows up at the parish, let us rejoice! If a teenager covered in tattoos and piercings walks in, let us be glad! Let us make our parishes places where everyone who attends Mass can also make friends, find mentors, and feel known, loved, and supported,” proclaimed Archbishop Allen Vigneron in “Unleash the Gospel.”

In order to be joyful missionary disciples, we need to make our parishes a place of welcome, and not a place of judgment.

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How Open Is the Catholic Door?