June 30, 2019

Friends ,

I really enjoy writing these Pastor’s notes. I try to use the opportunity to challenge myself to think things through. Sometimes that is easier to do when you write them down. As you know, when people go on retreat or take a sabbatical they are strongly encouraged to keep a journal and to put their thoughts on paper. Many counselors and therapists are advocates for this approach as it encourages us to think and reflect not only as we write but gives us the opportunity to reread our words months and even years later. I remember keeping a journal when I was on a 3 month sabbatical in Menlo Park, CA. in 1997. I no longer have these reflections but I am sure they were my honest and unedited thoughts at the time.

This week I’ve been aware that the U.S. bishops have been meeting in Baltimore (June 11-14) to once again discuss the sex abuse crisis and the Church’s responsibility and response. I'm sure many Catholics are encouraged by these meetings while many are also discouraged. The Church does not have the respect and trust of the human community at this time especially in this area of decision making and implementing procedures. The fall out is tragic.

On another subject, June is Gay Pride Month around the world and the Gay Pride Parade was held in Boston on June 8. Apparently it was the largest turnout yet for this celebration. The Catholic Church would not be noted for its strong support for the gay community but how blessed are we as a Church with so many gay Catholics. There are many who have left the Church who don’t feel welcome at the table because of their orientation. Many of their family members have also severed their relationship with the Church as a sign of their support for their children, parents, grandchildren or relatives. The question for each of us is: do we believe it is a choice or a reality? None of us can truly know anyone’s story but our own. Personally, I believe that everyone has the right to tell me who they are and I have to respect to believe them.

And yet another subject, the Church has come out with a statement on Transgender identity titled “Male and Female He Created Them”: Our world today is so full of scientific, psychological, and genetic information that was never available to the average person just a short time ago. New knowledge always challenges past beliefs. We have “always” identified gender by biology, we are now investigating whether gender can be psychological as well as biological. So the question becomes can a person be biologically male but psychologically female and vice versa? Obviously, there are Catholics who are also transgender. Hand how are they received in their families and in our Church.

These 3 issues that I write about are very different from one another. Many Catholics would love to return to the “good old days” but our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren challenge us to face these realities with them. It can be very painful for some and hope filled for others.

As a priest I consider it a privilege to accompany people on their human journey as well as their faith journey. To do so, you have to respect and embrace other peoples life experiences even when they differ from your own.

Enjoy life!
Father Coyne


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