an open letter to my former parish

Dear St. Therese Parish,

I am writing this letter to state how shocked and appalled I am by you allowing signs supporting Proposition 8 to be posted on your property.

Yes, I am well-aware of the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality, and thus on gay marriage, however there are a few things I would like you to know, if not fully understand or accept.

I was born into a Catholic family and attended Catholic school for eight happy years, four of which were on your very grounds. I am proud of my background for many reasons, spiritual and otherwise. One of the things that makes me most proud to be a Catholic are the teachings I learned from Christ and from the community.

What I learned in Catholic school and what I will keep with me for the rest of my life are Christ’s teachings on social justice. I learned that Jesus did not look down upon others, and in fact taught us that we are entrusted with the welfare of the poor and meek, the outcast and forgotten. I learned to value love and equality above all things. I am choked-up, as I write this, to realize the hypocrisy that you, or we, as representatives of the Church are displaying openly for the world and community to see.

By displaying signs that support a proposition that intends to alter the California constitution to take away civil rights from a certain law-abiding sector of the population, you are supporting a grave injustice.

The fact is that as a homosexual woman, I have to disagree with you on your belief that the way I was born and choose to openly live is an abomination, and I do regret that I will never be able to marry within your walls, however, I respect your right as a religious institution to believe, teach, and uphold your ideals. There is no question of that, and I do not know anyone who truly opposes your right to enforce that inside your Church community.

What I need you to know, what I am sure of, is that one of these Catholic ideals is not and has never been bigotry and the denial of basic civil rights to American citizens, or citizens of the world at large. At the end of my life, I may be judged for my choices, one of which, incidentally, was not to be gay, but I feel confident in the knowledge that I have and will continue to do right by the teachings I learned as a little girl, to treat all those around me with honor and respect, even if I disagree with certain aspects of their lives, and that it would be inherently wrong to make or enforce laws to treat those people differently. If anything, we, your gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, are often downtrodden by society, and as such are some of the very people whom Jesus taught His followers to look after.

I do not expect to change your mind regarding homosexuality because of this letter. That is not my aim. What I do want to say is that having these signs in my neighborhood and on the property of a parish I once belonged to and occasionally attend is extremely offensive. To many, including myself, this is no different than displaying propaganda seeking to ban interracial marriage, which we must remember was also once against the law. I do not believe you would allow someone to or choose to post racist or sexist signs on your property, and as these signs represent a similar prejudice, I would appreciate it if you would remove them immediately.



  1. erin says:

    you are awesome!! i can’t wait to hear the outcome.

  2. Amy says:

    Honestly, I teared up reading this. I am SO over the bigotry…so so so so so so so OVER IT. ugh.
    Great letter.

  3. retro says:

    blog more!

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