NCR's new blog series "5 minutes with Francis" poses the question: If you managed to meet up with Pope Francis during his U.S. visit -- and you had his full, undivided attention for five minutes -- what would you say to him?
A little background about me: I felt I had a vocation to the priesthood since an early age, even in kindergarten. I entered the minor seminary in 1956, professed my first vows in the order of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1961, final vows in 1964, and was ordained a priest in 1968. I was attracted to the priests of the Sacred Heart by their work with the Lakota (Sioux) Native Americans.
I have a master’s degree in early Christian literature from Fordham University in New York and a diploma in European Archaeology from Oxford University. I requested a dispensation from my religious vows and priesthood in 1980 and received them from Pope John Paul II in 1986. The reason: I felt I could not live a celibate life and wished to spend my life with a partner, stating that I was homosexual.
I believe that I am created in the image and likeness of God and therefore not “intrinsically disordered” as the Catechism of the Catholic Church states. My sexual orientation is as much a part of me as a whole person as is any other aspect of my being. I have been saved by the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus and strive to live my life according to his example and teachings.
In my committed relationship with my partner, my whole being expresses our mutual love: physical, sexual, emotional and spiritual. This is normal, a part of our humanity and human relationship. Every aspect of your teaching about human and marital relationships applies to our relationship. Of course, we do not have the capability of physically procreating which is the added dimension of a heterosexual relationship. We share profoundly in the Trinitarian generation of love, the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus and being nourished by the Word and his body and blood.
However with the current negative teaching of the church about homosexual persons and homosexuality, we are unwelcome in the church and prevented from exercising a public role in the life and activities of the church.
Please change the “traditional” negative teaching on homosexuality and homosexuals, recognize us as normal healthy human beings, and ensure that we are a welcome part in an inclusive church.
What would you say during five minutes with Pope Francis? Pick one subject, and send us a brief note (300-400 words max) about the subject, and what you would say. Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org.