August 25, 2019

Friends ,

Periodically in some Catholic bulletins or periodicals you come across a question and answer column which is usually written by a priest. I find them interesting and find myself at times disagreeing with the “answer”. If I was writing such a column I may prefer to call it “Questions and Responses” because in today’s world nothing is simple anymore and there are so many ways of looking at issues that were formally “cut and dry.” One of the reasons is there is so much more information available because of advances in the fields of psychology, theology, sociology, genetics and spirituality. So much knowledge is accessible to the average person on the internet instantly. People who are diagnosed with an illness for example, and have left the doctor’s office will immediately google their diagnosis and will receive much more information about treatment and options than they were given by their doctor. That knowledge is compiled from the greatest minds around the world.

One of the questions that is asked by Catholics is whether you can baptize children of gay couples. The simple response is “Yes”. Personally, I am honored and impressed if a gay couple chooses to bring their children up in the Catholic faith. I realize that many faithfilled Catholics who were brought up Catholic and are now in a gay relationship or same sex marriage may choose not to raise their children in the Catholic Church. As was said to me, “why would we want to bring our children up in a Church that tells them that there is something wrong with their parents?”. As with many Catholics today, they don’t want to just go through the motions of having a ritual performed, they want to be able to commit themselves to following through with that spiritual commitment.

I have had the privilege of baptizing the children of gay couples and actually am very pleased when they want to be part of our communal baptisms so that their children are part of a greater faith community which is evident from the number of families celebrating the baptism together. It’s a wonderful sign to me of the many concepts of family  present in our Church today. e.g. married couples, single parents, interfaith couples, biracial families, and same sex couples. I consider it a wonderful opportunity to celebrate with those parents, families and their friends how welcoming and hospitable the Church can be if we model ourselves after the gospel.

I remember years ago in the seminary taking courses in moral theology that raised the question of “situation ethics.” The question becomes “can the situation surrounding the story affect how we judge it?”

I know we can find a quote somewhere in the Bible to justify our views on just about anything. The two quotes that truly reinforce my view of God as much broader than I was taught are “God shows no partiality”” and “Nothing can separate us from the love of God”.

That was the message of Christ and should be the message of our Church today.

Enjoy life!
Father Coyne


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