Friday, October 19, 2018

"I Am Excommunicated from This 'Redemptive Institution' Because 3 Years Ago, John and I Formalized our 49-Years of Living, Loving and Ministering Together by Registering Our Civil Union"

The following is testimony that Rolando shared at Bilgrimage several days ago. This testimony deserves a wider hearing than it will receive if it remains in a combox; I'm posting it as a stand-alone comment for that reason. This story is just so painful — and it's one that is repeating itself over and over in Catholic institutions right now. 

Rolando writes, 

I should add that currently, I am excommunicated from this "redemptive institution" because 3 years ago, John and I formalized our 49-years of living, loving and ministering together by registering our civil union in Oregon. Until then, there had been no problem with my serving as catechist, lector, extraordinary minister of the Eucharist, altar server, minister at Eucharistic services in the absence of a priest, liaison with our other community churches, parish administrative council member, even writing commentaries on our weekly Readings for our members and serving as janitor and convenient jack-of-all trades as long as John and I were just two celibate men living in the same house. 
Our archbishop has officially stated that homosexuals should not receive the Holy Eucharist, since they have must "sacramentally confess all serious sins with a firm purpose to change.” We are in our 70s; John is an orphan. We registered our union so that we could care for each other in all situations. Three weeks after registering what the archbishop can only see as an intrinsically disordered same-sex marriage, John had a heart attack. I was able not only to take him to the emergency room, but also to accompany him, as spouse, through the ensuing traumas to comfort and reassure him, to stay with him as he went through the never-ending anxious moments, to be with him during the doctor’s visits and receive information about his status and instructions about aftercare. For that, I am excommunicated.

Tears spring to my eyes as I read Rolando's testimony. I am so ashamed that any Christian church could permit itself to behave this way towards two elderly men, one of whom had served faithfully many years in different ministerial capacities, as his statement indicates.

The graphic: a detail from Rogier van der Weyden's Descent from the Cross (abt. 1435), which is held by the Museo Nacional del Prado; this photo is in the common domain and has been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons for online sharing.

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