For the past few years, we have heard from the media reports from anonymous people who have had the courage to speak out about the sexual immorality of priests. These men were allowed to hold spiritual power in communities of faith for decades, their sins were covered up and if it caused a problem, they were moved on to another community. If anything is to be considered an abomination it is the actions of those who abuse their power over the vulnerable, causing lifelong damage.
Here we stand on new unsteady ground, where the sexuality of consenting adults is threatening the stability and unity of the church. Christians who are same sex attracted and wish to receive spiritual care and participation in sacred moments are being denied. Why? Because the church authorities deem it to be unacceptable. If people want to be fully fledged members (or ministers) of the church, or even to receive the marriage rites that are received by any person of any faith all over the world – do they need to change their sexual orientation?
So, why is the celibacy of gay Christians a vital public issue when the sexual abuse by priests has been covered up for decades? This is the definition of hypocrisy. The morality of institution of the church is at an all-time low and yet it still decides to wield the stick toward the vulnerable and marginalized.
The ‘progressive church’ is not denying the existence of Jesus or the fact that Jesus was God, the fact that Jesus died and rose again or the fact that all are sinners and fall short of the glory of God. To do this, it would be considered heretical. Instead, they are seeking to offer Jesus’ gift of grace and forgiveness to all people, regardless of who they are or what they have done. No strings attached.
Some might consider that ‘Repent or die’ is good news, but many would beg to differ. The ‘stain’ on the church due to sexual (or other) abuse that was not reported, not dealt with, not taken seriously is the dark side of the church that is afraid to deal with sexuality.