Chceme sa s vami podeliť o príspevok do Synody, ktorého autorom je pán Vojtěch z ČR. Text je po anglicky a bol zaslaný až do Vatikánu! Publikujeme so súhlasom autora.
MY CONTRIBUTION TO THE 2021-2023 SYNOD ON SYNODALITY
Your Eminence Cardinal Grech, Dear Collaborators of the Synodal Team,
I would like to address you a my contribution to the current Synod on synodality in the form of my thoughts on some aspects of my life in the Catholic Church. Even though I plan to attend a parish synodal circle in my town in person, there are some issues I would like to address you directly, beacuse, for reasons I am going to describe in the text, I do not feel comfortable and brave enough to speak in my local parish personally. I am fully aware that this is not a standard form of submission of the synodal contributions, and that your office is busy with other tasks, but if anyone took time to read my text, I would be very glad.
First of all, let me thank you and also His Holiness Pope Francis for the convocation of this synod. I am particularly grateful for the fact that all Catholic faithful and seekers as well are invited to offer their thoughts and insights in order to help the Church discern how to address the issues it deals with and how to communicate mainly within the Church.
I consider the Catholic Church my spiritual home, even though I am not a baptized Catholic. I was not baptized as an infant and I have discovered the life of faith in my late teenage years. Now I am thirty years old and I have educated myself on the matters of faith largely on my own. I read Catholic newspapers regularly and I follow the activities and speeches of Pope Francis, as I followed Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. I have a devotion for the Mass and Eucharist and since I know I cannot go to the communion, I value the gift of adoration and spiritual communion. In my country, there has been a long tradition of Marian devotion , demonstrated also through various pilgrimage sites. I visited some of them and I like Marian prayers as the rosary and Loretan litanies. Among the saints which are closest to me I would name St John of the Cross, St Teresa of Ávila, whose poetry I love; then St Zdislava and St Adalbert which are two of the patron saints of my country.
Having said that, I cannot hide that there are things in the Catholic doctrine which have confused me and which I struggle to accept. I do not find it particularly just that from the Catholic point of view, the only way how to live within a loving relationship is heterosexual marriage. I do not want to turn my text into a socio-political statement and I would definitely not call myself an LGBT activist, but is not easy coming to terms that if I wanted to remain a faithful Catholic in good standing, I would have to resign on my desire to form and maintain a loving relationship. I really do not feel called to marriage with a woman, raising children with her. If I tried to „twist and force myself“ into it, I would call it dishonest to the woman, primarily. Just to make things clear: I am strongly against any intimate relationship which is not based on love and I do not have a male partner, but I feel it excessively burdensome that I would have to be forced to refrain from any display of affection (I do not speak of public display) altogether if I had one.
That is my principal reason why I have not decided myself to enter the catechumenate yet. I do not want to lie through the process and I definitely do not want to receive the Eucharist sacrilegiously thereafter. At the same time, I would feel very unpleasant and embarrassed having to open the theme in every confession, and I would therefore have to refrain from the communion anyway. I love Jesus too much to cheat on him.
The Catholic Church in my country, however, offers little opportunities to discuss the theme of same-sex love openly and honestly. There are no diocesan or parish services dedicated to listening to people with these concerns. I want to point this out in the context of the synod. Regardless of what we might think about the LGBT movement or Pride, LGBT people must be listened to in the Church. In my country, there are more LGBT people than regular churchgoers (ca. 400-450 000 vs. 375 000 people). Reaching out to them is not only an act of Christian love, but also that of mission we must never cease to think of. The Church should not try to „repair“ them, but instead look at them as people who are the recipients of the Lord´s love and the Gospel. Judging from what I have read and heard, I feel how much the LGBT scene is void of God, but mainly because of their concern that should an LGBT person come to the Church community, they would be either rebuked, criticised or, at best, silently tolerated if they remained „in the closet“.
The second theme I would like to address is the image of our churches I have often encountered. Even though I am not a person who attends the Mass every week, I have visited many parishes, both urban and rural. Being a primarily introverted person who finds it difficult to make new friends, I was frequently disappointed that those communities showed no concern that a new visitor came among them. In my country, very much is being said about the falling number of the churchgoers. The bishops and priests often say that mainly the young adult people do not participate in Masses and Church activities. Yet, when I came to a church I have not visited before, few times someone reached out to me. A smile, a handshake or a short word of welcome (perhaps accompanied by a small gift like a parish bulletin or a paper picture) cost little or nothing. When we want the young people to take part in the Church, we must feel them welcome in the first place.
To sum my text up, I want to highlight what I think should be paid attention to in the Church: the LGBT people should be welcomed and they should not be overlooked. They do not pose a threat to the Church. Especially in Europe, where I live, some bishops and priests frequently talk about the defense of the traditional family values and many LGBT believers (those who still go to the church) can be deeply impacted by the harsh words which are sometimes directed at them. In many European countries, most children are not baptized Catholic, Catholic weddings do not form a majority of all weddings and in all European countries, more than a half of the baptized Christians do not attend religious services regularly. The Church should intensify its mission of spreading the Gospel and do it in love and respect. The criticism of people who want to show their love to a person of the same sex cannot be justified by the defense of the family in the context where most families are not practising Christian. Additionally, our parishes and churches should be more sensitive in welcoming especially the young people; not by preparing expensive pastoral programs, but by showing them a place where they can abide with God and experience a sense of community of prayer.
My attitude towards the Church is not that of criticism. I do not want to give up on the Church, as I have written, it is my spiritual home. I see lot of good taking place. I hope I will not get lost on my journey of faith and since my favourite Chuch solemnity is that of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I truly believe that love is omnipotent. I really believe that Jesus loves me despite my faults and sins and lack of courage to accept the sacrament of baptism. I hope that God is merciful and that he will show more mercy than judgment.
If it is possible, I ask for your prayers as I pray for His Holiness Pope Francis and all of you who work for the preparation of this synod.