Damian Torres-Botello, S.J. — a priest-in-training — publicized his homosexuality April 17 in an article on The Jesuit Post titled “This I Believe: Created in God’s Image.” His point is a poignant one, made all the more so due to the fact that he is training to be a leader in the church.
In the article, he discussed how many Catholics find trouble trying to feel like they are a part of a church that doesn’t fully accept them. He goes on to note that this feeling doesn’t just apply to homosexuals.
He says, “I am more than my skin color, my sexual orientation, and my economic class. It restricts God’s image and likeness if I only see myself as those three aspects … God made us all in his image and likeness … to embrace all that we are — and embrace each other with that love — is to embrace that image and likeness; it is to embrace God.”
I believe that the Catholic Church has made tremendous strides in the past few years — most notably since Pope Francis was elected. Francis calling for the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of the Family meant that the issues concerning divorcees and gays, among others, were of paramount import and could wait no longer to be discussed. This is a point that I do not want to gloss over — it is a monumental shift in the attitude of the church for Francis to try to redefine the issue of homosexuality, one that needs to be celebrated.
However, these strides are not enough. While it is amazing and took tremendous courage for Botello to come out in such a public forum, we are in 2015. It is amazing that people still feel the need to bring up the Catechism of the Catholic Church (one need only look at reports referring to his article to see this) when all Botello was talking about was God’s acceptance and love. If a heterosexual white man wrote the article instead of a gay black man, would we still feel it necessary to trot out the parts of the catechism that talk about the unitive nature of heterosexual love?
While my comments are sure to be lost in a sea of similar statements, it still needs to be said that we are at a point in our humanity where people need to recognize the love, the God, that is present in all of us.