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Maren Ortmeier, Published October 20 2012

Letter: Faith compels my opposition to amendment

It is because of my Catholic faith that I oppose the Minnesota Marriage Amendment. The Eucharist and devotion to Mother Mary, our most treasured traditions, have the potential to move us from our small self into our larger self (body of Christ).

Christ in the Eucharist has the ability to transform us, often motivated by love or suffering. Since Jesus’ agenda was solidarity with suffering itself, our hearts are invited into the pain of the “other.” Many homosexuals have suffered deeply and have been denied their life potential as society and religion tried to shame them. But not only was Jesus present in their suffering, he also never played the “shame game.” Ironically, it was the act of accusing that made Jesus mad, not the so-called sinner.

The church has shown little compassion or community toward gay members. Recently U.S. nuns were chastised for ministering to gays; many wonderful priests have been mandated voiceless on this issue. Yet, if we are to become the fullness of the body of Christ, we must be in solidarity with all that God has lovingly created.

In times of motherly despair, I picture Mary standing at the foot of the cross. She knows a mother’s pain. I know many Catholic mothers who have gay children and who feel betrayed and isolated by the church. Mother Mary knows their pain. We all desire to feel loved and respected.

Centuries of Catholic monastic life taught us celibacy is best lived in community voluntarily, not in mandated isolation by shame. Mothers know God doesn’t make children who are “less than.” Loving mothers should be a guiding light in this issue, as it is Mary’s love for Jesus that most closely reflects God’s love for us.

How can we honestly sing songs like “All Are Welcome”? How can we remain immune to another’s pain when our traditions call us to act on their behalf? This pre-emptive strike (the amendment) prevents needed and deserved discussion of civil same sex partnership. Cardinal Dolan and Bishop DiMarzio said in a statement: “There is too much finger pointing and not enough joining hands. Solidarity is critical to ensure the dignity of all.” Well said.

Ortmeier, her husband and children are members at both St. Joseph’s (Moorhead) and St. Peter’s (Park Rapids, Minn.) Catholic churches.