“I am a queer Catholic. When will the church feel like home?” This question was posed by a young woman named Grace Doerfler in a recent essay in America magazine. As someone who once lived life as a gay man and who has now converted to the Catholic Church and found there a welcome home, I am always interested in those who identify as LGBTQ and argue that the Catholic Church is not a home for them. These narratives are always the same: the only conversion that is ever discussed in these sorts of complaints is how the Church needs to change to suit them.
Doerfler’s essay is no different. She begins by letting her readers know that though she is Catholic, she has felt more comfortable of late in an Episcopalian Church because, as she tells us, “I often question if I can truly find home in this church, which often seems to go to great lengths to make people who love the way I do feel unwelcome in the Body of Christ.” In her essay, she speaks in flowery “spiritualese” of her Catholic faith and her “queer” identity:
As someone who identifies as both Catholic and queer, I deeply believe there is a connection between our words and our lives. Through my Catholicism, I have faith that language is a holy space in which we encounter the divine. It was through the Word becoming flesh that God chose to encounter her people; it was with a word that Jesus offered healing and grace; in naming, we commit to relationship with God.