Father Joseph V. Corpora, CSC | March 28, 2017
In every age the Church finds herself asking very important moral questions. At one and the same time, the Church cannot change and the Church has to change. We can see examples of this throughout the Church’s history. For the better part of 19 centuries, the Church condoned slavery, or turned a blind eye to the bishops and religious communities who held slaves and spoke out on the institution’s behalf. It is only in the past century and a half that the Church has unequivocally condemned slavery as evil and immoral.
In our own day the landscape of sexual orientation and of gender identity is changing faster than a three-year-old falls asleep at a Sunday homily. While the Church does not have to jump on every bandwagon that passes by, it must listen to and read the signs of the times.
Sexual orientation and all it entails must be faced and thought about. Questions have to be asked. Answers must be sought. Conversations have to be had. The Church cannot be absent from the conversation about sexual orientation. If the Church is absent, it is at its own peril.
Part of my job description in campus ministry at Notre Dame is to serve lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students. A few weeks ago I set out to meet individually with as many as I could. I wanted to talk with them one by one, to hear their stories if they wished to share them, and to ask who might be willing to come to a gathering one afternoon to talk about how campus ministry might better serve their needs. What is the intersection of spirituality and sexuality? I wanted to ask that question with students who are trying to figure out how to make these two things intersect. I explained that the purpose of the group meeting would not be to talk about policies or that sort of thing. Rather I would listen to what these beautiful children of God want of the Church — what they want of campus ministry at Notre Dame — and I would try to respond with mercy, to lead with mercy.
I learned so much from those meetings.