I have not yet gone through confirmation in the Catholic Church. There is a high chance that I will eventually, but I haven’t right now.
In the Catholic Church, it is around this time that kids around my age get confirmed through their own free will or with their parents dangling college tuition money over their heads to do so.
Being Catholic and queer is sort of a weird mix.
It basically means my future spiritual and family life is just one big giant question mark. Will I have support from parishioners at my Church when I start seriously dating? Should I get married in the Catholic Church if I marry a man? If that happened, would people invalidate my queerness? How will my future children or family be seen in the Church while I am openly queer? If I marry a woman, could we baptize our children as a family?
Maybe the answers are out there, but I just don’t know.
Sure there have been pastoral letters written in favor of supporting LGBTQ people as “brothers and sisters” and loving LGBTQ children, yet the LGBTQ community is still severely under-loved in the Catholic Church.
I am not a part of an aggressively loving faith tradition that I can fully trust to fight for my rights and basic human dignities wherever I go in the world. From what I understand, the Church’s stance on LGBTQ rights varies drastically from parish to parish.
My parish, St. Joseph’s in Seattle, continuously speaks out for loving all people—no exceptions.
St. Joseph didn’t ask their congregants to sign anti-marriage equality petitions. Yet getting confirmed, even at St. Joseph’s, wouldn’t feel right.
As far as I know, whatever God, mystic energy, or what have you that gave me the heads up to advocate for my LGBTQ people couldn’t care less who I love—as long as I love. There’s no spiritual distance there—for me, the question is whether I can publicly go through the official sacrament in the right mind with the Church in its current state.
The Catholic Church says that the confirmation I have in my heart with the dude upstairs is what confirmation really is, and it’s all I really need.
But I’ve already done that—so why do I need to get officially confirmed?
Well, there are three big things here:
1. My mother. She grew up in a culture that said if you don’t get your baby baptized in the first couple months after birth, then you’re essentially offering your kid to Satan to be used as a brick on the path to a fiery Hell. This comes from the belief that souls of unbaptized babies are lost to Satan. Not getting her kid confirmed at seventeen is something similar to this. Do I believe that? No. Do I care about my mother’s peace of mind? Yes.
2. If I am the only Catholic in a marriage/relationship, I’ll have to get confirmed eventually to baptize my kid or get married in the Church. But why would I want to put my kid through Catholicism, faults and all? Partly because of my first point and partly because I wishfully think having one more welcoming and affirming person in the Church might be a good plan.
3. If I am going to be taken seriously in debates of my Catholicity, it wouldn’t hurt to be Confirmed as well.
For most kids, this isn’t a big deal at all, and most of my friends have opted out of getting confirmed.
My spirituality and the work of the Catholic Church—when Catholic-affiliated groups are not protesting gay marriage, a woman’s ability to choose what she does with her body, stem-cell research, and a plethora of other social issues—are actually really important for so many people’s lives, and they are important to me.
Especially with what’s happening in Arizona where Catholics are encouraging Governor Brewer to sign a bill that would allow people to discriminate against LGBTQ people (not that they don’t do that already), I can’t realistically see myself publicly acknowledging myself as an adult in the Church quite yet.
Maybe I’m wrong in not getting confirmed this time around—the Church probably needs a couple of queers around to make things a little more fabulous.