To the Journal editor:
It is interesting that The Mining Journal would find the practices and traditions of the Catholic Church worthy of front page status in the article "Catholic Church Dispute" and then headline the next edition with "Bishop backs priest's decision in Brown flap."
It's not as if this religious institution has not been around since 1AD and as one of the oldest branches of Christianity, its teachings have been around for a couple centuries so I question the newsworthiness of these articles.
Does the Journal expect its readers to be outraged at the church's position or is the agenda simply to grow compassion and empathy for Mr. Brown and the gay rights movement in general?
I am pro-marriage equality. I view equal treatment of same gender couples as a civil rights issue as it pertains to government. I am also Catholic, although currently non-practicing. I understand that there are many activities that I personally can, and have, participated in that would, and have, barred me from full participation in Catholic Mass and worship.
Years ago, I taught religious education. Many months after being divorced, I began dating a person of the opposite sex. The parish priest asked me to resign as religious education instructor. Out of respect for the church, I resigned my position. (No headlines for me.)
Catholics who marry outside of the church are also not considered in full communion with the church and, while welcome to attend Mass, are prohibited from receiving Holy Communion.
You don't have to be gay to be banned from some Catholic activities. Mr. Brown and the Journal need to understand that being a practicing homosexual is just not that special as far as the Catholic Church is concerned. It deserves no special exceptions.
No individual or group of people should expect a religious institution to change its doctrine or belief system for them. It is, after all, what they believe. The same document that inspires me to support Mr. Brown's quest for equal treatment under the law also inspires me to advocate for the continued protection of the free exercise of religious belief.
Mr. Brown continues to enjoy his right of free association while he strives for equal treatment under the law and he should exercise that right while seeking a church that is more congruous with his own religious convictions.