A documentary on the difficulties of being gay and trying to live by Christian values and growing up with in hostile Catholic Church, was the subject of a documentary on RTE television shown last week.
The award winning film focussed on two people who gave talks at the St Gerard’s Novena In Dundalk in 2012 at the invitation of Adm Fr Michael Cusack, St Joseph’s Redemptorist Church Dundalk.
Fr Michael Cusack, speaking on Today With Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio 1, said that one day is set aside during the annual novena and dedicated to a talk on a topic of concern.
Fr Cusack said he had been approached by a mother with tears in her eyes who had asked him to talk to members of the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transexual) community because she believed that one day her son would be run out of town because of his sexual orientation.
So he decided that in an effort to allow people to hear what life was like for the LGBT community and for parents, it was worth the risk of asking them to address the novena congregation.
He said the Church is more about salvation than it is about sin. It is also a Church that is compassionate and trying to reach out to people in the whole community.
“Since the documentary was made,” Fr Cusack told the programme, “Pope Francis has been elected. He would be non judgemental.”
The speakers on that day in 2012 were Kay Ferriter and Stephen Vaughan.
In the documentary Kate Ferriter said: “When I met a woman I wanted to spend my life with, and realised the physical expression of our love made us sinners in the eyes of Catholic doctrine, I had to leave. It was like the song says: the realisation of my heart’s desire is seen as a sin.”
Fr Michael Cusack said: “we need to have a respectful outreach to each other. I’m getting annoyed with people in fundamental positions who don’t allow us to listen to each other.
“I’m sure many people in the church that day had never listened to somebody from LGBT community until then.
“The mother I had spoken to that time was very moved by the talks, as were the vast majority.”
He said the overwhelming reaction of both people and clergy was positive.
Stephen Vaughan said he thought people might walk out, but instead they listened intently.
“People listened and took it in. There was a warm atmosphere in the church.”
Fr Cusack said there is a huge issue with young people in Ireland coming to terms with their sexuality and not knowing where to turn to.
Stephen Vaughan said he had been brought up in the 1970s and said he was not now a Catholic, but he did believe in Christian values and beliefs and had found a way of developing that.
Fr Michael Cusack said people need to listen to the reality of people’s lives.
“We tend to judge from fear.
“People should be able to come into a place of worship where there is a message of love,” he said.