Why This Isn’t About Gay Marriage: Mike Moroski and Modern Day Catholicism

One of the most challenging calls of being a modern day Catholic is to openly and publicly be yourself.

For years, the combination of working for the church and writing progressively on issues relating to feminism, gender, and reproductive health made me feel like I was living a double life.  I would turn down writing opportunities that would let my writing career flourish or deepen because I didn’t want the inevitable questions to arrive: how can you believe ______ when the Catholic Church says ______this instead?  (insert a variety of issues pertaining to women, sexuality, gender, liberation)  It’s a difficult thing to balance: your call to write your vision of the world knowing its very core lies in conflict with the walls of the Catholic Church where you’ve been educated and formed.  After years of working at an adult education center that eventually was investigated by the Vatican because of reiki and yoga sessions I helped program, after attending retreats by excommunicated priests whose message was identical to that of Sunday homilies, after being raked and silenced by the archdiocese for participating in social justice organizing with interfaith communities, after turning down yet another assignment because I didn’t want to publicly deal with the inevitable outrage, after self-editing my own soul,  after reflecting for the umpteenth time upon how my now partner had to choose between living out a vocation either as a priest or married person, after meditating on the sexual abuse scandal while simultaneously editing an anthology about sexual violence, I left my position working for the church.  Willfully.  Quietly.  I work now on a project-by-project “consulting” basis because I didn’t want to arrive at the day or situation that Mike Moroski has now found himself in.

Mike Moroski is many things in my life.  He’s a good friend.  He’s a human anchor for Cincinnati, Ohio and, truthfully, for all who know him.  Nick and I just attended his and Katie Moroski’s wedding back in the fall.  They are the kind of people who remind you why you’re alive.  They embody not just a Catholic spirit, but a human spirituality.  A fleshy, tangible joy that celebrates good music, the miraculous nooks of our planet, food, love, justice, and community; all the best things in life.  Whenever I see one or the other, or better when they’re together, I am flooded by emotional memos to enjoy more, live deeper, and cultivate my being.

No, I’m not exaggerating.  They’re that kind of good.

Which is why, unfortunately, I was not surprised that Mike was given an ultimatum to either be terminated from his position as Dean from Purcell Marion High School in Cincinnati, Ohio or take down his words on his own website and blog voicing his support of gay marriage. It was heart-wrenchingly predictable to read this news.  And it was my own reaction that was the most depressing to absorb, my non-shocked state.  Everything about that choice – be silenced or lose your livelihood – sums up the prison/call of being a modern day Catholic.  Most Catholics I know profoundly disagree with at least one component of church doctrine or dogma and for those of us who have professionally chosen to wade even deeper in the Catholic ocean by working for it, being aligned with it, and getting paid by it, we know that the risks and punishments are severe.  The punishments always seem to lie with being silenced one way or another.  You’re ostracized, excommunicated, fired, cornered, bullied, or trampled on by the powers that be because of the very existence of the diversity of belief, the diversity of faith.  Catholics who believe in equality, in social progress, those of us who want to see more peace in the world – and care a little less about who marries whom or who loves whom – are cast out of Catholic institutions because the sign of conflict is perceived as disorderly, not as unity.

So many people over the years have said the obvious, “Just leave the church.”  I chose one year to discern that.  For one year, I thought intensely and darkly about leaving the Catholic church and weighed it all: family, culture, choice, spirituality, power, oppression.  I came to the decision to stay when I was singing at mass one ordinary Sunday.  I was looking around my worship community  who come in every shade and size and background and ability, all of us fumbling, all of us so heartwarmingly hapless, trying to love and forgive in this world, and the song – lyrics and rhythms I’ve known since I was a young child – overpowered me with simplicity.  The choice wasn’t about staying or leaving, it was about growing.  Deciding WHERE and how to grow was the question, how to position myself to best hear the Inner Voice, how to stay close to my Conscience.  It came down to this: where does God speak to me?   At the time, I told folks it was to focus my energy on writing and give myself to freedom to openly write my positions.  Inside, I was screaming for air.  I no longer wanted to be questioned or defend my beliefs which I thought to be as basic as breathing.  The first thing I decided was to give myself my own breath back. I chose to stay Catholic, but leave my position of leadership.

Mike Moroski and Katie Moroski came to a decision because of an illusion of a choice the archdiocese gave them.  The media will report that the choice is either to take down a blog post or resign from your job.  That’s not a choice, that’s a silencing.  Either way, there’s an attempt to silence him.  Mike, typically, finds his way to rise and says he’ll take the consequences that come with voicing his opinion.  In this unsurprising dilemma, Mike will join a very long line of Catholics who have dealt with the illusion of choice by the church (abortion: mother or child; vocation: marriage or holy orders; sex: abstain or count fertile days; gay issues: deny yourself  or deny yourself) and I hope he knows that regardless of the outcome, he is not alone in this turmoil.  Mike, you are not alone.

My prayer is not for Mike.  I know him and have every confidence in the physical and spiritual world that this will only strengthen his resolve and core to continue to be the anchor he already is to his communities.  My prayer is for all of the modern day Catholics, especially young folks, who think this is about gay marriage.  It isn’t.  It’s about the future of the church, who we want our leaders to be,  and how to teach ourselves and the next generation how to fully respond as the person God has called you to be in voice, in action, and in uncertainty.

Be, write, love, live who are you called to be.  Answer only to your own conscience, the place where you and God converse.  This is the signature commandment and challenge enscripted for our generation.  On this wall, I gladly sign my name, too.

Lisa Factora-Borchers

4 thoughts on “Why This Isn’t About Gay Marriage: Mike Moroski and Modern Day Catholicism

  1. Von B.

    Lisa, I feel your heart. I feel you are very sincere in your beliefs. But what I am most concerned about is how so many churches and believers have drifted away from the Truths of Scriptures, to supplement the Scriptures with their own humanistic thought, culture and commentary.

    Truth is not always convenient. And those times it is inconvenient is right where human compromise and corruption begins.

    We’ve developed such a system human thought and traditions that we have forgotten, even in the church that Humanity has a Creator, and although He is Loving fair and just, we are nonetheless responsible to see life from his perspective and obey his Laws, Protocols and Principles.

    The societies of the world are rapidly degrading due in large to this sweeping abstract morality that is gaining popularity and prominence.
    As a result, 1+1 can be whatever you want it to be, or the answer can vary from person to person.

    Fortunately math will never allow us get away with that kind of arbitrary, subjective reasoning. Anything built on faulty math is evidenced immediately or eventually.

    When it comes to truth, we just can’t wing it or fill in the blanks with our own beliefs, values and opinions.

    In a world where the knowledge and Truth of GOD Who Created everything, is vanishing, or either filed under “religion”, as though His Truths are irrelevant to life having little to do with life outside of religion or personal belief systems.

    First we must understand Who the real Author of Truth is.

    The Only Author of Truth is GOD, it is not the Church, nor Humanity, neither our consciences, our desires, appetites, etc.

    ONLY GOD! He is The ONLY ONE Qualified and therefore trustworthy and worship worthy to set THE Standards for Truth.

    We don’t arrive at the conclusion of this reality simply because of His resume. Because we know resumes can be fluffed and padded ( Although GOD doesn’t have to do this! Lol)
    But a resume, as His certainly is, can be very impressive.

    But it’s not in the impressive, lavish details of what someone has done, or can do, that determines their qualifications for The Lofty position of deciding what’s of Truth and what’s not.

    This must be based on “Integrity”. And intergrity, not as in simply being honest, transparent, credible, of good reputation, or adherence to strict moral and ethical codes.
    But the “integrity” of which I speak is; Wholeness, Perfection, absolute Purity, no shadow of turning or corruption, no possibility of spoiling, degrading, flaw or failure.

    This is a Wholeness that is seamless. Seams indicate that something was added to or put together, as opposed to something that was complete or whole when it came into existence.)
    These things, of course, can not be said of fallen Humanity, and what little we know about angels, through the Scriptures, we learn that even they can go astray, as did Lucifer and a third of the angels that were badly influenced by him.

    The Holy Scriptures, over time, has proven to be the 1 stop literary source through which GOD has decided to sovereignly and divinely publish and reveal Himself to Humanity.
    He has revealed some very heavy and crucial things about Life and about Himself;

    1. GOD is Love. Meaning it is not just something He has. But He is LOVE
    1 John 4:8 He who has no love has no knowledge of God, because God is love.

    2. He has no shadow, tendency or capacity of turning away from His Pure Nature.
    James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

    3. He is the Only Creator and Highest One in all of Life or in any existence anywhere, which by default, makes Him the expert on everything.

    Isaiah 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
    Hosea 13:4 Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.

    We must also realize that questions are not answers. Having doubts about something does not mean the thing in question has flaws, inconsistencies or cannot be trusted.

    We only use 1 percent of our brains, scientists say.
    Well, this don’t seem to qualify any of us to be authorities on much. The only truth we have in our world now is only because God reveals, leads and guides those who are sincerely hungry for Truth, and not just traditionalists, commit to defending the views of their culture, organizations, or loved ones.

    The only truth we are able to learn and discern comes courtesy of the Heavenly Father through the Holy Spirit

    John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

    Lisa, having said all of this, study The Scriptures and in them The Father of all Life will reveal HimSelf in a very real and intimate way.

    Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

    There are some things that we think are good and right as humans that conflict with what God says. This is sort of a repeat of how it was when we were children. Our parents, who were much more knowledgeable and experienced at life, would often imposed rules and restrictions on us that did not appeal to us in that stage of our growth and development. We, bucked, rebelled, had tandrums, because we thought they were only trying to make life miserable for us. But isn’t it funny when we become adults we begin to understand and even empathize with the difficulty of imposing and enforcing standards that made us unhappy with them at times.

    1 Corinthians 13:10-13
    But when that which is perfect
    (spiritual mature) is come, then that which is in part (elementary) shall be done away.
    When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
    For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
    And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

    Rethink Gay marriage and any other humanistic social contruct, from GOD’S perspective rather than your own perspectives.

    Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
    For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    Isaiah 55:6-7 Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
    Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

  2. Rob

    Very well written. You have helped me clarify some things that I was trying to express about the Catholic Church, but didn’t know how, yet.

  3. Lisa, I’m not Catholic, but I am Eastern Orthodox and on these issues we face the same kind of struggles. It breaks my heart to see this church that is capable of so much good engage in behavior so ugly toward one of her own. I believe that, as Apostolic churches, the RC and EO have the responsibility to epitomize the loving example of Jesus Christ our God. Just as the Theotokos took a dangerous and self-sacrificing leap of faith when she said “Yes!” to God, Catholics today are taking a similar leap of faith by speaking out in favor of equal rights for LGBTQIA people.

    Some people will never understand or respect the decision to stay within the church and work to change it from within. However, as someone who daily struggles to do the same thing, I appreciate your resolve and the vocal support you show for those who follow their conscience AND stick with the church that they love.

  4. Kodzo Selormey

    Lisa this is a beautifully written piece, I will be praying for both the leaders in the church who have made this decision that they see that silencing dissent is not the way to convince people of your argument and for Mike that he has the strength to pass through what maybe a very difficult period.

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