As many Clevelanders know FutureChurch is being harassed by a small ad hoc group called “Save Our Church.” Their leader, David Webster, is a former Baptist minister who converted to Catholicism a year ago. In a recent televised interview he said: “Women have always been the backbone of the church and that’s where they belong…in the back.” Webster has refused invitations to meet with FutureChurch leadership to discuss differences.
At three recent Northeast Ohio programs 8 to 15 people carried signs calling us “fornicators,” “liars and deceivers” and “morally perverse.” Other signs proclaim “no church blessing on homosexuality.” The signs give their own sad testimony about these misguided people. They apparently never learned Catholic teaching about God’s love for gay and lesbian people and the full equality of women. Most confounding is that they loudly recite the rosary while displaying their hate-filled signs. Somehow I don’t think the gentle Mary of Nazareth would understand this.
How to respond? This morning’s scripture reading is the story of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus. It prompted me to pray for our ex Baptist friend that his new found Catholic zeal will be transformed by Christ’s risen love to truly serve Christ’s Body in all of its beautiful diversity, rather than to persecute it. After all, some of our greatest saints became so after encountering Jesus’ all encompassing love. I ask our readers to pray for him, for the rest of the group and for us too!
Christine Schenk csj