After thirteen-plus hours of ruminating, I finally identified the sick feeling, the knot in my gut, the lump that's been sitting in my throat all day after reading about the bishops this morning. It's the same feeling I got when my dad went apeshit after I came out to him. I find this curious because, as I pointed out before, this isn't a knock-me-down-with-a-feather sort of deal. The bishops' initial reaction to the proposed amendment some nine months ago was that they needed time to study and consider it; I never expected anything but this. But the inevitability of it didn't mitigate the force of the blow, the sucker punch to the stomach. The sense of being turned away, being turned away from, yet again.
Oh, I've been in dutch with the Holy Church for quite some time, and never bought wholesale into the company line, not even in my high school years when I was most actively involved. I can't discount, however, the enormous role the Church played in my life during that time, when I found solace in the darkened sanctuary of Sacred Heart Basilica on the Notre Dame campus, kneeling among the flickering candles and plastered walls permeated by a century's worth of incense, attending vespers with the nuns and brothers, sitting quietly and contemplatively at the Grotto. Feeling the weight of centuries of tradition not as an oppressive yoke but a comforting mantle that drew me into the same place with my family, my ancestors, my Irish and Czech heritage.
There's a big difference between walking away from home and being unceremoniously cast out.