Labeling same-sex marriage as sin shows how an antiquated Catholic Church hurts God’s image

Michael Sicoli, Opinion Editor

People who know me are well aware that my relationship with God has gotten me through some tough times. While I do not follow my religion to the letter of the law, I see the value in a close relationship to one’s religion and spirit. It’s a connection that I wish more people felt during stressful times — a pandemic, for instance.

To me, God is all-loving. He’s always there to guide you during a time of need, and he’s there when you feel lost.

Pope Francis and the Vatican released a statement shunning same-sex marriage. (Photo from Flickr)

That’s why this week it hurt so much when the Catholic Church let me down after denouncing gay marriage.

On March 15, Pope Francis approved the Vatican’s announcement that the Catholic Church will not bless same-sex marriages because God “cannot bless sin.”

The church is far from a progressive organization so perhaps this shouldn’t have let me down as much as it did. Every single person deserves a life of happiness. It is a human right, and it’s something that everyone wants for themselves. There is not and should not be a force in this world that has the right to keep someone from pursuing that life.

As Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

And I promise, I won’t toss any more religious verses at you. But believing in God has provided a trusted voice when I needed it most.

Last spring’s quarantine took a mental toll on me. I biked. I ran. I did my best to get out of the house and never thought for too long, because whenever I did, negative thoughts popped up. What kept me going was my daily chat with God at the end of my bike ride. I’d sit at the Kings Park Bluff in New York, and have a chat, talking about whatever was on my mind. It was healing and personal. It’s something I wish more people had in their lives.

When the church comes out and disparages the LGBTQ community, it’s a sad reminder that God is so misrepresented in our society.

It was easy, even a century ago, to give the church so much power as the speakers for God. But we have seen an innumerable amount of examples that priests aren’t the end-all-be-all voices for God. No one needs to be reminded of the church’s child molestation cases — priesthood and morality do not always go hand-in-hand.

Far too many people associate the church and God as the same thing when that isn’t the case. Believing in God is believing in a higher power than yourself. It’s about believing in a greater plan where, if you push through the dark times, there will be light at the end of the tunnel. Organized religion should be seen as a branch off of believing in God.

Infographic by Connor Lawless

Regardless of how I believe religion should be viewed, the church possesses the greatest platform. Yet, its inability to empathize with people takes God away from life. According to, “by 2018, Christianity in the United States had witnessed a significant loss of followers, from 81 percent in 2003 to 72 percent in 2018. Meanwhile, the atheist / agnostic / none segment has seen the greatest increase of all groups analyzed, nearly doubling in size from 11 percent in 2003 to 21 percent in 2018.”

In no way am I discouraging atheism or any other belief system. Believe what you want to believe. But from my experience, a relationship with God is an unbreakable bond that keeps me moving on a daily basis. The Vatican gives God himself a bad name by enforcing outdated ideals that hurt the same people that God made in his image.

God does not discriminate based on sexual orientation, and neither should the Catholic Church. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

It is discouraging to see an increasing number of people grow up without experiencing a relationship with God, and even more dispiriting when those people have misguided views on what it means to be faithful — not everyone who believes in God stands hand-in-hand with the church’s mouthpieces.

It’s these moments I step back and reflect how I have drifted from the church I grew up loving. I will always have God in my life, but the church? I’m not sure anymore.

This discrimination leads to hate crimes against members of the LGBTQ community. If there’s one thing this country doesn’t need more of, it’s hate.

That blame can be laid at the feet of the Pope and the Vatican. God loves and cares for all. Be better and support the LGBTQ community who often need strength to overcome the obstacles society places in its way. The Pope was an unprecedented supporter of the LGBTQ community in the past — what happened?

Speak for God.