A tentative post, because this is something that i feel inspired to do, but at the same time slightly overwhelmed by the enormity of it.
Those of you who have no time for anything remotely religious, maybe best to pass on to the next post now. Anyone else, feel free to dip in and comment.
I have always been a Franciscan at heart: have loved the simple doctrine of humility and rejection of the material ever since i first encountered it as a slightly hippy dippy teenager (well…he IS very much the hippy saint). I am equally enamoured, nowadays, of the fact that he was one of the few major figures of his time who thought that the way to deal with Islam was – shock! horror!- to engage muslims in dialogue, as opposed to sending thousands of armed thugs overseas to kill them.
My wedding, decades back, was neatly timed to coincide both with Francis’ Saint’s day (October 4) as well, embarrassingly, as a national strike in Italy, where it took place, which didn’t half make travel arrangements complicated.
And of course, i was affected (to tears) by the decision of our latest Pope to adopt Francis as his guiding star. I knew than, as most catholics would, just how revolutionary that choice was. For Francis was the Saint who almost broke the church, and in the end brought it back for a while, to its kinder origins: dedicated to the fight against poverty; commemorated now as the patron saint of animals and the environment.
Towards the Vatican
I am profoundly optimistic in respect of the recent tentative opening in the Vatican synod on the family towards the LGBT community: a beginning of a process that should have begun years ago, of openly accepting all minorities back into the church. And i am looking forward to the resumption of that process next year.
For the synod, in common with almost every Hollywood blockbuster nowadays, is not a one-off event. It had a part I: and a second, far more important part II is still to come. It opens – perhaps coincidentally – on October 4 2015, and the three weeks following will see perhaps the greatest opportunity for LGBT reconciliation in a generation.
I want to be there. More, i’d like to help take a message to Rome. Which is why the inspiration which, i am sure, may seem a little quixotic to some.
More than be there: I’d like to walk the same path trodden by Francis 800 years before, from Assisi to Rome; to present myself, and any who would care to walk with me as we are. Ordinary, everyday children of God.
There not to ask, but simply to bear witness.
That feels like a plan to me. Would anyone like to explain why it isn’t? Or alternatively, might anyone be interested in joining me for the occasion?