Rorate - an explanatory note: in Spain, as in several countries, one of several government agreements with the Holy See allows for the teaching of Catholic Religious Education in state schools, if the parents so require. In such cases, the educator needs a license to teach from the Diocese, similar in nature to licenses to teach Catholic theology around the world; in the specific case of Spain, the teachers themselves are appointed by the Diocese to the local government (the municipality or, more usually, the Autonomous Communities, which are the autonomous Spanish regions responsible for almost all educational matters). The law redefining civil marriage to include couples of the same sex in Spain dates from 2005.
|Bishop Francisco Cases, of the Canary Islands, and the Pope|
Luis Alberto González tells his story: "A New Way of Making Church?"
The Bishop of the Canaries "blesses"* the gay marriage of a Religion teacher from Lanzarote
Luis Alberto GonzálezAugust 9, 2014for Religión Digital
I was the first to think that this was not my place anymore, and that I was doing the right thing before the ecclesiastical institution. But time passes by, and I see myself pleasantly surprised with the acceptance of my situation
(Luis Alberto González) - I entered into civil marriage with another man in 2012. The matter would have no greater relevance, if it were not for the fact that I'm a high school Catholic Religious Education teacher, for which I considered appropriate to send a letter to Francisco Cases, Bishop of the Canary Islands, at the end of that school year [note: that is, in the summer of 2013], presenting my situation and understanding that my position would be taken away due to what the Code of Canon Law requires.Moreover, the doctrine of the Church is what it is, not offering any way out to homosexuals other than "living in chastity," since homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered" and "under no circumstances can they be approved" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2357).
The fact that Pope Francis says before a microphone that he is not one, "to judge a gay person to seeks the Lord," does not mean that the Church may consider a homosexual relationship under a favorable light. To the Church, a gay person is not the same as a gay relationship, even though this may remain unnoticed by many who are not familiar with measured ecclesiastical language.
Moving on with my specific case: on the same day on which I sent the letter to the Bishop, I put myself in touch with [Father] Hipólito Cabrera, Delegate for Education and Vicar-General of the Diocese, who thanked me for my honesty at the same time in which he convinced me to write also a petition to the Bishop, asking him for the removal of my identity as a religious education professor. Out of respect, I followed his orders.
I was the first to think that this was not my place anymore, and that I was doing the right thing before the ecclesiastical institution. But time passes by and I see myself pleasantly surprised with the acceptance of my situation: over one year having elapsed, there is no response either to the letter or to the petition sent to the prelate.
Having been kept in my position as religious education teacher under these circumstances represents an unprecedented progress. Will the Diocese of the Canary Islands, in whose lands is celebrated one of the most famous "Gay Pride" [events] in Europe, want to become a trailblazer in the acceptance by the Church of homosexual relationships? Maybe I'm being too optimistic...but the facts leave no place to doubts: either Francisco (not the bishop of Rome, but the one of the Canaries) grants no relevance to the matter, or he is testing a new way of making Church.
In both cases, it is good news! And it is not as if he had "his hands tied." Legislation in place perfectly formulates the procedure to dismiss a religious education teacher who has stopped fulfilling the requirements established by the Church (confirmed by the Constitutional Court in 2007.)
My case is a tiny ember that can be put out at any moment. Nevertheless, I share my experience. As a co-worker told me when the last school year ended, "Your case raises debate, it is a sign of the new social reality that fully affects the Church." As for my future, whether I am dismissed or whether I continue as religious education teacher, I will take it as an opportunity.
The truth is that a weight has been lifted off me by their having all the information on their desk (including a filing registration at the Chancery). The faithfulness to my conscience gives me freedom, not fear. Whatever may happen, it is already an undeniable fact that, after the celebration of a matrimony, I continued -- and still continue -- teaching and helping so many young people to search for what is essential in the Christian message, contributing to the renewal of society and of the Church herself.
Luis Alberto González Delgado, Religious Education teacher at the Las Salinas IES [Secondary Education Institute] and the Pancho Lasso EA [Art School] of Lanzarote
[*Not meant literally, of course, but as tolerates, accepts -- that is why it is between quotation marks also in the original text. // Source, in Spanish. As always, unless noted otherwise, this is a Rorate translation. // Thanks to reader "Javier" for tip and notes.]