Sunday Mass is about to begin. It is pouring down rain outside. All of a sudden, two women enter–along with their six-year-old son. Carrie and Terese are their names. They are in a romantic relationship but have been abandoned by their families because of their choice. Their son is from Terese’s previous marriage, which ended in shambles. They are not technically married nor even in a civil union. But they are still trying to create a family, no matter how ragamuffin it may seem.
Terese was raised by irreligious parents who attended Mass together only habitually. They fought often. Alone in a great many ways, they enter together, not knowing what to expect and having little to lose. Carrie has never been in a church–let along such a magnificent cathedral as this–and is frightened. She isn’t optimistic about the encounter but is willing to try.
Their small family finds a place in the pews. Their son, Al, sits silently, observing everything with starry eyes and an innate discipline and stillness that seems bordering unnatural. Terese remembers the words, the motions, and the fighting that accompanied them, as well. She crosses herself with the others as the Liturgy begins.
She doesn’t know if she’s imagining it or not, but she keeps thinking she’s getting looks. She passes it off as paranoia. The sign of peace comes and she braces herself…
What do you imagine they encounter? How should the congregation “deal” with them? Tolerance? Or with a profound and unconditional love?
How do the laity ACTUALLY react to this? What is your opinion? What do you think you’d see? What have you seen?
What’s more, are they welcome as a part of the church family? Say that they feel drawn to the Altar, to the Church, and still, being the only ones in each other’s lives, cannot abandon each other at a critical time like this. Let’s say they show up regularly: Are they welcome or not?
How does the church accept and love them without necessarily condoning their lifestyle?
Is it better that they be kicked out for the faithful’s sake, or admitted for their own? Especially considering how hungry they are for communion and God right now?
Opinions. I’ve really been thinking about this a lot lately.