Amoris Laetitia: The Joy of Love

Dear Pope Francis,amoris-laetitia

I am appalled at your recent apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” (The Joy of Love) in that it closes the door on same-sex marriage, saying “it cannot be seen as the equivalent of heterosexual unions.”

Can you be serious?  You know gay people.  You embraced your former student and his husband.  As a Catholic myself troubled by Papal proclamations against marriage equality, I was beginning to see more light with your seeming openness. I was hoping the harsh rhetoric pointed at my son would change.  You seemed welcoming to all. Yet, now you close the door on a marriage of my son, who with his husband is raising two adopted children.  They are raising two beautiful children from birth families who were unable to provide the stability and the  commitment to meet their needs.

You said, “Who am I too judge” when referring to gay priests.  You said “love” is indeed a joy.  You ask the church to be inclusive, but now close the door on some folks?  What a disappointment.

There are all kinds of parents, as there are all kinds of families.  In my long career in education I have seen single, adoptive, gay, straight, handicapped, and many other kinds of parents. The human family can come in many colors and shapes. It is wishful thinking to believe that all marriages include wanted children.  Two parents and kids.  That all pregnant mothers care for their bodies while pregnant, and then can care for their children.  Unfortunately that is not true for many different reasons.  Children need homes. And thank God for couples who are willing and able to adopt children from unstable circumstances.


One marriage I have seen up close is my son and his husband.  They have put in untold hours, untold effort into parenting their children. They think family is a major part of their lives.  No pope and no legislator should denigrate their marriage.  Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said:

Marriage today is not what it was under the common law tradition, under the civil law tradition. Marriage was a relationship of a dominant male to a subordinate female. That ended as a result of this court’s decision in 1982 when Louisiana’s Head and Master Rule was struck down.

In a New York Times Op-Ed piece on April 23, the former Democratic senator from Pennsylvania, Harris Wofford, wrote about his late life love for another man.  This is after losing his wife of almost 50 years to cancer. He loved her deeply and never believed he was gay. In fact he thinks it should not be asked of people, “pinning them on the wall — straight, gay or in between. I don’t categorize myself based on the gender of those I love. I had a half-century of marriage with a wonderful woman, and now am lucky for a second time to have found happiness.”


His fiancé Matthew Charlton, whom he will marry on April 30th, said in a Washington Post article “Why wouldn’t you want to marry the person you have fallen in love with?”  For Wofford the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges made him consider marriage again. He was moved by Justice Kennedy’s majority decision and President Obama’s reference to the dignity of marriage in that decision which legalized same-sex marriage. Yes, indeed. The dignity of marriage.  For the Pope to use the infelicitous descriptor of homosexual marriage not rising (a hierarchy?) to the dignity of heterosexual marriage is appalling.  Who is he to judge?  Who is anyone to judge?




As Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked during the hearings for Obergefell, (I paraphrase from my faulty memory), are there whole milk marriages and skim milk marriages? Are there gradations in marriage? Or is marriage today what it should be, the commitment to love someone above all others.  To make a family!

A God who created some people one way and some people another cannot want discrimination perpetuated in His/Her name.  So Pope Francis you are way off base.  I believe a loving Jesus would be dismayed with your words. The Church that helped form my family is pushing us away, yet again.  That is both wrong and very sad.

Yours truly,

Linda Drajem

In the Beginning

Back in the day—the late 1900s—Seattle had coffee carts. And bike messengers. And grunge music.

As a new arrival to the city in the fall of 1993, I was drinking it all in. Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder sang the angst and restlessness and search for freedom I had been wallowing in since leaving Buffalo. I grew my hair long, wore flannel shirts purchased from Kitchen Soup Brigade thrift shop on Capitol Hill, and was cast in plays that no one ever came to see at Pilgrim Center for the Arts. Continue reading In the Beginning

Civil Talk, Kind Feelings

Dear Grandchildren,

Today I want to talk to you about values. About how we should treat each other in the world. I am so upset about the ugly and squalid language we have in our society when speaking to others especially on social media. OK, maybe you will say she is old, from the 1900s, and that is true, but if I have learned anything in life it is that if people are calling me names or yelling at me I cannot listen to any real issues they have. No one can listen. When listening to angry words we just feel angry too. Continue reading Civil Talk, Kind Feelings