Conversation with Reverend Monsignor Ronald Jameson, V.F.
Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, Washington, DC
Written by Walter Grio
While fashion and religion may not necessarily be a usual topic, they are most certainly at an intersection. As a straight, Catholic male surrounded by different lifestyles in the fashion industry, I’ve always been interested in finding out what people thought. As many of you know, the Catholic Church has certain rules when it comes to homosexuality. While many people can passionately debate about what is “right” or “wrong”, there should be no debate on how you treat a person.
As I talked to friends and strangers about the topic, it fascinated me to hear their answers. Whether they were Catholic or not, the comments varied greatly. And depending on the situation, I was surprised to hear what people would do. With so many questions, I decided to finally ask someone in the Catholic Church. I’m grateful for the time that Msgr. Jameson gave me during this e-mail exchange and I hope that next time you have a conversation during fashion week or at a grocery store, people will exercise critical thought without sacrificing their beliefs.
Feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.
On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 9:43 AM, Walter Grio wrote:
Dear Msgr. Jameson,
Thank you for taking the time to read my questions and for providing some clarification. I recently had a conversation with a friend regarding homosexuality and the teachings of the Catholic Church. There were specific questions, but I think they are all somewhat related to each other.
1. If you have a family member who is gay and that person was not living a chaste life and perhaps even married to their partner, what level of relationship could you have with them? Would it be “ok” to invite that family member to your wedding in a Catholic church? And is it ok for their partner to come to the wedding too?
2. Similarly, if you know someone who’s gay and that person is not living a chaste life, what kind of friendship could you have with them? Is it considered an endorsement of that lifestyle to have a platonic, yet meaningful friendship with them? For example, could you have dinner with them in their home with everyone present? And what if you had children?
3. How do you apply compassion, sensitivity, kindness, and forgiveness to the questions above?
Thanks again for your time and I look forward to reading your response.
All the best,
On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 9:50 AM, Ronald Jameson wrote:
I will respond but right now I have an appointment so I will get back to you — however, a question: How would you relate to a heterosexual couple who is not chaste and let’s say Catholic but not married in the Church but living together — ???
Talk to you later — and the words of Francis: Who am I to judge?
On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 10:24 AM, Walter Grio wrote:
For me, I would definitely invite my family member to my wedding, given that we had a supportive and loving relationship. I would want them to be there, without doubt. If we were trying to show someone how to live in chaste — and we fail — does that mean we end or limit the relationship and forget all the other teachings? I don’t think so. I told my friend, who’s a teacher, that if one of her students could not understand math, does that mean we stop teaching them? How about english, science, history, or ballet?
On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 10:33 AM, Ronald Jameson wrote:
We are on the same page — teaching never stops nor does charity, kindness, and being non-judgmental. You may not accept a lifestyle because of the teachings of the Church but you can still be kind and charitable especially to a family member. Although you may not approve of the lifestyle you should certainly be respectful.
Children? Age comes into the equation. Do they understand what it is all about? How about children playing with children of a gay couple? That is becoming a real issue today. Again, children should not suffer. Children of gay parents are baptized as other children. These are just some aspects that go into a decision.
On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 11:29 AM, Walter Grio wrote:
I really appreciate this conversation. While I understand the spirit of the discussion, from a literal standpoint, are there different “levels” of kindness? I feel that there are no levels per se and that your relationship with a person is dependent on how well you get along with each other — meaning that while I can respect my coworker and work with them, I may not go to dinner or watch a movie or hang out in their house (regardless of chastity or orientation). Likewise, I can have a meaningful friendship with them or be close to them just as I would other members of my family.
On Wed, Sep 25, 2013 at 11:36 AM, Ronald Jameson wrote:
ABOUT REV. MSGR. RONALD JAMESON, V.F.
Msgr. Jameson was born in Washington, DC in 1942 and raised in Hughesville, Charles County, MD. He attended St. Charles College High School in Catonsville, MD and St. Mary’s Seminary in Baltimore as well as the Theological College of the Catholic University of America. He was ordained in St. Matthew’s Cathedral on May 18, 1968 by Patrick Cardinal O’Boyle, Archbishop of Washington. His first two assignments were in suburban Maryland parishes, after which he was assigned to St. Matthew’s Cathedral (1974-1985).
During these years, he was the Archdiocesan Director of Liturgy and served as the Coordinator of the Spiritual Renewal and Reconciliation Program (1974-76) for the 41st International Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia. In 1985, he was named pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish in College Park, MD and in 1992 was named Archdiocesan Secretary of Parish Life and Worship. In July 1995, He was named Rector of the Cathedral and was also named a Prelate of Honor with the title of Monsignor.
Over the years, Msgr. Jameson has been active in a variety of archdiocesan positions: Priest Consultor, Chair of the Council of Priests, Dean and member of the Priests’ Personnel Board, member of the Catholic Charities Board of Directors and Archdiocesan Coordinator of Liturgies celebrated by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Washington in 1979. He has also served on the board of the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington. Nationally, he serves or has served on the Board of the Paulist National Evangelization Association, the Board of the National Conference of Cathedral Rectors,the Board of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, the Board of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions and is a member of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. In October 2007, Theological College bestowed on Msgr. Jameson its Alumnus Lifetime Service Award honoring him as Pastor-Leader of the Faith Community.
His legacy to St. Matthew’s Cathedral will undoubtedly be his enduring interest in building parish community, establishing a parish archive and history project, orchestrating the Cathedral’s major restoration project and the construction of the adjoining rectory and office building project on Rhode Island Avenue (1998-2006).
NOTE: The “V.F.” after Msgr Jameson’s name denotes that he is appointed by the Archbishop as a Vicar Forane or Dean of one of the ecclesial subdivisions (i.e. deanery) of the Archdiocese.
ABOUT THE CATHEDRAL PARISH
The Cathedral church and parish is named for Saint Matthew the Apostle, the patron saint of civil servants, recognizing all those who serve in the municipal, state, and national governments and the many international organizations located in the metropolitan area. The church is the seat or cathedra of the Archbishop of Washington. As the Mother Church of the archdiocese, it plays a major role in the Catholic life of the nation’s capital.
The funeral Mass for President John F. Kennedy was celebrated in the Cathedral on November 25, 1963 with many international heads of state and governments in attendance. In 1979, Pope John Paul II celebrated Mass in the Cathedral during his visit to the United States. Annually, on the Sunday before the first Monday in October when the Supreme Court of the United States begins its regular term, a special Mass is celebrated praying for the Holy Spirit to guide all those who are members of the legal profession. Known as the “Red Mass” in reference to the vestment color, the Supreme Court justices, members of Congress, the President’s Cabinet, diplomatic corps, local municipal, state and national government leaders, and sometimes the President of the United States join the celebration.