Sister Wendy on Gay Marriage: God is All Love

Verena von Pfetten of the Huffington Post talks to nun and art historian Sister Wendy in a recent interview, and asks a question about gay marriage and reconciling her beliefs with the church. Can we have a debate featuring Sister Wendy, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee?

SisterwendyQ: You’ve spoken out about gay marriage. How do you balance what you believe with what you have sworn to uphold?

Sister Wendy: I believe in loyalty. We should respect our church, but never believe that the church has the last word. The church is saying “this”, but I believe that sooner or later “this” will change. “This” is not the mind of our Lord. God is all love. It’s a delicate balancing thing. The Church has changed it’s position over the years, and because the spirit is with the Church, in the end the Church will always get it right. But in the end. The spirit of the Church is the meaning of love, which hasn’t yet, perhaps, been fully understood.

(via daily dish)


  1. Adric says

    It’s people like her that give me faith in the power and grace of religion and its ability to support the lives we lead and the relationships we pursue. This made my day.

  2. Zeke says

    I have LOVED Sister Wendy and her art history/education show for years! She has always been so open minded and thoughtful in her reviews. She never shies away from controversial works or topics; never allowing stodgy outdated Catholic doctrine to get in the way of her intelligent and educated critique.

    Her position on marriage equality is not in the least bit surprising to me since it seems fully in keeping with her normal way of thoughtfully and INDEPENDENTLY considering topics without being bound by the dark ages mentality of the Vatican or it’s more recent residents.

    Even still she really made my day.

    Sister Wendy ROCKS!

  3. Jack says

    Good for Sister Wendy! God is love, and so many hate-filled “Christians” can’t get that figured out. Here’s a good reason why women should be allowed to be ordained as priests.

  4. woodroad34 says

    Another nun, or rather ex-nun, Karen Armstrong has written several books on religion. One of them, A History of God, talks about how God has changed in personality as society changes. In the last part of the book she claims that religion will fail unless it accepts gay people fully and not stay with some kind of “love the sinner, hate the sin” mentality.

  5. Robert In WeHo says

    I’ve always had a great deal of respect for Sister Wendy. She’s generally been the antithesis of what most Nuns represent. Her honest and forthright opinion on this subject is both welcomed and appreciated…

  6. peterparker says

    Why can’t all Christians see that Sister Wendy’s views are in keeping with the words and actions of Jesus Christ and are far more Christian than their own judgement, discrimination and hate?

  7. MT says

    She’s the perfect example of what happens when you’re not corrupted by others. We could all be as sweet and innocent as her if we weren’t followed around by hateful influences all our lives.

  8. says

    I’ve been an atheist for a while now but people like Sister Wendy (whom I had never heard of up until now) and Desmond Tutu give me hope that there’s still some goodness coming from organized religions. Like it or not, the majority of people are spiritual one way or another and we’ve got to use their influence if opinions need to be shifted in our favor (gay cause that is).

    Go sister,go!

  9. TONY says

    she has a genius mind…and her thinking & words are genius

    everytime I listened to her art talks on PBS….I just felr very at ease & the earth will be a better place with art IN it…even if she didn’t like the piece of art……I love Sister Wendy!!!

  10. Lia says

    It’s been said, but… I LOVE Sister Wendy. Even dressed up in a habit and called myself “Sister Lia” for a college presentation in phallic symbols in art. Love it.

  11. justincredible says

    Thanks, Andy for posting about a Catholic that isn’t a child-abuser/molester/whatever! There’s been lots of discussion on these boards where people blast anyone affiliated with religion… I worked for a Newman Center before I was out, and people like Sister Wendy were the norm rather than the exception. Watching her show is like getting a hug through the TV. Christ, I love that woman!!!

  12. dave says

    I sensed Sister Wendy was especially non dogmatic when she analyzed a David Hockney painting on one of her TV shows. The painting shows a young man getting out of a swimming pool. We see his back down to below his ass.
    She referred to the “beautiful young man”, which sounded unusual coming from a Catholic nun critiquing a Hockney painting. Presumably “beautiful” from Hockney’s point of view, and, to understand the painting, perhaps from hers – although of course she has chosen a different way to live her life.
    Brava Sister Wendy!!

  13. queendru says

    She gives a very thoughtful and Catholic answer. A lot of people don’t realize the Catholic Church is not like the Biblical fundamentalist protestants. It puts a lot of stock into historicity, tradition, study, theological introspection and the magisteriam.

    Check out the catechism and what it says about gays. It talks about loving them, supporting them, ministering to them and even acknowledging that homosexuality is an “innate” condition.

    Where activists freak out is that it believes gays, like unmarried str8s, are called to celibacy. You can be loving and intimate without sex. We do it everyday in other relationships as a friend, neighbor, son, brother, father.

  14. Miles says

    But, Queendru, heterosexuals aren’t “called” by the church to limit their expressions of love ONLY to sexless and uncoupled roles like friend, neighbor, son, etc. So it’s hardly as if everyone is being treated equally.

    Discrimination with a “loving” face, practiced by intelligent and relatively sensitive people, is still discrimination.

  15. BreckROY says

    I, too, am happy to see this as it reflects my experience of Catholicism growing up and now…in college we had Father Pat and Sister Margaret who pretty much said the same thing and encouraged us to work within the system to respectfully educate other Catholics who were more closed minded…and unserstand that it usually came from ignorance. My parents often pointed to positions that have evolved over time and encouraged me to be a leader in that change.
    The fact that the older Catholics, who happen to be, like the military, the current set of senior leaders, are more closed minded is a mirror reflection of any culture or subculture where the oldest people are most conservative, wanting things to be as they’ve always known them. I don’t believe when a senior Bishop or the Pope express their traditional views on homosexuality they are bigots…wrong and out-of-date, but hot hateful.
    Bigots like Bill Donohoue (sp?) who aren’t even official members of the church leadership, though claim to ‘speak’ for the Church and give us ALL a bad name.

  16. James says

    Give THIS woman a GLAAD award. And for heaven’s sake, somebody put her in their parade!

    Can you imagine HER as Grand Marshall? How awesome would THAT be?

    We need all the help from “the other side” we can get.

  17. dr. john clauss says


  18. steve james says

    Sister Wendy Beckett is probably the most sophisticated Catholic thinker of our age. This doesn’t in the least surprise me in a woman who so effortlessly gets to the heart of the Christian message, which is such a simple one, yet which other people inexplicably find so difficult. WHo needs women priests when we’ve got Sister Wendy? Go Sister!

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