Being Catholic, Gay and Celibate: Reflections of a Faithful Catholic

I don't think I've ever read a more thoughtful article about being gay and Catholic than the one I read in Our Sunday Visitor on November 3.  Most people seem to choose their sexuality over any religious beliefs, so Steven Gershom's article about being gay, celibate AND Catholic was refreshing.

We all struggle with our sexuality in one form or another.  The decision to have sex suddenly becomes an easy one in the heat of the moment.  It's the feelings afterward that lead to confusion.  Doubts anyone?

Stephen describes his journey as being in the desert, but he does get passed it.  I hope you'll read the whole article, but this was the part that blew me away:

"In the middle of my desert I encountered a different set of premises, from a variety of sources: mostly my spiritual director, Father T, but also from good books (“Growth Into Manhood,” by Alan Medinger), good organizations (People Can Change), good experiences (three months in Peru), and good friends (you know who you are). Up until that point I had believed that the statement “I am gay” is the same sort of statement as “I am male” or “I am human.” Homosexuality was supposed to be an essential, rather than an accidental, part of me, just as deep as gender or species, or deeper. 

This idea comes from the gay rights movement, but an awful lot of Christians believe it too. It is utter poison. If gay is what I am (or “who I am,” as the saying goes), then Catholicism really does require a mode of existence in direct contradiction to the deepest parts of me. That didn’t make sense to me, because I had always understood the Christian life as the only thing that could fulfill the deepest parts of me. But I was still trying to believe both things. No wonder I was lost.

If, on the other hand, my homosexuality is a part of me, rather than being my nature — something I have, rather than something I am — then things are different. It became apparent that I could change. I don’t mean stop liking men and start liking women. I mean everything else: my self-imposed vocation of suffering, my self-pity, my self-isolation, my chronic fear and regret and loneliness. Next to those things, a little celibacy isn’t too bad."

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  • What an incredibly thoughtful post that describes the position that the Church has for gays--that of love and acceptance, and yet unwavering when holding to God's laws.

    This is something which unfortunately many people don't understand. I know some Christians who think that being gay in of itself is sinful, or that one can just "pray the gay away." I strongly disagree with their message of hate and of unacceptance. Then there are those who think that gay relationships should be just as sanctioned by the church as straight relationships--which I also disagree with.

    It's an extra cross to bear for people like him, and they need all the more encouragement and love.

  • In reply to Holly:

    Well said Holly!

  • In reply to Holly:

    The tangible benefits of marriage are sanctioned by the state, not the church. You can get married in the grandest cathedral by the Pope himself, but if you try to file any legal document stating that you are married - without a license from the state to back it up - you will be unpleasantly surprised. The spiritual benefits of marriage are a private matter and most gays and lesbians don't care if it is recognized by a spiritual authority only a secular one.

  • Holly is right. This is an incredibly thoughtful post.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    I thought so, too, Dennis. Thanks for your comment.

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