Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Struggles Of A Gay Catholic

This is from the Mirror of Justice:

Over the past three years, "Chris" (let's call him) has experienced a pronounced attraction to other males-for one old friend from high school in particular. A crush, maybe, or an infatuation. Whatever it was, he knew it wasn't healthy. And though he had never acted on the attraction, he explained, it led to fantasies and lusts he didn't want. So he made a resolution never to embrace them as essential to his identity or accept them as permanent or untreatable-a resolution he has kept practically alone, without the support of community, family, or friends.

Sounds typical enough, right? Read on:

Chris' situation is sad, but it seems to be moving somewhere. He told me how he had cried daily for the first two years of his same-sex attractions, knowing that he was becoming someone he didn't want to be. But during the third year he found a good therapist and began making progress. He set out to find "healthy male affirmation through deep, non-erotic same-sex friendships"-along with a "purification of memory regarding the hurts of the past" and a more masculine view of himself. Without any reason to exaggerate his progress, he assured me he is "100 times happier and healthier than before-though not yet whole." Even friends and relatives who do not know about his struggles have remarked on his increased serenity and joy.

Very positive, yes? Read on:

Like many schools, Chris' university has an LGBTQA center (an official office supporting "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, and allied" students). Had he been seeking advice on how to embrace his same-sex attractions, perform sexually as a gay man, or develop a romantic homosexual relationship, he would have been welcomed. Wanting instead help to live chastely, he found nothing. Worse than nothing, he found rejection. Such centers routinely sponsor public lectures attacking Christian responses to same-sex attractions, calls to chastity, and attempts to seek therapy.

You might think Chris could find help at the university's religious-life center. But with pink pride triangles on every interior door, that office, too, has embraced the gay-pride movement. The college hosts an annual Pride Sunday Liturgy in lieu of regular chapel worship-for pride, apparently, is the proper liturgical response to homosexuality-and sponsors public lectures with titles such as "Overcoming Christian Fear of Homosexuality."

There you have it. Modernity's obsession with sex and irrational disregard for sin made manifest. For a guy like Chris, he either chooses to be defined by his sexual desires and yield to his impulses or he is functionally worthless to those who claim to help people in his situation.

Yet Chris marches on.

In the end, though, I found myself feeling grateful. Grateful for knowing Chris. Grateful for the chance to see him carry a cross he did not choose. Offering up his daily struggles, he strives for holiness, refuses surrender, and resists temptations. He labors to remedy the unwanted causes and side effects of attractions he never desired, aware all the while that a cure isn't certain, that in this fallen world some disorders may always be with us.

I am witnessing my friend's unique path to holiness: a remarkable instance of grace working through a broken earthly vessel, making all things new, and leading to fullness of life. I think how blessed I am that I've been fortunate enough to witness it and find inspiration for my life in his struggles.

Amazing grace.

St. Joseph, please intercede for this brave man.


Roisin said...

That's sad. I know for a fact, having been a theatre major in college and all that goes with it, that there really is no support for homosexuals who want to be chaste and live according to the Church. They literally are shunned. Understandably, none of them talk about it. They have to live out their struggles in silence. So much for "accepting of all life styles".

Anonymous said...

I haven't checked it out myself, but I've heard good things about Courage, the mostly-online support site for those with same-sex attraction that desire to live chastely. It is run by David Morrison, who wrote about his own conversion from gay activist to living his Catholic faith despite same-sex attraction. These resources might be some help to anyone like Chris who struggles with similar issues.