I am gay and Catholic. Are you willing to walk in my shoes?

Photo by Ammar Rizwan on Unsplash

There is a video game about a child slowly dying of cancer.

It is, admittedly, an unexpected premise for a game, but it mixes actual audio of a terminally ill 5-year-old named Joel interacting with his parents and brother, along with stunning animations produced after his death.

“That Dragon, Cancer”harnesses the immersive power of modern video games, while teasing the illusion of control. You move through the world of Joel’s family, but you do not change it. In that sense it is the opposite of a traditional video game. You travel around and watch the characters interact, spurring them on to their next moments—from playful walks in the park to unconsolable nights while the medicines torture as they try in vain to heal. But you are there to bear witness, not to save. The cancer exists and it will soon enough consume. There is nothing to defeat. No strategy or skill or secret combination of buttons pressed will overcome it. The controller is an illusion. To play the game is to lose it.

The controller is an illusion. To play the game is to lose it.

In one scene you take on the viewpoint of Joel’s dad as he cradles his son in his arms through the night on the hospital room couch. The monitors slowly beep and the sterile lights from the hall pour in as Joel lays silently, curled up against your chest. You feel viscerally the anguish and the instinct to never, ever let go. To fight with every ounce of your being for this child who deserves so much more. To love these strangers in the midst of their dark night.

I could not help but feel it is a deeply Catholic game. We would move mountains to offer a moment of relief to Joel and his family, but when the mountains will not budge, there is still dignity in the pain. The grief may not be beautiful, but recognizing the courage it takes to bear it is. Before solidarity there must always be vulnerability. How else can we learn the reality of such a deeply human aspect of life if we are not willing to watch, listen, even play along, when someone says, this is my story?

Not long ago I tried to imagine what someone would see if they tried to play against the dragons of my own life. It may sound egotistical to imagine a video game of one’s life. But I promise you: Nothing would terrorize me more than letting you walk around so many of these memories I keep locked away.

If you were to boot up your computer and load an interactive version of my life, I think it would open on a middle-school lunch table. Linoleum floors, long particle-board tables, a stage lines one wall. You see me seated, surrounded by boys. They speak crudely of which girls are the hottest and who is out of whose league. I quietly move around the contents of my brown-bag lunch, occasionally forcing a smile and laughing when it seems like the right time.

Nothing would terrorize me more than letting you walk around so many of these memories I keep locked away.

“Patrick,” one of the boys leading the conversation calls. “Who do you like?”

“Oh,” I laugh nervously. “I don’t know.”

“You don’t like anyone?” the boy scoffs. “What’s wrong with you?” There are no chuckles now, only stares.

“I guess I like Claire,” I say.

“Well yeah, so does everyone,” the boy rolls his eyes. Then he yells.

“Hey Claire! Claire! Would you go out with Patrick?” The entire lunchroom falls silent, and for a moment, in the awkwardness clutching your gut through the screen it feels like she just might shrug her shoulders and say yes.

“Naw!” She calls out from two tables over and turns back around to her meal.

The hum of the room picks right back up but slowly fades out as you see me get up and walk out. Before walking into the bathroom you see me pause and look back, gazing at a boy with dusty brown hair and square shoulders. Then I close the door behind me and sink to the ground in one of the stalls.

•••

In the next scene, you would find me sitting on my parents bed. The sheets are perfectly tucked and tightly hug the queen-size mattress. A woman, my mother, sits against a set of pillows and my father is poised on the edge of a chair in the corner. The door is shut, but the conversation still happens in whispers, unfolding slowly.

“If I could take away this pain from you I would,” my mother says. “I would do anything. I would live these attractions myself, if it meant you would no longer have to.”

“If I could take away this pain from you I would,” my mother says. “I would do anything.”

You see me look at her, then slowly look away. The view would pull back to an overhead shot and just rest there as the three slowly breathe. You hear my sniffles as I stare at the carpet.

“What would make it any better? What do you want?” my mother asks. There is a hint of exasperation in her voice, and you feel it yourself. Why won’t he respond? You think. Say something.Anything. Why would it be so hard to say what you want?

Finally, after enough time that you are tempted to turn off the game and walk away, you hear, “I just wish I could tell somebody.”

“What is it anybody else’s business if you are attracted to the same sex?” my father asks.

Another exhausting pause.

“I’m just tired of lying.”

•••

Next, you see me asleep on the couch. Older now, maybe 20. A college textbook rests on my chest and pumpkin decorations sit around the room. There is a glow and a crackle coming from the fireplace that enchants and feels instantly like home. You hear voices from somewhere offscreen and the view pans out over the top of the couch into the kitchen where my grandfather and my mother are talking. They do not seem to realize I am just one room over, and their voices slowly wrest me from the nap.

“It could be so much worse, though,” my mother says. “He could have run off to San Francisco or some godforsaken place.”

The focus zooms back in on me, tears streaming down my face. I grab the pillow from under my head and wrap it down tight over my ears. Through the muffle you hear, “At least he’s not one of those gays.” I place my hand over my mouth to suffocate any noises, and the room continues to glow warm.

•••

Now you see me sitting outside a church, on a bench with a priest in a roman collar. It is dusk and there are fireflies flickering in the church’s courtyard. The priest is older and sits slightly hunched, his head tilted aside to look me in the eyes.

“Well,” the priest says, “I think you’re brave, Patrick.”

“I don’t,” I reply.

“Not many have chosen to be faithful to the church like you.”

I look up at him. “Maybe I’m just too scared to do anything else.”

The priest smiles and shakes his head. “Why do you say that?”

“Everyone knows me as the guy who went to seminary,” I reply. “Who gave talks and was Mr. Pious-Church-Guy. I would lose everything, everyone I know, if I change that. Sometimes I wonder if I’m faithful or just terrified of what I would lose if I followed my conscience.”

“Sometimes I wonder if I’m faithful or just terrified of what I would lose if I followed my conscience.”

The priest does not give this much thought before saying: “I think you’re selling yourself short. You’re a good man. You’ve helped a lot of people.”

I sit in silence. The priest presses on, “Don’t you think that matters?”

“I don’t know. Maybe. I’m just saying if people knew who were really sitting next to them at Mass they might treat us different. A little less quick to call us inherently disordered and a bit more willing to understand why someone who feels the same way as they do about their wife or husband but about someone of the same sex might act upon those desires.”

The priest pauses at this, nods, and says: “If people knew you had these attractions they might not demonize you so much for it. And you think you have some kind of duty to show them?”

“I am just tired of being called disgusting for feeling the same way as everyone else.”

“I’m celibate,” he responds, maybe a bit defensively. “And most people don’t understand that. Most, if they’re honest, think it’s weird.”

I shake my head, “You’re a hero around here, Father. When was the last time you had a night of the week a family wasn’t begging you to come over for dinner?”

“That’s more exhausting than I think you give it credit,” the priest tries to joke.

I do not give up. But there is hurt in my voice this time. “Gay people aren’t even allowed to donate blood in this country. That’s what most people think of us. Not that we are a little weird. That we are toxic. It’s not that people don’t want us to get married. They say we are not even capable of it. The whole point of your celibacy is that your sexuality is good and you are offering it to the church. The whole point of mine is that I have nothing to offer.”

•••

The next scene is an empty chapel at sunset. You wander around the rows of wooden pews until you find me on the floor in the back, sitting cross-legged, a journal on my lap. You come over and sit down next to me, but I do not look up. Words appear on the screen as I journal.

I don’t understand, God. The words write steady but are far from polished. I’ve tried so hard to do this right.How many times have I asked you to take this pain from me?Or to give me the strength to bear it?I don’t feel like I am bearing it.I am drowning.I am alone.

Everything in me is dying to fall in love, so how is it that I am only capable of being alone?

You see me set down my pen and a teardrop falls on the word alone, smearing it and making it run down the screen.

Everything in me is dying to fall in love, so how is it that I am only capable of being alone?A woman could never love me.Not the real me.And I am not allowed to love a man.Because it is disordered. As am Iintrinsically.How is that made in your image?

The screen fades to black and one final sentence scrawls on the screen. How am I supposed to survive life if I am incapable of love?

•••

I have often been told that my sexuality is worth the pain, for in its repression it can purchase paradise. A straight afterlife awaits me if only I would act the part in this one.

To be honest, I have theological and philosophical issues with this position. But more than that, I have an emotional one. For so often I am told this line by my fellow Catholics who know not and care less about the weight of the burden they ask their gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to carry. We are an abstraction. Something the Catechism speaks about, not someone they speak with. Known of, though not known.

I wonder what you would feel if you knew me. If you saw what the lives you ask us to lead are actually like.

As silly as a video game feels, I wish I could break open my life and give my fellow Catholics an immersive look at what it was like to believe I was incapable of romantic love and partnership, unable to raise a child and unfit for a family—how deep that wound cuts your soul and affects every corner of your life.

Would you care enough to witness it, even if you could not change it? At least then I would no longer be an abstraction. You would know me. You would have the opportunity to care about my struggles and sit with me in my pain.

And you might even understand if I say I cannot do this anymore. That I believe my sexuality is not evil but normal. You might even hear me tell my story and see it not as an attack on the church but as a deeper embrace of her.

I wonder what you would feel if you knew me. If you saw what the lives you ask us to lead are actually like. If you got to know the real us, the gay Catholics already all around you.

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Chris Gration
2 years ago

Patrick thank you for writing and sharing this. Our stories can often be received by warm hearts: but that doesn’t remove the long ingrained feeling of risk. I feel the same in a relatively new Parish as I move into ministry, fearing the judgement and persecution of others. But mostly I am continually rewarded by God’s love warmly expressed by my fellow Catholics who know me.

bill carson
2 years ago

OK, but the fact of the matter is that you're not doing yourself any good feeling so sorry for yourself. Unbelievably sorry. Many people have huge temptations in their lives to sin. I admit that I sinned for years through over drinking. Others steal, are lazy, exhibit excessive pride and the like. There is something about homosexual sin though that causes a great many people to think that it's a special kind of sin, one that says committing homosexual acts really isn't a sin at all. It's actually something to be celebrated. I wish people had said that about drinking during my drinking days.

Yeah, I know all the leftist Catholics will say I'm cruel for saying what I've said. But too bad, I think the most cruel thing to tell any sinner is that it's b.s. to think their sins ain't no sins at all. That's why we have so called homosexual marriage. It's great now, but 2 seconds after such "couples" die, they won't think it's so great. So don't waste time feeling sorry for yourself and writing pieces hoping that leftists will tell you that your sin is so special.

And just to be perfectly clear with Catholics who support, defend and celebrate homosexual sin, I refer strictly to the commission of homosexual acts. I say nothing about homosexual inclinations, which are not sins.

Daniel Montiel
2 years ago

Watching you pretend and slur that Catholics aspiring to and desiring the love shared between a husband and wife is ACTUALLY their "feeling so sorry for" themselves is probably one of the best examples I've seen of how you homophobes are your own worst enemies. Many intelligent and compassionate humans will (sadly) not reject the Catholic faith's intentional cruelty and rejection towards / of gay people in and of itself, and/or their reverence for their faith and the faith of their fathers will keep them (kinda) in line, toeing the mark.
But when these people watch you laugh at and slur the love that all married people share? When they see you label their participation in and posting on a Catholic website as nothing but "you're just hoping some liberal will tell you that *your* sin is special"...
You help bring liberal victories *that* much closer and *that* much more real. God bless ya.

John T. Smith
2 years ago

I can see why this man is so miserable he is totally self-absorbed

Crystal Watson
2 years ago

I find it hard to understand why gay people would want to be Catholic or would accept the church's teachings on being gay. Real life is not like the video game of the dying child, or at least it should not be lived that way .... suffering isn't inevitable, we aren't just spectators in our own lives, There is nothing wrong with being gay. Don' let your life be ruined by church teachings that are nothing but BS.

Crystal Watson
2 years ago

PS - soon Mathew Shepard's remains will rest in the Washington National Cathedral ... https://www.npr.org/2018/10/11/656579250/proud-and-relieved-matthew-shepard-s-remains-to-be-interred-at-national-cathedra ... Most other Christian denominations accept gay people as they are. It's time for the Catholic church to give up its homophobia.

J Jones
2 years ago

The mentions of Matthew Shepherd break my heart. I will never forget the day he was left to die, the day he was strung up on a fenceline, all but unconscious after a beating under the sky on a cold October night, only found 18 hours later by a man who mistook him for a scarecrow.

I was in graduate school and, throughout my classes that day and long into the night, tears rolled down my face and I was often unable to speak.

That was the day I began to long for the Church of my childhood. I saw the crucified Jesus in the descriptions of Matthew's body, the fence he was tied to, in the innocence of his desire to find love, a desire answered by a brutality and rejection fueled to a profound degree by the religious teachers of the day. I had never had such a profound encounter with Jesus as I did that day in the aftermath of our brother Matthew's scourging and crucifixion.

I can just imagine the outrage. What? Jesus the Christ compared to a gay man at a bar hoping to meet another man?

Yes. Christ of the Breadlines (Fritz Eichenberg's iconic image) does not outrage us. We are not outraged when Jesus says to us, "What you do unto the least of these you do unto me". Yes. Jesus, beaten, strung up on a fence and left alone in the long, cold night under the vast Wyoming sky, because he longed for love, the way all adult human beings long for love.

My heart is filled with pain that, 20 years after Matthew's death, another young man has reached out, told us of his longing and some of us have scourged him and told him to get comfortable with being alone under the cold night sky of Wyoming. Some of us have likened his longing to an addiction to alcohol or gambling or sex, forgetting that drunks and gamblers are not asked to give up their life partners; they are asked to give up bottles and poker chips and random partners so they can live in those most precious relationships.

Patrick, you and your healthy, God-filled desire to love are not abstractions for MOST Catholics. In your difference, you are just like the rest of us: loved and deserving of life with a loved one, if that is your desire.

We, Catholics who recognize ourselves in you, need to get better at and braver about communicating that to you and other gay Catholics. We need to be braver about coming out of our own safe heterosexual closets to declare that we see ourselves in you and we see you in us, when we encounter Catholics and those priests who -- despite all the talk -- reduce the human desire for committed intimacy with one beloved man or woman to the desire to abuse alcohol.

I ended my discernment of Catholic religious life because I was not willing to pretend I accept church teaching about homosexuality. Shortly after, I received the great blessing of meeting Episcopalalian Bishop Gene Robinson in New Hampshire, in tiny Bethlehem of all places. He wrapped his arms around me, cried with me and told me, "Salvation is ALWAYS found on the margins. Go to the people forced to live in the margins. That is where you will find Salvation."

Someone asked why there is this attention to the gay community and its suffering.

I believe Bishop Gene answered that question.

Patrick, thank you for this invitation for real encounter (as someone above said). May God bless you and fill your life with love and intimacy and fellowship.

Robert Lewis
2 years ago

Brilliant!

Drew Charpentier
2 years ago

you walked a beautiful line between egotism and Ignatian contemplation my brother.

it seems like one of the biggest fields for modern spiritual warfare is the battle of alienation. the comments here and now show how hard that battle rages. i wonder what a RPG would look like for the lives of those with all the answers and quick thumbs? the happily married warriors for Christ just doing their best? the simple, kindhearted Church Militants who aren't afraid to call for the resignation of their leaders for the false humility and apostasy they so clearly see. how seemingly pleasant and well-adjusted a game would be where the options are press "x" to remain silent, "y" to shrug, "a" to spit, and "b" to assert your pious intelligence. then maybe we could understand how terrible it is to go thru life with such an exacting eye for the hidden nonsense that wages war against the Church of Love.

spoiler alert: one of the possible multiple endings will be something akin to Matthew Seven Twenty-One thru Twenty-Three.

But didn't we speak out Lord? Didn't we vote Lord? Didn't we see right thru it Lord? Every night we cast the demons out of the comments. Every night we prayed the rosary.

we could call it "the Life You Save May Be Your Own."

thank you for this peace. peace.

Pancho Mulongeni
2 years ago

Honey, I really would love for you to read this out loud, like at a spoken word open mic night! I really am fascinated by what you said, but it I am not sure I get it. I think you could perform and tour the conservative Catholic schools around the US and ultimately the world. Perhaps you could even be an opener for a drag show!

Pancho Mulongeni
2 years ago

Honey, I really would love for you to read this out loud, like at a spoken word open mic night! I really am fascinated by what you said, but it I am not sure I get it. I think you could perform and tour the conservative Catholic schools around the US and ultimately the world. Perhaps you could even be an opener for a drag show!

Michael Svenssen
2 years ago

I don't think that any of us can know or understand God. The great dilemma of being born human is that we are without a map, and somehow we have to find our way. I truly believe that each of us has chosen to do this, and that our task is to recognize and overcome the challenges before us. So many of us grow weary, but ultimately the path is illuminated by grace if we have the courage to recognize it. And no, I don't want to walk in your shoes. I struggle enough trying to walk in my own.

Vince Killoran
2 years ago

I'm grateful to the author for crafting such a wonderful essay.

Craig B. Mckee
2 years ago

Patrick-
Go home tonite and turn on the lights; then turn on the tap and drink the water. Hop in the shower; turn on your TV; Crawl into a comfy bed and COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS for a change instead of basking in your existential angst. In other words, realize that your self-tortured life in Seattle is better than almost 95% of the rest of the planet. As twisted inside as you seem to be, I can understand WHY you cannot find love over coffee and donuts at your local weekly parish. Nobody likes a whiner...
p.s. Your video game does NOT include a vignette of sexual molestation, bullying or rape. Walk a mile in any one of those shoes and then try to convince me YOU have problems!

Vittoria Colonna
2 years ago

Your words are just priceless. People are being barrel bombed in Syria, can’t pay their bills, worry about how they are going to retire, have unclean water, suffer debilitating illnesses and this guy whines because Catholics won’t bow down to him.
When 1. Someone shows me how much better the lives of gay people are or were in atheistic regimes such as North Korea or the Soviet Union under communism. And 2 demonstrate to me why other groups whom the Christian community criticises (ie. People who have sex outside of marriage ) don’t suffer the same kind of ‘persecution. Then I’ll buy the persecution complex

Patrick if you want to be happy..study Mother Theresa’s humility list, go work at a food bank, write a letter to your congress person for a living wage for the working poor and be led by the God which you claim to serve. That is if you are sincere about your faith and just don’t use the Catholic Church as a social club.

Stanley Kopacz
2 years ago

So I guess you cats never complain about ANYTHING. Or nobody should complain about anything until they end up scrounging off a garbage pile in the Phillipines. How do you know the writer DOESN'T do these things you recommend? You just want the writer to not be, and if that's not possible, to pretend to not be.

Vittoria Colonna
2 years ago

The tone & topic of the writers tells me that he is lacking in humility.
It’s unlikely that someone who is so concerned about being liked and admired as the writer cares about the concerns of others. Or more to the point understands that there are far more important things on earth than the need to be liked and admired.
Everyone suffers rejection. Rejection is painful for everyone not just gay people. There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t suffer rejection, being slighted or someone hurting my feelings. I either forgive them and brush it off. Or I pray to God to heal me.
I guess it all comes down to who you serve and whose love you treasure the most. The Creator above or human beings.

Vincent Coiro
2 years ago

Very raw witness of your struggle with the faith and your attraction. The Christian faith was never meant to be lived alone and as I imagine you have quite a faith community it never hurts to look maybe into expanding it just a bit more. Check out Eden Invitation online for some other Catholics living with same sex attraction, who in my belief are doing some great work. I'll keep you in my prayers over the course of the next couple of days as you have your article and these comments in the fore front of you mind. Also, if you happen to stop over at Pike's Place have a coffee at Storyville for me, they are my favorite coffee place by far, but Seattle is a bit far from St Louis.

Richard Markiewicz
2 years ago

Hi Patrick, As a fellow gay man, I wish you well. Do not be blindsided by some of the mean spirited comments made here by those who have no clue. If they really listened to what Jesus asked of them, they would never make those comments. For me joining the Episcopal Church was solution. I remain catholic and still can be whole. Blessings.

John Orsulan Jr
2 years ago

Hi Patrick...I am a Hetero Man and Your story made my Cry. Here is my take on Your Situation. Regarding the Incident in the Cafeteria, I don't think that you were Sexually Mature enough for a Male/Female Relationship at that time...Instead of jumping right into an active Gay Lifestyle, Here is what I would recommend; Start developing interests and doing things that develop normal Male traits. You might even try to find a Job where only Hetero Males work and begin to emulate their traits (Not Bad, Sinful Traits). Maybe you have a deep seated inferiority complex or lack self-esteem. Possibly the Rejection by the Girl at the Cafeteria made you think that Girls weren't attracted to You. Many Homosexuals say that they had a Poor Relationship with their Father, With little or No Affirmation of their Worth and Value from their Father. (Often Open Hostility from their Father) And then they look for Male Affirmation anywhere they can Find it. (Older Homosexual Men know all about this). You know Jesus has told Us that we need to take up Our Cross and follow in his Footsteps (Whatever Our Cross might Be). Patrick, why not give Yourself a Year or Two to develop a possible Heterosexual Outlook on Life doing the things that I recommended and stay away from all traces of any kind of Homosexual Influences. Have a Fluid Sexual Orientation (Bisexual). Try to notice what You like about both Sexes. And maybe sometime in the Future, You may start thinking about having a Family and lots of Little ones playing right around You and You know, You need a Wife for that. Best Wishes to You, May God bless You, Your Friend, Worthless Servant of Jesus Christ, John

John T. Smith
2 years ago

This man is participating in the world's number one sport: Feeling sorry for yourself.

F C
2 years ago

To absolve oneself from the suffering of one's neighbour, is not so easy.

john collins
2 years ago

Patrick,
I am late in joining the conversation.

I take seriously that you are lonely, even as I find you, talented at writing as you are, turning your person into a literary object (thus to become an “abstraction” for yourself).

Permit me three Qs: 1. Your father appears remote, based on your scene 2. Was he remote emotionally as you were passing through childhood and youth? 2. Did you ever try to be someone’s friend when you were a teenager—someone of the same gender? (I ask this second Q because your first scene has you with peers but not with friends.).
3. Have you engaged in homosexual activit? (You need not answer this Q aloud for me, or for anyone except yourself, someone you trust, and—of course—God. —I am a bit like your father in scene 2 when he says “why is it anybody else’s business if you are attracted to the same sex?” But were I someone you trusted, I would warn you about the sneaky effects of such activity on your person—effects such as: increasing the distance between you and the one with whom you are acting; making you more not less remote to your own self; and increasing your own causal agency in the interior act by which identity yourself as gay.)
John C

john collins
2 years ago

Patrick,
I am late in joining the conversation.

I take seriously that you are lonely, even as I find you, talented at writing as you are, turning your person into a literary object (thus to become an “abstraction” for yourself).

Permit me three Qs: 1. Your father appears remote, based on your scene 2. Was he remote emotionally as you were passing through childhood and youth? 2. Did you ever try to be someone’s friend when you were a teenager—someone of the same gender? (I ask this second Q because your first scene has you with peers but not with friends.).
3. Have you engaged in homosexual activit? (You need not answer this Q aloud for me, or for anyone except yourself, someone you trust, and—of course—God. —I am a bit like your father in scene 2 when he says “why is it anybody else’s business if you are attracted to the same sex?” But were I someone you trusted, I would warn you about the sneaky effects of such activity on your person—effects such as: increasing the distance between you and the one with whom you are acting; making you more not less remote to your own self; and increasing your own causal agency in the interior act by which identity yourself as gay.)
John C

Stanley Kopacz
2 years ago

If distant fathers were the problem, 50% of us would be homosexual. I don't think that Freudian stuff is correct. It happens in the womb. My parents were separated and I didn't have a lot of contact with my father. But, at age 5, I enjoyed my visits to the pediatrician. His nurse was drop dead gorgeous. By the time you're born, what's there is there.

john collins
2 years ago

Stanley,
Not just “distant fathers,” but disapproving fathers. Disapproving of their sons as such.—You May be too young to know psychiatry’s insights on the matter from 1962. E.g., Got Irving Bieber? More: the psychology is just that, psychology. It’s correlational not causal matter. It inhibits the maturation of the person a great deal. To the point that one’s person as a male is in question for the individual himself. Under these circumstances this individual can take matters south of the border sexually with another of his own gender. To be sure, it is he who is the causal agent of the (homo)sexualizing of the antecedent psychological matter. This comes gay, his attachment to a sexual identity that he declares of himself, about himself. It—this identification—is not what he intends, it is what he thinks as he goes about trying to make (interior) sense of his person. Objectively, he has brought the identity on himself. Subjectively, he is quite unaware of having done so. . . . As for your own life experiences—separated parents and a gorgeous nurse, these are not a metric by which to understand the dynamics of gay individuals, much less are they supportive of your conclusion that gay is present at birth/conception.

Daniel Montiel
2 years ago

One of the (unintentionally) funniest things about your pseudo-scientific and homophobic "explanation" for homo/bisexuality is your apparent sincere belief that "fathers disapproving of their sons" somehow creates and then promotes homosexual desire in sons who only are... experiencing problems with their dad. 😆
I post this, though, not (only) to laugh at your homophobia but to point out how much reality and science your "explanation" avoids / runs away from. You would have this site's readers believe that men experiencing "disapproval" from their fathers respond to such a tragedy by *doubting their own gender*. (Yes, folks - homophobic Christians hate and fear sexuality-not-exclusively-hetero SOOOO MUCH that they're *actually* with a straight face pushing the idea that sons disapproved of by their fathers are, as a result, both a) immature and b) no longer believe in / attack their own gender — apparently in the scariest/most serious way that homophobes imagine "attacking one's gender" must be: deriving physical pleasure from the mere THOUGHT of same-sex sexuality.)
Did you all catch that? Homophobes (try to/pretend to) believe that homosexual sexual desire a) springs into existence as a result of insufficiently-supportive fathers and b) Only occurs *at all* so that such kids have ready-made options available to attack themselves.
(Measuring and testing the

In all seriousness: Thank you for posting such insane/laughable homophobia. It’s really only through you Christianists broadcasting the batsh!t depths to which you’re willing and able to go - as long as someone first pats you on the head and then validates your homophobia, naturally - that shows how utterly groundless (and, indeed, anti-science) your morality plays actually are.
But at least they're FUNNY

michael krainak
2 years ago

You are not alone,. Many are “walking in your shoes” at the altar.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexual_clergy_in_the_Catholic_Church

http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2017/04/20/how_the_catholic_priesthood_became_a_haven_for_many_gay_men.html

https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/07/29/catholic-priests-its-empirical-fact-that-many-clergy-are-gay

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/gay-priests-catholic-elephant-is-still-in-the-sacristy/

Henry George
2 years ago

Patrick,

You are not "Gay and Catholic"
you are a human being.

Yes, you have desires for your own gender but they will never
bring you to what your natural end is.

Either accept the celibate life or seek out and find a nice, understanding, woman to marry.

As for being Catholic, we are all sinners, but should we seek to excuse our
sins with smooth words ?

Robert Lewis
2 years ago

And how many "normal," heterosexual women wish to marry a man who doesn't have a longing to make love to them? Who, exactly, do you think you are kidding with that suggestion? To me it seems as misogynist as it is homophobic.

J Jones
2 years ago

Robert, I thought the same thing.

I also thought about all the divorces that have occurred because gay people wanted lifelong partnerships, wanted to be parents, wanted to support a family, wanted to be part of a loving Catholic parish ----- only to lose it all when the lie became too soul-crushing for one or both persons in the marriage. And, though the marriage could surely be annulled, then both parties are condemned for divorcing, with most blame accruing to the gay spouse.

Phillip Stone
2 years ago

Well, I have read this as a description of one individual's suffering as a consequence of from a disability caused by a trauma and the personal and social repercussions of it.

A similar compassion evoking narrative could be equally applied to someone with obsessive compulsive neurosis, or anorexia nervosa or suicidal depression or paranoia.

Nowhere does he describe seeking the appropriate medical and psychological and spiritual treatments available in this 21st century.
Dr. Joseph Nicolosi has great success treating homosexuality in people who wish to change.

F C
2 years ago

Phillip Stone
You write: "Dr. Joseph Nicolosi has great success treating homosexuality in people who wish to change." Wishful thinking! No reputable study has yet attributed "success" to any "conversion therapy", let alone Nicolosi's so-called "reparative therapy". https://whatweknow.inequality.cornell.edu/topics/lgbt-equality/what-does-the-scholarly-research-say-about-whether-conversion-therapy-can-alter-sexual-orientation-without-causing-harm/

Were you aware that Nicolosi passed away last year? I wonder if you will accept that this means he no longer "practices"? Judging by the tenor of your post and its unresponsiveness to either facts or logic, I have good reasons to doubt.

john collins
2 years ago

F C,
You may be correct in inferring that Patrick Stone is unaware that Joseph Nicolosi passed away over a year ago. But it is not correct to say Nicolosi was without positive effect in assisting individuals wishing to discover/experience their innate heterosexual orientation. He helped many such persons to do so. He presented such evidence to the American Psychological Association at one point. They were as unresponsive to him then as stone. Ah, how ideology can harden us.

Stanley Kopacz
2 years ago

Yes, yes. How ideology can.

Daniel Montiel
2 years ago

Yes, it's *such* a shock that the APA was "unresponsive" to Nicolosi's PR efforts on behalf of sexual orientation change efforts: "The American Psychological Association undertook a study of the peer-reviewed literature in the area of sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) and found a myriad of issues with the procedures used in conducting the research. The taskforce did find that some participants experienced a lessening of same sex attraction and arousal, but that these instances were 'rare' and 'uncommon'. The taskforce concluded that, 'given the limited amount of methodically sound research, claims that SOCE is effective are not supported'. Two issues with SOCE claims are that conversion therapists falsely assume that homosexuality is a mental disorder and that their research focuses almost exclusively on gay men and rarely includes lesbians."
I'm sure that last has *nothing* to do with your failure to get anybody to believe that humans are "innately heterosexual". 😆😆

F C
2 years ago

John Collins
You say "it is not correct to say Nicolosi was without positive effect in assisting individuals wishing to discover/experience their innate heterosexual orientation" and tell us the evidence is Nicolosi's say so. Fatuous. You even ignored the url to the Cornell study I offered as a way to learn something objective about the evaluation of conversion therapies!

Did it occur to you, based on this, that your last sentence applies, first and foremost, to you?

Barry Fitzpatrick
2 years ago

This is indeed a beautiful and thoughtful article, and I am grateful to Patrick for the food for thought and reflection, and I know somehow that thought and reflection are simply not enough. We need concrete, behavior-changing, mind-altering action to bring to an end the marginalization of this community of people in our Church. I taught in Catholic schools (all boys) for forty years, and we were woefully inadequate in addressing the issues raised by Patrick. Band aid attempts to ameliorate the situation became known for their short-sightedness and lack of follow-up. The ritualists always wanted us to toe the line on Catholic teaching, while others wanted us to create situations which would have simply put a bulls' eye on these students' backs.
What do we do? How do we talk to these members of our communities we consider so different from ourselves? When do we realize we have permanently relegated them to second or lower class status? Listen to some of the nonsense we preach at them: it's like alcoholism, you can beat this; suffer now, be rewarded later; just stay celibate, and you're OK. Who the heck do we think we're talking to, robots? This is scary stuff, even in 2018, to see how little we have developed in our treatment of this community. If I were honest, I would tell Patrick that "no, I don't want to take a walk in his shoes." I cannot even imagine the pain, the constant throbbing pain he describes coming from every quarter. No, I don't want that. But in my own woefully inadequate and imperfect way, I want his pain to be gone, I want to know how to help make it go away, I want to treat him as my equal and my brother. How do we do that in this Church of ours? The comments below indicate it will be very difficult to do.
Thanks again, Patrick.

J Jones
2 years ago

I agree, Barry.

F C
2 years ago

It seems to me your final comments go the heart of Jesus Christ's injunction to "love your neighbour as yourself".

"And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said to him, Well, Master, you have said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said to him, You are not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that dared ask him any question." (Mark 12:28-34)

No amount of "burnt offerings and sacrifices" will conform us to Christ.

Robert Lewis
2 years ago

So much of this discussion is conducted in the shadow of the Catholic laity's ignorance of same-sex lovers, and that ignorance is enabled by a very large coterie of cowardly, closeted homosexual clergy who know very well that most gay folks who aren't clerics simply want to live an "accompanied" life-style. Heterosexual Catholic lay people who are involved in a conjugal relationship should ask themselves honestly at one point in their marriages does sex become irrelevant, and friendship, shared values and shared goals in life become the chief focus. The Catholic clergy, who hear the true stories of gay couples in the confessional, know full well that in stable relationships sex eventually becomes no longer of paramount importance, but the dishonesty in their so-called "vocations" prevent them from preaching this out loud. Instead, they encourage the "same-sex-attracted" to become involved in something called "Courage," which is secretive and which, because of the secrecy, is unavoidably associated with shame. The chastity that "Courage" enjoins upon the "same-sex-attracted" would be much more honorable, much more limned with character and dignity, if it were a PUBLIC ministry, in which gay men and lesbians were required, as a matter of principle, to come out to their families, employers and parishes, in order to ask of them that they be helped to aim to live in coupled relationships characterized by chastity. However, until that happens--until, in other words, published confessions by priest-candidates of their same-sex attraction and their willingness to forfeit its expression should be treated as a RECOMMENDATION for the priesthood, because it is characterized by "heroic sanctity"--then homosexual men and women should LEAVE the Catholic Church, for the sake not only of their mental health, but for the sake of their personal integrity and sense of self-worth.
I have, time and time again, on these threads, recommended that the Roman Catholic Church should revive in its liturgy a rite that she once performed in churches and accompanied with the Eucharist--namely a profession of "sworn brotherhood" (as documented and propounded by Alan Bray, in his deeply researched tome, "The Friend"), so as to enable these men and women to live in the way recommended for human kind by the Yahweh of the Old Testament, when He says, "It is not good for man to be alone." The erudite and intellectually sophisticated higher ecclesiastics and theologians of the Catholic Church know that this is needed, and they know that fundamentalist interpretations of Sacred Scripture are at variance with what modern science is revealing about the etiology of homosexuality, but their faith is so weak, so grounded in fear of the bigotry and hatred preached for centuries to the laity, that they haven't the courage, the charism of "prophecy," sufficient to preach it to the people in the pews.

F C
2 years ago

Robert Lewis
I deeply respect your call to integrity - without this we aren't free to love. I agree that liturgical rites acknowledging same-sex unions need to be (re)instituted.

F C
2 years ago

duplicate post deleted

LuAnn O'Connell
2 years ago

Thank you for sharing. I am a former evangelical and now former Roman Catholic whose view of homosexuality has changed. I've come to see that for too long, we have focused on what we term "sexual sins" at the expense of all sorts of other far more harmful and insidious that we ourselves are guilty of, often out of fear, deflection and a limited appreciation of God's immense love and grace.
I have endeavored to "walk in your shoes" in the past few years and I am so sad and sorry for the great pain that you have endured from those who bear the name of Christ. Jesus himself did not vet people before healing them, but loved them, hung out with them, fed them, healed them, etc. allowing the Holy Spirit to do the work of transforming them as the *Spirit* saw fit; only the rigid, self-righteous religious leaders did Jesus rebuked outright.
It's so wonderful to be free of the narrow focus on rules and outward conformity and to join in the dance of love of the Trinity that all are invited to!

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