The Victim III: The Gay Christian Victim

In my first post, I identified one type of victim, the victim who becomes so through his or her own esoteric narratives. In my second post, I discussed the paradoxical nature of true freedom. In this post, I will discuss the implications of these previous ideas for todays “gay Christian victims.”

As a gay Catholic, I’ve experienced victimhood in a few ways, and each presents its own challenges. I’ve written before on my loss of a job opportunity within the Church for no reason other than my sexuality. I’ve also experienced the acute victimhood of one who has felt “doomed” by Church teaching to a life of isolated unhappiness, the life many gay Christians fear that faith demands, a life of so many cats (God, I hate cats…) and single-bedroom apartments and the timid observance of others making enduring bonds of love, while your own friendships dwindle away at the hands of new spouses and their children. I’ve had visions of my gay Catholic life as one doomed to loneliness. Continue reading “The Victim III: The Gay Christian Victim”

Why I Call Myself a “Gay Catholic”

“Gay” is a silly term. That narrow category misses the complexity of the human experience. And given the way that language grows and develops over time, I don’t think it will last the century. Just as “gay identity” has usurped “homosexual identity” in the culture at large, I now see “queer identity” coming into prominence. In a tumultuous rise and fall of “acceptable” language, the constant change of words demonstrates the fragility of identity politics. But I insist on calling myself a “gay Christian,” a “gay Catholic.” Continue reading “Why I Call Myself a “Gay Catholic””

Being Celibate, Christian and Gay…

Some bits of an online discussion.

Earlier this month, Patrick Gothman published a piece in Medium on “What It’s Like to be Celibate, Christian, and Gay.” He writes about his attempts to live up the Catholic Church’s teachings while not hating himself, trying to contribute to the life of the Church while hiding his sexuality from his community, and how he ultimately couldn’t reconcile his Church’s teachings and his sexuality. He concludes:

“We are not so incapable of humanity that if we fall in love we must commit some herculean act of charity to convince God not to abandon us forever. To know us is to realize this can’t be true. To read the Gospels is to know this isn’t true. Some may choose celibacy if they feel called. But to demand it of us, even if you believe it is the most compassionate, Scriptural thing you can do, is to ignore the reality of our lives played out before you. We are your sons and daughters, your friends and neighbors, your pew companions whose hands you shake and whose personal lives you discreetly avoid. But to ignore us is to lose us. One way or another.”

I was involved in a discussion with Catholic young adults about this piece. After some discussion, I shared: Continue reading “Being Celibate, Christian and Gay…”

Me and Porn II: For Your Hope

As usual, I hopped down into the leather seat, while she sat on the couch opposite me. My backpack laid against the chair on the floor while she flipped to a clean page on her yellow notepad. A window behind me keeps the room bright at 3pm, and we go through the usual, “How are you doing?”

We talk about pornography and masturbation. She believes that masturbation can be a coping mechanism, as long as it’s not the only one. I tell her I don’t want it to be one of mine, and she knows it comes from my views as a Catholic. There have been a few conversations about it, and she asks again, “So I know that the Church says not to do it, but what do you think about it?” Continue reading “Me and Porn II: For Your Hope”

What is sexuality?

“When we talk about love, we mostly talk about ourselves, especially if we can discreetely praise ourselves in the process.” -David O’Connor

I’ve been writing about issues related to Catholicism and homosexuality for several years, and some of my readers’ confusions have come from my use of the word “sexuality.” I make assertions that cut against common parlance. For example, I recently asserted that unmarried Catholics should be more sexual. In a post on chastity and sin, I asked, “What would it mean for the celibate person to have a flourishing sexual life?” And I have insisted that gay Christians need to live out their sexualities in a positive way in order to pursue the Catechism’s “integrative” approach to sexuality.

Part of the confusion comes from readers familiar with my commitment to the Catechism. They don’t always see how my claims cohere with it. I take the Catechism at face value. So when I advocate a “flourishing sexual life” for gay persons, I don’t mean pursuing sexual-genital activity. But people want to know what I (and the Church) mean by “sexual” in these conversations. Continue reading “What is sexuality?”

Do we want gay Catholics to be chaste?

In my first post, I discussed two approaches to sexuality. The first approach, the “avoidant approach,” focuses on how to avoid concupiscence. It sets this avoidance as the grounding point for responding to human sexuality. The second approach, the “integrative approach,” focuses on bringing together one’s sexuality so that it can be lived out fully. While many Catholics promote the former, the Catechism’s presentation of chastity adopts the latter. Continue reading “Do we want gay Catholics to be chaste?”

Two Views on Chastity and Sin

In my previous post, I wrote about two approaches to human sexuality: the “avoidant approach” presented by many Catholics, and the “integrative approach” presented by the catechism.

Sin no more

These approaches are analogous to a discussion of sin in John 18:11. There, Jesus tells the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.” A common reading of this passage teaches that Jesus commands her to no longer commit adultery, or any other active sin. But this reading misses more nuanced and compelling translations of the Greek text. Continue reading “Two Views on Chastity and Sin”

What we get wrong about chastity

Two years ago, Paul Blaschko wrote about issues during his time as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis. For example, when Blaschko approached a priest on staff about beginning a group to discuss issues related to sexual formation, the priest “seemed confused by the request” and asked what these issues would include. Blaschko identified such topics as sexual identity, masturbation, and pornography. The priest simply responded, “I don’t think anyone who masturbates should be in seminary.” He further said that the disclosure of masturbation or habitual “impure thoughts” would represent a “serious formation issue.” After that conversation neither Blaschko nor his classmates brought up the idea again, wondering whether openness about these issues could lead to dismissal from seminary.  Continue reading “What we get wrong about chastity”

“Homosexuality”: The Church Doesn’t Know What She’s Talking About

One of the most difficult aspects of entering into the Church’s present conversations on sexuality is the imprecision of language. Many people write about proper and improper uses of sexuality, its ends and proper means to those ends, its features and attributes. But there currently exists no set definition of “sexuality” from “the Catholic perspective.” Continue reading ““Homosexuality”: The Church Doesn’t Know What She’s Talking About”