This is a short reflection on my journey within the catholic church as someone with homosexual orientation. It is by no means an extensive study of the issue….just a personal testimony.
One of the first things that I learnt about God is that he is both loving and merciful….yet it puzzled me that in 2000 years of Church history there was not a single recorded saint who had a homosexual orientation. There were prostitutes, womanisers, murderers….but helas, no gays!
As I began mixing in religious circles in France I always got the same advice ‘all that is in the past, never mention it again’…..but how does ones orientation suddenly become in the past and why the big silence. I was living a single life like everybody else….why the silence, the shame, the fear?
On entering the seminary for a year of discernment I got the same advice….if you ever talk about that you’ll have to leave! After a year I did leave, the silent shameful repression not only hampered me from finding God, but led me into a near breakdown.
The same pattern followed in the catholic church in Australia. SILENCE! I could never understand it especially considering the high rate of suicide amoung young men struggling with their sexual orientation. Once again I came to breaking point in a well reputed australian order.
Finally I joined a Church in Sydney where I was allowed to be myself, not surprisingly it was not a catholic church. Freedom at last, a place where it was ok to be yourself.
Very often young catholic men contact me about their struggles with sexuality. More than anything they need to talk, to be real. Saying a rosary and pretending that it will all go away only makes it worse.
I read once that between 25 – 40% of priests have a homosexual orientation. I pity them. How on earth are they to stay celibate if they are not able to speak honestly about their lives.
Perhaps one day homosexual men may be accepted and welcomed by the Catholic Church, that the fear and shame and guilt may go.
In the mean time I console myself that God loves me. There is a place in his heart for me even if the catholic church has no place for me right now.