Last night I was out in the Soho area of London and once again met with some painful stories.
One guy was from a muslim family and being gay and muslim is even harder than being gay and catholic!
Once again I felt convicted of the need for this gap between sexuality and religion to be bridged!
Recently I read about a book called “Why I don’t call myself gay” and to be honest the title disappointed me!
The writer had an experience of God and now does not practise gay sexual activity.
Admittedly he is still attracted to men but because he does not act on these attractions he does not call himself gay!
But what does he call himself? Straight, in between, confused?
Now this guy is a good guy and has had a genuine experience of God which I’m not doubting for a second.
He says somewhere to call himself gay and catholic would be hypocrisy but I don’t see why!
Every time we pray a hail Mary we admit that we are sinners as we say “pray for us sinners”. Are we hypocrites or are we simply broken human beings who fall short of perfection?
If a person says that they are straight we don’t automatically assume that they are sexually active so why do we for gays?!
This seems to be the core of the issue where saying “I’m gay” has become synonymous with saying “I’m a sexually active gay”.
There are many happy, single and celibate gay men. Indeed many priests are gay and live perfectly celibate lives!
And so I think the gay community and the church needs hope. It needs people to show that yes, you can be gay, you can be fully catholic and you can live a very fulfilled life without being sexually active.
And it is for this very reason that I tell gay people that I’m gay too! When I tell them about my life and explain why I’m not looking for sex they take it very very well!
They listen, they understand that I have experienced something that they have not and they feel hope as I am not condemning them or refusing to see myself as ‘one of them’!
In many cases they allow me to pray with them, they share very intimately with me and are extremely thirsty to somehow understand how God and the church see them!
So good on the author of “Why I do not call myself gay” and I know that with a book title like that he will be far more accepted in church circles than myself and “Why I do call myself gay” even if in reality we are both saying pretty much the same thing!
However, I’m here to please nobody only to follow my conscience and to reach out in honesty, vulnerability and simplicity to the gay community and to the church and to give testimony to what Jesus is doing in my life!
May more and more members of the gay community come to know the love of Jesus and may they too find their place in our church!
Pray for Soho!