This morning I was saddened to read about an Australian pastor charged of molesting a teenage boy many years ago!
This pastor led a well known Christian healing ministry (some would call gay conversion therapy) and I knew him very well as I worked with him for 3 years.
As I read one of the articles I read about a guy called Chris and his experience of the ministry
“Every week, members spoke about their ‘sins’ and we learned about the spiritual and experiential reasons that we had ‘turned gay’. I was so ashamed and guilt-ridden that I remained completely celibate for years.
So-called ‘conversion therapy’ causes depression, self-loathing and even suicide. I prayed to God asking him to either heal me, or kill me.
“I was so depressed, I wanted to die. The trauma associated with that part of my life still affects me.”
After 3 years working with Ron I too had a major breakdown after a disagreement, not because I suddenly became sexually active but because I believed in same-sex love and not in living in fear!
It seems to me that so many people have replaced the word “sin” with sex!
Thou shall not sin has thus turned into thou shall not have sex and avoiding the occasion of sin has turned into a avoiding any potential intimacy that may lead to sex!
The result is a group of miserable old badgers with no intimacy in their lives and begrudgingly others theirs!
How do I know? Am I not judging?
Well NO! Because for many years I was one of them too and I too placed an over-emphasis on sexual purity that led me to depression and misery!
So what am I saying? That sex is ok, that there is no such thing as sexual sin?!!
What I’m saying is that we are all called to love and part of that loving is with our bodies and that we shouldn’t allow fear of having sex to lock us in lives of pain and shame!
Many catholics talk to me of the ‘occasion of sin’ but to me this is just an excuse to bury one’s head in the sand and not live at all!
Part of growing in holiness is growing in humaness and is learning how to love with our bodies in a healthy way!
In other words, facing our fears and with God’s grace working through them and beyond them.
It’s a journey and one that requires a lot of prayer, personal searching, counselling and spiritual direction!
Just like learning a foreign language there will be mistakes!
But is God’s mercy not beyond mistakes?
Does a bit of sex suddenly cancel out every good deed and every prayer you have said before?!
Is God so empty minded that He doesn’t understand the dilemma?!
And so as I finish my coffee I thank God for freeing me from these types of ministries and mentalties and I pray for the graces of true love and intimacy for many of my fellow catholic brothers and sisters caught in the same snare and unable to move forward!
God bless all and may we be rich in love, mercy and understanding!