Good afternoon to you all from Soho square in London.

Soho is the ideal place to write about being catholic and gay because it’s the heart of the gay community and also has a very vibrant catholic church where I often go!

Last night in this very church I went to a lovely prayer meeting. We had a beautiful mass followed by eucharistic adoration with the rosary and some gentle music.

Yet before going I was a little nervous as Rayne was with me! Silly questions flooded my mind such as if we should  hold hands or show any other ‘PDA’s (public displays of affection) like a straight catholic couple might.

Anyway it all went very well and we chose to be humble and discreet and not look for trouble. Afterwards we went for some fish and chips on Old Compton street.

And so this morning as I was praying and reflecting over this tricky balancing act of being gay and catholic I stumbled on this diagram from Anthony Venn-Brown.

As I looked at the 4 stages of the church I realised that they are the same 4 stages for many of us gay people

1. I can’t be gay, I’ll go to hell

2. I’m gay, God is merciful so there might be some hope but I’m still in very big trouble.

3. God is more understanding, I’m attracted to men and that’s ok PROVIDED I never act on it.

4. Wow, God is cool, He gets it. I can be fully me and have a relationship and be loved by God. This is awesome!

At this stage I’m happy to be in number 4 although I’m still dealing with some of the trauma of having been in all previous stages.

What makes it so much harder for the individual to progress is when the church is stuck.

I’ve lived in France, India, Australia, Croatia, Bosnia, Ireland and England and I’ve never found a catholic church community in stage 4 in any of these countries except England.

Most catholic churches are in stages 2 or 3 and I think the church here in Soho is probably at 2.5!!

Welcoming yes, accepting…to a point…affirming, definitely not!

And yet as I pray I see the need to be merciful and understanding because you see when I was at stages 2 and 3 I too was extremely uncomfortable with stage 4 and was probably against it! My own understanding simply hadn’t come that far and I was surrounded by people who were telling me that I was correct….a vicious circle!

And so last night Rayne and I didn’t rock the boat but instead we prayed and participated in the group just like normal Catholics…..because we are normal Catholics!

Yet our prayer is that our catholic church and parishes will move forward so that

1. They become accepting of LGBT people for the purposes of evangelisation and

2. They will be able to give the correct spiritual and human guidance to the LGBT catholics in the church already!

Sadly many people will never reach stage 4 and indeed many will get stuck somewhere or just give up altogether. Yet we must not get discouraged from praying and doing our best to love people and to love our church forward.

It can lonely journey but the path is lit up by Jesus, the light of the world and of course the street lights and the bike help too!!

Have a wonderful day and may God and Our Lady wrap their loving hands around all those who feel rejected or only partially accepted in our catholic church and may He open the eyes of understanding of our priests and bishops to bring the healing love of Jesus to the LGBT community and catholic church all over the world.

Thanks for reading