Yesterday was World’s aids day and as we are familiar with the pandemic of the Coronavirus, it’s worth remembering that other pandemics are out there and have cost just as many lives and more.

However the question to be asked is if a gay life has equal value to a straight life and if people who have caught HIV are worthy of mercy since they more than likely caught it while having sex which of course is the worst sin ever!

Recently I heard a someone say that even Satan himself turns away when two men have sex because it is that bad…..

If this was true then the exorcism ministry could be replaced with a bit of gay porn!

Yet sadly many of these ridiculous attitudes exist in the church and among so many church people and they are just so out of touch with the pastoral realities of what so many people live.

Often these people talk about the gay scene as if they actually know what it’s like to be gay and often they put so much fear and shame on people that they unknowingly push them right back into the scene.

Twice I was kicked out of catholic households because I was struggling with porn over the lonely Christmas period, once I was booted from the Sacred heart of Jesus Sanctuary France because they thought I was HIV positive when I had the misfortune to tell them that I had to go to the doctor and hinted that it was gay related.

Each time I was shamed, humiliated and rejected for being human, honest and vulnerable…

I shared a flat in Australia with an older man who was HIV positive and he used to go through terrible bouts of shame and depression and feel very rejected and for good measure Jesus had me working in India in a monastery dedicated to looking after kids who were born HIV positive.

Now you might be wondering if I’m positive myself and while in a way it’s nobody’s business but my own, in reality I’m not.

Yet the stark reality is that I could be. The gay world is very sexual and sensual and I’ve never claimed to be perfect and have had my fair share of moments of weakness.

Just like getting a girl pregnant, it only takes one mistake to have big consequences.

Some Catholics would take the approach of “they got what they deserved and God is now punishing them with a slow and painful death” and yet if they had a straight child who got a girl pregnant outside marriage, soon you’d see these same people as doting grandparents praising the mercy of Jesus!!

So what then? Does the mercy of Jesus not extend to people with HIV or is it that the hardness and hypocrisy of many churchgoers block the flow of Jesus’ mercy?

Last night at farm street I attended a mass especially for this cause and it was beautiful. I felt quite emotional and I felt that I was exactly where Jesus wanted me to be.

Afterwards we got talking to the founders of the group “Positive Catholics” which is basically about being HIV positive and living life with a positive attitude and trust in God’s love and mercy.

The leader spoke of the cross of Jesus and how so many of the members could really relate to the suffering of Jesus as they united their own suffering, rejection and marginalisation with that of Jesus.

What was also obvious and yet disappointing was the amount of people there….

Not many!

And while every day my Whattsapp is bombarded by all sorts of nonsense and rubbish on vaccines and end of the world conspiracy theories, I didn’t see single message from these pious catholics about praying for those with aids nor did I see any one of them at the mass for that matter!

It is very easy indeed to talk about God’s mercy and to attend one hundred masses but it’s quite another thing to put it into practice and to befriend and love those “in most need of thy mercy”.

We must always remember that Jesus is a God of mercy and of second chances and that He doesn’t leave people to rot in their sins or in their mistakes but in His mercy He picks them up and journeys with them on the long and painful road to recovery and holiness.

As catholics we have to do much better with the gay community. We have “days with Mary’ and “days of healing” and all sorts of devotionals which are often well attended but let’s not forget that Jesus is not just with Mary or in the Eucharist, He is also with the marginalised and the suffering and yes, very present with the LGBT.

⁸So let’s get off the fence of political correctness and of pride and judgement and let’s be the hands and feet of Jesus for the LGBT community and have no shame in loving gay people and bringing them back to church as Jesus and Mary would do!

Thanks for reading!

Michael