‘Do you really believe that sex between two gay men is a sin?” Asked a friend of mine last night!

‘Yes’ I said clearly and confidently.

‘That’s bullsshit she replied without thinking!

‘No it’s not, with prayer and understanding it’s actually quite possible’ I replied calmly.

Sadly these are the type of conversations there I have on almost a daily basis where sex is seen as a need rather than as a want and where telling people that it’s possible to live a life of sexual purity is like telling people to go without food!

Even many priests are of the same opinion; ‘It’s impossible for teenagers not to masturbate or to tell them that it’s a sin’ said one priest to me a while back in confession.

Is it? Because if we start off with the mindset that it’s impossible not to masturbate as a child we’ll finish with the mindset that it’s impossible not to have sex as an adult and we’ll sat that anyone who says otherwise is speaking ‘bullish’t’.

In reality it is not impossible to live lives of sexual purity and like anything else, the earlier one learns the better.

I already saw it in France, India and Australia where young people lived lives of prayer and good involved in lots of healthy activities like scouting and sports and were taught from an early age how to handle their sexual impulses while supported by their peers and by the christian community around them.

Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t perfect and neither were they but they were on the road to perfection and to self control and as the saying goes ‘practice makes perfect’.

In my own experience sexual purity is entirely possible and the only thing that makes it so difficult is the utter lack of love and support within the church community and the indifference even unbelieving attitude of many priests sit on the fence and justify people’s sins as long as they are a ‘nice person.

It’s also sad that the lady who said that to me is actually quite a good friend and has been a daily mass-goer for 30 years!

If as catholics we don’t believe in the power of the mass and in the reality of God’s love and grace then what do we believe in and how are we different from pagans?

God’s grace is real and does strengthen and transform us and raises us up beyond things like lust but we have to believe it, we have to persevere and we have to fight for it!

Sexual sin is something objective and not something subjective and we need brave and courageous priests and laity who are not afraid if calling a spade a spade while at the same time being rich in mercy, compassion and understanding with those who may be struggling.

So let’s pray today for our church to become a place of holiness and purity and for our priests and community to be people strong in faith and unafraid to speak about the reality of sin and the power of prayer regardless of who might think that it’s nonsense!