A few days ago Rayne and I went for a walk on Battersea Park.
To be honest it was nice to get out of our local area for a few hours and to just breathe without feeling judged or scrutinised!
One of the biggest challenges of being gay and catholic and in a chaste relationship is those age old questions that people ask like “how far can you go?” And “What can you do?” Etc.
I guess in a way it’s not much different from straight relationships and asking questions like is holding hands ok etc.
Now to those of us serious about following Jesus we know that how we use our sexualities is very important and so we are called to self-control and practicing chastity as best we can unless of course we’re a married straight couple.
And even straight couples have to practice chastity to a degree too and respect and love one another in that whole area within their marriage.
Yet on the other hand we are also called to loving eachother and a natural part of love is intimacy and this of course is where it’s very tricky because our sexualities are so very closely linked to intimacy and it’s quite easy to cross the line!
Get too close and things could get sexual when we didn’t want it and don’t get close enough and we can end up alone and isolated and cold!
Personally I don’t believe that there is a rule that fits everyone. Some people are more sexual than others, other people are very affectionate without anything else. What works for one could be dangerous for another and then of course there is the added complications of not wanting to be a stumbling block for others which of I’m honest I’m always conscious of.
Take this image for example of Rayne and I holding hands!
Some could see it as an advertisement for everything gay and just assume that we are LGBT activists with no time for the teachings of the church around sin while others could see it as something beautiful and be happy too see LGBT people now coming to church.
In reality there is no way for people to know at a first glance but considering how few people in today’s world either gay or straight pray and practise chastity, odds are most people would interpret the image as something sexual.
And this you see is the tension of being gay and catholic and learning to love while living chastity and being a witness to the world of something new.
Jesus isn’t asking all gay people to be single and to struggle with lonliness all their lives nor is he advocating for gay sex.
Jesus is inviting us all to walk on that thin line of loving and chastity and whether we are gay or straight or young or old, it’s not easy and it’s easy to get tempted to either be too hot or too cold!
So in conclusion, let’s not judge people but at the same time let’s not be afraid to ask questions, to express concerns, to talk about sexual purity, to offer encouragement and to love and support eachother on our different journeys to holiness.