But what if celibacy harms my mental health?

Several weeks ago, I was asked in a facebook group whether mental health was a good reason for a gay person to set aside a commitment to celibacy. A young man wanted to know, more or less, whether it was “better to need medication for mental health issues than to stay committed to a traditional Christian sexual ethic.” Here’s, more or less, what I had to say… Continue reading “But what if celibacy harms my mental health?”

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Catholic Young Adults Discuss: Homosexuality

I recently attended a discussion with Catholic young adults on homosexuality (another in the series of discussions which have included topics such as chastity and masculinity/femininity).

For background, the organizer sent us a few short readings:

I had a group of about six people: a seminarian, a former seminarian who now teaches theology, a young married couple (both grad students), and two women who work in youth ministry. Continue reading “Catholic Young Adults Discuss: Homosexuality”

What to Expect with Heartbreak

A while ago, I had a friend going through his first major heartbreak. This is what I told him to expect:

First, you’ll feel like a crazy person. You’ll have this fog that you’ll be swimming through, and it’ll be like you’re wading through a thick water that’s filled your head, and you don’t know how to get it out so that things can be clear again. Continue reading “What to Expect with Heartbreak”

Rereading the Bible

The first time I went to the Easter Vigil Mass, I’m pretty sure I fell asleep. I was a freshman in college, and my friends and I had sat on the steps outside Notre Dame’s Basilica for hours before rushing in to get seats. Then Mass began, and I saw in my booklet that the Mass would have a handful of readings, rather than the usual two before the Gospel.

This year, sitting in the Cathedral of St. Paul, the purpose of these readings suddenly dawned on me. Maybe everyone else already knows this–maybe I knew this at a certain level–but I suddenly realized that the Genesis 1 of the Easter Vigil wasn’t the Genesis 1 before it. Continue reading “Rereading the Bible”

The Words of Life

As I’ve read “Plato’s Bedroom” by David O’Connor I’ve been struck by the strangeness of his presentation of Christian love. O’Connor writes of power of the words we say, of their grasping towards infinity.

“I love you.” We see these words pass into a marriage bond, “for better, for worse.” And the Christianity comes with the recklessness of it all. Continue reading “The Words of Life”

Friendship and Exclusivity

In December, I attended the conference “Man, Woman, and the Order of Creation” at the University of St. Thomas. At the conference Father Paul Check, former President of Courage International, gave some remarks on “reaching out in truth and love.” He provided advice based on his studies in moral theology and his work with “same-sex attracted” Catholics.

During the question-and-answer portion of his presentation, Father Check responded to a question on “celibate gay couples” or “celibate gay friendships” [1]. In response, he voiced concerns about such relationships. To summarize his remarks, he voiced concerns over the question of “exclusivity.” Any kind of vow, he said, involves an element of exclusivity. This is the case for marriage, the priesthood, or the religious life. In these, one gives one’s life in a way that precludes giving oneself to others. But, he asked, where would the element of exclusivity be for the same-sex couple? He was concerned, because non-marital relationships, he said, should be characterized by “openness.” In contrast to such openness, he stated that “non-marital vows” would imply a kind of exclusivity that would tend towards a self-enclosed relationship contrary to the Christian understanding of open interpersonal communion. Continue reading “Friendship and Exclusivity”

Gay Celibacy, Step One

“Your kisses are worth more than that!” I could see a sort of desperation in her, a painful need to have these words break into my stony surface. She had put her hand on my arm as she said it, maybe hoping that through physical touch, she might also be able to reach something spiritually.

Her comment came in response to a joke I’d made about making out with strangers that weekend. I could’ve balked at her response. A part of me wanted to laugh coldly in her face, but I didn’t. She seemed so sincere. Continue reading “Gay Celibacy, Step One”

Gay Catholic Ministry: Contact Your Diocese

Here’s the issue with LGBT ministry in the Church: people like to ignore it as much as possible. And they do this with some success, until…

  • a family member comes out after attempting suicide,
  • or they decide to fire a gay person working for the Church,
  • or they come to terms with their own (non-straight) sexuality.

But because they’ve ignored the issue, they’re totally unequipped to address it in their lives and churches. Continue reading “Gay Catholic Ministry: Contact Your Diocese”