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”


Audio: My current research on marriage, love, and friendship

This week I complete my M.A. in Catholic Studies, with my Master’s Thesis titled: “It Is Not Good for Man to Be Alone: Love, Marriage, and Friendship in the Catholic Tradition.” The paper is still undergoing major revisions and additions, but I recently gave a brief presentation on my work. If you’re interested, you can listen to the audio from my presentation below. Continue reading “Audio: My current research on marriage, love, and friendship”

My Friend the Carmelite

This fall, a friend began her life as a Carmelite nun. Becoming a cloistered nun is, in a way, like choosing your death. Though she’s just reached her mid-twenties, I may never see or hear from her again. She can only receive visitors a year after her entrance, six years after, and 25 and 50 after. In between, time stops, and our last contact gives a final imprint, our lasting memory of each other. Continue reading “My Friend the Carmelite”

Summary: The Friend chapter 4, The Body of the Friend (part one)

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here fore more chapter summaries from The Friend.

Sir Thomas Baines died in September 1681, and his friend John Finch died the following year. In their shared monument in the chapel of Christ’s College, Cambridge, there is a “single flaming funerary urn set above, in a visual pun on the marriage or love knot.” In Constantinople, Finch left an inscription to his friends memory, describing their friendship as an “Animorum Connubial”, a “marriage of souls.” Such an expression is “no eccentricity at the end of the seventeenth century” and can be seen in many other inscriptions. Continue reading “Summary: The Friend chapter 4, The Body of the Friend (part one)”

Love in the Landfill

My education at Notre Dame focused significantly on the ancient and medieval world. More than fifty of my 132 credits were on languages, cultures and ideas prior to the modern era, and these classes shaped the way I viewed my own life. I suspect the ways in which I lived and spoke were countercultural, not necessarily deliberately, but because many of my intellectual categories and contexts for thinking about life predated those of the contemporary world by millennia. Continue reading “Love in the Landfill”

Summaries: The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Letter Eleven: Friendship (part one)

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here for more chapter summaries from The Pillar and Ground of the Truth.

Letter eleven opens with Florensky’s description of a snowy night that brings back memories of his friend. “I light a fragrant candle of amber-yellow wax before the Mother of God. We brought this candle from there, that is, from where you and I wandered together… Again I am with you. Every day I remember something about you, and then I sit down to write. Thus, from day to day, my life slides toward ‘the other shore,’ so that I could at least look at you from there, ‘by love having defeated death / and by death having defeated the passions . . .’” Continue reading “Summaries: The Pillar and Ground of the Truth, Letter Eleven: Friendship (part one)”

What’s Next for Love and Marriage?

The following column was published in The Observer on Thursday, December 11, 2014.

The first dozen times I came out I cried. For many of my friends, it was the first time they had seen me cry. Ever. A high school friend once told me that I had two emotions: happy, and more happy. She was wrong. I felt a lot of things, but I had to hide them.  Continue reading “What’s Next for Love and Marriage?”

Homosexuality: From Tolerance to Love (audio)

I recently gave a lecture at the University of Notre Dame as part of its Theology on Tap series, sponsored by ND Campus Ministry. You can listen to the audio by clicking here.

Here’s the event description:

Join us for Theology on Tap, a Catholic speaker series for undergraduate and graduate students of all ages, single and married, to share in food, fellowship and faith. The Oct. 29 session will be hosted by Chris Damian, JD Candidate from the University of St. Thomas. This talk will consider the Church’s teachings on homosexuality in the light of God’s love for all his children. In a loving Christian concept of justice, a true Christian view of homosexuality must extend past mere tolerance (which allows for keeping others at arm’s length) to self-giving love. The talk will be hosted at Legends at 8 p.m. All students are invited to attend. Students must be 21 or over to drink. ID required. To see the full schedule of Theology on Tap events, please visit

From the archives: A Valentine for Catholic Lovers

The following is an article from the February 8, 2001 edition of Notre Dame’s Scholastic Magazine.

A Valentine for Catholic Lovers, by David O’Connor

Screen Shot 2013-02-07 at 8.53.47 PMWhere do we find ourselves? A crazy Austrian named Ludwig Wittgenstein, who was one of the great philosophers of the last century, said, “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” When it comes to love, I think he has a point. Our mother tongue stammers and scolds when she tries to speak of love. Every word chagrins us, and we blush from inarticulacy. Continue reading “From the archives: A Valentine for Catholic Lovers”