A very inspirational story from same-sex attracted Catholic man.

Z 2012/06/19 21:42:19

The following article has been written by Steve Gershom. Steve is a pro-Catholic, pro-chastity man with same-sex attraction. Regardless of your personal views on the subject I think we can all admire his courage and honesty. A big thanks to Steve for allowing this blog to be published on mattfradd.com.

I have heard a lot about how mean the Church is, and how bigoted, because she opposes gay marriage. How badly she misunderstands gay people, and how hostile she is towards us. My gut reaction to such things is: Are you freaking kidding me? Are we even talking about the same church?

When I go to Confession, I sometimes mention the fact that I’m gay, to give the priest some context. (And to spare him some confusion: Did you say ‘locker room’? What were you doing in the women’s…oh.) I’ve always gotten one of two responses: either compassion, encouragement, and admiration, because the celibate life is difficult and profoundly counter-cultural; or nothing at all, not even a ripple, as if I had confessed eating too much on Thanksgiving.

Of the two responses, my ego prefers the first — who doesn’t like thinking of themselves as some kind of hero? — but the second might make more sense. Being gay doesn’t mean I’m special or extraordinary. It just means that my life is not always easy. (Surprise!) And as my friend J. said when I told him recently about my homosexuality, “I guess if it wasn’t that, it would have been something else.” Meaning that nobody lives without a burden of one kind or another. As Rabbi Abraham Heschel said: “The man who has not suffered, what can he possibly know, anyway?”

Where are all these bigoted Catholics I keep hearing about? When I told my family a year ago, not one of them responded with anything but love and understanding. Nobody acted like I had a disease. Nobody started treating me differently or looking at me funny. The same is true of every one of the Catholic friends that I’ve told. They love me for who I am.

Actually, the only time I get shock or disgust or disbelief, the only time I’ve noticed people treating me differently after I tell them, is when I tell someone who supports the gay lifestyle. Celibacy?? You must be some kind of freak.

Hooray for tolerance of different viewpoints. I’m grateful to gay activists for some things — making people people more aware of the prevalence of homosexuality, making homophobia less socially acceptable — but they also make it more difficult for me to be understood, to be accepted for who I am and what I believe. If I want open-mindedness, acceptance, and understanding, I look to Catholics.

Is it hard to be gay and Catholic? Yes, because like everybody, I sometimes want things that are not good for me. The Church doesn’t let me have those things, not because she’s mean, but because she’s a good mother. If my son or daughter wanted to eat sand I’d tell them: that’s not what eating is for; it won’t nourish you; it will hurt you. Maybe my daughter has some kind of condition that makes her like sand better than food, but I still wouldn’t let her eat it. Actually, if she was young or stubborn enough, I might not be able to reason with her — I might just have to make a rule against eating sand. Even if she thought I was mean.

So the Church doesn’t oppose gay marriage because it’s wrong; she opposes it because it’s impossible, just as impossible as living on sand. The Church believes, and I believe, in a universe that means something, and in a God who made the universe — made men and women, designed sex and marriage from the ground up. In that universe, gay marriage doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t fit with the rest of the picture, and we’re not about to throw out the rest of the picture.

If you don’t believe in these things, if you believe that men and women and sex and marriage are pretty much whatever we say they are, then okay: we don’t have much left to talk about. That’s not the world I live in.

So, yes, it’s hard to be gay and Catholic — it’s hard to be anything and Catholic — because I don’t always get to do what I want. Show me a religion where you always get to do what you want and I’ll show you a pretty shabby, lazy religion. Something not worth living or dying for, or even getting up in the morning for. That might be the kind of world John Lennon wanted, but John Lennon was kind of an idiot.

Would I trade in my Catholicism for a worldview where I get to marry a man? Would I trade in the Eucharist and the Mass and the rest of it? Being a Catholic means believing in a God who literally waits in the chapel for me, hoping I’ll stop by just for ten minutes so he can pour out love and healing on my heart. Which is worth more — all this, or getting to have sex with who I want? I wish everybody, straight or gay, had as beautiful a life as I have.

I know this isn’t a satisfactory answer. I don’t think any words could be. I try to make my life a satisfactory answer, to this question and to others: What are people for? What is love, and what does it look like? How do we get past our own selfishness so we can love God and our neighbors and ourselves?

It’s a work in progress.

Steve can be found at www.stevegershom.com

Read More: http://mattfradd.com/2012/06/14/catholic-gay-and-f...

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  • mandy may 2012/10/29 19:48:42
    mandy may
    While I am still pondering this as I type, I guess my Overall opinion of this is not that this man is homophobic, Its not that he is blinded by his religion. He writes that a friend told him “I guess if it wasn’t that, it would have been something else.” Meaning that nobody lives without a burden of one kind or another" His burden is not homosexuality in itself, nor is it his religious beliefs. His burden is being a man who believes in one thing and feels another. The beauty of it all is that he can be honest with himself and everyone else about it. And while he may spend the rest of his life teetering on a tight rope trying not to fall either way, at least he has been true to himself and his individual beliefs.. How many homosexuals out there have been raised religious and chosen their "lifestyle" over their religious convictions and been applauded for the bravery it took to do so? How is this any different?
  • Z mandy may 2012/11/09 22:26:48
    Wow, that is exactly what I thought, though I was not able to come close to articulating it that well.
  • Joanie 2012/06/19 22:24:05
    A diatribe by a self-hating gay man with issues he still needs to work through. I feel sorry for him.
  • ✿Britt ... Joanie 2012/06/19 22:45:00 (edited)
    ✿Britt ❤'s Steven Tyler✿
    its not really self hating i don't think, i think he chooses his religion over gay things and just tries to supress that gay stuff. he realizes it ain't natural to be gay and is trying to go by his religion and for what he feels inside is right. at least thts wht i think it means.
  • Joanie ✿Britt ... 2012/06/20 01:11:54
    He calls his homosexuality a "burden". He thinks there is a "gay lifestyle", as if gay people cannot be in loving, committed relationships. He believes that same sex relationships don't make sense. He is self-hating.
  • Z Joanie 2012/06/20 01:45:11
    That isn't self hating. Being gay is a gay lifestyle. Being in a loving, committed relationship is still a lifestyle, and being in said loving, committed relationship with a member of the same sex is a gay lifestyle. He never said that same-sex relationships don't make sense, he said gay marriage was impossible. He never said that gay ponies can't be in a loving, committed relationship, unless we weren't reading the same article.
  • Joanie Z 2012/06/20 02:01:04
    It's not a lifestyle. The term "gay lifestyle" is a demeaning homophobic term used by bigots. No one talks about a "heterosexual lifestyle". And, of course, gay marriage is not impossible. There are many gay couples married in these United States.
  • Z Joanie 2012/06/20 02:14:13
    In complete contradiction to what you have just said, I frequent my campuses LGBTQ group (Spectrum) and they frequently refer to the gay lifestyle and the heterosexual lifestye. This, however, is irrelevant since the term "gay lifestyle" is never used. As to marriage, by Church standards, which is what he was talking about, gay marriage really isn't possible. That is simply a fact, whether it should be or not.
  • Joanie Z 2012/06/20 02:17:08
    I don't believe that LGBT people on your "campus" refer to the "gay lifestyle". What college do you attend? Or are you a ringer?
  • Z Joanie 2012/06/20 02:30:45
    I go to Missouri State University. And no, I'm not a ringer.
  • Joanie Z 2012/06/20 14:06:43
    And, you are telling me that in your campus LGBT group, people talk about the "gay lifestyle"? Is it an ex-gay therapy group?
  • Z Joanie 2012/06/20 14:45:13
    Nope. Because it is a lifestyle. Calling something a lifestyle isn't a hate concept, and to view it as such is ignorant. If you call eating healthy, exercising and taking care of your body a healthy lifestyle, that doesn't make it bad suddenly. That is an insane assumption. It also doesn't imply that it is a choice. Some ponies have to live a very specific lifestyle because of the way they were born. That doesn't make that lifestyle bad or a choice, it just is. You make way to many assumptions, and clearly care less about creating a more tolerant world than about getting back at the bullies that mistreated you when you were younger.
  • Joanie Z 2012/06/20 18:59:11
    You are a bully, yourself. You keep addressing me as a "pony" after I have asked you several times not to. You are a discourteous pig, and, I suspect, you are a phony or a poser.
  • Z Joanie 2012/06/20 23:43:52
    I have already explained why that is below. That you don't like it is of no concern to me. I am no bullying anypony, and call everypony pony. It is no special term to insult you, and comes directly from the show from which I have gained my avatar. But, before you go casting stones, you might try not assuming everypony that chooses a different life path than you is self-hating.
  • mandy may Z 2012/10/29 19:32:47
    mandy may
    I agree with you that nearly anything can be considered a "lifestyle" However I think that the labeling of said "lifestyle" should be a choice made by those who live or do not live it. Not something that is forcefully cast upon them by society. A lifestyle is a choice so shouldn't categorizing yourself as living one be a choice as well?
  • Z Joanie 2012/06/19 23:23:49
    Did you read it? I'm not saying that it was anything you should agree with, but calling this a self-hating diatribe is insane. Nothing about this supports that view. I think it is interesting that other members of the LGBTQ community frequently attack ponies who follow their heart, when it doesn't lead to being a member of the LGBTQ community. "They must be self-hating" or "They just want to be accepted by everypony else" or "They'll change their views one day" are frequently all I end up hearing from the community that is supposed to be open and accepting. So, I'm bi, but I don't act on it. While not a member of the RCC, I feel fairly similar to him (other than that I support others right to marriage). So, do I hate myself?
  • Joanie Z 2012/06/20 00:55:40
    I don't know how you feel about yourself. You tell me.
  • Z Joanie 2012/06/20 01:46:41
    I am very happy with my life choices. I don't hate myself, but I do find it incredible hypocritical and disrespectful that ponies who claim to be open and accepting accuse anypony that chooses religion over sexual identity of hating themselves.
  • Joanie Z 2012/06/20 02:02:02
    Anyone who chooses religion over self-respect has serious issues relating to self-hatred. And I am not a pony.
  • Z Joanie 2012/06/20 02:15:48
    True. But I never chose, nor did he, religion over self-respect. I chose one aspect of my identity over another. To me, my self-respect is much more connected to my faith in God than in my identity as a Bisexual.
  • Joanie Z 2012/06/20 02:19:31
    The choice is unnecessary. It is a phony choice foisted upon you by an antiquated view of morality espoused by a nomadic people in the middle east who lived thousands of years ago.
  • Z Joanie 2012/06/20 02:35:48
    Not really. It would actually have been "foisted" upon me by an antiquated view of morality espoused by 12 stallions and the Dead by crucifixion Rabbi. But I have fully studied the history of and concepts around Christianity and Judaism (As well as Islam, Sumerian, Buddhism, Hindu, Yoruba, several tribal faiths, Mormonism, Taoism, and Confucianism.). You aren't going to present anything new, and you aren't going to change my mind. You also haven't presented any reason to support your claim that I hate myself because I haven't carried on as a Bisexual the way you did as a transgendered pony. You have that right, and I am not saying anything against it, but you don't know me, you don't have a clue what you are getting yourself into, and your intolerance isn't going to make any headway here
  • Joanie Z 2012/06/20 14:08:04
    I am not a pony. Your use of that word after I asked you not to use it tells me all I need to know about you. And all I want to know.
  • Z Joanie 2012/06/20 14:46:16
    I use pony for everypony. That is exactly my point though. You can't let others be who THEY want to be, live life how they want to live. It has to be the way YOU expect them to.
  • ✿Britt ... Z 2012/06/20 01:52:42
    ✿Britt ❤'s Steven Tyler✿
    whats the LGBTQ and the RCC?
  • Z ✿Britt ... 2012/06/20 02:16:51
    LGBTQ is Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trangendered (or transexual) and Queer, it is an advocacy group for same-sex rights and support. RCC is the Roman Catholic Church.
  • HarleyCharley 2012/06/19 22:19:19
  • ✿Britt ... HarleyC... 2012/06/19 22:45:51
    ✿Britt ❤'s Steven Tyler✿
    good wow or bad wow? lol. ^_^
  • ✿Britt ❤'s Steven Tyler✿ 2012/06/19 22:16:06
    ✿Britt ❤'s Steven Tyler✿
    WHAT!!! how does he think john lennon is an idiot. he is a genius.
  • ☢☠Wicked✠Desiree ☠☢ 2012/06/19 22:00:18 (edited)
    ☢☠Wicked✠Desiree ☠☢
    whoopy freakin doo, lets all throw them a big ol' party.

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