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Paul AppalledToTellThem wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am having a problem here in my home. You see:

  1. I am a teenage boy
  2. I am a homosexual, and
  3. of course, I am Catholic.

My mom and dad:

  1. are Catholic
  2. are strongly against this lifestyle and
  3. have a large amount of hatred towards homosexuality.

They respect other homosexuals but will never allow any of their sons to accept this lifestyle. They don't know I'm a homosexual and I really do not know of a way to tell them.

Every night I pray to Jesus to defend me and to help me in my moments of depression. I also pray to Mary to guide me to the Lord's Light of His Truth.

Every night I think about the day I will tell them and am so afraid. I cannot express in words how afraid I am of this. Every night I'm so depressed about who I am. If being a homosexual is a sin,
I beg God for forgiveness because I never want to be against God. I have tried so many times to become someone I am not, just so I can feel loved by God, but I can't change who I am.
It doesn't matter if you send me to:

  • to boot camp
  • to some psychologist or
  • anything you can think of.

I am a homosexual and I do not know what to do. I have had suicidal thoughts but it wasn't a big deal. I guess it was one of those teenage phases. The main point is nobody likes me for me, for who I really am, and all I ever want here on earth is the comfort of someone. I want to be loved by my family. I'm not asking to get married with Prince Charming. I just want my family and loved ones to love me for who I am, but the day I tell them I can guarantee, that will be the last word they ever say to me in my mortal life.

Paul

  { What advice do you have for a homosexual teenage afraid to tell their parents he is homosexual? }

Mike replied:

Dear Paul,

Thanks for the very good question.

In this sex-saturated culture, I'm sure there are other teens in similar situations.

Let me say up front that we are not priests or spiritual directors. Beyond any advice my team
or I may have, I would recommend you seek out a faithful Catholic priest and get his advice on any nuances of your situation that you may have accidently left out of your question. If you have a good priest-friend you can share your situation with in Confession, or better make an appointment with, I would recommend it.

The very first thing that's critical for you to be aware of is that God the Father and Our Lord Jesus are madly in love with you. Even when we are sinning, they are always madly in love with us — doing whatever they can to help us on our pilgrimage here on Earth.

  • Why?

Because, like we say in the Creed: He [Jesus] was a man like us in all things but sin. So he understands our struggles. He can relate to your exact situation.

The second thing that's important to know is the Church loves you and all homosexual men and women. People who say the Catholic Church hates homosexuals do not know the Church.
The Church truly loves them, in the true, sacrificial sense of the word love, but She loves them too much to allow them to remain in a lifestyle that contradicts the way they were created by their Creator.

You said:
I have tried so many times to become someone I am not, just so I can feel loved by God, but I can't change who I am.

I have to respectfully disagree with your view. Groups like (GLAD) Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders rationalize their learned behavior by trying to convince the American news media and public that being homosexual is natural or a genetic issue, when there is no science to back this up, and logically there could be no science behind it because then the laws of science, which were created by God, would contradict the physiological laws bound to men and women, which were also created by God.

For you and similar homosexual teens reading this, the key, in my opinion, is adjusting your friends, habits, and behaviors appropriately. This involves:

  • considering changing who your friends are
  • where you meet
  • what you do or don't do
  • what related activities you get involved in
  • etc.

Don't buy into immature attitudes like, Join us to be cool. or similar attitudes that challenge your manhood.

The struggles homosexual men and women have are derived from the same struggles heterosexual men and women have. Though Baptism removes original sin, its sinful inclinations remain.
The Catechism states:

2520 Baptism confers on its recipient the grace of purification from all sins. But the baptized must continue to struggle against concupiscence of the flesh and disordered desires. With God's grace he will prevail:

  • by the virtue and gift of chastity, for chastity lets us love with upright and undivided heart;
  • by purity of intention which consists in seeking the true end of man: with simplicity of vision, the baptized person seeks to find and to fulfill God's will in everything; (cf. Romans 12:2; Colossians 1:10)
  • by purity of vision, external and internal; by discipline of feelings and imagination; by refusing all complicity in impure thoughts that incline us to turn aside from the path of God's commandments: "Appearance arouses yearning in fools"; (Wisdom 15:5)
  • by prayer:

    I thought that continence arose from one's own powers, which I did not recognize in myself. I was foolish enough not to know . . . that no one can be continent unless you grant it. For you would surely have granted it if my inner groaning had reached your ears and I with firm faith had cast my cares on you.

    St. Augustine, Conf. 6,11,20:PL 32,729-730.315

In this culture, chastity can be a very hard virtue to practice. Just do your best and if you fall, make sure you go to Confession before renewing the Covenant with the Lord at Sunday Mass.

If homosexual teens throw the towel in on going to Saturday Confession regularly and attending Sunday Mass, they are rejecting the dynamite of grace the Church offers them weekly that will help them leave a homosexual lifestyle. They have no one to blame but themselves. Some may reply, But the priest is so boring. My reply is, He may be, but he still makes the Eucharist present for you! Receive it in a state of grace.

You also made the implication that you can't change. This visitor to our site did!

Also check out the resources that Courage, the Catholic Apostolate for those struggling with same sex attraction, has to at:

http://couragerc.net
[Their Catholic Culture write-up.]

You said:
I have had suicidal thoughts but it wasn't a big deal. I guess it was one of those teenage phases. The main point is nobody likes me for me, for who I really am, and all I ever want here on earth is the comfort of someone. I want to be loved by my family.

No, no, no. There are zillions people in the Church and in Heaven who love you just the way you are now. There is no need to conform to any individual, group, or clique. Pray and ask the Lord to bring different friends into your life who respect Catholic Christian principles.

Thoughts of suicide always come from that bastard the devil.

  • Why?

Because everyone on the face of the earth, including you Paul, were made for a specific purpose in life. God, upstairs, has a plan for you to follow. That bastard satan wants you to throw away the life plan God has for you.

I've found two virtues destroy the demonic in ones life:

  1. humility, and
  2. a health sense of humor

I'm not denying that life and circumstances can be tough and painful but when we unite our sufferings, as Catholics, to Jesus on the Cross, they bring on extra merit for us because we are In Christ, the Body, suffering as He did for us.

I admire your wisdom in asking Our Blessed Mother to help you. When Mary appeared to
St. Dominic with the Rosary, listen to what she said in her conversation with Dominic:

It was in the year 1214 that the Church received the Rosary in its present form and according to the method we use today. It was given to the Church by St. Dominic, who had received it from the Blessed Virgin as a means of converting the Albigensians and other sinners. Saint Dominic, seeing that the gravity of people's sins was hindering the conversion of the Albigensians, withdrew into a forest near Toulouse, where he prayed continuously for three days and three nights. During this time he did nothing but weep and did harsh penances in order to appease the anger of God. At this point, our Lady appeared to him, accompanied by three angels, and she said,

Our Blessed Mother, Mary:
Dear Dominic, do you know which weapon the Blessed Trinity wants to use to reform the world?

Saint Dominic:
Oh, my Lady, you know far better than I do, because next to your Son Jesus Christ you have always been the chief instrument of our salvation.

Our Blessed Mother, Mary:
I want you to know that, in this kind of warfare, the principal weapon has always been the Angelic Psalter, which is the foundation-stone of the New Testament. Therefore, if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter. [meaning preach my Rosary.]

So from Our Lady's view the Rosary, beside being a great Scriptural devotion, is also a warfare weapon to used against this culture's warfare.

People caught up in a homosexual lifestyle of any age who wish to break free, need this weapon in 2010 warfare.

  1. Keep on praying to Jesus
  2. Keep on praying to Mary and the saints for help, and
  3. Ask the Lord to bring new people into your life that will help you break this lifestyle.

For any man or woman caught up in this lifestyle, I would also recommend asking that the Lord bring more people of the opposite sex into your life.

Age should never be a factor as Abraham had a child with Sarah at 99! If Abraham can do it at 99, unless God discriminates, why can't other single men and women do it at that age?

You said:
. . . the day I tell them I can guarantee, that will be the last word they ever say to me in my mortal life.

Everyone you meet and know in life, including your parents, come from an array of backgrounds based on:

  • the way they were raised
  • their secular education
  • their religious education, if any, and
  • their mental and emotion make-up.

It would be completely out of line if I made any assumptions about your father or mother.
This why you should make an appointment and talk with a local priest-friend who may understand your family situation better.

Although no one should condone your parent's hatred of homosexual people, I want you to think beyond that hatred to the reason why they would hate homosexual people. It's not the people they should hate but the sin or behavior of the people.

We are to love the sinner and hate the sin. See in their hatred a strong desire for you to:

  • grow as a mature Catholic man who after a few years, finally finds Miss. Right
  • who sacramentally binds your love for her with the Krazy Glue we call the sacrament of Marriage, and
  • brings for a new generation of St. Pauls and St. Paulines.

I hope this helps,

Mike

Paul replied:

Mike,

Thank you so much for this very helpful advice, but to me, you are suggesting how to change.

I really love myself. I just want my parents and loved ones to love me for who I am. You know:

  • I just want to be free.
  • I don't want to change and I also don't want to be ashamed of who I am.

That said, I really want to thank-you for these wise words. I really appreciate them and will take your advice on visiting my local priest and continuing to pray.

Thank you.

Paul

Mike replied:

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the kind words and getting back to me.

One of the greatest gifts the Lord has given us, is also the most dangerous: our free will.

Many are confused about this term. These postings may help:

You said:
I really love myself. I just want my parents and loved ones to love me for who I am. You know:

  • I just want to be free.

As you know, the word love in today culture has a million definitions. If you have no interest or desire to let go of a homosexual lifestyle, I can only conclude that when you say,

I really love myself., you mean:

I really like the way other men, including myself, make me feel.

Christian love is not about feelings, it is about giving yourself totally to a woman who desires to give herself totally back to you in a lifetime commitment. Now you could reply:

  • Why can't I give myself totally to another man for life?

Because a man's body was not designed to love, in the sexual sense, another man, and over time, if we use our bodies in a sexual way that they were not intended to be used, disease and illness will set it.

You have free will Paul, to make whatever choices you wish. I am just suggesting physical and spiritually healthy choices so you can fulfill your vocation, especially since you are so young.

I have family members and friends who also tend to empathize with the GLAD point of view.
At times, I sense they want to try to argue either with me or the Church, just for the sake of arguing, but as I've laid things out to you, there's no reason to argue with me or the Church.

They are arguing against their own biological make-up, which for you, was designed physiologically to compliment that of a woman's body. (Genesis 1:27-28, Genesis 2:23, Mark 10:6-12) If an Atheist or Agnostic is reading this who doesn't believe in the Christian Scriptures, talk to your primary care physician instead!

You said:

  • I don't want to change and I also don't want to be ashamed of who I am.

I don't want you to be ashamed of yourself either but if you make choices contrary to your nature and illness sets in, you have no one to blame but yourself. Again, you were made in the image and likeness of God Himself. Your body, as part of the Christian family, was designed to represent the Trinitarian God here on earth in that, based on the way you were created:

  • You represent God, the Father
  • Your future wife represents, Jesus, His Son, and
  • the fruit of your conjugal embrace, (the love you have for each other), shines forth in your children, who proceed from you and your future wife, as the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son.

This is exactly how the Trinity works! Ain't that cool!

Again, if you wish to ignore my advice, you are free to. I will keep you and teens in similar situation in my prayers.

Final note: Everything I have addressed in both my replies is solely focused on a homosexual lifestyle.

Every man and woman breathing will have to deal with issues of fornication and masturbation until they are six feet under the ground. : ) It's tough, but do your best and stay close to the sacraments of the Church.

I hope this helps,

Mike

Paul replied:

Dear Mike,

Again, thank-you for your reply. You are really intelligent when it comes to these things.

I have one final question if it is okay. I have a strong relationship with God and I pray every night and I often say Rosaries and I don't want to ever offend God. With that being said, I don't ever want to make sexual contact with a man or with a woman. All I want is to love a man who loves me back and to be able go to church every Sunday while keeping my religion strong but I also want to love a man with no sexual contact.

  • Is that wrong?

If you could be so kind to answer my last question, I'd really appreciate it. Your advice is very helpful.

Thank you.

Paul

Eric replied:

Hi, Paul —

While Mike did briefly mention someone who did change his sexual orientation, I don't think his chief intent was to say you have to change your orientation (if this is what you meant), nor was most of his advice on how to change it — it was one small paragraph or so out of a long message.

You don't have to change your sexual orientation and indeed the Catholic approach to same-sex attraction generally works with the situation rather than attempting to change it. This is the approach of Courage (www.couragerc.net), a support group for men with same-sex attraction. Not everyone can change anyway, so it's important to learn how to deal with the situation as it is.

What you do have to be is chaste, abstaining from same-sex sexual contact and deliberate fantasies. It is possible, however difficult it may seem to be. I'm not sure if this is the change you had in mind.

Your desire to be loved and accepted is totally reasonable and is something the Catholic Church would support. Just being homosexual is not a sin; it is only when you act on it that it becomes a sin, and that's a matter of choice.

You might find this blog helpful:

The author is a Catholic man with same-sex attraction who writes about his life. You could write him and see what kind of advice he has to offer since he has told his parents.

You said:
I also want to love a man with no sexual contact.

  • Is that wrong?

The answer is it depends. If by love you mean have a deep abiding affection for and emotional attachment to, by no means is there anything wrong with that, in fact that's totally normal.

Our society is all screwed up. Men should be loving one another in this sense; even men who are opposite-sex attracted, but in our culture, male friendships tend to be very superficial and not at all deep. There is a pervasive sentiment that a man only really has a deep relationship with his wife or girlfriend or relatives (and sometimes not even relatives). That said, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with deep male friendships. Read Aelred of Rievaulx's Spiritual Friendship.

Erotic love, that's different; that is disordered. I can't recommend cultivating that but it's not,
in and of itself, sinful. It just tends toward sin.

It sounds like you are on the right track. Stay strong, my man. God loves you, and there is a reason for this cross you have to bear. You may never find out what it is this side of Heaven, but it will make you holy.

Eric

Mike replied:

Hi Paul,

Eric said:
You don't have to change your sexual orientation and indeed the Catholic approach to same-sex attraction generally works with the situation rather than attempting to change it. This is the approach of Courage (www.couragerc.net), a support group for men with same-sex attraction. Not everyone can change anyway, so it's important to learn how to deal with the situation as it is.

What you do have to be is chaste, abstaining from same-sex sexual contact and deliberate fantasies. It is possible, however difficult it may seem to be. I'm not sure if this is the change you had in mind.

I would concur with my colleague's Eric's reply here. He may have highlighted part of a Catholic approach toward homosexuality I was not familiar with.

Besides what Eric said, what I can recommend is:

  • Keep saying your Rosaries
  • strive to life a sacramental life, if not at least weekly, on a daily basis
  • if you have problems with sins of the flesh, don't do dumb things like receive the Eucharist without first going to Confession on Saturday afternoons, and
  • read the Gospels daily to keep the mind of Christ fresh in your heart.

Do these things and the Spirit will guide you appropriately. At times, it may not be easy, but offer your sufferings up to the Lord.

Keep fresh in your mind that He's always there with you and that He was a man like us in all things but sin, so for short . . . He totally understands your situation.

Come back if you have further questions. I can't speak for my team, but if your parents are open to constructive dialogue, I would welcome any questions they have about the Catholic faith.

Take care my friend,

Mike

Paul replied:

Dear Paul,

Let me add my two cents into the conversation.

I noticed you continuously spoke of same-sex attraction as who you are instead of what you feel.
I think this is a big mistake and is where your misunderstanding of Church teaching may begin.

Who or what we are attracted to is not who we are.

What we are is an image of God, a person, and a member of Christ's Extended Body on earth, the Church. What we feel about things, people, and places does not constitute our who-ness or identity.

Being human means having a human nature, which includes being a member of a sexual species made and ordered to union with the opposite sex and potential procreation. Usage of our sexual faculty short of this, as my colleagues have mentioned, is a misuse of ourselves.

Original sin affects everyone both similarly and differently:

  • Similarly in as much as everyone inherits concupiscence (an internal disorder with a desire toward sin), suffering, and death.
  • Differently in how our physical, psychological, and emotional selves are imbalanced, taking on different forms in each person.

We are all called to carry our crosses with dignity while never denying the truth, regardless of the personal cost.

To acknowledge your feelings is good, and to share them with people you trust can also good, but to choose a lifestyle that includes unnatural actions that are intrinsically disordered is never good for anyone involved. The sacraments of Confession and Communion are there:

  • for the struggle
  • for strength, and
  • for peace.

Ultimately, life comes down to a choice of the will: We orient our wills in order to please God or in order to please self.

Peace,

Paul

Bob replied:

Dear Paul,

One of my very good friends is gay, that is, he has a same-sex attraction or orientation, but he is also one of the best Catholics I know. He lives a chaste, albeit celibate, life, and is happy and content. In essence, he is simply single and OK with it. You don't have to be in a sexual relationship to find fulfillment though when you are a teen and your hormones are busting out at the seams it might seem that way.

Support for being chaste is not going to be found in the culture, gay or straight. It simply goes against the grain but remember, Jesus went against the grain. He ultimately wants to be the center of your attraction, He wants all of you devoted to Him — and He is the essence of the fullness of what it means to be a man.

What you can do for moral support is find a chapter of Courage — maybe even go to their annual conference and meet some like-minded people but first, make up your mind to follow Christ and don't worry about your attraction. It is part of who you are, but don't make it the substitute for the real thing in Christ.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

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