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Sad Mom wrote:

Hi, guys —

We are an active Catholic family. Recently my 18-year-old son has said he was an Atheist and thought the Bible was just made up. I also know through some snooping he is gay.

I've tried talking to him and pointing out the Church's views on the above subjects. That said, he doesn't care to hear about them and accepts his choices. He is now at college and living out his new-found set of immoralities. He:

  • doesn't go to church
  • makes fun of anything that has to do with God or church
  • does not hide his homosexuality like he does when at home
  • talks very trashy, etc.

He does none of this at home. Everyone here thinks he is a great kid!! He has fooled everyone here but leads a secret life at college. He knows I totally disagree with a homosexual lifestyle yet we are totally paying for his college. Here are the questions:

  • What should our expectations be?
  • How much should be allowed by his behavior before we say no more to him?

I know people would disagree with me but I feel it's no different than a kid on drugs — there should be rules. As for rules, I don't know where to draw the line since we are paying for his college. He wants to go live off campus in an apartment with who knows who.

  • Should we allow him to do that?

My husband says he can only live with straight men and Christians. I already know he wants to room with one boy who is gay and one who is atheist. We have not stated this to him directly yet — we just keep telling him he has to live in the dorm through his sophomore year.

  • Can you provide some help on what to do?

This is the most disheartening thing that could happen. I feel like my son just died. He was just the opposite of this a few years ago.

Sad Mom

  { What should expectations be for parents of a homosexual son when we are paying for school? }

Richard replied:

Dear Sad Mom,

You should get in touch with Encourage, the Catholic group for parents and relatives of people with same-sex temptations.

— RC

John replied:

Dear Sad Mom,

You're not going to win him over by trying to set rules. This is a college age man who is technically an adult. You can't condone the behavior but you can't try and control either.

You certainly don't need to pay for an off-campus apartment. That's an extra cost that is not necessary but I wouldn't try to tell him who he can live with, if you pay for the apartment. You can't appear to be trying to force his behavior.

The same goes for college. If you are paying for it, you are paying for it because he's your son. You can't make it seem as though his sonship is conditional.

The best thing you can do is pray for him and hopefully someone else will come in to his life that will lead him to Christ. That doesn't mean that he won't continue to be afflicted with same-sex attraction but hopefully by grace, he'll be able to live a celibate life.

John

Mike replied:

Dear Sad mom,

First, let me say this is a difficult situation but probably commonplace in family life seeing our youth are not getting the proper catechesis at the CCD level, in the heart, as well as in the mind.

Yes, your son is an adult . . . though a young adult. (not being 21) Being an adult, he is responsible for his own life and choices but so are you and your faithful husband. As my brother has told his four kids, As long as you are under our roof, you have to follow our rules.

Though he is not under your roof, you are still financially supporting someone who should be able to take care of himself . . . if he is an adult. If you wish to be a faithful Catholic, you don't want to condone his behavior. Over the past 20 years our culture has become very sex-saturated and Christian ministers across the country are having a hard time explaining the blessings of Christian marriage. You have to find that balance between being loving, caring parents, who only want what's spiritually best for your son, while not condoning his behavior.

Too many parents strive to be their children's best friend. That's not the purpose of parenthood. The purpose is to form and shape your children into solid Catholic Christian witness for Christ and His Church. It is analogous to a piece of wood that, overtime gets carved into a spear. If you don't carve away the vices, while forming the virtues on the spear, it will remain a blunt piece of wood.

  • If your son is an adult, why can't he pay for his own apartment and college expenses?

You said:

  • What should our expectations be?
  • How much should be allowed by his behavior before we say no more to him?

I know people would disagree with me but I feel it's no different than a kid on drugs -- there should be rules. As for rules I don't know where to draw the line since we are paying for his college. He wants to go live off campus in an apartment with who knows who.

  • Should we allow him to do that?

My husband says he can only live with straight men and Christians. I already know he wants to room with one boy who is gay and one who is atheist. We have not stated this to him directly yet - we just keep telling him he has to live in the dorm through his sophomore year.

  • Can you provide some help on what to do?

I tend to disagree with John's advice. At age 18, I would not financially support anything that you and your husband would not approve of. You want to love him to bits, as any mother and father would want to love a son, but a loving mother and father does not let their son walk into oncoming traffic. Make some family time with him:

  • throwing the ball in the back yard
  • playing some video games together
  • going out for a family dinner
  • etc.

Try to communicate the love of a faithful Catholic mother and father to his current situation so he at least understands that whatever decision you and your husband make, it is for his own spiritual well-being, and not just to be his best friend. Parents are far more than best friends.

Spiritually, I have four recommendations:

  1. Pray that more faithful Catholic women enter his life who he sees as beautiful and attractive and willing to spend his life with.
    (I petition the Lord for this request for all homosexual people daily!)
  2. May sure you know the faith, so you can share what he has missed. Tell him about our site and encourage him to:

  3. Get a good faithful spiritual director (a priest) who can assist you in the nuances of your situation.
  4. When talking with your husband about decisions related to your son's situation ask the question:
    • Will our decision, draw him closer to the Church or drive him away from the Church and the sacraments?

Yes, their are some men and women who have been raised to accept a homosexual lifestyle as normal but there are also others where it is a temporary behavior that passes. Check out this posting:

Finally, your comment on drugs would usually be appropriate but seeing that, for whatever reason (parents, parish, or community), his Catholic catechesis wasn't grounded in the heart, we are way beyond prevention, like the drug awareness programs my niece and nephews went to in their earlier years.

If my colleagues have anything to say, I'm sure you will here from them.

I hope this helps,

Mike

Bob replied:

Dear Sad Mom,

I am parent who can share your concerns, but this is what I would do. (There is no moral dictate accordingly to the Church on this matter.)

Do not make any decisions that would adversely affect his ability to complete schooling. Help in his academic pursuits in as much as he performs academically.

  • Likewise, If he was heterosexual and wanted to live off campus how would you respond?

Treat him the same way. You cannot control his behavior now, but you can keep him accountable for that which you are supporting: academics. Everything else is beyond your control. You should also be talking to him about becoming self-sufficient and financially independent when he is out of school and during summers. If he is behaving like an adult, he needs to assume the responsibility as such, sooner than later.

Unconditional love does not mean condoning immoral behavior and you can witness that to him; however, you can support him financially through school without condoning all of his choices.

Above all, love him and pray for him. I have a good friend from a good Catholic family that is ashamed of his same-sex attractions and lives a holy celibate life. With God all things are possible.

Peace,

Bob Kirby

Mike replied:

Dear Sad mom,

One final comment. I talked with John about your situation and both of us agreed that talking to a faithful priest who can address all the nuances of your situation was best.

Wishing you and your faithful husband the best.

Mike

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