Tuesday, August 7, 2012
More on "Gay"
In a footnote to my most recent post, the homily in which I talked about what the Church teaches on same-sex attraction, I mentioned that I was not comfortable using the term "gay" in this context. I did so in the homily only because people I was quoting used it; and one of them--Steve Gershom--explained that he wasn't that comfortable with the term, either, although he uses it.
Yesterday I had a very helpful e-mail from a bishop friend that pointed me to a post on the First Things Blog by a writer with SSA who does not want to call himself “gay”. The author, Daniel Mattson, talks helpfully about the terminology issue. His article also mentions yet another blog offering an authentically Catholic perspective on living chastely with SSA. You can take a look at that blog here.
I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Mattson, who thinks it is much better to speak of a Catholic man or woman (or of oneself) as having same-sex attraction or being same-sex attracted rather than being gay.
These websites also lead one to other internet articles that provide perspective and encouragement to those with SSA, and information to those who are still trying to understand Church teaching and the blessings it offers to those who accept it.
I'm grateful to the encouraging folks who have kindly let me know they were pleased by the homily. I'm glad it was helpful and that I was able to navigate perilous shoals with causing unnecessary offense. That was my goal.
That reminds me: since my homily had a specific focus, it didn't offer a "shout-out" (as my younger parishioners say) to Courage, the fine support group for Catholics with SSA founded by the late Father John Harvey (with encouragement from my friend Father Benedict Groeschel, whose book "The Courage to be Chaste" has become something of a classic guide and which is still in print). Courage has chapters in many dioceses, including ours, and a resource-rich website.
And while we're at it... Seems a day doesn't go by lately without someone telling me about one new website or another aimed at helping people live a chaste life, whether they have SSA or not. In an earlier post I mentioned mentioned Reclaim, the program for those with sexual addiction(s), and now can add the Angelic Warfare Confraternity (scary name, but it's a scary world), which is a Dominican apostolate under the patronage of St. Thomas Aquinas, offering spiritual help to those seeking to live more chaste lives. I've also been pointed to Chastity.org, which seems to be aimed particularly at young people.
Where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more... As my friend Father Joe Hattie would say, "Yay, God!"