My story: Teenage

I was in Seattle, on the street with my mother. I was in junior high school. I had always admired women.

We saw two ordinary, well dressed women holding hands as they walked down the street. They stopped, kissed each other – chastely but affectionately – and separated with a wave and a laugh. Something I had seen thousands of times between married couples. A tableau of real affection, of love.

My mother said, in disgust, “Lesbians.”

Then I knew what I was. My heart went out to them, even as I knew that they were damned.

It wrenched me to the core. These were ordinary women. They weren’t strange or depraved. They were just like my mother. Except that they were in love. With each other.

And what of me? I had that same feeling for women; was I objectively disordered?  Was I in sin?

To prove to myself that I was not a pervert, I forced my virginity on a boy. It was quick, sordid and painful. Everything about it was disgusting. I was sick with myself for days.

I became a slut in the hope that I might be converted from my shameful inclination.

I became isolated.

I could not bear to be with girls. Girls did not want to be with me, a slut.

Boys didn’t want to be seen with me. They did want to be with me, unseen.

Everything about sex disgusted me. It had no meaning for them; its only meaning for me was degradation. I loathed it even as I went back to it, again and again, trying to exorcise the other depravity.

I threw myself into school work. I graduated at the top of my class. My first-choice university accepted me to its honors engineering program.

Losing my religion

I was baptized, raised and confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church.

I lost my faith in the Catholic Church without losing faith in God. I have always known His presence, even when I believed that I was a sinner beyond His grace.

I began to question my faith in the Catholic Church at the time that I began to realize that I am gay – but realizing I am gay did not lead me to lose my faith in the Church. It did not even influence my loss of faith.

First, as long as I did not act on my attraction to women, the Church did not condemn me for it. The Catholic Church calls gays to chastity. I was unchaste, but not with women.

Second, I still believed that my orientation was sinful long after I left the Church. Even after I recognized the distinction between orientation and act, I for many years refrained from homosexual acts in the belief that they were sinful.

What then led me to lose faith in the Church?

My issues with the Catholic Church ran deeper than trying to excuse my orientation. I did not know it until later, but my differences with the Catholic Church were those of Luther and Calvin, centuries before.

Discovering the Protestant – and particularly the Reformed Protestant – confessions was a thunderbolt to me. The Reformers carefully, systematically and thoroughly delineated everything I was naively and blindly groping for.

The priesthood of all believers:

Christ’s apostles call all who believe in Christ “priests,” but not on account of an office, but because, all the faithful having been made kings and priests, we are able to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God through Christ. … The priesthood, as we have just said, is common to all Christians.

Solo scriptura, the rejection of tradition and authority other than scripture and the inward illumination of the Spirit:

The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word.

And, most important to me, a wretched sinner, salvation by His grace:

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
’Twas grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
‘Tis grace will lead me home.


Catholic doctrine

The Catholic Church distinguishes between homosexual inclination and homosexual acts. While homosexual inclination is “objectively disordered”, it is not in itself a sin. Homosexual acts, however are “acts of grave depravity”, “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to natural law”.

Roman Catholic interpretation of the scriptures on homosexuality is expressly based on its tradition and its interpretation of natural law (a fundamental concept of Catholic theology).

In accordance with the tradition, “Love the sinner, hate the sin”, the Church condemns discrimination against gays.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.