Religion is a very important aspect of life for my family. I was raised Catholic and went to mass every Sunday. When I was in high school, I was recruited to be a Eucharistic minister (the person who hands out the communion and the wine at mass). Ironically, as a kid, my mother asked if I wanted to be an alter boy but was quite happy when I declined out of slight fear of a pedophilic priest. In CCD, I was such a religious scholar, other in the class called me “God boy.”
My religious beliefs were part of the reason I struggled with my homosexuality for so long. I had faith in God, and I thought he was testing me. I took it at face value that homosexuality was wrong. The Bible teaches against it, and I have always been taught it was a sin. It was a burden I would have to bear the rest of my life or somehow manage to overcome.
I moved into an apartment my sophomore year of college on a Sunday. I was particularly busy, and I rationalized an excuse for not attending mass. After that, I stopped going to mass every week and believed if I had faith in God and was a moral person, I no longer needed a weekly dose of church. I went when I felt I needed the extra help or when I simply missed the ritual. As I was becoming an adult, I began to own my religion. I’m certainly not as devout a Catholic as my grandmother was. I am a cafeteria Catholic. I pick and choose what aspects of the religion I want to follow.
One of my best friends from college is my freshmen year mentor. He is a Marist Brother, a Catholic congregation dedicated to the Christian education of young people. We have shared a strong bond since I met him and continue to do so. I haven’t yet figured out how to break my news to him or how he’ll take it. I’m not afraid he’ll judge me or anything of the sort. He cares a lot about me and always inquires about my mental, physical and spiritual health. I just need an opportunity to have a heart-to-heart with him. However, he’s like a grandfather to me, so it’s almost as stressful as it was telling my parents.
In my adult life post-graduation, I made every attempt to go to mass weekly. My friends and I went as a group and cooked dinner for each other following services. Ironically enough, dinner was when the gossip about our sex lives flowed freely (mine was nearly non-existent and still with women). When others started falling off from the group, so did I. Once again, I was responsible for my religion, not a priest.
I started having doubts in the Catholic religion when I began to come to the terms with my homosexuality. After I met Broadway, I had a conversation (one-sided of course) with God. Ironically enough, I never felt so close to God as I did in that moment. I simply laid on my bed, and thanked him aloud for allowing me to finally feel comfortable with my true self. I realized being gay was not a choice, not a sin and simply a part of who I am. God loves me regardless. I finally stopped resenting that part of me.
While I have come closer to God through that experience, I’ve become more disenfranchised with the Catholic Church. Who wants to be part of an organization that doesn’t accept him or her? Their congregation has evolved over the years, but the Church has not. Any organism that can’t evolve becomes extinct, and the Catholicism is slowly shrinking in numbers.
Some days I think about marriage. I think about the idea of marriage I once had in my head and how that idea has evolved. Sadly, I will never be married in the eyes of the Church, let alone the state. Honestly, that saddens me greatly. I believe strongly in the sanctity of marriage, even if that marriage is not in the traditional husband and wife. When I make that commitment to a man, it will be ironclad, but it will still be incomplete without the recognition of a congregation of believers.
My belief in God will never wane, but my faith in my fellow man is tested every day. One day, I hope all will be accepting of homosexuals as equals, but until then my relationship with God will have to be exclusive.
There’s nothin’ wrong with lovin’ who you are she said, ” ’cause he made you perfect, babe.” So hold you head, girl, and you’ll go far. Listen to me when I say, “I beautiful in my way, ’cause God makes no mistakes. I’m on the right track baby. I was born this way. Don’t hide yourself in regret. Just love yourself and you’re set. I’m on the right track baby. I was born this way.”Follow @onegayatatime
#1 by Jay Conway on June 7, 2011 - 10:19 PM
It also took me some time to come to grips with this. I believe that it’s about the personal relationship you have with God, not about the institution of the Catholic church.