A couple weeks ago, we began Holy Week, the season when we remember the events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion; the ultimate sacrifice made for us so that we may live with Him eternally in paradise. It is surely an emotional season, but one that brings with it beautiful symbolism & ceremonies in the Church. But this year was particularly difficult for me. I have been struggling for a long time with how to handle a certain situation & unfortunately it all came to a head during the week.
I have someone who I'm very close to in my life; I'll call him "Jon" so as not to overkill using "a friend" and also to keep him anonymous, since for the purpose of this blog, I would rather focus on his choices than his identity. For a couple years, I have been hearing second-hand that Jon is either bi-sexual or homosexual. Several months ago, Jon & I went out to dinner & he shared with me his decision to actively pursue a relationship with a man. In fact, he informed me that he had been dating men for quite some time & just recently entered into a relationship that made him happy. For the first time since his struggle with same-sex attraction (SSA) began, he was feeling comfortable in his own skin.
I would like to say that I sat at that dinner table & began to express my disappointment with his decision & rattle off some theological arguments for why homosexual relationships are not approved in the Catholic Church. However, since Jon grew up with the same Catholic values & morals as I did, he was already well aware of the Church's position. So instead, I chose to sit there, listening to him & seeing the happiness in his face, all the while feeling my conscience tugging at my heart.
After some prayer & consideration, I chose to share this article written by Steve Gershom with Jon. If you have anyone in your life struggling with SSA, I highly recommend reading Steve's blog. I found an incredible amount of consolation in the fact that you can have SSA & be a full member of the Catholic Church. And, just like with any vocation, there are struggles & sacrifices, but the overall message is that you can still be a happy, active member of your faith & continue to receive the Eucharist.
Unfortunately, Jon's response was motivated by anger at the perceived judgement of his life. He clearly stated that living chaste was just "not for him" & he would continue to pursue his relationship whether we liked it or not. Since Jesse & I have had countless conversations about this subject, I knew what my next move had to be. I knew in my heart that Jon's choice goes against everything we believe & would compromise his ability to receive the Eucharist. Because I love & care enough for Jon, Jesse & I told him that we would have no choice but to limit our contact with him. In addition, we didn't feel our children, who are too young & impressionable to form their own opinions much less have any idea of what was happening, should be exposed to the choices Jon was making for himself.
Our choice to limit conversation with Jon has caused a lot of turmoil but we stand firm & hope that one day, Jon will open himself up to the possibility that perhaps he can live a chaste life. I continue to pray every day for this to happen, but ultimately he has to make his own choice. Contrary to what some might say, I love Jon with all my heart & it is because I love him so much that I had to take a stand. I care so much that I want to see him in the eternal paradise, which is worth giving up earthly happiness for.