I tried for over an hour to write this post about what happened today at the gym. It was about how, even though I found out my gym buddy Eddy is gay, and found this out by him hitting on me, and had to tell him that yes, I’m (1) gay, but also (2) Catholic and therefore (3) celibate, I feel nothing but good and satisfied and proud of myself.

Well, I do feel good and satisfied and proud of myself. I don’t feel regret. Starting something with him isn’t something I could have done. Eddy’s got a gentle smile and is built like a tank besides, and did I mention I have sort of a thing for Latinos? But in the end there’s only one man worth starting over for, worth turning your life completely upside down, and that man’s a Jew, not a Puerto Rican.

All the good ones are gay. Ladies? Amirite?1

I actually didn’t notice, until I emailed my friend D. about it, that I was kind of upset. I noticed that I was using more exclamation points than usual, and asking more questions, in rapid-fire: what do I do now? Do I start steering clear of the steam room? Change my gym schedule so we don’t run into each other? Can we still be friends? Should I have been more clear?

But I was clear. I told him I’m celibate; that I knew I couldn’t be both gay and Catholic; that I chose the one that I knew was more important. He apologized, said he felt like he was being a mala influencia, and I told him No te preocupes, I understand, I would’ve done the same thing.

It’s not that I’ve ever thought about him, much, outside of when we happen to cross paths. It’s not that we’re a match in any way, if being a “match” romantically with another man were even possible. It’s — heck, it’s not even that I’ve never been hit on by a man before. Just not by anybody I actually knew or liked.

Just as well I couldn’t patch together a glib post about how it’s all fine. Sometimes it ain’t fine. It’s not terrible, either, just not fine. Así es.

Just as well, too, that I’ve got Adoration tomorrow morning. It’s not like Jesus isn’t used to me complaining.

1 I have never actually typed this word before. Looks a bit like one of those Old Testament peoples: And the Israelites cut down the Amirites by the edge of the sword. And also their King, Og, who smelled of spoiled meat.

24 thoughts on “It’s Not You, It’s My !@#$ Celibacy

  1. Murb

    Yup, so right! They’re either gay or completely, totally rejecting straight chastity.

    But way to be an example, Steve. Your life is a love affair already; you just lived it again. That’s a hell of a lot of grace right there.

    I’ll deposit a prayer for you.

    Reply
  2. Daria Sockey

    ” Looks a bit like one of those Old Testament peoples: And the Israelites cut down the Amirites by the edge of the sword. And also their King, Og, who smelled of spoiled meat.”

    Love it! You pray the Liturgy of the Hours, right?

    Reply
    1. Steve Gershom

      I used to pray more of it. These days all I can manage is Compline. I do love it, though, and always found that one of the benefits of it is how little phrases from the Psalms will come back to you during the day, sometimes just when you need them.

      Reply
  3. Ron

    Thank you, Steve. It takes a real man to stand up and do what he knows is right (but if you’re like me when I’m around a good-looking man, you were standing up on weak knees!). It’s one thing to say “I’m gay, Catholic, and celibate” when you’re not in a challenging situation; it’s quite another to say that when you ARE in a such a situation.

    Reply
  4. Peter

    My condolences, and encouragement. You did the right thing, and you and the rest of us are stronger and better for it. I’ve never been in a situation where doing the right thing hasn’t left me at least a little wistful for the wrong thing, and there have been many, many moments in the company of good looking guys where God has reminded me, as though I could have forgotten, how freakin’ hard this will be. God bless, brother.

    Reply
  5. Laura

    I think it went better than you think and it won’t be necessary to completely reorganize your schedule to avoid him ;)

    Reply
  6. albert

    Hey steve,I would like to know if you believe in the efficacy of reparative therapy. @ron- I didn’t know you read steve’s blogs too.

    Reply
    1. Steve Gershom

      Hey Albert,

      I don’t know if you already saw my post on reparative therapy here.

      JA.O made some interesting comments on the post, partly to the effect that “reparative therapy” doesn’t mean quite what I thought it did. I thought it meant any therapy that was aimed at diminishing same-sex attractions, but he pointed out that the phrase refers to a very specific kind of therapy.

      I do believe that some kinds of therapy do a lot of good, even though I don’t have any experience with Dr. Nicolosi’s brand in particular. The most helpful therapist I ever had — back when I lived in Phoenix — didn’t even deal with the issue of same-sex attraction directly. As a matter of fact, she didn’t share my view on the subject; she saw nothing wrong with a same-sex romantic or sexual relationship. But she didn’t push her views on me.

      What she did do was help me sort out my feelings about different things — my family, my self-image, etc. — and help give me new strategies to deal with anxiety, depression, shyness, and things like that. So I found her to be a big help in that way.

      Seeing her didn’t diminish my SSA in any way, not as far as I could tell, but I’ve found that the more I deal with some of my underlying problems, the less I care aobut the SSA specifically.

      Peace
      SG

      Reply
  7. Dante

    Hmmmm…into Latinos? Que bueno pero lo siento, amigo. Yeah I think I might be the president or at least vice-president of that club out here. Ahem…ever notice how other readers of this blog latch onto the spirtual of your posts and I tend to get waylaid by the earthy? Actually, just got back from the midwest and pretty sure I am reliqushing my presidency in Latino Club for the sake of running for office in the “We Grow Ourselves A Dang Nice Crop of Them There Guys” organization. My point? Its always out there man, because its alwats within you, within us. Do NOT panic at your desire and do NOT berate it either. The CCC clearly teaches that the orientation AND the desires are NOT sinful….and I know you well enough to know you know that.

    Reply
  8. viego pobre

    just a thought on reparative therapy, i would suggest that what you describe, steve, would be considered a form of reparative therapy. most therapists see SSA as a normal part of human sexuality and would want to help one to accept and integrate it in a positive way into their lives.

    but those in the reparative camp (by whatever name they call it…Conrad Barrs was calling it ‘affirmation therapy’ way before the term reparative was used), see SAA as a consequence or a symptom of deeper emotional deprivation, identity problems, etc. so by bringing these deeper needs to awareness and acceptance, and helping to find deeper healing the symptoms will slowly fade and naturally be replaced by more positive behaviors.

    the goal is not to “repair” someone and make him straight, although some may find a latent heterosexuality, but for most it will be greater healing, freedom from compulsive and obsessive behaviors, and a greater sense of joy and peace in their daily lives.

    from my own experience and observations over the years, people with SAA seem to “sexualize” these needs and where we get all messed up is that we
    “genitalize” intimacy. once one can work this out, he may not really change his sexual orientation, but he will find his eros goes much deeper and can find a deeper, richer and more intimate life that does not have to be “genitalize”. well, hope alll this is not too confusing to cram into a combox!

    Reply
  9. Dante

    Viego Pobre – wow you won me over to THAT concept of reparative therapy. And let me tell you I am a hard nut to crack. Thanks,

    Reply
  10. Ron

    Thanks for the explanation about reparative therapy, Viego Pobre. I must admit that I pretty much steer clear of any kind of talk of “reparative therapy” because I always thought of it as attempting to change one’s sexual orientation, and I long ago came to terms with my ssa. I’m all for finding a way to a “deeper, richer, and more intimate life”.

    Reply
  11. Sean

    Hey Steve,

    I support you 100%. The Lord is so pleased with your fidelity to him and your martyrdom on the altar of your heart. The enemy likes to sneak in feelings of sadness or heaviness of soul in those cross bearing moments, but with every suffering comes a ray of glory for you. You are a true witness, God bless.

    Reply
  12. Devon

    Wow! You’re quite an inspiration. I can’t imagine this cross that you are bearing. But how blessed you are that He chose YOU to carry it! He obviously thinks you’re someone pretty special!

    Reply
  13. Mary

    Steve,

    Although it is not entirely the same, if it helps at all, as a married person, sometimes you have an opportunity presented to be unfaithful in your marriage, with all the temptations you describe. Your witness helps even those who are straight and committed do the right thing.

    Reply
  14. Tom in Vegas

    I’m not gay, and perhaps it’s because I’m not gay that I can scarcely begin to comprehend the decisions you must have to make on a daily basis between your sexuality and your faith. Sometimes I think the Church–or more specifically individuals within the Church–oversimplify (or trivialize) the conflicts some Catholic gay men and women endure as they face the reality of their sexuality. I know, we all have our cross to carry.

    I LOVE the Catholic faith. Love the ancientness, the tradition, the Mysticism, and the liturgy. I hope most of that is preserved as the Church moves forward in time. But who knows what will change? The Catholic Church of today will be significantly different that the Catholic Church of the year 2500. Perhaps change that is incomprehensible to us now may, perhaps, unfold within our lifetimes. As Father Tony, my old vocations director would say: “The Catholic Church moves slowly, but it always moves forward.”

    I thank God I’m Catholic, and I pray for the Holy Father leading the Church here on earth.

    Reply
  15. Aaron

    Hi Steve!
    Thanks for sharing your story. I think you should follow your conscience, but don’t give up on a gay love story. I’m very Catholic, very gay, and proud to be both. I believe with all my strength, heart, mind, and soul that God calls some of us to love Him through loving a spouse of the same gender. Sometimes the human leaders of the Catholic Church are wrong (i.e. indulgences, inquisitions, sexual abuse scandals). Never stop pushing yourself to see if God might be calling you to challenge lies that the Devil has used to corrupt the Church herself.

    God Bless.

    Aaron

    Reply
  16. Helen Lee

    Steve you are the coolest.

    It is so refreshing to see someone who is both honest about the corporal reality of his homosexuality, and faithful to his commitment to chastity. I personally don’t like to term it “SSA” because it sounds so clinical, but that’s not really a biggy.

    So often, celibate gay Catholics (the few of them that are vocal, anyway) get so wrapped up in being morally scrupulous that they aren’t honest with themselves about their very real sexual attraction to members of the same sex. And its in being honest about that that they would be able to discover the potentially positive fruits of their homosexuality.

    Kudos to you, Steve. Blessed are you among men, because your attraction to men will give you a relationship with Christ that most men won’t have access to. And that’s awesome.

    Also very nice of Eddy to be apologetic— a lot of people could have been insulted, or scoffed at you. God bless you both!

    Reply
  17. Christopher

    Steve,

    I thank God that I found this blog! All the gay Catholic blogs I usually see are so unorthodox and try to make excuses for homosexuality, and you accept the Church’s teachings and are helping other gay Catholics like myself! Deo gratias!

    I am definitely subscribing and will be praying for you and I am so moved that you did the right thing about Eddy. That is powerful. You have a beautiful soul and thank you for sharing these intimate things.

    I will be praying for you at Adoration soon.

    As to the poster who suggested that sometimes the Church leaders are wrong, that is true, but the Church is never wrong. Indulgences still exist by the way, they just aren’t abused with money anymore. I try to gain indulgences for the Poor Souls suffering in Purgatory and for myself everyday.

    Pray the Morning offering.

    Pax tecum,
    Christopher

    Reply
  18. Kathryn

    I stumbled across an article you wrote for Matt Fradd, and your story peeked my interest. I’m a young Catholic, raised Roman right, but currently practicing under the Eastern Right. Recently I started college with my focus being in anthropology, which has made me more aware of my religion and its teachings in comparison to other cultures and religions, but even more than that social and political contentions whose basis start at Catholicism and religion in general. My faith in God isn’t wavered; I love and believe in Him very much and His teachings, but currently find I have a harder time accepting the teachings of the Church, especially when it comes to gay rights. Part of that, I realize, is the generation and culture I grew up in, but I also find recently I have a hard time understanding the logic behind some of the Church’s rules. I’ve talked with my parish priests and deacons on the matter, but none of them have given me an answer that I can understand. The most I’m able to get from them is the Church isn’t against homosexuals, just against behaviors derived from homosexual intensions. But what I don’t understand is why?

    One thing you had said in that article was that gay marriage is impossible in this world because it doesn’t make sense, but, from how I understand, a belief in God and in our religion doesn’t necessarily make sense either because its purely faith. There’s nothing factual or substantial for us to pull sense from to create our conclusions with in religion; its purely interpretation, and because of that I don’t see how one’s interpretation of God’s word is more correct than another’s. Therefore, I don’t understand why the Church can tell us which words of the Bible to follow verbatim and which to interpret metaphorically, considering how its all God’s word.

    I feel you’re very strong and well grounded in your faith, which I admire a lot, and I would really appreciate if you could further explain your perspective to me. If you have the time, I have many other questions I would love to ask you.

    God Bless.

    Reply
  19. Simon James

    Hi Steve,

    It was refreshing to stumble across this candid story, one which echoes my own decision that I could not be “gay” and Catholic, but would have to choose to be one or another. I have been living as a celibate, homosexual, Catholic man for decades. If you care to hear my story, visit me at http://www.simonjamesonline.com. Let’s spread the word that we are out there and we are “feeling fine, thanks.”
    -Simon

    Reply
  20. Tara S

    “All the good ones are gay. Ladies? Amirite?”

    Shipping home-baked goods over international borders is probably neither allowed nor safe, so you’ll just have to pretend I sent you several varieties of pie, and maybe cheesecake if you are into that sort of thing. Because <3.

    Reply
  21. Gerdy

    It’s amazing to know that someone like my ideology lives. I am gay, catholic and celibate. I was in a relationship with a man.Everything was fine but Trust me my Catholic faith, Christ and Mary din’t like what I needed.Hence the relationship ended. I was Heartbroken and trying to replace someone else in life and started dating once again.I wanted a man who would love me for the person I am and also share a life but all whom I found was for Flesh and Flesh alone. I prayed with so much eagerness.One day during an Eucharistic celebration I heard a voice deep in my heart telling “Could u sacrifice your life for giving greater glory to my son” and I knew it was Mary.I immediately took refuge in the alter in my mind that I am going to be celibate for the rest of my life. It was really hard initially.I had to overcome.Confessions,Retreats and Counselling helped me to the maximum.I overcame it.I am 24 years now.I have been celibate and dedicated it to Jesus who is my only spouse.No one else is my life but Jesus.My life is a heaven right now.I go to mass daily(almost) and its awesome.I can feel the love of Christ much more than anything else in life.I dont feel I am lonely, I have no one or I have no moral support but I feel I have Jesus as a spouse,Lord,Brother, friend, etc.Mary as a mother and all the saints as my own brothers and sisters.Celibacy is awesome specially for a homosexual like me who loves Jesus and Mary the most.The Catholic Mother Church is my life and I can never explain how Joyful I am all these days.I will be celibate until the last breath of my life until I meet Christ my spouse in heaven.!!!!! Steve you are awesome man.U are a living saint I can say.I’m happy that you have the same ideaology like me.Its a gift that we are gay and catholic. Its an awesome life isn’t!!! That we are chaste….

    Reply

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