John Paul Shimek of Catholic World Report interviewed me after the recent Courage conference. An excerpt:
CWR: Some people seem to want the issue of homosexuality to go away. A good gay Catholic is a closeted gay Catholic, according to them. How can we welcome and accompany those people? What have you learned about how to deal with those people?
Prever: With questions like this, I always try to start from my own experience, because that’s more convincing than abstract arguments, and it’s also more difficult to refute. My own experience is that my life changed radically once I started letting people in on the secret of my homosexuality. For me, letting people in on this part of myself was a way to relinquish control over the image that other people had of me. It was a way to learn to be vulnerable, which is a prerequisite for any kind of intimate human relationship, and I think a prerequisite for holiness, too. It was a way to start to engage life in a different way, and to engage other people more deeply.
I have some sympathy for the idea that people should not make their sexual orientation public on the grounds that it will cause unnecessary pigeonholing, or simply because one’s sexual orientation isn’t everyone’s business. I do think the decision to come out, or when to come out, or to whom, is extremely personal, and I do think some people rush into it and then regret it later. I think it might not be advisable to come out young, since there’s a lot of sexual confusion among young people, and you want to be sure before you label yourself one thing or another.
But there’s no one-size-fits-all approach—it’s a matter between the individual and his or her spiritual director. To say that nobody should ever come out publicly—I can’t imagine what kind of knowledge or expertise would give anyone the right to make such a broad statement. And at the very least, I think the life of a gay person who wants to practice continence is totally impossible, not to mention incredibly painful, if he doesn’t make his orientation known to at least a select few.
Read the whole thing at Catholic World Report.