Newman House and the seat of Saint Thomas More Parish where I was welcomed as a young gay man and confirmed as a Roman Catholic in 1986.
A chapter of a Roman Catholic organization called Courage has turned up at the University of Toronto Newman Centre in Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish. Courage is an organization that counsels chastity for homosexual persons. While this teaching is in keeping with Church doctrine, it is really quite unreasonable and unrealistic to expect gay people to choose either a life of solitude or a relationship without intimacy. This teaching is disputed by many Roman Catholics, gay and straight. Dignity, for example, is a Roman Catholic organization with chapters across the world that works for acceptance of gay people in the Church. Here is a link to Dignity Canada: http://www.dignitycanada.org/. Believe it or not there is no shortage of gay people who are Roman Catholic, who want acceptance for who they are and their relationships. I was once such a person. You may be puzzling why I would want to belong to a Church that condemns me as disordered and expects me to practice chastity. The fact is Roman Catholicism appealed to me when I was younger. I was nominally Roman Catholic, having been baptized in infancy. I undertook preparation for First Communion on my own initiative when I was sixteen. I really wanted to believe in a creator who loves and cares for us and be part of a community of believers. In my early twenties I was accepted as a young gay man by the Roman Catholic community at Queen’s University. I underwent a program offered by the Church called Right of Christian Initiation for Adults and was confirmed at the Easter Vigil held in Saint Thomas More Parish in Kingston, Ontario in 1986.
For many years thereafter I continued to attend mass regularly, say my prayers and try to remain true to myself as a gay man and a practicing Roman Catholic. Over time, however, I became disillusioned with the Church as an institution. The sex scandals involving the clergy really shook my trust. As I grew older, I began to rethink what I had believed and found I no longer believe in a creator who loves and cares for us. I no longer attend mass on a regular basis, but appreciate there are gay people for whom practicing Roman Catholicism is an integral part of their life. On the odd occasion I attend mass, usually for baptisms, weddings and funerals, I do not take communion. I still have a soft spot for the Roman Catholic laity and like to discuss theology and philosophy with people who are still practicing their faith. I appreciate the support from groups like Dignity and the clergy who sympathize with gay people, but can no longer, in good conscience, continue to practice Roman Catholicism. In the present, I do not subscribe to the doctrines of any religious organization and could not be happier.
Posted by Geoffrey