Kevin’s Story

by | January 22, 2014

cathedral in winterI was born in late winter of 1987, and was baptized into the Catholic Church shortly after. I attended Catholic grade school and high school. I remember attending Mass at school and several tenets of the faith left a mark from religion class: Jesus is our friend, that we are to imitate Him in His suffering, to carry our crosses–the basics. However, my faith was not a priority until I attended a retreat for high schoolers put on by the youth ministry at my cousin’s Catholic parish. While I did get quite involved with that youth group with more retreats, mission trips, Wednesday night meetings and Saturday morning bible studies, it was not enough to sustain me as I entered college. It was also in high school that I realized that I was attracted to other guys.

I developed an unhealthy attachment to pornography and masturbation, which only fueled my attractions to other males. However, I knew deep within that homosexual acts were wrong and kept my double life a secret, even dating a girl during my senior year in high school. That relationship only lasted several months. Entering college, I became apathetic about my faith. I still kept to myself about my issues, but made friends. One friend in particular, however, became “more than a friend”.

We experimented often, and I even wanted to be able to call him my boyfriend, though he was more ashamed of his feelings than I was of mine. That situation was more complex than I can share here, but it ended badly. For the next couple of years, I continued to “explore” with other males, engaging in same-sex behavior sexual activity.
During my senior year of college, I joined a Christian campus ministry, open to any person. Ironically, my involvement with that particular non-Catholic campus ministry increased just as my same-sex sexual activity was increasing. However, the more I dug deeper into both, I found how each was not quite satisfying the desires in my heart in respective ways. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot about God, Jesus, and myself from this ministry, and for that I am truly thankful. I also began to realize just how immoral my “exploring” was. I began to seek help from the adult leaders of this ministry, which eventually led me to an evangelical ministry specifically for persons with same-sex attraction. I attended one of their conferences, met a lot of great people, and learned a lot more about myself and these attractions. However, shortly after, I had a significant “reversion” experience to the Catholic Church: I began asking questions that these ministries just couldn’t answer satisfactorily. It wasn’t until I became more involved with the Newman Center at my university, and specifically began to learn more about the theology of the body, that I first started feeling authentic freedom from my attractions.
Eventually I distanced myself from those non-Catholic ministries and my involvement with the local parish dramatically increased. I was even hired on as a campus missionary there, serving for two years. Around this time, I pursued the Courage Apostolate, about which a friend of mine told me. After talking to my new boss, (the pastor of the university parish), about my struggles and how I wanted to see if Courage would help, I found out that the bishop had just appointed him as chaplain for the newly formed Courage chapter. My boss and I then both attended the 2010 Courage conference. However, it wasn’t until the next academic school year that we were finally able to make enough progress to hold regular Courage meetings. I served the rest of my time with the parish as the lay coordinator for our chapter. At the end of my tenure there, and after graduation, I had to move on. After applying for full time ministry opportunities and coming up short, I applied to a Catholic school which prides itself on dynamic orthodoxy, in order to pursue a Master’s degree in theology. I am currently in the midst of my studies.
reconciliationThough I’m grateful that God has redeemed my past mistakes, I still am tempted to sin, just as every man is. Though I sometimes stumble into unchaste behavior, thanks to the grace of God through His Church, and especially through Courage, I’ve made a commitment to living out chastity to the best of my ability. When I do fall into sin, I make every effort to seek the sacrament of mercy, confess my sins, and return again to the fullness of the truth, the way, and the life. At the same time, I don’t believe that I can “pray away the gay” …because I never considered myself ‘gay’ in the first place.
In order to close this first contribution, I’d like to draw attention to the 1986 document “Pastoral Care of the Homosexual Person” issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. Specifically, in paragraph 16, the CDF makes it clear that the human person is not to be defined by sexual attraction, and both the terms “homosexual” and “heterosexual” are reductive in nature. Our current culture tends to use these terms as if they were all encompassing labels of who the person is. It’s reasonable as well to apply the document’s line of thinking to more commonly used terms, such as gay, lesbian or bisexual. While I realize I may be opening up a larger discussion on the issue of identity, I can attest that I fell in love with this document as a whole, mostly because of this one specific teaching.

When I hear many people use such terms today, I know deep down that I have immense worth as a child of God, which gives me freedom from using those terms. I think that freedom applies to everyone. Even someone I know who considers himself an LGBT activist, recently admitted that he admired me for holding this position, which I explained as just one of the many amazing truths taught by the Church. He had said that the teaching itself was quite “progressive,” the more he thought about it.

In conclusion, I hope to address these and other topics more fully in future posts, as I’ve only scratched the surface in this entry.

May this blog be a real, tangible witness to the truth of the Catholic faith and the power of the Gospel!

 

 

One Response to Kevin’s Story

  1. M says:

    Dear Kevin: Amen!! We are all a work in progress

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