Thanks to Pope Francis’ recent remarks, I can now repeat a point I made a while back: namely that, like it or not “gay” is now the word commonly used in English to denote someone who experiences homosexual attraction, whether they act on it or not. Sorry, but that’s how English usage is, just as “love” is a word of broad and imprecise meaning too. So to speak of a “gay” person may be to speak of a chaste or an unchaste person. You can’t make assumptions. You have to ask (if you want to pry into somebody’s sex life, that is). Or you have to take their word for it if they tell you. So when Steve/Joey says “Catholic, gay, and fine with it” and goes on to explain that Catholic (and the Church’s complete teaching on, among other things, chastity) is the most important thing for him, then you accept that and rejoice in the fact that a gay guy loves Jesus Christ and his Holy Church and is obedient to His teaching. You don’t obsess over the fact that he says “gay” and not “same-sex attracted”. You don’t leap to stupid accusations that speaking well of a gay Catholic is dissent from Church teaching and gin up a pitchfork-waving mob about it. You be glad that there is a robust witness to Jesus Christ in the midst of a community that is searching for the love of God in all the wrong places. You, in a word, get out of Fortress Katolicus and into the the work of evangelization and welcome gay people who want to help.
That said, Joey is right: The brunt of the hostility he’s going to face–and is facing–will come not from the small hothouse of Combox Inquisitor “Conservative” Catholics for his being gay. It will come from unchaste, rigidly intolerant gays for his being Catholic and choosing to be chaste. People like Joey are massively threatening to such people, because they show that it can be done and should be done. The Spirit of the Age is not tolerant of such crimes. He’s a brave man. He should have the support of all people who love Jesus and love the Faith.
Update: My friend Ron Belgau disagrees with me and Joey about it being hard to come out as chaste than as gay:
I actually doubt that Joey is right. I’ve been out as a gay Catholic who supports Church teaching for more than 15 years now. By a very large margin, the worst reactions have come from conservative Catholic inquisitors. If they only lived in comboboxes, they would be irritating, but ignorable. The unfortunate problem is that they also run Catholic institutions.
When the unchaste folk manage to be as destructive as the orthodox, I’ll let you know. But by far the worst instances of bullying and discrimination I have experienced as a Catholic who openly professes the Church’s teaching on homosexuality have come from the orthodox, not the unchaste.
It’s worth remembering that it wasn’t the tax collectors and prostitutes who conspired to murder Christ.
Fair enough. I’m not going to argue with experience. It’s a shame and a scandal if Ron’s experience is a broad one in the Church. Gay people who are faithful to the Church’s teaching bear a cross and should be honored, not punished, for it. What is the matter with people?