Brief an einen jungen schwulen Katholiken

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Carissimo ,

what a privilege that I have the chance to write to you! It is so great that I still want a bit to savor the word "you". And I want to ask you to make you realize how new is this salutation and how open!

How many times have you already been mentioned in a Catholic publication "you"? Not with that vacuous you from the ads, where questions are asked such as: "Have you ever thought about becoming a priest or a nun" These ads do not mean really  you . You mean "someone who so is in every way as you, just not gay or at least better at hiding it." If otherwise is talk in Catholic publications of gay issues, the style is suddenly strangely stiff, and it appears a mysterious "they". This "they" obviously comes from another planet than the one you inhabit. And who this "they" used actually lives on another planet, a planet where a strange lack of oxygen, the use of the pronoun "I", "you" and "we" impossible. If someone starts to use those pronouns, you feel soon that solely their heterosexuality gives them this freedom – and that they are honest enough to admit, not really knowing what it's all about.

Perhaps you've ever tried to talk about that you're gay and catholic: with a priest or even a bishop, in which your gay radar has told you that it could belong to the "family". And then you probably noticed that in spite of their sincere wanting to be friendly, a subliminal aloofness occurs in her voice. In its interior is a kind of injunction in place, and when they say "you", you realize that the "I" that speaks, has changed the mode: It masquerades, has become somehow official, and the "you "with which they talk to you, without breath of life. Instead, it carries a label that is recognized as something that "must be treated with extreme caution." Behind the speaking voice as loud as everything else that is said to be a "but" heard, and this "but" says "you, but not in the way you are".

But now you're here, reading a Catholic publication, will participate in that huge and amazing global communications network, which is one of the pleasures of the Catholic one – and suddenly allowed some new situation. For you, a Catholic who happens to be gay (whatever that means), will as the one who "you" are approached by a Catholic who is able to say: "I am a Catholic who happens to be gay , whatever that means. "  I  must speak to you, to  you , the are aware that you are standing at the beginning of a life story, in your being gay plays a role. And I have the chance to talk to you, not in the performance of an official function, but as a brother, a brother with a piece of living history, which also means that I am an openly gay man. I have the opportunity to address you on the same plane from, where also you stand. I do not know better than you do, who you are, yes, I do not even know much about who I am. Yet something new has happened. It has become possible that the word "you" is pronounced in an overtly Catholic mainstream publication, in a way that will hopefully produce a creative reverberation in your life, and the act of an "I" that than by living openly expanded gay man within the Catholic Church and has been stretched.

When I was confronted with the privilege to participate in this communication, I wanted, like all cowards, spontaneously, just run away. For a privilege is a responsibility. And this special privilege is also particularly awe inspiring, because actually only one way as a "you" talk to you, he calls you with this address into existence without bending you or harass. And that is our Lord Himself He has acquired this ability by being passed through death. Therefore he is able, and speak you and me into existence and ours both an "I" to give, not from death and dominated the fear of death. It is anything but easy, another so to speak with "du", that he is called into existence by this address.

If the official teachers of our Church reflect on themselves – and they usually do when they are on the defensive -, they point out that what they call the "magisterium", never a substitute for conscience, but may be only one vote more, the sounds besides your own and at the same level and as it is carried by the breath of the Lord. A voice that encourages you, you advise, help you to make your conscience – and never any voice that you drowned, so you only listen to them and not you make the effort to find your own voice.

So they are quite right. And I, when I speak to you, not the right to be less careful than the magisterium. As you can see, is the difference between my attempt to address you as "you", and the attempt of the priest or bishop with the aloofness, the subliminal "but" in his voice, not that he is a hypocrite and I do not, that he is subject to constraints and not me. No, I am just as much a hypocrite as he, and I am subjected to just such constraints. Even in my voice there is an underlying "but", although it does not relate to you. But I would not be honest if I wanted to say that my desire to love the Church as a gay man, would leave no scratches on the soundboard of my voice. These same realities which cause the priest or bishop to talk to tense and unnatural way to you, force me to think long and hard thinking about how I should speak to you. And I dread to think how inadequate you would find me if you were talking face to face with me, rather than to meet me in this screen of words, words that I can correct them and revise and change before you to accomplish.

If it. Between the Register, in which I speak to you, and to which you are accustomed, is a difference, this is largely random or fate, depending on how you want to interpret it And yes,  you  'll need to interpret,  you  'll have to decide whether I who I address you as "you" can do so thanks to a breakdown or a crack in the system or if you lose in this unauthorized voice to here speaks somewhat hear the voice of the shepherd, whom you know, and before you have no fear. I can not claim to be a member of this voice. None of us can do that. We can only hope that we are used or prepared for our use. But only those who respond each one of us can perceive who it said to them, what kind of a mixture of voices that is as sent over our airwaves.

If there is a difference, then, so I want to confess, it is based on an act of defiance or stubbornness on my part. A refusal to believe something. That is the subliminal "but" in my voice. "… But the God who has revealed to us in Jesus could, but impossible to put this little part of humanity which is gay and lesbian in such a predicament, as the Church does. He had told no means: I love you, but only if you, another will ', or:' Love your neighbor, but in your case, not as yourself, but as if you were someone else ', or: your love is too dangerous and destructive, find something else that you can do '. "and an act of defiance or stubbornness seems not a very good beginning for a Catholic. Despite or stubbornness have a diabolical sound. Unless this refusal to believe something that is based on the firm belief that someone is a good person and therefore a grave injustice would be to keep him the practices for efficient, which are subordinate to him.

You and I, we can imagine a woman who refuses to believe in the guilt of her husband, although a neat bestalltes court and a jury accuses him of having evaded monies. All evidence seems sure to speak, but the woman refuses defiant and stubborn to believe that her husband could have done something like this, even though he sometimes gets himself in his own defense floundering and it thus perhaps will signal that they do not must keep him. In some cases, the process will end with a new evidence or changed circumstances which relieve all man and to show that the woman was right, unimpressed believing of public slander of his good character. In other cases, there will be no happy ending, and all who were there are who see women as pathetic and unrealistic person who has provided even lied that it can no longer accept that her husband is a cheater ,

Well, I'll be honest with you! I'm such a defiant and stubborn woman, and the story is not over yet. I do not know if my refusal to believe that God gay people treated as the village elders and the local Court say it stems from the belief in a love that will prove to be true, or just a sign of my self-deception and flight from reality is. I do not know, and you do not know well. Those who speak with aloofness in the voice you know well that both are possible, and are seriously concerned about your safety. Therefore, they do not want to send on such a dangerous journey yourself.

Yes, I want to be honest with you. It's not easy, you to call the place the defiant woman, because as long as the story is not over, it is a place of vulnerability and uncertainty. It's a scary place. Because I can offer you no solution. I do not know if it is not arrogant of me to say: "I would rather take that risk, pass through this fear that being gay just a lie, a form of self-deception is that leads nowhere, I would rather me fear questions and trust that the spirit of God drives them, the fear unmasked as illusion and let me be a child – rather that than to cling to the opinion that the fear of our safety serves and protects us from the abyss of meaninglessness, and lead me from the wise, no 'our church tradition to be. "

As you can see, I do not despise this wise, "No". I used to despise it. I used to hate the cowardice, the two faces and the lies. But now I know what it costs to get rid of all this, and I also know how careful I need to be, when I speak with you. After all, who of us can say whether it is a capricious heroism or indeed the breath of the Lord drives us and shouts " Duc in altum! " – "Put out into the lake!" (Lk 5,4)? There, where there are no fish the prudent view, no people who deserve to be loved as equals, but only a swirl of disordered and incurable longings. For this protective step out "No!" To believe that someone without that dreaded "but" appeals to me as a "you" means to stand naked before the Spirit and more vulnerable than ever before to my own self-deception. And the solution we learn only when the nets are pulled ashore, and I will and will you might not live to see.

No, I'm not saying that it is easy or natural to be an openly gay Catholic. But on the contrary. Just the fact that you want to read a letter like this one at all, is already a sign of how many obstacles you must have already overcome. Maybe you hate and discrimination experienced: in your own country, of family members, at school, from legislators who snatch at cheap voices of screaming headlines that burn your soul and are so bright that you can think of nothing you to could say in your defense. And you've probably found that the church, which bills itself as your Holy Mother and this is also, in view of this hatred and this fear is silent at best. have during their spokesmen probably too often lowered to the level of second-rate politician and her voice lent hatred, although they claim but to stand up for love. The mere fact that you amidst all these hateful voices heard through them and in spite of them the voice of the shepherd, who calls you into his fold, is already a much greater miracle than you know, and prepares you to a much subtler and more delicate work before, as these voices can imagine it.

Because you hold to the belief that has been given to you, you'll learn all contempt which brings to the modern world of the Catholic Church – you will think you are someone who has little to offer valuable. And because you're Catholic, your contemporaries will always see at all possible projects that they want to bring to the way in you only a kind traitor. That's Territorial and not surprising. In addition, but you will also be considered within the church as a kind of traitor. "Not really one of us." And certainly no one who represented the church in public and may be more visible part of the character that leads to salvation. How could it be otherwise? For if being gay is a defect in creation, as they say, then grace can only be because prove that being gay from your or my identity is repaid.

Do not be surprised that you hold those for loyal and trustworthy who pursue every imaginable psychological aberration to find scientific evidence that homosexuality is pathological. They will praise that they are a "sign of contradiction" and push against the zeitgeist. You'll mind if ever, be considered a bad Catholic. Because while the evangelical groups now available from their "reparative therapy" and the "ex-gay movement" aloof and group leaders have apologized for misleading the faithful, find the same ideas now at Catholics backing and support, because they the common Catholic teaching flatter. But before you make these ideas are not afraid and those who spread it, not hate. They are our brothers. The mere fact that these brothers are trying to make the truth of the Church's teaching on the basis of scientific knowledge, means that the evidence of this truth will free us ultimately. And this truth will be greater than you or I or they can imagine now, and it will free us all.

But what about the long "meanwhile"? For you who are called by thy name, and for me, I'm learning, a "I" to receive, being Catholic involves an appeal to a kind of priestly service, a sort of creative full drag, a sort of public imitation of the life and death of our Mr. I want you fool: You'll find that you pursue such a service, such as myself performing such a service, and without any public support on the part of church authorities. It will be as if you do not existiertest. You'll have to learn to live in the silence of non-approved and non-disapproval. You will of the people the gaze be withdrawn, and if you as desperate as I then yearn to have someone watch you in agreement, then you will perceive this as a kind of death. For each of us it is given, what we have to be through the eyes of others, and we reciprocate this view, it can be that he gives us our identity, and act accordingly. Therefore, it is appalling and dangerous to rush through the soil, the yields of us in a room where there is no affirmative, so, where it does not even exist anymore disapproving glances.

Of course it is also possible that I am plunged through the soil in this area without attention, because I locked myself in my own pride and my own self-deception. In this case, I will never catch a glimpse, but always only dance to the rhythm of this deception and me keep even for very sacred and special – until death comes. Or I am led by the Spirit of God, and of course without a seconds turns into the room where God looks at me. And I find this place as a " nada ", a nothing that surrounds me, and only the other may be able to recognize that there is a "I" is being launched by One whose eyes see me although I can not see them, and whose breath carries me, although I can not feel it. And of course, the other what they see as come to life, not necessarily better understood than myself.

On what a journey you let one yourself? I will try to illustrate to you with an example. I do not know if you're old enough to remind you of the Cold War. Or whether the Cold War in your part of the world was important enough to impress you as adolescents. One of the byproducts of the Cold War was the literary and cinematic genre of spy stories of intrigue, the underground life and (at worst) the struggle of good against evil or – in some rarer, better cases – by morally ambiguous people on both sides the Iron curtain between NATO and the Eastern bloc negotiated.

Try to imagine that you were one of these agents of one or the other – I find it easiest to imagine that I was a western agent that it has deeply devious in the communist countries. And then imagine that the boss of your intelligence you issued your instructions long ago and you intended for your mission has been called "Contacts". Relying on this support you so you plunged into the work and deep in enemy territory started to build a community and raise small signs of the Kingdom, whom you serve. Imagine further that something strange happened, a kind of revolution in the department which has commissioned you, a change of course, and that all your contacts who know you and have prepared yourself, be removed silently. Suddenly you stand there without connection to your office. You are deep underground and suddenly have no coverage, no support, no tools and no identity. The service sends new agents, which do not even know that you exist, and if you tell them who you are, they'll probably despise as a remnant of an ancient and now generally disapproved ways of approaching the "enemy territory" in which you so long " undercover 've worked."

Of course in intelligence still people who know you, but they can not afford to say that. Because if the impression that they are communicating with you, this would jeopardize their own position in the service. In short: You have become a non-person. "The does not exist in our books, Madam", is the stereotypical response that left the headquarters to anyone who asks about you and foolish enough to admit that he has known you. Credible deniability is the lubricating oil that keeps this secret in transition.

What should you do? You work still in place, because you love the project, with which one had originally instructed you. But communication has virtually collapsed. On the radio you hear the official position of the secret service. Between the lines you read the "real" meaning of what is said, but you do not exist, you have no connection to the headquarters, you're a nobody. Will you so out of sheer anger and resentment over the way the service treats you to give up the work on the project for which you originally appointed and trained you? Or you love the project so much that you're even willing to love the agency which now hates you, and to trust that things will be cleared up in the end? Loving the agency when it loves you is easy, but you will still love if they deny you? Here you now have a sign from God!

At exactly this point I would try you – yourself, even if the force often shrinks and me – very clearly and emphatically to make aware to what a privileged situation we are in. Yes, the connection to headquarters is down; the headquarters speaks only of a "them" and you will not respond as "you"; and so, either they do not know of our existence, or they stay in their own interest to the credible deniability, and yet we can in the meantime, here deep in enemy territory in order to proceed, not just a tiny corner of any defense system, but the Catholic Church themselves build – the whole thing, the whole set. And ironically, with significantly lower interference on the part of any busybody, as if communication would still work. we car was therefore to extend our love and build something without permission, while we eagerly await the day when the Berlin Wall falls and the communication is restored? Can you take responsibility for it? Can you persevere?

" ! ¡Esto va para largo … ", "This will be a long task!" – So the wise comment of one of my instructors, one of my contacts, which is not only a gay man, but also historians. He told me what I tell you now: that the process of voting on the truth in this field will take a long time to complete. And this process will only take place when people like you and I are prepared to love the project and not to care about the mess in the office; if we are generous and give the contact persons time to summon all her courage to visit us and to contact us as employees. One of the things that will give us grip, is the fact that we can return to this mysterious meeting points of the Cold War, where our original instructor and our first contact person, the One who has called our project first launched, we will award from ancient texts and into bread and wine courage and strength and perseverance, while the new agent to and fro aimlessly, organize senseless noise and can not make it but in the end, the old code to crack.

Who knows, my friend, whether this opportunity for communication recurs? Who knows whether it is a blip not only and will succeed the Catholic jammers, a further open exchange between a Catholic "I" to stop and a Catholic "you", both happens to be gay in the future? Or whether the ecclesiastical permafrost might begin to thaw it and it is much, much easier to talk to one another? Anyway – I'll tell you what I have discovered in my years of underground work in hostile territory: You're not alone, and His promises are true.

With a big hug
from your brother 

© 2008 James Alison International Journal of theology Concilium, 2008 ( 1)