Sunday, February 5

My Best Friend Michael

I've been meaning to talk about my best friend Michael for a while. I met my best friend Michael in September 1992. We were going out as a group from the LDS church to see "A League Of Their Own." I remember the first time I saw him, I was getting in the car (he was picking me up), and when I laid eyes on him, I feel instantly in crazy mad crush for him. He was so good looking I lost the ability to speak for about 15 seconds. With the LDS Singles Group politics, it was already "decided" that he and Marie were going to date, even though I was stupid gaga over him. And he and Marie did date a couple of times, and he also dated a few other girls, and we never went out despite the fact I was pretty much ready to marry him at that point.

In January 1993, I found out that Michael had "come out of the closet." He was seriously gay. And I became the connsummate Fag Hag. After many years of having an attitude of "I know he's gay, but I love him anyway" and many years of him being a bit of a jerk, we ended up settling into a very close and very special friendship.

We've been extremely close for many years. Now, he and I don't necessarily speak every day, or even every week. But when we need something, we're there for each other. For example, he didn't even hesitate when I asked him to sign my Free To Marry letter so that I could get convalidated. He just cancelled his chiropractic appointment and showed up at the Catholic church for me. He was the Man of Honor at my wedding to Dan, and I plan on being the Matron of Honor at his committment ceremony in May of this year. He's been with his partner, Michael, only one month less than I've been with Dan - so basically about five years or so.

Now, here's the problem ... the Catholic church says that being gay is a sin. And a pretty serious one at that. I can understand that on many levels. One of the main purposes of marriage is to have babies, and gay men cannot have babies together. It's biologically impossible. But on the other hand, I don't think being gay is a choice. It's kind of like telling a person that they can only have Vanilla ice cream when all they really want is Chocolate. What if a person was born liking Chocolate ice cream?

Now, I know we all have our crosses to bear. I know that we all have sins we're easily tempted by. I have many sins I'm tempted by on a constistant and regular basis. I'll use the sin of gluttony. When does food go past being nourishment and go to being gluttony? When does my enjoyment of a burger go from eating to gluttony? What if I eat a small burger, but really, really enjoy the pleasure of eating food? Is that gluttony? Is it not?

Now, gluttony is quite different from homosexuality. But I can totally understand where a homosexual could definitely see their desires as their only choice. If you only like ketchup on your hamburgers, but the only kind of hamburgers offered are with Mayonaise, which grosses you out, what do you do? Do you eat the burger with the ketchup anyway or do you forego hamburgers alltogether? Or do you eat a mayonaise burger and gag on it while wishing for a ketchup burger?

It's such a hard decision. And it's not mine to make for anyone else what "sins" they choose to participate in or choose to refrain from. It's also not my place to judge a person on their sins as I hope not to be judged on mine. This one sounds easy, but I know for a fact that every day someone makes a judgement on me because I am overweight due to my many different times of participating in the sin of gluttony. And it's hard to accept those judgements, but it's also the consequence of my sin.

Here's where it gets tricky for me. I am close friends with someoen whose lifestyle is considered a very gross sin by the Catholic church. I am in no way in a place to preach to Michael that his lifestyle is sinful and condemned by God. I'm not even sure totally how I feel about his sin. I know the Catholic church considers being gay a sin, and I know there are tons of benefits of not being gay (such as having a much better chance of having a biological child with your partner of choice and having the ability to get legally married), but on the other hand, I do truly believe that God made Michael gay. That is his cross to bear.

So am I in sin for being friends with him? I know I'm in sin when I go to his committment ceremony and stand there as witness to his committment to another man for the rest of their lives. I'll definitely have to repent for that. Am I in sin if I don't call him to repentance?

It's something I've been struggling with since I first started to think about becoming Catholic. I'm not giving up the friendship and giving up the best friend I've ever had in my life other than my husband. Michael means too much to me. I know in my heart of hearts that I'm not going to call him to repentance for being Gay. It's not my place. I hope that God understands my need to be with this friend in love and in friendship. I hope to minister to him through my example.

Anyway, I didn't expect to come to any conclusions with this post, I just wanted to think things through a bit, that's all.

9 Comments:

At 10:09 AM, Blogger Julie D. said...

Just a quick comment here ... the Catholic Church does not consider "being gay" to be a sin. It considers acting on those desires to be sinful.

If you read the Catechism on this it is very clear that we know that there is no understanding why people are gay and, thus, just as with anyone born with a disorder (alcoholics, physical handicaps, etc.) that is not held against anyone.

However, just as with some conditions where acting on your desires is not good for you (or your soul) such as addictions (gambling, alcohol, etc) the Church points out and condemns anyone who is not celibate unless they are married. In this they are treating gay people exactly the same as they treat single people.

Just a clarifying point. :-)

I agree that your loving your friend and living your faith as well as you can is probably the best example ... as well as being able to fully explain (in love) what the Church's attitude is IF (and only IF) he asks.

 
At 10:34 AM, Blogger Cynthia said...

Thank you for your comments and insight. This is very true that the desire to sin is not a sin, it's entertaining the idea that will get you in hot water.

 
At 3:21 PM, Blogger C S said...

Effulgent,

I think the first commenter on this post did a splendid job of clearing up the waters. I would furthermore add that you should continue to be the best friend you can be. On top of that, pray for him, constantly. As has been pointed out, we don't understand the origins of the homosexual inclination, whether nature or nurture (and there seems to be some evidence for both), but either way it must be a heavy cross to bear.

We are never called to judge or to preach to anyone. We are called to lead people to Christ, and in doing this I like to keep St. Francis of Asisi's addage in mind, "Preach always, when necessary, use words."

 
At 12:42 PM, Blogger EHa said...

St. Augustine says: "Hate the sin, but love the sinner." Of course to commit homosexual acts is a sin, but as far as I know your friend Michael is Mormon (or whatever, but not catholic). Maybe I am wrong, but I think that not being Catholic and thus not knowing what the church teaches, he can't be made responsible for this, can he? Be there for him, be a friend to him, pray constantly, and be ready to answer the questions that might pop up.

 
At 4:36 PM, Anonymous humblethyself said...

Hi there. I think Julie's comments are excellent.

The Catechism states:

2331 "God is love and in himself he lives a mystery of personal loving communion. Creating the human race in his own image..., God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion." (Matthew 5:27-28)

"God created man in his own image . . . male and female he created them"; [Genesis 1:27] He blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and multiply";[Genesis 1:28] "When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created." [Genesis 5:1-2]

2335 Each of the two sexes is an image of the power and tenderness of God, with equal dignity though in a different way. The union of man and woman in marriage is a way of imitating in the flesh the Creator's generosity and fecundity: "Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh." [Genesis 2:24]All human generations proceed from this union.


Man and Woman's love and marital embrace (communion) mirrors that of God's love and embrace for Man and Woman: the selfless, complete giving of oneself to another for everlasting life. Man and Woman are called to show their love for each other through the marital embrace and in so doing, to always be open to the gift of the creation of life. This is God's will, which we are all called to accept and live.

As Julie pointed out, it is not a sin to be gay, but acting upon it is. The Catechism states (within 2357), "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

I agree with Julie's comments about loving your friend and living your faith as best as you can. I also agree with the various posters who suggested praying for your friend, and I would add praying for his conversion.

As his close friend, and as a Catholic, you are called to assist him in living God's will,...and as difficult as it will be, to help him understand What that is and Why that is. You have an opportunity to minister and to show him God's love. I will pray for you and for him! God bless,

 
At 5:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other posters hit it right on the mark. Being gay is not a sin, nor is being friends with someone who is gay.
I agree that you should remain faithful to the friend and loyal to your friendship, loving Michael and praying for him. Jesus commands us to love so how could that be sin?
However, I urge you to reconsider standing up with him at his committment ceremony. Although he may not be held culpable for his actions, you are culpable.(and remember, it is his actions that the Catholic Church say is sin, not his inclinations or feelings) By standing up at his ceremony, you are condoning the union of which your Church does not approve. You admitted in your post that you will have to repent. Knowing this, will you be able to make an honest confession? Can you announce that you are going to commit mortal sin, knowing it is, and then truly be remorseful?
We are called, through the spiritual acts of mercy, to "admonish the sinner". That's a tough one. You can (and I have been in your shoes) tell someone you love him and that though you support him, you don't support his decisions. I am not asking you to judge Michael, but set an example, as you say, by telling him how you feel (and what the Church says) about standing up for him at his ceremony. Let him know what a struggle it is for you, and doesn't change your feelings for him. Maybe he would understand that it is between you and God and something you are still trying to work out.
What a cross to bear, for both of you!
Forgive me if I preached too much. I will be praying for you as you struggle with this.

PAX
Linda

 
At 3:41 PM, Anonymous "omis" said...

Jesus went to homes of, dined with, and stood up for all kinds of people whose behavior wouldn't have been condoned by the rabbis or today's Church.

His call to chastity is just that--his call. Your call is to love him and treat him without judgement.

Don't worry too much about standing with him as his commitment ceremony. Judgement is for God.

 
At 8:12 PM, Anonymous humblethyself said...

"omis" said: "Jesus went to homes of, dined with, stood up for all kinds of people...Judgement is for God."

No one is judging. Many of the posters have agreed with that. He did not judge them,...he healed them...and he converted them. Jesus calls each and every one of us to this (his) ministry. To live His truth. To be His truth...every single one of us. To live His love. To be His love. To be the Body of Christ. And he calls us to this ministry NOW...not later, not when one hopes or possibly expects to live with Him eternally,...NOW. Judgement is for God. And He will judge based on what he sees us do. We pay for our ticket here, today, now, on earth. Not later. The ticket to heaven is paid for down here...not in heaven.

 
At 8:34 AM, Anonymous "omis" said...

In speaking of homosexuals and the Church in a recent interview on the occassion of his installation, the new Archbishop of San Francisco said this:

"One thing the Church does, and I think at its best does very well, is hang in with people their whole journey long, not say 'You must seem to me to be exactly as I expect you to be, or we don't want you here.' I think that we, yes we do, set the bar very high on several aspects of life -- we don't do it arbitrarily, we do it because we believe that's how the Lord is leading us. But at the same time we cetainly support and walk alongside the people who walk with us on this journey of faith and salvation..."

 

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