The Truth About Same-Sex Attraction

I’m so used to being gay and Catholic, I forget how strange that sounds.

I forget that, for some people, “homosexual” describes something like a different race, or maybe even a different gender. I forget that some Christians think I’m the worst kind of pervert (but a pervert they have to treat nicely), and some secularists think I’m the worst kind of hypocrite; the former because I’m sexually attracted to men, and the latter because I don’t do anything about it.

Read the last part again. Yes, I’m attracted to men; no, I don’t sleep with them, for the same reason that a lot of Catholics don’t sleep with people they’re not married to. But you’d be surprised how often people hear the first part (gay) and not the second (celibate) — even though the second is the only part that’s up to me.

I wrote a whole article once about what it was like to be a celibate, gay Catholic, and what was the first response in the combox? “Repent!!”

Not that everyone who finds out that I’m gay is like that. Overwhelmingly, the people I’ve told — mainly family and close friends — respond with compassion and even admiration. Usually it’s something like “I’m honored that you trust me enough to tell me this.” But even the most understanding people don’t always understand what I mean, if only because (unlike me) they haven’t had the last 14 years to figure it out, and because “I’m gay” is not a simple sentence.

I’m not very sensitive about the word “gay”, but some of us in the Gay Catholic business prefer the phrase “same-sex attraction,” or SSA. I find it more accurate than “gay” or “queer” or any of the others, just because it suggests that homosexuality is something I have rather than something I am. That’s the way I think of it. So the idea of gay culture, gay rights, gay marriage, gay anything really, is foreign to me. You might as well talk about gluten-intolerance culture, or musician’s rights.

Which is not to say that I don’t strongly identify with those parts of myself that people often conflate with being “gay.” I’m musical, I’m verbal, I’m intuitive, I have a strong aesthetic sense. But men with SSA don’t have a monopoly on those things, and the fact that I have those characteristics doesn’t mean I belong to some special culture; it means I’m myself, and not anybody else.

I also don’t mean to trivialize the experience of having SSA. Sex isn’t everything, but as anyone with any kind of sexual dysfunction knows, it’s an awful lot. Put the sexual aspect together with the other things that homosexual men and women often experience — depression, low self-esteem, loneliness, a sense (however false) of being utterly different — and you have a heavy cross.

I’ve experienced healing in every area I mentioned above, but nobody’s healing is complete this side of heaven. Loneliness can be the worst part: not the absence of friends, I’ve got those, but the effort of forging out a way to live in a society that constantly tells us that romantic love is anyone’s only shot at real happiness, and that celibacy (not to mention virginity!) is some kind of psychological disease.

And there’s the question of friendship. I love men, and I always will. That’s not weird, that’s not strange, that’s not even gay. But it’s not as simple as “look, but don’t touch” — chastity is a question of the heart and soul and emotions, as well as the groin. What do you do if your best friend turns you on? How do you learn to love another man without making him into an idol?

These questions are still present to me, but none of them are show-stoppers anymore. You deal with them, you pray and seek advice, you offer up the incidental pangs, and you get on with your life. And none of the things I deal with are unique to gay men or women. Being straight isn’t a guarantee of having a healthy, shiny, pre-integrated sexuality; it just means the whole beautiful, messy concerto is in a different key. Nobody gets to sit this one out.

To quote the YouTube campaign — you know the one, full of compassion and good intentions and muddled thinking — it does get better. If anyone had told me ten years ago what my life would be like today, maybe just showed me a video of an ordinary Tuesday evening in the life of contemporary Steve, my eyes would’ve bugged out. I never had any idea things could be this good, that I could be so confident, that I would so often feel like smiling for no particular reason.

You will be wondering how I got from there to here. There’s no quick answer. It took lots of prayer and hard work, and the love and patience of brothers, sisters, mentors, and friends. If you are looking for a good place to start — for yourself or someone you know, or just because you want to understand the whole thing better — I recommend browsing around People Can Change and Courage. I recommend picking up a copy of Fr. Harvey’s The Homosexual Person and Alan Medinger’s Growth Into Manhood. You might also try Melinda Selmys’ Sexual Authenticity and Wesley Hill’s Washed and Waiting. And of course there’s my blog.

And maybe the most important thing: you can do this, but not alone — and the Church may be your greatest ally. Maybe you don’t understand yet why the she teaches what she does; but don’t quit listening. Maybe you don’t feel Jesus’ love in the Mass; so then go more often, not less. Maybe you ran into a priest who didn’t understand; so find one who does.

Most of all, don’t accept any easy answers, from the right or from the left. The quick way is rarely the right one, and the long way around is well worth the trip.

Joseph Prever


Joseph Prever graduated from the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts with a bachelor's degree in English and a penchant for romantic existentialism. He now lives in Massachusetts, where he works as a web developer and freelance writer. He blogs at, under the semi-pseudonym of Steve Gershom, about issues of faith, sexuality, and mental health. Michael Chabon is his favorite living author, and Dostoevsky is his favorite dead one.

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  • Cmorzen

    Very Well put Steve. God Bless!!

  • Peter Nyikos

    This is a very well written article.  Why did it have to be introduced at the top of the Catholic Exchange home page (where nobody can overlook it) by a picture of what is presumably a homosexual, leaning forward with a look on his face that conveys nothing worth thinking about?  The whole new tabloid-style format of the CE home page is off-putting, and if CE does not move towards the style it used to have, I will stop using it as my own personal home page.

  • Steve Gershom

    Ew, a picture of a homosexual! Get it off, get it off!

  • Tommy

    Well done, Brother Steve.  I’ll be sharing your heartfelt article with many others.  May the Lord continue to bless you and keep you pure in mind, body and spirit–and me too.

  • Anonymous

    Although I can feel a bit of sympathy for this young man, I still believe he has “chosen” to be what he calls SSA. As Jesus said,”…so a man thinketh, therefore he is…” My question is why this young man would choose to have a SSA ? Being celibate also means being “celibate” in mind as well as body.So even claiming to be a part of a group which alienates itself from Mother Church is an oxymoron. Some would argue that sexual preference is something that one is “born” with. I disagree. The word”preference” implies “choice”. I do believe psychological factors have a lot to do with this matter…but physiological, I think not !

    The author still chooses to represent himself to the world as “gay” yet says he doesn’t act upon his urges. That implies he is NOT celibate in his mind ! It is commendible that the author recognizes the need for more prayer and going to Mass. Homosexuality is a sin, no doubt… but God always loves the sinner, not the sin !

  • MrsK

    God bless you Steve.  I totally agree with you neither the “left” nor the ‘right” have all the answers.  I’m sorry some readers persist in the notion that you have chosen this.  There are so many possible external causes that attack a person’s very core being– whether it’s SSA, Depression, Alcholism . . .  Sure, there’s hope, but depending on what caused it and how ingrained it is– that battle can last a lifetime.  God bless you for speaking out.

  • Tommy

    I’m pretty sure that Jesus never uttered any words that ended in -eth!  Perhaps you need to update your Bible and incorporate some new and compassionate ways of thinking. 

    I think the jury is still out as to whether people “choose” be SSA or OSA.  We may never be sure.  Did/do you choose to be attracted to people of the opposite sex? 
    You said:  “The author still chooses to represent himself to the world as “gay” yet says he doesn’t act upon his urges. That implies he is NOT celibate in his mind!”

    Lastly, who is to say (or judge) that Steve and others who have a SSA are not pure in mind?  Are you just assuming that is the case for him?  I assume you represent yourself to the world as a heterosexual.  Does this imply that you are not celibate in mind?
    Time to check out the Catechism, paragraphs 2358 and 2359.  And put a little love in your heart.

  • Innkeeper

    As my confessor teaches, as our priest teaches in CCD & what the Church holds to be the norm…to have a thought flash into your head doesn’t make it a sin. To dwell on it is. You don’t live in Steve’s head. His mental celibacy is a matter between him & his priest. He’s aware of his failings, his foibles & his SSA…to be aware of something doesn’t mean you necessarily choose to act on it. 

    Lack of compassion is a sin too…..

  • Anonymous

    Steve… IF your article is to be taken seriously… don’t be so childish about a very “grave” matter, the mortal sin of homosexuality ! Obviously Mr. Nyikos is offended. And he has that “right” to object just as you have the “right” to speak of your experiences of dealing with this matter.

  • Bernie

    I’m sure he doesn’t want your sympathy, nor does he need it.  We do not choose to have SSA, just as you do not choose not to have it.  Having SSA is NOT a sin.  Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church,  this will enlighten you.

  • Japaul_00

    Glad you are following the Church, it not easy on any side of the coin.

  • Becky

    Thank you Steve.  Blessings to you as you follow the path and accept the struggles.  We all face struggles – they’re just different.  You are doing what God asks of all of us – to live chastely.  That be outside of Holy Matrimony for those who cannot wed according to His laws, or in marriage for those who may wed.   We all need His Grace.

  • JackP

    I too am celibate and gay, and have been that way for almost 20 years. BUT I NEVER CHOSE IT.  Who in their right mind would ever choose to be gay? Most gay people I know say that, if there was a choice, they would NEVER choose this type of life. It’s like choosing cancer.

     But please pray for us. Being homosexual is not a sin; acting on those urges is. I believe and follow the Catholic faith. Jesus came to save sinners. Where would Christ be if he were here today: with sinners.

  • Innkeeper

    You are offended by a man carrying a cross…in a trenchcoat…in the rain. O. M. G. Get a grip man. 

  • Innkeeper

    Technically ‘homosexuality’ is NOT a sin. Adultery is. Fornication is. A man–any man, who does not act on his sexual attraction, whether he be attracted to male or female—-HAS NOT SINNED! (duh)

  • DanO

    Again… ‘homosexuality’ is not a sin – “homosexual acts” are sins.  Watch the semantics!   And Steve… catching you on Catholic Exchange is great!  I’ve been following your blog for some time, and you do a great job putting my feelings into words.  Keep it up!  and Thanks!!

  • Anonymous

     Well, I don’t choose to grapple with pride, but every time I turn around I find I’m never quite “over” my prideful inclinations.
    We are all born with original sin which is manifested in temptation. Temptation is NOT a sin, but is something we must all guard against. A man or woman who is tempted by sexual sin is not guilty of sin until he/she seeks the temptation out (or purposely doesn’t avoid it) or acts upon the temptation.
    Lastly, Steve prefers to call it Same Sex Attraction, but for the sake of the reader doesn’t hyperventilate over being called gay. If you read his blog, it’s pretty clear.

  • Actually, the image has been changed. You missed the original image to which Steve was referring. 

  • Catholicwifeandmom

    God bless you Steve!  I wish those who are herterosexual and single would understand chastity too.

  • Catholicwifeandmom

     God bless you too!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for your courage and your witness.


  • Why do I know you are homosexual? I had no need of this information. Nobody needs this information other than those who will be personally impacted by it.

    All practicing Catholics fight a daily battle to remain or become chaste. Does it matter whether the battle is heterosexual or homosexual? There are many heterosexual people who wish they could be married, but are not, and perhaps never will be. They live lonely lives they would not have chosen, but it is their lot, and it is the means to their salvation.

    Sexual trials, like every other trial, can bring us closer to God if we accept them and act toward them as faithful Christians.

  • very well explained and i have people dear to me just like that…and i try to explain it to others but they don’t get it…….whether your’re ‘gay’ or ‘straight’ we all sin and commit unholy acts with others outside the commandments….it is our nature…some of us ‘choose’ to stay relatively free from sin…I applaud all sinners who try to come to repentence…”he who is without sin, cast the frist stone…Jesus

  • MrsK

    LOL On my FB share the icon is strawberry-topped pancakes.  Oh well.  Shouldn’t take that stuff too seriously.  I’m sure CE is doing its best

  • Mparks12

    Another resource:  Gerard van den Aardweg

  • M23kster

    Have you never been tempted?!  Temptation IS NOT sin.  Jesus, the God-Man, allowed Himself to be tempted.  People do not choose their temptations.  The saints have all agreed that one can be sorely and severely tempted without committing sin..  All evidence points to homosexual inclinations being rooted in events and experiences for which a person cannot be responsible.  Read the Catechism of the Catholic Church and what it has to say on the matter of homosexuality.

    Steve, bravo!  May God continue to bless you.

  • Peace551

    Who the heck would choose to be tall, blonde and beautiful??!!! You’d have to be crazy!  And I was – and could go any way I wanted.  The pressure was terrible and still is for that almighty sex act – and it nearly killed me and has left me pretty well damaged in this life – when all I really wanted was friendship and basic caring!  Very easy for someone like me to fall headlong into that morass.  If you simply supplanted me for Steve in the above article – exactly the same!  I finally discovered peace, quiet and sometimes great joy in my loneliness – especially if you really believe in the true presence of God.  I hope we all get through it!  Good luck Steve.

  • L_keebler

    May I suggest also (in Love and great compassion) that in your journey you strive to worship God alone. I know this sounds simplistic, maybe even to the point of my not being so compassionate, but it is compassionate and in fact it is the full compassion and instruction of Christ. God tells us to have no other “gods” before him and that includes ourselves which, sadly, (and in not so subtle ways) the world tells us that we are to worship ourselves. But also not to “worship” others and this I think is even harder as we learn from a very early age to (in a form) “worship” our parents and those around us. But as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13: 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” 

    When we become physically mature to the point of puberty (and may I say even before puberty), it is easy to attach our sexuality (because we are still so young and very close to childhood) to ourselves and to others in our immaturity. But Christ tells us what to do, to “worship” God alone. To turn our hearts (and eyes) and most especially our minds to God in our thoughts and actions (and then so also, we are able to turn our Holy and Pure Love towards our brothers and sisters – and our spouse if God Wills us to the married life) but to especially not worship anything else but God alone. It is easy to “worship” other people if we are not totally “attracted” to God alone. Our attraction to God, our “worship” and “adoration” of Him ONLY, will set our hearts and minds on the narrow Way to freedom in Christ… something the world can never give us or does it even know what it is as the world is hostility to God. When we worship God alone our minds and hearts, our very beings (and so ALL of our “attractions”) are set in order because Jesus and the Father will come to dwell in our very being: John 14:23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. (and there are so many other scriptures about this, too many to list here). 


  • Anonymous

    In deference of this subject… I was merely pointing out that if one chooses to align themselves publically with being homosexual, that is still choosing. ALL sins do not need a fan club. Those with a propensity to a certain sin should examine their heart as to why they feel the need to have a public confession. Yeah… I know the rhetoric…”I want to keep “YOU” in the closet”. Ever hear of the “prayer closet” ? Your sin is between you and God… why do insist on “telling” everyone about those things which should be between you and your spiritual advisor ? I do have compassion for people who have “problems”, even those self-imposed. Sympathy btw is not a bad emotional reaction to a person’s situation…

    Bernie…you cite reading of the CCC. I do. Where in that book does it say that ANY Catholic should accept homosexuality ? I do not throw stones(I am not without sin but choose to not disclose them except to my confessor) at those(homosexuals) who claim that “God ” made them that way. Are you saying that God made a “mistake” and went against His own word when creating men and women to be “fruitful and multiply”?

    This subject has its limitations as God does love ALL sinners but ABHORS the sin.

  • Joe

    Thanks, and God Bless you. 

  • Innkeeper

    I’m quite sure that Steve could ‘be fruitful & multiply’ if he so chooses. He has, however, chosen to live a celibate life.(as all single Catholics are required to do) You seem to deny the fact that ‘homosexuality or SSA’ in  & of itself is not a sin. He’s not claimed that he either chose that lifestyle, was afflicted with that lifestyle or was born with that handicap. You wouldn’t call a child with Down’s Syndrome a mistake of God’s creation–why call Steve one. FActually–the jury is out on what creates a SSA. Does God allow it to happen in His infinite wisdom? Seems so.

  • Innkeeper: I am afraid you are incorrect, just as adultery and fornication are a sin, so is homosexuality and so are many many other sins.  To “know” (which the Church helps us to “know” through Christ) these are sins is the key to our conscience (a RIGHT conscience) and so we then are held accountable if we knowingly “act” as you say on that sin then we are guilty of committing sin and are in need of confession (repentance and forgiveness). Whether we act or do not act does not “make” a “sin” a sin, but it is THE sin by its very nature of being a sin that makes it sin.

    By the way, what is in our minds does matter as Christ referred to many times and also Paul says “by the renewing of your mind…” Yes, our thinking DOES matter. Romans 12:1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.


  • Sarah

    “Sexual trials, like every other trial, can bring us closer to God if we accept them and act toward them as faithful Christians.”
    I think that was exactly Steve’s point.  Praise God he has the courage to actually talk about his struggles and to give glory to God for any ability to overcome them.  

  • Veronica

    I for one am glad you write about having ssa and choosing to remain chaste. I do not struggle with ssa but with other oppressive temptations. Your self-disclosure is tremendously helpful to me in my own struggles against temptation and sin. The dynamic is exactly the same. The burden has been heavy, and your hard-won insights have been one way that Christ lifts that burden from me. So why do we need to know that you “are gay”? Well, good grief…why would we need to know that Saint Augustine was a fornicator and heretic? Why do we need to know that the woman Christ refused to stone was an adulteress? Because their witness would be completely useless if we didn’t have the background info, that’s why! Saints didn’t just suddenly get holy for no apparent reason. They had to fight for it, and so do we. Thank you, thank you, for your courage in sharing the whole story with us.

  • Leila

    Um, temptations (disordered desires) are not sins. Read the Catechism.

  • It is not that none of us sins but that we KNOW what IS the sin and RECOGNIZE it as sin, then we have a RIGHT conscience to know to avoid (the) sin and to repent of (the) sin. It is not simply “our nature” because we put off the old nature and are “new creatures in Christ”(2Cor 5:17)… so then (any) sin becomes AGAINST our nature; if we are truly His new creature filled with the Holy Spirit. Yes our flesh is weak but Christ in us (the Holy Spirit) is repulsed and repels against any sin. And so too we know “the renewing of our mind…”

    Ephesians 4:20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

  • (from the Catechism of the Catholic Church)


    Sin is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience; it is
    failure in genuine love for God and neighbor caused by a perverse
    attachment to certain goods. It wounds the nature of man and injures
    human solidarity. It has been defined as “an utterance, a deed, or a
    desire contrary to the eternal law.

  • Clarice

    Chastity is a lovely thing – loving the self and the other as commanded. Take it from someone who knows. I was the original Whore of Babylonia.  Self respect takes us far. Degradation does just that – degrades. Jesus gave as one of the greatest commands to, “Love…. your self.”  🙂  

  • Clarice

    Sorry Mrs, But alcoholism and depression have nothing to do with being gay in the sense of being same, attacks on core being, as you suggest here. Whatever gave you the idea I’d want to be like you ?  I don’t !! EVER !!  Your spouting utter tripe like this is what drives people in the LGBT community to disobey Christ. You would have others fail to love self. 

    THAT can then lead to alcoholism and depression and a host of other issues. 

  • Abby

    I’m so grateful to read Steve’s encouraging piece, which will be a great help to others who experience the same temptations–or other kinds of temptations. We need to know that being subject to a certain set of temptations is not a sickness unto death for the soul. Thanks, Steve, for speaking out. You’re the opposite of a scandal: instead of leading others into the sin of despair, you’re giving them reason to hope and to strive for virtue.

    Now, as for the “thank God I am not like him” people in this com box, I would like to extend my heart-felt invitation to them to go back into their closets.

  • Gtaliente

    There is a special place in Heaven for people like you and all other Gay men and women who CHOOSE to be chaste.  I cannot imagine the cross y’all bear.  I pray that God will give me the strength he has given y’all to bear my crosses.

  • MrsK

    Clarice–you’ve got issues.  I not “gay or any of that other stuff.  I am a faithful practicing Roman Catholic, married to the same wonderful man for 22 years, 4 boys who live chastely.  SSA is an illness of uncertain origins–check the Catechism and check your charity!!!!

  • MrsK

    PLEASE, PLEASE people!  Read the Catechism!!!!  Predisposition to homosexual tendencies is NOT a sin!!  It is ACTING upon them that is.  This man is being very brave to take a public stand against the Culture of Death, even as he shoulders this cross.  I can’t believe how some of you are responding.

  • Gtaliente

    You forgot to look at what the Church has to say about SSA.. With regard to homosexual inclinations, the Letter “Homosexualitatis problema” states that “Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder” (n. 3).

  • Madagascar

    I wish there were internet free of Americans. 

    You are such a love less society. And spread your poison everywhere. Any wonder you are the most loathed ‘nation’ on the planet. You wallow in mindless, gratuitous filth of every heterosex variation, and forever scapegoat the innocent, just as you did with your Jesus.

    Maybe if these ‘same sex attracted’ people were allowed to be loved by another human being, they’d learn to love themselves truly, and not need to call self loathing by any other name.

    Then, perhaps, there’d be no need or place for all this abject hatred that would imagine itself to fool anyone with a brain that it is anything but that. Hate, telling others how to hate.   Physician heal thyself.    

    Grow up people.  Such a dishonest masquerade by one and all here it seems. 

  • Deacon Alan

    As a celibate, straight man studying for the priesthood, I can actually relate to a lot of what you said in your article, I truly appreciate your words and the work you are doing to dispel the illusion that the only path to happiness is through romantic love. I pray for your perseverance and thank you for your courage. You sound like a very well integrated person. Our culture, both within the Church and in society at large, would benefit so much from a greater understanding and appreciation of the joys of chaste living, of the closeness and unity it fosters with our Savior and with each other.

  • MrsK: I am responding to Innkeeper who says: “Technically ‘homosexuality’ is NOT a sin. Adultery is. Fornication is.”

    So as I read your post here beneath my comment I see that you agree with me when I say homosexuality IS a sin because you say “ACTING upon them”… (is a sin).  What I don’t quite know is what you mean when you say here in your comment “I can’t believe how some of you are responding”… could you please explain? Thank you!

  • Bernie

    Please do not include all Americans in your hateful message.  The USA is the most generous country on the face of the earth. 

  • Bernie

    You seem to be missing the point.  Should we stone all who suffer from SSA?   It is my cross, I did not choose it and I don’t want it.  But I have it and I do the best I can with the help of our Lord and his saints and His Holy Church.

  •  Okay, here is the Catechism too – I don’t think I said anything contrary to it…: “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” (CCC
    2357– 2359).

  • Veronica

    Oh bull roar. You’re a fine one to accuse others while your own hatred for us burns. Keep YOUR poison to yourself then. For our part, we will continue to support each other in our common human struggle to fully say YES! to “our” Jesus…to choose to love others and ourselves, to be chaste, to reject “mindless, gratuitous filth,” to embrace Christian teachings, to refuse to hate! We even choose to pray for you and to hope for your ultimate happiness (and we hope for ours, as well) in heaven with God forever–because Jesus teaches us to love those who hate us. And we do. I want to go to heaven so I can love forever; and I want to meet you there face to face as we worship our Holy God. I am going to beg God to teach both you and me about love, because I will rejoice to discover we both made it to heaven; but neither one of us will miss the other if either one of us goes to hell, where hatred truly burns forever.

  • MrsK

    OK–I think we just have some miscommunication.  Homosexuality is not a sin.  Homosexual behavior is. When Innkeeper says ‘homosexuality’ I do not take it that he (or she) is implying acting upon it.

  • Bth

    I am not gay but I have always had a strong sex desire in a single life. I like you have come to terms with it. Not withou struggle, but sex isn’t everything and I can offer up my weakness as suffering to Jesus.  I have been chaste for ten years with God’s help. Unchaste desire is never an easy burden to carry.  God Bless 

  • Martha

    I am single and heterosexual and I understand very well how hard it is to be chaste, especially when one is young. Due to different circumstances, I never met the right man to marry though I would love to have been married. I prayed for it but it never happened so I had to struggle with trying to keep chaste just like Steve is doing. It is not easy but I appreciate reading about a person who has this cross whether gay or straight. Not everybody’s life turns out the traditional way like most people so we do not all fit in a one sized package. I became Catholic years ago and found more compassion there, especially in reading the lives of the saints and how they coped with crosses in life. I appreciate reading Steve’s article and I thank him.

  • Bernie

    God bless you Jack,  what you have said is so true.  I am 73 years old and I have had SSA for as long as I can remember.  It is the last thing I would choose.  I would be completely lost if it weren’t for Christs’ church and our hope of salvation, which the church teaches.

  • Bernie

    Amen MrsK

  • Sagwaaus

    Praise God. But what does he think of making same sex marriage legal? Would he get married then and not be Chaste? And I have always wondered does the gay community have a different set of 10 Commandments?

  • Joypace

    God bless you – you are a light and are leading others to a good life.  Continue on, in love and charity, to help others! May God’s face shine upon you! You aer doing a lovely job for Christ! Many blessings.

  • L_keebler

    Just so there is no miscommunication, what I think you are saying is then, that BEING a homosexual is not a sin… but homosexuality IS a sin and it is so by the very nature of (the) sin. That is why the CC says: “are called to chastity” and “resolutely approach Christian perfection”: “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” (CCC
    2357– 2359).

  • MsMesuggah

    Bernie…with all due respect, I have never thrown a stone or urged others to do so regarding homosexuals. You ask me to understand something the RCC even considers “objectively disordered”, CCC 2358. I do have compassion for those who cannot partake in the Sacrament of Marriage and how does one address the issue of homosexuality with sensitivity ?  I would surmise the answer would be “live and let live”. But abdication of a moral responsibility and looking the other way is just as sinful. My response to Steve’s blog was based on ignorance regarding the origin of SSA.But in Truth I ask forgiveness of what may have been construed by a jury of my peers(humans) as being hate motivated. It was not my intention. I am sensitive as I have issues myself which are delicate in nature. 

    The reason for this response is that I have reasoned myself into a proverbial corner so to speak. I will always try to love ALL people regardless of their inherent/learned differences but still find it somewhat confusing regarding SSA(thought process) vs. committing homosexual acts. I am in NO way wanting to be the “thought” police I know that Steve tried to explain something regarding this matter but as they say..”it is above my head and below my knees”. I reason that I am not meant to know, but I am bound to uphold the CCC. I am faithful to the Magisterium which also cites in CCC2358 that I must accept this issue with respect,compassion and sensitivity. I pray that God gives me the wisdom to keep silent when I do not fully comprehend but when I do, to ALWAYS speak with respect, compassion and sensitivity.


  • MsMesuggah


    .with all due respect, I have never thrown a stone or urged others to do so regarding homosexuals. You ask me to understand something the RCC even considers “objectively disordered”, CCC 2358. I do have compassion for those who cannot partake in the Sacrament of Marriage and how does one address the issue of homosexuality with sensitivity ?  I would surmise the answer would be “live and let live”. But abdication of a moral responsibility and looking the other way is just as sinful. My response to Steve’s blog was based on ignorance regarding the origin of SSA.But in Truth I ask forgiveness of what may have been construed by a jury of my peers(humans) as being hate motivated. It was not my intention. I am sensitive as I have issues myself which are delicate in nature. The reason for this response is that I have reasoned myself into a proverbial corner so to speak. I will always try to love ALL people regardless of their inherent/learned differences but still find it somewhat confusing regarding SSA(thought process) vs. committing homosexual acts. I am in NO way wanting to be the “thought” police I know that Steve tried to explain something regarding this matter but as they say..”it is above my head and below my knees”. I reason that I am not meant to know, but I am bound to uphold the CCC. I am faithful to the Magisterium which also cites in CCC2358 that I must accept this issue with respect,compassion and sensitivity. I pray that God gives me the wisdom to keep silent when I do not fully comprehend but when I do, to ALWAYS speak with respect, compassion and sensitivity.Sincerely,Michelle 

  • Nicholasdec6

    Why use “gay” term? That is a political one. Besides, why define your whole being by your sexual attractions? That is so secular!

  • Nicholasdec6

    Ever read the works of Dr. Richard FitzGibbons and Leanne Payne on same-sex attraction?

  • Dr, Jim K

    Do You know that there is a subject in neuro science  that during embryo and fetal development called  “SEXUAL DIMORPHISM” ? It means that during in-utero development that there is an area in the brain that is detectable that signifies that the resultant indivlidual will have the body of one sex and the mental and emotioan desires of the opposite sex.I am an older retired doctor and just recently learned this while I was studying neuroscience to update myself since it was htought that my wife had a stroke and a personality change. The title above was one of the presentations in about a 1/2 hour lecture. My youngest brother acted effeminate, since I could remember. He grew up, got a couple masters degress and worked in sociology. He ws killed via a suicidal gunshot. He worked with me for awhile, until I moved back home. I often wonder, if knowing what I know now if ther was anything different tha I could have done. I often think of the terrible stersses in society and with himself that he had to live with. I am straight & lived celibate until I married. I think of the stigma for the persons of both sexes with this innate situation. I always respected the persons so designated & since I loved my brother and respected my patients, straight or otherwise,- by otherwise I mean feeling differently and struggling with these opposite characteristics & emotions for a lifetime. I was am am stlil compassionate about things. I don’t know how to say  more, but wonder why this isn’t better known so help to cope with this is  directed properly, to make someone bearing this truama know that this is an inborn feeling better treatment to be  oneself would be available
    I wish that  I  could do more.

  • Laurie

    We live in a fallen world. We battle every kind of sin. This is our journey. We Christians must believe in the power of deliverance, the power of Christ’s redemption won for us through his death on the cross. We understand this intellectually perhaps, but do not recognize the real power. Seize the redeeming power of the Precious Blood or Our Lord who makes all things new. And may I recommend for everyone John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. If it is too hard to read, and for many it is, there are enough books out there explaining it. This teaching insight is the greatest legacy of Pope JPII. Praying for you Steve.

  • John

    Read the life of St Gemma Galgani, an inspiration to people with difficulties, isolation, all transformed. See the St GG website (Catholic mystics). 

  • Anonymous

    God bless you all…if I had SSA, I would hope to be as wise and I don’t want to say comfortable (because it’s never that, I don’t think)…but able to live chastely is a challenge for anyone these days and getting harder…

  •  Madagascar, surely you meant to post your message on the Hate America message board. It really does not make sense posting it here.

  • Jessica

    He’s actually written in great depth on his blog about how he doesn’t define himself by his sexuality. Having said that, by having the courage to share his struggles publicly he is helping those who also struggle with SSA to lead a chaste, God-centered life. He’s a modern day hero, to my mind.

  • Chie

    I have always had the exact same idea that gays and lesbians can be celibate and fulfilled but you provided the crystal clear words that speak not only to the intellect but more importantly, to the soul.  All of us are called by God to fulfill the role He prepared for us and its up to us to discern what that is to glorify God in our lives. God bless you and may your tribe increase!!

  • Lee

    There are many singles who understand chastity and are coming to a deeper understanding of this in our own lives.

  • Janet

    Praise God for the honesty and witness of this man and all celibate SSA men and women who speak the truth. My heart goes out to them because I am can only imagine how great is their suffering.  To be misunderstood by the majority takes you to the foot of the cross and this is a lonely place.  The ministry of Fr. Harvey and others like him is desparately needed. I continue to pray that God will raise up heroic men and women of SSA who can minister to teens who are flirting with a gay lifestyle.

     Based on my experience as a nurse who cared for aids patients and did research there are a variety of factors that can contribute to SSA including natrual born temperment combined with envirnomental factors such as serious parenting issues or having been molested at a young age, although this is not always the case.  Most who suffer from this disorder are victims not sinners.

    The more our society turns away from Christ, the more this disorder increases in the world. Bottom line in all the cases I have witnessed sin has played a role in causing the SSA but the person with SSA is not the sinner.

    Today the problem grows more serious as the culture of death is teaching young people that gay marriage is an alternate lifesstyle. SSA can be indoctrinated and teens who would not normally be SSA can fall into bondage of SSA through acting upon temptations or exposing themselves to occultism and poor choices.
    I know a young man who played a homosexual part in a very dark play at his highschool. The play had no redeeming value. He broke up with his girlfriend and now struggles with SSA.
    Research is still being done but there is alot we know about this disorder.
    I invite all those who feel like they know the root cause of their SSA to go back to any bad memories and invite Christ into the memory. Ask him what he thinks about the memory and ask him to heal it. If you can find a Catholic Church with an adoration chapel that would be the best place to do this. No better place than to be with Jesus the physcian.
    May God BLess all who suffer from SSA and may he convert the hearts of all those who lack Christian charity toward those who suffer this cross.

  • Guest

     just consenting one single thought of homosexual lust or approval thereof is a mortal sin and opens the door to SSA.  It creates some of the worst soul ties around, and is worse than any drug.  You could be 5 and make the mistake, and then the Enemy can lay claim to you.  Like any other problem, it can be the result of ancestral sin, among them obviously apostasy (they forgot about God so he forgot about them and let them fall prey to shameful vices, you know the lines).  some of the worst hells are for sodomites.  it is a singularly cruel predicament.  Read St. Peter Damian for some real on this ugly problem.  While it is possible to get out, few ever do… so get cracking.  Plus God can do anything.

  • Cochrane Jl3

    Wow. Thanks for sharing your story. God Bless you.

  • Peter Nyikos

     Steve, that comment from you is most unlike the thoughtful article you wrote.  You chose to focus on one phrase of what I wrote while ignoring the real point of my message. 

    I really like the picture that has replaced the original one. It really suits the content of your article, and if I had seen it, I would not even have posted to this page.  Instead I would have complained in the page with the article about the huckster, which still has a big garish picture attached to it, right on the front page, where no one can miss it. That picture  is the other main thing I had in mind when I complained about the “tabloid” look of the new CE home page.

    So, did you choose the new picture for your article?  or the old one? or both?

  • Navynurseprac

    God Bless You for the strength to write this article and for the tenacity to fight to live a pure life.  I am married but my husband has a chronic illness, so I also live a chaste life.  It is only through Mary that I can be faithful. Just know how much you are loved by God and by His Mother.  God Bless You.

  • Mike

    I find it hard to believe that God “forgets” the children and grandchildren of apostates.  Read Ezekial.  St. Pau;l in his letter to the Romans refers to the results of turning away from the truth (and free and chosen act) and worshiping the creature rather than the creator.  Consenting to ANY thought of sexual lust is mortal sin, when the consent is full and given with true freedom and full awareness of the gravity of consenting to the thought or desire in question. 

     What is the authority for claiming “some of the worst hells are for sodomites”?  There are four sins that cry out to God for vengeance:  Murdering the innocent; Opressing the poor; Depriving the laborer of his just wage; AND The Sin of Sodom.  This last was tradtionally seen as applying to ther gross misuses of the sexual function; contraception in marriage particularly.  And how do you know “few” ever get out of the homosexual life?  Are there stat’s based on surveys?  As you yourself write, “God can do anything”. 

  • Proudtobecatholic

    I LOVED your article! Thank you so much for writing it!
    God bless!

  • Martha

    I think you are being harsh. It takes greater virtue for a person who has a strong temptation but resists it than for a person who is older and has a lower drive and is not really tempted much. God never forgets anyone. It is we who may forget Him but He is always there to help us if we would just let Him. Harsh judgment can lead someone to despair and is not good to put anyone in that mode. We do not know for sure that for some people there can be a hormone problem or maybe the mother took hormones that could have influenced a person to be gay in some cases. It is the actions that determine things not just being something or being tempted to do something. I think lust is bad for anyone regardless of orientation. I also think it is very hard for people who married the wrong person and are living to regret it. I would rather be single any day than to be in a bad marriage. We need to help each other by showing compassion and understanding, however, not accepting sinful actions as OK. We must pray for each other and be the best friends we can possibly be.

  • Pingback: Homosexuality and Sin | Truth Crisis()

  • Hopeyg

    Thank you for sharing this

  • John

    Excellent post, Veronica!
    I always felt that one’s ‘gay’ perception was a ‘moot point’ if they remained celibate but your observations shed ligt on that view!

  • Catholicmama

    Steve, I read your beautiful article with tears in my eyes!  You are a blessing!  I am a mom of a son with SSA.  He just recently told us and it has been very hard to deal with, this is not something I grew up with accepting.  We have a wonderful parish priest who repeated many times that our son is “fearfully and wonderfully made”, and that he will always be welcome at church.  I hope that my son gets to the point in life that you are Steve as I know he has been struggling for years and was very afraid to tell us.  It is articles like yours that give me peace and hope and I pray it will do the same for my son!  God Bless You!

  • Drjillthorne

    I am a doctoral level psychologist & Catholic believer. I request a reference to the retired MD’s “sexual dimorphism” data. There is no firm data indicating a biological “root” to this tendency. Masculinity, femininity, & the direction of desire (homo, hetero, both) have been studied (hormones, hypothalamus, in utero gender development processes). We just don’t know. I personally feel some people have been born with an inclination, some have the struggle due to trauma, and some a mixture. Thankfully, God knows all of our hearts better than we know ourselves. And he calls us to obedience in all things and loves us.

  • Cinarc

    I find this article senseless. It is akin to me stating I am an adulteress wife who does not cheat on her husband. What does make sense is that we are all tempted to sin in a myriad of ways but one does not always act upon our desires. Its called Fallen human nature. Grace and the sacraments keep me from sinning. Praise God!

  • Kathleen Nurt

    I applaud your courage to continue to be faithful to the Church and your depth of understanding of why She teaches what She does.  I am a mother of a thriteen  year old and am finding that the gender roles are even more ambiguous than when I was growing up  back in the 70’s and 80’s.  It was definitely a factor.  As girls/women are encouraged to be more agressive it changes the roles of boys/men.  This may only be a part of the cultural explosion of outward homosexual interest.  I by no means am expert but trying to do as you suggest not settle for the qucik pat answersthat we hear so much of these days.  There is more to it.  God bless you on your journey and if we do not gain the company of one another in this life I look forward to it in the next.

  • Veronica

    A “moot point” is exactly right, and the perfect shorthand to express what took me a lot longer to say.

  • Indwardsmind10637

    If you believe you were born a homosexual, that God made you to be that way, how can you believe it’s a sin to act on the way He made you? Isn’t it more of a sin to deny a part of yourself that God specifically gave to you? I admire your faith and your ability to have the self control, but in my opinion your denying a part of yourself that God wouldn’t have given to you if He thought it disgusting, sinful, of un-Christian-like. 

  • Mandi Ward

    is more of a sin than acting on the way He made you. (Sorry that was incomplete, had to finish my thought in a reply) God bless you!

  • Dr, Jim K

    The sexual Dimorphism that is now noted by neuroscience data leaves open a lot of philosophical and ethical thought. I truly believe that  a person with these mixed feelings , so innate to them, to remain chaste as a heterosexual individual spite of prejudices through early life, but then the question arises as adulthood approaches-THEN WHAT ?
    I don’t have an answer for that and wish I did.
    Dr. Jim K

  • If God made you gay and wants you to only have marital sex then God is for gay marriage. If the Catholic church is against gay marriage then clearly the Catholic establishment doesn’t care about you like God does. Find someone to spend your life with, God wants you to be happy even if man-made dogma says it’s wrong.

  • Ever seen a couple with Opposite Sex Attraction that really are just perfect for each other? The Catholic church says you don’t deserve that. That’s a lie. What did you do wrong that says you should be miserable and lonely? It’s a free country, live your life, and don’t give a f*** what other people say. You’re not harming ANYONE, especially not yourself.

  • Love is never a sin.

  • Hey Ben,

    Your argument would make more sense if the Catholic Church taught that everyone in the world was called to marriage (or even that marriage is the most preferable vocation).  But the Church esteems consecrated celibacy.  Many people in the Church (not just people who are attracted to the same sex) choose to remain celibate (priests, nuns, consecrated virgins, etc).  So no, just because God does not want people to have extra-marital sex and also allowed someone to be gay does not necessitate that God is for same-sex marriage.

    But you’re right.  God does want “Steve” to be happy.  Amen to that!

  • Amen!  I think “Steve” would agree with you.

  • Brian Pasley

    Thank you.

  • Mike

    Yeah, like Madagascar is such a tolerant society and friendly to same sex attracted people.  I’m Canadian but am really offended by your generalizations about Americans; there’s 300,000,000 of them!  You really think they’re all identical?!!  I find Americans in general to be gracious and friendly people and I always enjoy my visits to their great country.  No human society is perfect but when it comes to choosing who you want as the world’s premier superpower and you consider the choices, who would you want? – Russia?  It has yet to ooficially face up to the murder of an estimated 20 or more million people by the old Soviet regime and is even now hardly a stirling example of a free and open society.  China perhaps?  Sure, at  least there not only does the State monitor all communication and repress human rights, the organs of executed criminals even get harvested (according to some disturbing reports) and are put to some good use.  That’s real progress!  Or how about some united Moslem power with Sharia “law”?  Then we can look forward to theives having their hands amputated and homosexuals being executed.  Hmmm, I think I’ll vote for the US

  • Christopher

    I’m Catholic and Gay, and totally not celibate. He made me this way, and he’s the only one I have to answer to in the end. That’s all that matters.

  • Tara

    Thank you for posting such a real and raw article.  Your words struck me like lightening. I can honestly say its given me the strength I needed to face another day.  

  • Guest

    Madagascar, I’d just like to remind you that being American does not make you Catholic. Catholicism began in Israel and spread to Rome, from which it spread even farther – even to Africa. America is actually one of the last places the Church spread to. To say “your Jesus” and imply he is American is just strange. Perhaps you have valid concerns about Americans (I don’t know if you do, your above message doesn’t seem like it), but even so, they don’t really seem to apply to a Catholic issue.  

  • Bernie

    If one truly beleives in Jesus Christ and His teachings, then he must follow the teachings of the church that Jesus founded.  We should be more concerned with eternity then our miniscule time spent here on earth.

  • Bernie

    Thank you Mike,  for this great post.  You also live in a Great Free country.

  • MrsK

    God didn’t make him gay.  God made him human.  It is original sin that gives us our different crosses, such as ssa.

  • Fr. John


    Great article! This will give a lot of hope to others with SSA.

    Keep it up and you can count on my prayers.

    Fr. John 

  • Mvanleir

    If being a homosexual is a choice…then be a heterosexual must be a choice as well, right?

  • Good luck to you steve. Hope you continually find peace in Jesus and in the way you are wonderfully made.

  • BarbaraKent

    I can’t figure out how this same logic of “God made you that way so it must be ok” can’t be applied to everything from crippling diseases to psychosis.   Which is NOT to say that being same-sex attracted is like a disease or mental disorder.   But to act as if brown hair, spina bifida, juvenile diabetes, musical talents, Huntington’s disease, and ANY and ALL sexual desires are all the same, equal, given as “gifts” by God and can be acted upon in whatever manner we choose, all simply because we are born with them is just… so bizarre to me.  It’s illogical and strange when people using religious language, of all things, say it.

  • BarbaraKent

    You cannot be 5 and consent to lustful thinking.  Consent implies moral reasoning and this is virtually impossible for a 5 year old, especailly with regard to sexual thoughts.

    Martha below says you are being harsh.  “Harsh” doesn’t even begin to cover what you are.  “Crazed” might.

  • BarbaraKent

    Well, I agree with you on one part:  Lots of gay-haters are also porn addicts.  

  • Ahawkins77

    If you truly belive that this is a free country then allow those of us who choose to follow the teachings of the Church the freedom to do so. And just to let you know my husband and I are perfect for each other. Don’t misunderstand, niether one of us is perfect, but we are the perfect spouse for each other. There is ALWAYS an authority we must follow in this life. You are free to choose Gods’ Authority or your own.
     BTW- “free will” means the freedom to do what you ought NOT to do what you want.

  • Debrr

    Clarice, I feel that you might have misunderstandings of alcoholism and depression.  People don’t ask for those any more than someone with SSA asks for being how they are.  There are studies that conclude that people may be predisposed to alcoholism and depression.  In other words they are made to more lilely to suffer from these than other people who are not born with the predisposition.  There are people with what some people identify as “addictive personalities”.  These people would have a much harder time fighting an addiction, to anything, than people who do not have that kind of personality.  SSA is not a disease state any more than being predisposed to being an alcolholic or suffering from depression because it runs in your family.  We know much about the human body, but we also have a lot more to learn!

  • Bernie

    Whoever said it was?

  • Ahawkins77

    depends on what your definition of love is. Is it love when the 30 year old teacher “loves” the 12 year student? is it love when the stalker “loves” the celebrity. Is it love when the married man “loves” his co-worker. Do you see no sin here? What’s your definition of love Ben? Just curious.

  • JMJ


    How can you say you are Catholic? Maybe you meant “catholic”… If you were truly Catholic, you would be practicing your faith as Christ’s Church teaches us, not how you teach yourself. Your name means “bearer of Christ”, not bearer of Christopher.

    However God made you, He made you for more than what you are. I pray that you discover what that is. Steve certainly spelled it out for you.

    And, yes, He is the one you will have to answer to in the end. At least you have that part right.


  • CV

    I think Steve shared his experience to dispel the notion that sex is the only path to happiness for someone who is gay. The Catholic Church isn’t depriving him of anything when it urges him to embrace chastity according to his state in life. Afterall, the best life one can live is a life conformed to God’s will.

  • James H

    MsMessuggah, You’re not helping here.

    Please, the guy can’t help having disordered desires. No-one is asking you to approve of what he thinks or feels. He himself admits they are disordered, and refuses to give in to them. That’s frankly heroic.

    Sin consists in doing wrong, not being oppressed by a wrong inclination.

  • ChrysF InNaplesFL

    We are all called to chastity, whether we single or married;  the call to celibacy can be very difficult for many to bear, while for some of us the burden is light.  I am a straight female who married very late in life and lost my husband before I was forty.  Fortunately, we were blessed with children who sustained me with their love (agape) and we lived in strong communities of family and faith.  In the quiet loneliness of the long nights, the love of God (eros) sufficed.

    May the good Lord always hold you in the palm of his hand, comfort you, and console you.  This is one of the very best essays I have read, and it will be very helpful to many people who lack humility and charity.

  • Averi

    You go, girl! So right. And my heart-felt thanks and congratulations to Steve; I struggled with SSA for some time, and know the fight it is to stay pure. God bless you!

  • Mairi Dorham

    I’m sorry, you are wrong. It is most definitely not a sin to be predisposed to homosexuality. I agree wholeheartedly with MrsK. Look up CCC Pt 2, Sect. 2, Chapt 2, Paragraph #s 2357-2359.

  • edmund burke

    god made me an alaholic does this mean i stay blitzed 24-7?

  • edmund burke

    I find this debate intresting, when so many so called catholic women use birth control! God bless you steve and all the other SSA people out there, you’ve given mde something to think about!

  • Tin

    You are so cool! The Church definetely needs more people like you! And more than that, the Church needs a gay saint who beats all odds which I now believe being closer to a reality because of courageous people such as yourself 🙂 And anyways, why do people think having a partner is going to give them all the joy in the world. Celibate people are just as happy. And there are no marriages in heaven so celibacy is in a way foreshadowing heaven.

  • New to the Catholic faith after many years of studying and learning what was truth to my heart.  This process included the series by Father Corapi on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  In one of his many DVD studies that I watched he said something to the effect that the gay community has there thoughts and actions misplaced, being gay is God’s calling to lead a celibate life.  That hit me as pure truth.  Thank you Steve for living God’s calling.

  •  Pardon me, but why would God make some people homosexual, yet demand they remain celibate?  Not only that, but masturbation for anyone is still considered a mortal sin, right?  So – single people and homosexuals aren’t allowed any sexual release?  God gave men (women also) the ability to masturbate during sleep (in men, it’s nocturnal emissions, I’m aware of that) so God does give a release.  You’re not going to tell me THAT’S a sin too, are you?  God put it there!  What’s so great about celibacy anyway?  I’m not pro-promiscuity, that would be the other extreme, but why has the church always given sex outside of marriage such a bad rap?  It just doesn’t make sense!

  •  I’ve got a better idea – St. Paul, who said more than Jesus ever had to say, made it plain in his teachings that sex is “tolerated” in marriage, but if a person really wanted to be a “better” person, he/she would remain virginal.  So, okay – let’s all give up sex and let the entire human race die out!  Then the problem of the dirty “wild thang” would be resolved once and for all.

    Wow, am I glad I’m not Catholic. 

  •  Who says we’re all called to chastity?  And if we are, why??

  •  Your honesty is courageous and refreshing.  Unless sex IS dirty, like religions make it sound to be, I doubt God will doom you to Hades for using your sex drive which He bestowed upon you in the first place. Yes, I think God made some people homosexual and heteros should just get over it and ERASE THE HATE.  God bless you.  If you’re a kind, unselfish person, I’m sure God is more concerned with that than with whom you sleep. 

  •  I bet you’re the kind of “religious person” who derives great pleasure at the thought of another suffering in hellfire for all eternity.  Sicko.

  •  You make a lot of sense and you sound like a truly kind person.  We have to bear in mind that God is not religion.

  •  You’d better hope you never have a gay child or grandchild.  I don’t but if I did, I would not condemn it in my heart.  You’re cold.

  •  Get real – too bad so many CLERGY do NOT remain celibate.   Look at what they’ve done to innocent children!

  •  Nice to hear an intelligent and compassionate view, and I totally agree with you.  God doesn’t make mistakes, and homosexuals are NOT mistakes!  The worst sin would be in lying about what one really is.  In the past, gays were forced to lie due to threats of violence or even death.  Being homosexual is not sinful; it’s only a fact of life.  And the RCC seems to be a gay’s biggest enemy!

  •  The RCC makes a big thing out of it for the usual reason – it’s SEXUAL.

  •  Why do you give glory to Mary?  She has no power; only God/Jesus does.  ONE Mediator, remember?

  •  That’s pure conjecture!

  •  Are you one of those “devout” Catholics who feel that if a gay person commits suicide, they almost deserve to feel that low?  Because if you are, you’re far worse than any gay person could EVER be. 

    I’m allowed to state my opinion, so if you don’t like what I say, examine your conscience first and read over how you might sound to others.

  •  No, nobody has a “second set of 10 commandments” – you just keep making up the rules for them.

  • Dr Lawson Phd

    Both you and Mrs K  need an education and fast… Depression and addiction are  treatable illnesses PERIOD. They can be INDUCED. PERIOD. SSA is not an illness, and can not be treated. It is something that a person is born with. Mrs K’s denial of facts and of biblical doctrine and Christ’s teachings (Love one another as you would love yourself) will not change that. Predispositions mean nothing. Native Americans  were predisposed to the common illnesses we know that are caused by viruses, And they still are. That makes your arguement moot. The fact that depression has familial links does not disprove environmental causes rather than genetic. Again, this disproves another of your arguements. People that are predisposed to addictions suffer from personality disorders and environmental issues, Again removing validity from that arguement. It has been proven time and again that if someone is raised away from  the issues you point out they do not fall into the risks you list. You cite truisms not facts. And they have nothing to do with the facts at hand. Just as Clarice stated.

  • PastorJohn

    You are a Hypocrite. You proclaim Gods works  yet you deny them in this instance.
    May the Lord have mercy upon your soul…

  • PastorJohn

    Consecated Virgins? they must have forgot to teach that when I was ordained, Sadly Mary Lane, you are  quite misguided in this opinion, there is no such thing as “consecrated celibacy”, an act of lifestyle can not be blessed through consecration. This is why Priests are ORDAINED.

  • PastorJohn

    Jesus Christ did not found the Church, his diciples did… This is why Catholicism has gone astray.

  • PastorJohn

    We are all taught that sex is disgusting, until it is “right”… this is no different.   When the right person  comes along and God  shines his light upon that person for only Steve to see, then the stigma of sin will be lifted, and devine will shall shine through.

  • PastorJohn

    We are all taught that sex is disgusting, until it is “right”… this is no different.   When the right person  comes along and God  shines his light upon that person for only Steve to see, then the stigma of sin will be lifted, and devine will shall shine through.

  • PastorJohn

    You were NOT born an alcoholic, you did that to yourself.

  • PastorJohn

    YOU need to start reading the bible,  within it, it is  written NEVER test god’s will…  In your zeal you have  shown yourself to be but a zelot…

  • John

     It’s pretty scientifically proven that many people are born with a gene that predisposes them to alcoholism.  Of course they can choose to drink or not drink, but who are you to judge a cross God gives someone?

  •  Saints Agnes and Lucy will sure be surprised!

  •  The sinful actions of individual men do not diminish the perfect TEACHINGS of the Church Herself.  If these men had been faithful to the Church and to the vows they took when they were ordained then their vocations would have been highly esteemed. 

  • Catherine A.

    Dr. Lawson, I’m surprised at you. It has NOT been proven that people are born gay. There is no “gay gene.” There are many possible explanations for why most gay people feel and believe that they were always gay and had no choice in the matter. But we get nowhere when we insist that something is a scientific fact in the absence any proof that is so. As you should know, proof and evidence are not the same thing.

    I’ve heard too many gay people say they did not choose to be gay not to believe them. But it is still possible that something occurred as part of their developmental process in infancy or early childhood that caused this result. That doesn’t make it their choice, and it doesn’t necessarily mean their parenting was to blame. The only thing we know for sure is that the science is still unsettled.

  • JMJ


    I can’t believe you found out my ulterior motive. Why would I ever derive pleasure from seeing someone suffer? Seriously? The truth hurts sometimes. Nobody is hating here. Just trying to be real to how God created things. I don’t know where you get the idea that Catholics think sex is dirty. I know plenty of couples that seems to enjoy sex and have many wonderful children. It sounds like you might HATE me or others that think as I do. Please practice what you preach.

  • Kaity

    Reading through the comments here I’ve found yours to be rather…agressive. JC founded the Catholic Church and left His disciples to lead it with guidance from the Holy Spirit, which is why the Church has lasted so long and all other forms of Christianity can trace their origins from the Catholic Church. I take it your not Catholic?

  • Kaity

    I’m late to comment since this article was published a few weeks ago, but I just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU!!! Your article is pretty much what I try to explain to my friends (I’m 17) Homosexuality isn’t a sin, its an attraction, same as heterosexual. Its what you choose to do with it that defines the difference. I’m not prejudiced or a bigot for my opinion I feel the same way towards heterosexuals that have sex outside of marriage. I’m still discerning my vocation, but I get the sense that God has plans for me that don’t include a spouse. Time will tell on that note!

  • consecrated

    How true!  A Gay friend of mine told me his greatest pain was the condemnation of all Gays in the Cathecism of the Catholic Church, which states that ALL Gays are mentally ill!  He believes that God chose to make him Gay and this is his natural state.  For him, it is not unnnatural-and therefore not sinful!  He follows all the teaching of the Church-but his conscience tells him he is what God wanted for him!  I couldn’t offer much consolation.  I could only tell him that perhaps some day, we will all have a better understanding of Homosexuality-including the Church!

  • chaco

    The answer can’t be found unless we start with the right  / true premise. There are only 2 to choose from;  1) NATURE – born this way  2) NURTURE – “Fire” grows where it’s started     Empirical evidence shows that PLEASURE POINTS TO NURTURE; Wherever there is the “Pay off” of pleasure, the fire will grow. SOLUTION –  Start / nurture the fire where the most fulfillment occurs; 1) the greatest joy comes from giving ie; make a child happy, make someone laugh  +  2) the greatest gift is life  =  3) the greatest joy is giving life 

  • Amazed

    Are you like, totally from the 60s or something?  My Diocese has a programme for women who are not called to a religious community but are called to be consecrated virgins.  Have you never read JPII’s Redemptionis donum and Vita consecrata?  Or you could just google ‘consecrated virgins.’  Consecrated virgins are – like the saints and martyrs listed as ‘virgins’ – women, not men. But it hardly matters.  It’s a recognized state of life in the Catholic Church and has been from biblical times: ‘The unmarried women (he agamos kai he parthenos) cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit” (1 Cor 7,34).

    Your post says ‘they must have forgot to teach that when I was ordained.’  Yeah, well, if you skip seminary and go straight to ordination, you’ll miss a few things.  Astonishing.

  • amazed

    Oh, well, here it is: you’re letting people think you’re an ordained priest, by saying something about priests being ordained, but now it’s clear you’re not even Catholic.  Good to know a Catholic priest is not such an ignoramus as you’re revealing yourself to be.

  • Amazed

    Oh, you poor, benighted fool.  Really, I pity you.  It’s amazing, but true: people who don’t confess their sins in the confessional confess them in public forums.  How?  By accusing other people of being obsessed with the sins that govern their lives.  Here, it’s simple: go and get a Catechism of the Catholic Church, read any and all parts about ‘sex’ and then try to argue with it.  Your sound-bytes are just so stupid it makes me tired.  But we’ll always be burdened with such as you: God put a limit on human intelligence, but not on human stupidity, and the stupid things that ignorant people say about the Catholic Church are just so boring after awhile. So boring.

  • amazed

    Just GO READ THE CATECHISM!  The Church has never taught that ‘sex is disgusting until it is “right”‘.   You are revealing WAY too much of who and what you really are by these comments.  

  • StellaMaris

    A little – or maybe a lot – off topic, but you know, this is the first time I’ve looked at CE in a LONG time, and I had the same feeling: looks like some secular blog or a website about home improvement or something (minus all the advertising you find on those).  I didn’t feel like I was on a Catholic site, by the ‘look’ of it, but couldn’t put my finger on why (I was reading the article, not analyzing the site).  In fact, I can’t perfectly remember the way it used to look, but the way it looks now… It just doesn’t feel like a Catholic site anymore, purely from the LOOK of it, mind you.  I’m sure the content is still fine.

    I prefer Catholic Lane as my home page now.  It has a crisp green that really soothes the eyes and feels somehow upbeat and cheerful.  Also very easy to navigate, good articles.  It’s why I don’t bother with CE anymore and have switched to CatholicLane.  Check it out, you may switch too.

  • StellaMaris

    Oh, heavens!  Please, please, nobody – not even Sally Fusco – bother to reply to this.  Just let this one alone and don’t answer it.  You cannot be five years old and commit a mortal sin (before the age of reason).  This person is way over the top in trying to terrify people, and forget the chop-licking remarks about ‘some of the worst hells are for sodomites’ (been there, eh, guest?).  No comprehension of the complexity of a developing sexual orientation, no compassion, just good old-fashioned fire and brimstone preachin’.  Yikes.

  • StellaMaris

    “Your sin is between you and God… why do insist on “telling” everyone about those things which should be between you and your spiritual advisor ?”

    MME, tell it to Saint Augustine!  Would you rather the world had never been given his ‘Confessions’? 

    As a celibate, heterosexual woman, who would like to have married but has never had the chance (at age 50, unlikely to), I found that almost everything Steve said also applied to my own struggles; his FREEDOM is the same freedom that – after much struggle – I feel.  Praise God for that, and PREACH IT, STEVE, since the world has much need of this witness. No matter what your sexual orientation may be, virtually every Christian needs to hear the message that we do not have to be slaves to our sexual impulses and desires, but can be masters of ourselves.

    What Steve has written here is absolutely within a great tradition of Catholic writing: that is, the writings of the saints, who struggled with sin and temptations, and by the grace of God were set free.  Let us not attempt to silence his voice – there are too many who need his witness. I can think of several of my own university students, those who neither chose their heterosexual or homosexual orientation and who are struggling to be chaste young people, who would take hope and courage from reading it.

    Far from wishing people like Steve would keep their stories to themselves, I look forward to the day when stories like Steve’s are among the classics of Catholic literature, because men (and women) like Steve will one day wear the crowns of the saints, and their life stories deserve a place on the shelf right alongside Augustine, Ignatius, Francis and all the rest. 

  • Dclay

    I would just like to say that you are my hero. Keep the faith.

  • Michelle Marie Allen

    I apologized many weeks ago…contrite of heart…throw a stone or two if makes you feel better…

  • Grady King

     Sex doesn’t equal love. Love is sacrifice.

  • Grady King

    Steve, Thanks for sharing. You are a brave man. Will keep you in my prayers. 

  • Guin

    Dr…  alcoholism is more than drinking alcohol. It is actually something you are born with and can see at an early age before alcohol is ever consumed. It does not matter what your environment is… an alcoholic is always an alcoholic and always was. It cannot be cured and it’s only treatment is abstinence and spiritual fortitude. It sounds to me that is exactly what is being explained in this article. He was born with it. It doesn’t matter what environment he’s in, he’ll always be attracted to men. It cannot be cured, but it can be spiritually treated with celibacy (abstinence). No it is not an illness…but you get the point. The FACTS are that an alcoholic’s brainscan and tests of liver’s ability to break down alcohol is different from a “normal” person. Their response to any given situation is also a give away of his condition, because in addition to being physical, it is also a spiritual malady. This is not environmental. His environment can only add more stressors to what is already there. …….I wonder if a homosexual’s brain looks different? 

  • Guin

    This was a response to someone else, but it seemed to apply here…..  alcoholism is more than drinking alcohol. It is actually something you are born with and can see at an early age before alcohol is ever consumed. It does not matter what your environment is… an alcoholic is always an alcoholic and always was. It cannot be cured and it’s only treatment is abstinence and spiritual fortitude. It sounds to me that is exactly what is being explained in this article. He was born with it. It doesn’t matter what environment he’s in, he’ll always be attracted to men. It cannot be cured, but it can be spiritually treated with celibacy (abstinence). No it is not an illness…but you get the point. The FACTS are that an alcoholic’s brainscan and tests of liver’s ability to break down alcohol is different from a “normal” person. Their response to any given situation is also a give away of his condition, because in addition to being physical, it is also a spiritual malady. This is not environmental. His environment can only add more stressors to what is already there. …….I wonder if a homosexual’s brain looks different?    hey… did you say you were ordained? That’s a joke, right?

  • Guin

    You know this is called Catholic Exchange, right? Silly question.

  • Michelle Marie Allen

    Mam, Jesus listened to His Blessed Mother when she asked for a favor from Him…remember the wedding feast at Cana ? Jesus’ did not deny His most Blessed Mother her request knowing He was capable of replenishing the wine by His sacred command. Praying to Blessed Mother Mary is akin to you asking that a loved one pray for you to God on your behalf…why are you so anti- Catholic ?

  • Guin

    God is very much concerned with who we sleep with. Sex is the most precious gift He ever gave us. It allows us to be co-creators with Him. It is a VERY BIG DEAL. It is one of the most talked about subjects in the Bible. READ THEOLOGY OF THE BODY.

    “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance – that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”  ~Herbert Spencer

  • you are not alone in being misunderstood. I am heterosexual, but choose to live alone and not date. I have had to put up with people telling me I need a man, when all I really need is; my Lord, my family and friends. 

    Continue on your path. God bless

  • JB

    “Dr”: Please go back and read MrsK’s comment since you seem to be criticizing her for things she did not say.
    Nowhere is she denying facts or doctrine.

    I would also suggest you change the tone of your disagreement to something more civil. Others who post differing opinions here seem to be able to handle that.

    Also, for someone with “Phd” after his name (do you mean Ph.D.?), I’m surprised at your lack of command of the English language.

  • His Holiness the Pope

    Michelle, I post this only to demonstrate how anyone can post under any name on this comment section.

    Granting you my Apostolic blessing, I remain,
    Pope Benedict XVI (for real!)

  • Michelle Marie Allen

    Any particular reason that you bestow this apparent mockery of His Holiness the Pope towards me ? Should I feel flattered ? For whatever reason you have done this, perhaps my comments well over a month ago in which I did apologize for my misunderstanding of SSA, I find your sense of humor arrogant and uncalled for.

    BTW… only a coward would do this.

  • Michelle Marie Allen

    BTW … JB, your user name came up when I scrolled down through the comments. Yeah… truth always comes out in the end…

  • Michelle Marie Allen

    I have referred to myself as Michelle Marie Allen for quite some time now, although in the beginning I did refer to myself as MsMesuggah since I had a Jewish grandfather although being Catholic.So I decided it would be better to change my username to my RCC baptismal name and have after a few posts as MsMesuggah am known only by “real” name. You have a problem with that ?

  • THX1

    Homosexual attraction is not the same as heterosexual attraction. Homosexual attraction is, to use the exact words of the Church, intrinsically disordered, always and in every instance. 

  • THX1

    God did not “make some people homosexual”. God made everyone heterosexual, but some 2-4% people experience homo-erotic desire to one degree or another. No one knows why. But people experience all sorts of disordered sexual desire, but God does not put those disordered sexual desires there. And while masturbation is always evil, whether or not it is always sinful depends, like all sin, on the culpability of the will in each instance. That may be 100% of the time, or not, the Church makes no claim as to being the final and definitive experts as to what degree compulsive or addictive behavior enslaves the will. 

  • So God created you gay, since the Psalmist David claims God wove him in his mother’s womb.  But before that ever happened, God declared that it is an abomination for a man to lie with a man, and St. Paul says in Romans Chapter One that homosexual attraction is unnatural.  Why not have the courage to abandon a faith that labels your attraction to the same gender as unnatural and a God who would put you in such a horrible situation?  I lust after men.  I’m female.  The answer?  Find someone I love and unless I find that person, learn to control my sexuality.  You lust after men.  You are male.  The answer?  The answer is . . . sorry, what was God’s point in all this again?  Where is the “outlet” and sanctioned sexual expression for those born homosexual?  None?  Wow.  Bad planning there, God.  Cruel, if you think about it.  Create someone gay and tell them they just lost the lottery and express their love with another man in a relationship of committment as heterosexuals do.  My heart goes out to you!  This is crazy making!

  • Michelle Marie Allen

    It takes more courage for Steve to not turn his back on God. Do you also encourage those who have inherited other troubles caused by ‘original” sin to abandon their Faith as well ? Steve has made a valiant choice to “take up his cross” and love and follow Jesus. It is apparent that Steve values his eternal soul more than the temporary pleasures of the flesh of the world.

  • John

    What about the Eastern Orthodox Church. From whence does it trace its roots?

  • Danielle Diperna

    God made you perfect, just the way that you are.

  • Anastasia

    Steve,  thank you for sharing your story. There are so many comments that have run the gauntlet below. For me, your witness is incredibly inspirational. I have several friends with SSA who are laity and clergy and they certainly struggle sometimes with the very careless and cruel comments. You will remain in my prayers!  

  • Modelafox

    As a celibate, widowed woman, I echo Deacon Alan’s comments.
    Society tells us that all impulses must be acted upon.  We know better.
    Hang in there, and thank you all for speaking truth out loud.

  • Dorie

    Steve – absolutely wonderful article on what it means to have SSA  – and to have SSA and be Catholic.  I am going to share this article with a few friends to whom it would be very helpful.  And you’re so right when you say that heterosexuals also must put a leash on our desires. We all suffer from a disordered fallen nature. It is so wonderful that Christ gave His life for us and left us His Church.  People see the Catholic Church as denying them something – when it is simply calling us to something higher than the state our fallen nature left us in.  I for one, pray for those with SSA all the time. God bless you. 

  • God bless all with SSA.  All are called to pick up their cross and follow Christ and some have a heavier cross to carry.  With God all things are possible and healing can occur.

  • erasmus 1952

      You’re my brother in Christ and you are in my prayers! I don’t know if I could carry that cross but with God, all is possible!

  • Mandi320

    I absolutely find these men admirable and so courageous. What a perfect example to us Christians of what it truly means to pick up one’s cross and follow Jesus. May God bless you abundantly!!!! I am beyond blessed to hear of these stories … I am just so inspired. I am also very much looking forward to more men with this same cross, this same struggle sharing their testimonies publicly, and perhaps offering an alternative public movement to popular projects such as the “It Gets Better” campaign.   

    May God bless you. Love, your sister in Christ. 

  • Mandi320

    Amen! I believe sacrifice is one of the greatest forms of worship to our Lord. I can only imagine the strength, faith, and courage it takes to sacrifice this type of human intimacy, however, how much greater is the type of intimacy one gets to experience with the Lord when they live a life of worship, as these men do. I am absolutely inspired by all of these stories. May God bless you all abundantly. My heart is just overwhelmed with love and admiration of all of you!

  • F.O.A.

    Thank you for this. As a Catholic guy who is struggling with SSA and often fails to remain chaste, this really really helps. Of course prayers help too! I started a blog to chronicle my journey.

  • Chris

    I was just browsing the website when I came across this article. It’s a shame that many Christians (Catholics & Protestants) are so quick to judge and condemn people who battle same sex attraction. Like you mentioned, it’s not because they are “just gay”, but battle so many different emotional and mental issues over a long period of time. Thank you for your courage to write this, and hope things are going well for you.

  • Very good, clear and true. I am celibate, Eastern Orthodox and gay. Celibacy is a sacrifice I offer to the Lord.

  • This is the best witness to Christ and our faith that I have seen in a very long time. God Bless you. You give hope not only to the homosexual but to all of us struggling with our appetites.

  • LoudenDaniel(Mark)Redinger

    You expect him to abandon his faith because he has no outlet for his sexual inclinations? THIS IS CRAZY MAKING! Read the catechism, you do not have your teaching right.

  • innocents13

    I have known a couple of homosexual persons who went through their struggles, but like you, found peace in Christ. To Him and through Him, nothing is impossible.
    God bless you, for you are an inspiration and blessing to many.

  • Jess

    My brother just shared with me a very similar story last night. He is 20. He has always seemed a little different but we grew up in a community where being gay is not accepted or ‘real’ for that matter. I’ve since met lots of gay people, etc. I have always struggled with how to accept homosexuality. My siblings and are were Christian and I believe a man and a woman should be together (mainly because the holes line up and reproduction makes sense but it doesn’t really with someone who is gay), but I also have gay friends and want them to be happy. Am I not supposed to be friends with them and support their cause? Also, I don’t understand why God would make someone attracted to men and tell them, no, you can’t do that. You have to not be with anyone for the rest of your life. I could really use some answers and prayer!

  • A child is more likely to be molested by parent than by a priest. Pedophilia exists everywhere. Sexual activity with adults does not prevent it. Many of our religious are loyal to their vows to celibacy and chastity.

  • The Church defines chastity as the “successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being.

    Sexuality, in which man’s belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman.

    The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift.” (CCC 2337)

    In other words, we acknowledge that our sexuality is more than just a desire to “get off”. That would be lustful (we desire pleasure and thus fall slaves to that pleasure and thus use our sexual faculties to get at that pleasure). Chastity involves recognizing that God designed the sexual urge to be more than just a pursuit for pleasure. Sexuality’s meaning is found within God’s Divine plan for marriage. It becomes linked with fertility, and the call for us to love our spouses well.

    The chaste person understands that anything less than marriage simply involves a dishonest and thus lustful sexual expression.

  • J

    As someone who… is not a very sexual person in general (even if attracted to the opposite sex unlike the author) I do relate to the article in that my sexuality doesn’t define me at all.

    The whole secular party-line of “be a hedonist and go do what you want whenever!!” is lost on me because I DON’T want to go out and live by urges- I never really have. I’m a quiet person who thinks “having fun” is sitting down and having a conversation.

    This society is fascinated with sex that the idea that someone places little emphasis on it in their life is completely foreign to them.

  • J
  • Je ne se quois

    I used to have SSA to women. Then, I became a Family and Human Dev
    major, saw how twisted my upbringing was, extended the olive branch of
    peace with my dad, found strong male mentors and good examples of
    womanhood and motherhood, and well… after a while, I started not being
    attracted to women as I finally got what I always craved from specific
    types of women: their confidence.

    Funny thing, in all that time,
    when I saw a confident woman I thought I was “in love” but looking
    back, I had very violent thoughts toward these women. So violent that I
    realize I wanted to almost– if not totally– take their lives in order
    to “extract” that je ne sais quoi” which they had (i.e. confidence,
    beauty, etc)– all of which I sure did not have, but craved and longed
    to own. Just some thoughts.

  • Liz Hennessy

    There is such as thing as gay romance, you know. Gays are some psychosexual freaks just trying to get off, that’s why they’re fighting for gay marriage. They want to settle down and spend the rest of their lives with someone who they love deeply, just like the rest of us. Unfortunately not everyone meets the true love of their lives, and there are a lot of straight and gay people who are only looking for sex. Religious indoctrination makes gay people think it’s their fault when the only viable places to find someone to love are in underground drug fuelled clubs, because it’s not “acceptable” to allow gay PDA in more “family friendly” environments. Choosing to remain celibate as a gay person only shows you feel guilty for a part of yourself, and no church has the right to make you ashamed for who you are. That is NOT what Jesus taught.

  • Liz Hennessy

    Everyone’s bi to some degree, most just never find the right kind of person to bring it out in them.