More Than a Monologue: Sexual Diversity and the Catholic Church - Vol. 1

By Christine Firer Hinze; J. Patrick Hornbeck II | Go to book overview

1 This Catholic Mom:
Our Family Outreach

DEB WORD

Fortunate Families and the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center

I consider myself to be a typical Catholic mom and grandmother. Thirty-nine years ago, I married my college sweetheart, Steve, and together we raised two sons. Our faith is important to us: I am a product of twelve years of Catholic education, and four years after we married, my husband became Catholic. As a family, we have always been active in the church. My husband and I have served as ushers, lectors, and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, as well as on parish pastoral and financial councils. Our sons participated in activities at church as well as at school. So, in addition to our own ministries, my husband and I were involved with our sons’ sports teams and Boy Scout troops and supported them in band and theater. We were typical, busy, Catholic parents— who gradually began to realize that our older son was gay.

By the time Chris was into his late teens, we assumed that he was gay. His brother, Shawn, collected Playboy magazines and hid them under his mattress. Chris bought Men’s Health. While Shawn said girls were “hot,” Chris said they were sweet. Chris went to every school dance with a different girl; Shawn was terrified of girls. Mothers eventually figure these things out.

As I began to realize that I had a gay son, I looked carefully at church teaching about same-gender attraction. Because of what I learned, I began to compartmentalize the church and God. I was sure that Chris was loved by God just as much as was Shawn. I prayed that both of my boys would find someone who would love and cherish them, someone to grow old with them. At church, this was obviously not something I heard was possible, at least for Chris.

For the first time, I began to figure out that I needed to trust God in ways my church does not.

Having a gay son did not so much challenge my faith as it made me learn to trust God. There is that quiet spirit, that quiet voice inside, that tells

-17-

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