Aaron Taylor Sees Need for Gay and Celibate Saints

Early European gay men 2by Doughlas Remy

Today, Gil Bailie has linked approvingly to an article by Aaron Taylor in Spiritual Friendship, “Why the Church and the World Need Celibate Saints.” (8/19/13) Hoping to address gay Catholics reading the article, I responded to it directly. Below is a copy of that response:

First, let me just sum up what I think Aaron Taylor has proposed. He envisions a Catholic response to “the increasing acceptance of homosexual relationships in the West.” In order to show “gay people [not just gay Catholics] that the Church has something to say that is worth listening to,” the Church must encourage celibate gay Christians to “speak openly about their experiences of reconciling sexuality and faith.” What the Church has to offer gay people is the shining example of gays who have, at least momentarily, successfully suppressed their sexual and affectional longings.

I’m sorry. It’ll never work. Fewer and fewer gays, even Catholic ones, are any longer “struggling” with their sexuality. Celibacy isn’t a failed goal. It just isn’t a goal at all. And why should it be?

Well, if you are in the Catholic thought-frame, homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. If all you young gay Catholics believe that, then go ahead and waste the only youth you’ll ever have. Beat yourself up. Twist yourself into a pretzel. Your rewards will be your aura of sanctity and your relief from the guilt that has been crushing you all these years. Tuck yourself into the folds of your big, warm institution and give up thoughts of ever tucking yourself between your sheets to snuggle in your lover’s arms. You will have missed out on one of life’s greatest joys, but at least you be spared all the perils of taking risks, finding the right mate and settling down. Best of all, you’ll have the approval of your church.

Or will you? This is where I’m afraid you may be disappointed, because the Catholic Church will never treat you with the respect you’re longing for (and that is your due). You will always be in the lower echelon of sinners, well below the adulterers. You will be marked as “disordered” because of your very desires, despite every attempt you make to suppress them. But your Church will have the satisfaction of knowing it owns you.

At the rate homosexual relationships are gaining acceptance, the Church is going to have to crank out a huge number of gay saints, and fast.

But will it really do any good? I’m still not sure what the Church thinks it can offer gays that is better than what they are now being offered—a place at the table and a chance to live a full and joyous life.

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1 comment so far

  1. thebentangle on

    Raph Martin commented at The Cornerstone Forum about Aaron Taylor’s article:

    Raph Martin The world, it seems to me, not only needs celibate gay saints, but also gay men and women saints who are, had been, and will be sexually committed to one another in Christ . The spiritual friendship focus between men and women is related to recovering the image of God in which we have been created. This goal may be undertaken by mutually committed celibates or may be fostered by mutually committed gays and lesbians. What one is sexually, viz., celibately or relationally, is only one aspect of helping others come to spiritual maturity. When the institutional church canonizes gay saints who have not been celibates it will finally have gained enough spiritual vision to see that Isaiah’s counsels have finally taken root: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways,”declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Till now the Church has turned a blind eye away from acknowledging the sanctity of gay committed unions. And that’s why gay men and women have no models to imitate! It will require great spiritual maturity to embrace this vision of sanctity. It will undoubtedly be the fruit of deep spiritual friendship.


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