My Relationships Too Catholic to be Gay by Avera Maria Santo One of my favorite things to do in my spare time is to make new friends and meet new people. Something that has made that experience even more beautiful as of late is the practice of seeing Christ in others. When meeting new people I ask myself where I can see the light of Christ shine through them, what makes them unique, what I can learn from Christ dwelling in them. In doing this, it’s got me reflecting on how I want others to see Christ in me. If you were meeting me for the first time, this is what I would want you to see: I would pray that you see that I am a beloved daughter of God — that I am so loved by my Creator, that I choose to carry Him with me; in my smile, in the way that I carry myself, in the way that I love others, in the feeling that you get when you spend time with me. I would pray that you see that I love because I have been loved, because I have been forgiven, and because my Savior that has been with me in all my struggles throughout my life. All that being said, I think acknowledging my experiences is important as well, and how they have affected my journey with Christ — most notably, my experience as being someone with same-sex attractions. My Experience Back when I was in high school, I became known as the “Jesus-Freak.” I passed my theology classes with flying colors, I went on all of the retreats, I was in the campus ministry club, all that jazz. And I honestly loved it! But at the same time, I was hiding this secret. I didn’t think I could tell anyone that I was attracted to other girls. At one point though, during my junior year, a rumor started floating around about my best friend and I possibly being an item. It scared me to death. But oddly enough, I also started hearing other people saying things like, “Oh my gosh are you kidding? She’s way too Catholic to be gay,” or “Seriously, no way. She’s super Catholic.” This bothered me because I don’t think anyone with any faith, any background, any race, or anything like that is somehow exempt from the possibility of struggling with SSA. Just because I’m a proud Catholic doesn’t mean that this experience and this trial will go away anytime soon. It doesn’t mean that I somehow shouldn’t have had to struggle with this. In the same way, no member of the Catholic faith will ever be free from the experience of temptation to of sin on this side of heaven. In all honesty, I think I’ve become a much better Catholic because of my experience as someone living with SSA. I’ve had to undergo some extremely tough trials, and I still go through a heck of a lot on a daily basis. Again, we all struggle with desires for things that would draw us away from Christ, and if it wasn’t SSA that I’m struggling with, it would be something else. Being Catholic does not magically free any person from disordered desires for sin — the grace of God, though, does re-order those desires toward Christ, for the fulfillment of the person. No Such Thing as “Too Catholic” I am not somehow too Catholic to struggle with SSA, or any other temptation that matter. Praise be to God that the Catholic Church is my home, because I have no idea where I would be or what I would be doing now if it wasn’t for the love of her, and my Father in Heaven. I’m going to end this by making a rather bold statement: It’s my greatest hope and prayer that the next greatest saint of our time period, the person that will be mentioned among saints like John Paul the Great, Mother Teresa, and the like, will be someone who lived with same-sex attraction, and who by God’s grace conquered disordered desires. This isn’t some outlandish belief in people, but a reflection of the faith that I have in God — that He can and He will give those living with SSA the graces and the strength needed to pursue holiness and satisfaction in Him alone, and not be sucked into a culture that leaves them feeling desolate and unfulfilled. The Catholic Church will make saints of out of those who have a burning desire for holiness, no matter what temptations they face. Every single one of us is called to holiness, and that includes me and my brothers and sisters who live with SSA. I am not “too Catholic to be gay,” my friends. We all have things that we struggle with. I am, however, too Catholic to let my SSA stop me from becoming holy.