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My friend wants to "come out" - LoyalVIews - 08-05-2014

I have a friend is by all means, from what I can tell, a devout Catholic. He told me yesterday that he would like to tell his family that he struggles with same sex attractions, but he doesn't intend to act on it at any time. He's nervous about it, so my question is, what can I say to him to encourage him? Would it be right for him to do that, because I think it would be.


Re: My friend wants to "come out" - Dirigible - 08-05-2014

The way I see it is, if it would actually help the situation, i.e. his family would understand and their support would be helpful, then he should, but if it wouldn't actually help, i.e. his family would react negatively, then he shouldn't.


Re: My friend wants to "come out" - MagisterMusicae - 08-05-2014

Dirigible's advice is good.

Many people struggle with such attractions thanks to human nature, probably some predisposition, and  combined with a world that promotes unnatural behavior as normal. If one is resolved not to act on those attractions and instead to (as St. Ignatius teaches) agere contra -- act against them -- then that is commendable. Since it will be a difficult struggle, support can be very helpful. A comparable situation is the reformed alcoholic, who knows he has tendencies to particular sins and bad habits. Support can help him to avoid the sins and the situations where he will fall due to weakness.

But given the nature of the attractions it may not be prudent to reveal this struggle to others. It is a matter of considering both the motives for the revelation and the effects.

If the man is wanting to reveal such to ask for help and support to combat his unnatural attractions, then the motives would be good. Often "coming out" is about self-gratification or pride: a desire to either identify with something which is either fashionable or different so one can consider themselves fashionable or different. He needs to consider his motives for wanting to publicly air his trouble.

Further, he needs to consider his family and whether they will support him in his struggle and help him to avoid sin and practice the Faith. If they will, then it may be reasonable to make mention of his struggles. Since it is a revelation which will probably shock, he needs to be careful of true scandal since presumably he will be frequenting the sacraments to stay in the State of Grace.

Ultimately, however, it is a prudential decision, and he ought to take the necessary time and advice to consider every detail before acting. It would seem minimally necessary for the man to take a spiritual director/confessor who is a good orthodox priest and can help direct him regularly, since he will be frequently tempted toward sins difficult to conquer. Such a priest could help him to make the prudential decision of if and when he reveals his difficulties to his family.

So, in short. Encourage him to first take up a spiritual director, go regularly, develop a plan for combating his tendencies, put the plan into practice, then consider whether to make mention of his problems to his family.


Re: My friend wants to "come out" - Dirigible - 08-05-2014

MagisterMusicae is better with words than I am.  :P


Re: My friend wants to "come out" - Layman - 08-05-2014

No way in heck should one announce such a thing. It's like the old question: "Should I tell my wife I had an affair?"

Answer: Sure, if you want to wreck your life!

Let's think it through:

Your friend gathers his family together. They wait expectantly. His dear old dad, his careworn mother, his annoying younger brother, sitting on the couch and Dad's old easy chair ...

And says: "I've been struggling for a long time with these feelings. I just can't live with the lies any more. It's time I was honest with myself and with you all ...."

They wait expectantly.

"I'm a vampire".

"Oh, meine kinder" says Momma.
"Well done, son" says dad. "All those years rearing you, sacrificing, going without so that you could have a bit extra, you've made it all worthwhile. C'mere y' big goof ..."

And they all embrace and live happily ever after.

Yep, that's gonna happen, all righty.

Joking aside: Life should be lived strategically. I can't see any good coming out of what your friend wants to do and it will alter everyone's opinion of him forever. Also: he knows this, surely, on some level. So why does he want to tell people something bad about himself?




Re: My friend wants to "come out" - PolishTrad - 08-05-2014

Layman: cheating on one's wife is one's fault. Being gay usually is not.


Re: My friend wants to "come out" - MagisterMusicae - 08-05-2014

(08-05-2014, 09:13 AM)Layman Wrote: No way in heck should one announce such a thing. It's like the old question: "Should I tell my wife I had an affair?"

Answer: Sure, if you want to wreck your life!

So you would withhold from the person whom you promised, before God, the truth that she has a right to know?

The cases are hugely different.

Homosexual attractions are a personal struggle with sinful tendencies. There is not necessarily any sin, just a serious weaken to particular sins. Here no one is obliged to tell such tendencies to anyone except a confessor, and then only if there were sin is it obligatory. Like with alcoholism (my earlier analogy), support from friends and family, but especially a confessor may be of great help.

Adultery is a manifestly grave sin in which the spouse has broken the promise of fidelity. He owes the information about his breach of trust to his confessor (for absolution), but also to the spouse (since the spouse has a right to that fidelity that was broken).


Re: My friend wants to "come out" - MagisterMusicae - 08-05-2014

(08-05-2014, 11:04 AM)PolishTrad Wrote: Layman: cheating on one's wife is one's fault. Being gay usually is not.

Not necessarily.

There probably are some involuntary predispositions, but homosexuality was in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)for a reason. Most traditional Catholic pastoral psychology books also outline homosexuality as a predominately psychological condition.

That is not to deny that there may be a significant genetic or other involuntary component, but it is not as significant as the modern world makes it out to be. Much of the problem is a matter of willful choices and the consequences there of.

And this is why, of course, with spiritual direction, custody of the senses and will training, even one with predispositions can live a devout Catholic life in the State of Grace. If God allows natural predispositions, he also give the grace to bear them without sin.


Re: My friend wants to "come out" - Layman - 08-05-2014

(08-05-2014, 11:20 AM)MagisterMusicae Wrote:
(08-05-2014, 09:13 AM)Layman Wrote: No way in heck should one announce such a thing. It's like the old question: "Should I tell my wife I had an affair?"

Answer: Sure, if you want to wreck your life!

...

Adultery is a manifestly grave sin in which the spouse has broken the promise of fidelity. He owes the information about his breach of trust to his confessor (for absolution), but also to the spouse (since the spouse has a right to that fidelity that was broken).

I would like to know the official position of the Church on the proposition in bold. It's a recipe for marital breakdown. Time and again I've read that: 1. Women say they want to know. 2. When they do know, they go ballistic!

It may gnaw at a spouse that they've been unfaithful, but to tell of it will change the other's perception of you, forever. The dream will be over.

Frankly, never, ever tell. Unless you're caught in a lie. Then prepare to move out of the house.




Re: My friend wants to "come out" - Clare Brigid - 08-05-2014

MagisterMusicae,  I think that what you have said thus far on the topic of the original post is very good.  However, I agree with Layman that a spouse guilty of adultery should not be required in every case to tell the other spouse.  Certainly, where the offending spouse might have contracted HIV, hepatitis, or some venereal disease, there should be disclosure, especially if early testing and treatment is important.  Otherwise, I think it should be done only in extraordinary circumstances (such as the conception or birth of a child).