“To whom shall we go? you have the words of eternal life”.

That really is an interesting phrase isn’t it. There is a real ambivalence to it. “I think what you just said about eating your body is freaky as heck but at least we don’t have to worry about starving with your miraculous catering skills” might have been more what Peter was thinking.

But as a queer Catholic I feel a bit of that ambivalence every time I get ready to go to altar serve Mass. I love the Church, I love the Mass, I love the Catholic faith. I will never give it up, even if the Church cannot escape this straight jacket it has made for itself on the issue of homosexuality. I will still be here, because to whom shall I go?

I asked my parish priest if I could put up a poster for the next meeting of the LGBT Christian group I’ve been going to, I got a rather predictable no. The worst part of it is no matter what his personal feelings on the issue he cannot be seen to be in support of anything that might get him in trouble. But what that means is that gay Catholics will just be left to feel isolated and the majority just lapse. Catholic means universal, we are supposed to have diversity, but as it happens we only have the ‘diversity’ imposed from above, whether that is in the guise of rubbish liturgy, mediocre priests, or no place for Gay Christians to be accepted, grow in faith and discover they are not alone. (Don’t talk to me about Courage either, five minutes on their website was enough to make me want to kill myself)

Anyway its an open event: 2pm, Saturday the 11th of October, St Ninian’s Church, Chanterlands Ave, Hull, HU5 4DL. A talk followed by a Q&A with Ruth Hunt, the newly appointed Chief Executive of Stonewall (who also happens to be a Catholic) and Tracy Byrne Chief Executive of LGCM. Obviously you don’t have to be gay, bisexual, lesbian, transsexual or anything else to come along, yes you can even be straight! If you don’t agree with the speakers feel free to ask tough questions in the Q&A. But yes the experience of the past shows that people who have problems with homosexuals don’t turn up because they don’t want to be confronted by the human faces of the people their reading of the Bible hurts.

Jesus never mentioned homosexuality, and St Paul made a couple of throw away comments, I heard that all told homosexuality is mentioned seven times in the Bible. Think about that. How many times does the old testament recommend genocide? (I don’t know the answer to that but its at least a couple) How many times is love mentioned? hundreds, maybe even thousands. Whilst I think Pope Francis’ papacy has been a big PR smokescreen with not a lot of action, the message he is sending out, of being willing to risk doing the wrong thing in order to try to do the right thing, is a good one, and a brave one, because otherwise Christians risk doing nothing to reach out to those in need, and we are all in need of God’s saving grace.

Queer Catholics most likely will never be told by the Church that it is perfectly possible to be Christian and gay. Or more precisely the Church says its fine to be homosexual, just never do anything about it, never talk about it, and for goodness sake don’t fall in love with someone that is just disgusting. So we work ourselves to serious mental and physical illness because of the pressure of being in the closet, just like Vicky Beeching did. I did not come out of the closet for other people, I came out for me, because it was killing me. If people have a problem with who I am that is their problem, not mine, but the Catholic Church always shifts blame away from itself. It is pushing people into the river on this issue, and we have to climb out and fish each other out as best we can.

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