Gay And Catholic In The Philippines

A reader writes:

This is a direct reaction to your “Church in the Castro” post, but is also relevant to your continuing discussion about the Catholic Church and homosexuality. I can see how it pains you to see the Church that you love say such hateful things toward us homosexuals. I was born and raised a Catholic, educated in a Jesuit university for 20 years, and even entered the Jesuit Novitiate. I reckon I loved the Church as much as you, but unlike you, I have decided to leave the Catholic Church because I have come to realize that God is bigger than this one church, and everything that the Catholic Church could ever teach me about life, love, and God, I already knew. We were taught to love the Church like our mother or teacher, but in real life there comes a time when we outgrow our parents and teachers. This does not mean we cease loving them, but there must be a recognition that the dominance that the parent or teacher used to exercise over the child cannot continue.

As a gay man who is thoroughly steeped in Catholic ways, I have come to realize that my Church had mis-educated me all this time. She taught me how to hate my homosexuality and to see myself as somehow less than human. In my long struggle, which culminated in my coming out of the closet and claiming my pride and dignity as a gay man, I came to realize that my homosexuality is the lamp that the Church insisted I place under a bushel, but which Jesus had in fact been telling me to put on a table to light the whole world. I continue to read and pray over the Gospels on a daily basis, but I let the Holy Spirit enlighten me, and not those closeted, self-hating men in the Vatican.

I have written a book about my life which I am self-publishing. It’s entitled “God Loves Bakla” with the subtitle “My Life in the Closet.” I initially tried to get in published in Manila, but the leading gay publisher there was afraid about the reaction of the Catholic Church. Thus I have decided to self-publish in Phnom Penh, and the book should be out by next month or early next year. Leading LGBT advocates in the Philippines tell me that this is the first book of its kind in the Philippines, and they look forward to GLB enriching the discourse. My book is a lot like Paul Monette’s “Becoming a Man” but what distinguishes it is the religious/spiritual approach that I take in the book. Many books have been written about being gay in the Philippines, but none (or at least no full-length work) on being gay and Catholic.