About Terence Weldon: Catholic, gay, partnered; a father and and a grandfather.
Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, I have been a UK resident since 2003. A regular and active participant in London’s ‘Soho Masses’, a community I have treasured for the past 4 years, I also worship at my local parish in Surrey, UK. Neither an academic nor a saint, I have absolutely no qualifications to write this stuff, other than a passion for collecting and sharing ideas and information.
About this site:
As gay Catholics, we have often found ourselves double outsiders. As a sexual minority in a world where heterosexuality is routinely taken for granted, and even suffered ridicule, discrmination, violence or worse, we have often felt excluded, left out – or even invisible. Typically, we have felt even more rejected in the churches than in the secular world, with widespread condemnation of the ‘sin’ of homosexuality. This hostility from the religious establishhment has led to a counter-reaction from many in the LGBT community, who see religion as the architect and driving force behind our ‘oppression’, and consequently refuse to have any truck with organised religion. The result for gay Catholics is too often, exclusion by both camps. I have often heard the observation from my gay Catholic friends, that it can be as difficult to be out as Catholic in the gay community, as it is to be out as gay in the world at large.
However, in the secular world at least, things have changed. Ever since Stonewall, may of us have discovered the power of coming out publicly. At a personal level, affirming, not hiding, our identities has been personally liberating for our mental and even physical health; at a public level, the increasing visiblity of persons of diverging sexual identities has played a big part in breaking down stereotypes, prejudice, and increasingly, discriminaiton. For young (and not so young) people who are beginning for the first time to face the idea that they do not fit inside the sexual roles their social conditioning has led them to expect, this increased visibility of public role models also makes it easier for own coming out, than it was for earlier generations.
This increased visibilty has not yet significantly reached our parishes, cloisters, or ecclesiastical parishes, partly because so many of those who are most comfortable identifying as gay, refuse to identify as churchgoers. But in parallel with the secular world, the more we are indeed out in the church, the easier it will be for us, and for those who follow.
So, to all you who are gay Catholics or lapsed Catholics, a plea and invitation: come in and come out. If you have lapsed, come back in to the Church, and hep to make a difference. If you remain a regular churchgoer, come in deeper -take on more active ministry. Let there be no doubt of your credentials as Catholic. Then, cautiously and gradually, come out as gay. If you can not trust your parish to be accepting, find one which will (welcoming communities do exist. This site will help you to find one.) Or, if you prefer, seek out a special Mass for an LGBT congregation. These too exist in many bigger cities, even if not on every Sunday. For most people, coming out in the secular world was not easy. You probably needed help and support from LGBT friends, and may have deliberately sought out explicitly gay public venues as much for affirmation as for the objective services offered (I know I did. Why else pay higher prices for a pint in Soho than in your neighbourhood local?) Coming out in the church will be more difficult, so you will need even more support. I hope that this site will help you to find a suitable support network for face to face contact and discussion. But the virtual society of the blogosphere can also represent support of a kind – and that, we definitely aim to provide.
About you: I have no idea who you are, but I sincerely hope you will help me with your comments and contributions. This starts as a project of one man, but I really hope it will grow into a more collaborative venture, ultimately becoming a collective voice.
More about me: For “My Journey in Faith“, see here.
Some more detail: “My journey in Faith: 6 days that changed my life”
For “My experience of Abuse”, see here.
June 19, 2009 at 11:11 am
You have an excellent blog Terence! I’m a journalism student from American, and I’m quite fascinated by the presence of the LGBT masses here in London, and I was hoping that I could get some of your firsthand experience for a blog story of my own. I’m from Phoenix, and this is so different from anything I’ve heard of there. It’s really great that Catholicism can be so open to a group of people they’ve been known to turn away.
I plan on attending mass this Sunday, but I’d love to hear from you to get some more specific information for a story before then!
Also, if you believe there is someone better for me to speak with, any contacts you could provide would also help me out immensely. Either way, thank you so much for your time!
June 19, 2009 at 12:45 pm
Many thanks, Sarah, for your kind words about my blog. To be honest, I have hit a bit of a block recently which has been getting in the way of taking it forward, but I think that should change for the better over the next week.
I would of course be delighted to meet you at Mass on Sunday.
June 27, 2009 at 3:33 pm
Terrence – Your site is so valuable as a witness to our ongoing fidelity and our visible reality in the church today. We’re HERE; as Jim Alison teaches, we are NOT manifestations of a ‘disorder’; and therefore, our insights, our experience, our unique and gay approach to the Gospel has great value.
In that gay spirit I’ve just launched a site for shared reflections and experience; I’ll keep following yours.
June 27, 2009 at 3:57 pm
Many thanks, Jeremiah, for your encouragement. I will continue to develop and expand my site, and will gladly encourage and support any others where I can. An important theme I am presently developing, which will soon start to see fruit on the site, is the vital importance of personal witness and testimony.
I very much look forward to following your own efforts. Good, luck, and keep to it.
August 23, 2009 at 6:03 am
Great new look to your site, Terence. Thanks for all the important work you’re doing.
August 23, 2009 at 10:27 am
Thanks, Michael. I made the change to get the extra side bar, which will I hope will make links, category listings, archives, search buttons and the like more immediately accessible. The look itself I don’t actually like very much. I hope though, over the next couple of months to make some technical changes which will give me much greater control over the appearance and features.
September 15, 2009 at 11:19 am
I want to thank my brother for opening this blogsite and all of you that are paying attention. As it happens I am doing something similar, but where he is writing about spirituality as
a gay or homosexual I am talking one on one with whores, prostitutes alcohol and drug addicts.
I am amazed at how similar our thinking is on all major issues and even most of the minor ones.
I add my call and prayers to his and, as he does, to pray, to make a start however irregular or hesitant. A start made is the first step to a joyfilled life.
October 2, 2009 at 12:47 am
2 LGBT-oriented US websites worth visiting and mentioning are these:
Catholic Association of Lesbian & Gay Ministries (http://www.calgm.org/)
Fortunate Families (http://www.fortunatefamilies.com/)
October 2, 2009 at 12:52 pm
Thanks for pointing this out, Jim. I set up the links in the very early days of this site, and have long recognised that they need updating, but have never got on to it.
I ‘ll do it now.
March 11, 2010 at 9:36 pm
Terrence, I have been a fan of your site for sometime but i have only taken the time to read about you. I guess i was too busy devouring all the great pieces you have written.
First, my sympathies to you and your family in the passing of your brother. I believe this site is relevant for all christians be they catholic, protestant, gay or straight and i have suggested this site to many of my friends. I really don’t believe that it matters which denomination any of us belong. I do realize that many including my own denomination would disagree with me but if we all believe in God and in his son Jesus and we strive to live according to His word then does it really matter what denominations we belong too? There is only one church and that is the church of believers in Jesus. We may go by many names but we all belong to the same church and that is why i value you and this blog, newsletter, whatever is the correct term so very much.
March 11, 2010 at 10:12 pm
William, thank you very much for your kind words, for all your recent comments, and for spreading the word. I began this just over a year ago, with a very tight focus on gay Catholics, but as I have written, I have learnt. The first lesson i learnt is that the problems of gay Catholics are not that different from gay Christians of any other denomination: we all spring from the same source, and for 1500 years, when the false teaching and hostility were first being developed, there was no difference. So I started to think less exclusively of the Catholic audience, although that remains my primary frame of reference.
I also realised that specifically for the Catholic Church, the problems of gay Catholics are no different than those of any other Catholics, struggling with a dysfunctional sexual theology across the board, and with an oppressive system of central control – so I look at issues in the Catholic church that go beyond just homoerotic attraction.
I also realised that quite apart from writing to include other traditions, we can also learn from them – so I started to write specifically about the progress we are seeing in other denominations.
And I saw that we all need some sense of history, some sense of humour, and some sense of were we are making progress in the modern, secular sphere.
If this leads to a wider audience who find this useful, I’m delighted. I have had comments in the past from retired Baptist pastors, Catholic priests, and other gay men and women. I have found this site listed on blogrolls for Catholic and other Chrisitian sites, atheist sites, non-religious queer sites, a local government gay mental health service, and university student gay and lesbian clubs. These links are on countries around the world, in language including the obvious European languages, but also Rumanian, Russian, Maltese, Arabic and Japanese (but don’t get me wrong – I don’t read these languages).
I get enormous satisfaction from this knowledge, and will continue to write – and learn- as long as I can keep going. Helpful comments such as yours do two things: they encourage me, and they help to provide focus and direction – and sometimes useful correction to errors of fact or judgement. As I continue to write, I hope you will continue to read.
March 17, 2010 at 7:18 am
You can count on it. One of the things i most look forward too each day is your postings.
March 17, 2010 at 9:32 am
Heartfelt thanks, William. I have responded more fully in an independent post, which will publish later today (12:00 UK time).
March 17, 2010 at 7:23 am
Terence, I am not sure if you are aware of this newsletter but i would encourage you to give it a look. Dr. Maneker is a independent catholic pastor and his blog is along the same line as yours and he has provided me with a great resource as you have in trying to make sense of all of this.
March 17, 2010 at 9:39 am
Thanks for the link, William. I’ll have a look directly, and add it to my links.
July 14, 2010 at 9:14 pm
Please forward a email address so I can respond to your note to me.
Rainbow Sash Movement