All gay and lesbian Catholics have difficult decisions to take on dealing with the apparent contradictions between Vatican doctrine and their inner identity. Some find an easy path to reconciling the two, some simply deny the doctrine and walk away from the Church – and some deny their sexuality. Jon Soucy was one of this last group when he was a student at Georgetown U.
As he describes it, he threw himself into several religions activities, in the Knights of Columbus and other activities, becoming an unofficial “defender of the faith”. Conversely, for fear of being thought of as gay, he stayed well clear of any courses or activities that dealt with gay issues, even deriding those who participated in them.
While at Georgetown, I took it upon myself to openly mock Professor Ingebretsen’s class Unspeakable Lives: Gay and Lesbian Narrative, while secretly longing to take the course. I criticized GU Pride in The Hoya, while, in my heart of hearts, wishing I could gather the courage to go to a meeting. And, in countless conversations over the years, I disparaged gay people and defended my Church’s harmful teachings on homosexuality.
The result – loneliness and misery.
I lived this lie for many years, “bearing my cross” and committing myself to a life of loneliness and despair. The loneliness is hard to describe to straight people. It’s the loneliness of seeing straight couples together, and knowing you’ll never know the love of another human being because it’s forbidden. It’s the loneliness of seeing your best friends pair off with their girlfriends to leave you alone to contemplate your solitude. It’s the loneliness of knowing that, no matter how much fun you may be having with your friends today, you know the day will come when they’ll be married, and you’ll be feeling sorry for yourself because you have no love in your life and never will.
Now, looking back, he says this was a mistake. He now says he wishes he had spent less time defending the faith, and more time. being true to himself. Even the Vatican, in its infamous Hallowe’en Letter, reminds us of the Scriptural injunction to “Speak the truth in love.” This is what he has now, belatedly done.
Allow me to introduce myself. I graduated from the College in 1999 with a major in government (really, a major in Father Schall — the best teacher I have ever had. If you haven’t taken his classes, DO SO!)
Some of you may notice the crucifixes on the walls in most of Georgetown’s classrooms. I was the President of the Georgetown University Committee for Crucifixes in the Classroom. I was Grand Knight of the Georgetown University Knights of Columbus. I was the Treasurer of the Philodemic Society. I was the Georgetown Academy’s Man of the Year. I was one of Georgetown’s unofficial Defenders of the Faith. I was — and am — a gay man.
Not that I ever told anybody I was gay at Georgetown, except for a couple of my dearest friends, and then only in hushed tones, as if confessing to a crime. How could a Defender of the Faith be gay? Perhaps I became a Defender of the Faith because I was terrified of my sexuality. Who knows?
Don’t get me wrong: I’m proud of most of the activities I was involved in at GU. I met great people in the Knights, the Crucifix Committee and the Philodemic. I am still in close contact with my two best friends from Georgetown and visit the Hilltop once or twice a year. I just wish I’d spent less time saving Georgetown’s Catholic identity and more time trying to come to terms with my own identity as a gay man.
Read Jon Soucy’s full story at The Hoya (Georgetown University Newspaper of Record) for March 04, 2003 .