A TRUE STORY OF A GAY PRIEST

Newspapers write many times stories of gay priests and gay prelates who give themselves to the good life taking advantage of their prestige and their social position and combining meetings with male prostitutes or with guys who for some reason cannot subtract themselves. Although managing a gay site for years and despite having met several times priests and religious through that site, I must say that what I saw is completely different from what can be read in the newspapers. For the sake of honesty and with the consent of the person of whom I speak, which unfortunately is no more alive, I would like to tell here the true story of a gay priest I met through the chat. I think it is proper to make people understand the real extent of the problem, which is not in the scandalous behavior of someone, scandalous especially for the gays themselves as well as of course for the Church, but in the deep suffering of many, according to what I can see, of  the great majority of gay priests. 
 
Several years ago, I was in chat with a priest who was fifty years old at the time. The dialogue between us was characterized, at the beginning, by a certain mutual distrust. It seemed strange to me to be contact by a priest, it was a rather rare event and I thought it could be the usual fake that needs to have fun abusing a gay chat (and unfortunately there are several fake), then, over the weeks dialogue between us became particularly serious, I will quote below some passages (I call the priest who speaks to me Paul, fictitious name, I’m project):
 
Paul writes: Don’t be surprised, project, there are many  gay priests but I really feel a priest, I cannot tell you if when I made the choice to enter the seminary, it was really my vocation or under what seemed my vocation there was the inability to be what I was or maybe the desire to spend my life anyway for my neighbor, doing something good, since I could not live as I wanted. I grew up in the parish environment and I felt it as my natural environment starting as a child. Faith for me was always a great value, of course I understood that there was a contrast between my faith and what I was and when I made my choice I consciously chose to put aside what I was and to follow the Lord because I hoped to find some consolation too. When you’re young you react emotionally and you don’t know that over time many things change and that making choices that are “forever” is much more difficult than it seems.
I have had several parishes, now I’m at [omissis], it‘s a nice place and it’s good people, almost all old, there’s so much misery but above all economic, there’s no moral misery, there’s no criminality, there’s no violence, there is no drug, they do not cheat the neighbor and there is also a lot of dignity even if they are poor and perhaps exactly because of their being poor, that dignity that I don’t have or I no longer have because sometimes I feel like the wrong man in the wrong place. 
The parishioners love me and I love them, many are farmers but they are really good people. But I feel in the wrong place because in a sense I’m lying to them, but I don’t even know if things are just like that. I thought that maybe I should leave the Church because I’m not worthy to be there but it’s an idea that scares me, I don’t think I could live if I had to leave the Church and then I would feel a traitor to things in which, despite everything, I believe deeply.
When I can pray, I have the feeling that the Lord is near me and helps me to move forward. Understand me well, I have never betrayed my vows but not only, when I happened to come into contact with young men I always behaved like a priest must behave and then it was not even a sacrifice because those people for me were sacred, I tell you as if in confession, if I had put in trouble one of those guys I would have felt as a worm.
The result of all this was that I have always avoided contacts with young men and boys, who might need a real priest. I put in the first place above all poor, old and sick people. When I happened to witness those who were dying I prayed with a very strong intensity that God could help them by giving them so much faith to face the moment of the passing. In those moments I had no doubts and I felt I was a priest in the most beautiful and profound sense because I was bringing the Lord to people who needed comfort.
But sometimes I really think that I should leave the Church because so many things I have to say are things that I don’t really feel, I have tried to follow the teaching of the Church but sometimes it seems to me in full consciousness of not being able to adhere to those things.
 
Project writes: But if you left the Church, what prospects would you have?
 
Paul writes: In practice none, I don’t have a qualification that can serve in civil life, I don’t know how to survive I don’t know how to do anything, I can only be a priest and certainly I’m not a good priest and I go on like that because for my family it would be destructive and unexpected if I came out of the church.
My mother and my father are old, they are happy with the idea of having a son priest, for them to have a misguided son would be terrible and then my parents live with a very small pension and even if they want to help me, because I think they wouldn’t abandon me anyway, they can’t feed me too.
Then if I think of the idea of having a partner, well it’s just tragic. But who would put himself with a 50-year-old ex-priest who dies of hunger? Nobody at all and I wouldn’t go with anyone, apart from the fact that I’m old my parents would still feel me distant because I now come from an environment a very different from theirs.  And then that world has not only been mine but it is still now and it would still remain so if I left the church. It is not only the fear of the outside that doesn’t make me take a step like that, but it is also the fact that the Church is my real world, a world in which I feel useful. When someone comes to confession, something very rare apart from the old ladies who should be sanctified because they are incapable of doing anything wrong, when someone comes to confession, I always ask him/her to pray for me because sometimes I don’t know how to manage my relationship with the Lord, I cannot understand what He wants from me. In fact I know very well that I have no choices and that I can only go on like now and over the years I will perhaps end up putting aside even the doubts that still exist, but I wonder why the Lord asks me such a big sacrifice, I mean big for me because there are people who bear much worst things with so much faith, it is not that I want who knows what, but it is this state of dissatisfaction that I feel inside that overwhelms me, I wonder not how it is possible that the Lord wants me priest, but how is it possible that He wants a priest like me, with this half faith, with all these ifs and buts. Sometimes I think I’m not a priest but that I “act” as a priest a bit like any other job and then I think I’m cheating on the Lord.
 
The dialogue with Paul went on for several months, even if with long intervals, and the relationship of esteem and mutual respect has consolidated. One day he told me that he was not well and that he would have to make some investigations, he made them and it resulted that he had an advanced tumor. He was operated. After the surgery, which failed to stem the problem but weakened even more his body, he called me for the last time. The conversation was very short.
 
Paul writes: it went wrong, they told me that I will only do palliative care. You remember, we thought the problem was one and instead the real problem was another. I am very tired, I go to rest, I ask you only one thing: pray for me.
 
Project writes: I will certainly do it. A big hug.
 
Paul writes: You have done a lot for me. Hello Friend.
 
This was our last chat conversation. I can say that I keep inside me the memory of this priest and his suffering humanity, that’s why when I hear about gay priests in a scandalistic way I get angry, what I saw in these people is neither stupidity nor arrogance but silent suffering and torn conscience. The topic of gay priests should be treated with the utmost respect and I say this as a deeply lay person.
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CHURCH, FREEDOM AND SECULAR MORALITY

Secular morality is not a set of precepts and prohibitions, it is not a moral code destined to replace another moral code but it is a method that aims to guarantee coexistence, freedom and equality of individuals in social relationships, starting from the idea that freedom is the fundamental social value on which a society of free men must be founded and that the limitations of freedom are justifiable only in terms of the protection of the freedom of others. 
 
The secular morality has nothing to do with particular morals, it is not justified on the basis of any authority but derives from the free acceptance of its founding principle, i.e. the idea that freedom is the fundamental and unconditional right of everyone. In a secular view, on a social level, there are no true morals, according to nature or according to reason and there are no moral authorities, these concepts are typical of particular morals.
 
A secular morality is by its own nature relativistic in the sense that, if it is left to the individual the maximum freedom of conscience and full responsibility for his moral action, provided that one remains in the context of respect for the freedom of others, the choice of the individual is only his, cannot be normative for anyone and is not subject to the judgment of anyone. Relativism is a non-dogmatic and non-prejudicial view of morality, it is not a principle for which any moral code can be equally valid, it is rather a way of dealing with moral content and behavior with an eye to the only social aspect relevant, that is, to the dimension of freedom. Not every moral code or behavior can be admitted in a free society, that is in a secular society, but only the moral codes and behaviors that fully respect the freedom of others can be  accepted.
 
No preaching of discrimination, violence, homophobia or racial hatred, no a priori condemnation of facts or deriving from facts that are not objectively detrimental to the freedom of others, no privilege in any manner justified is compatible with a secular morality because these things are not respectful of freedom of others. No power to limit the freedom of other people, even within the same family, can morally be recognized to anyone for reasons other than those that the law recognizes on the basis of a collective objective interest. No mutilation (circumcision, infibulation) can be practiced for any reason on a minor. No imposition (to marry / not to marry, choice of spouse, choice of having children, choice to severely restrict pregnancies) can be imposed on anyone for any reason. These are just some examples of moral content absolutely incompatible with the freedom of all, which is the only value that a secular state must guarantee.
 
In a secular view of society, for all the conditions affecting the private sphere of individuals, must be guaranteed maximum freedom: adhere to a religion or abandon it freely without any prejudice, to join a political party and leave it freely without any prejudice, follow one’s own sexual orientation, marry or not get married, have or not have children, etc. ..
 
Some issues deserve clarification. Can Law allow restrictions of freedom such those characteristics of members of one or another religious confession (perpetual vows)? The answer is obviously yes, with the condition that from that religious confession you can go out freely, without any formality and without any prejudice. The temporary sacrifice of the freedom of the individual, consciously and freely wanted, doesn’t violate the freedom of that individual if the sacrifice can end in every moment, without formality and without damage, it is rather an exercise of individual freedom. On the other hand, it is not morally acceptable to allow a definitive and irreversible choice, such as that of pronouncing perpetual vows, definitively renouncing some of one’s own rights, without the possibility of going back when the need of it is felt. The renunciations to freedom cannot be admitted if irrevocable.
 
Does this mean that it is not possible to pronounce perpetual vows renouncing definitively some of one’s own rights? No. This only means that the law cannot continue to attach legal value to acts performed as a result of the vows if they are revoked. If a person pronounces the vows and as a result of the vows his assets pass to others, the revocation of the vows must determine, by law, the return of the assets in the sphere of the originary owner. This means that the property transferred following the pronounce of the vows must remain inalienable as long as the person who pronounced the vows is alive and that until then only the right of usufruct is transferred temporarily. If not so if the renounce of vows would become an act of potentially highly restriction of individual freedom in the future, which is morally unacceptable, that is, it would be a trap from which it is impossible to escape except by serious harm.
 
The legislation of a secular state cannot enter into questions relating to the private moral sphere of the individual except to ensure that the behaviors resulting from individual convictions are in any case compatible with the freedom of others. The legislation of a secular state must completely ignore individual morals and must be limited to guaranteeing the freedom of all. The rules must be essential, must not have moralizing purposes but must be a general guarantee of freedom. Precisely because the law cannot enter into moral issues, no conscientious objection can be admitted, because the restrictions on the freedom of individuals imposed by the law are aimed exclusively at protecting the freedom of all and therefore conscientious objection would be in fact, a limitation of the freedom of others, which is the fundamental value against which, in a secular society, no objection can be admitted.
 
Whoever does not accept this principle can come out of the secular society, from which he doesn’t feel represented, and adhere to systems that subordinate freedom to other values. In a secular state the external signs of a religious, political or any other belonging are not allowed in public places, obviously they are always legitimate in private places or open to the public. A secular state doesn’t sign agreements with any religious confession for any reason and doesn’t enter at any level in matters related to religion or individual morality, it must instead actively protect the freedom to adhere to all confessions and to withdraw without any conditions and without any damage.
 
The principle of state secularism manifests itself in a peculiar way in avoiding any overlap between the concept of crime, which is a legal concept, and the concept of sin, which is a moral concept. Crimes are repressed and punished by a secular society because they violate the sphere of freedom of others by depriving others of their rights. The punishment of a crime is not a consequence of any moral prescription but is motivated by profound social reasons related to freedom and equality. The typical example of crime is the murder.
 
Sins are violations of a particular moral code to which a value of sacred origin is attached to the individual or religious level. The typical example of sin is the violation of the commandment “Don’t desire the woman of others” that condemns even the desire, that is, something that in itself is not in any way detrimental to the freedom of others and therefore not only is not a crime but belongs to the freedom of the individual and is completely indifferent to the community.
 
No one is allowed to forgive a crime, not even to the victim of the same crime, because a crime is an aggressive behavior towards the basic principles of social life, so one cannot be forgiven or absolved by one’s own crimes by any reason. One can instead be forgiven or absolved by sins in the name of the authority that has set the particular moral principle that has been violated. Obviously these are realities that have nothing in common. The category of crime is valid for all the members of a secular society, that of sin is valid exclusively for persons who adhere to a particular religious confession and to its particular morality.
 
The reflections so far made on the idea of freedom as the foundation of civil life and on the distinction between crime and sin are masterly summarized by Gaetano Salvemini [Letter from America 1947-1949 (epistolary with Ernesto Rossi)]: “Everyone in Italy seems to have forgot that freedom is not my freedom, but the freedom of those who don’t think like me. A clerical person will never understand this point, neither in Italy, nor in any other country in the world. The clerical will never come to understand the distinction between sin and crime, between what someone believes to be sinful and what the secular law has the duty to condemn as a crime. The clerical punishes the sin as if it were a crime and forgives the crime as if it were a sin. The clerical has never left the atmosphere of the 10 commandments, in which stealing and killing (crimes) are put on the same level as the desire of the woman of others (sin).”
 
An extremely delicate issue is religious freedom, on which the attention of Pope Benedict XVI focused in particular in the Discourse to the Diplomatic Corps on Monday, 10 January 2011: “are not there many situations in which, unfortunately, the right to religious freedom is harmed or denied? This human right, which in reality is the first of the rights, because, historically, it has been affirmed first, and, on the other hand, has as its object the constitutive dimension of man, that is, its relationship with the Creator, is perhaps not too often questioned or violated? It seems to me that society, its leaders and public opinion are more aware today, even if not always exactly, of this serious wound inflicted against the dignity and freedom of the “homo religiosus” [religious man], on which I wanted, many times to attract everyone’s attention “. “Christians are original and authentic citizens, loyal to their homeland and faithful to all their national duties. It is natural that they can enjoy all the rights of citizenship, freedom of conscience and worship, freedom in the field of teaching and education and in the use of the media”. “Moving our gaze from the East to the West, we are faced with other types of threats against the full exercise of religious freedom. I think, in the first place, of countries in which great importance is accorded to pluralism and tolerance, but where religion is subject to growing marginalization. People tend to consider religion, every religion, as an unimportant factor, alien to modern society or even destabilizing, and they try with various means to prevent any influence of it in social life.
 
Thus people arrive to demand that Christians act in the exercise of their profession without reference to their religious and moral convictions, and even in contradiction with them, as, for example, where laws are in force that limit the right to conscientious objection of health workers or of certain legal operators “. “Continuing my reflection, I cannot pass over in silence another threat to the religious freedom of families in some European countries, where it is imposed the participation in courses of sexual or civil education that transmit conceptions of the person and life presumed neutral, but which in reality reflect an anthropology contrary to faith and right reason “.
 
If we analyze the concept of religious freedom as it emerges from the words of Benedict XVI, we can note that the right to religious freedom is considered “the first of rights” but, as clarified by Salvemini, it is neither Freedom without adjectives nor religious freedom, laically understood, in other words, the equal freedom of all religions, but rather the freedom to be Catholics, it should be emphasized that the freedom of conscience and of worship, freedom in the field of teaching, education and use of the means of communication  are claimed for the Catholics. In reality, these are very delicate freedoms because the recognition of total freedom of conscience involves in practice recognizing the right of the Catholics not to obey the law when their conscience, in this case the particular moral code of their religious confession, is in contrast with the law, that means to guarantee the primacy of a particular confessional morality on the law.
 
I remember that Benedict XVI himself urged Catholics to commit themselves to preventing access to teaching to homosexuals and to feel engaged in fighting against the approval of the legal recognition of homosexual unions. If particularistic morals of the individual religious confessions were entitled decision on matters that affect all the population, freedom would be quietly subjected to principles incompatible with the exercise of the freedom of all. But the Pope demands full freedom of action also on the level of teaching, education and the media, areas in which the state cannot and should not delegate anything to anyone.
 
Confessional education can under no circumstances replace a lay and pluralist education. Educating means first of all providing non-prejudicial views of reality, it means putting people in contact with reality so that they can learn and judge for themselves by overcoming prejudices. Precisely because education has an enormous value in the formation of the person, it must take place in a pluralist context, and in this sense lay, in which the fundamental rule is the confrontation with reality beyond the ideologies and the prejudices of value.
 
It is significant that the Pope considers the obligation of participation in courses in sexual or civil education to be an attack on religious freedom, mind you, not of people but of families, because it is through sexual confessional education that religions perpetuate their power, preventing in fact children’s access to secular or otherwise different views of sexuality. A completely similar reasoning applies to the mass media. It is up to the state the primary task of the fight against ignorance and subcultures, against the superficiality and the absence of critical spirit. In this context religious confessions have freedom of expression but in no case can an education uniformly permeated of values of a confessional type can be allowed, such an education would constitute a real brainwashing and an attack on individual liberty in the name of religious freedom. Kids who are growing must be able to compare different messages and different interpretations of reality to form their own point of view. It should be emphasized that freedom of religion cannot become the freedom to create structures of power that are alternative to those with institutional aims and ways of proceeding that are not respectful of the freedom of others and that to the freedom of religion corresponds a secular freedom of criticism of religious confessions that cannot enjoy special protections or immunities, such as, in a truly secular society, no particular group can enjoy such benefits.
 
The Constitution of the French Republic, which came into force in 1958, begins as follows: Article 1 – France is an indivisible, secular, democratic and social republic. It ensures equality before the law to all citizens without distinction of origin, race or religion. It respects all beliefs. Its organization is decentralized.”  As can be seen, the secular nature of the state is explicitly stated in art. 1 of the Constitution. In the Italian Constitution, laicity is never named, and article 7 constitutionalizes the Concordat with the Holy See: Article 7 – “The State and the Catholic Church are, each in its own order, independent and sovereign. Their relations are regulated by the Lateran Pacts. The modifications of the Pacts accepted by the two parties don’t require a constitutional revision procedure.”
 
The Constitutional Court has been working to recognize in an interpretative way a principle of laicity of the state in whose name the state ends up limiting its own de facto sovereignty even in realities that are objectively very far from secularism. For a careful examination of the issue refer to the essay “The principle of secularism in the Italian and European constitution” 
[http://rivista.ssef.it/site.php?Page=20050502135352251&edition=2010-02-01].
 
I conclude with a quote. So Ernesto Rossi writes about himself: “I belong to the very small group of those who still believe it is the duty of every civilized man to take the defense of the secular State against the interference of the Church in Parliament, in school, in the public administration, and believe that in our country, this is more important than any other goal – political, legal or economic – since its attainment would be the indispensable premise for any serious structural reform.” [E. Rossi, from “Il sillabo e dopo”]
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HOW A GAY GUY CONFRONTS RELIGION

The blog is nice and definitely not standard, so I think I will continue to read it, I think it misses something, a topic that I think has affected the lives of many gay guys, me at the first place. I know that I’m about to throw a stone into the pond and I could raise a high wave, but I don’t think we should have any taboos. What are the relationships between gays and religion? Mh, pay attention, I don’t want to talk about gay priests and the like, a problem that deserves serious investigation even by the gay world, which instead withdraws in good order, I want to talk about the relationship between the majority of gay boys and religion, the thing from my point of view is fundamental but the taboo is so big that people avoid getting involved in similar issues. I don’t know about you, but I have lived it with a real anxiety. 
 
When I was a young boy I didn’t realize it, then between 13 and 14 years old, I discovered two new things together: one is religion and the other is that I was gay. I say immediately that religion seemed to me a beautiful thing for some of its contents, such as universal brotherhood, the idea of winning death, the idea of giving a deep meaning to life, and there is no denying that these things have a charm very strong, but from other points of view religion seemed very formal, legalistic, someway the opposite of what it should have been.
 
On the other hand the discovery of sexuality and of being gay, which was not at all a trauma for me, had other attractions, if we want less metaphysical and decidedly more concrete, especially for a growing boy. The other boys were also a sexual attraction for me and I could not hide it to myself. At that time I went to the parish church which, all in all, had their own dignity. There was a priest, regular meetings were held to talk about morals and even about sex. The priest was prudent, for example he had as a rule not to confess the boys, a very smart thing to avoid creating embarrassment. For more where I went the girls were very few, they were not excluded but almost excluded themselves. For a guy like me, going to a place like that meant going to a place that was good for my parents and at the same time being able to be in direct contact with many other guys, it was good, we played table football, we chatted, we talked to the priest, yes, yes, we talked to the priest and here I was beginning to feel out of place. We all saw each other in a room and then we began to chat and ask questions, even about sex and not too general, but the thing sounded strange to me, we were all boys and we spoke only about girls, in practice the priest was enough able to talk about straight sex and morals, but he never spoke about gays (sex or not sex), total taboo. Basically the taboo subject was not sex but homosexuality. I didn’t like all this.
 
And then there was another topic that was my real obsession of a few years ago: masturbation. [Note for project. If you want this part you can cut it, but I would like to insert it.] I say obsession because I did everything to avoid it, but since mother nature is stronger than us, I inevitably happened to masturbate another time and I had to go to confession and so on, practically indefinitely.
 
The story of masturbation actually represented in a very clear way the continuous oscillation of my interests between religion and sex, be careful, “gay” sex, detail that I omitted systematically. Sometimes I have self-imposed forms of scary self-discipline to try to resist, for a while I succeeded, to the limit, with titanic efforts, even for a month, but then it was impossible to go on that way.
 
Then, over the years, I asked myself the meaning of all this and honestly I didn’t find any serious reason for this, and then certain things of the religion seemed to me like a superstructure invented just to keep people under check more easily. For a few years I have still fluctuated so to say between heaven and hell, then I said to myself: but I have a conscience, the eternal Father gave it to me and not to use it would be a blasphemy, since then I began to reason in a different way, before acting I wondered if I was really honest to the end, but if the answer of my conscience was yes I didn’t pay any more attention to anyone and in terms of gay feelings the answer was almost always yes.
 
I would like to explain myself better. When I fell in love with a guy and I had to understand how to behave towards him, I followed two criteria, the first was that of spontaneity, I wondered: if I hadn’t thought too much and had behaved just instinctively, what would I have done? And then I wondered if that instinctive choice could be wrong for that guy, that is, I wondered if I had some hidden purposes towards him, sometimes I thought I had unconfessed purposes and therefore I felt urged to a choice that was very hard for me and I did what I thought “honestly” was the best for that guy and not for me, but most of the times the instinctive choices seemed to me even the most radically moral: in practice always tell the truth unless there it was the risk of hurting the other, but never for my own sake. This is not a stupid logic and it is not even a difficult moral to apply because if you love a guy you really want his good. So you understand how I think.
 
As for religion after certain positions taken by the Church I honestly think that being gay without hypocrisies is irreconcilable with what the Church says. I have read the official documents on “homosexual persons” and also those to forbid homosexuality in the seminaries, I read these things with great regret because they will only create more suffering, for example to the homosexual priests who surely are there and who are so further crushed. I wonder, and even here I ask honestly: but do they understand what they are doing? I heard a priest saying that those who make gay propaganda (which is absurd because being gay is not an ideological question and the propaganda in these things doesn’t make sense) has a “cauterized” conscience, which in the language of ecclesiastical moralists means that he has the conscience so burned that he can’t even realize his mistake. There is no need to say that “in all honesty” the thing seems grotesque. I could excuse these people if I thought they really don’t know what they are doing, but unfortunately I think they know it very well.
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GAYS AND RELIGION

Religious prescriptions
 
It is a fact that religions propose to the believers the respect of norms, some are norms that belong to moral codes widely shared even by non-believers (for example:  not to kill and not to say false testimony, etc.) and don’t need any justification because they are considered pillars of civil life, others don’t find any objective justification, so much so that precepts such as monogamy that are considered fundamental by some religions are not at all for others. Some of these precepts derive from traditions and may have very remote historical justifications that have been lost over the centuries even if, anyway, the observance of those precepts has remained obligatory.
 
It is precisely the absolute and non-historical dimension of religions that makes them, at least theoretically, unable to adapt to the present historical situation. Many prescriptions regarding food and sex, seen from a secular point of view, are completely formal and apparently unmotivated. The prohibition on eating particular types of meat or fish, which for others constitutes commonly used food, finds no reason other than the fact that so it is prescribed; such precepts are accepted only on the basis of a principle of authority and therefore their violation constitutes formally a fault.
 
We speak of faults in the sense that they are considered as such by those who follow that religion, because for others they are completely indifferent. Some prescriptions such as that of not eating meat on Fridays, which were also exclusively formal, have created nevertheless considerable feelings of guilt in not very distant times.
 
But I would like here to deal mainly with the prohibitions on sexuality, which still today, and presumably still for very long periods, will continue to condition human behavior and create suffering.
 
Religious prescriptions and morality
 
Morality, as the historical religions conceive it, doesn’t look at the moral substance of the facts but stops at presumptions and formal categories, and this happens above all in the sexual field. The preconception turns into precept and presents itself with the force of the authority in the name of which certain behaviors or omissions are required, which in themselves are completely meaningless or even harmful.
 
Nobody tries to explain the meaning of these precepts, because they derive only from the principle of authority. A rational analysis would weaken these precepts by pointing out that they are not necessary, that sometimes they are inappropriate and even harmful. Obedience is already presented to children as the greatest virtue. The good boy does what his parents want, if he behaves like that, he is gratified, if he doesn’t, he lives more or less serious feelings of guilt. The sense of guilt creates a psychological subjection and therefore an addiction that confirms the principle of authority through the need to be forgiven.
 
Chastity
 
Let’s go down to more concrete contents. Chastity, seen as abstention from sex, is considered a virtue and the exercise of sexuality is considered a vice, which is transformed into virtue only when sexuality is exercised in order to procreate in the context of a legitimate marriage. These statements, which are at least theoretically shared by many people, are pure preconceptions. Psychology teaches that sexuality lived in a serene, spontaneous way, without taboos, and therefore in a non-transgressive way, is a fundamental condition of well-being, nevertheless chastity is considered a virtue and the exercise of sexuality, if not for legitimate procreative purposes, is considered a vice. Why does all this happen?
 
Prohibition-transgression-guilt
 
The rational explanation (obviously for those who believe that these are absurdities far away from the reality) lies in the mechanism of prohibition / transgression / guilt / need for forgiveness which strengthens the authority of those who support the ban and administer pardon. If the ban were easy to respect the sense of guilt would be rare and the authority would not come out stronger, but if the prohibition or condemnation concerns sexuality and it is a ban as absolute as basically against nature (for example the ban to masturbate), transgression is inevitable and through the mechanism of forgiveness the strengthening of the authority that imposes the prohibition is very evident.
 
Religion e self-repression
 
It is widely shared that religions lead to the repression of sexuality and the speech would seem realistic. It could be summarized as follows: a guy who would have a free sexuality, if he enters the orbit of a religion, is conditioned and begins to repress his sexuality. Religion would be the cause and the repression of sexuality would be the effect. But why of the many guys who approach the religions only some end up repressing themselves sexually remaining in those religions while others, after having approached those religions, turn away without many problems?
 
The answer is easily found if, instead of saying that the adherence to a religion is the cause of sexual repression, we exchange the terms of the speech and realize that they are instead the guys who are sexually repressed who end up adhering to certain religions because within those religions their sexual self-repression is considered a merit if not a form of holiness.
 
The religion from  “doing” to “not doing”
 
It is amazing that Christianity, which at the evangelical level is the religion of love of neighbor, that is, the religion of “concretely doing” good for others (giving food to the hungry, giving to drink to the thirsty, etc., etc.), is instead widely felt like the religion of “not doing”, of abstinence, of not contaminating oneself.
 
Basically, unfortunately, instead of perceiving with feelings of guilt the not doing the good that could be done, one ends up perceiving with feelings of guilt the doing something what is forbidden for the sole fact that it is forbidden, even if the prohibition has no other motivation beyond the strengthening of the authority of the person managing it.
 
If religion were to be lived within the personal conscience, considered the supreme judge of the morality of actions and not instead formalized through subordination to an external authority, how many prohibitions would continue to exist? Would the level of morality decrease? Frankly, I don’t think so.
 
Why delegate the choices of one’s own conscience to an external authority? Why we are so afraid of being simply men? Why give up the freedom to think?
 
Catholic Church and masturbation
 
A particular reflection deserves the condemnation of masturbation as a serious sin on the part of the Catholic Church [Catechism of the Catholic Church, art. 2396 “Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.” The formula used by the Catechism is without appeal. The boys who attend the Church, regularly tell the priest in confession of having masturbated, using fixed formulas, for example the classic: “I have sinned against purity”. The priest proceeds (often in a very mechanical way) asking how many times, whether alone or with others, then he repeats the usual formulas of condemnation of masturbation and asks the penitent (or presumed such) a commitment to avoid masturbating. The penitent shows himself repented and is acquitted.
 
In reality it is a false repentance, because in a short time the boy will return to masturbate and even to repeat masturbation as much as possible before the next confession (because now the purity is lost). Then the boy goes back to confession and the cycle repeats. The result is a strong push to hypocrisy on the part of the Church which, of course, knows very well how things are, that repentance is not repentance and that the mechanism only serves to surreptitiously induce feelings of guilt that keeps the boy in a state of subjection .
 
Many priests do not even consider masturbation as a sin, and in this way they get the result of keeping the boys connected to the Church. Others operate real crusades creating in the most sensitive youngsters situations of stress, deep feelings of guilt and conditioning inhibitions towards sexuality.
For many boys, the Church’s position on masturbation is a cause of profound suffering.
 
Catholic Church and homosexuality
 
The above, when it comes to gay boys, takes very different contours. Because the Church condemns not only masturbation but directly and without appeal homosexuality [Catechism of the Catholic Church, art. 2357 “ Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”
 
A wider collection of condemnations of homosexuality on the part of the Catholic Church can be found in: 
 
Gay guys and confession
 
A gay boy at the time of confession has two problems, one is that of masturbation (shared with the straight boys) and the other is that of homosexuality. The overwhelming majority of gay boys feel their homosexuality as something so natural that they simply and sincerely doesn’t consider it as sin and continue to confess only impure acts without any specification. When, in a casual way, the issue of homosexuality emerges in confession, the answers from the priests, even if all in theory are aimed to condemnation, are actually very various and variously open. Even here, probably the idea that a drastic attitude would definitely detach a gay boy from the Church has a non-negligible part.
 
The real moment of crisis between a gay boy and the Church occurs when the boy comes to discover that the Church demands total chastity from him [art. 2359 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.”]. In other words, a homosexual to remain in the Church must  radically deny what he is because the Church considers homosexuality “serious depravity”, “fatal consequence of a rejection of God”, “lack of normal sexual evolution”, “pathological constitution”, “intrinsically bad behavior from the moral point of view” (see the link cited).
 
Gay guys and Catholic Church: possible options
 
Which options are possible for a gay? He may or may try to repress himself totally to conform to what the Church asks of him, with long-term destructive results, or play on an infinite series of false repentances and relapses as in the case of masturbation, or he may stop trying to reconcile what by definition it is irreconcilable. Often the boys try the first road, they feel it impassable, they reject the hypocrisy of the second and finally they reach the third, with the definitive removal of the Church and with the definitive overcoming of guilt feelings.
 
Reparative therapies
 
I conclude this chapter by addressing a very delicate topic that has repeatedly created doubts and perplexities in gay guys, I refer to the so-called “reparative therapies”. On December 23, 2007, a long article by Davide Varì appeared on “Liberazione”: “The story of a reporter who for months attended a course organized by an ultra-Catholic group” “I told him:” I’m gay “. They replied: “Your disease is a mild disease, we can treat it well …” “” Are you gay? Come to us, we’ll take care of you “” Diary of six months in therapy … “” “The road to my presumed salvation begins with a meeting to define times and ways of my entry into a therapeutic group to recover from homosexuality” ” “The story of a reporter infiltrated for months a course organized by an ultra-Catholic group”. Below is a link to the text of the article, now almost unobtainable but extremely interesting: 
 
In this article, the author doesn’t speak in the abstract of reparative therapies but tells in detail his experience. Pretending to be homosexual, is put in contact by a priest with prof. Tonino Cantelmi, president and founder of the Italian Association of Catholic Psychologists and Psychiatrists and professor of psychology at the Gregorian University, which starts him with a reparative therapy for homosexuality. The article doesn’t stop, however, to describe the practical experience of the journalist in contact with the team of Prof. Cantelmi, but goes in search of the roots of reparative therapies by analyzing the contents of the book “Beyond homosexuality” by Joseph Nicolosi who is commonly considered the father of reparative therapies of homosexuality.
 
World health organization and reparative therapies
 
To avoid sterile polemics and to give a clear and authoritative answer to the supporters of these therapies, I report below, a fundamental document of the World Health Organization [https://www.paho.org/hq/dmdocuments /2012/Conversion-Therapies-EN.pdf] where some points of extreme importance for homosexual persons are synthesized. This document of the highest scientific level is the synthesis of the work of thousands of specialists in all parts of the world. I invite you to observe how the contents of this document accurately reflect what Gay Project has always supported. I believe that there is no need to compare this document with other well-known documents of confessional origin.
_________ 
 
Pan American Health Organization
Regional Office of the
World Health Organization
 
“CURES” FOR AN ILLNESS THAT DOES NOT EXIST 
Purported therapies aimed at changing sexual orientation  
lack medical justification and are ethically unacceptable
 
Introduction
Countless human beings live their lives surrounded by rejection, maltreatment, and violence for being perceived as “different.” Among them, millions are victims of attitudes of mistrust, disdain and hatred because of their sexual orientation. These expressions of homophobia are based on intolerance resulting from blind fanaticism as well as pseudoscientific views that regard non-heterosexual and non-procreative sexual behavior as “deviation” or the result of a “developmental defect.” 
Whatever its origins and manifestations, any form of homophobia has negative effects on the affected people, their families and friends, and society at large. There is an abundance of accounts and testimonies of suffering; feelings of guilt and shame; social exclusion; threats and injuries; and persons who have been brutalized and tortured to the point of causing injuries, permanent scars and even death. As a consequence, homophobia represents a public health problem that needs to be addressed energetically. 
While every expression of homophobia is regrettable, harms caused by health professionals as a result of ignorance, prejudice, or intolerance are absolutely unacceptable and must be avoided by all means. Not only is it fundamentally important that every person who uses health services be treated with dignity and respect; it is also critical to prevent the application of theories and models that view homosexuality as a “deviation” or a choice that can be modified through “will power” or supposed “therapeutic support”. 
In several countries of the Americas, there has been evidence of the continued promotion, through supposed “clinics” or individual “therapists,” of services aimed at “curing” non-heterosexual orientation, an approach known as “reparative” or “conversion therapy.”(1) Worryingly, these services are often provided not just outside the sphere of public attention but in a clandestine manner. From the perspective of professional ethics and human rights protected by regional and universal treaties and conventions such as the American Convention on Human Rights and its Additional Protocol (“Protocol of San Salvador”) (2) , they represent unjustifiable practices that should be denounced and subject to corresponding sanctions. 
 
Homosexuality as a natural and  non-pathological variation
 
Efforts aimed at changing non-heterosexual sexual orientations lack medical justification since homosexuality cannot be considered a pathological condition.(3) There is a professional consensus that homosexuality represents a natural variation of human sexuality without any intrinsically harmful effect on the health of those concerned or those close to them. In none of its individual manifestations does homosexuality constitute a disorder or an illness, and therefore it requires no cure. For this reason homosexuality was removed from the relevant systems of classification of diseases several decades ago.(4) 
 
The ineffectiveness and harmfulness of “conversion therapies”
 
Besides the lack of medical indication, there is no scientific evidence for the effectiveness of sexual reorientation efforts. While some persons manage to limit the expression of their sexual orientation in terms of conduct, the orientation itself generally appears as an integral personal characteristic that cannot be changed. At the same time, testimonies abound about harms to mental and physical health resulting from the repression of a person’s sexual orientation. In 2009, the American Psychological Association conducted a review of 83 cases of people who had been subject to “conversion” interventions.(5) Not only was it impossible to demonstrate changes in subjects’ sexual orientation, in addition the study found that the intention to change sexual orientation was linked to depression, anxiety, insomnia, feelings of guilt and shame, and even suicidal ideation and behaviors. In light of this evidence, suggesting to patients that they suffer from a “defect” and that they ought to change constitutes a violation of the first principle of medical ethics: “first, do no harm.” It affects the right to personal integrity as well as the right to health, especially in its psychological and moral dimensions.
 
Reported violations of personal integrity and other human rights
 
As an aggravating factor, “conversion therapies” have to be considered threats to the right to personal autonomy and to personal integrity. There are several testimonies from adolescents who have been subject to “reparative” interventions against their will, many times at their families’ initiative. In some cases, the victims were interned and deprived of their liberty, sometimes to the extent of being kept in isolation during several months.(6) The testimonies provide accounts of degrading treatment, extreme humiliation, physical violence, aversive conditioning through electric shock or emetic substances, and even sexual harassment and attempts of “reparative rape,” especially in the case of lesbian women. Such interventions violate the dignity and human rights of the affected persons, independently of the fact that their “therapeutic” effect is nil or even counterproductive. In these cases, the right to health has not been protected as demanded by the regional and international obligations established through the Protocol of San Salvador and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. 
 
Conclusion
 
Health professionals who offer “reparative therapies” align themselves with social prejudices and reflect a stark ignorance in matters of sexuality and sexual health. Contrary to what many people believe or assume, there is no reason – with the exception of the stigma resulting from those very prejudices – why homosexual persons should be unable to enjoy a full and satisfying life. The task of health professionals is to not cause harm and to offer support to patients to alleviate their complaints and problems, not to make these more severe. A therapist who classifies non-heterosexual patients as “deviant” not only offends them but also contributes to the aggravation of their problems. “Reparative” or “conversion therapies” have no medical indication and represent a severe threat to the health and human rights of the affected persons. They constitute unjustifiable practices that should be denounced and subject to adequate sanctions and penalties.
 
RECOMMENDATIONS
 
To governments: 
– Homophobic ill-treatment on the part of health professionals or other members of health care teams violates human rights obligations established through universal and regional treaties. Such treatment is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.
– “Reparative” or “conversion therapies” and the clinics offering them should be reported and subject to adequate sanctions.
 – Institutions offering such “treatment” at the margin of the health sector should be viewed as infringing the right to health by assuming a role properly pertaining to the health sector and by causing harm to individual and community well-being.(7) 
– Victims of homophobic ill-treatment must be treated in accordance with protocols that support them in the recovery of their dignity and self-esteem. This includes providing them treatment for physical and emotional harm and protecting their human rights, especially the right to life, personal integrity, health, and equality before the law.
 
To academic institutions: 
– Public institutions responsible for training health professionals should include courses on human sexuality and sexual health in their curricula, with a particular focus on respect for diversity and the elimination of attitudes of pathologization, rejection, and hate toward non-heterosexual persons. The participation of the latter in teaching activities contributes to the development of positive role models and to the elimination of common stereotypes about non-heterosexual communities and persons.
– The formation of support groups among faculty and within the student community contributes to reducing isolation and promoting solidarity and relationships of friendship and respect between members of these groups. Better still is the formation of sexual diversity alliances that include heterosexual persons.
– Homophobic harassment or maltreatment on the part of members of the faculty or students is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.
 
To professional associations:
– Professional associations should disseminate documents and resolutions by national and international institutions and agencies that call for the de-psychopathologization of sexual diversity and the prevention of interventions aimed at changing sexual orientation.
– Professional associations should adopt clear and defined positions regarding the protection of human dignity and should define necessary actions for the prevention and control of homophobia as a public health problem that negatively impacts the enjoyment of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.
– The application of so-called “reparative” or “conversion therapies” should be considered fraudulent and as violating the basic principles of medical ethics. Individuals or institutions offering these treatments should be subject to adequate sanctions.
 
To the media:
– The representation of non-heterosexual groups, populations, or individuals in the media should be based on personal respect, avoiding stereotypes or humor based on mockery, ill-treatment, or violations of dignity or individual or collective well-being.
– Homophobia, in any of its manifestations and expressed by any person, should be exposed as a public health problem and a threat to human dignity and human rights.
– The use of positive images of non-heterosexual persons or groups, far from promoting homosexuality (in virtue of the fact that sexual orientation cannot be changed), contributes to creating a more humane and diversity-friendly outlook, dispelling unfounded fears and promoting feelings of solidarity.
– Publicity that incites homophobic intolerance should be denounced for contributing to the aggravation of a public health problem and threats to the right to life, particularly as it contributes to chronic emotional suffering, physical violence, and hate crimes.
– Advertising by “therapists,” “care centers,” or any other agent offering services aimed at changing sexual orientation should be considered illegal and should be reported to the relevant authorities.
 
To civil society organizations:
– Civil society organizations can develop mechanisms of civil vigilance to detect violations of the human rights of non-heterosexual persons and report them to the relevant authorities. They can also help to identify and report persons and institutions involved in the administration of so-called “reparative” or “conversion therapies.”
– Existing or emerging self-help groups of relatives or friends of non-heterosexual persons can facilitate the connection to health and social services with the goal of protecting the physical and emotional integrity of illtreated individuals, in addition to reporting abuse and violence.
– Fostering respectful daily interactions between persons of different sexual orientations is enriching for everyone and promotes harmonic, constructive, salutary, and peaceful ways of living together.
__________
1  Human Rights Committee (2008). Concluding Observations on Ecuador (CCPR/C/ECU/CO/5), paragraph 12. <http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/docs/co/CCPR.C.ECU.CO.5.doc>  Human Rights Council (2011). Discriminatory Laws and Practices and Acts of Violence Against Individuals Based on Their Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (A/HRC/19/41), paragraph 56. <http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session19/AHRC-19-41_en.pdf > Human Rights Council (2011). Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health (A/HRC/14/20), paragraph 23. <http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/14session/A.HRC.14.20.pdf>  United Nations General Assembly (2001). Note by the Secretary-General on the Question of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (A/56/156), paragraph 24. <http://www.un.org/documents/ga/docs/56/a56156.pdf&gt;
2  The human rights that can be affected by these practices include, among others, the right to life, to personal integrity, to privacy, to equality before the law, to personal liberty, to health, and to benefit from scientific progress.
3  American Psychiatric Association (2000). Therapies Focused on Attempts to Change Sexual Orientation (Reparative or Conversion Therapies): Position Statement. <http://www.psych.org/Departments/EDU/Library/APAOfficialDocumentsandRelated/PositionStatements/200001.aspx&gt; Anton, B. S. (2010). “Proceedings of the American Psychological Association for the Legislative Year 2009: Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Council of Representatives and Minutes of the Meetings of the Board of Directors”. American Psychologist, 65, 385–475. <http://www.apa.org/about/governance/council/policy/sexual-orientation.pdf&gt; Just the Facts Coalition (2008). Just the Facts about Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators, and School Personnel. Washington, DC. <http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbc/publications/justthefacts.html&gt;
4  World Health Organization (1994). International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (10th Revision). Geneva, Switzerland. American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed., text revision). Washington, DC.
5  APA Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation (2009). Report of the Task Force on Appropriate Therapeutic Responses to Sexual Orientation. Washington, DC. http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/the…sponse.pdf
6  Taller de Comunicación Mujer (2008). Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos: Informe Sombra. <http://www.tcmujer.org/pdfs/Informe%20Sombra%202009%20LBT.pdf&gt; Centro de Derechos Económicos y Sociales (2005). Tribunal por los Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales de las Mujeres. <http://www.tcmujer.org/pdfs/TRIBUNAL%20DESC%20ECUADOR%20MUJERES.pdf&gt;
7  See General Comment No. 14 by the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights with regards to the obligation to respect, protect and comply with human rights obligations on the part of States parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.
__________
If you like, you can join the discussion on this post on Gay Project Forum: http://gayprojectforum.altervista.org/T-gays-and-religion

HELL AND HEAVEN OF A GAY GUY

Hello Project, I wanted to tell you that for three weeks now I feel much better and it seems to me that I can get out of the black mood. It seems incredible, but it’s happening. Project, what you did for me has never been done by anyone and it seems incredible to me that you can create similar relationships even if you don’t even know who I’m, but it happens. In the last period everything has changed for me, apparently nothing has changed but I’m the one who has changed, I feel that I have changed and I owe it to you. You know all my story and you told me that there are other guys who live and have lived similar things and then I want to tell my story to those guys because not being alone and understanding that we are not alone, for those like me, is fundamental. Project, the story is long and I took so long to write it but I think it makes sense, because in the end I’m finding my way and so I finally feel free. Project, I tell you something true: I adopted you as a father! It’s something that I missed so much and I’m discovering beautiful things! (Thanks for the good wishes, you’re the only one who has remembered it!)

THE STORY OF PAUL

My name is Paul, I was born in Milan almost 28 years ago. If I look back at my childhood and adolescence I find no time in which I can say I was I don’t say happy but not even serene. My parents never got along, from the date of their marriage and from my date of birth I deduced that I was already arriving when they got married, which would not be a problem, but I don’t look like “my father” at all, under any point of view, just as far as genetic factors are concerned, and I think I’m not even a son of the man who married my mother, but I don’t know for sure and I cannot ask for something like that.

My parents (if they really are my parents), I remember that they often screamed and made spite. They had no other children and I was the object of contention, and I had many times, even as a child, the very clear feeling that “my father” didn’t want me because he knew I was not his son. My mother literally considered me a mess and tried to entrust me to relatives and to various campsites. From the age of eight, that is, since they divorced, they put me in a boarding school for rich people. My parents are economically wealthy. But the choice to send me to boarding school was just a way to disguise the fact that their wanted to get rid of me in order to continue living their lives without me. I was just one that had nothing to do with them.

The college was in a very nice place in the [omissis] area. They came to see me once in a while, usually once every three months, once he and one she. When the teachers told me that the next day my father or my mother would come, I felt really bad and I hated them as I think I never hated anyone.

When I was a kid I did not understand these things well and felt guilty because I hated my parents while teachers told me I should love them. In practice I grew totally alone, both during the school months and during the holidays. I specify that my college was totally male and managed by priests. A hateful place where with the excuse of letting me learn the discipline I was practically relegated as in prison. You learned hypocrisy, falsehood, and even the relationships with schoolmates were just of competition and constant acting, even in private.

My schoolmates waited at least for the summer holidays, I didn’t, because I would have ended up somewhere else like a parcel post. When my mother came to my boarding school, she took me to lunch outside and thought she had done her duty. We only talked about school and she tortured me for hours because she thought it was her duty to pay me a long visit. My father at least stayed very little. Both he and she gave me expensive gifts that I systematically threw away or gave away to someone soon after they left.

Since I was 15 years old they have not given me any more presents but they have thought to give me money and many. I never took that money and they considered me an imbecile for this too. So I was in a boarding school and I didn’t have a penny in my pocket.

The school was a real torture for me. In the fifth gymnasium ( 15th grade) I was rejected which meant another year in prison, I would have gone out of college only after have turned 20! Repeating the fifth gymnasium I met a guy that I liked a lot, I didn’t even understand why.

We were in a religious college and we had a spiritual father. So I started to masturbate thinking about that guy and I felt tremendous guilt. I told the priest that I was masturbating and he didn’t take it as a tragic thing, he always made the same speech and stopped there, but I didn’t say to the priest that I felt homosexual. Once I went badly in crisis and told him that I was gay. It was a terribly wrong choice! College life has become a torture. They controlled me visually as the rotten apple. I always had a priest nearby during my free time. In a first moment I tried to repress and control myself, that is, not to masturbate anymore and even to stop thinking about that guy, but it was a real torture. I resisted even three weeks by auto-imposing not to even think about sex but then I didn’t do it anymore and I masturbated again and I said: “Enough with these absurdities! Go to the hell!”

Since then I began to tell the spiritual father only false things: that I no longer thought of the boys and that I didn’t even masturbate anymore, but I presented it step by step to make it seem credible, I was 16 and a half years old. Naturally I went to church every day, confessed false things and made communion every day. It was a sacrilegious thing, I know, religion should be a free choice, while for me it was just an instrument of torture and frankly I didn’t feel guilty, and why, then? In our college there were never any common moments with other guys in a state of freedom.

At school we did physical education but in the afternoon, there was the gym, also very nice, but there were no locker rooms, no showers. We arrived wearing sports uniform and went away wearing sports uniform. Among other things, it was generally very cold there. We each had a single room with a private bathroom and shower. So I had no chance to see the boy I was interested in if not perfectly dressed, jacket and tie of the college.

I started masturbating since the 16 and a half, but in a place like that, without the internet (considered as the devil!) And without any chance to read an uncensored book or buy a newspaper, in practice, I did everything using fantasy. I selected someone among my classmates and built on them all my fantasies. The first times, this new regime seemed acceptable and even pleasant, then I began to realize that I was throwing my best years this way. The year of the final examination, in November, I also escaped from the college, I was of age, in fact I was almost 20 years old but I didn’t have a penny in my pocket. I arrived at the station after having walked a very long way and I got on a train without paying the ticket and I locked myself in the bathroom until the arrival in Milan so that they couldn’t detect me.

In the college room I had left a letter saying that I would be back in the evening. In Milan I realized for the first time, at almost 20, that the world existed, something that was shocking for me, I was late for years. In the afternoon I newly got the train with the same technique and I came back to the boarding school. Result: they kicked me out of the college! Finally! Of course they warned my parents, who were careful not to come and see what had happened. My mother gave me some money (a telegraphic order) and I have been in a hotel since then in the town near the college.

Then my mother found me a tiny apartment there and they transferred me to the state high school. There were the girls! I had never seen one before, but I wasn’t interested in girls. But the world of the state school was completely different. The professors sometimes even talked about sex, no one forced us to go to mass, there was no spiritual father and we did physical education in a gym with locker room and showers, I couldn’t even imagine a trauma bigger than that .

You might think that in a situation like this I felt good, but it was not like that at all. I felt desperately alone, full of complexes, I had entered the locker room just once for a moment, but after I saw my naked mates I didn’t enter there anymore. They were all there joking and having fun but I just felt the heart beating at 180. The feeling of loneliness and isolation was total. I had a mini-apartment all of my own and fortunately the feeling of solitude sometimes seemed a feeling of freedom.

To prepare the exam I bought a computer and there a new world opened in front of me. Avalanches of free gay sex, but those things sickened me. A few years ago even in porn things were different, they were more vulgar, more aggressive and I didn’t like them at all. When I masturbated thinking about my schoolmates I was fine but when I tried to imagine myself in scenes like the ones I had seen on porn sites I was nauseated. In practice I saw that gay content on the net was all sex but in the most vulgar sense of the term.

I studied very little that year because I had to grow up in many other things. In the end I passed the final examination with a very low rating. But at least the school’s torture was over. I was sorry because the following year there would be no more chance to see my schoolmates naked in the locker room, what, by the way, had almost never happened, but at least there was the possibility.

I leave my apartment and I move to Milan in another apartment paid by my parents. A minimal thing. My parents lived in Milan but I would never have gone to their home, now we no longer called each other not even by phone, after my escape from the college I was considered just a blockhead and the low-grade of my diploma was the further proof of it.

I enrolled in Engineering at the Polytechnic shortly after I turned 20. So many guys and beautiful, but I was totally unable to maintain contact with them even at the minimum level, I felt embarrassed, I felt them more grown up than I was in every sense, even if my classmates had a year less than me. I had tried everything: I enrolled in the gym and then I never went there, I tried to see if it was possible to study with some of my colleagues but always went wrong, they were real geniuses, and I understood little or nothing at all.

The first year I passed a single examination with 19 [18/30 is the minimum score to pass an exam]. At least it was not 18! The second year I newly attended the same courses of the first and I passed a single exam again but with 20! I was 22 years old I was basically a failure from all points of view. Bad university results, practically between university and school, three years lost. I tried to repeat again the first year, but I could not endure it anymore.

My colleagues were three years younger than me and they understood everything, I didn’t understand anything and I didn’t study anything, I felt essentially a failure. I sent everything to ruin, I bought things to eat that went bad in the fridge, sometimes I didn’t get up from bed all day, I ate very little and lose weight dramatically. I have arrived to weigh 55 kilos, even though I am not very tall it’s anyway very few.

At the age of 23 I changed faculty and moved to Economics. The thing was more human and at the end of the year, working at terrible rhythms, I managed to do almost all the exams of the first year. At least from that point of view things started working again. I took my first degree at the age of 27! After too many years lost! I did the first year of the specialistic but of the exams that were planned I did little more than a half because I started working and I finally cut the economic cordons with my family. From this point of view, let’s say, I managed to return to the surface, but my emotional life, in practice, until recently didn’t exist at all.

Since last year I discovered Gay Project and I must say that for me it was an important thing. I read the forum every day and the guys who write there, it seems to me I almost to know them in person, a little I feel them as friends, because I don’t have gay friends. So basically until this year my sexuality was only fancy and I thought that a real contact with a guy, that is, something that gives you a strong sexual emotion I would never have tried it.

I had practically resigned myself to such a thing, resigned badly, let’s say so, because sometimes I saw some nice guys, I wanted at least to try to talk with them but I couldn’t really and I felt a sense of extreme despair. Now I work as an accountant, in practice I verify the “form 730”, “Unique” and things like that, work of low labor, but all in all I can live of my own.

At work, a 26-year-old guy arrived, rather nice, that is, I like him and he also attracts me sexually. Since I met him, it has been my only sexual fixed idea. I think all of you have gone through things like that. First you start to masturbate thinking of that guy, then it comes to your mind that you don’t know if he’s gay, well, I’ve overcome all these things, he told me he’s gay because I would never had such a courage and he also said that he likes me.

He had tried a minimum of physical contact with me but I rejected him badly, I did a kind of hysterical scene and then I ended up to cry, just an attack of despair, he was in a tremendous embarrassment and I was sorry very much because in the end I wanted him but I rejected him so violently that he got really scared and started to keep me at a distance. I could not understand why if I wanted him, and I wanted him madly, in the end I had attacked him like that.

That’s where the Project forum happened to me and I said to myself: I try, so what do I have to lose? And I called. At first a tremendous embarrassment. From what I’ve read many guys talk about sex in a very casual way but I just couldn’t.

The first time, we talked for hours but always in a very vague, and never about sex, I thought that Project was tired but no. Then I called him back, but still without talking about sex, the third time he called me, I was not expecting it and I was very happy and even the third time we didn’t talk about sex. In fact I had been looking for Project just to talk about sex and instead a very strange relationship was created which I was not really used to. A man that could be my father was talking with me for hours, he listened to me, a very strange feeling. I asked him why he was listening to me and he told me that he was at ease and in fact I was fine too, so I found the courage and told him about me, telling him a little about the story you read up to now. I also said of the anxiety that takes me when I’m with my friend and that I thought I would never be able to have a sexual contact with him.

One thing struck me: de-dramatization. Project took it for granted that it would not be a big problem and that it would be resolved soon and well. We talked about sexuality very freely. Well it was remarkable: I had no inhibitions, something that had never happened to me before when the talk ended up on sexual issues. I never thought I could talk freely with a man of that age and instead it just happened. Then in the following days, we talked often. If I have to tell the truth I felt the affection of Project, the attention to what I said and what I am.

Why did I write all this post? Well, the reason is one, yesterday, for the first time, I managed to kiss that guy. I had never experienced anything like this, just a feeling of total mutual abandonment. The time that stops and you end up to merge with another guy, a wonderful thing, let’s tell it, because of these things I’m not ashamed anymore, the excitement was such that I came to orgasm for a kiss! When I told this to Project, he told me some beautiful things. It’s true Project, being gay is a beautiful thing and makes you forget so many bad things you’ve been through. Now I consider that guy as my boyfriend, and he thinks the same! Guys! Never let anyone throw you down! I now feel like another person!

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THOMAS AND KLAUS MANN TWO HOMOSEXUALS

On November 20th, 1968, during a general audience, Pope Paul VI expressed himself so: “One forgets that man in all his spiritual being, that is, in his supreme faculties of knowing and loving, is correlative to God; is made for him; and every conquest of the human spirit increases in him the restlessness, and ignites the desire to go further, to reach the ocean of being and life, the full truth, which alone gives beatitude. Removing God as a term of research, to which man is by nature addressed, means to mortify man himself. The so-called “death of God” turns into death of man. We are not the only ones to affirm such a sad truth. Here is a testimony that has been left by a very cultured avant-garde writer and unhappy type of modern culture (Klaus Mann, son of Thomas). He wrote: “There is no hope. We intellectuals, traitors or victims, we would do well to recognize our situation as absolutely desperate. Why should we make illusions? We are lost! we are won! The voice that pronounced these words – the testimony goes on -, a voice a little veiled, but pure, harmonious and strangely suggestive, was that of a student of philosophy and literature, with whom I met by chance in the ancient university city of Uppsala. What he had to say was interesting, and it was still characteristic: I heard similar statements by intellectuals everywhere in Europe. . . And he said in a voice that was no longer certain: We should abandon ourselves to absolute despair …” Dear sons, for us no, it is not so.”

Who is Klaus Mann, the man Paul VI considers the most unhappy paradigm of modern culture? And what is the meaning of the reference made by Klaus Mann to that student met in the ancient university city of Uppsala? As mentioned by Paul VI himself, Klaus Mann is one of the sons of Thomas Mann, that is the son of one of the men who most influenced European culture in the last hundred years, but it is not about literature that I intend to speak.

The fact that Klaus is son of Thomas has enormous significance, from my point of view, because both the father and the son found themselves having to deal with their homosexuality and in front of it they gave very different answers. In the work of Thomas Mann the atmospheres are very particular and, in general, the gay reader feels immersed in a world that doesn’t seem strange to him at all. The conflict between the “serene” bourgeois world where everything is codified and ordered and the appeal of art that has anyway the charm of the abyss, often emerges. This conflict in “Death in Venice” reveals itself, out of metaphor, as the conflict between heterosexuality and homosexuality.

Thomas Mann, born in 1875 in Lübeck, when he was a high school student, confessed his feelings to a friend who didn’t share them because he simply couldn’t share them. That experience constituted the first falling in love of Thomas Mann. One gets the impression that the image of that high school mate often returns within Mann’s work. But Mann experienced a much more engaging falling in love with Paul Ehrenberg, a young violinist and impressionist painter a year younger than him. Between 1899 and 1903, according to the diaries and letters of Thomas Mann, falling in love became a real infatuation, which led to an intense relationship between the two guys. A painting by Ehrenberg entitled “Die Hetzjagd” (the hunt) hung for some time in the room of Thomas Mann. In those years, from a set of memories of family life written by Thomas for Paul Ehrenberg, who lived in Munich, the drafting of “The Buddenbrooks” began.

Both the character of Hans Hansen of “Tonio Kröger” (1903) and the character of the painter in the novel “The hungry men” (1903) and that of Rudolf ‘Rudi’ Schwerdtfeger, also a violinist and an object of homosexual interest in the “Doctor Faustus” clearly refer to Paul Ehrenberg. In the case of Tonio Kröger the analogies become very strong because in Munich, where he used to meet Ehrenberg, Mann saw by chance for the first time a twenty year old girl who was talking animatedly with the tram ticket collector, he tried to know who she was, he was told that she was Katia Pringsheim, a student of mathematics, physics and chemistry, daughter of the great mathematician Alfred Israel Pringsheim, a university professor very rich and of Jewish family, who lived in a grand palace the most beautiful life that a high bourgeois could dream of. The professor Pringsheim was not an observant Jew, and he let his sons follow Lutheranism but it was not enough to save his family from Nazi persecution. Mann, through friends, managed to get introduced to Pringsheim and “fell in love” (I’ll explain later why I put this word in quotation marks) with Katia but she wished to enjoy her youth and was not willing to marry and nothing followed.

Mann left for Denmark where he wrote the Tonio Kröger, in which Tonio falls deeply in love with both his school friend Hans Hansen and the young girl Ingeborg Holm, both had blue eyes, light hair and a distinctly Nordic appearance. The strength of Tonio Kröger derives from the fact that it is a substantially autobiographical novel in which the true passions of the young Mann are transfused. It should be emphasized that Tonio is identified as “a different one”, in this case for artistic reasons, that is, as someone who cannot enjoy what others enjoy. In Denmark Mann not only wrote the Tonio Kröger but also wrote letters to Katia Pringsheim that convinced the girl to agree to the wedding, celebrated on February 11th, 1905. It was a “happy” wedding, here too I have to put the term happy in quotation marks, six children were born. However, many doubts remain in considering this marriage as the outcome of a love story.

In his essay “On marriage – toast to Katia” Mann argues that marriage and art are both a bourgeois service to life, an ethical pact and a sacrament, because it is precisely through art and marriage that the spirit arrives to dominate on matter, on flesh and blood. It should be noted that shortly before the marriage Mann had lived with Ehrenberg a very strong relationship and it was not a sublimated relationship, such as the one described in Tonio Kröger, but a sexual relationship that decades later Mann himself will consider the fundamental emotional experience of his life with unequivocal words: “I lived and loved, . . . finally, with a new happiness, because I held in my arms someone I was deeply in love with”, but, it must be underlined, these evaluations of the relationship with Ehrenberg have matured in Mann several decades after their relationship.

At the time of their relationship, Mann’s attitude was radically different and was dominated by a kind of self-denial as a homosexual and by the condemnation of “abnormality”. In practice Mann condemned himself to marriage to try to remove from himself the homosexual passion he had lived deeply with Ehrenberg. Thomas’s brother, Heinrich, who also claimed that Thomas’s relationship with Ehrenberg was madness and insisted that his brother get married soon, suspected that the marriage had been accepted by Thomas for reasons of social opportunity, of course it is that the social position of his father-in-law undoubtedly favored Thomas.

Some, given the existences of marriage, have tried to talk about a bisexuality of Thomas Mann but the reality would rather make us think of an escape from homosexuality to a bourgeois paradise much more reassuring. The poor Ehrenberg had no choice but to follow the path of marriage, too, and ended up marrying the painter Lilly Teufel. Mann, after the wedding, wrote “Royal Highness”, the story is set in the Grand Duchy of Grimmburg, a tiny imaginary state, reduced to situations of economic hardship, and the protagonist is the second son of the Grand Duke who is forced to marry a rich heiress to raise the fate of the state. The contrast between “Royal Highness” and “Tonio Kröger” could not be more jarring. Thomas Mann had six children from Katia, the first two were admittedly homosexual, the eldest Erika, born in Munich on November 9th 1905, married on July 25th 1926, not yet twenty-one years old, with Gustaf Gründgens, but in 1929 divorced. Erika, a declared lesbian, had her first relationship in 1932 with Pamela Wedekind, whom she met in Berlin and who was engaged to her brother Klaus, who was also a homosexual.

We known, in successive periods, at least three other important and sexually passionate lesbian relationships of Erika Mann, on whose sexual orientation there was never any doubt. Her father Thomas had a very positive attitude towards women with whom his daughter had a love affair, but he didn’t show the same openness towards his son Klaus. The attitudes of Klaus and his father towards homosexuality were radically antithetical and this didn’t encourage dialogue between them. I don’t elaborate the discourse on Klaus Mann’s homosexuality here, because I will take it analytically again after concluding that on his father.

Even after the marriage Mann didn’t abandon the homosexual topic and in 1912 he published “Death in Venice” which was the basis of the homonymous film by Luchino Visconti of 1971 and of the homonymous 1973 melodrama by Benjamin Britten. Needless to say, both Visconti and Britten were homosexuals. The story is imbued with a tragic spirit. Gustav von Aschenbach, a fifty-year-old man who dedicated his whole life to art, after remaining a widower, went to Venice and in the grand Hotel des Bains in the Lido island, was struck by the beauty of a Polish boy aged more or less 14, Tadzio, sailor suit, stayed in the Hotel with all his family. On the boy Aschenbach builds a thousand arguments apparently related to his conception of art, while he observes the boy trying not to be discovered. But it’s too hot and in Venice cholera breaks out, the authorities minimize but Aschenbach realizes that the danger is real, he should warn the family of that boy but he doesn’t because he doesn’t want to see him leave, in the meantime, from an exchange of looks Aschenbach is led to believe that the boy shares his feelings, the presence of Tadzio becomes obsessive in Aschenbach’s mind who comes to realize that his interest is a sexual interest and that the art plan is just a fictional overlap. Aschenbach weakened and sickly sees Tadzio play with friends and then raise an arm almost to greet him, that will be the last image of Tadzio that will accompany the last breath of the man who had hiddenly loved him. The novel has its undeniable tragic power, but the association between homosexuality and death seems to be a too emphasized theorem.

Mann’s difficulty in accepting his homosexuality was also found in 1925 when Thomas wrote a small essay entitled “On Marriage”. In this little work Mann opposes marriage (obviously heterosexual) to homosexuality as if they were the only two possible options. And his position against homosexuality appears very clear, I would say far too sharp to appear credible. In 1927, when Mann was 52, during a holiday in Silt, he met the then 17-year-old Klaus Heuser and invited him to his villa in Munich. The one for Klaus Heuser was probably the last great passion of Mann, but always very restrained. When Heuser went to see Mann in Zurich in 1935, Mann noted in his diary: “He has not changed at all or just a little: skinny, still a boy at twenty-four, the same eyes. I kept looking at him and saying ‘My God!’ … He expected me to kiss him but I didn’t, but before he left I was able to say a few words of love to him.”

I come now to a critical moment, not only for the life of Thomas Mann and his sons but for the whole of Germany and unfortunately also for the whole of Europe and not only for it. The elections of May 1928 had brought to the Reichstag 12 National Socialist deputies, but already in the 1930 elections the National Socialist party of Hitler had passed to 107 deputies. In the 1932 elections Hitlerian deputies rose to 230 out of 608 seats in total and the National Socialist party became the first party in Germany. Hitler ran for the presidential elections of January 1933. In the elections, Hindenburg, a hero of the First World War, outgoing president, appeared the only candidate able to stop the rise of Hitler and was supported by a coalition that went from the nationalists to the Social Democrats. Hindenburg again won the presidency with 53% of the votes against 37% of Hitler, who was appointed Chancellor on January 30th, leading a coalition of parties (Nazis and German-national popular party), but a few days later, in the elections of March 5th 1933, the climate had radically changed. It was voted in the week when the Reichstag building was burned (February 27th 1933).

Marinus van der Lubbe, a 24-year-old Dutch communist, blamed for the fire, was beheaded for this reason on January 10th 1934. The majority of historians agrees that the fire had been organized for political purposes by Nazi leaders, the evidences in this sense are many and were collected from independent sources. The Reichstag fire became a pretext to banish an anti-Bolshevik crusade against democratic parties. The fact is that Hiltler convinced Hindenburg to issue the so-called “Reichstag decree” on the same day of February 27th 1933, on February 28th the decree became law and most of the rights guaranteed by the Weimar Constitution were suspended for emergency reasons. In this climate, the elections for the renewal of the Reichstag were held on March 5th. The leaders of the Social Democratic Party were forced to flee. Despite an endless series of threats and intimidation, the Nazis didn’t obtain the absolute majority. Hitler was therefore forced to maintain an alliance with the German-national popular party. Hitler aimed not at a coalition majority but at obtaining the so-called “decree of full powers”, i.e. a legislative power independent of the Raichstag, to pass the decree of full powers a majority of 2/3 of the Reischstag was needed. On March 23th the decree was approved with the support of the Catholic Center and with the only Social Democrats voting against, and entered into force on March 27th. Many social democrats were physically prevented from entering Parliament while all the communist deputies, who constituted 17% of Parliament, had been arrested.

Given this historical picture, one wonders what was the position of Thomas Mann and his sons. If one considers that in 1929 Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature it is easy to understand that his position would not have been indifferent to the Nazis. In January 1933 Mann held a public lecture at the University of Munich on the theme “Pain and Greatness of Richard Wagner” in which he effectively denied the links between Nazism and Wagnerian art, the Nazis present in the hall gave signs of nervousness because Mann represented a voice openly out of the chorus, just in the critical moments of Hitler’s assault on power. Mann realized the danger, especially since his wife’s family was of Jewish origin, and he immediately moved to Switzerland and then to the United States, and a group of German anti-Nazi exiles gathered around him.

I limit myself to remembering that from 1940 to the end of the war Thomas Mann recorded a long series of speeches in German that were broadcast by Radio London to be heard in Germany. In these speeches Mann is the first to refer to the extermination of Jews in the gas chambers, the report of crimes perpetrated by the Nazis is documented and there is a very clear attempt to awaken the consciences of the Germans by making them aware of the atrocities that Hitler’s propaganda had systematically hidden. There is no doubt that Mann was one of the very few and tenacious “German” animators of anti-Nazism. Immediately after the surrender of Germany on May 8th 1945, Thomas Mann will read in German on the radio the radio message titled “The lagers” announcing the destruction of the culture and life of Germany and making the Germans understand how the horror of the extermination camps had shamefully destroyed the image of Germany in Europe, Mann argues that this is a sin against the German spirit that cannot be forgiven.

If already in 1945 Europe began to make a difference between German and Nazi, this is due to the few characters who behaved like Thomas Mann. But one thing should be stressed, Thomas Mann did not make choices of convenience but of conscience, and when in 1952, the most ferocious “McCarthyism” spread in the United States, a sort of witch hunt against the Communists or presumed such, wanted by the Republican Senator Mc Carthy assisted by two young men who would have had considerable weight in the history of the USA as Richard Nixon and Robert Kennedy, Thomas Mann became indignant and abandoned the United States as the greatest foreign intellectuals did, for example Charlie Chaplin and his wife Oona O’Neil. Even if the discourse would deserve much further study, let’s leave aside Thomas Mann and take care of his son, whom Paul VI presents as the unhappy paradigm of modern culture.

Klaus Henry Mann, second son of Thomas was born in Munich on November 18th 1906. From the age of 19, in 1925, with the publication of his first novel “The sacred dance”, an autobiographical book of a unique and disarming sincerity in which he portrays the life of the gay Berlin of the 20s, he declared himself homosexual. In the same year “Anja e Ester” also came out, a very delicate love story between two girls. If you think that the pretext for the murderer of Ernst Röhm and the top of the SA by Hitler in 1934 was just homosexuality, it is understood that in 1933, with Hitler’s coming to power, the situation of Klaus became particularly dangerous and Klaus followed without hesitation his father in exile.

He was a sensitive and fragile 26-year-old guy, but he was one of the most tenacious and courageous adversaries of Nazism. His liberalism was guided by great ideals, it was, in essence, a faith that in some respects recalled certain aspects of socialism. Fascinated by the Christian ideal, Klaus had deep friendships in every social and cultural level. He himself tells us with the utmost seriousness of fleeting loves with some sailors from the port of Marseilles. He loved without being returned the surrealist writer René Crevel and later had a history of a few years with an American journalist Thomas Quinn Curtiss. He became a fraternal friend with the lesbian writer Annemarie Schwarzenbach, with André Gide, Nobel Prize for Literature in 1947, and Jean Cocteau, a French academic, author of novels, theater and film director. Both Gide and Cocteau were explicitly homosexual. A work by Klaus Mann is particularly well-known to the general public due to its film reworking, which won the Oscar in 1980, and is “Mephisto or the story of a career”, in which Klaus describes the story of his former brother-in-law, the actor Gustaf Gründgens, who had divorced his sister Erika in 1929, and had sold his soul to the devil in order to make a career in the Nazi regime. Obviously Gründgens didn’t like the publication of the work at all. The adoptive son of Gründgens, in the 1960s, turned to the court and after seven years of legal battles he succeeded in obtaining from the German Supreme Court that the book was not reprinted, but after his death the book was printed again.

In 1934 Klaus published an article titled “Homosexuality and Fascism” for a Prague magazine and composed a fictional biography of Piotr Illich Cajcovskij, also a homosexual. In 1937 he published “Window with bars” on the last days of Ludwig of Bavaria, the homosexual king who hated war and loved art. A film will be drawn from the book by Luchino Visconti, “Ludwig”, in 1972.

Just before the war, in America, Klaus lives poor and alone, tries suicide but then reacts and when the United States enter the war he enlists and enters the military department of the Ritchie Boys, a special group made up of Jews and German refugees, particularly trained in psychological warfare who are very motivated and know perfectly the German mentality. In 1942 the American soldier Klaus Henry Mann was added to the Fifth Army that would fight in Africa and in Italy, before departure Klaus Mann asks to have an interview with a Catholic military chaplain because he intends to convert to Catholicism abandoning Lutheranism, as it is clear from the letters (“Briefe und Antworten” Letters and Answers). It seems that the meeting actually took place but that the chaplain refused the conversion, probably because of Klaus’ homosexuality.

In Italy Klaus is employed as a war reporter following the Fifth Army, he works with Rossellini as a screenwriter of “Paisà”, after the war he goes in person to visit the horrors of the Nazi extermination camps. Intoxicated by drugs, in 1949 he goes to Cennes to detoxify himself. On May 20th, after walking for a long time in the rain, waiting for a certain Luois, he swallows a massive dose of barbiturates and on May 21th he dies at the age of 42. He was accused of everything, even of being a spy of Stalin but he remains a character of the highest nobility of mind for anyone with the ability to understand it, but Paul VI, in calling him the model of the desperate intellectual of the ‘900 that in the death of God had condemned to death the man behaved towards him exactly as the Catholic chaplain who had refused his conversion.

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OR CHRISTIAN OR GAY

I am very reluctant to write this story because it touches very delicate issues. The facts are told in a very short diary of which a person I know made me have photocopies, I asked the phone number of the author of that diary and they gave it to me, I called him, he knew me only by interposed persons, because he had heard about me and my blogs, but he said I could use that material but he asked me to do it with extreme caution, and that’s what I will do.

The diary in some places presents true dramatic tones. I rewrote the story, (in the first person) summarizing it and, as usual, trying to respect its spirit. I emphasize that what you will find below is absolutely not my personal point of view.

“My story is a very particular story, it is the story of a very intense and very short but essentially impossible gay love, impossible because denied, suffocated in the bud. All this took place over 25 days, I counted them one by one.

I am 23 years old and he, Mark, 19, we met at university, he was enrolled in the first year, I was about to finish letters. It was late afternoon, after classes, he asked me about the institute of glottology, I tried to explain everything and it started like that, then we kept talking and he was fine, he was hesitant but he was happy to be with me. I didn’t know him at all, he was a handsome guy, but I also liked him from other points of view, he was straightforward, authentic, he did not play, that evening I would never go away. I didn’t even think to tell him I was just fine, I had no second purposes, in fact I often talk to some guy, but just because I’m there and I must pass five minutes. I felt bigger than Marco, more mature, somewhat protective.

The next day he looked for me in my classroom and I took him home, a very long and pleasant trip. In the following days I noticed that between us a strong relationship was creating and I didn’t know how to behave, with me Mark talked about everything but never of girls or sex. If I wanted to be honest, at the cost of losing him, I had to tell him exactly how things were. I did it. Marco was deeply troubled because he wanted to be my friend, but not that way, he told me it right away, but he didn’t know if he would ever succeed.

At first I simply thought that being like an object of love of a gay guy was not an acceptable for him, but the problem was not that. I understood it a minute later because he himself told me in an effort of sincerity that must have cost him blood, he told me: “I cannot share your feeling because I am Christian”, but from this sentence I still couldn’t understand what he was really telling me, I simply told him: “I didn’t understand …” And he replied, winning a very strong embarrassment and without looking at me: “I am gay but I am a Christian and I want to live chastely … and being close to you it would be much more difficult.”

I was shocked by this explicit statement, but he is like that, he is not really capable of cheating anyone, ever! Then he told me: “it’s a battle with myself but I have to win it, it may seem absurd to you but for me it’s essential.” I didn’t know how to behave, whether to do all my usual talk about religion or avoid. I said nothing, took it as a form of respect and he didn’t run away, when we saw each other he was happy but always with a sense of underlying guilt. I let him talk about it, I was hoping very much that he could also understand things from my point of view, then we also talked about religion. For him it was an essential thing, He tried in every way and with the utmost commitment to do things honestly. He was not bigoted, he was not invasive, no! He had taken it 100% seriously.

I have not been to churches since I realized I was gay, in practice since I was a kid, but I read some gospel pages willingly, the closures that the Pope has on gays seem to me absolutely immoral but I don’t think at all that religion is a stupid thing.

Mark realized that I had a certain respect for these things and was happy with him, but he never spoke to me about the problem of religion and gays. The twenty-fourth day, one Saturday, he asked me something very strange, he asked me to accompany him to church the next day … I told him that I would certainly come. Sunday was a particular Sunday and there was a bishop who was supposed to confirm more or less twenty guys.

Marco and I have entered. I would have stopped at the bottom, but Marco wanted me to go further with him and we went to a desk about halfway up the church. The bishop entered for the mass, a thin, tall, old man. The guys were singing, the church was full of people, there was a nice atmosphere. Then the bishop made his speech e he said some very beautiful things, which moved me, on the fact that we are all brothers and that loving our neighbor is difficult. In practice there was not a single word of the bishop’s preaching that I would not have said identical. They seemed like beautiful things, 100% shareable, then we exchanged peace, but it did not have the ritual flavor it usually has, it was serious.

He got up and went to confession on the way back he knelt right next to me, then he went to make communion, he was happy as I had never seen him. When we left the church we talked for a quarter of an hour and he told me that he wanted to be a priest but that now he would have problems in the seminary, before deciding he had to be sure he could take it all the way without hesitation, he explained to me that he would first have to solve the problem of homosexuality and that if I loved him I really had to help him by not looking for him anymore.

I think nobody can imagine what I felt in those moments, I was upset, I didn’t know what to say, he asked me to say goodbye forever and I respected his decision, I told him that I would love him always and however, he replied that he knew this and that he too would not forget me but that his path was different.

It’s been a week now and I have not heard from him. Now I feel sick inside, I feel lonely, I feel lonely and I think I was a coward, I didn’t do what I should, I think I only respected his words and not his soul, that I did him go for what he told me to be his way but that maybe it’s not really his way, because he chose that choice in a dramatic way, because he was split in two, because to save his soul he had to destroy himself. What makes me feel bad is that if he had to repent of his choice he would have no one willing to listen to him. I absurdly followed him in choosing the path that led him permanently away from me, but if he wanted to go back, no one would help him and I think that sooner or later he can go into crisis. The sense of despair comes to me not only for me but above all for him and I feel guilty and I think that my behavior was hypocritical because respecting a person means always telling everything you think and I didn’t do it with him.”

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