David Morrison’s Book, Beyond Gay

David Morrison had been a gay activist for several years, and had fought against traditional Roman Catholic teaching on homosexuality (CCC 2357-2359) while defending gay rights. For many of Morrison’s years, the Catholic faith was the enemy.

But over time Morrison was drawn to the person of Jesus Christ in a way that he never could have anticipated due to a sense of spiritual emptiness. He wrote:

I remember that when I was still sexually active this apparent dichotomy puzzled me. I knew I loved my partner on a number of different levels. I knew I found him a sexy and passionate bedmate. I knew our sex could reach real heights of emotion and desire. But then, whether passionate or merely sleepy, when the sexual act was done and all that remained was the wiping up afterward, I couldn’t understand whey there seemed to be such a letdown. Why did I feel so empty? Only later did I recognize that I felt so empty because the act had no meaning in the deepest parts of myself. There can be no real communion in same-sex acts, no deepest love, I have come to realize; only the experience of children playing with people they have made into toys.

David Morrison, Beyond Gay, Our Sunday Visitor, 1999, pg. 153, ISBN 0-87973-690-9.

David Morrison’s story is not that of a self-hating gay man who tried to go straight, but of a man like any other with a spiritual hunger that could only be met by Jesus Christ, true God and true Man. Morrison followed that hunger for the love of Jesus where it led him, and thereby came to more deeply understand himself and others.

Morrison did not deny his same-sex attraction and did not attempt to be “cured” of it, but grew in spiritual and intellectual understanding and depth as he searched and came to know Jesus, who led him to the Catholic faith.

Morrison took a path that many think they can’t take, that of a life of chastity, which he astutely differentiated from a life of celibacy (CCC 1579-1580). He joined the Catholic group, Courage, and continues to share his story.

Morrison’s journey also included the death of many of his friends from HIV, guidance from a kind Protestant pastor, and the love of a Christian family with small children, whereby Morrison gained the experience of what I call “re-parenting,” the process of gaining insight into one’s own development by parenting or observing the parenting of children over the course of the children’s development.

Morrison’s 1999 book, Beyond Gay, is eloquently and insightfully written. While not matching the consistent heights of St. Augustine’s Confessions, Beyond Gay nevertheless does have similar moments. Beyond Gay is a beautifully-crafted tale of a personal search for Jesus, and how Jesus led the searcher to Catholicism.

Morrison confronted the meaning of the very direct language of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on homosexuality (CCC 2357-2359), and for Morrison this language paradoxically revealed truths about creation and his own place as part of God’s family, of the Catholic Church, and of the wider human family.

The Catholic teaching on homosexuality is generally a shock, if not an insult, to young, same-sex attracted men or women. Catholic teaching is heard as a big “No” to same-sex sexual intimacy, to same-sex adoption, and to same-sex marriage.

Like many Catholic moral teachings, the Church’s teaching on homosexuality is more often accepted after mature reflection based upon life experience than upon youthful enthusiasm.

But Catholic teaching on human sexuality requires all who seek to live the faith, whether LGBTQ or not, to radically commit to a way of thinking and acting on human sexual practice that is fundamentally different from postmodern hedonism. To live as a faithful Catholic requires much more that praying St. Augustine’s youthful prayer, “Lord, give me chastity, but not yet.”

Courage is not as popular in some cities as is DignityUSA for the very reason that Courage fully accepts Catholic teaching and challenges LGBTQ men and women to live in chastity.

Throughout his book, Morrison confronts the lack of charity and understanding on the part of some Catholics toward LGBTQ persons. But he also confronts those, like the Dignity of the 1980s and 1990s, who sold Catholic teaching rather short.

Many now attack Catholic teaching on sexual life using the arguments of human rights. The Catholic teaching on sexuality is often the road not taken for this reason. But for those who have tried same-sex sexual relationships (or any sexual relationships) and who have felt the same spiritual hunger that Morrison described, Morrison’s book is a good start.

Morrison’s book is also a useful resource for Christian and Catholic parents of LGBTQ children who sometimes are confronted by a well-choreographed intervention at the time their children come out and declare their sexual orientation. In the end, many of these parents do not want their children to be lonely throughout their lives, and see no other alternative for them than the LGBTQ lifestyle in the postmodern mode, and even themselves as parents adopt much of the postmodern LGBTQ ideology. But Morrison directly confronts this question, among many other tough questions, and argues that a life of chastity in Christian community is in the end more spiritually fulfilling even than the alternative of a committed, completely monogamous same-sex relationship without full unity with Christ. Morrison learned that sexual intimacy without intimacy with God is for the Christian a form of slavery.

Morrison came to frame the meaning of his own sexuality within a wider theology and anthropology of all human sexuality, not within the narrow LBGTQ band.

All Catholic Christians are called by Christ to “enter through the Narrow Gate” (Matthew 7:13-14). While this road is narrow, the burden of Jesus is “light” (Matthew 11:28-30). One strong lesson from David Morrison’s book is that this gate should not be entered, this burden should not be undertaken, alone. The love of good Christians, of Courage, of other Catholics, and of people of good will helped David Morrison find a home in the Catholic faith.

To those young LGBTQ young adults who hate the Catholic faith, the story above may not satisfy their hurt and rage, like the young David Morrison’s hurt and rage, at the Church that always seems to say no to them. But by searching for Christ the true God and true Man, and by letting Christ find him, David Morrison reported finding wholeness as a man loved by God in, of all places, the Roman Catholic faith.

For more on what the Catholic faith really teaches on the meaning of sexual intimacy in creation, please see the original lectures given by John Paul II now called the “Theology of the Body,” also available in book form.

Please see my earlier writings on LGBTQ topics.

© Copyright 2012, Albert J. Schorsch, III
All Rights Reserved


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2 Responses to “David Morrison’s Book, Beyond Gay”

  1. Fr. John T. Farrell says:

    Very odd and self-hating message, one that poor David Morrison has been preaching for twenty years. While he may have a point that marriage sacramentally enshrines the act of creation, he ignores the joy that gays couples find in mutual comfort and support and in sexual relations as an expression of love and intimacy. In defending his own paucity of emotion and his hatred of self and sex, he attempts to apply his pathetic standards of Roman homophobia to all gay couples. And one question: no one I know has ever heard of a former “gay activist” named David Morrison. It’s about he published his resume or we’ll assume his claim as an obvious and self-serving canard, like so much of what he writes and claims.

  2. Fr. John,

    It is not self-hate, nor is it necessarily a rejection of love and intimacy, to seek a greater love than that which can be found in sexual intimacy and comfort.

    In Christ,

    Albert Schorsch, III

    © Copyright 2014, Albert J. Schorsch, III
    All Rights Reserved

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