Reviewed by Alex Gomez
Never in a million years would I have expected that the confessions of a gay married priest would turn me on. After reading this book, I was turned on. I’m not sure if that’s a testament to my gayness or my Catholicism. It could be either or, because, throughout the course of my life I’ve affiliated myself with both groups, only to back off and change my mind, at one point or another.
I will never forget my Canadian friend Lana remarking, after I had told her that I was no longer gay, “Does that mean we can’t call you gay Alex anymore?”
Basically the reasons I decided I couldn’t be gay anymore were because I did not want to be held accountable for the behaviour, attitudes and forms of speech of the gay men around me (and they were always all around me, no matter where I happened to be). I did not want to be associated with a group I felt I had little common with, except a somewhat similar sexual interest in men.
Now that I look back on my lapsed Catholicism, I can see why, after moving to Canada from Mexico with my mother and siblings, I did not want to proceed with my first Communion, which I most certainly would have done if we’d stayed in Mexico with my father. I felt I was being asked to become hypocritical, I suspected by then that I was gay, although I wasn’t sure. I suspected my parents of certain anti-religious crimes and I did not want them to go to hell. Of course I too was terrified by the notion of hell. And just how was I expected to accept an old, mean, highly judgmental God and his Immortal Son as my Saviours, when I already had a completely different kind of salvation in mind?
Maurice’s book turned me on in different ways; intellectually, spiritually and last but not least, physically and sexually. Intellectually, in his description of the time he spent in Brazil and South America, his exploration of Liberation Theology, his own scholarly endeavours and published books. Spiritually, in his struggle to maintain his Church-mandated faith and homosexuality side by side. His understanding that it really didn’t matter to his god which one he chose to live with, that the decision was entirely up to him.
Physically and sexually, in his brief references to gay sex, especially with his spouse Jeff, and his very oblique reference to Jeff Sryker’s ass.
This book took me on a journey through someone else’s life, but I saw in it many aspects of my own life. It taught me many things about Catholicism that I didn’t know, and wasn’t particularly interested in, after I rejected it. The most important thing I was taught was this: God is not a homophobe.