If there is one thing that all men desire, it’s happiness. We all try to do what we think will lead us to live better, although in different ways. But the road to happiness resembles an obstacle course; it is full of pitfalls: occasionally something or someone pops up that offers to lead us directly to the goal but instead only wastes our time or causes us to have to go back and restart.
The more we seek true happiness, the more we come to understand that being happy is not a simple undertaking... It is not enough to follow one's instincts. One must be willing to ask questions and seek answers, to learn from mistakes, to say yes or no that require a sacrifice. But even before all this, we have to accept the "emptiness" that we feel. We must look at the black hole of unhappiness because only by acknowledging its existence, will we look for a way to remedy it.
Happiness in a counter-current choice
It was just like this – rough and painful - the path to happiness for Daniel C. Mattson, who in his book Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay: How I Reclaimed My Sexual Reality And Found Peace , 2018, Publisher Ignatius Press, tells how, after years of suffering, he found serenity in recognizing the objectivity of his sexual identity and living accordingly, regenerated from the discovery of the value of chastity.
In telling Dan’s story, we do not want to offend those who have decided to live in another way. We only believe that to freely choose something, it is necessary to know that alternatives also exist. An authentic pluralism admits that there are different ways and true freedom consists in consciously choosing what is right, not what seems inevitable.
Dan’s story and meeting with “The Courages”
Dan has become accustomed to the use of pornography since he was a child. He soon understood that a sexuality lived only as “consumption” does not lead to happiness, but rather to a closing in of oneself. Still, he does not have the strength to get free himself of it. Attracted to people of his own sex, as an adult he comes to have purely sexual relationships with men, which makes him feel tremendously lonely and sad. Thus, he understands that he wants someone to walk with in life. He falls in love with a man and the two begin a relationship. Dan thinks he is happy with his companion, although he feels inside his heart that he yearns for a greater and deeper joy.
The relationship, however, is quite strong, so much so that he thinks of talking about it with his family. Suddenly, however, a woman arrives in his life and he ends up falling deeply in love with her. With her, Dan feels something new. He feels complete. Between them there is a great understanding and, the two are nearly to be married. Everything seems to be going well, when the woman tells him she does not want children. At that moment, the world falls on him: Dan cannot conceive the idea of marriage without children and so, after a moment of reflection, they two share a tearful farewell.
Dan sinks into desolation. He is confused and lost. He still is not clear about who he is and what he wants. His sexual identity is blurred and, in that dark period, he meets the Catholic Courage movement, which supports people with a homosexual tendency in the discovery of themselves and of God, without judging them or mocking them, avoiding forcing upon them impositions and carelessness.
The proposed path, in line with the Doctrine of the Catholic Church, starts from the recognition of a reality: there are only two sexes, we are born either male or female, and the family is born from the spousal union of a man and a woman. For most, it’s a “retrograde” position, for others it’s absolutely revolutionary – as it is based essentially on biological data – since our society sees in the possibility of self-defining one's own sex a form of emancipation and in the attraction or in the desire to be together (and not, certainly, in sexual difference) the basic elements of the family.
To follow one's desires indistinctly, seems to be a dogma (and excludes, in fact, any other option, rejected as offensive or detrimental to freedom): any passion is considered good and healthy for the simple fact of having manifested itself.
To propose does not mean to discriminate
So, in a society that considers a form of violence, arrogance, or discrimination to affirm that human beings exist objectively as males and females and that the family is born from their fusion, is indeed daring – and certainly frowned upon – the Courage movement’s initiative. And, we might think, although little followed: in a world that praises the goal of sexual liberalization and the extinction of limits and boundaries in this area, why must a person with homosexual tendencies go this route? To be told to do something that does not feel instinctive and natural?
Yet, Dan is very attracted to these people and intrigued. He approaches them, without prejudice, because they are the first to not have these prejudices, to not judge him for his tendencies, and to welcome him regardless of his lifestyle.
And Dan feels neither blamed nor offended by the radical proposal to rediscover his identity from an objective biological basis. Accepting the suggested path, recognizing in that proposal a truth, from which he will say that he felt freed, living in chastity, or rather having a relationship of friendship and brotherhood with other men – even if they are attracted –, Dan will begin to feel good about himself.
Chastity versus a trend: it can be a free choice
But why tell stories like Dan's? Because in our world that is too democratic and tolerant to impose a singular way of thinking about love and family, dialogue – in the true sense of the term – about these issues and offering different points of view is an act of heroism that, no doubt, is still worth doing, simply to not give up the wealth of healthy pluralism.
Without offending anyone, it seemed like a good idea to us to tell the experience of a person who, in a choice that goes against the tide and “politically correctness,” says he has found happiness.
Dan did not know the option of chastity, did not take into consideration the idea of starting from an objective reality, but when he discovers that it is possible, he chooses to do so freely. And he decided to “write the book he would have liked to have read at age 19.”
Is it an isolated case, that of Dan? Many testimonies say no, indeed , they show that many have made a similar journey and found serenity like he did.
The concreteness of life beats every abstraction
When we talk about homosexuality, we run many risks. Maybe we pose as scientists, without really knowing what we’re talking about. Or we make empty arguments, without letting ourselves be challenged by the complexity of life.
Then there are those who offend or denigrate, who excludes a friend or even condemns his own son because he has declared himself having this homosexual tendency; there are those who propose easy solutions (“Follow your heart,” “Do what you feel,” “If you want something, then it is definitely the right thing”) without taking into account that we are not always projected towards our true good (and that applies to everyone, not for one category of people rather than another). And then there are those who “dictate” the rules and regulations, those who treat people as blank sheets on which to print their decrees, forgetting that each of us, to find himself, needs other people’s presence and support. And then there are those who are always talking about “respect,” but use this word improperly because what they offer is rather comfortable indifference.
In fact, unfortunately, few get past the stages and slogans to get into reality, diving into concrete needs. Few people really wonder what brings true happiness to the other.