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would strike me dead-on-the-spot for the horrible thing I'd

just done. I'd get really scared. Seminarians were afraid to

even discuss sex. It was unmanly, unholy, displeasing to

God. Anyway , we couldn't participate in sex nor have

sexual feelings. Our model to emulate was the golden rule

of purity, chastity, asexuality .

The seminary authorities did attempt to make sexual

repression and sublimation easier, however, by forced

participation in sports, weekly confession, bi-weekly spiri–

tual conferences with a spiritual director chosen for you,

not by you, and daily spiritual readings. It may sound

ridiculous but it even worked for a while. I succeeded in

becoming a well-disciplined, introverted and inhibited, very

unhappy person. In other words, I was the model

seminarian.

Because I couldn't identify with the pro-football star,

the successful businessman, or the cop on the beat, I looked

for other models to imitate. And the seminary provided

them. The church instructed seminarians to follow the

examples of the saints who unselfishly dedicated their lives

to God. I could identify with Francis of Assisi who lived

the contemplative life and seemed at peace with himself.

But then I wondered about St. Tarcissus, a youth whose

mission was to carry the Blessed Sacrament to a place of

safety in a town under siege. Piously, he ran about with his

hands around his breast while his friends were playing ball.'

They'd mock and tease him but determinedly he ignored

their jeers. His bu.ddies must have called him a sissy. Mine

did. I bet he was unhappy, too. Perhaps a bit Gay. The

examples I was to imitate must have been just as repressed

and frustrated as I was. Tarcissus sure must have been.

S

omewhere in my high school days I was called a

sissy quite frequently. It wasn't because kids had

suspicions that I was Gay but that I wasn't like

them. I went to Quigley, the place "where all the

sissies go." I didn't play sports much or very well, didn't go

on dates, didn't talk about the girls I'd like to "lay," didn't

"fit in" with the boys. Hence my neighborhood friends, the

"greasers" I hung around with, didn't consider me as part

of their gang even though I spent most of my time with

them, on the streets, driving around town, shooting pool,

going to booze parties. I must admit I often felt awkward

even being with them. My classmates, middle-class subur–

banites, looked down on me for not being like them. I

didn't live in a $75,000 townhouse, didn't have a car of my

own, didn't have a daddy who ran a corporation or a mom

who could afford to wear mink stoles. They referred to my

neighborhood as the ghetto and refused to drive through it

since once their Lincoln Continental was stoned as they

were on their way to pick me up.

I really didn't have a peer group I could fully identify

with or friends that I felt I could trust. I was caught

between two worlds, as it were; I was part of both, yet I

belonged to neither. It soon became clear to me that a

working class sissy was

not

something to be.

With much doubt and uncertainty as to whether I could

really grow in the ways that I wanted to, I entered college

at the St. Mary of the Lake Seminary to continue my

studies for the priesthood. The first two years were spent in

Niles, Illinois and the last two in Mundelein, Illinois, both

places just outside Chicago. This was to be the first time I'd

ever lived away from home for any length of time and had

1972

many fears of being cut off from neighborhood friends, my

family, and the environment I really knew.

Several experiences put me in touch with my Gay

feelings and the Church's attitude toward homosexuality. I

became aware of sexual feelings toward many classmates in

the dorm. I would incessantly glance at Randy in the

shower room. He was the 125-pound high school wrestling

champ. I was extremely envious of his athletic build and

versatility and he knew it. And there was Marty, who

played guard on the varsity basketball team who took a real

liking toward me, usually expressed in teasing and mocking.

He liked rough, physical contact and we'd often wrestle and

shadow box. Because I was so attracted to Randy and

Marty, I was afraid to get very close. I had similar feelings

toward Frank but handled them differently. My attraction

was immediate. One time he was sick, I would bring him

meals, feed him, sit on his bed and comfort him. Frank

could be very distant at times and near the end of that year,

I thought he'd rejected my friendship. But my sophomore

and junior years were to prove otherwise.

In psychology and sociology classes, I learned that

homosexuality was an emotional sickness, a social disease.

Gay people were sexual deviants. A friend in my English

class wrote a story about a man's terrifying experience in a

Gay bar. It was the first time I'd ever heard the word

"Gay" or knew there were such places for homosexuals to

meet. The story frightened me. The platonic dualism of

mind and body learned in philosophy class forms the basic

Christian doctrine of man - a soul imprisoned within the

body. Christian theology goes on to say that your body is

evil and your soul is corrupt. Man is a sinner. The church

teaches people to disrespect themselves. I gradually became

more withdrawn and reserved, lacked confidence, and grew

insecure. Sophomore year commenced.

Bob was probably the first really close friend I had, and

the only person I could talk with at moments when I

needed understanding. It was easy to sense that Bob was

more involved with Mary, a woman he sang with in the

seminary choir, than with me and to him this was to be

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