Wow. Thanks for sharing your story, and struggles, Patrick. I grew up Presbyterian. So, a little more flexible that Catholic! At one time I wished I had been Catholic so that I could be a priest for “cover” as you noted.
In law school, we were taught of the utilitarian origin of law. For example, “thou shall not kill” obviously has a utilitarian usefulness. If everyone went around killing everyone everywhere, we would not make much utilitarian advancement as a society! Same for “thou shall not steal”, etc. I attended a large non-denominational mega-church in Palo Alto while in law school. At the time I came out to myself, I argued to the pastor that there was no utilitarian argument for a ban on being gay. What is the harm, to society, of one person loving another person of the same sex? Sure, some will say that there is no procreation. But, many same sex couples don’t or can’t procreate. The pastor actually came around to my way of thinking, or at least comfortable with my position/reasoning.
Really a great piece, well written. Thanks again for sharing.