Jesus, The Man of Sorrows, Welcomes Outcasts in Advent, Writes Gay Catholic

Aelbert Bouts, “Man of Sorrows”

With Advent concluding, one gay Catholic man has offered a reflection on the way queer Catholics can relate to the liturgical season’s themes of loneliness, darkness, and waiting—as a path to finding Jesus, the Man of Sorrows.

Jeromiah Taylor, a writer who describes himself as “a partnered gay Catholic, and a person of Latino descent who remains much separated from his ethnic roots,” offered his Advent reflection in U.S. CatholicThese identities make Taylor identify closely with outcasts, including Jesus, and the Gospel imperative to love those at the margins:

“In the face of the institutional church’s infidelity to the gospel, such exhortations bring me great comfort. . .I often feel as though I belong precisely nowhere. When I navigate Catholic spaces, I wonder to whom I can come out; I fear that if I were to announce my relationship status to a priest, I might be denied communion. When I navigate queer spaces, or activist spaces, I utter the loaded word ‘Catholic’ with much trepidation, lest I be called to account for my church’s sins. Yet I cannot possibly separate the two: my own marginalization and the formation Catholicism has given me to encounter the marginalized. . .

“Reflecting on Jesus’ own suffering, his absolute loneliness on the incarnational path, is the nurturing water of my tormented faith. . .Perhaps better than any other iconographic tradition in the church, the Man of Sorrows reminds those who have been burdened with negative self-regard by hegemonic cultural forces that God incarnate was, in the words of Isaiah, “despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity.” . . .He is not serene, desirable, nor especially noble or long-suffering; he is disfigured by inconceivable physical and spiritual agony. This is our God: an ugly loser, an outcast, a persona non grata.

“That is good news indeed. Good news not just for queer Catholics, but for all those to whom he is closest. Something we must cling to in the face of the irredeemable anguish in Palestine, and everywhere life is brutalized, profaned, and destroyed.”

Taylor concludes his reflection by linking the outcast experience, the Man of Sorrows depiction of Christ, and the Advent season together:

“Advent is an opportunity to be stirred by Jesus and his abandonment. To seek him in ourselves, and in others, to look for his image, to sift through our own imperfections and those of others in search of the Man of Sorrows in every person. The season is about waiting, an experience akin to faith, or ‘the evidence of things that appear not.’ Waiting as our Lady did, wondering before God ‘how shall this be done?’ yet still assuming her task, entrusting her welfare and that of her child to God. . .We must remember in our darkest moments that we ‘cannot go unnoticed’ by our outcast God who loves us.”

To read Taylor’s reflection in full, click here.

Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, December 23, 2023

1 reply
  1. Thomas William Bower
    Thomas William Bower says:

    While the Man of Sorrow is a worthy model to a considered, I think seeing yourself as one who is blessed by being both gay and Catholic is a much higher situation. You are worried much more about what others who are not so blessed choose to say or pigeonhole you. That other Catholics may consider you out of the mainstream suggests you should stop giving them power over you. Being gay is just another format for love which you have been given. That you are partnered gives you further understanding that you are loved. Even if you weren’t you are still loved by Jesus. That other gays may see problems with the treatment the Church has falsely expressed about gays, concur with them, but remind them it is not the full definition of being Catholic. I pray you will value the person you are and give meager value to those who can’t accept that reality of being loved by God.


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