This mother’s screen name was the first tipoff that trouble was afoot: scaredcatholicmom posted a lengthy plea for advice in a Catholic forum.
Then there was her post’s title, which sent a shiver down our spines: “What else can I do to make sure my son with SSA (same sex attractions) remains on the right path? How can I stop being so afraid for him?”
She went on to explain that her youngest of four sons, just 17-years-old, came out when he was only 14.
“After we got over our initial shock (and I had taken some time to grieve the loss of my dreams of his one day having a family), we sat him down and told him we loved him, and that what he had told us wouldn’t change that in the slightest,” she wrote. Not a great response, but we’ve definitely heard worse.
Except that for the last three years, she and her husband have been teaching their son that the only way for “people like him” to lead an honorable life is for him to remain celibate.
And here’s how she’s trying to make sure that happens:
“We also set up other defenses for his chastity: we pulled him off of the basketball team (the locker room would just be an unnecessary temptation, and his presence there would be inappropriate and unfair to the other boys in his situation). We took the door off of his bedroom since privacy would just tempt him to experiment in the ways teen boys tend to do, and we forbid him from having sleepovers or spending one-on-one time with any of his male friends unsupervised…we also forbid him from dating, or participating in activities like his high school prom…unlike our other sons, we never allowed him to have a cell phone, since he might use it to access inappropriate and confusing images.”
And what fruits has this parenting horror story yielded?
“Our son has often told my husband and me that he feels very lonely, and that it’s devastating that hie’ll never be able to be in love or have a family. He went through a bout of depression after our oldest married, since he knows that’s something he’ll never be able to have, and that he’ll never be able to make us proud and happy that way. But we were always very firm in explaining that coping with loneliness and envy are always going to be a part of his life.”
Now he’s about to go to college, and scaredcatholicmom has made it clear that if he ever acts on his “SSA,” his financial support will be cut off immediately.
But how will she be able to be sure that he’s remaining pure?
Commenters flooded the page with disgust and accusations of abuse.
One self-identifying gay Catholic told her exactly how it is:
“Bring on the downvotes, whatever, this is too important to leave unsaid. Regardless of your view of homosexuality, what you are doing to your son is abusive. You are just teaching him that he’s inherently bad and dangerous by singling him out from his brothers the way you have; you’re alienating him and ruining his self-esteem. If your priest has signed off on all this, he needs better counsel – preferably from a legitimate, licensed mental health professional. Not for being gay, but for getting over having parents who decided to treat him like a dangerous criminal instead of a vulnerable child.”
Scaredcatholicmom’s response? “That was uncalled for.”
Her original post has since been deleted, likely due to the onslaught of harsh reality she was forced to confront. But you can still read all the comments, the most serious of which being:
“I had a friend in high school that was gay in a Christian family, although they didn’t go so far as to remove his bedroom door and take away his phone and friends as you have done.
I say “had” because he took his own life.
His suicide note said it was because he felt unnatural, unwelcome, unwanted, and he would never be able to live how his parents told him he was going to have to live.
Please don’t drive your son to this.”