Picture William Blake in his garden, sunbathing nude with his wife and her sister, with both of whom, in his own words, he enjoyed “the lineaments of gratified desire”. He arrived at this state of achieved grace by a logical process: his Songs of Innocence described a newborn consciousness. “Little lamb, who made thee?” Songs of Experience charted his progress through the vagaries of human wrong doing. “A linnet in a cage Puts all heaven in a rage” Once transported through this dark place human consciousness had the opportunity to gain what he called “radical innocence”.
My childhood was coloured with an attempt to live an elaborate purity, my vision, lived as much vicariously by my mother as me, was to become a Catholic priest; this did not, however, stand the test of time. The temptation of adolescent sexuality took over.
However, in a middle class university culture, I discovered that homosexuality was not quite “naice”. The phenomenon of Aids in the 1990’s seemed to confirm the belief for most people; as did the exploratory behaviour of gay men in saunas, discos and back streets.
With the legislative recognition of gay relationships, whereby we can claim official status, have society acknowledge our couplings and furthermore be granted the right to adopt children, gay men have the chance to throw off the prejudice of earlier decades that we are incapable of relationships. Furthermore, our coupling is capable of the same spirituality that heterosexuals wear. Granted our catholic based culture from its earliest times has had the problem of reconciling body and spirit. Even when mother church authorised the coupling of man and woman their practices were dubious: sodomy, masturbation, contraception; all were practised in relationships and the church at different times felt the need to control such behaviour.
Now, a Polish priest has told the Roman media he is gay and that his sexual behaviour is good and holy. For this honesty he has been sacked from his official position. The unofficial gossip of the sexuality within the Vatican is rife: priests performing sexually all night then saying mass over the breakfast table next morning. It remains to be seen how reforming the new pope is able to be; already he visited the absurdly fanatical clerk Kim Davis in the USA then explained the event in the most absurd manner. One can only hope for the best.