11/13/2014, 00.00
PHILIPPINES
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For Atanacio Jovi, it is possible to be gay and Catholic by "loving God above all"

In an article published on the website of the Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, Atanacio Jovi says he is gay but has "embraced chastity" because the Church invites to "true love," which never lets one down, i.e. "love for God and God's love for all". Devoted to Our Lady Mediatrix of All-Grace, he lives his sexual orientation with serenity. "If I love someone, I want the best for that person. And this goes beyond physical union."

Antipolo (AsiaNews) - Jovi Atanacio Catholic is a practicing Catholic, devoted to the Virgin and a homosexual. His life is a demonstration, in his own words, that "sexual orientation does not keep people away from the Church. The most important thing is to love God above all else."

His choice to live a chaste life "shows that really understanding love, true love, is enough for not feeling excluded or damaged."

"This is my cross . . . . I may be attracted to males . . . but I love God more," he said, noting how God through the Church invites everyone to true love, Atanacio said in an article published on the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines' website.

For Atanacio, the Catholic community "seems to be the only institution that is inviting [gays] to love. We are created for love, and our lives make no sense if we don't experience it".

In his view, true love is more than physical and emotional union. "It desires the good of the other. It desires heaven for the other person and will encourage him or her to embrace the virtue of chastity," he noted. "This is not a renunciation of love, but a profound and courageous expression of it . . . . I can still love".

"As surprising as it may sound, the Church today does not forbid people who experience same-sex attractions to love one another," said Atanacio, who is actively engaged in promoting the devotion of Lipa's Mary, Mediatrix of All-Grace (pictured).

"If two members of the same sex love one another, they will do what is best for each other," he explained. "They will encourage one other to identify themselves as beloved children of God who happen to experience same-sex attractions, rather than people who are defined by their sexual urges and happen to believe in God".

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