May 20, 1998
Dear Father DeMartini, My brother was diagnosised HIV AND FULL-BLOWN AIDS at the same time. He was very ill and had to come home for care. My father does not know he is GAY. It has been six months and my father cannot get past his anger. He still does not know about being GAY. As a very staunch RC I've explained to Dad that my brother unfortunately contacted AIDS and that my father's nieces and nephs luckily only received babies. What can I say to my father in a spiritual way that can help him except my brother's illness without prejudice and extreme anger. I think that my father's anger is not helped by our church's non-acceptance of sex in general. P.S Keep in mind that my Dad's is 70 yrs old and quite stubborn ie: He won't miss mass even with puenmonia. Also Mom is stuck in the middle.
Response from Father DeMartini
Dear Friend with an Angry Father:
First of all I apologize for the delay in responding. I have experienced a number of family members/parents who respond with anger to the news that their child is living with AIDS--often compounded when there is further disclosure about being gay. I find that the anger is often rooted in fear--fear of losing their child, fear of what cannot be controlled or taken away -- as well as sadness for what they may feel has been a lack of attention or direction on their part as parents. I have recommended that parents read the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke's Gospel which is really as much about the father as the son. I would invite your dad to focus on the reality that this is his child who is sick and to invite him to pray--not only for his son but for strength and wisdom to know how to communicate as the father in the Gospel story. I would also be very happy to talk with you or dad on the phone--you can call me at 707-874-3031. I will keep you and your family in me prayers. Fr. Rod
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