One can certainly welcome the extent of support that Tom Daley has received during the last few days. The one thing that cannot be justified in any way at all is a campaign of vilification directed against Tom - though there would appear to have been some of this alongside the massive support for Tom. Part of the narrative of these days is the relative balance between how these different responses have played out, particularly in the electronic media.
However, I do wonder whether the narrative that we can now see is quite the same as it looked when Tom Daley's video message was first posted. In the video, Tom makes a passing reference to "rumours" at the same time as he indicates that he is now ready to talk publicly about his relationships in a way that he was not ready before. [In the reports of the Jonathon Ross Show, Tom refers to feeling trapped and alone before making his news public, something that has since been overcome. This suggests a different type of readiness to talk about his relationships than that suggested in the video post.] There appears to be a hint here that Tom sensed that the story was about to emerge into the public domain at some point. Posting the video has given Tom a much greater control over how the story has emerged - as he said in the video, he wanted to be the person to tell his followers/fans. And the coverage of his appearance on the Jonathon Ross Show also shows a competent handling of the news media.
In the light of the above - which is not intended as a criticism of Tom who, as a person in the public eye, is entitled to manage a news story in the way that is best for him - I do feel that the narrative has changed in some respects from what it was when the video clip was first posted. Tom has continued to talk about his relationship in terms that, as I suggested in my original post, are not an adequate expression of what the word "love" means in its truest and most objective sense. This is not to challenge Tom's integrity, or his courage, in making the statement that he has made. I think he has communicated justly where he is; and many another person would have expressed themselves in a similar way.
But I think we can legitimately see this articulation of his relationship as being part of the narrative, and we are entitled to engage with that part of the narrative (without it being seen as in any way as an attack on Tom or a manifestation of homophobia). As tigerish waters post pointed out, from a Catholic point of view, there is a an understanding of what it means to love another person that is deeper than its aspect of how one feels about the other. And a Catholic contribution to the current discussion will be precisely an articulation of this deeper understanding.
In so far as any response is going to be one to Tom Daley as a person, a Catholic will be happy to support him, as they would support the dignity of any person. At the same time, however, in so far as it is going to be a response that is a response to the narrative in the media, it will want to offer a different content to the meaning of the word "love".
tigerish waters has posted a very considered response to the news that the Olympic swimmer Tom Daley is dating another man.
Catholic response to Tom Daley
It is certainly legitimate to recognise the courage it takes to make an announcement of this sort; and it would be quite wrong to react in a way that makes a personal attack of any sort on Tom. Such a reaction would constitute a failure in charity if nothing else.
And yet, something nags at the back of the mind.
According to the BBC report:
Gay rights campaigners Stonewall tweeted: "Moving and inspiring video from @TomDaley1994. A role model for thousands of other young people."At the very least, we can suggest that this tweet of support is not disinterested.
Again, according to the BBC report:
"In spring this year my life changed massively when I met someone, and they make me feel so happy, so safe and everything just feels great."What follows is not to comment on the genuineness of the feelings expressed here by Tom Daley. But for others reading these words - those for whom Stonewall are suggesting that Tom might be a role model - is "everything just feels great" really an adequate defining of what is meant by the love of one person for another? Is love really so completely subjective and without permanent objective content as these words suggest?
Do read tigerish waters' Catholic response to Tom Daley.