Ready…again

 

Nativity of Mary Catholic Church3jpg

I am ready to write again. You will likely read and notice a few differences though. For one thing I do not intend to cover up my weaknesses quite so much anymore. Do not get me wrong—God has done huge things in my life and I do not wish to in any way glorify my less-than-perfectness either. However, too often I have seen, and not just in others but in myself as well, the tendency to put my best foot forward and keep the other one hidden out of sight, so to speak.

I sin daily. Most if not all (actually all, whether intentionally, consciously or not) of you reading this do so as well. We also live in a day and age that is unprecedented in its ease to fall in various ways, in particular sexually. That particular discussion may make some of us uncomfortable—I know it does in my life. But I still fall in areas, and that is one of them. I have been celibate, in that I have not had nor have I sought person to person contact with another human, male or female, since 1999. That is nearly 17 years, and the last 10 as a Catholic Christian. So far so wonderful, right? Yes—and no.

Before you go congratulating me on such an accomplishment, I will openly say that my mind is at times a virtual cesspool. My computer too. Living alone with the WWW at my fingertips has some built in occasions of sin, and I cannot pretend I never have allowed myself to become trapped from time to time due to that combination. I have seen lately a multitude of articles by people who “used to” struggle in this area, and that is truly great and inspiring. I can take nothing away from that and am not attempting to do so. But what of those who have yet to overcome? Those who try all the techniques of prayer, fasting, daily Mass and rosary, and every other good idea on the lists of those who have “made it?” And still fall more than flat into the sewer after doing so?

And that is where I am at. Overcoming, and failing. Overcoming again, and then falling worse yet. Celibate but not chaste. Born again virgin but occasional internet whore. All of that can describe me and more. Not always but sometimes. In between such moments I do indeed seek God in the ways mentioned and have not given up hope. Not at all. But it can be deathly discouraging to be the one who does not quite seem to get over this area of what is a sometimes intense struggle. Reading of other’s victories can, at times, have the unwitting effect of tempting a person such as me to near despair. If I really wanted the victory, if I was truly consistent, if I honestly came to the “end of myself” (whatever or however that may look like) I would be able to write one of those victory articles too instead of one which sounds like I have given up on all that I hold sacred, which I nearly have at times, by the way. More than you the reader know. And not so long ago either.

But one thing keeps me going. What God has started within us, He does tend to finish. In fact He promises to do so. Every one of us are works in progress, even if that progress seemingly comes only in fits, starts, and restarts. And a lot of us fall into that category in one way or another, not necessarily in lustfulness but perhaps with gluttony, jealousy, or numerous other inner and outer wars. Traps exist for all of us, and for some they are lifelong struggles. Mine certainly has been longstanding to say the least.

Perhaps you are the person who watches the infomercial about the 300 LB woman who is now a sweet 120 and size 8. And, instead of being excited, you find yourself medicating your discouragement by going to the kitchen and getting some Ben and Jerry’s plus a spoon as you continue to watch the anorexic model on TV tell her tale. In my case perhaps it is a sense of utter loneliness that makes it easier to imagine being surrounded by beautiful and youthful folks who do not notice my many flaws. That is the power of pornography and cyber.

My point is this. Victory does not come in a one size fits all package. Some are delivered from certain of their sins instantly and never understand why that same deliverance does not occur with in the next person. Others fight a long battle but, once they are on the winning side for a few months or years, begin to lose compassion for those of us who keep messing up. And neither of those groups realize that very pride may lead them one day into something worse. I once knew of a young man who was instantly delivered from drug addiction, with no withdrawals of any kind. He fell in love with Jesus and his life was genuinely changed. I knew him personally and can attest to his sincerity. Yet, a few short years later he had an affair with a married woman from the church. The struggle within him was not gone but had only morphed into a new weakness. That story is scarily similar to many of us I think. The roots of our battles, the besetting ones at least, go deeply and at times lie dormant, waiting for the next way to become manifest. We do well to admit this to ourselves and others.

So yes, expect some honesty, some of it painful not just for you to read but me too, in what I pen going forward. When I posted on Face Book a few months ago that I had failed in chastity if not in person at least online, and that someone was possibly interested in quite literally exposing me due to what he rightly saw as my hypocrisy, I was overwhelmed with the response of probably friends, most Christian but even a few who were not, who gently supported me, as well as some who wrote me privately and admitted to their own struggles. Ironically a fellow Catholic writer was the only person who felt the need to tell me how deeply disappointed she was in me, and strangely that one response is the one I think about the most even still.  The lesson I would gently say to that person if she is reading this is that most of us know our failures already, and do not need them to be thrust at us, especially if we have confessed them to God and the world already. Yes there are consequences as she deftly pointed out to me and I am willing to pay them as God sees fit. I took time totally away from writing precisely due to this situation during all of Lent and used much of that time to do some serious reflecting so that I could come back fresh and new after Resurrection Sunday. Instead I skipped Mass on Easter and did it all over again after a beautiful Holy Week. And my first thought after yet another such major failure was to never write again but to go into permanent hiding. Not so however. Not with the God of second chances who we love and serve.

Today I have been to confession and, yet again, I have been forgiven. And my penance this evening was to sit silently in the church sanctuary before the Blessed Sacrament and let God speak to me. That was it. Not 50 decades of anything. Just let God be God in me.  In doing so, I came to believe that He does want me to write, and not just about this topic hopefully! But I have to do so with more humility and each time as a “wounded healer.” I do not have all of the answers yet, even for myself, and I will not guarantee to God or the reader that I will never slip into the abyss again either. But that was never my story anyway. Mine is one of Divine Mercy, and not only for the octave of Easter. God’s to me, and, very hopefully, mine to others who also are as flawed as I am. And that is many of us. Many of you.

So I am back. Humbled. Maybe even a bit humiliated. But real. And working on the underlying issues that make certain sins so attractive to me. God willing, perhaps I can help some of you do the same even while you help me too. Then perhaps the ugly sins I have committed can be somehow used for something good. And so can yours as well, if we just do not ever, ever give up. Blessed Easter.

Change Afoot…

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Nativity of St Mary Catholic Church, near Waseca, MN–just over 60 years ago I was baptized here. The building does not remain but the memories do.

 

 

It has been quite some time since I posted here. I want all readers to know I have not forgotten any of you, nor am I planning to do so.

Due to personal reasons I am going to take some time away from writing, but will leave this site up and running for any who wish to read or reference articles from the past several years. My plan, of course subject to God’s plan first and foremost, is to begin again during late spring or early summer of 2016.

I would ask for prayers from any who are reading this, and humbly thank you for doing so. I remain a committed Roman Catholic Christian. God bless.

Same-Sex Marriage—why it is up close and personal to this celibate Catholic Christian

I am not sure it’s ever going to “get better” for me. I am going on 60 years of age this coming December, and I find myself still filled at times with rage and a deep sense of aloneness within my life as it stands currently. The reason I say so is that I seem to not quite fit the mold, either from a Church or secular standpoint, on an issue near and dear to me. That issue is homosexuality.

The short story is that I, after 35 years of being away from Rome, returned to the Catholic Church in 2005, exactly one decade ago this coming fall, and unlike what some may have believed or assumed, had previously embraced a celibate lifestyle a few years previous to that time. Since the story of my return is in print elsewhere, I will simply link to it both here and at the end of this article.

http://whyimcatholic.com/index.php/conversion-stories/catholic-reverts/60-catholic-revert-richard-evans

I do not, nor will I ever, regret my decision to come back to Catholicism. At moments, however, I have struggled with what I believe are very inconsistent attitudes towards issues on my levels, and in particular with issues that have affected me personally, such as the topic at hand and my place in the Church as an aging (not aged!) man with SSA (same-sex attractions).

Much of my blog and other writings have been devoted to this issue and its impact in my life, and as we begin what is likely the final sprint towards legalized same-sex marriages nationwide, I think it is the right and proper time for me to share my views more fully and articulate my understanding of a topic I have studied from many perspectives.

Many people think that there are only two possible answers to this ever-thornier question—one is either to be “for” or “against” gay marriage on a legal level. Those against it will not even refer to it, on a civil level, as a “marriage,” even though the Church has clearly done so with other irregular living situations such as those married outside the Church or even, in some cases, those who may be co-habitating without a legal license issued by the state. Those for it often come from the opposite extreme, stating that any full equality of SSA/LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) persons must necessarily include the legal right to marry, to adopt children, and to collect governmental benefits such as Social Security when the time comes.

I think that both sides have some merit, and that each side has some peril. I believe so because I am of the opinion, after having often gone all over the map in order to reconcile my beliefs and Church teaching, that there is another answer we may not be considering, and which I, although a non-official theologian, believe is most likely the healthiest approach, as well as the rarest.

I will state here that I support Church teaching as written in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (called going forward in the article the CCC), and do so without reserve. In case you are not aware of that teaching, which is basically 3 short articles in a book of over 2800 basic theological tenets of the Faith, I am reprinting it below for easy reference:

Chastity and homosexuality

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved. (2333)

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. (2347)[1]

In the above doctrinal statement, a number of points are often glossed over or simply re-interpreted, again by both opposing sides, and I wish to make mention of some of these in this article. The first is the term “intrinsically disordered,” from section 2357, referring specifically to sexual acts between those of the same gender, in the traditional sense of the word. The actively LGBT community leadership tends to hate this terminology, but what has been often overlooked by the traditional Catholic and other Christians who use it as a battering ram against SSA/gay persons is why it is so very upsetting to those of us with this characteristic, condition, orientation, or whatever term you wish to use.

I have heard said to others, and also to me at times, that I have the “SSA disorder.” To which I would blithely say bleh. Not so. I have several disorders, in the modern and non-theological sense of the term, such as poor eyesight, diabetes, and some chronic upper GI/gastric issues. However I am currently working 2 jobs, one which is in frontline customer service, something long proven to be one of the most stress-inducing careers that exist, and have done so in one capacity or another for over one quarter of a century now. I am a regular part of my church parish, and involved in community outreach such as block leader in my urban residential area, as well as assisting in some small way at least in dealing with several personal family crises such as my dad’s illness. I was married for 13 years and managed, certainly with the help of God’s grace, to re-establish a friendly relationship with my former spouse. I wear glasses and take my insulin, and have lost 15 lbs. in the last 2 years.

The implication that, because I am attracted romantically to men and have been aware of this since before puberty, which is nearly a half century ago at this writing, and have yet been celibate for the last 15 years speaks more of a strength God has given to me, not a weakness. And this is by no means meant to be bragging, since I have certainly failed God in many, many ways, including such things as thought life and custody of the eyes, but rather to point out that I am not some wild young buck looking for a quick hook-up. In short my SSA is not a disorder for me, at least not in the mental health context which is implied by misusing the term as I have unfortunately seen it used by ignorant but hopefully well-meaning believers in the same Lord Jesus Christ who I do.

So where is the “intrinsic disorder” then? I have always loved time travel stories, and for this one you will need to move backwards to the 13th century, and to one St Thomas Aquinas. Much of the writings of this “angelic Doctor” of the Church refer to disorder coming from the original fall of humanity. Since his writings predate Dr Freud by somewhere near 700 years, he was clearly not referring to psychoses. He was talking about the human weaknesses we all share through original sin, and our tendency towards making that sin personal. For some that might be lusting after the opposite sex (the popularity of the “50 Shades” series and movie would be a prime example for women, as well as the Playboy mentality for men which predated this by over 60 years), and for some of us, and as CCC article 2357 rightly explains as well, due to a “psychological genesis (which) remains largely unexplained,” a romantic desire for those of our own gender. One is not worse than the other nor better. But I think it is safe to say that, in the original Eden, there was no confusion of gender. In that sense, and in that sense only, I accept and own the feelings I have in that area as disordered. Another topic for another time is why we with SSA feel as we do, and the CCC again wisely presents it as “largely unexplained.”

Aside from a very few very conservative psychologists and MDs, most would agree that the jury is out as to whether the cause is physical (which by the way is not limited to genetic issues), environmental, or a combination of both factors. What is known, however is that it is not, in and of itself, a form of mental illness, does not cause child molestation, and that there are SSA or actively LGBT persons in every walk of life, whether highly educated attorneys, those in active ministry including priests, and the whole gamut otherwise. We really are “everywhere,” and you rub shoulders with us every day, whether at the supermarket or your parish congregation. And very likely in your own family. A great video, even if you disagree with some parts of the theology regarding this, is called The Bible Tells Me So, which follows several families who have dealt heroically and lovingly with this in their own lives. And before you assume it is only some Nazi/Communist propaganda, at least one of the major families in question are clear that they do not accept their daughter’s lesbian relationship. But they accept her, as well as her partner, and that brings me to the heart of why I write this.

For a long time I vacillated on my views regarding the legalization of same-sex marriage. My next sentence may lose some of my audience but I hope not. I believe, at this time in our history, the legalization of such relationships, whether one calls them “marriage” or sin, or both perhaps, is a social risk we must face and, while not embracing it, accept as part of the social landscape we live in. Why do I think so? As stated above, I believe in Church teaching first and foremost. But part of that teaching, from CCC section 2358, states the following: “They (homosexual persons) must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” Pretty much anyone from my generation, if intellectually honest, can attest to the fact that the above attitude from the Church as well as society in general is in fact rather recent. If I had told anyone in my small rural Minnesota town that I liked men, I would have been, even as a celibate, most likely dismissed from my parish community, made fun of mercilessly, possibly beaten or even killed, and no one from the Vatican to the local police would have frankly given a damn. Most of us stayed in the closet for a long time for a reason. When we today hear of people coming out publicly, (we forget or else never knew) how completely rare that would have been in the 1950s and 60s. It started to occur in the 1970s somewhat, but before that time there was simply no one to turn to with such an announcement. No one. Not friends, not family. And certainly not one’s church for God’s sake literally.

In saying all of this I am not “supporting” gay marriage. I am not suggesting that one must accept everything in the so-called “gay agenda” proposed by some LGBT leaders. But I am saying something more nuanced. I believe that the “marriage equality” movement is filled with messy litigation and at times justified fears in greater society. I am not wishing for a return to polygamy, such as the territory of Utah once allowed before becoming part of the Union, and I do not wish to see business persons violate their consciences. But, more than that, I do not wish to go back to the time when I as a person with SSA must be silent about it, or be afraid as someone approaching my senior years to walk down the street. And, at this point, that is what is likely to happen if our nation and the world forbid such unions. Just a few weeks ago a person in the Middle East was thrown off a building for being homosexual. If that were an isolated incident it might be one thing, but this is a common occurrence in many nations still. That should matter to us as Christians. Yet I hear almost no outrage about it among the more orthodox-leaning Catholic or evangelical Christians. I wonder why? We rightly are outraged, and even in some cases ready to go to war, when we hear of such horrific events as the 21 Christians beheaded by ISIS. But I wonder who would go to war for a gay person? Not many even in our supposedly enlightened age.

I do not believe churches must administer Holy Communion or give leadership positions to openly (and actively) gay members. Nor do I think, quite frankly, that the entire marriage equality movement is without its faults. But I think it is time that the Church recognize her part in causing this entire movement to occur. Usually, and definitely in this case, when a movement based upon those who (rightly or wrongly) believe that they are disenfranchised, it is for a reason. And I do not have time in this one article to name all of those reasons but within the LGBT community there are many, some which I did briefly touch on here and a host of others.

I think it is time to stop fighting, no matter your view, and to find genuine and creative ways to work together, legally and otherwise. This does not mean to stop evangelizing or working for the good of traditional marriage. Not at all. It simply means that the future is not coming. It is here. And souls are at stake on both sides.

My story…

http://whyimcatholic.com/index.php/conversion-stories/catholic-reverts/60-catholic-revert-richard-evans

[1] Catholic Church. (2000). Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd Ed., p. 566). Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference.

DONALD LEROY EVANS IS 90 YEARS YOUNG!!!

To ALL of those who follow this blog, even casually, this is one I hope you will comment and respond to, today if possible. My dad, Donald Evans, turned 90 last week and I want to print out a copy of this blog with your greeting on it for the celebration this weekend. You do not have to know him personallly, I think he will greatly appreciate hearing from people all over the nation and world.

SOO–add a greeting or blessing, I have to print them out by very early tomorrow (Friday) morning so no procrastination.  THANKS and God bless.

PS–the picture below is from his 89th, just exactly last year, with family and he is directly in the middle spot on the front row–I am far to the left and the rest in that row are his siblings.   AGAIN thanks and please do this for me and for him.

GREAT NEWS…I AM IN SPANISH NOW!!!

The Passion of the Christ
The Passion of the Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was humbled but excited to find my story on not one, but 3 separate Spanish-speaking websites yesterday (the article originated from Spain, but also is posted on a site from Colombia and another from Peru–links are all at the end of this writing).  If you thus know of someone who does not speak English but who you feel this story would benefit, I would be thankful and very appreciative if you would share it freely.  All I would ask is proper credit to be given, as it is copyrighted material.

I wish to heartily thank Pablo Ginés, the writer of this article, which is based directly upon my original. He was also kind enough to link it to my blog as well.  My prayer is that God will use it to reach a whole new audience for His Glory.  Please check out his website as well at:

http://www.religionenlibertad.com/buscar_google.asp?cx=004215168661628987483%3Aq45npa2_rhu&cof=FORID%3A11&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=evans

Again, to God be all of the Glory.

Rome Sweet Home published in 1993
Rome Sweet Home published in 1993 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Le ayudaron los libros de David Morrison y Scott Hahn

De ministro evangélico a activista gay… pero hoy Richard Evans es católico devoto y casto

A los 34 años dejó su esposa y ministerio evangélico y se dio a la vida gay durante 15 años. Pero luego decidió que no dejaría que unos sentimientos le dictasen su identidad. “No dejo que me definan como persona”, explica este hombre de misa y rosario diarios.

Actualizado 20 abril 2012

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Richard Gerard Evans cuenta su azarosa historia de conversión y su forma de afrontar la atracción sexual hacia otros hombres en su blog “Catholic Boy Richard“, muy cuidado y actualizado.

Richard nació en 1955. Su madre era católica, y ella llevó a la fe a su padre. Él de niño jugaba a “hacer de cura”, y de los 7 a los 11 años fue monaguillo con mucha ilusión y alegría. Pero en 1967, cuando tenía once años, en medio de una crisis de valores que sacudió Estados Unidos y a la Iglesia, su madre se desencantó de la Iglesia Católica, buscó otra forma de vivir el cristianismo, y se estableció en las Asambleas de Dios, una de las principales denominaciones de evangélicos pentecostales.

Evangélico y cristiano sincero

Allí, Richard formuló su primera oración consciente para “aceptar a Jesús” de todo corazón con 14 años. “En lo profundo de mi interior supe que Cristo era real y verdadero, y que quería servirle el resto de mi vida”. Y esto nunca cambió.

Pero Richard ya llevaba unos años sabiendo que no le atraían las chicas, sino los muchachos que conocía en la iglesia o la escuela. Como en su casa no se hablaba de sexo, fue a los 11 años, leyendo una revista, que conoció la palabra “homosexual“. Tenía claro que desde un punto de vista bíblico “aquello era un comportamiento aparentemente pecaminoso, no actué según mis impulsos”.

Richard no se autoclasificó como “gay”. Acabó el instituto y después estudió en un “college” bíblico de Asambleas de Dios. Se mantuvo virgen hasta que se casó “con una mujer cristiana sincera y cariñosa en 1979”. Tenía 23 años y empezó su etapa como ministro de Asambleas de Dios, que duró 12 años.

 

Sola Scriptura” y libre examen

A los 34, sin haber dejado nunca de sentirse atraído por los hombres, pero habiendo sido siempre fiel a su esposa, Richard decidió re-examinar lo que la Biblia enseñaba sobre la homosexualidad. “No era especialmente mi deseo ir y pecar, sino que sinceramente quería saber si teológicamente se me había pasado algo por alto”, afirma. Sí, su deseo homosexual era una carga interna y secreta, pero intentó ser neutral. “Usé cada herramienta a mi alcance, léxicos de griego y hebreo, libros de teología tradicional y también pro-gay, y después de meses de estudio, oración y ayuno, concluí que la Biblia no era tan clara en el tema como pensaba”.

Puesto que la Biblia no le parecía clara, y siendo protestante no aceptaba el papel de la Tradición, sólo le quedaba la “ciencia”: o más en concreto, la rama de la psicología que directamente le pedía aceptar su “gaydad”.

“Mi matrimonio acabó en 1991 y durante los siguientes 15 años, aunque aún amaba a Dios a mi manera, me sentí identificado con lo que se suele llamar el estilo de vida o la subcultura gay”, escribe.

Célibe después de 15 años

Richard no quiere detallar en su testimonio lo que hizo esos años ni las relaciones que tuvo. Sí explica que militaba en el movimiento gay y acudía a sus manifestaciones y reivindicaciones. Pero en 2001 volvió a acudir a una iglesia con regularidad, con unos metodistas que aunque no aceptaban el estilo de vida gay eran acogedores con todo el mundo. Volvió a leer la Biblia… “y me hice célibe, al principio no por mi elección, pero eventualmente con entusiasmo comprometido”. Pero sin abandonar su teología pro-gay. Pensaba, entre otras cosas, que como célibe podría encontrar más posibilidades de “ministrar”, de servir a Dios con apostolados.

Tocado por La Pasión y Caviezel

Entonces, le pasó algo que tocó la espiritualidad de decenas de miles de personas: vio en Cuaresma de 2004 “La Pasión de Cristo”, de Mel Gibson. “El hambre por Jesús de mi infancia se despertó de formas que aún hoy no puedo describir”, afirma.

Además, por esa época escuchaba radios protestantes muy conservadoras, donde se criticaba continuamente al actor protagonista de “La Pasión”, Jim Caviezel, por un sólo pecado: ¡era católico! Y Richard, pese a no ser católico desde los 11 años, se enfadaba porque conocía muchos católicos que eran buenos cristianos (aunque él pensaba que era “a pesar de Roma”).

Rompiendo con la militancia gay

Pero su ruptura con el movimiento gay y su ideología llegó en 2005, durante una marcha a favor del matrimonio homosexual en Minnesota. El líder de una asociación del homosexualismo político “empezó a despedazar sistemáticamente en su discurso a los que creyesen en la Biblia”. Richard se hartó y se fue en ese momento. “Yo sólo sabía que amaba a Cristo y amaba también a las personas con inclinación homosexual, y esas dos partes parecían odiarse una a otra, y eso me entristecía”, recuerda.

A partir de este momento, una serie de libros, medios de comunicación y testimonios se sucedieron en su vida para ofrecerle dos cosas: una castidad con sentido, y la fe plena de la Iglesia Católica.

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Los sentimientos no hacen a la persona

Lo primero llegó cuando leyó “Beyond Gay”, de David Morrison, la historia de un activista gay que se hizo cristiano protestante casto y luego católico. Es un libro que ha impactado a muchas personas (en español “Un más allá para la homosexualidad”, Editorial Palabra, con una 2ª edición en 2011).

De Morrison aprendió el concepto “Atracción del Mismo Sexo” (AMS). “No finges que ya no tienes esos sentimientos, pero no permites que esos sentimientos te controlen o sean el centro de tu atención; en una palabra, no dejas que esos sentimientos definan quién eres como persona”, resume Richard. Él había visto casos de personas que decían ser “ex-gay” pero en realidad no habían conseguido eliminar su AMS… incluyendo él mismo.

David Morrison, el movimiento “Courage” (www.couragerc.net) y otros en la Iglesia Católica proponían una vía distinta: quizá Dios o la terapia pueden quitar la AMS, o quizá eso nunca llegue para tal o cual persona, pero eso no impide que una persona con esos sentimientos, como cualquier otra, apueste por la castidad, “tome su cruz” y siga a Cristo con el objetivo común a todos los cristianos: ser santo. Incluso en sus años “gays”, Richard había tenido claro que todo él, incluida su sexualidad, pertenecían y debían entregarse a Cristo.

“No importan mis sentimientos homosexuales, sino que lo que importa es lo que hago con ellos. En vez de preocuparme por ´cambiar´, me entrego a Dios aquí y ahora, tomo mi cruz diaria, y me comprometo a caminar con Él”.

En mitad de su proceso de retorno a la Iglesia Católica, retiró la bandera del arcoíris gay que había ondeado muchos años en su ventana: “podía amar, y aún amo, a mis hermanos y hermanas LGBT, no les juzgo, pero ya no podía apoyar esas causas”.

Conversos del protestantismo

En su retorno al catolicismo se juntaron muchas cosas. Le asombró saber que se había hecho católico Thomas Howard, antiguo editor de “Christianity Today”, devoto evangélico y cuñado de uno de los misioneros protestantes mártires en la selva ecuatoriana a manos de una tribu belicosa (historia difundida en 2005 por la película “A punta de lanza” o “End Of The Spear”).

También le asombró descubrir la personalidad alegre de la Madre Angélica en el canal de televisión católico EWTN. Más aún, en esa cadena le asombraba “el nivel de amabilidad y respeto mostrado hacia todos, amigos o adversarios”, lo que contrastaba con ciertas radios protestantes muy hostiles que había escuchado antes. Conoció el trabajo del ex-presbiteriano Marcus Grodi, que acogía a ex-clérigos y ministros protestantes que caminaban hacia el catolicismo.

Descubrió que durante los 35 años que había estado lejos de la Iglesia Católica, numerosos pastores la habían conocido y adoptado como Madre. Más aún, en ese tiempo la Iglesia había elaborado un nuevo catecismo: lo estudió contrastándolo con la Biblia. Cada día, camino al trabajo, escuchaba “Relevant Radio”, una radio católica refrescante, “sin legalismos”.

Por último, leyó de un tirón “Roma, dulce hogar”, el libro testimonio del matrimonio de Scott y Kimberly Hahn (Ed. Rialp, en español lleva ya 17 ediciones). Este matrimonio protestante explica su camino hacia la Iglesia Católica cuando Scott, teólogo y pastor, descubre que la enseñanza protestante “Sola Scriptura” no figura en la Escritura y cuando ve que es necesaria una autoridad que establezca infaliblemente (y no como meras opiniones) qué libros de la antigüedad son Palabra de Dios y cuáles no.

Confesión y vida nueva

Dos días después de leer “Roma, dulce hogar”, el 4 de octubre de 2005, fiesta de San Francisco (“¡otro con un pasado azaroso!”) bajo una gran lluvia, Richard se acercó a una parroquia cercana, se confesó por primera vez en 35 años, y comulgó en misa. Con 49 años, empezaba una nueva vida.

Hoy, en 2012, tiene 56 años. Vive la castidad. Va a misa diaria y comulga. Reza cada día el Rosario y la Corona de la Divina Misericordia. Se confiesa una o dos veces al mes. “Mi vida es una vida de espiritualidad tranquila y no deseo otra cosa”, escribe. Ha sido ministro extraordinario de la comunión y ha acompañado a dos adultos en su ingreso en la Iglesia. Ha sacado un título de catequesis después de dos años de estudios y discierne la posibilidad de consagrarse como laico dominico, “si Dios quiere”.

“Roma es, para este peregrino, el lugar más cercano a un hogar en la tierra”, escribe.