This is going to be a strange testimonial for the Catholic Church –

2017-03-10T18:29:52+00:00January 28th, 2017|Blog, Christ, Our Lady & the Saints, Outreach|

When I returned to the Church of my ineffectual, 1970s, guitar-strumming, hand-holding around the altar youth – I was an ex-porn actor and Satanist; I was half-dead and half of my backside was hanging-out; I had tried everything – prayed to everything – except Jesus Christ. I had one last chance before I finally barfed out my soul – I wasn’t the pretty boy any more, and everyone around me was either dead from AIDS or tired of throwing my unconscious stinking carcass into the backseat of a car.

What I thought would be the last night of my life, I hated this body that had once been my only source of pleasure; in the basement of a rundown bathhouse – I knelt in the darkness and my flesh stiffened into the pink porcelain of a human toilet. When I stumbled out into the alleyway, rubbing the stinging urine from my eyes, the only guy still standing around was Jesus. Like my first night in the Castro, as an 18 year old idiot, and I walked away with the first person to ask – except now, no one was asking.

Christ stretched out His hand – and I took it.

He gave me a Bible and a Catechism.

My parents, who always looked frightened or worried when they saw me, took the prodigal son in. I collapsed in my old bedroom and read.

For days I did nothing, but looked over a few words –

“Neither will I condemn you. Go, and now sin no more.”

“…homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”

I ate very little, but drank a lot of water and swallowed laxatives – for my greatest fear was that I would prolapse again and my shame revealed for everyone to see.

At night, I ran to the bathroom – I couldn’t sit, so I stood in the shower and looked down as the entrails spilled out. I survived only to wake up in hell.

I am stitched up with cord. Everything breaks apart.

The emergency room – I can’t hold it anymore. There is no bedpan. I am alone, and I can’t fasten the gown. I leave droplets of blood across the shiny white floor as I go by. I have nothing left to hide. What’s pride?

When I was well enough to walk again, I found a Church. I talked to a priest – his face was blotchy. He was too happy.

“You were born gay.”

“Settle down.”

“Try to meet someone.”

When I got back home, I discovered a hug stain on my pants from the suppositories that leaked out.

I met some other priests: one asked me out on a date; the Bishop in my home diocese resigned after money went missing and it turned up with his priest boyfriend. I ran away from the Golden Gate – I never wanted to see California and the end of the rainbow.

I hid in the forests – some priests gave me job and I was safe for awhile.

Father is looking at me strangely – I know those non-verbal cues; I saw them a thousand times across the gay bar. Man, I am sick. Stop thinking that! He wants to talk to me. I am teenager, someone grabs my waist as I danced, blinded by the strobing lights, he leads me into the public lavatory. I never know his name.

A year later, I am testifying in a priest sex abuse case – a boy was molested. The diocese settles.

A new young priest is giving a talk about the occult. I show up late. I waited for everyone to leave.

“Father, I used to be involved in the occult.”

He says little, walks like a soldier, but when his stole touches my shoulder it feels like the first ray of sunlight breaking through the early-April clouds.

Over the next few weeks, I levitate with my feet on the floor.

I disappear for a few years – my friends are all sickly ex-gay exiles – we live on the periphery of the Emerald City, watching out for each other, and going to doctors. Most of us pay little attention to the endless line of new boys skipping towards San Francisco. But I can’t turn away.

One day, I go back to the city I damned. I walk by the places I once lived; I look for old friends. I end up in the cemetery. My fingernails are soon dirty from scrapping away the leaves and the dried mud. An old woman walks by and takes pity – she hands me a half-filled bottle of water and I pour it over the headstones. I can read the names.

Father recommended that you read John J. McNeill, S.J. – you bought me a copy.

“…under certain conditions a Catholic homosexual can enter into an active homosexual relationship and still receive the sacraments and live a life of sexual love which does not necessarily separate him or her from the love of God in Christ.”

I found it with the spine unbroken in a forgotten cardboard box right after you died.

Where is the Truth?

I buy some cheap Bibles with paper-thin pages, a few bracelets – WWJD, and I walk up and down Castro Street. I smile and say Jesus loves you. Some never look up from their phones, some spit. A few stop and hold out their hand. We talk. I tell my story in a few seconds:

“Your brother was dead and is come to life again; he was lost, and is found.”

He is still listening. He hasn’t walked away.

“You mean you don’t have sex?” “You don’t masturbate?” “Nothing?”

My handful of forgotten porn films mean nothing. Jesus has made me the only curiosity in a world of limitless extremes.

Further down the street:

“That’s not what the Father tells me.”

“We don’t have to be chaste.”

I am thinking – that guy must be dead or retired by now: “Who tells you these things?

Everyone is gay: the secretary, the parish council, the second-in-command.

“You can’t be here.”

Self-hating-internalized-homophobic.

Dear Your Excellency….

The response which took years: “Patience.”

It’s been over two decades, and the dead still wait.

This must be peculiar only to hyper-liberal San Francisco; but they are reading McNeill at a Catholic parish in Manhattan.

A mother from Texas: “Dear Joseph…I sent my confused son to a Catholic LGBT ministry and now he tells me he’s gay.”

I think about leaving.

I always loved icons. The beauty of the Eastern Liturgy. Sometimes they drink too much, but there is no Orthodox priest at gay Pride.

I continue with my ministry.

The Folsom Sex Fair – everyone is naked except me. Jesus loves you.

I see the spot – where I licked the gutter. Where I was alone. Except…

The hand of Christ with what looks like a bullet wound through his palm.

The Bible and the Catechism.

I am not going anywhere.

Catholic.

14 Comments

  1. Phoenix Wellman January 28, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Don’t leave us alone in this. Stay put! #Catholic

  2. BlueFox94 January 28, 2017 at 9:31 am

    JMJ
    St. Peter, St. Joseph, and Mother Mary, intercede for all souls who are tempted to depart the one, true faith!

  3. Maryse Usher January 28, 2017 at 10:23 am

    You are certainly doing your purgatory on earth, Joseph. Eventually you will move out of the homosphere, in God’s own good time. It is horrifying you, testing and challenging and purifying you; also provoking your evangelising of fellow afflicted. God loves you, fear not – there are many communities in the Church which are not ‘gay’.

  4. Renee Villani OCDS January 28, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    This is so incredibly powerful Joseph. So often, the truth about how the Truth is sought and found is a testimonial such as this. I’ve said this before, you have a very special gift from the Holy Spirit whereby you may reach souls that have been left or allowed to rot on their own. There is no doubt that you will be under attack for doing what is right and holy and you dear one have a prominent place in my prayers.

  5. Carolyn January 28, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    “Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless, and the treasury of compassion inexhaustible, look kindly upon Joseph
    and increase your mercy in Him, that in difficult moments, he might not despair nor become despondent, but with
    great confidence submit himself to your holy will which is love and mercy itself.”

    Blessings Joseph. Don’t give up. Find peace in the arms of
    Our Lady, heal, and begin again.

  6. Stephanie January 28, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Thank you, dear Joseph, for this powerful testimony. We are all struggling with our crosses, and it feels at times like we have no Church. Don’t despair, Christ is with us. I hope these words from Bishop Athanasius Schneider will be helpful to you and others:

    “Indeed the crisis of the faith inside the Church is reaching its heights. This is a special time, which the inscrutable wisdom of God permits to purify and to strengthen our faith. God is using in this time the little one in the Church, the pure faith mostly of the lay faithful to keep the faith intact and to hand it over to the next generations. It is an honour that we can be witnesses and defenders of our dear Catholic faith not only against the enemies outside but also in the face of the traitors inside the Church, even when these traitors are bishops or cardinals. The Church is always in the hand of our Lord, even in our dark days. I think that God permits that the evil inside the Church must grow and reveal itself in all its wickedness and then God will intervene and make shine the truth and the beauty if the faith, of the liturgy and of the moral life anew. As saint Paul said: when there increased the evil, the grace increased still more. Be confident and be proud and joyful because of our Catholic faith. God bless you. Yours in Christ + Athanasius Schneider”

    God bless you and your ministry, Joseph. You are in our prayers.

  7. Theresa January 28, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Oh blessed mother, please be a mother to your child, Joseph. Strengthen him in his ministry, encourage his walk, let the graces of Your Son touch the hearts of those who need Christ’s touch and bring them all the gift of the Father’s love.

  8. Roseanne T. Sullivan January 28, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    Dear Joseph, you are brave, and I love you and your testimony. Thank God, He took you out of the mirey pit. And thank God your parents took you in. The horrifying reality that you write about is ignored when people, even many deluded priests, try to pretend homosexual acts are just like marital acts between a man and a woman. They ignore the ick factor, the misuse of organs designed for one purpose for an unnatural parody of marital intimacy. What you wrote here reminds me of a book I once read about by FBI agent who outed Man Boy Love Association members who were planning a trip to Mexico to sodomize young boys. The perverts were joking about how the little Mexican boys wouldn’t have any trouble going to the bathroom after they were done with anal sex with them. You have graphically written about the injury you experienced as a youth that caused your intestinal prolapse. How much worse would it be for a child! I also remember that when a couple was accused of sexually abusing children at their day care, the judge would not allow the medical records of the children’s injuries in their genital areas to be used as evidence. A sick ideology has taken over and all proof of the disgusting reality is ignored. If you try to point the evidence out, you are treated as if you’re the sick one, homophobic or sexually repressed. As I wrote, dear Joseph, you are brave, and I thank God He has rescued you. So many others are lost. I pray for you and thank God for your willingness to say things no one else will say. It is heartbreaking to see that so many priests have been fooled and lead others to stay in their sin instead of fighting for purity and sanity and holinss. Most Holy Redeemer Church is a disgrace and should be cleansed and exorcised and turned back into a Catholic parish. God help us all!

  9. Vincent Fitzpatrick February 1, 2017 at 2:20 am

    Most Holy Redeemer must be suppressed, the buildings all razed, and the land sold. There is no possibility of reform. If any truly Catholic priest were assigned there, the church would be empty, anyway.

    I am afraid that closing a parish that is financially viable is an unthinkable thought for any bishop, including Cordileone. But as long as MHR exists, it will be preaching lies, and Cordileone is an accomplice.

  10. Matt February 1, 2017 at 2:53 am

    May you find peace in the arms of our Blessed Lord, brother, both in this life and the next. Thank you for telling the truth.

  11. Nancyv February 1, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it. (1 Thel. 5:24)
    Keep preaching brother Joseph. I love you and God loves you so much more.

  12. Joanne February 17, 2017 at 12:04 am

    Joseph,
    I am Catholic and I am not going anywhere either. Like you, with all the confusion in the Church and all the modernism being pushed on the faithful from the Pope no less (wow) — I had the same thought you did — run to the Orthodox Church. But I said no — instead I am going to put my mantilla on, go to Latin Mass whenever I can, go to Vespers, Eucharistic Adoration, pray the Rosary and be MORE CATHOLIC than I ever have. I have even started fasting twice week for the conversion of the Pope and for the Church. We need to be candle lights in this dark Church right now. Like Cardinal Raymond Burke, I am a devout Catholic and I am not going anywhere. Accompany? Integrate? Celebrate gayness? — no thanks, not me.

  13. Anonymous March 24, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    I am praying for you and your witness and ministry with gratitude. You are helping heal the Body of Christ.

  14. Jenna February 11, 2018 at 10:10 pm

    Thank you Joseph. What a powerful testament to the power of Christ you are! Thank you for all your work and ministry. I will pray the rosary for you to succeed and that those poor souls be healed by God.

Comments are closed.