Catholic Revert

Richard Evans

After being raised Catholic, Richard Evans left the Catholic Church from ages 15-49, becoming an Evangelical minister and eventually a gay activist. This is the story of his departure and return to the fullness of the Catholic faith.

After Coming Out, I Came Home

I CANNOT RECALL A TIME WHEN I WAS NOT AWARE OF GOD IN MY LIFE. While other little boys were planning to be firemen or police, I often said, even at age seven or eight, "I want to be the Pope!" I jumped at the chance to become an altar boy, having already had much practice as the family "priest" when we played Mass—complete, at times, with flattened "hosts" made of white bread and cut out with bottle caps. The idea of actually serving next to the priest at the real Mass was incredible to me, and I did so with joy for the next four years.

When I was 11, my mother, who had assisted in the Catholic conversion of my father when they were married, had a crisis of faith. It was the late 1960's, and both the nation and some in the Church had become radical in many ways. The Church began to share more publicly some of the mistakes made in years past, and my mother's faith in the one institution she trusted most was shaken deeply. She began visiting a number of local churches and eventually settled in at the local Assembly of God. I remember telling her that I was afraid for her soul—a bit bold for a 6th grader—but eventually found myself visiting services with her occasionally.

It did not escape my notice that these very kind people read and used the Bible at every service and seemed to know it well. Even those in the youth group tried seriously to live their faith on a daily basis. I was impressed. I found myself attending regularly, and the calling I had once sensed to possible priesthood became directed towards evangelical ministry.

Around this same time (I was 14 by then) I had my own faith crisis and began questioning all I had ever been taught, both Catholic and Protestant. One day I went to a quiet corner of the house to think and pray, and told God that I didn't really care if I was Catholic, Protestant, or Buddhist for that matter, but just wanted to know who He was. A few weeks later, the pastor prayed with me to "accept Jesus," and I did so eagerly. While no thunderbolts exploded in the sky, deep within me I knew that Christ was real, and that I wished to serve Him for the rest of my life.

A Lonely Secret

Having hit puberty and all of its accompanying hormones, I also realized I had some desires that most other boys my age didn't seem to share: While they talked excitedly about girls and football, I found myself having "crushes" on some of the other young men in our church and school. I had noticed these feelings years earlier; however being raised in a home where sex was never once discussed, I did not know what they were called or why I had them. Only at age 11, after reading an issue of Look magazine, did I put a name to my desires—was I a "homosexual?" I did not know but suspected I was, and also knew it was something I could tell no one—period. It is lonely to have such a secret at that young age. Later, after my experience at the Assembly of God church, I came to understand that, from a biblical standpoint, this was quite apparently sinful behavior.

Growing up, I did not identify myself as "gay." I finished high school and attended an Assemblies of God Bible college. I remained a virgin until I married a very sincere and caring Christian woman. But the feelings were there, and even after 12 years of licensed ministry and marriage they remained a strong and disturbing temptation.

At age 34 I decided to revisit all of the Scripture passages on homosexuality and see if there was something I had not understood. It was not my desire to go out and sin, but I sincerely wished to know if there was a possibility that I had missed theologically. Studying each passage, I used every tool at my disposal,such as Greek and Hebrew lexicons and books written with both traditional and pro-gay theology. I concluded, after months of study, prayer, and even fasting, that the Bible was very perhaps not as clear on the topic as I had once believed. Because I could not seem to find unambiguous answers in the Bible alone and rejected Sacred Tradition at that time, I based my subsequent conclusions on science, current thinking in psychology, and the lived experiences of others. All of these seemed to point towards accepting and embracing my "gayness" and that is what I did. My marriage ended in 1991, and for the next 15 years, though still loving God in my own way, I lived within what is commonly called the gay lifestyle or subculture.

Man with a Country

The long journey back to faith began when I started attending a local Methodist church that was both accepting and yet very evangelical. The congregants were certainly not pro-gay by any means but nevertheless loving and charitable. I found myself digging once again into the Scriptures on a regular basis, and I became celibate, at first not by choice but eventually with enthusiasm. On the other hand, I still held on for dear life to my "pro-gay" theology. Go figure.

In 2004, I saw The Passion of the Christ, and a hunger for the Jesus of my childhood was stirred within me in ways I cannot even yet describe. I was daily listening to Protestant talk radio, which often questioned the faith of people such as Jim Caviezel (the actor who played Jesus in the movie) simply because they were Roman Catholic. This incensed me, as I had all of my life known many Catholics who loved God with all of their hearts, and as a result I had never gotten caught up in an anti-Catholic attitude. Although I did not at that time fully espouse the Church's theology, my memories of Catholicism were mostly fond ones, and I knew what I was hearing was simply not true or accurate.

Then, in 2005, while attending a "marriage equality" rally at the Minnesota State Capitol, I found myself walking away when the leader of a prominent LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) lobbying group began to rail against those who believed in the Bible. It tore me up inside to have to choose between two groups I was part of, "Bible believing" Christians and those who lived with homosexual inclinations. But at that moment the line was drawn in the sand. Even in my activist years I knew that this radicalism was not tolerance in its truest sense, and I had always known, if it ever came to choosing between God and a lifestyle that was for this world only, I would follow Him, no matter where He led me. I left the rally feeling like a "man without a country," not fully on board with the Church or with the militants I had been listening to. I only knew I loved Christ and I loved homosexually inclined people too, and that the two seemed very nearly to hate each other. And it saddened me deeply.

Searching for answers, I found a book called Beyond Gay by David Morrison. In his story I found some amazing parallels with my own, as he too was a gay activist who came back to Christ through a very caring evangelical church, and who now believed in a concept I had never heard of: same sex attraction (SSA). He suggested rather than concentrating on being "cured," our main goal should be holiness—which meant celibacy and lifelong chastity and not letting a set of feelings define who we were. Morrison had become Roman Catholic during his search for wholeness and was now working extensively with a Catholic-based ministry named Courage. Surprised and hopeful at his sane approach to this topic, I was finally, once again, a man with a country.

Christianity from the Top

That same summer, another seemingly unrelated series of events began to propel me towards the Church, at last pushing me through the door.

During the 1950s, some evangelical Protestant missionaries were in Ecuador, and 5 young men were killed by an obscure but very violent tribe they were trying to reach with the Gospel. The widow of Jim Elliott, one of the martyrs, later published his writings. This story had gripped me deeply as a teen. Now I found myself reading extensively about it once again, as the 50th anniversary of their deaths neared. Ms. Elliott and the sister of another of the martyrs, Nate Saint, had later lived side by side with the tribe who killed their husband and brother, and nearly the whole tribe was converted to Christ as a result.

With a new hunger to serve God and do whatever he wished for my life, I learned that Elisabeth Elliot's brother, Dr. Thomas Howard (former chief editor of Christianity Today magazine) had too become a Catholic! Although at first somewhat disturbed by this conversion, I became curious as to why someone from such an amazing evangelical family would jump ship. I decided to find out more.

By this point in time I had obtained my fill of old school Christian talk radio, especially the anti-Catholic sentiments often expressed, and on occasion l found myself watching Catholic television such as EWTN instead. I was surprised to hear almost none of the bigotry I had been listening to and was amazed at the level of kindness and respect shown to everyone, friend or foe—all while maintaining traditional Catholic stances. I particularly loved a certain somewhat feisty nun and found myself hooked on Mother Angelica Live! I started watching the televised Mass, almost daily, and eventually discovered a program called The Journey Home, which interviewed former Protestants who had found their way to Catholicism. It was hosted by Marcus Grodi, a former Presbyterian minister, and I much later learned that Dr. Howard had been his very first guest! I learned too of Dr. Scott Hahn and numerous other Protestant ministers and laypeople who had come into the Church during the 35 years I had been away.

I also discovered that there was now a new Catechism of the Catholic Church and wasted no time obtaining a copy. Digging into Church teaching, Bible in one hand and Catechism in the other, it finally dawned on me that, unlike what I had been led to believe during my many years as a Protestant, the Catholic Church did indeed teach correct and proper Christianity from the "top," so to speak. As earlier stated, I had always believed that there were Catholic Christians, but I assumed this was in spite of Rome, not because of her. Now I realized I had been wrong about this my entire adult life.

The final event that happened after this rapid-fire convergence of events was reading Scott and Kimberly Hahn's book Rome Sweet Home, in which they chronicle their own struggles and journey from Protestant to Catholic. I ended up devouring it nearly in one sitting—and at one point found myself literally throwing it across the room as I wrestled inwardly within. At the end though I knew I needed to return to the Church of my youth—and soon.

In the early morning just a day or two later, I walked in the pouring rain to the daily Mass at a nearby parish and for the first time in 35 years went to the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Holy Eucharist. This was on October 4, 2005 which, as afterwards I found out, was the memorial feast of St. Francis of Assisi (who had a hugely checkered past as well) and also Rosh Hashanah, which is the Jewish New Year. And it was definitely a new beginning for me. Many questions still remained, but (at age 50) on April 15, 2006 I ultimately was sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit through Confirmation within the "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church," taking the name Stephen Francis. Indeed I was home at last!

Epilogue

I originally wrote this article in 2008, nearly 3 years after my return to the Catholic Church. It is now fall of 2013, and 8 years later I am humbly and gladly still part of the Church of Rome. A few insights since that time, as well as the ever changing political climate, have caused me to add this short update regarding my own walk with God and the Church. When I first read the book by David Morrison, Beyond Gay, I had already come to a decision to remain celibate for life. What I was far less clear on was why. I believed then, as I do now, that it would open ministry doors for me that had previously been closed during my “out” years. I also knew that I needed, as mentioned in the main article, to be willing to surrender every area including my sexuality to God, and ironically had always tried to do so, even when I was actively LGBT. What David’s journey and book challenged me to do however was to look a little (or a lot!) deeper into the issue. I admittedly did not understand why it mattered so much to the Church other than the scandal and anger it seemed to cause among so many other fellow Christians.

As I read what he wrote so eloquently regarding his own experiences, much of that fog began to lift. The concept of “same-sex attraction” was neither pretending to no longer have such feelings nor, conversely, allowing them to control me or to be the center of my attentions. In short they did not make me who I was or am as a person. I had known of the “ex-gay” concept and seen it fail in so many people I had cared about through the years, including me. People often think that they are ready for marriage, as I did, simply because of being taught not to admit or acknowledge those attractions, even to oneself. Others I knew of with SSA had tried to become “macho” types with disastrous results and an eventual giving up on the healing process. What David talked about, and what Courage as well as the Roman Catholic Church teaches, is that there are no guarantees on how quickly or even if we will be healed during this life in that particular area. In other words those feelings may or may not always be with me. And it does not matter to God nor does he love me less as a result in any case. What does matter is what I do with them. Rather than being overly preoccupied with “changing” I need instead to give myself to God here and now, take up my cross daily, and make a firm commitment to walk with Him. As one priest wisely told me during Confession I am still “called to be a saint.” And I hopefully am striving in that direction.

As time went onward, and I went through the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) process in order to be confirmed, I began to study in more depth the teaching on sexuality from God and the Church’s perspective. I realized I could no longer support such causes as same gender “marriage” because of its overall effect on society. I recall seeing a huge billboard on a city bus which said something about bringing out the “inner gay” in all of us!!! I also realized young children and parents who taught their children that homosexuality was sinful were being literally accosted and harassed by this type of advertising and constant publicity, and that if same-sex unions became the law of the land this would only increase ad infinitum. And that would be just the tip of the iceberg. Around halfway through the RCIA process I finally came home one night and removed the Rainbow (LGBT) flag which had flown proudly from my window for many years. Obviously I could always and still do love my LGBT brothers and sisters. I stand in no judgment over them. But I could not do things which caused it to appear I was supporting all of their causes since I no longer was. And that flag was a sign of that support. So down it came.

Fast forward to today, 5 years after the original article and just over 8 years after my initial “return to Rome,” I find myself a daily Mass participant and communicant, a strong believer in the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession (at least once or twice a month) and I pray the Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet daily as well. In short my life is one of quiet spirituality and I would not have it otherwise. Do I still have struggles? Undeniably so. Have I lost all temptation for those of my gender? I have not, and my hunch is that, at this point in my life, I am not likely to ever do so. I even went through a few brief periods of rethinking my entire decision to remain Catholic, and, even after all of the above, attended briefly an “LGBT friendly” church that was “almost” Catholic but not quite. Bad idea I might add. But God knows me better than I know myself. After a few short months there and a couple additional backs and forths I reaffirmed my commitment to Rome and now I no longer choose to look back.

Since 2006 I have been utterly privileged to serve as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, first at St Olaf and also at the Cathedral of St Paul, as well as sponsoring 2 young men who entered the Church through the RCIA process. I graduated in May of 2010 from the Harry J Flynn Catechetical Institute, which is a 2 year study program established and run by the Archdiocese of St Paul/Minneapolis and the St Paul Seminary. Most lately, in the spring of 2012, I completed a one-year Catholic Church History program called “Epic.” So the studies and growth continue. God is truly not done with me just yet, even as I walk through this later stage of middle age (I am 58 now). And Rome is still, at least for this pilgrim, the closest place I have found to “home” on this earth. That will not be changing again.

Click here for a more in depth version of Richard's Struggle with the Church's teaching on same-sex attraction.

Richard G. Evans lives in Minneapolis, MN, and works as a staffing coordinator for a large hospital system in the St. Paul area. He is single, and besides his love of the Catholic faith, he also enjoys collecting vintage records and phonographs, particularly jazz and blues. You can learn more about Richard by visiting his blog here... http://catholicboyrich.wordpress.com/.

If you have found this story helpful in your spiritual journey we hope you will consider sharing it. Have feedback or would like to share your story? Email us at  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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53 comments

  • Comment Link ALICIA Thursday, 05 May 2011 19:44 posted by ALICIA

    Our Church is look out for a "gay saint" to honor. God Bless you Mr. Evans.

  • Comment Link Manny Friday, 06 May 2011 04:43 posted by Manny

    God bless you Mr. Evans. This was a great read. We are all children of God.

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Friday, 06 May 2011 11:15 posted by Richard G Evans

    Thanks Manny and Alicia, to both of you...I am quite a ways from a "saint" just yet!!! Working slowly towards it though...

    Ironically, though, many LGBT as well as straight men who I have known have a strong devotion to St Sebastian, who was an early martyred Roman warrior, and almost always artistically pictured in ways that showcase, in a pure way, his physical beauty and strength. He also is a patron of the military, and truly the sexual battles we each face in today's society are a huge war for us all. For many of these same reasons St Joan of Arc too comes to mind and many women and men of all backgrounds relate to her. I have long considered both of these to be special patrons towards those of us with SSA issues.

    Now, just this week, newly Blessed John Paul II has been permanently interred in Sebastians's altar at St Peter's. So the man who on earth delineated the "Theology of the Body" and has helped many of us from all backgrounds to at least begin seeing the human body as God himself does--a way of speaking his very life into us and manifesting it as well as giving that life to others, whether physically or spiritually--will have his remains permanently honored there and they will be honored together as a "tag team" of hope and help to all of us, no matter what our woundedness or inclinations have been in the past or present. For we have all been wounded.

    So instead of providing "gay saints" as such, the Church in her wisdom has indeed provided saints such as these who we can all relate to, and who will indeed powerfully intercede for us. And we so need it!!! Thanks again for your comments and God bless!

  • Comment Link Jonathan Aquino Friday, 06 May 2011 17:10 posted by Jonathan Aquino

    Great story - congratulations, Mr. Evans!

  • Comment Link Allan Wafkowski Friday, 06 May 2011 18:28 posted by Allan Wafkowski

    What an uplifting story. Mr. Evans was being led by God when he least suspected it--and he followed. Nice story of moral strength overcoming temptation. God bless you, Mr. Evans.

    The discussion about homosexuality and the Catholic Church has taken an unhealthy turn in the past several decades. In earlier times, spiritual works, especially those dealing with a monastic environment segregated from the world, sounded an alarm about particular friendships, which were friendships that might develop into sexual attraction because of our propensity to confuse friendship, love and sex. It was not considered shameful to have such temptations. Shame entered when such temptations were acted upon.

    The politicalization of sexual issues, even in the church, has blurred the distinction between temptation and sin in our time. Nowadays people very often define who they are by the sexual temptations they endure.

    Honest people like Mr. Evans can only help us to return to a more natural time when the we judge ourselves by what we choose and act upon, rather than how we are tempted.

  • Comment Link Dr. Johnson Friday, 06 May 2011 19:58 posted by Dr. Johnson

    Congratulations Mr.Evans and welcome home. We left the door open and the light on for you.

  • Comment Link Marine77 Friday, 06 May 2011 20:49 posted by Marine77

    Now how about you use your experiences to combat the LGBT?

  • Comment Link Lorraine Murray Saturday, 07 May 2011 14:26 posted by Lorraine Murray

    Thank you so much for this moving and uplifting story! It is so rare to find a person with homosexual inclinations who will say, "The actions themselves are wrong, and I will fight against them." This takes grace and honesty and courage.

    Too often, these folks don't realize that there is a place for them in the Catholic Church, where they can find friendship and compassion. What must be given up -- the actual practice of homosexual acts -- is a huge Cross, but your story shows that it is a Cross that can be carried through prayer, grace from the sacraments, and a deep devotion to Christ.

    May God bless you always!

  • Comment Link Pam Forrester Sunday, 08 May 2011 04:44 posted by Pam Forrester

    Thank you soooooooo much for sharing your journey back to the Catholic Church. It was very uplifting. Keep up the good fight. God Bless you!

  • Comment Link Anne Saturday, 14 May 2011 03:50 posted by Anne

    Thank you for your story-it gives hope that God is drawing many back to the Body. I too left for evangelical pastures for 31 years and returned almost involuntarily, on my part, though not our Lord's, following the funeral of a family member in November 2009. Weekly it seems I encounter other ex-Catholics who on hearing where I am attending church ask why I returned. Some are hostile but more are almost wistful and interested. Many are long time acquaintances whom I did not know had been raised Catholic. Keep speaking out-you never know who is listening.

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Saturday, 14 May 2011 15:54 posted by Richard G Evans

    I appreciate each of the thoughts, prayers, well wishes, and sentiments expressed here. I do wish to state that I am not here to “combat” anyone (except spiritually of course!), but I have been thankfully very free to share my journey with my LGBT friends and family. Some of course accept it and some do not—feeling perhaps that I have cheated myself somehow by being committed to Rome and Christ through the Church. But, with a very few exceptions, I have found a high degree of acceptance, at least as a human being, from both camps. As one of my priests once told me, perhaps I am called to be a needed “bridge” between those who feel that the Church has let them down or rejected them, which unfortunately still happens, and those on the opposite side who are doctrinally pure but carry a certain contempt for those with similar battles to mine. It is a fine line to walk.

    While I no longer politically support the overall goals of activist groups in the LGBT arena, such as legalization of “marriage” type relationships and the like, I think we must be very, very careful not to become too angry at those who are fighting for those things. It is far more important to win people’s hearts than to win arguments or even to pass laws. So, for now anyway, my battle is primarily one to one dialogue and on my knees. Thanks again all.

  • Comment Link Roderick Wednesday, 25 May 2011 11:59 posted by Roderick

    I found your story truly inspiring, encouraging, and uplifting. Thank you for sharing it with us.
    I think you are quite right in suggesting Bl. John Paul II as a saint for the homosexual. I remember him saying science still does not know the how or why that makes causes same sex attractions (not his exact words), but he always stressed love for the individual.
    And the connection to the side chapel of St. Sebastian is perhaps more than a happy coincidence.

  • Comment Link Mrs. Mae Woods Saturday, 18 June 2011 02:47 posted by Mrs. Mae Woods

    This is an amazing and powerful story. It's honesty and candor is refreshing. It should bring hope and healing to many.

  • Comment Link Lawrence Saturday, 09 July 2011 19:25 posted by Lawrence

    Hi Richard,

    Thank you for the vulnerale and uplifiting story of your journey. One of the fruits of the Spirit is Self-control (bringing our bodies under the subjection of the Holy Spirit): Keep up the fight.

  • Comment Link Christelle Thursday, 14 July 2011 16:19 posted by Christelle

    Oh thank you for sharing this!
    Your story is a powerful message as you have come to such understandings that people take a whole lifetime to figure out, or never do!
    you life was truly blessed Mr Evans!
    Praise God!

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Saturday, 23 July 2011 02:58 posted by Richard G Evans

    God's blessings to each of you for sharing your thoughts and certainly your prayers!!! I will not pretend it to be easy at times, but I do know our Lord and Lady watch out for me at every turn. God bless!

  • Comment Link Betsy Tuesday, 16 August 2011 18:24 posted by Betsy

    Hi, Richard.

    I read David Morrison's Beyond Gay about the same time that you did as I struggled to understand a relative who identified as bisexual (although she adamantly stated that she wanted no labels at all). I keep David in my prayers. He had a blog for a while, Sed Contra, that was always interesting to read.

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Saturday, 27 August 2011 19:33 posted by Richard G Evans

    Yes thanks, and hopefully David M is doing well...I do know his former partner but present best friend became Catholic a few years ago. I am hoping that they are both staying strong. His blog was good and his writing is very insightful. I hope your family member is doing well too.

  • Comment Link Joe Areopagite Monday, 26 September 2011 18:59 posted by Joe Areopagite

    Dear Richard,

    Thank you for sharing your story with such open-heartedness and gutsy sincerity. I appreciated it so much that I mentioned you in a combox post recently. I hope you don't mind. Please have a look to see if I conveyed your point of view appropriately (I did so somewhat cryptically, vis-a-vis an SSA lady named Rachel, describing your "choice as a yes or no..., yet which is paradoxically and simultaneously also a yes and yes."
    http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=7796511589884674944&postID=6367036487162495670
    I hope my characterization is not too far off the mark, and if it is, please pardon me. Obviously you'll have to take a gander at the context of my remark to see what I mean.

    I also have a sense you might be very intrigued, if not captivated, by the original blog post that I responded to, entitled "Am I My Gay Brother's Keeper?" by the very gifted and gutsy Catholic blogger Hearther King. Here's the link to her article in case you'd like to check it out (and maybe even leave a comment, who knows?!):
    http://shirtofflame.blogspot.com/2011/09/am-i-my-gay-brothers-keeper.html

    God bless you, Richard, and keep on keepin' on in the faith, brother! You're in my prayers,

    Joe

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Friday, 14 October 2011 07:40 posted by Richard G Evans

    Thank you Joe for sharing this...and yes be free to share with others. As I mention in the EPILOGUE section I am not without my struggles. But here is one thing I have learned early on, and hang on to with my life--The Holy Eucharist, recieved in a state of grace, is worth everything. No physical pleasures nor even earthly love is worth compromising that. I always find it intriguing when people claim to be "born gay." There is scant scientific evidence of this at best. What is provable is that, statistically, most of us who have SSA cannot remember when it first began--it does SEEM to have "always" been with most of us. But what seems to be 2+2=4 is not always quite that obvious. I think a better explanation is in our own Catechism, which states that the genesis of these feelings is largely unknown. Is it genes? Is it environment? And finally and most importantly, does it even matter? What matters is that we all have different areas of weakness, wounds, and temptations. But that all can and should be laid at the foot of the Cross. Easier said than done. But that is true for those who are actively gay, actively straight, or actively celibate. All three ways of sexual expression or non-expression have to be surrendered to the Cross of Jesus. I have not learned it perfectly--far from it. But I am journeying. And glad. You said it right.

  • Comment Link Paolo Miguel Cobangbang Tuesday, 08 November 2011 04:20 posted by Paolo Miguel Cobangbang

    Such an inspiring story, Mr. Evans! Your resolution to go back to the One True Faith reminds me of Psalm 43:4 "And I will go in to the altar of God : to God who giveth joy to my youth."

    Praying for you always!

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Thursday, 10 November 2011 21:10 posted by Richard G Evans

    Thanks I surely can use it! God bless.

  • Comment Link Christopher Lake Saturday, 12 November 2011 01:54 posted by Christopher Lake

    Richard, thank you for writing this. God bless you, brother. I am particularly moved, and inspired, by the honesty of your "Epilogue" section here. Thank God that the Catholic Church (not always all of its members, but at least its teaching authority) understands that the Christian life is one of both joy and hard struggle with suffering, temptation, and sin, and in that light, she gives both direction and compassion to the (sometimes) weary traveler. I am one of them, and am very glad, with you, to be in the Church that Christ founded.

  • Comment Link Martin Sunday, 13 November 2011 15:58 posted by Martin

    This really saddens me. God gave you a gift of sexuality and you follow human laws and not your innate knowledge of who you are. Believe me, I know the 'offer it up' routine, but living a life not in accord with who in order to please someone (human) else couldn't please God who gave you a gift and you said, no thanks. By the way, What did Jesus say about gay/lesbians? Think about it, humans or God, you choose.

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Sunday, 13 November 2011 17:40 posted by Richard G Evans

    Martin thanks for the pity but... I am at more peace now than ever in my entire life. You should have felt sorry for me when I was being promiscuous and wasting my time and energy on what this world alone offered.

    I do not put you down for your opinion, not at all. I have been there and done that, and that, and a few other things too. But I would challenge you to realize that your solutions for yourself may not be the best ones for me.

    I would also challenge you to answer just which humans I am pleasing. I didn't return to Catholicism so that Pope Benedict would notice me and send a letter of approval. And obviously not you, since you are "saddened" for me. And not certain members of my family or friends who, like you, think I am busy "missing out" on life.

    I do however choose God as I understand Him to be, and have found Him in the Church I rejected long ago. And I can only say that I am the richer and more blessed for it.

    And what did Jesus say about gays and lesbians? Nothing. But He did say, when asked about divorce, that from the beginning His ideal plan was for a "man and woman." And He taught from the Jewish traditions of the day which did forbid same gender sexual contact. He was not afraid to challenge the traditions which were human only and had slipped into Judaism. So His silence speaks quite loudly, I think.

    He loved all, and loves all, same-sex attracted or lustful straight folks for that matter. But as He also told the prostitute who was caught in sin, "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more." We often quote the first half of that verse but not the second.

    God bless you in your own journey. God does accept you exactly as you are this moment. But He loves you too much to just look the other way and not challenge you to grow. Just give it a second thought, no matter what MCC or other supposedly "inclusive" ministries try to say. I will be in prayer with you. Thanks for your words and concern.

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Sunday, 13 November 2011 17:43 posted by Richard G Evans

    Christopher thanks...I admit I debated adding the Epilogue but was encouraged by several wise people to do so. Has it been a bed of roses and a bottle of Chardonnay? No. But it has been a blessing to be within the Tradition, and to know I can, every single day if possible, start with Jesus, body, blood, soul and divinity, in the Holy Eucharist. And it is worth it to me.

  • Comment Link klmaryleok@gmail.com Sunday, 20 November 2011 20:07 posted by klmaryleok@gmail.com

    Am greatly inspired by your courage and open mindedness to listen to the voice of God.

    I strongly believe that all that you have gone through was planned by God . Am looking at your great zeal as a result of great learning from what has happened to you.

    You are a wonderful gift to us.
    God bless you Richard.

    Your bro ,
    Leonard.

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Sunday, 20 November 2011 22:22 posted by Richard G Evans

    Leonard that means so much coming from a dedicated seminarian in a difficult situation. I am so glad our paths have crossed. God bless you so much in your studies and in your future. Let us pray for one another!

  • Comment Link Mikhai Wednesday, 07 December 2011 18:26 posted by Mikhai

    You are, in no uncertain terms, my hero. :)
    Thank you for tackling such sensitive, timely issues in a rational yet heartfelt way.
    I look forward to your posts.

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Saturday, 10 December 2011 09:01 posted by Richard G Evans

    Mikhai--WHAT a nice compliment, not at all sure it is deserved but I will try to live up to it...I do also now have a blog, which is:

    http://catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com.

    I deal with a wide variety of topics including this one, but Catholic issues in general and political ones as well. And even some occasional fun:). So feel free to migrate on over and see what is there. I would be glad and honored to have you or any of the readers from here.

  • Comment Link floro Monday, 12 December 2011 07:07 posted by floro

    hi brother richard! thanks for your wonderful story. just to let you know, in many ways than one i can relate to your personal circumstances. i want to be in constant communication with you as i journey in my Catholic Faith. i struggle everyday as i try so hard to be chaste though at times i fail. it is no joke to have SSA. i have surrendered myself to God and i know that my being gay is a form of suffering that i have to endure and that to remain chaste despite all the temptations is one way of sanctifying my sould. I thank God as His grace has always been there. Thanks be to God! do you have a facebook account

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Friday, 16 December 2011 17:23 posted by Richard G Evans

    Floro yes I do...also a blog. If you seach FB I am listed as "catholicboyrichard" (I think!) and if you just go to my blog, http://catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com you can locate me there too and contact me in either place. I am so glad to be of service! God bless.

  • Comment Link mcasey Tuesday, 17 January 2012 18:23 posted by mcasey

    Thanks for the great story. You are clearly a brave and thoughtful man. While I don't agree with all your conclusions (I believe the Church, because of its priesthood, is committed to a position on homosexuality and gay marriage that is both cruel and ignorant) you have worked through all of this with eyes and mind open, and come to what seems like a wonderful balance. This could not have been easy. You are an inspiration. Keep praying and learning.

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Tuesday, 17 January 2012 18:59 posted by Richard G Evans

    Thank you, mcasey, for not attempting to "talk down" to me even though our conclusions at this time may be different. I have also deeply struggled with the Church position on sexuality, not just in this area but generally.

    BUT--I either accept the truth of the Church or I do not. And if I do, at lesat for me that means accepting the teachings of faith and morals given through the Papacy and the bishops in union with him--in other words the Magisterium.

    I would be the very last person to judge the soul of another who disagrees with me. I just had a wonderful cousin legally marry his partner of many years, and I rejoice in their love, even while disagreeing with how they may express it. There are many other ways to get love other than sexually. And I can live with that.

    Thanks again for YOUR thoughtful comments. I hear them well. God bless you on your own journey.

  • Comment Link Rick De Lano Monday, 30 January 2012 07:27 posted by Rick De Lano

    God bless you, sir.

    In a world of falsehood, you found the Truth.

    I cannot even express in words, the heroism you have shown.

    May our crucified and risen Savior make you a saint.

    Hang in there.

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Monday, 30 January 2012 15:26 posted by Richard G Evans

    Thank you, Rick, for those kind words. Keep me in your prayers please! And feel free to check out my own blog, on not just this but many topics relevant to the Catholic Faith...it is http:catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com. Hope to see you or any other readers there. Again God bless and thanks.

  • Comment Link Jackford Kolk Wednesday, 08 February 2012 02:47 posted by Jackford Kolk

    Welcome home, Richard! My wife and I convert 2 Easters ago and we love being Catholic!

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Saturday, 11 February 2012 09:45 posted by Richard G Evans

    Thank you so very much, Jack and family!!! Yes it is a blessing to be in the Church. Indeed. God bless you.

  • Comment Link Sarah Tuesday, 13 March 2012 10:50 posted by Sarah

    "What David talked about, and what Courage as well as the Roman Catholic Church teaches, is that there are no guarantees on how quickly or even if we will be healed in this life in that particular area. In other words those feelings may or may not always be with me. And it does not matter to God nor does He love me less as a result in any case. What does matter is what I do with those feelings. Rather than being overly preoccupied with "changing" I need instead to give myself to God here and now, take up my cross daily, and make a firm commitment to walk with him. As one priest wisely told me I am still "called to be a saint." And I hopefully am striving in that direction." ~ As I journeyed out of homosexuality this is exactly the message I received from the ministry of Exodus and an inner healing ministry I'm still currently apart of... I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for this ministry and resource I found, as if it were not for these ministries I'd be lost in sin today.

    As for myself, having struggled with ssa and currently in an evangelical faith setting and processing reverting Catholic I gained a wealth of incredible resources through Exodus who by the way is not a ministry focused on making gay people straight but rather encouraging people struggling with ssa to live holy lives in Christ... which may for some result in living a celibate life... granted there has been a level of shifting taking place within Exodus and the ministry bringing clarity to their "change" slogan and what that means exactly... and unfortunately I have come across "ex-gay" type people who are so ex-gay that there is no vocabulary in them to respond to ongoing struggles with ssa ... follow through logically that leads one to believe that the terminology of "change" can be confusing and not really all that clear but at the same time I can't deny the testimony's of those who have honestly experienced a complete change in sexual orientation... albeit few and far between, the majority of those who come out of the gay life will continue to struggle to some degree with ssa... I'm a huge fan of wholeness and integration not repressing of or ignoring... it's sad how so many people can be pressured into changing instead of allowing for one to encounter Christ in the moment... I've always heard and believe today that focusing on changing one's sexual orientation may in fact become more of a hindrance to what God desires to do in us ... too much navel gazing is not healthy and at some particular moment the individual needs to stop identifying oneself as gay or even ex-gay and just understand something about the dignity of human life and Christ's call in one's life.. that is, what some ex-gay ministries will refer to as getting past the ex-gay plateau and become active members within church community, a community of ex drug addicts, ex drinkers, ex whatever ex lusters, ... name the sin ... but we're all called to live in Christ as those redeemed and justified, and sanctified in Christ.

    I'm living a chaste life but I'm not necessarily saying my vocation is celibacy.. I've experienced healing in so many ways that it is now possible to be in a relationship with somebody of the opposite sex, although that wasn't always the case... granted I always say that change is subjective and our experiences will never be cookie cutter and so there will be many who will leave the gay life to experience a very fulfilling celibate life which is commendable. Just saying some change is change... I once was transgender but now I'm completely comfortable in my identity as a woman, I love being a woman, I know I'm a woman, there is no confusion anymore, and I have fond appreciation for gender complimentarity and my goal isn't to become straight my goal is holiness and like you say... to become a saint... and that my friend is also referred to as a post gay biblical world view not ex-gay .... Exodus is post gay not ex-gay if that makes sense... I heard of Courage, it is or was affiliated with Exodus but for Catholic men.

    Anyways, I loved reading part of your testimony... I will have to come back to finish reading.

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Thursday, 15 March 2012 04:58 posted by Richard G Evans

    Thanks Sarah--first just a couple quick clarifications...Courage is in no way affliated with Exodus and does in fact have a somewhat different focus. It has never been considered an "ex gay" ministry and views those in process of holiness as SSA (same-sex attracted) as my story indicates.

    As to Exodus, I would not put down their efforts either, however I found for myself that, at least in the contacts I have had with them, which were pretty extensive, the approach was closer to "ex-gay." But-- Exodus is a coalition of various ministries, and not all may take that view. The ones I was associated with did. The ones you have worked with may have a different view and if so I am glad to hear it.

    In any case you seem to have a very healthy view, and you actually have closer to a "Courage" view than Exodus, I think. And Courage is not just for men by the way...God bless, and thanks SO much for reading and sharing. Feel free to keep in touch and check out my blog as well. Take care.

  • Comment Link Victor Friday, 16 March 2012 13:34 posted by Victor

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful testimony, Richard! :)

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Saturday, 17 March 2012 00:06 posted by Richard G Evans

    Very kind of you Victor!!! God bless you as well. VERY much!

  • Comment Link Bethany Sunday, 13 May 2012 13:28 posted by Bethany

    Dear Richard,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I've been looking for someone like you.
    As a charismatic Catholic Christian who is also recovering from an eating disorder and who works in a secular environment with a lot of people who experience SSA, I often feel a bit schizophrenic. (I mention the eating disorder because it involves recurring temptation that I cannot easily "get rid of". I hope this is not insulting to you to draw the comparison to the experience of SSA.) Anyways, I am often groping for common vocabulary to use between my Catholic, evangelical Protestant,, recovery community, and secular friends. But, I love them all and would like to contribute to creating greater mutual understanding. You seem to be a person who bridges the gap. Thank you.
    Sincerely,
    Bethany

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Sunday, 13 May 2012 20:31 posted by Richard G Evans

    Hi Bethany--

    Nothing to be insulted about, believe me! And thanks for your comment. One verse that comes to mind is where St Paul states he is "all things to all men, that by all means I may save some." Basically the idea is that he did not have one and only common vocabulary or methodology to use, but used the vernacular as needed when sharing with different people.

    I for instance far prefer the term SSA but still occasionally may refer to myself as "gay" (always adding however that I am celibate) in some situations, particularly when talking to those still active in the LGBT life and world. It just relates to them better in my experience. I once also compared SSA with Judaism of all thingks to my Jewish nephew (you can be born racially a Jew but not practice the religion for instance) and I tried to compare that line of thought with those who cannot see beyond the concept of "gay." I told him that, like he (and he definitely does NOT practice his Jewishness as a religion) I was no longer a "practicing" homosexual. Yes the desires are still there, but no I was and am not looking for partners anymore. One of the big arguments we with SSA get is that we are "denying who we are" to ourselves. Actually we know pretty well I think.

    Your comparison to your eating disorder works too as long as you clarify that you are not suggesting that the people you deal with, as PERSONS, are disordered in some medical sense of the term. But we are all "disordered" in our passions in some manner or another and this has been part and parcel of Church teaching since St Thomas Aquinas. If clarified in that way the analogy works well I think.

    Lots more on my blog http://catholicboyrichard.wordpress.com, not just on this topic but Catholicism in general with occasional politics and fun thrown in too. Stop on over! God bless and thanks for your good comments.

  • Comment Link Rocio Saturday, 07 July 2012 16:14 posted by Rocio

    "In other words those feelings may or may not always be with me. And it does not matter to God nor does He love me less as a result in any case. What does matter is what I do with those feelings."
    that just got to me, because it is true. I believe that we were all created for a purpose and a calling many religious leaders are trying to change people to be like them but if God created me a certain way it was for a purpose why should I ask God to change me? instead why not ask God to refine and use my character, temper and attitude for His purpose. your testimony has deeply touched my heart.

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Wednesday, 25 July 2012 08:12 posted by Richard G Evans

    Rocio thank you so much...and I would hasten to say that I do not mean I wish to hang on to feelings that do not help my walk with Christ, however I know that, as we all go through our various processes of healing in this life we need to accept that we 'feel as we feel." So many focus on changing the emotions--God focuses on changing our hearts. I think we would have less teen suicides and the like if we taught that, and lived that, more clearly. God bless you so much.

  • Comment Link Paul Tuesday, 25 March 2014 19:35 posted by Paul

    Hi Richard, thank you for staying strong. Do not give up. I am 100% straight, but have struggled since I was a small boy with intense sexual urges, which have never "gone away," but through my love for my Lord, His Word, and His Holy Catholic Church I have been able to have relative victory over my addiction to sexual sin. I am also a revert. I immerse myself in the scriptures and stay close to my Lord, and obey his command to "go and sin no more."

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Sunday, 06 April 2014 19:04 posted by Richard G Evans

    Paul what a lovely message of hope for us all. Like you, I cannot pretend that the struggle is over, at least mind-wise, but God allows those very struggles to make us what He Himself is--an overcomer. Your words also remind us all that in God's sight there really is no "gay or straight" sexual sin--it is sin when we use others for our pleasure, no matter what gender, and both those with my particular inclinations and those with yours do so for amazingly similar reasons. We can indeed struggle together. God bless!

  • Comment Link Dan Wednesday, 18 June 2014 17:33 posted by Dan

    Beautiful journey of Love for Christ. May the Holy Spirit continue to fill your heart with Love. BTW noticing the Cathedral you identified have you had the opportunity to check out Michael Voris at St Michael's Media and their programs? It is http://www.churchmilitant.tv

    May God continue to Bless You

  • Comment Link Rosanna Wednesday, 18 June 2014 19:32 posted by Rosanna

    I am adding you to my daily prayers. Thank you for your beautiful story and message.

  • Comment Link Sue Thursday, 19 June 2014 21:24 posted by Sue

    Richard, I am praying very hard for you and so many who find themselves in a struggle that doesn't seem to go away (isn't that all of us? Don't we all have a cross?) Yes, we all do. Yours is SSA and so is my son's. I want so much to send him this post, but at this point I am trying to let God handle it and not be a "mom trying to help him constantly." I am finding that my lesson in all this is to stop trying to manage everything and to let God work in His own way and His own time. A lesson in patience if there ever was one!! I want my son to find God for help in this life and not always "mom". Holiness is what we all need to strive for. As my priest told me, "just be patient and pray very much and let God clean up the mess." BTW he did not mean my son. I had been talking to him about a few other issues and that was his advice to me. So I try to remind myself that God is perfectly capable of cleaning up all our messes that we make in our lives. We just need to "do as He tells us" as His mother said at Cana.

  • Comment Link Kaycee Kess Thursday, 19 June 2014 23:15 posted by Kaycee Kess

    Uplifting ... is an understatement! Your comment, "It was not considered shameful to have such temptations. Shame entered when such temptations were acted upon" ... is very helpful when entering into dialogue with others on this subject. As well, I find it interesting that the terminology of SSA is not one that a lot of people are familiar with. Another help in the dialogue. You are incredibly articulate ... clearly a way God has gifted you... God bless you.

  • Comment Link Richard G Evans Sunday, 22 June 2014 07:53 posted by Richard G Evans

    TO ALL OF YOU who recently saw my story--God's story--via the link from either SPIRIT DAILY or other venues, I am absolutely overwhelmed by the outpouring of encouragement and kindness. Please do not think that I view my "Cross" as something worse than yours or anyone else's--we all have them indeed. However I do share it in the hope that even my failures at times can bring glory to the risen Christ we serve. Again thank you for your words, even if I do not respond to each one individually I read all of them and will keep you in my prayers. Please do the same for me and feel free to share. Blessings to you all. MANY blessings. And do visit my site too. You would be very welcome and safe there. God bless.

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