Moving feedback from a “gay” reader

prodigal son detailThis is the kind of note that make all the flak worthwhile:

A thousand times, thank you for your blog. I’m a Catholic in no small part because of this blog. When I first entered the Church ten years ago, I fell under the influence of liberals who taught me it was OK to live in sin as a gay man. I fell away from the faith eventually. Through the years, my own conscience told me this was not the life I wanted to live.  Your faithful words have supported my decision to leave the homosexualist life, that was death. I could tell I was on the slippery slope again you spoke of last Sunday. Today I went to Confession and the FSSP priest (which I also learned about from your blog) reminded me that though this cross is “big and bloody and difficult,” the Lord will help me bear it. Thank you for standing up for the truth on which I have staked my life and eternal salvation. Please pray for me, as I do for you.

I am sure that God will bless this fellow a hundred fold for the suffering that he has had to endure in trying to live a good and holy life.  It is hard for me to imagine the trials people with such attractions feel.  However, I am convinced that if they bear their crosses and persevere, their place in heaven will be very high indeed.

Here’s another point.

When we fall and commit a sin, we can get back up again, go confession and move forward.    I say the same thing to straight couples who may be living together in an irregular situation which, for some reason, they can’t change, as I might say to a same sex couple: live continently and be ready to suffer, don’t put yourselves in occasions of sin if you can help it, again be ready to suffer, use the sacraments well, use sacramentals to help to keep off the attacks of the Enemy of the soul.

If you fall… get back up and keep trying.

Our Church is for sinners.  The only Church I want to belong to is the Church Christ gave to sinners.  This is not the Church of the pure, only.  We are all in this together.

If we ponder the gift Christ gave us as a Church, the effects of absolution are quite simply breathtaking.

With absolution, provided that you are sincere, that you’ve done your best to confess your mortal sins without intentionally hiding anything, that you want sincerely to amend your life, then…

Your sins are taken away, obliterated, gone from your soul never to be held against you. They are not merely covered over.  They are eradicated forever.  They are washed clean out of your soul by the Blood of the Lamb.  You might remember them (with sorrow), but they are no longer yours.  Penance must be done in reparation for them, but they have been irrevocably forgiven.

There is nothing that we little mortals can do that is so bad that that absolution given by the priest – who is Christ in that moment – can’t perfectly forgive.  Therefore, never hold back.

With absolution also come graces not to sin in the future.  God doesn’t just forgive us and forget us.  His care is ongoing through graces.  You can also call upon the baptismal and confirmed character that you have in time of temptation and trial.


So, everyone, give thanks to God, for He is good, and His mercy endures forever.  I rejoice in this feedback, as Christ enjoins all to rejoice for conversion of sinners and the return of our prodigals.

FATHERS: If you don’t hear confessions, how can men like this amend their lives and live?





About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Kevin says:

    This person from now on will be included in our family rosary and daily Mass along with others whom I consider entrusted to me by our Lord.
    Blessed Mother help all those who struggle heroically in these bewildering times.

  2. Fallibilissimo says:

    “the effects of absolution are quite simply breathtaking”
    Man…I really needed to hear that. I think I’ve been despairing about that with my own sins. Thanks Father for reminding us, not only to go to confession, but to remember how rich and miraculous a gift it truly is.

  3. snoozie says:

    I will pray for this good man today at Mass.

    But, is this not a problem in your response; “…as I might say to a same sex couple: live continently…”

    I’m not asking this snarkily, I really want to know….is that not a false premise?….a ‘same-sex couple’? [No. It’s just a word to identity two things associated with each other. A couple of eggs, cufflinks. But there is a possible or potential connotation, as well. That’s true.] Is that not rather the ontological violation and distortion of friendship? Even using the neologism is a sop to an agenda-driven movement. Should the advise not be emphatically and urgently to ‘de-couple’? Is there ANY possible good reason for a ‘same-sex couple’ to remain ‘together’? [Well, there could be. However, now we go into how homosexual relationships can wind up being a twisting of friendship.] (and I don’t just mean a monetary or other worldly one…that is certainly NO good reason), but unlike in a heterosexual coupling who possibly share children, that can’t be a reason for a ‘same-sex coupling’ to continue, as they neither ‘share’ any child (there was never a conjugal aspect to the relationship), nor is it ever to the benefit of the child to remain in that situation of intrinsic disorder.

    I think this is a fine point with a very large ramification.

  4. Amerikaner says:

    As this is also the 100 yr anniversary of Immaculata, I recommend that daily prayer to folks. Here is a personal version I say (modified):

    “O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. And for those who do not have recourse to thee, especially the enemies of the Church, both within and without, those who do great evil, and those recommended to you.”

    Not in this life will we know who all we help by asking the Blessed Virgin to intercede for those who have no recourse to her but whom we ask her to look upon.

  5. Amerikaner says:

    meant to write “Militia of the Immaculata” instead of just “Immaculata”

  6. Joseph Revesz says:

    Pray for our brothers and sisters who bear the cross of SSA and struggle to live chaste lives. There are hundreds of them in the Courage apostolate.

  7. Unwilling says:

    “the truth on which I have staked”

  8. ajf1984 says:

    Praise God in His Mercy for this wonderful story of conversion! I will also add this young man to my daily prayers. I love that line about the cross being “big and bloody and difficult,” but that we know that when we embrace it as Christ embraced His Cross, we are not carrying it alone.

    And to Amerikaner, as a fellow MI member, I like your modified version of the daily Miraculous Medal prayer; I’m going to borrow it if I may!

  9. Peter Stuart says:

    Having struggled with this cross all my life, I need to hear testimony like this. Thanks for sharing it, Father Z. You can always be counted on to stand up to the ever more powerful queer underground in the Church.

    [I don’t want to have to “stand up to” anyone. And, if that group will with a little good will strive for holiness along with everyone else, I stand beside them in trying to get to heaven. Acting on an inclination to steal will take you to hell right along with the active … whatever. We all have our things that we deal with. Hence, we have to have compassion and we have to stick up for each other, especially those with the tougher paths.]

  10. FL_Catholic says:

    First, I want to commend the gentleman who wrote the letter. I’ll also pray for his continued strength to remain in the Truth of Christ and firmly attached to the Blessed Mother!

    Father, there is one question that I have had for quite a few years though. There is a certain famous traditionalist priest who specializes in Church retreats who has stated that there is in fact an unforgivable sin, a sin that Confession cannot do away with: denial of the Holy Spirit. The first time I heard him mention it was a decade ago when he was commenting on a series of videos that people were posting on YouTube stating disbelief in and rejection of the Holy Spirit. He then stated that by doing that, they were going to “go straight to hell for this unforgivable sin.” That its the only sin that cannot be pardoned, and then claimed it says so in the Gospel. Can you shed some light on whether or not this is true? I’ve subsequently heard other people say the same thing, but that cannot be squared with your statement that there is nothing we human can do that cannot be forgiven if we are sincerely penitent. Any light you could shed on this would be wonderful!

  11. Rich says:

    God bless this reader for his witness. It is the type which the current homosexualist agenda cannot endure as it completely deconstructs their narrative. But, such witness defeats and pulls the rug out from under the lies of the evil one on so many levels: “And they have conquered him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” (Revelation 12:11)

  12. Multinucleate says:

    Hello Father Z,

    I have a question. I am also gay/SSA/etc and was puzzled by this:

    “…as I might say to a same sex couple: live continently and be ready to suffer”

    Does the Catholic Church allow chaste same-sex “couples”? [No.] Or do you mean chaste same-sex friendship/companionship? [yes.]

    [The Church doesn’t recognize homosexual couples in any way like engaged couples or married couples or any of the kind of heterosexual couples out there (keeping in mind that “dating” is for finding a spouse. I used that word as short hand and a bunch of people are jumping on it… and therefore missing the point. Somewhere along the line we need to have the discussion about friendship and the twisting of friendship. That’ll be complicated, but it seems necessary.]

  13. Amerikaner says:

    To ajf1984 – Sure, no prob!

  14. Lavrans says:

    This is outstanding. If Fr. Martin and Bishop McElroy used their reach and power to help men and women live chastely when suffering from the cross of same-sex attraction, they might be hated by the world, but loved in Heaven, for they would be showing true love of God and neighbor.

    And isn’t that really what it’s all about?

  15. Alanmac says:

    The progressive elite pushing the LGBT agenda and same sex marriage are taking pages right out of the Anglican/Episcopalian play book. The result is always attendance and donations going over a cliff.

  16. NBW says:

    I will add this person to my prayer list. I am so glad he listened to his conscience. And thank you Fr. Z for being preaching the Church’s teaching.

  17. iamlucky13 says:

    “Our Church is for sinners. The only Church I want to belong to is the Church Christ gave to sinners. This is not the Church of the pure, only.”

    I can’t help but think of Pope Francis’ field hospital comment when I read this. In basic form, these are the same points, but depending how it is prefaced and what the reader wants to hear, it can be interpreted very differently.

    Recognition that we all fail is important. It helps with the next step of fostering not just a desire to amend our lives, but the necessary hope we can actually do so, as others have. The whole point of the field hospital is to help us get better, not to merely diagnose our injured state.

    Unfortunately, we don’t always see those around us getting better, and sometimes instead we see them getting worse. Spiritual progress is often a hidden thing, so it is helpful when somebody has the courage to share a difficult story like this.

    For the same reason, when I examine my conscience, sometimes I also try to remember instances I struggled with a temptation and did not yield, and say a prayer of thanksgiving for the graces I have faith were given to help me. I remind myself that giving in to sin is not a foregone conclusion, and even of specific actions that helped me in those past successes.

  18. Benedict Joseph says:

    This man is the real deal. This is a Christian.
    How many who could rise to this height are being snuffed out by soul slayers masquerading as wisdom figures — let alone priests who fancy themselves “bridge builders.”
    God reward this gentleman.
    His witness is a pearl beyond price.

  19. Dan says:

    “This man is the real deal. This is a Christian.” Agreed. This post is so encouraging, this is a true demonstration of living out the Love of Christ. The aligning of one’s own will with God’s.
    I would encourage us all to pray for this man and all of those that would carry this cross and have the courage to stand up and say they do not desire this lifestyle.
    If you want to see wailing and gnashing of teeth, tell the liberal establishment that a gay person has the right to choose not to be. They will fight for the right to choose to kill your baby, to choose what sex you think you are but tell them you choose to live a life ordered to Christ and they will attack.
    Pray against the attacks that this man and all who struggle with the cross of same sex attraction face for trying to live a life of true happiness.

  20. pannw says:

    FL_Catholic, the scripture verses they are referencing are Mark 3:29: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, shall never have forgiveness, but shall be guilty of an everlasting sin.

    Or Matthew 12:32: And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.

    and Luke 12:10: And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but to him that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven.

    Horrifying…though I don’t completely understand and hope someone much more well studied in Sacred Scripture can explain.

    Praise be to God for this man, and all those who carry this heavy cross for love of the Truth. May God reward them. Michael Voris had a very powerful Vortex on this today, also. The lines are drawn, sides being taken in earnest, and the battle is really heating up. I am so thankful for the faithful voices speaking out. So thank you, Father Z.

    Deo gratias.

  21. FL_Catholic says:

    Pannw, thank you for your response. I too would love to hear more detail from someone who has a background in this, because it is horrifying. If this is the case, and it obviously is since Our Lord said it three different times in Scripture, which is inspired by the Holy Spirit Himself, why isn’t this more well known? Shouldn’t this be taught in big bold flashing red letters when we are kids learning the faith?! We always hear about God’s endless Mercy, but if there is a sin that even God won’t forgive, that is truly terrifying. At that point that person’s life ceases to have meaning and they’re just counting down the time until they die and go straight to hell. truly and completely terrifying.

    And to think of all the talk of the Spirit demanding novelties in the Faith and in morals these days from certain corners of the Church, there’s a lot of people committing this sin…

  22. un-ionized says:

    FL Catholic, those verses are very well known. They are also preached about extensively in some evangelical Protestant circles. I recall Billy Graham preaching about what the sin against the Holy Spirit means.

  23. TonyO says:


    When I was growing up, this issue was explained so: to “blaspheme against the Holy Spirit” was either hold that some sin of yours “could not be forgiven” or to despair of it being forgiven. Since, in those cases, you would not actually intend to confess and be forgiven, you could not carry out a valid confession and thus “could not be forgiven”. It’s the result of not believing that forgiveness could be granted, thus preventing the sacrament.

    If this is the correct understanding, the shorthand way of saying it is “the only sin that cannot be forgiven is the one you don’t confess”. But the solution, then, is to BELIEVE it can be forgiven, and then confess it. Including saying stupid and evil things like “I don’t believe in the Holy Spirit. ” As long as you repent of them.

  24. joekstl says:

    Why is “gay” in the heading in quotation marks?

    I hope your gay poster finds peace in the struggle and in the decision that was made.

    [Because I HATE what has been done to the otherwise perfectly good English word “gay”. And that’s that.]

  25. iamlucky13 says:

    @ FL_Catholic

    St. Augustine has suggested blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not mere words, but “final impenitence” or the refusal at the moment of death, if lacking justifiable ignorance, to accept God or perhaps even at our individual judgement, when we clearly have no ignorance. The blasphemous act is rejecting God even then, in full knowledge of the Spirit. This would be a step beyond what the Pharisees did when they saw God doing miraculous acts in the form of man and made the accusation that He was from the devil. This led Jesus to warn them that their blasphemy against Him could be forgiven, but they were tiptoeing towards a form of blasphemy that could not.

    I suspect most people consider the thought of rejecting God at our judgment absurd, thinking it’s one thing not to believe while alive when the proof isn’t clear, but nobody would do so if actually standing before God at judgement, knowing the consequences, right?

    They forget that the fallen angels, endowed with perfect mind and will, despite knowing exactly what it entailed, did basically that. Unlike the pharisees, their obstinance was absolute, so it could never revert to repentance.

    For us humans, if we have spent our lives pursuing sin, convincing ourselves what is bad is actually good, when confronted with absolute Good, it really is conceivable that we would then, with hardened hearts, reject what we are no longer capable of seeing as anything other than bad.

    The commentary in the New American Bible (questionable as it may be, it’s not necessarily without merit) puts it a bit differently, and matter of factly claims blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is attributing to Satan what is actually the work of the Spirit.

    That sounds very different, but if we’ve hardened our hearts against God in favor of sin instead, then when we come before Him at our judgement, wouldn’t we then see Him as the enemy of what we actually want. Remember the word satan means “enemy.” If we reject what God as the enemy of what we desire, we are basically calling Him satan.

    Considering it like that, I find the concept of attachment to sin to be a very frightening thing.

  26. Ave Crux says:

    God bless this man’s love for truth and his willingness to live accordingly, no matter the cost.

    I do have a question in this regard for the longest time….

    I’m really not understanding something….why is mortifying SSA any more difficult than heterosexuals also mortifying unlawful sexual attractions: i.e. Priests, religious, celibates who must keep a chaste heart, live in complete self denial in this regard, and often deny themselves innocent friendships which could become too serious; and married couples who must mortify any unlawful desires (even thoughts and glances) outside of the bonds and sanctity of Holy Matrimony? [A good question. There my be a psychological factors that are hard to understand. However, it seems to me that there is also a different sort of urging from the Enemy of the soul, given that it is a disordered urge.]

    We all have fallen natures and must conquer wayward inclinations of the flesh until we are victorious over them. It’s a battle for everyone, not just those who have SSA….no?

    I just think that treating the struggles of those with SSA any differently is just another way of marginalizing them and exaggerating their particular “defect”. I say….Join the human race!!

    Essentially, ALL men and women will normally have struggles of this kind (whether heterosexual or SSA) until a faithful life of asceticism subordinates their natural impulses to the soul’s dominion and the ascendency of grace.

  27. stephen c says:

    I could be wrong but I think the sin against the Holy Spirit is this: you just don’t like someone.[No. Don’t confuse “like” with charity.] That someone was created by God, just as much as Adam and Eve were, but they said something, or did something, or there was something about them that made you think, I just don’t like that person. Well let’s say a thousand years go by and you look back and smile and think: there was nothing to like about that person, and I was right not to like them. How can you seek forgiveness for such a thought? I am not a priest and have never heard confessions but I talk to a lot of people and I think that there are just too many of us who do not like other people, out of pride, out of convenience, out of ambition – whatever the cause is, the result is we think of other people as expendable – and that is a difficult habit to abandon – how do you repent for not caring about other people when you never learned what it is to care about other people? I want people who do not know how to repent to repent, but I have no idea how to make them understand that all of us are children of God. So I will pray for them. I hope that is helpful.

  28. Ben Kenobi says:

    Thank you Father Z! We can’t repent unless we are confronted with our sins. Those who think that they are drawing people in by telling us that we are rather ‘quite alright fellows’ are sadly mistaken. I owe my life to one of your brothers in the faith who had the courage to present to me the truth of Catholicism in it’s fullness.

    Please continue preaching and proclaiming the faith!

  29. KateD says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post, Father.

    May God bless the man with an abundance of graces to succeed in his life of holiness. We will add him to our family prayers today.

    Lavrans, can you imagine the number of souls that could be saved if those promoting the homosexualist agenda preached this instead? We will add prayers for their conversion as well.

  30. Boniface says:

    joekstl: perhaps also because “gay” is a political-cultural construct/label that the author of the letter Fr Z featured rejects (Also, why the passive voice “decision that was made” instead of “that HE made? Are you suggesting he didn’t make a free decision? If so, I can just imagine the – pardon me, but rather arrogant – ideological assumptions behind that language).

    Why do so many of a liberal bent want to impose these labels on men and women? To then pose as “tolerant ” of them, while either unconsciously or consciously feeling superior? By the way, the Church has never done this. There are many forms of emotional suffering and disorientation human brings suffer. At the bottom of it all, they/we are all children of God, wounded by the human condition/original sin, as well as by the sins of others that have affected us, and of course our own sins. I, too, admire and pray for the courageous person who wrote to Fr Z. God bless him.

  31. TonyO says:

    Right, because whatever people with SSA – who have embraced the “gay” mentality – want to claim, nobody was “made gay by God”, not in the sense they mean. God does not design humans whose due and proper sexual fulfillment is in sexual acts with someone of the same sex. Hence, everyone who has SSA has a disorder, and in principle that defect can be changed – if not by humans and in this life, certainly by God, and certainly in the next life. Nobody is designed to BE SSA, they can only be SSA in opposition to our basic design. Just as nobody is designed by God to have Down’s, or to be a diabetic, as if “being a diabetic” is just one way of being a fully healthy human.

  32. Precentrix says:

    To those who have bravely expressed themselves on here, I want to say this:

    I am praying for you. I have been praying for you for years. There are people in the Church who actively embrace celibacy ‘for the sake of the Kingdom’, and part of me longs for those who have to struggle with this to realise that their ‘predicament’ can be transformed by that chosen and deliberate union with Christ. It’s a minor part of what I think my vocation likely is, and far from the primary reason for it, but this little bit of solidarity exists and it is something. Your priests (and consecrated virgins!) may identify with your struggle more strongly than you thought. You should not feel isolated and alone, and you should be able to speak about these things… but if you are feeling like intimacy (and here I mean of the non-physical type) is far away, seek it from the Lord. That way, your struggle may just help you become a saint.

    Sorry… I should probably not write things like that. But what I mean is that there are probably other people out there, without SSA, who could still do with a hug now and again! And that applies to anyone who isn’t currently married and living with their spouse.

  33. lana says:

    I was brought up Catholic, but never knew that God would give the graces to avoid mortal sin. After a few failed attempts, I just gave up. For many years. I was brought back due to hitting rock bottom on an unrelated area. But what about that mortal sin I could not give up? I just had to trust Him with it. And then it happened. I completely lost all taste for that mortal sin. Now I can live fully the joy of living in a state of grace, living in His Presence.

    To all those who think you can’t. With God’s help, you can.

  34. Ave Crux says:

    FANTASTIC article which every conflicted person with SSA should read for fortification and illumination on the path to follow and the “why”….

  35. MrsAnchor says:

    Exactly Benedict Joseph!

    Seriously though, why aren’t we ALL praying for Courage/EnCourage?! I’ve known about Courage for years and have kept them in my prayers. I think Catholics need to start bringing them into the light or forefront, this is a serious deficiency on the faithfuls part in These times to not have every parish with Pamphlets about the Organization.
    Many have outlets for Woman choosing Abortion, NFP, Vocations, KofC, Addiction services and various others. But I have not once seen anything promoting This topic which Sorely needs to be put into a spotlight since we have been made to face it here in the US. Why not advocating them? Donating to them? Our Brothers and Sisters that struggle with this but feel shame would be helped in these parishes that have this outreach!
    I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner, thank you to the Poster & Father Z for bringing it to my foggy Mommy mind! I’ll see what I can do about promotion at various parishes within my area that could use the Helping Hand.
    Struggling to be Chaste whether SSA or Hetero is much more difficult in these times, but no one is ever alone when they’ve got Christ. Serve Him in prayer. Adoration inflames our Souls, allow Him to be there with you in your struggle. Remember Adoration!

  36. Leppert says:

    I have to fully agree with you Ave Crux, the call to chastity is one that all of us are subject to. For many people (especially in our modern society which so bombards us with images and celebrates acts of adultery) it is the biggest cross to bear and one of the easiest sins to fall under the thrall of.

    Why is it different? Personally, I think it is seen as different because we no longer truly enforce the same call to heterosexuals. Half a century or more of progressive liberalism means that for the vast majority (even including priests) we know on a logical/mental level that pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, sodomy and use of contraception are grave mortal sins. On a relational, everyday level: do we treat them as such? When was the last time a known cohabiting couple were corrected in a christian manner at your church?

    All sin leads to death. All sin and the near occasion of should be avoided. All sin is forgivable but absolution requires a turning away from sin.

    As for the chap asking about the blasphemy to the spirit point, I’ve always taken that passage as one of the times when Jesus’ awareness of both his humanity and divinity shines through. He knows he is mortal (denying the son is denying him whilst he lives) and yet understands his divinity (denying the spirit is essentially denying Christ as LORD).

    If you are asking because you or your friends did one of those silly videos, then listen to Fr.Z and GO TO CONFESSION. Get your friends to go too.

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  38. edwar says:

    Here’s my understanding why “mortifying SSA” would traditionally be considered “more difficult than heterosexuals also mortifying unlawful sexual attraction”: it’s because, traditionally, one of the first and most important steps to mortify sexual attraction is to limit contact with the opposite sex.

    That’s a reason why religious communities are single-sex. For centuries, religious orders invited people to take the fast lane to Heaven, by living out poverty, obedience, and chastity, with the special advantage that chastity is easier when people of the opposite sex are not around.

    That’s why mortifying SSA would be traditionally considered more difficult: you no longer get that obvious and decisive leap forward, simply by limiting contact with the opposite sex. You can limit contact with your same sex, but that can make friendship difficult, and it puts you add odds with a fundamental principle of single-sex institutions, and not just religious communities, but also things like all-boys schools, etc., many of which are, in theory, supposed to make chastity and purity easier.

    Again, all this is why SSA would _traditionnaly_ be considered more difficult. Today’s many temptations for opposite-sex unchastity and impurity may be closing this gap.

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