Coming out of Sodom

By Eric Hess on Celebrate Life

The Prodigal Son (detail) - Murillo

The Prodigal Son (detail) – Murillo

As best as I can determine, my same-sex attraction began in reaction to my father, who was a violent alcoholic. He often drank, came home to throw things around the house and abuse my mother in addition to threatening me and my brother. I thought he hated us. Consequently, I didn’t want to be anything like him.

In my sorrow, I started looking for the love of my father in the arms of other men. At age 17, a predator took advantage of me under the teacher/pupil dynamic and I became completely mixed up about human sexuality. Over the years, one thing led to another until I moved in with a man more than 20 years my senior.

Before we go any further, it is important to realize a major cause of same-sex attraction disorder. As a former insider of the community, I can tell you that the so-called gay rights/abortion rights coalition is a proximate result of the contraceptive mentality which was predicted 40 years ago by Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae. People abusing one another as sexual objects brought about a mainstream culture of death that tolerates and advocates all kinds of adultery and child abuse, including abortion. This selfish mentality also led to human embryonic stem cell research and euthanasia.

Return to my Father

From 1990 to 1994, I went to Mass off and on. In 1995, I told my “partner” that I couldn’t go anymore because I was very angry with the Church. I boxed up all my crucifixes and Bibles and dropped them off at the office of the bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin with a letter renouncing the Catholic faith.

To my surprise, Bishop Raymond Burke replied with a kind letter expressing his sadness. He wrote that he would respect my decision and notify the parish where I had been baptized. Ever so gently, Bishop Burke said that he would pray for me and look forward to the time when I would reconcile with the Church.

As one of Wisconsin’s most outspoken “gay” activists, I thought, “What arrogance!” Then I replied to Bishop Burke with a letter accusing him of harassment. I told him that his letters were unwelcome and I asked how he could dare to write to me.

My efforts failed to put him off. Bishop Burke sent one more letter assuring me that he wouldn’t write again—but if I should want to reconcile with the Church, he would welcome me back with open arms.

Indeed, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit never gave up on me. Within a few years, I spoke to a good priest, who intensely added to Bishop Burke’s prayers every day in August 1998.

On August 14, the feast of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe and the vigil of our Blessed Mother’s Assumption, divine mercy penetrated my soul at a Chinese restaurant—of all places. Little did I know as I entered that restaurant with my “companion” of over eight years that the Lord would seize me that very afternoon and bring me to another place outside of Sodom, to the very judgment seat of His healing mercy, the holy Sacrament of Penance.

The priest I had consulted was there. As I gazed across the room at him, an inner voice spoke to my heart. It was gentle, radiant and clear inside my soul. The voice told me, “This priest is an image of what you can still become, if you will only return to Me.”

On the way home, I solemnly told my companion, “I need to return to the Catholic Church.” Although he was tearful, he lovingly responded, “Eric, I’ve known that for a long time. Do what you need to do in order to be happy. I knew all along that this day would come.”

Next, I called Bishop Burke’s office. His secretary knew me well by then, so I told her that I wanted Bishop Burke to be the first to know that I was returning to the Church—that I was preparing for the Sacrament of Penance. She asked me to hold. When she returned, she announced that Bishop Burke wanted to schedule a meeting.

Afterwards, I confessed my sins to a local, humble, devout Catholic pastor of souls and received absolution. As an essential part of my recovery, a good Catholic family gave me shelter until I could find my own home.

A month after my reconciliation to God and the Church, I went to Bishop Burke’s office, where he embraced me. He asked if I remembered the belongings I had turned over to him with my letter of renunciation. Of course I remembered and Bishop Burke had saved them in the diocesan archives because he believed that I would return.

For two years, I wondered if the mystical message meant that I was supposed to become a priest. Finally, I realized that I was not called to the priesthood. After all, the Vatican rules that men who have a well-established inclination to homosexuality may not be admitted to Holy Orders or monastic communities. Rather, the priest I saw at the restaurant was an image of what I could become faithful and holy through the sacraments. Like all persons—single, married and religious—I am called to chastity. It is enough for me to try and get to heaven. Therefore, I strive to faithfully live the single vocation.

Ever since my mystical experience, I rejoice because of Raymond Burke, now the prelate of Saint Louis, Missouri. While some malign Archbishop Burke for his fidelity to God, Church and all souls, I say that he is a true shepherd of the faithful and a presentday Athanasius. I tell you that he remains a mentor and an inspiration to me. Although my own biological father rejected me, Archbishop Burke became my spiritual father by lovingly representing our Father in heaven. Like the Divine Persons of the Holy Trinity, Archbishop Burke was and is absolutely faithful to me.

The key to happiness

Despite the blessing of Archbishop Burke and priests like him, I want to stress that there are others who lead souls away from eternal life and happiness.

For example, when I recently went to confession, a priest told me something that is both a contradistinction from and a contradiction of the truth that Archbishop Burke taught me.

The apostate priest told me: You’re gay and the Church calls us to accept our sexuality. I am an ethicist—a scholar. And the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is very close to this position—and this is the position—am I going too fast for you? If you are attracted to members of the same sex, that is natural for you. And for you to deny that and resist that is to go against natural law. I believe, as an ethicist, that you can have a male roommate and be intimate—of course without genital expression. But if you do slip in that regard, it would not be a mortal sin.

This is the type of advice that convinced me to leave the Church. I heard it all too often from Protestants and various Catholic priests during the 1980s. I heard every heresy about sexuality and our Lord. Today, since I am separated from the “gay community,” I only hear such heresies from older priests in their fifties and sixties, but not priests in their forties or younger. Bad bishops and bad priests have led so many people astray about same-sex attraction alone. Yet there is no new gospel or scholarship and this spiritual malpractice must end.

As someone who suffered in the state of mortal sin for many years, I assure you that there is no happiness outside of the moral order. The only authentic response to the challenge of same-sex attraction and sin is the truth in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In addition to God’s teachings and grace, there is visible help on earth. For those who suffer from same-sex attraction, Father John Harvey established the Courage Apostolate and Encourage, which ministers to their families and friends. It is endorsed by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family. Through Courage, strugglers find the support and healthy friendships necessary to holiness and happiness, a way fully consonant with the culture of life.

Eric Hess lives in Wisconsin

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after Me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with His angels in His Father’s glory, and then He will repay everyone according to his conduct.” (Matthew 16:24-27)

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17 Responses to Coming out of Sodom

  1. Roger says:

    Sin is the cause of Man’s sorrows. Promulagating Sin increases Man’s sorrows. God is love and Sinless is Love, Heaven place without Sin. Satan is hatred, Sin is hatred, Hell is a place of Sin.
    Those who preach and encourage Sin are preaching Hate. Shepherds of Satan


  2. mkenny114 says:

    This is a very moving story, and one that reminded me (albeit tangentially) of another article that I read a few weeks ago. The following unfortunately doesn’t have a positive side to it, but it does show one of the many damaging aspects of the lifestyle the man in the story above escaped from:


  3. Catholic says:

    Eric, the same-sex attraction is a disorder, and can be easily cured if you use the right method: there is a guide


  4. St Bosco says:

    if one wants to stop being homosexual, the best person to talk to would be a catholic priest.


  5. johnhenrycn says:

    I don’t understand Roger, I second Michael, I beg to differ from ‘Catholic’, and I would be inclined to give Bosco a thumbs up, except I know where he’s coming from.


  6. kathleen says:

    Yes, this is certainly a very moving story, written with frankness and clarity, and illustrating how those who humbly turn from a life of sin will find true peace for their soul.

    I re-blogged this article for these three main reasons:
    1. Eric’s example shows that there is a way out for everyone who finds themselves deeply immersed in same-sex attraction – if they so desire.
    2. In the wake of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, the humble and holy Cardinal Burke has been much maligned by the liberal press, who have totally failed to understand his courageous stand for orthodox Catholic teachings. This true story recounting just one man’s experience of Card. Burke’s hidden charity – while never compromising it with Catholic teaching – reveals the evident Christlike integrity of this great cardinal.
    3. How ‘apostate priests’, like the one Eric first encountered when he went to confess his sin and return to the Church, are doing untold damage to the souls of men, and spreading terrible scandal with their twisted teaching on Catholic Doctrine.*

    * JH, this latter point is what, I think 😉 , Roger was referring to in his comment.

    Michael, the link you gave to that poor woman’s predicament was another moving story – a really tragic one in this case!


  7. Roger says:

    I refer to the story of Abraham , Lot and Sodom. What does sex attraction mean? Is sex attraction Love or Lust? Married Abraham is Blessed with the miracle of a Son after the menopause. Lot offers His daughters virginity to the Lust of Sodomites who Lusted after the two (angels) who had gone down into Sodom.
    The contrast couldn’t be more stark the fecundity of marriage with the blessing of Children and the barren lust of Sodom. The punishment on Sodom would have been mitigated if just a few could have been found in that City! I leave it to the reader to make the comparison over the majority and the few with respect to sound Catholic teaching and apostate priests/bishops.
    I remind that Lot had to leave Sodom! That is a lesson that should be meditated over.
    Calvary Will Christ be expelled again as he was 2000 years ago?


  8. For me as for others, this is really an astonishing account of some remarkable life events. What I see as ironic is that it is the conservative bogeyman of so many modernists, Cardinal Raymond Burke, of all people, who displays a kind, reassuring, and charitable attitude – and yet one that is faithful to the teachings of the Church – toward a man with same-sex attraction. I find this ironic, because it is the modernists who claim kindness, reassurance, and charity as their prerogatives while they “welcome” (and ignore the sins of) men and women who experience that attraction.


  9. mkenny114 says:


    Very good point. Matthew 6:1-4 comes to mind here. I think that unfortunately a lot of the ‘progressive’ types in the Church not only drive a wedge between doctrine and discipleship but precisely because of this they have forgotten to order their lives according to God’s will as expressed in Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium, instead placing themselves above all three.

    One immediate consequence of choosing which bits of these one accepts and making yourself the final authority is an increase in self-satisfaction and the growth of pride in the soul. We are all subject to this of course, but the path I’ve just outlined makes it a good deal easier for us to be corrupted by spiritual pride.

    Conversely, I think Cardinal Burke’s humility flows naturally from his submission to the Church and commitment to ordering his life to Catholic orthodoxy.


  10. mkenny114 says:

    Kathleen – yes, it is a tragic story indeed, and a reality often obscured in popular presentations of the homosexual lifestyle. On the positive side, it makes Eric’s story all the more moving and uplifting 🙂


  11. Roger says:

    I am of course over joyed for this man and yes a real Bishop with the Love of Christ.
    I will not label Catholics. Modernists, Traditionalists etc..
    This is Political worldly spoof language a thesis v antithesis actually marxist language.
    The Faith is timeless its foundation is the Word and sacred Tradition. The Holy Ghost teaching and revealing the deposit of the Faith over time.
    Catholic means all times universal all peoples.
    Sin is Sin! Leaving poor sinners under Satanic slavery, because that is what Sinners are, is crucifying Our Lord all over again!
    The Bishop that sees the soul that Our Lord gave his Life for to redeem and save. This is a true a shepherd of his flock!
    The Love of Our Lord for poor sinners!


  12. johnhenrycn says:

    Like everyone else on this thread, I respect Eric Hess for the courage he has shown in turning away from Gaydom to embrace chastity. So sad that today, Tim Cook of Apple has uncloseted himself as the first publicly declared Fortune 500 homosexual CEO. Why is it that homosexuals who come out in this day and age are depicted as brave pioneers, whereas people like Hess are denigrated by the media as sick and confused? Cook’s ‘coming out’ as the first Fortune 500 HOMO-CEO may be a stroke of marketing genius – I think it is – but there is nothing brave about it. I look forward to the day when some really courageous Fortune 500 CEO announces that he/she has renounced homosexuality to return to normalcy. If and when that happens, you can bet he/she will quickly be shown the way out of the executive suite. What a funny old world.
    I’ve been thinking about whether, when I turn in my 5 year old primitive cell phone for a smartphone, I should buy an Apple or a Samsung? Some observers suspect Samsung is a deeply crooked corporation, but is it’s (alleged) commercial corruption worse or less worse than Apple’s approaching moral corruption? Of course, there is no such thing as a crooked/corrupt company – companies are legal fictions without souls; but the sins of their executives are visited on them and their shareholders. I hear that SonyEricsson still takes the high road…


  13. Tom Fisher says:

    I’ve got a Samsung. It works well enough. To be honest I just take it for granted that giant corporations that make incomprehensible gadgets are wicked.


  14. johnhenrycn says:

    Good Tom Fisher: thank you for extending the hand of friendship to your fellow sinner. There’s more uniting us than dividing us.


  15. Tom Fisher says:

    Sorry I took more offence than was warranted, it is possible (indeed likely) that I succumbed to the old temptation of inferring too much from a few brief comments.


  16. Roger says:

    The virtues and vices tell the Truth. Gay PRIDE notice not HUMILITY.


  17. toadspittle says:

    As usual, Toad agrees absolutely with JH and Roger.
    Why, in God’s name, should being “gay” be a matter of pride?
    Absurd! I happen to be left-handed – a wonderful and serendipitous thing to be (just like Leonardo, Lewis Carroll and Cole Porter) – but simply a happy accident on my part – and I don’t caper about shrieking, “Left-Handed Pride!!!”
    …I think it’s a phase some gays are going through.
    We (and they) will get over it in time.


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