ChurchMilitant.com interviewed Br. Christopher Sale, a man who spent decades in the homosexual lifestyle and was rescued from that way of life through the grace of the sacraments and a devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, and healed of all disordered attractions. He spoke with ChurchMilitant.com about the harm caused by current Church-run LGBT ministries that give the message that same-sex attracted men have no choice but to suffer from disordered desires the rest of their lives.
CM: How long were you involved in the gay lifestyle?
Br. Christopher Sale: I was in the gay lifestyle for 43 years. I came out as gay when I was 22 years old. I began a relationship that lasted 25 years. After 25 years I decided to become single and venture out to see what I had missed out on in my younger years. By 2008, I ended up with AIDS and a drug addiction. Throughout my years in the gay lifestyle I knew how badly I was offending God, yet I felt I had no control over my behavior. I was totally wrong.
CM: How did you get out of the lifestyle?
Br. Christopher Sale: I truly believe that it was contracting Aids and having a drug addiction (that rock-bottom moment) when I knew that without God I would have never been able to leave this sinful lifestyle. Many would find this extremely sadistic, but contracting AIDS turned out to be a gift from God. Had it not been for AIDS I would most likely still be in that deplorable lifestyle. I have said many times that AIDS has been my stigmata. It was God telling me: "It is finished; now you will come back to Me and begin saving souls." I believe God has given me the courage to use my story to save others. I believe that although persecuted for speaking the truth, God has called me to be a victim for souls.
My sufferings in that lifestyle were self-inflicted suffering that had no value in the eyes of God. The suffering of persecution for speaking the truth about homosexuality has value.
In 2008, I founded an organization called the Brothers of Padre Pio in order to bring hope to people when we are faced with a sometimes harsh world. I work on the streets of Pasadena and Los Angeles sharing my story as an example of the power of unshakeable faith.
It was the perceived rejection by others that often drove me to lose myself in alcohol and drug use. I will never forget the day it was confirmed that I had contracted the AIDS virus. It was surreal. I remember thinking that I wanted to die; but that was not meant to be — at least not yet.
One day I was looking out my window and it felt as though God was looking in and calling me. I went back to my bedroom and got dressed. I didn't care what I looked like. In fact I didn't care if my socks matched; I was determined to get myself to church.
I remember parking in front of the church wondering if I had the energy to walk in. I literally staggered into the church gasping for air. I sat in the back pew and began crying for God to help me. I prayed in that same pew three times a day, too sick to walk any further into the church.
Three months later I went to the doctor. My T-cells went from 140 to 160. After my appointment I went back to church to thank God. It was that day that I had the energy to walk further into this beautiful church. As I walked about 30 feet I saw a beautiful shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I began praying to her three times a day, never seeing the rest of the church. I promised Our Lady that if she would intercede to save my life I would devote the remainder of my life as a religious.
Three months later my T-cells went up to 180. I went back to church to thank Our Lady. After that I went home and threw all the drugs into the trash. I threw everything in my house related to homosexuality. I cleaned everything related to gay off my computer. I did all this with prayer and the help of Our Lady. Within days my bedroom was transformed into a chapel with large statues and a crucifix. At the entrance of my door is a picture of St. Michael to keep the devil out.
It was truly a miracle. Within the first months of 2009 I realized I had no attraction to the same sex. I had no temptation let alone inclinations towards homosexuality. And to this day my doctors are baffled over how I ended drug addiction without professional help.
When I was facing what I thought was certain death, questions filled my mind as I prayed: "What of this life? What would I do if I could do anything without failure?" An old feeling began to surface like a blazing fire. I remembered the feeling of loving God so much that I would burst, and light began to shine through my darkness.
I remembered that my greatest desire as a young boy was to serve God and to help people know that we are all loved. And so I fanned the flame within me until it became a fire and took to the streets of Pasadena and Los Angeles and began to minister and pray.
As I minister on the streets, it is my goal to offer hope to those who have lost their way, most of all by encouraging their faith and prayer. For those who feel like outcasts in society, for the impoverished, the abused and those who abuse, I stand to remind them that everyone is forgiven. God never leaves us, it is us who leaves God. When we buy into the idea that God does not love us, we are being misled. God loves us all, and if we open our hearts and embrace the love of God, we heal.
Several bouts with pneumonia have tried to take me out, but God won't let me go. He picks me back up again when I am kicked to the curb by illness, when ordained priests look down on me, judge me and see me as an outcast. I am reminded that I do not stand for prejudice, but for God. In the face of obstacles I stand strong as a reminder to others that "different" is not different at all, but just another form of God expressing through us.
I'm a huge promoter that God will pull a person from a dumpster to save them. I have people all the time telling me they're too far gone. I always tell them, "In the eyes of God no one is too far gone. I was in a canyon of sin, and God dug me out one rock at a time."
It was in 2009 that I realized that God had completely healed me from the affliction of homosexuality. However, because I had AIDS no existing order would accept me. That's when I told Cdl. Mahony that I had promised Our Lady that I would serve the rest of my life as a religious. Cardinal Mahony informed me that it would take years to form a new religious order. It was then that I decided to start a lay order, which requires no permission. Cardinal Mahony informed me that one does not need permission to start a lay order. What I know is this: If I were in an existing order I would be silenced. I know God wants my order to be a lay order because I believe He has called me to defend His Church.
However, there were some priests who tried to stop me. I did receive a blessing from Pope Benedict when I first started. One priest told me not to wear my habit at his church. As the years have gone by the church finally gave up, and I am well known throughout the archdiocese and well supported by the faithful.
I have been highly outspoken about the gay agenda here in Los Angeles. For years I have been trying to get Abp. Gomez to ban the rainbow flag from church grounds. I have also been outspoken about the gay and lesbian ministries not following the teachings of the Church. I have been visible throughout the archdiocese, and I have no doubt the bishops and priests have found me to be a force to be reckoned with. However, in the last few years they have witnessed my love for the church and my passion for defending our Church. Trust me, they made it very difficult in the beginning. They have since realized I am not going away.
My true mission and passion as a brother is my love for assisting the poor and homeless. However, God seems to be pulling me towards the salvation of homosexuals.
CM: The San Jose diocese recently released guidelines for its LGBT ministry claiming those with same-sex attractions can never change their orientation. Other Catholic LGBT ministries make the similar claim that people with SSA will always be that way and always feel those desires, and have no choice but to carry that cross the rest of their lives. What is your opinion of this? Is this a harmful message to send to people struggling with SSA?
I believe that the diocese of San Jose is inflicting a terrible disservice towards the salvation of homosexuals with this false claim. However, this is not an isolated problem in the Church. The same is going on here in Los Angeles. I have been to many gay and lesbian ministry events. They all reject what the Church teaches, and they are demanding change. I have many times been thrown off Church property by priests who are pushing a gay agenda. The Church must not instill this false notion that homosexuality is not reversible. That is utter nonsense and it imposes a grave danger on the souls of homosexuals. I cannot speak on behalf of all homosexuals. I can only say this: The truth in charity must be proclaimed by the church. We cannot sugarcoat the truth to appease the faithful.
I know for a fact that when one picks up their cross and carries it God will do the rest. How I got to this place is a total mystery to me. I believe that God allowed me to suffer for this very reason. He knew and had the confidence that when it was over I would return to save souls.
The Church must never sway from the truth. Any priest who would use their personal homegrown theology in this manner is truly betraying our Lord. Ministering to homosexuals is a "tough love" ministry, but I refuse to jeopardize the soul of a homosexual in the ways that many of our priests are doing today.
CM: What should the bishops be doing to genuinely help those struggling with SSA?
Br. Christopher Sale: It is critical that the Church dismantles all these false ministries and begins promoting Courage. If a homosexual is truly seeking God they will never find Him in ministries that offer a "Bravo!" to their behavior. The Church must stand firm in the teachings. It must place a ban on a flag that celebrates the pride of sodomy. The Church must not be concerned about being on the right side of history. They must always be on the right side of God. If we are in the business of saving souls there is no other way. The truth must be spoken.