I was baptized, raised and confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church.
I lost my faith in the Catholic Church without losing faith in God. I have always known His presence, even when I believed that I was a sinner beyond His grace.
I began to question my faith in the Catholic Church at the time that I began to realize that I am gay – but realizing I am gay did not lead me to lose my faith in the Church. It did not even influence my loss of faith.
First, as long as I did not act on my attraction to women, the Church did not condemn me for it. The Catholic Church calls gays to chastity. I was unchaste, but not with women.
Second, I still believed that my orientation was sinful long after I left the Church. Even after I recognized the distinction between orientation and act, I for many years refrained from homosexual acts in the belief that they were sinful.
What then led me to lose faith in the Church?
My issues with the Catholic Church ran deeper than trying to excuse my orientation. I did not know it until later, but my differences with the Catholic Church were those of Luther and Calvin, centuries before.
Discovering the Protestant – and particularly the Reformed Protestant – confessions was a thunderbolt to me. The Reformers carefully, systematically and thoroughly delineated everything I was naively and blindly groping for.
Christ’s apostles call all who believe in Christ “priests,” but not on account of an office, but because, all the faithful having been made kings and priests, we are able to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God through Christ. … The priesthood, as we have just said, is common to all Christians.
The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word.
And, most important to me, a wretched sinner, salvation by His grace:
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
’Twas grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
‘Tis grace will lead me home.