Courage Latino leader recounts conversion

The leader of a Catholic ministry to homosexuals recently recalled his conversion story.

“God was leading me, through the advice of priests I spoke with, to see that a sexually active life, even with just one person of the same-sex, could not bring me happiness,” Guillermo Marquez told CNA.

Marquez, now the coordinator of Courage Latino in the Mexican state of Queretaro, initially founded a  support group that questioned the Church's teachings on homosexuality. He compared his organization to the San Elredo Community in Saltillo, Mexico. Though supported by the local bishop, the San Elredo Community has come under fire for its founder's opposition to Catholic teachings and support of same-sex marriage.

Marquez eventually decided to leave his group after realizing he could not “be right with God and the Church” if he continued the live out a homosexual lifestyle.

His organization “had become just a social group,” he said. “Same-sex couples were allowed to join and while we weren’t encouraged to find new partners, we weren’t discouraged from doing so either.”

“The thorny issues about sexual morality and chastity were avoided to prevent arguments or problems between the members of the group,” he added.

“I slowly began to realize that the longer I went without having homosexual relations, the better I was feeling. I was happier and more stable. And so the life of chastity began to draw my attention and attract me.

“It has been a long – sometimes difficult – process, but I have matured spiritually and emotionally,” he said.

Marquez’s conversion led him to Courage Latino, which he joined in 2008 after attending a retreat.

“That retreat was very important for me,” he said. “Because as I was on a journey of discovering chastity, it allowed me finally to find what I was looking for. An apostolate with people who have the same goals as me, the same aspirations of believing in Christ and of believing Christ as well.”

Through Courage Latino, he realized that “the Catholic Church does not reject me or abandon me, that homosexuality is not genetic and that nobody is born homosexual.”

“We are not homosexuals or gays but men and women with same-sex attraction,” Marquez explained.

“I know both paths,” he said, “and I know that the path of the so-called gay lifestyle doesn’t make anyone happy.”

“That path is full of insecurity, fear, dissatisfaction, profound emptiness, anger, and in many cases, promiscuity, sexual addiction, pornography, drugs and alcohol, and the endless search for love through destructive and co-dependent relationships,” Marquez said.

“Courage completely condemns all unjust discrimination, abuse, offense or aggression against persons with (same-sex attraction). This must not be tolerated in any circle, much less among Christians,” he said.

“Courage Latino is faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church, but it is not limited to just living chastely. Courage wants us to be better Christians,” Marquez stated. “The goal is holiness.”

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