How the Traditional Latin Mass Saved My Life


Born in Northern California in 1969, Joseph Sciambra grew up in a stable and loving home, attending Catholic parochial schools from kindergarten through twelfth grade. During his entire childhood and teenage years Joseph was severely impacted by what he calls the “dark shadow” of pornography. Throughout the 1990s, he lived around the homosexual culture of the Castro District in San Francisco, offering him rare insight into the daily lives and struggles of many gay men. Later, he became an amateur porn actor and escort.

In 1999, following a near death experience, Joseph returned to the Catholic Church. He now writes extensively concerning the real-life issues of pornography, homosexuality, and the occult at his website. The following guest post originally appeared in several installments on Joseph’s Facebook page. It has been presented here with his permission.

Today I was blessed to attend the Traditional Latin Mass. Whenever I hear the beautiful words from the Extraordinary Form, I am always reminded of how this Mass saved my life. If it had not been for the Tridentine Mass, and the priests who bravely offered it back in 1999, I would have left the Catholic Church very quickly after I entered it. If that would have happened, today I’d be dead or co-starring in very low-budget porn.

All those years ago the TLM was often difficult to find, and the priests devoted to it were frequently open to ridicule and persecution. I’ve never met such kind men, including those from the unfairly maligned Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). They didn’t treat me like a gay person -they treated me like a man; and that was the one thing I had wanted for my entire life.

While a Rainbow flag was being enshrined at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco back on July 3, 2016, I was at a Tridentine Mass only a few blocks away. I am always attracted to parishes such as this -with an indult Mass, headed by a pastor who is usually intensely disliked by progressive Catholics, feminists, and those pushing the gay agenda; but, it’s interesting that this man, who many see as intolerant, with the Latin Mass draws near him an odd rag-tag group of outsiders: a former gay porn actor, a Muslim convert, a psychic looking for the truth…

Who is truly accompanying the sinner and who is just trying to look merciful and compassionate? Because, at first glance, true Mercy and true compassion will almost never look compassionate nor merciful.

Posted on March 4, 2018, in holiness, liturgy and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Kathleen Caine

    Thank you for this story. May the Liturgy be restored to its former glory in every cathedral and Church in America . May God be glorified, not man.

  2. Franklin P. Uroda

    There is a place in the Catholic Church for everyone, even for hose who do not fit into the normal pattern of church life. I’m not talking about an overtly sinful life-adultery and openly homosexuality. I’ve been amazed at the endless opportunities that Jesus God almighty places in the path of people who are seemingly “lost” and on their way to damnation. He outdoes Himself in generosity.

  3. So beautiful… true….

    Thank you for sharing this!

  4. One of the many great aspects of the TLM is the fact that people can participate as best they can, either completely attentive, or sitting in the back, saying the rosary, etc. It allows people the freedom to come as they are and encounter the sacred as they feel most comfortable.
    Certainly this is the kind of accompaniment that we should have in the Church.

    The rubrics used to be for the Priest, but now the modern mass makes the people follow ridged rubrics while he can do whatever he wants.

  5. The reason the TLM is beautiful is because Jesus is present to save. I have witnessed the most unlikely characters experience God’s presence and loving touch at this Mass. One former drug dealer I brought with me, said to me once after Mass had finished: “I thought I was in heaven”. This same guy now wants to make a short film on the TLM.

  6. Jewish services around the world use Hebrew in at least part of the prayers and readings as sign of unity. Would seem there might be a message there for us Catholics also.

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