“Desire of the Everlasting Hills” is a documentary film that was screened in the World Premiere in Pennsylvania last year. The acclaimed film chronicles the story of three persons with same-sex attraction, and how they eventually found peace in the Catholic Church. The real life protagonists are Dan, Rilene and Paul.
The film had its world premiere at a conference for Courage, the Vatican-approved apostolate that reaches out to Catholics with same-sex attraction with the goals of growing closer to God, engaging in supportive friendships, and learning to live full lives within the call to chastity.
Dan, a professional musician, admits that initially he was very scared to do the movie. “I was worried what people in the music industry might think. He didn’t want to be seen as “Dan the gay man” he said.
The words of God encouraged him: Always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that lies within you” (1 Peter 3:15. “With how good God has been to me, if I can help other people through my story, that’s why I chose to do this” Dan said. He wishes to help young people who are experiencing same-sex attraction. Born as a Catholic, Dan’s family later became Protestants. During his teen-age years, Dan began to experience same sex attraction, which he could not share with anyone. His later life was a conflict between same sex attraction and a desire to become a biological father. “But I had reached a threshold where I realized the path to peace … was not going back” Dan concludes.
The second one is Rilene, a woman. She recalls that at first she wanted to be loved by a man and to have a family. But an unsatisfied dating coupled with a woman who made an advance to her triggered her lesbian instincts. She met a woman, Margo on a business trip with who she partnered for 25 years. Nonetheless, Rilene recalls that she felt restless and often alone throughout that relationship. The relationship eventually broke down and Rilene found real peace in the Catholic Church.
Paul’s story is another one. An international model, who rubbed elbows with celebrities at clubs, Paul had thousands of lovers! “It became frantic, and it was never my intention … but I became insensitive to what it means to be with a partner, both body and soul” Paul confesses. One day, while watching, he saw Mother Angelica on EWTN. Initially Paul and his partner made fun of the nun.
However, Paul kept on watching the TV. He heard Mother Angelica saying: “You see God created you and I to be happy in this life and the next. He cares for you. He watches your every move. There’s no one that loves you (that) can do that.”
From that day, Paul became a regular viewer of Mother Angelica. Eventually, the talks led him to Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.
The three remembers how their new decision made them a laughing stock among their peers and lost their privileges.
“I got blowback because I walked up the stairs … of a church called the Catholic Church. I lost clients, I lost friends. People were in shock that an educated, relatively intelligent man could believe in Jesus Christ. These were the few friends that were aware that I was back in the Church” Paul says.
“I think my colleagues would have no problem if I were to come out as gay. I think they’re baffled by the fact that I’m Catholic” Dan recalls.
Rilene has one thing to say, as an eye opener to the priests. She recalls that “During the first few years of living with Margo, a priest knocked on her door for a parish survey. When she burst into tears, explaining that she used to be Catholic but felt unwanted by the Church because she was a lesbian, the priest didn’t know what to say.” The priests and the Church need to be better educated about the Church’s position.
“So, that’s what we need to do. We need to arm our priests” she adds.