Gay conservative bad boy Milo Yiannopoulos has announced that he has returned to the Catholic faith and abandoned the gay lifestyle, crediting the intercession of St. Joseph for what he calls his “U-turn.” John Henry Weston’s interview of Yiannopoulos can be found on LifeSite News.
I have to admit to not knowing a lot about Milo Yiannopoulos. I have long been aware of him, his homosexuality and his conservative politics, but I have never been a fangirl. I have not read many of his writings nor listened to any of his talks except the LifeSite interview. As Yiannopoulos is a fellow creature, made to God's image and likeness and whom Christ died to save, I do hope he is sincere in his conversion. If so, he still has a long way to go. This is clear from the LifeSite video, in which he portrays himself as a crusader, a knight in shining armor on a mission to rescue other young men trapped in the homosexual lifestyle and to take down those responsible for promoting that lifestyle. Although his professed desire to help others and conquer evil is laudable, even the post-conversion Milo pretty evidently still has a monumental ego, and still attaches a vast deal of importance to his own powers and his own self. These are typical wounds that a life of vice leaves behind. There is also the fact that Yiannopoulos is still living with his male sex partner, a situation he compares with an invalidly married couple living as brother and sister for the sake of the children. To be fair, he admits the comparison is awkward; but regardless, even if there is no longer anything sexual going on, the public persistence in these living arrangements is still an open scandal.
Of course, when our Lord delivers a man from a life of crime, He is perfectly capable of healing all the secondary effects of that life. But very often, He does not. Certainly, He does not do this in the ordinary course with Baptism, which cleanses us of original sin but still leaves us with the wounds left by original sin so that, with the help of His grace, we can battle through them and gain merit. Life is tough enough with just the effects of original sin to deal with, but years and years of entrenched mortal sin on top of this seriously distort the intellect and leave major scars on the soul. Just as there must be a period of physical recovery for a body that emerges from a life-threatening illness, so there must also be a period of spiritual recovery for a soul that emerges from a long state of habitual sin. Even after a person has repudiated a long-standing vice, he still has a lot to learn, and, above all, to un-learn. To a man who steps from a prolonged period of absolute darkness into the light of one candle, that one candle seems as bright as the sun. Yet, however much of an improvement one candle is over total darkness, it is still not, and can never be, the sun. You cannot see as far or as clearly by the light of one candle as you would by the light of the sun.
Milo is still in recovery and, whether he wants to acknowledge it or not, really should be treated as such. We have to also step back and consider the quality of our own judgment in this matter. We ourselves suffer terrible wounds, not only from our personal sins but also as the result of being governed by little men in both Church and State who care only about fattening their own purses and don't give a damn about our welfare. So badly are things going, with one anvil after another being dropped on us by our rulers from on high, that we prize highly the paltry crumbs of comfort that in better times we would have ignored. So bereft are we of real shepherds and true fathers, that we are apt to make heroes out of persons who, in better times, deserve to be nobodies, simply because they happen on some occasion to refrain from hurting us in some way. As Proverbs 27:7 puts it: "A soul that is full shall tread upon the honeycomb: and a soul that is hungry shall take even bitter for sweet."
So at this stage, we still need to pray and do penance for Milo, as for all others similarly situated, and to refrain from making a hero out of him before he is ready to be a hero. We would be doing both ourselves and him a great disservice by fawning over him, showering him with plaudits, hanging on his every word, and otherwise feeding his ego. Before he can become a crusader and do good to others, Milo has to attend to his own wounds. Otherwise, his crusade becomes just another distraction for him to avoid his real business of growing in holiness.
And he and we both need to remember that our real Savior is not Milo Yiannopoulos, nor any other mere mortal, but Jesus Christ.