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Take Courage: Same-Sex Attractions and the Catholic Church

Mary Rose Bacani Valenti

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

If I didn’t believe in or experience the love of Christ behind the teachings of the Catholic Church, I can’t imagine how I could possibly want to follow them! The Catholic Church maintains that love is at the heart of all her teachings. But when it comes to the teaching on homosexuality, people are divided. How does the Catholic Church communicate love on this issue -- isn’t the Church being too harsh by calling homosexual acts intrinsically disordered? How can the Catholic Church ask a man or woman with same-sex inclinations to consider a life of chastity? Is this really loving?
When our CEO Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., asked me to cover the Courage Conference in Toronto in January 2009, it gave me the opportunity to hear testimonies from those who used to live the gay lifestyle and are now experiencing the freedom of interior chastity within a spiritual support system called Courage. Courage is the only Roman Catholic ministry endorsed by the Holy See to do this kind of ministry. It now has more than 110 Chapters, over 1500 persons participating in its ListServs (on-line assistance), and hundreds of persons per week receiving assistance from the main office in New York and through their official website. It has become a mainstream Catholic Apostolate helping thousands of men and women find peace through fellowship, prayer, and the Sacraments. Courage also has a ministry to families called Encourage, with its main branch in the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, and the first branch in Canada starting up in Edmonton.
Join me for the Catholic Focus episode Take Courage: Same-Sex Attractions and the Catholic Church, as I explore how love is at the heart of this call to chastity for those who experience same-sex inclinations. I discuss this topic with in-studio guests Dr. Moira McQueen, Moral Theologian and part of the writing team for the 2004 Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops’ document Pastoral Guidelines to Assist Students of Same-Sex Orientation; Fr. Bill Comerford, C.Ss.R., chaplain of the Toronto chapter of Courage; Bob, who has been a member of Courage for around 17 years; and Archbishop Thomas Collins of the Archdiocese of Toronto, a great supporter of the Courage Apostolate. The show opens with a father’s testimony about his own struggle with accepting the Catholic Church’s teaching and dealing with his son’s same-sex inclinations and also features interviews from the January 2009 Courage Conference in Toronto with Fr. John Harvey, O.S.F.S., Co-founder of Courage.
“The Church’s teaching is a compassionate, merciful way of bringing Christ… There is true freedom in the Church’s teaching. Young people who are struggling with this issue will realize that the Church is there to support them, and I can only ask that they not shut that door.”
-- Bob, Courage member
Take Courage: Same-Sex Attractions and the Catholic Church airs Thursday, March 12th and Sunday, March 15th, at 7 and 11 pm ET.

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