“Probably one of the most difficult things, is believing in the Church and her teachings.  Christ’s teaching, and at the same times having feelings or tendencies toward homosexuality.  You feel like you are the only one, alone.”

That’s the way a friend we’ll call Tim described his plight in carrying the cross of homosexual orientation, while striving to live life within the Body of Christ.  Tim is a member of COURAGE which is a spiritual support group helping Catholic men and women—and their families to live in accordance with the Catholic Church’s pastoral teaching on homosexuality.

Some organizations which offer homosexual outreaches are only nominally Christian and foster false beliefs such as:

  1. Homosexuality is biologically determined;
  2. Sexual-orientation change is never possible;
  3. “Gay spirituality” is to be encouraged, and homosexually inclined persons have special “gay gifts” for the Church;
  4. The homosexual condition is not disordered.

One such organization is the much touted DIGNITY. On January 23, 1996, the pastor of St. Pamphilus in Pittsburgh, Father James Merlino, OFM, withdrew the invitation for DIGNITY to hold its liturgies and other programs at the parish.  The decision was supported by the Diocese of Pittsburgh, and based on the portion of DIGNITY/Pittsburgh’s Statement of Position and Purpose stating, “…we believe that gay men and lesbian women can express their sexuality in a manner that is consonant with Christ’s teaching.  We believe that we can express our sexuality physically in a unitive manner that is loving, life-giving, and life-affirming.”

These statements are obviously in contradiction to Church teaching yet the “Catholc” group was permitted to function for over 20 years.  This type of confusion only serves to exacerbate the suffering of those struggling with homosexuality.

In stark contrast to other so-called “Catholic gay ministries,” which make a mockery of the faith, COURAGE remains faithful.

The objectives of COURAGE are as follows:

  1. To live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality;
  2. To dedicate our entire lives to Christ through service to others, spiritual reading prayer, mediation, individual spiritual direction, frequent attendance at Mass, and the frequent reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Eucharist;
  3. To be mindful of the truth that chaste friendships are not only possible but necessary in a celibrate Christian life and to encourage one another in forming and sustaining them;
  4. To foster a spirit of fellowship in which we may share with one another our thoughts and experiences, and so ensure that none of us will have to face the problems of homosexuality alone;
  5. To life lives that may serve as good examples to others.

In July of 1994 Cardinal Lopez Truijillo, speaking on behalf of the Holy See, had the following to say about the work of COURAGE:  “This Pontifical Council for the Family supports the organization called COURAGE which was founded by Father John Harvey, OSFS, for helping homosexual persons to life in accordance with the laws of God and the teaching of his Church” (7 July 1994-Prot.N216/93)

The program includes individual counseling, support groups, referrals, retreats and conferences.  When asked what he likes best about COURAGE, Tim readily answered “the people.  “We share and support one another providing spiritual, mental, and emotional strength.  We pray, talk, joke and laugh together-it is a community-a family, working together to defeat a common temptation.  Christ works through our friends in the group to bring us spiritual healing.”

COURAGE  provides help across Canada at the following centres and also provides on-line survices, via the internet where they can be reached at DCMORRISON@AOL.com