Sunday, February 26, 2006

Courage Conference to be Held in Saint Louis in July

See the article Gay rights groups protest outside of 'Love Won Out' conference. This conference was held at the First Evangelical Free Church in Manchester, Missouri, sponsored by Focus on the Family, and had about 1700 attendees. The presence of the protesters show that this is a highly politicized subject; also, the media 'spin' on the conference was provided from the point of view of the protesters.

[Note: STLtoday changed the title of the article for some reason: Ex-gays promote the straight life]

The Catholic group Courage will be holding its annual conference July 27th-30th at Saint Louis University.

Courage is a pro-chastity group for those with same-sex attraction, and has a sister organization Encourage, for friends and families.

The group was started by the late Terence Cardinal Cooke of New York. Fr. John Harvey began the Apostolate in 1980, with the help of the Rev. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R. and others. The group is endorsed by the Pontifical Council for the Family and by the late Pope John Paul II. There are also Eastern Orthodox priests who are involved with Courage.

According to the group: "By developing an interior life of chastity, which is the universal call to all Christians, one can move beyond the confines of the homosexual identity to a more complete one in Christ."

The five goals of Courage (quoted from their website) are:
  • Live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality.

  • Dedicate ones life to Christ through service to others, spiritual reading, prayer, meditation, individual spiritual direction, frequent attendance at Mass, and the frequent reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist.

  • Foster a spirit of fellowship in which all may share thoughts and experiences, and so ensure that no one will have to face the problems of homosexuality alone.

  • Be mindful of the truth that chaste friendships are not only possible but necessary in a chaste Christian life and in doing so provide encouragement to one another in forming and sustaining them.

  • Live lives that may serve as good examples to others.

According the group, these are the practical questions they deal with:

  • How does one grow spiritually and emotionally amidst the struggle with same-sex desires?

  • What are the objective truths that one must pay attention to?

  • How does one bear up amidst the opposition from our largely secular media and society?

The apostolate does not use the secular terms "gay" and "lesbian", since these terms imply an unchaste lifestyle and a narrow reductionist identification of a person with this lifestyle. Courage is not an "orientation change" organization and does not provide psychological counseling. "...[T]he goal and focus of Courage remains a life of interior chastity, humility, and holiness, which can be achieved by all, with God's grace."

One apostolate is the Courage Reparational Group:
Courage Reparational Groups desire that...

....those who struggle with same-sex desires would strive to surrender their desires to the Lord and join themselves to His crucifixion and death; they would nurture an espousal relationship with the Lord through a spirit of contemplation and self denial; they would seek to make reparation for sins against human sexuality in today's society and seek to experience His consolation in their particular suffering.

Out of 110 apostolates worldwide, there are 90 chapters in the United States, including one in Saint Louis.


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