Monday, January 24, 2011

Save the Date!


Thursday, February 10, 2011
Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Capitol Rotunda

(Some signs and banners will be available
but we urge you to bring your own!)

Catholics are being urged to join with other faith groups
in letting our new state legislators know
that Minnesotans support families

– in all their diverse forms.

Sponsored by
Catholics for Marriage Equality – Minnesota

“We recognize marriage equality as a social justice issue,
as a matter of fairness, and as a contributor to individual flourishing,
the stabilization of relationships, and the common good of society.”

– Michael Bayly
Convenor, Catholics for Marriage Equality MN

Visit our website to learn more about this issue, to read and sign our Catholic Statement of Support for Marriage Equality, and to order your DVD copy of theologian Daniel Maguire’s October 2010 Minneapolis talk, Why You Can Be Catholic and Support Gay Marriage.

To read Daniel Maguire's article, "Heterosexism, Not Homosexuality, is the Problem," click here.

Friday, January 21, 2011

New Funding for Discredited Catholic "Gay Therapy" Group Poses Broader Questions for American Catholics and the Nation

Editor's Note: The following is a media release from Catholics for Equality, a national group that seeks to empower pro-equality Catholics to put their faith into ethical and effective political action on behalf of the LGBT individuals, couples and families.

Courage Apostolate's Discredited Premises
Used to Influence National and State Public Policy

WASHINGTON - Catholics for Equality, a national political group of Catholics who support full civil equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, today voices concern over recent funding from the Dioceses of Oakland, CA and Colorado Springs, CO for the establishment of chapters of the Courage Apostolate, a discredited reparative therapy program. The funding and endorsement of the discredited program reveals the disturbing trend of some bishops to align themselves more closely with anti-gay extremists than American Catholics and the American public.

The Courage Apostolate's misuse of the 12-step program holds the premise that same-sex attraction is a disease, similar to alcoholism, and should be "controlled." Its underlying intrinsic disorder philosophy mirrors the "reparative therapy" programs developed through Evangelical ministries - all of which have been discredited by both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association.

Recently, the Courage Apostolate's framing of homosexuality was used by Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services in the United States of America Services, in opposition to allowing gay and lesbian solders to serve openly in the military.

"As American Catholics we are embarrassed that leaders of our church would embrace such outdated and discredited theories about human sexuality and the human condition," says Catholics for Equality Executive Director Phil Attey. "We are further embarrassed and frustrated when these arguments are made in public and used to influence civil law in America. Many American Catholics feel like we're back in the days of Copernicus when we hear our bishops making erroneous statements like these on behalf of the Catholic community."

"That more dioceses are funding these programs should be alarming for every Catholic in America," says Joseph Palacios, Director of the Catholics for Equality Foundation. "It signals that our institutional church is further being taken over by the Catholic fundamentalist movement which is working to return the Roman Catholic Church to the pre-Vatican II attitudes that separated Catholics from the modern world. We fear that if American Catholics do not speak out against these trends and this restorationist movement succeeds, our church will no longer be a home for American Catholic families seeking to be faithful Catholics as well as Americans committed to inclusion and equality for all citizens."

Catholics for Equality calls on pro-equality Catholics nationwide to ask their pastors if their weekly offerings are being channeled into local Courage Apostolate programs. We also ask every American Catholic to contact their state legislators and members of Congress to counter the harmful influences that the Conference of Bishops, the Courage Apostolate and other discredited reparative therapy programs are having on American public policy regarding legal equality for all Americans.

Catholics for Equality empowers pro-equality Catholics to put our faith into ethical and effective political action on behalf of the LGBT community and their families.

Catholics for Equality was founded in 2010 to support, educate, and mobilize Catholics in the advancement of freedom and equality at the federal, state, and local levels for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender family, parish and community members.

Recommended Off-Site Links:
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Courage — Michael Bayly (The Wild Reed, November 19, 2009).
The Many Forms of Courage — Michael Bayly (The Wild Reed, January 17, 2007).
The Cowardice of Courage — Christopher Howe (The Wild Reed, September 2, 2009).
Beyond Courage — Leadership of the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (The Wild Reed, July 17, 2008).

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Progressive Religion: A House for Hope

Following are excerpts from's recent interview with John A. Buehrens and Rebecca Ann Parker, authors of A House for Hope: The Promise of Progressive Religion for the Twenty-First Century. To read the entire interview, click here.


What inspired you to write A House for Hope? What sparked your interest?

As lifelong progressive people of faith, we are tired of religion getting a bad rap because religious fundamentalists and right-wingers lend the power of religion to support unholy causes. We disagree with their theology and their politics — but we don’t think the solution is to do away with religion. We wrote this book to assert that progressive religion has the alternative spiritual resources needed for the challenges of our time and it has long countered the follies of religious fundamentalism with creative, responsible and life-affirming faith. We need less bad religion and more good religion — that’s what this book argues.

What is the most important take-home message for readers?

Looking to the future, we see the tide of progressive religion rising. It will fill the vacuum created by the failure of the religious right to adequately address the issues of our day: global warming, torture and terrorism, religious prejudice, and the growing gap between the rich and the poor. In order for this tide to rise, progressive people need a renewed awareness that progressive religion has powerful theological alternatives that have inspired social justice causes from women’s rights and the abolition of slavery to present day struggles for marriage equality and ecological stewardship. Additionally, progressive people need a renewed commitment to building and sustaining communities of faith — houses of hope — that can nourish our values and empower us for the long-haul change needed to establish a just and sustainable society.

What are some of the biggest misconceptions about your topic?

That liberal religion is just a flimsy accommodation to “secularism” and “modernity” rather than a deep faith that is both intellectually responsible and emotionally alive. That the history of liberal Christianity ran its course by the 1920s and that it failed because of an overly optimistic view of human nature and an inadequate understanding of evil. That there is no Muslim expression of progressive faith. That progressive Jews are all secular, rather than practicing members of religious communities. That social progress can occur without alternative, progressive answers to basic theological questions.

Did you have a specific audience in mind when writing?

Yes, we were especially interested in speaking to progressive people who have lost track of the religious roots of their values and hopes. Most of all, we had in mind youth and young adults who are passionate about social justice work, but need a sustaining spiritual practice and community that will nourish their activism for the long haul, along with a theological framework of meaning that will give their lives depth.

Is there a book out there you wish you had written? Which one? Why?

Daniel C. Maguire’s Whose Church? — a witty and insightful introduction to progressive Roman Catholicism and contemporary social issues. But we couldn’t have written it because we are Protestants. We are glad he did.

Note: to read a series of excepts from Daniel Maguire's Whose Church?, click here.

See also the previous PCV posts:
In What Sense Are We Progressive Catholics? — An Offering for Reflection and Discussion
Who Is Responsible for Church Reform?
A Return to the Spirit
Catholicism: A Changing Church — Despite Itself
Colleen Kochivar-Baker on "Why We Stay"
A Priest's Call for a Catholic Reformation
Creating a Liberating Church (Part 1)
Creating a Liberating Church (Part 2)
Creating a Liberating Church (Part 3)
The Call of the Baptized: Be the Church, Live the Mission