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"As American Catholics we are embarrassed that leaders of our church would embrace such outdated and discredited theories about human sexuality and the human condition," says Catholics for Equality Executive Director Phil Attey.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).

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