Friday, July 20, 2007

Dignity or Courage?

DignityUSA, the nation's largest advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Catholics held a national convention in Austin, Texas this month. They had some good things to say but found the Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Guidelines were deeply flawed. A revision of the theology of sexuality must be revised, they claimed.

The Bishops must acknowledge that many intimate relationships express unitive love, even in the absence of possible procreation. This must be affirmed as an expression of divine love, say the promoters of DignityUSA, and they continue:

"The Church has long acknowledged that one of the primary functions of the sexual relationship within marriage is the unitive function, which facilitates the development of a bond of love and intimacy between partners. Furthermore, the Church sanctions marriage between men and women who have no possibility of procreating, whether by reason of age or infertility. Sexually intimate relationships between same-gender couples must be affirmed as having the same potential for holiness as those between opposite-gender married couples.”

With this proclamation I must admit to losing respect for DignityUSA. Intimate sex between couples, male or female, is sinful if the couple is not married.

That’s why I propose Courage as a program for homosexuals.

My friend, the late Terence Cardinal Cooke of New York, knew that the individual dealing with same-sex attractions truly needed to experience the freedom of interior chastity and in that freedom find the steps necessary to living a fully Christian life in communion with God and others. He was concerned that many would not find this path and would be constantly trying to get their needs met in ways that ultimately do not satisfy the desires of the heart. Knowing of Fr. John Harvey's extensive ministry experience in this field, he invited him to come to his Archdiocese. With the help of the Rev. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., and others, Fr. Harvey began the Courage Apostolate in September, 1980.

With the endorsement of the Holy See, Courage now has more than 110 Chapters and contact people world-wide, over 1500 persons participating in its ListServs, and hundreds of persons per week receiving assistance from the main office and website. It has become a mainstream Catholic Apostolate helping thousands of men and women find peace through fellowship, prayer, and the Sacraments.

I beg our bishops to distance themselves from DigntyUSA and to promote the program that supports chastity: Courage.

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