Parishioners quit church over same-sex support group that teaches chastity

Evidently, some people mistakenly think that the Catholic Church teaches that the only good homosexual is a straight former homosexual.

Um, no.  Check the catechism.  And listen to the bishops.

But then along comes this story from Canada.  (h/t Thomas McDonald)  The Toronto Star headline sums it up succinctly: “Gay celibacy group prompts parishioners to leave.”     

What was bothering them?  The gay part or the celibacy part?  (Technically, the issue is chastity, not celibacy, but the secular media always confuses the two.)

Here’s the write-up from the Canada’s Catholic Register:

A dozen or more parishioners have quit the Newman Centre’s St. Thomas Acquinas parish after the introduction of a Courage apostolate that offers spiritual support for gay Catholics.

The resignations began after the pastor, Fr. Chris Cauchi, invited the spiritual support group into the parish in November. Others have petitioned unsuccessfully for a parish pastoral council meeting to discuss the issue.

The Newman Centre parish serves students on the University of Toronto’s downtown campus. In response to a protest about Courage, the University of Toronto administration asked the parish to withdraw the group and to make it clear in promotional literature that the U of T does not endorse it. The Newman Centre web site now states: “This program is not offered by or connected to the University of Toronto.”

The archdiocese of Toronto has proposed a meeting with university representatives and the Newman Centre in the near future. Cauchi will not speak publicly about the matter.

Courage is sanctioned by the archdiocese of Toronto and is offered on a voluntary basis “for Catholics looking for a support group that addresses same-sex attraction and chastity as it relates to the Church’s teaching on sexuality,” said the archdiocese in a statement. Newman Centre began the Courage ministry “in an effort to address requests from some parishioners in an inclusive way,” the statement said.

Courage International Inc. director Fr. Paul Check said the group never seeks controversy or publicity.

“Why is a group that wants to meet quietly and is committed to the virtue of chastity, which is a virtue for all Christians according to their state in life, why would that be controversial?” he asked The Catholic Register.

Courage reflects the Church’s official teaching and pastoral norms for the care and inclusion of gay Catholics, said Check.

“If someone objects to the Courage group per se then logically speaking they are rejecting the Church’s teaching on homosexuality,” he said.

Stuart Graham was one of four Newman parishioners who took his concerns about Courage to university administrators in November. The professional musician left his positions helping direct music ministry and as a lector after years of involvement with the parish.

Courage reinforces a message that homosexual people are defective or incomplete, Graham said.

“The root of this group is not honourable. It indoctrinates false information,” he said. “You just have to look into the fine print of the web site.”

Read more. 

And you can find out more about Courage here. 

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