Anti-Gay Celibacy Group’s Arrival Forces Dozens of Catholic Students to Leave Church

At the University of Toronto, the Newman Centre is the gathering place for a lot of straight and gay Catholic students. At least, it was… until a chapter of the group Courage was invited to hold events in the building.

What’s Courage? At first glance, it sounds pretty damn awesome. It’s a “support group for homosexuals in the Catholic Church.” A support group for gay Catholics?! Forget the hypocrisy of being a gay Catholic for a moment — what a strategically brilliant move on the Church’s part! A way to show the LGBT crowd that you actually care about them even if you think homosexuality is immoral.

Well, it sounded good, anyway. When students attended one of their events, they were shocked at what they heard.

This group indoctrinates . . . praying yourself straight,” said Stuart Graham, a former liturgical minister and lector at the parish who was one of those who complained to the university.

They’re telling young people who are confused and frightened that they’re damned,” he said. “I’m shocked we’re dealing with this in 2013.”

That’s a pretty shitty support group right there: “You got problems? We got answers. Stop being yourself or you’ll burn in hell!”

So what does this group actually believe? If you go to Courage’s website, you’ll find a Twelve Step Program modeled after the one used by Alcoholics Anonymous. Among their steps for the gay Catholics they’re trying to help:

We admitted that we were powerless over homosexuality and our lives had become unmanageable.

We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of our character.

Oh. And they also tell you that you can never ever have sex.

That’s right, representatives of a faith known for producing 39012321 children per family are demanding that gay Catholics never have sex.

Representatives of a Church known for harboring priests who rape little boys are demanding that gay Catholics in a loving same-sex relationship can never enjoy physical intimacy.

Just when you thought the Catholic Church couldn’t get any worse…

So what did Newman Centre officials have to say about this?

The Newman Centre then posted a comment on its website specifying that the program is not offered by or connected to the university, but it continues to support Courage’s activities.

So they’re complicit in the bigotry.

There is one upside to this story. As a result of the affiliation with the anti-gay group that’s even more anti-gay than the anti-gay Church, a whole bunch of students are walking away from the local Church altogether:

Meanwhile at St. Thomas Aquinas, the pews are emptying out, said longtime congregant Larry Carriere. “There’s growing emptiness and sadness in the community,” he said.

Graham estimates that 50 people have left the parish to worship elsewhere.

Despite the complaints, the media attention and dwindling numbers at mass, Courage continues to operate with the blessings of the church.

Keep up the good work, Catholic Church. For all your talk of compassion for all, your actions prove your love is only reserved for a select group of people. A group that’s dwindling by the day.

(Thanks to Chris for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.