Andrew Comiskey To Speak at Catholic Ex-Gay Conference

Jim Burroway

July 19th, 2012

As I mentioned in today’s Daily Agenda, the Catholic ex-gay organization Courage will be holding its annual conference on the campus of Mount St. Mary’s College and Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD. Most of the speakers lined up for the conference are relatively unknown outside of the Catholic/Courage world, but one names stands out: Andrew Comiskey, Executive Director of Desert Stream Ministries, who recently pulled out of the Exodus umbrella. As I noted before, Comiskey appears to be leaning much more toward Catholic theology, which made his theological dispute with Exodus president Alan Chambers rather interesting, to say the least.

Comiskey also split with Exodus over the latter organization’s decision to distance itself from Reparative Therapy, which remains an important component in DSM. While Courage has typically shied away from encouraging members to seek sexual orientation change as a goal, it has nevertheless promoted the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), including a direct link to “NARTH testimonies” under Courage’s “Member Testimonies” web page.

Comiskey will give two talks at the Courage conference. On Friday, he will deliver the evening plenary talk, “Naked Surrender: Coming Home to Our True Sexuality”, and on Saturday he will give a workshop on “Restoring Relational Integrity through the Broken Body of Christ.”

It’s probably not unprecedented for a non-Catholic to give a talk at a Courage Conference, but it’s also hard to image Comiskey being given a platform for either of these two talks unless they are fully in line with Catholic teachings. If it turns out that Comiskey is increasingly finding a home in the Catholic world, it remains to be seen what kinds of strains Comiskey’s theological outlook may induce within Desert Stream’s far-flung ministries or with potential tie-ups with other ex-gay ministries which have recently left Exodus, all of which have deep historic roots in Protestant Evangelicalism.

Update: I had missed this, but as William commented below, Comiskey announced in January that he converted to Catholicism the prior Easter. He should fit in well. In 2010, Comiskey posted an admission on his blog that a staffer at DSM had sexually abused at least one teenager under their care. But instead of publicly apologizing for the appalling transgression or expressing anguish over the teen’s abuse, he lamented his trauma from having been interrogated by police and worrying about liability insurers. And he expressed gratitude that “God spared us” from the humiliation of the story appearing in the newspapers. He’s only been a Catholic for a little over a year, but already he’s qualified to be a Bishop.


July 19th, 2012

I’d just like to point out that Comiskey is now a Roman Catholic:

David Roberts

July 19th, 2012

What William said, Comiskey isn’t leaning towards Catholicism, he’s converted. I doubt he would be speaking there otherwise, but who knows in these odd times of ex-gay turmoil.

Timothy Kincaid

July 19th, 2012

That is fascinating. I would have guessed that most desert stream affiliated churches would be even more antiCatholic than antigay. How odd.


July 19th, 2012

It wouldn’t matter if he hadn’t converted to Catholicism. NOTHING brings faiths that hate each other together as brothers and sisters like homophobia! NOTHING but a common hatred of gay people could have brought Orthodox Jews, Orthodox Muslims and Orthodox Christians together in Jerusalem for a lovefest a few years ago but shared homophobia. NOTHING could make Southern Baptists embrace Mormons and Catholics like shared homophobia. I’ve always said that homosexuality has done for the world what Moses, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammad, ALL put together couldn’t do, and that’s to bring these factions together in peace and love even if only for the time that they are together to hate on the gays. We should have a special shrine in every Synagogue, Church, Mosque and Temple across the globe. Harvey Milk should be canonized as the ONE and ONLY, TRUE Prince of Peace!


July 19th, 2012

The event isn’t listed on Mount St. Mary’s calendar. I wonder why they’re not publicizing this?


July 19th, 2012

It depresses me no end that the Church that could once claim John Boswell as a member has become a bastion of flakes, quacks, and nuts.

Ok, more of a bastion.

Mark F.

July 19th, 2012


The official Catholic Church position on homosexual behavior has not changed much over the years, and Boswell’s theories are disputed even by pro-gay scholars.

John Siple

September 30th, 2012

Courage is NOT an x-gay ministry.

It seeks only for Catholics who wish to remain faithful to surrender to sin & repent of their sin, not their mindset.

We choose to surrender to God’s love & Mercy.
I’ve done it for years now.
So we stumble, we work the 12 Steps of AA around it. God is greater than our lifestyle. He has his own.


John Siple

September 30th, 2012

I threw Boswell’s book into the woodburner 20 yrs. ago.

Catholic training informs the conscience. We can’s live like that for long before the sky comes down upon us. Our conscience dictates a different way of living.

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