How’s The Catholic Church’s Celibacy Solution Working Out?

Jim Burroway

January 5th, 2012

If you’re gay, the Catholic Church has one answer for you: stay celibate for the rest of your life. The Hartford (CT) Archdiocese has sponsored a chapter of the Catholic ex-gay program Courage to help gays experience all the joys of celibacy:

The Hartford Archdiocese wants gays and lesbians to practice abstinence in the new year.

On Tuesday, the archdiocese announced it was launching a local chapter of a national ministry called Courage “to support men and women who struggle with homosexual tendencies and to motivate them to live chaste and fruitful lives in accordance with Catholic Church teachings.”

…Gay attraction is not the sin, the ministry preaches — only when one acts on those feelings is it immoral. “Through support and spiritual intervention, we can help people with same-sex attraction lead moral and fulfilling lives,” Pallotti said. “These people are hurting and so are their families. Doing nothing would be a lack of compassion.”

The article explained that the Archdiocese had some difficulty establishing the chapter over the objections of area deacons who thought Courage didn’t condemn gay people enough. But after attending some workshops, they decided that Courage wasn’t as lib’ral as they feared. Local LGBT leaders saw through the charade:

True Colors Executive Director Robin McHaelen argued Tuesday that the Catholic Church is “trying to have it both ways — keeping the same hostile interpretation of a small number of biblical passages while pretending they are not homophobic.”

“I can’t tell you how many kids I work with who have been spiritually wounded by this and similar religious perspectives,” McHaelen said. True Colors, a nonprofit agency based in Hartford, offers help to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teens, some of whom have been kicked out of religious households.

“In my opinion, that’s the abomination,” McHaelen said.

Unlike most other ex-gay organizations, neither Courage nor the Catholic Church promises change in sexual orientation per se. Instead, they promote “the gift of celibacy” for anyone who remains outside a one-man-one-woman marriage.

And speaking of celibacy:

Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala, 60, resigned Wednesday under the code of canon law that lets bishops step down earlier than the normal retirement age of 75 if they’re sick or for some other reason that makes them unfit for office.

In a letter to the faithful, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez said Zavala had told him in December that he had two children who lived with their mother in a different state. Zavala subsequently submitted his resignation to the pope.

Ben In Oakland

January 5th, 2012

Celibacy is a charisma, literally a gift fromn god. you can’t be a priest unless god has given you this gift.

So god didn’t give the gift to a man who was certified by the church as hgaving it. And the church just assumes that god iwll give it to some random gay person if only he/she attends a church program.

somneone isn’t reading their own rulebooks.


January 5th, 2012

the only ones ‘hurting’ are those who have been forced to swallow the RC, Courage, etc. lies

Regan DuCasse

January 5th, 2012

Priests and nuns don’t procreate, either…OOPS!

Mark F.

January 5th, 2012

“you can’t be a priest unless god has given you this gift.”

Yes, you can. Exceptions are sometimes made for married men and Eastern Rite priests always could be married. However, no priest can become married after ordination. But if you are single when you are ordained, you are expected to remain single and celibate.

Patrick Hogan

January 5th, 2012

I am neither a eunuch nor straight, and nothing the church has said has convinced me to pretend otherwise.


January 5th, 2012

Apparently the Church has forgotten how the practice of celibacy originally became part of their tradition and culture. The really basic story is that Biblical eunuchs were granted a special place in Heaven despite not being able to pass on their name to heirs. Well, around 300-400 CE the Church had a problem. There was a sudden trend of castration when someone apparently rediscovered the Biblical secret back door into Heaven. In a knee-jerk response the Church created …virtual eunuchs (i.e., the Vow of Celebacy). The Church at that time also created the idea of isolated monasteries, where handfuls of men could better assist each other in their struggle to avoid sex with women. Inherent in all this change this was a new, highly hierarchical structure whereupon each level would “give of themselves as a bride to her groom”.


January 6th, 2012

Well, the abstinence meme certainly has worked out well in sex education, hasn’t it?

Adrienne Critcher

January 6th, 2012

I’m still waiting for the Catholic church’s celibacy program for divorced people. According to Mark 10:11-12, divorced people commit adultery if they remarry, so they need to remain celibate for the rest of their lives rather than enter a permanent state of adultery. This of course goes for Southern Baptists and all other denominations and religions that cherry-pick their Bibles.


January 6th, 2012

Gee that sounds like the same way unmarried Christians are to live there lives as well. Marriage is the gift of God for God’s plan of creation for humans to continue.

It’s funny how mankind changes things around to suit there fancy. Only thing is that the consequences for our misbehavior can last a lifetime and beyond. It is up to us how we apply our lives in God’s plan of salvation as well.


January 6th, 2012

Previous post on Courage founder Father John Harvey.

“In 1980, New York’s Archbishop Cooke invited Father John Harvey to develop a ministry to Catholics with same-sex attractions.”

“I am pleased to send you the brochure for this year’s annual conference, returning to Mundelein on August 4-7. We will dedicate our time together to the memory of Fr. John Harvey, OSFS, in gratitude for his spiritual fatherhood. I have asked several of our speakers to share their reflections on Fr. Harvey’s influence in their lives and his role in leading Courage and EnCourage for almost three decades.”

“Fr. Benedict Groeschel and Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons will also be with us.”

“CHICAGO — Courage, a Church apostolate ministering to people with same-sex attraction, held its 23rd annual conference this summer in Chicago. Members of Courage and EnCourage, the support group for their loved ones, were joined by Church leaders, including Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura at the Vatican, the Holy See’s highest court; Father Benedict Groeschel of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, who helped to found Courage in 1981; and Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist with extensive experience counseling people with same-sex attraction.”

“Father Groeschel told me that when he helped found Courage in 1980 it encountered pushback because some falsely believed that it promoted tolerance of homosexuality, if not outright acceptance. That misunderstanding was swiftly corrected, he said, saying that the real pushback has come from those within the Church who disagree with Courage’s moral orthodoxy: the sort of pushback Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons said exists within the mainstream medical and academic establishment when it comes to considering homosexuality. Is Courage still running into brick walls?”

“Father Harvey wrote in 1986, “for several years I have been engaged in what is best described as crisis intervention, working with clinical psychologist John F. Kinnane, of Catholic University, Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons of Philadelphia, and with treatment centers in the rehabilitation of clerics and religious who had become emotionally and sexually involved with boys or adolescent males… we have been able to share our perception with them and to help fourteen clerics get some measure of control over their lives.” (The Homosexual Person, page 226, Ignatius Press)”

Priya Lynn

January 6th, 2012

Janelle said “It’s funny how mankind changes things around to suit there fancy.”.

Its funny how mankind pretending to be a god wrote the bible to suit their fancy.

Jerry Sloan

January 6th, 2012

The RC requirement of cebilacy for its priests is certainly unscriptual as Paul wrote in Timothy a bishop (pastor) should be the husband of one wife.


January 7th, 2012

If celebicy was such a “gift” why is it so much of a social problem with the Church’s priests trying to give theirs away in inappropriate settings?


January 7th, 2012

As far as I’m concerned, celibacy is perfectly legitimate as a choice – provided that it is an entirely free and unpressured one – but totally improper as a demand.

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