Monday, November 12, 2007

OP-ED: Spirit Editorial didn't mention ministry for those with same-sex attraction

It is surprising that Joe Towalski's editorial on the church's pastoral response to persons with same-sex attraction [Nov. 1] did not mention, well, the church's pastoral response to people with same-sex attraction.

The national apostolate that goes by the name of Courage has a branch here in the Twin Cities called Faith in Action.

Faith in Action is a ministry for people with same-sex attraction sponsored and promoted by our archdiocesan Office for Family, Laity, Youth and Young Adults. We have support groups for men, for women, and also a group called Encourage for families and friends of persons with SSA.

The essential goal of the Courage/Faith in Action group is to assist members in living a virtuous life of chastity.

Its five-step approach is to believe in the church's teaching on SSA; to dedicate one's life to Christ through various means such as service, sacraments and prayer; fellowship with one another in honest dialogue so that no one has to face the struggle for virtue or the problems of life alone; cultivation of chaste friendships; living one's life as a good example to others so as to encourage others in their journeys.

This apostolate has been operating for 10 years in the Twin Cities. Every meeting takes place with a priest chaplain and includes the opportunity for private confession.

Information on how to join a group is available by contacting the Office of Family, Laity, Youth and Young Adults at (651) 291-4488. Information about the national Courage apostolate can be found on its Web site.

Here are two further suggestions in light of the editorial. First, you can learn more about the emotional root causes of homosexuality through the National Association for Research and Ther­apy of Homosexuality (NARTH).

In particular, parents of young children who are beginning to reveal signs of gender identity confusion have some very good advice at their disposal which may help them to assist their children in developing an identification with their own gender.

Go to NARTH's online bookstore and find the audio CD talk given by Dr. Joseph Nicolosi on the subject of what parents can do.

Secondly, with all due respect, the editorial did a poor job of using the words "homosexual" and "gay" in accurate ways. They are not interchangeable.

Today, "gay" often connotes a lifestyle inconsistent with the pursuit of chastity.

Persons with homosexual, or same-sex, attraction may or may not consider themselves "gay." Those who believe in the church's teaching on SSA often are actually insulted by being called "gay."

Hopefully, this information will be of help, both to those who wish to live a virtuous life of chastity, in spite of the particular challenges that come with same-sex attraction, and to those who wish to support them in this path. Catholic Spirit

Father Jim Livingston is the lead chaplain for the Archdiocesan Courage/Faith in Action apostolate.

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