Newspaper of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Courage_Logo-ONLYBLOOMFIELD – Men and women living with same-sex attraction often feel neglected and despised – by their families, their heterosexual friends, even the Catholic Church.

Deacon Robert Pallotti, director of the Office of the Permanent Diaconate of the Archdiocese of Hartford, wants to do something about that.

Archbishop Henry J. Mansell has given Deacon Pallotti’s office the go-ahead to start a chapter of Courage, an apostolate of the Catholic Church that ministers to persons with same-sex attraction (SSA) – the group avoids using words like "homosexual," "gay" or "lesbian" as nouns, saying they appear to lump individuals into categories.

Courage was founded in 1980 by Oblate of St. Francis de Sales Father John F. Harvey, under the direction of New York’s Cardinal Terence Cooke. It is now headquartered in Norwalk and under the direction of Father Paul Check, a priest of the Diocese of Bridgeport. There are more than 100 Courage chapters in at least 35 states and many more overseas.

Deacon Pallotti said that he recognized a few years ago that there was a pastoral need in the Hartford Archdiocese for the Church to reach out to men and women living with SSA.

"We had begun to hear about different organizations, and Courage being the Roman Catholic one that the Vatican supports, it’s the one which we are able to utilize," he said. "Hopefully, this will meet at least some of the needs of the people we’re trying to minister to. And not only people with same-sex attraction, but friends and families."

Father Check joined the interview by speakerphone and said, "The goal of the Courage apostolate is to help men and women with same-sex attraction to live a chaste life, trusting that the Church teaches us what is true in terms of our humanity and then guides us into an intimacy with Jesus Christ. This is the charism of Courage."

The "Five Goals of Courage," briefly summarized, are to live chaste lives, to dedicate one’s life to Christ, to foster a spirit of fellowship, to acknowledge that chaste friendships are possible and necessary, and to live exemplary lives.

"The Church is careful to make a distinction," Father Check said. "[It] distinguishes the person from the inclination, from the action." Since everyone is created in the image and likeness of God, it is the inclination, not the person, that is disordered, he said. "It cannot be fulfilled in a way that is in keeping with our human nature. That’s not a moral judgment or a moral condemnation – this disorder – but rather, is a look at the appetite itself, the desire itself."

Homosexual acts are only one category of sexual acts that put us at cross purposes with ourselves and our human nature, he said. "Adultery, fornication, contraception, pornography, masturbation, in vitro fertilization, cloning, artificial insemination – all of these things are in some way contrary to that design or order of human intimacy and love," he said.

But, he said, "People with same-sex attraction have a particular struggle. We are going to do everything we can to understand it and to respect their human dignity and treat them as individuals. At the same time, we, in looking at human nature, know that [for them] to act out on that inclination or desire is to put them at cross purposes with themselves."

People who come to Courage for help are often surprised that the Church understands their struggles, he said. "We think that someone’s dignity is far more complex and rich than their sexual inclination," he said. "You’re a human being; you’re a person; you’re a child of God …."

Father Check was careful to explain that the causes of homosexuality are not fully understood. He said that the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2357, states, "Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained." That is not to say that it can never be explained, however. "What we could say, I think reasonably, is that there are patterns that tend to repeat themselves into the profiles of men and women with same-sex attraction, and that kind of information could be useful to consider," he said.

As to whether a person’s sexual orientation is inborn or acquired, he said, "We can’t make any conclusion on that because it’s not a matter of divine revelation…."

Deacon Pallotti echoed Father Check’s compassionate tone. "Intellectually, we can say that we love ourselves," he said. "Emotionally, below the surface, are all kinds of little messages telling us otherwise. We pick those up from society or from our parents or from whatever."

The formation of a Courage chapter in the archdiocese is part of a four-pronged program of workshops dealing with human sexuality, bioethics and marriage preparation that Deacon Pallotti proposed to Archbishop Mansell several years ago.

Biweekly Courage meetings in a confidential location will be led by at least one of seven deacons who have undergone specific training to understand the emotional difficulties persons with SSA experience. "One of us will always be there, so they’ll always feel safe because they’ll get to know us," Deacon Pallotti said.

Catholics who are struggling with same-sex attraction and who desire to live according to Church teaching may contact their pastors or Deacon Pallotti at (860) 761-7446.

All calls are confidential, as are all meetings. More information on Courage is available online at couragerc.net or by calling Courage headquarters at (203) 803-1564.

 

 

Events Calendar

September 2014
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1
12:00 AM
Archbishop O'Brien Library , Bloomfield, United States
The Archbishop O’Brien Library will participate in a community-based project with Life Choice Donor Services, a non-profit organ procurement organization, during September, to raise awareness for organ [...]
Date :  September 01, 2014
2
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4
06:00 PM
Hartford Club, Hartford, Hartford, United States
HARTFORD – The House of Bread, one of the area’s largest urban ministries, will kick off its 35th [...]
Date :  September 04, 2014
5
6
09:00 AM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
“Empowering Catholic Social Justice Teachings through Gospel Living, Every Day, Every Way’ is the title of a Catechist Day presentation to be given by Father Chris Tiano, director of the Office of [...]
09:00 AM
“Empowering Catholic Social Justice Teachings through Gospel Living, Every Day, Every Way’ is the title of a Catechist Day presentation to be given by Father Chris Tiano, director of the Office of [...]
Date :  September 06, 2014
7
02:00 PM
Cathedral of St. Joseph, Hartford, Hartford, United States
08:00 AM
Academy of the Holy Family's Dining Hall, Sprague, United States
The Baltic Knights of Columbus will have a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon Sept. 7 at the Academy of the Holy Family’s Dining Hall at 54 W. Main St., Baltic.  Pancakes, French [...]
11:30 AM
St. Rita Day Care Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
St. Rita Parish in Hamden will celebrate its 50th anniversary with an outdoor Mass at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 7 [...]
Date :  September 07, 2014
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07:00 PM
St. Lawrence O'Toole Church, Hartford, Hartford, United States
People from the English, Spanish and Portuguese Cursillo communities will be among the congregants at a multicultural Cursillo Mass that will be celebrated at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at St. Lawrence O’Toole [...]
Date :  September 11, 2014
12
03:00 PM
St. Anthony Maronite Catholic Church, Springfield, Springfield, United States
The Archdiocese of Hartford will host a one-day pilgrimage to St. Anthony Maronite Catholic Church in [...]
Date :  September 12, 2014
13
09:00 AM
Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, Bloomfield, United States
A workshop titled "Building Intercultural Competence in Our Parishes" will be presented from 9 a.m. to [...]
10:00 AM
Lourdes in Litchfield Shrine, Litchfield, United States
BRANFORD – The St. Mary Ladies Guild is planning a Day of Pilgrimage and Prayer on Sept. 13 at the [...]
10:30 AM
Mortensen Riverfront Park, Hartford, Hartford, United States
HARTFORD – Immaculate Conception Shelter & Housing Corp. will have its third annual “Give Me [...]
Date :  September 13, 2014
14
08:30 AM
Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Waterbury, Waterbury, United States
WATERBURY – Sheridan Council 24 of the Knights of Columbus will host its second annual Communion [...]
Date :  September 14, 2014
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06:00 PM
Church of St. Ann, Avon, Avon, United States
St. Ann's Church of Avon is having its fifth annual clothing sale from 6-8:30 p.m. Sept. 19 and from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 20 in Father Bennett Hall at the parish. Proceeds benefit students [...]
Date :  September 19, 2014
20
08:30 AM
Church of St. Ann, Avon, Avon, United States
St. Ann's Church of Avon is having its fifth annual clothing sale from 6-8:30 p.m. Sept. 19 and from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 20 in Father Bennett Hall at the parish. Proceeds benefit students [...]
10:00 AM
St. Paul Catholic High School, Bristol, Bristol, United States
St. Paul Catholic High School open houses at 10 and 11:30 a.m. Sept. 20,  7 p.m. Oct. 8 and at 10 and [...]
Date :  September 20, 2014
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11:00 AM
Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, United States
Applications are being accepted for the 2014 Catholic Youth Spectacular (CYS), set for Sept. 21 on the [...]
Date :  September 21, 2014
22
23
11:00 AM
Wampanoag Country Club, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
HARTFORD – The 22nd annual Archbishop John F. Whealon Memorial Golf Tournament will take place Sept. 23 [...]
Date :  September 23, 2014
24
06:00 PM
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, Hamden , Hamden, United States
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Hamden will have its monthly Pro-Life Holy Hour Novena from 6-7 p.m. September 24.The Holy Hour will include exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, pro-life rosary, [...]
Date :  September 24, 2014
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27
09:30 AM
Holy Angels Parish Center, South Meriden, Meriden, United States
MERIDEN – The Meriden-Wallingford Council of Catholic Women will sponsor a catered breakfast at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 27 at Holy Angels Parish Center in South Meriden. Guest speaker Deacon Thomas J. Davis [...]
Date :  September 27, 2014
28
01:00 PM
Polish-American Club, West Haven, United States
NEW HAVEN – St. Stanislaus Parish will have its annual picnic/harvest festival from 1-8 p.m. Sept. 28, rain or shine, at the Polish-American Club at 194 W. Spring St., West Haven. Polish and [...]
Date :  September 28, 2014
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