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

October 2014
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10:00 AM
St. Anthony Parish, prospect, Prospect, United States
St. Anthony Parish in Prospect will again operate its Pumpkin Patch during the month October. It will be open Oct. 4-31, and all proceeds will support the parish's HOPE Ministry, which assists local [...]
Date :  October 04, 2014
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07:30 AM
Anthony's Ocean View, New Haven, New Haven, United States
The Foundation for the Advancement of Catholic Schools (FACS) will host its annual Archbishop’s Columbus [...]
Date :  October 10, 2014
11
08:30 AM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
Caritas Christi Center in Hamden will host a contemporary presentation of the discipline of centering prayer as silent communication with God [...]
12:00 PM
152 Litchfield St., Torrington, Torrington, United States
Oktoberfest 2014 will be held to benefit the Torrington Cluster of Roman Catholic Parishes (St. Peter, St. Francis of Assisi, Sacred Heart and St. Mary) from noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 11 at 152 Litchfield St., [...]
Date :  October 11, 2014
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01:00 PM
Lourdes in Litchfield, Litchfield, United States
Lourdes in Litchfield Shrine will have its annual harvest dinner at 1 p.m. Oct. 12 in Pilgrim Hall. [...]
02:00 PM
Cathedral of St. Joseph, Hartford, Hartford, United States
HARTFORD – The 25th anniversary celebration of the Diocesan Rosary Rally will take place from 2-3:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph. Archbishop Leonard P. Blair will give a talk titled [...]
Date :  October 12, 2014
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07:00 PM
Chiara Center, Meriden, Meriden, United States
Thomas Finn, Ph.D., will present a six-session educational and psychological workshop designed to help [...]
Date :  October 14, 2014
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06:00 PM
Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center, West Hartford, United States
"Incorporating Prayer into the Classroom Setting: An Evening Workshop for Parish Catechists," will be [...]
06:30 PM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
The film 'Places in the Heart' will be shown, discussed and studied from 6:30-9 p.m. Oct. 15 at the [...]
07:00 PM
St. Peter Claver Parish, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
WEST HARTFORD – The Archdiocese of Hartford’s Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry (OCSJM) will sponsor a workshop on the need for criminal justice reform at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 at St. Peter Claver [...]
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Calvary Retreat Center, Farmington , Farmington, United States
  On Wednesday, October 15, Our Lady of Calvary Retreat Center in Farmington is offering "Autumn [...]
07:00 PM
Most Holy Trinity Church, Wallingford, Wallingford, United States
WALLINGFORD – Peter Wolfgang, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, will give a [...]
09:00 AM
Our Lady of Calvary Retreat Center, Farmington , Farmington, United States
  On Wednesday, October 15, Our Lady of Calvary Retreat Center in Farmington is offering "Autumn [...]
10:00 AM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, Hamden, United States
"Are You Here for Me, Lord?" a program for the bereaved, will be presented by Sister Mauryeen O'Brien from [...]
Date :  October 15, 2014
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09:00 AM
Lourdes in Litchfield, Litchfield, United States
Lourdes-in-Litchfield will have its semi-annual tag sale from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 16, 17 and 18 and [...]
Date :  October 16, 2014
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07:00 PM
Sacred Heart Church, Southbury CT, Southbury, United States
Sacred Heart Parish in Southbury and its adult choir music ministry will have a Taize prayer service at 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at the church. Taize is an [...]
Date :  October 17, 2014
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07:00 PM
Academy of the Holy Family, Baltic, Sprague, United States
The Baltic Council of the Knights of Columbus will sponsor a benefit dinner for the Academy of the Holy Family at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at the academy, located  at 54 West Main Street in Baltic. [...]
07:00 PM
Montfort House, Litchfield, Litchfield, United States
Lourdes-in-Litchfield will have its annual Fine Dining and Wine Pairing fund-raiser from 7-10 p.m. Oct. 18 [...]
08:30 AM
Doubletree by Hilton, Bristol, Bristol, United States
Magnificat for women will have a breakfast at 9 a.m. Oct. 18 at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Bristol. Registration opens at 8:30. The speaker will be author Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle.  The [...]
09:00 AM
Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, United States
The eighth annual “Unbound: Freedom in Christ Conference” will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Archdiocesan Center at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield. Based on Neal [...]
09:00 AM
Holy Angels Parish Center, South Meriden, Meriden, United States
Former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson and abortion survivor Gianna Jessen will be the [...]
Date :  October 18, 2014
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01:00 PM
Sacred Heart Academy, Hamden, Hamden, United States
Sacred Heart Academy in Hamden will have an open house from 1-3 p.m. Oct. 19.
01:00 PM
Notre Dame High School, West Haven, West Haven, United States
Notre Dame High Shool will have an open house from 1-3 p.m. Oct. 19.
01:00 PM
Sacred Heart Academy, Hamden CT, Hamden, United States
HAMDEN – Sacred Heart Academy, an independent Catholic college preparatory school for young women in [...]
02:00 PM
Cathedral of St. Joseph, Hartford, United States
Annual anniversary Mass for couples celebrating significan wedding anniversaries.
02:00 PM
St. Mary Star of the Sea Church, Unionville, Farmington, United States
UNIONVILLE –The Legion of Mary of St. Mary Star of the Sea Parish will host a living rosary program in [...]
04:00 PM
St. Justin Church, Hartford, United States
St. Justin Parish will host an Interreligious Harvest Festival at 4 p.m. Oct. 19. Local Catholic and [...]
Date :  October 19, 2014
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05:00 PM
Aqua Turf Club, Plantsville, Southington, United States
The Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry (OCSJM) will present awards for exceptional efforts in social justice ministry at its annual dinner Oct. 21 at the Aqua Turf Club in Plantsville. It [...]
05:00 PM
Aqua Turf Club, Plantsville, Southington, United States
Click here
07:00 PM
Caritas Christi Center, Hamden, United States
"How to Live an Inspired Life and Inspire Others" is the title of a workshop schuled for 7 p.m. Oct. 21 at [...]
07:00 PM
Our Lady of Calvary Retreat Center, Farmington, Farmington, United States
Our Lady of Calvary Retreat Center will offer a program entitled "Returning to the Church of My Youth" presented by Deacon Art Miller.  Deacon Miller will share his reflections on the [...]
07:00 PM
Chiara Center, Meriden, Meriden, United States
Thomas Finn, Ph.D., will present a six-session educational and psychological workshop designed to help [...]
09:00 AM
Our Lady of Calvary Retreat Center, Farmington, Farmington, United States
Our Lady of Calvary Retreat Center will offer a program entitled "Returning to the Church of My Youth" presented by Deacon Art Miller.  Deacon Miller will share his reflections on the [...]
Date :  October 21, 2014
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07:00 PM
Holy Spirit Parish in Newington, Newington, United States
Holy Spirit Parish in Newington will host a concert by Elisabeth von Trapp, granddaughter of the legendary Maria and Baron von Trapp, whose story inspired “The Sound of Music,” at 7 p.m. Oct. 24.Ms. [...]
12:00 AM
Lourdes in Litchfield, Litchfield, United States
Lourdes-in-Litchfield will have its semi-annual tag sale from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 16, 17 and 18 and [...]
Date :  October 24, 2014
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08:00 AM
Goodwin College, East Hartford , East Hartford, United States
EAST HARTFORD – International Catholic speaker, author and radio host Jon Leonetti will be the keynote [...]
08:00 AM
Notre Dame High School, West Haven, West Haven, United States
Notre Dame High School admissions test
Date :  October 25, 2014
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01:00 PM
Xavier High School, Middletown, Middletown, United States
Open house at Xavier High School in Middletown for young men in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades.
Date :  October 26, 2014
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06:00 PM
Infinity Hall, Hartford, Hartford, United States
HARTFORD – Malta House of Care will sponsor a new fund-raising event at a new venue in October. “A Little Night Music Under the Stars” will be held from 6-8 p.m. Oct. 28 at Infinity Music Hall and [...]
07:00 PM
Chiara Center, Meriden, Meriden, United States
Thomas Finn, Ph.D., will present a six-session educational and psychological workshop designed to help [...]
Date :  October 28, 2014
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12:00 AM
Holy Family Retreat Center, West Hartford, West Hartford, United States
Holy Family Retreat Center will present "From Control to Compassion," a weekend retreat for men and women with Father Michael Crosby, Oct 31-Nov 2. It wil explore the causes and consequences [...]
Date :  October 31, 2014

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