When I lived in England there was a brewery that boosted a brand of beer called “Courage”
They had a striking ad campaign that featured a pint of their beer with the simple slogan “Take Courage”.
The same might be said of a new website launched by the Courage apostolate. For those who are not in the know, Courage International is an apostolate of the Catholic Church which offers support to persons experiencing same sex attraction.
It was founded in 1980 by Fr. John Harvey at the request of the late Cardinal Terence Cooke. Today, Courage has over 100 chapters in fourteen countries. EnCourage is an apostolate under the Courage umbrella which provides support for families and friends of persons with SSA, and aims to teach them how to reach out to their loved ones with true compassion. Currently, their chapters can be found in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, Italy, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.
Courage is actually the official Catholic outreach to people who experience same sex attraction. The launch of the new website was boosted by New York’s Cardinal Dolan who wrote, “I am pleased to introduce to you and recommend [Truth & Love] as a valuable tool for anyone who wishes to understand the host of theological and pastoral issues related to the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality and those who experience same-sex attraction,”
Too often the Catholic Church is accused of not welcoming or even persecuting people who experience same sex attraction, and no doubt there have been Catholics who have done so, but that’s not the official position of the church. Groups like the banned New Ways Ministry and individuals like Fr James Martin SJ say they are “building bridges” but their welcome is not Catholic and is therefore misleading and deceptive.
Furthermore, their voice is relatively minor. Courage and EnCourage are now an international organization with amazing dynamism, positivity and growth. Their new website Truth and Love is just one example of the continued growth of their outreach. The new website offers a wide range of content on the subject of homosexuality, sexual identity and related topics such as pornography.
Visitors to the website will find resources on these topics from the perspectives of official Church teaching, theology, philosophy, anthropology, pastoral care, health, psychology and personal testimonies of persons who experience SSA.
Is it possible to welcome people who experience same sex attraction to the church? Yes, and the folks at Courage and EnCourage are working hard to accompany individuals who are on the path of living lives fully integrated with the teaching of Christ’s church.
For pastors, family members, teachers and friends of people who experience same sex attraction…
…take Courage and know that Truth and Love cannot be separated.