Hidden victories with Courage
|Fr Paul Check is the Executive Director of US Courage.|
By Joseph Matchett, Catholic Outlook, September 2012
The Courage Apostolate assists men and women struggling with unwanted same sex attraction (SSA) to live in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church.
The Executive Director of US Courage, Fr Paul Check, will be visiting Australia and New Zealand from 13-28 September 2012 to promote the apostolate. He will be the keynote speaker at the 2012 Oceania Courage Conference to be held in Sydney on Saturday 15 September.
Courage was founded in 1980 by Terence Cardinal Cooke, a Servant of God and former Archbishop of New York, together with the first Director, Fr John Harvey OSFS.
Courage has a parallel organisation called EnCourage, which supports the spouses, parents and friends of those with SSA. There are now more than 100 Chapters of Courage in the US in more than 60 dioceses.
It also has chapters throughout the world, including Australia and New Zealand. Courage and EnCourage have active chapters in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane. It is hoped that through the success of Fr Check’s visit that chapters will be established in Adelaide, Perth, Wollongong and Newcastle.
Courage is strong evidence of the desire of the Church to express her care and affection for a group of people who often feel isolated, lonely and who seemingly feel they have nowhere to turn for assistance.
The main emphasis of the apostolate is to assist individual people to live chaste lives. It is not about orientation change or reparative therapy.
To become involved with Courage or EnCourage, an individual would contact his/her local group through the Courage website (www.courage.net) or through his/her local parish priest or advertisements in the Catholic press.
Regular meetings are held with the Courage chaplain, who has been appointed by his bishop to be a spiritual director and moderator of the group.
In addition to the regular Courage meetings, social gatherings, weekends away, days of recollection and retreats are held for those involved.
Trust, confidence and confidentiality are hallmarks of the apostolate. Once involved, Courage helps its members to live chaste lives. They reaffirm what the Church teaches, are fortified by prayer and the sacraments, and the chaste friendships and support that they receive from each other.
While SSA is a complex issue, it affects only 2% of the male population and 1% of the female population. It is certainly not as common as the secular media suggests.
Courage declares that it would be an injustice to collapse its identity into a sexual appetite. Its members are much more than this; they are God’s children, His sons and daughters.
The Church teaches that human intimacy is for the union of a man and woman in a permanent, exclusive and fruitful way. Sex is for marriage.
The Church as an expert in humanity has developed a clear, coherent and consistent teaching with regards to human love. The Church makes it plain that same sexual activities are at variance with the human good, as is pornography, contraception, masturbation, fornication and adultery.
Many members of Courage can give testimonials about how participation in the Courage apostolate has transformed their lives. There are many wonderful stories of conversion, lengthy periods of chastity and the renunciation of living in the gay lifestyle; even successful marriages.
Parents of children in the gay lifestyle have also seen their sons and daughters return to Christ, often after many years of hoping, waiting and praying.
These are often the hidden victories in the Mystical Body of Christ but are nevertheless very real. They give hope to others who are struggling that grace can transform them and bring them into a closer union with Our Lord.
The 2012 Oceania Courage/EnCourage Conference will be held on Saturday 15 September at St Dominic’s Catholic Church Hall, Homebush West, from 9am-5pm.
Bishop Anthony Fisher OP will be the principal celebrant for the conference Mass. Conference speakers include: Mrs Anna Krohn of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family; Fr John Rizzo FSSP, Assistant Priest at St John Vianney’s Parish, Doonside; and Fr Greg Morgan, Assistant Priest at All Saints Parish, Liverpool.For more information about the conference and to register tel 0418 136 785, email@example.com
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