The Catholic Church’s “Courage” ministry — which treats homosexuality as an addiction to be cured through 12 steps — continues to expand in New England. Following the establishment of the program in Connecticut last month, the diocese of Portland, Maine, has announced it too will offer the pro-chastity service. Sue Bernard, a spokesperson for the diocese, described Courage in very positive terms:
Courage offers hope and encouragement to men and women who desire to live in accordance with the church’s teaching on homosexuality — specifically that the dignity and identity of every person is not determined by their sexual attractions, but by their relationship with the Lord and their striving to live the virtues of faith, hope and charity.
It’s fairly obvious that Bernard is implying that non-heterosexual identities are not worthy of dignity. Given one of the goals of Courage speaks to “the problems of homosexuality,” the ministry’s motives are clearly to impose guilt and shame as it discourages gay people from ever experiencing love. Combined with the large sums of money the Church commits to fighting marriage equality and defending “religious liberty,” condemning the gay community seems to have become one of its highest priorities.