Courage International (or, more commonly, Courage) is an apostolate and Christian ministry of the Roman Catholic Church, which ministers to gay and bisexual Catholics who wish to abstain from acting on their sexual desires and to live chastely. Courage also sponsors an outreach program called Encourage, which ministers to relatives and friends of persons with same-sex attractions.
Terence Cardinal Cooke as Archbishop of New York City, conceived the ministry as a spiritual support system which would assist same-sex attracted Catholics in adhering to Vatican directives on sexual behaviour.
Cooke invited John Harvey to New York to begin the work of Courage with Benedict Groeschel, of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. The first meeting was held in September, 1980 at the Shrine of Mother Seton in South Ferry.
Extent of the organization Edit
With the endorsement of the Roman Curia, Courage now has chapters in many U.S. cities and several foreign countries, and has gained official recognition from the Church.
In the United States, Courage International, referred to by those associated as simply "Courage", is financially supported by the Archdiocese of New York and by donations. Individual chapters are self-supporting and exist with the permission of their diocesan Bishop. Courage was recommended as a support-group for Catholics with homosexual attractions in the 2006 document by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, "Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care".
In 2005, Courage International formed a Spanish-speaking branch, based in Mexico City, called Courage Latino. It currently extends to seven countries: Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Argentina, Colombia, Spain, and Venezuela.
Contrasts with other organizationsEdit
Courage International is often contrasted with Dignity, another support group for Catholics who have same-sex orientation or some level of same-sex attraction. While Courage provides support for same-sex attracted Roman Catholics who seek to abide by the Church's mandate of sexual abstinence for all unmarried persons, Dignity argues for the morality of sexually-active same-sex relationships between consenting adults.
Courage International should be distinguished from two other organizations with similar names:
- Courage UK, also called Courage Trust, an organization founded in February 1988 by Jeremy Marks in the United Kingdom. From 1988 to 2001, it was an ex-gay ministry. In 2001, Marks changed his mind about the morality of same-sex sexual activity, and since that time, Courage UK has focused on helping homosexually-attracted Christians to form stable, sexually-active partnerships. Although Courage UK often uses the shorter name "Courage" within the United Kingdom, and Courage International often uses the shorter name "Courage" in the United States, the two organizations are not affiliated.
- Courage International, a Christian business ministry. 
- Ex-gay movement
- Homosexuality and Catholicism
- Homosexuality and Christianity
- On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons
- Courage: official site in the United States
- Courage Latino: official site for Spanish-speaking Catholics
- ↑ United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, "Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care", released at the November 2006 bishops' meeting. Courage and Encourage are mentioned on p. 22 n. 44. 
Additional sources Edit
- Belgau, Ron. "Sodom and the City of God." New Oxford Review, June 2003. The author, spokesman for Courage in the Archdiocese of Seattle, criticizes the use of stereotypes and hate-speech directed against people experiencing same-sex attraction.
- Harvey, John F. The Homosexual Person: New Thinking in Pastoral Care. Ignatius Press, 1987. ISBN 0898701694. Harvey is the founder of Courage International.
- Holton, Robert. "Homosexuals With the Courage to be Different". Our Sunday Visitor, vol. 81 p. 21, August 30, 1992. Profile of the group.
- Jacquet, Louis F. "Courage: a support group for Catholic Homosexuals". The Liguorian, vol 77, pp. 16–20, May 1989.
- Kenny, Joseph. "Catholic Church Has Room for Those Struggling With Homosexuality." Catholic News Service, August 9, 2006. 
- Morrison, David. Beyond Gay. Our Sunday Visitor, 1999. ISBN 0879736909. Morrison is the founder and moderator of "Courage Online", an online support group sponsored by Courage International.
- Nugent, Robert. "Courage Curbs Gays". National Catholic Reporter, vol. 21, p. 10, January 18, 1985. An article critical of Courage.
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