Friday, October 17, 2014

Courage President Fr. Check Comments on Passage about Homosexuals in Synod Report

vaticanMembers of the international Courage apostolate have felt “dismay, concern and some pain” regarding the Extraordinary Synod for the Family’s recent midterm report passage on homosexuality, which has been subsequently updated, according to the National Catholic Register. The Register spoke with Father Paul Check, the president of Courage, who noted that Courage members “count on the voice of the Church to keep them strong and reassure them that the choices they have made are true.”
Courage is a world-wide apostolate of the Catholic Church that reaches out to serve and minister to persons with same-sex attraction. The Newman Society works with Courage to help Catholic colleges provide the needed support to those struggling with same-sex attraction.
The passage in question from the Extraordinary Synod report focuses on the Church’s outreach to such persons:
50. Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: Are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?
Fr. Check “expressed concern” about the passage and noted that the wording has worried and confused Courage members, according to the Register.
He told the Register:
When I read the statement, one thing that went through my mind was to ask the question, “Do we have the conviction that a chaste life is part of the good news of Jesus Christ, no matter what our state of life?” We don’t do someone any justice by allowing them to remain in a sinful way of life, but the call to conversion does not ignore the conditions in which someone is living.
In the interview, Fr. Check stated that a “homosexual inclination is not something to be embraced for itself, for as the Church has said, it is an inclination, more or less, toward an action gravely contrary to chastity.”
Many in the media have been quick to use the wording of the document to signal a change in the tone of the Church, if not official Church teaching. Father Robert Barron called for a pause, recognizing that this is only a working document which represents no official teaching of the Church, and that the English translation can be misinterpreted as accepting same-sex attraction as a good in and of itself.
Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, spoke shortly after the release of the document to respond to the many reactions and provide an updated translation that sought to distinguish between pastoral care to homosexuals and approval of their lifestyle. He, and others involved in the Synod, made a point to confirm that Church teaching on homosexuality is not changing, according to Catholic News Agency.
Fr. Check reportedly invited the Synod Fathers to view Courage’s recent film, Desire of the Everlasting Hills, on which the Newman Society previously reported.
Last year, the Newman Society initiated a conference call between Courage and student life and campus ministry officials from Catholic colleges. Courage staff provided advice on ministering to students with same-sex attraction. Additionally, in conjunction with the Society’s request, Courage held a special workshop for campus ministers and student life leaders from Catholic colleges.
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