Online Resources for
A Catholic Perspective on Same-Sex Attraction
"There is no safer place for a man or a woman who has same-sex attraction
than in the arms of our Mother, the Church."
~Fr. Michael Schmitz (in From Love, For Love, By Love)
“ I view [the Church’s teaching on homosexuality] as freedom, where joy resides, and I want to share that with other people….
I want to be a voice that says, ‘Wait a minute. The Church’s teaching is good news. On every level.’ It’s motivated by God’s love for us.”
(Dan Mattson, a Catholic man with same-sex attraction in How Dan’s Faith Journey Led Him to the Catholic Church)
Blue *** indicates good starting points
The best way to fully appreciate the integrity of the teachings of the Catholic Church on same-sex attraction is to begin with a study of the Church's understanding of sexuality in the context of a fuller understanding of human person, the meaning of the body, and, ultimately, the meaning of love as a gift of self. A study of the writings and talks of Blessed John Paul II on this topic is invaluable.
Online Resources for the Online Study of Human Sexuality A full page of links to church teaching, articles, and podcasts.
*** Fr. Mike Schmitz. From Love, For Love, By Love: A Deeper Understanding of Contraception, Same Sex Attraction, and Authentic Love CD version Download mp3 version Similar content on YouTube : The Theology of the Body. Incorporates the broader meaning of the person, the body, friendship, love, and of sexuality into a discussion of same-sex attraction. (Purchase from Lighthouse Media)
Designed for Sex: What We Lose When We Forget What Sex is For Touchstone Magazine.
Why is There Sex? (VIDEO)
(For foundational documents, see Humanae Vitae and Persona Humana: Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics)
*** Eleven Church Teachings on Homosexuality Accessible pamphlet that puts key points of the Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons in layman's terms. A good first resource to give someone with same-sex attraction or their loved ones, or for use in the confessional or pamphlet rack.
***Catechism of the Catholic Church par. 2357-2359 (important to use the definitive edition [green] as text was revised in the section on homosexuality)
Recommended application of the magisterial teaching coming from our national bishops' conferences.
Fr. Harvey, founder of Courage (see below) and enlightened by decades of ministry to those with same-sex attraction, offers his favorable commentary and some suggested additional considerations.
USCCB Committee on Family and Marriage. "Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers" (1997) Read concurrently with Fr. Harvey's commentary below.
Fr. John Harvey. Observations Concerning the Revised Text of "Always Our Children"
Fr. Harvey, founder of Courage and enlightened by decades of ministry to those with same-sex attraction, expresses reservations and the need for additional clarification and elaboration.
*** Episcopal Commission for Doctrine of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Pastoral Ministry to Young Persons with Same-Sex Attraction (2011) Excellent and very accessible. A good first resource to offer those with same-sex attraction and their families.
Rev. Paul Scalia. Chairman of the Board of Courage (see below).
*** "Same Sex Attraction" (ARTICLE) Arlington Herald. An articulate four-part series.
*** Fr. Paul Scalia “Clarity and Charity: The Church’s Teaching on Homosexuality” (AUDIO) Directed to young adults from Arlington Diocese Theology on Tap series. Search for "Homosexuality" to find talk or scroll down to "Summer ‘13 'Series"
"Speaking the Truth in Love: Christianity and Homosexuality" (AUDIO) with Deacon Barry Levy.
Fr. Paul Check. Executive Director of Courage (see below), Courage chaplain, and moral theologian.
*** Clarity and Charity: The Catholic Church and Homosexuality (AUDIO) Talk given to Gospel of Life Society at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Norwalk, CT.
"The Catholic Church and Homosexuality: Severe or sensible?" (VIDEO) Annual Faber Lecture at Marquette University. Does a splendid job of explaining the rationale behind the moral teaching of the Church.
***"Homosexuality, Chastity, and Identity" Catholic World Report. September 2, 2013.
Fr. Mike Schmitz. Director of Newman Campus Ministry at University of Minnesota - Duluth)
*** From Love, For Love, By Love: A Deeper Understanding of Contraception, Same Sex Attraction, and Authentic Love (CD from Lighthouse Catholic Media)
An excellent first resource for someone with same-sex attraction or their loved ones.
"Father Michael Schmitz tackles some of the most difficult topics in the Church today. With compassion, clarity, and humor, he shows that the Church's teachings on contraception and same-sex attraction are rooted in the yearnings for authentic love that is shared by all, who are made in the image and likeness of God." Fr. Schmitz compassionately announces the good news that ""There is no safer place for a man or a woman who has same sex attraction than in the arms of our Mother, the Church."
Listen to preview of the talk.
View similar talk on YouTube: The Theology of the Body.
Listen to similar talks in Homily Archives : 10/7/12, "Called to Love", and 10/17/10, "The Universal Call
"Why is homosexuality a sin?" (ARTICLE)
Pursuit of Truth Ministries: Addresses what the Catholic Church teaches and why, seeking to use reason in the pursuit of truth, all in the context of the love of God.
A Place to Call Home, The Catholic Church as a place of love, truth, joy, and peace for persons with same-sex attraction.
Embracing the Faith. Explains the love of the Catholic Church for those with same-sex attraction and the reasonableness of teachings of the Catholic Faith.
*** Fr. Paul Check. "Homosexuality, Chastity, and Identity" Catholic World Report. September 2, 2013.
Fr. Paul Scalia. A Label That Sticks.
*** David Prosen. "I am not Gay, I'm David"
Dan Mattson. Why I Don't Call Myself a Gay Christian
COURAGE: A ROMAN CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE
*** Courage website
Endorsements and Quotes
Pope John Paul II said of this ministry, "Courage is doing the work of God!"
Courage is endorsed by the Pontifical Council for the Family. "This Pontifical Council for the Family supports the organization called 'Courage' which was founded by Father John Harvey, OSFS, for helping homosexual persons to live in accordance with the laws of God and the teaching of His Church." (Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, 7 July 1994 - Prot. N216/93)
"Whenever the Church encounters a particular social condition or vulnerability in man's fallen human nature, it's simply a matter of natural justice that she'd also provide the means for people to live out the teaching...In our pastoral charity, we want to give the souls under our care the means to living the moral teaching of the Church"
(Fr. Paul Check, director of Courage)
"The Courage apostolate is that maternal solicitude on the part of the Church to people who have a unique struggle, an often difficult and vexing one, and who want to know that the grace of Christ and his Cross is available to them in concrete and practical ways. This is part of the charism of Courage and what was in the mind and heart of our founder, Cardinal Cooke. It is a desire to express the Church's care and affection for a group of people who often feel isolated. I don't just say lonely, but isolated. They're uncertain about where they can find assistance, who really takes an interest in them and who has a love for them. The Church does." (Fr. Paul Check, director of Courage)
Articles and other media on Courage.
Courage fits the recommendations laid out by both the Vatican and the USCCB in:
Confraternity of the Doctrine of the Faith's Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons
USCCB's Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care (specifically mentions Courage on in the footnotes on page 22).
"The Courage Apostolate" A very brief description and history.
Fr. Paul Check. Executive Director of Courage and moral theologian.
*** "Courage Continues Mission of Its Founder, Father Harvey: Director of Catholic apostolate to homosexuals discusses challenges and opportunities" (ARTICLE) National Catholic Register's extended interview of Fr. Paul Check, director of Courage, in the context of the Courage convention in the summer of 2011.
"Life on the Rock: Courage" with Fr. Paul Check. (VIDEO of EWTN TV show with call-in) Includes interview with "Steve", a man with same-sex attraction, who has been drawn into a life of chastity and to deep appreciation for the Church.
Fr. Paul Check. "Catholic Answers Live: Hope for Homosexuals" (AUDIO of radio talk and call-in show) Focuses on ministry of Courage.
Fr. John Harvey. Founder of Courage and moral theologian who served those with same sex attraction for more than five decades and is thus a preeminent authority on the Catholic approach to serving those with same-sex attraction.
Fr. John Harvey. Same Sex Attraction: Catholic Teaching and Pastoral Practice. Booklet by founder of Courage, moral theologian, and preeminent expert on Catholic approach to serving those with same sex attraction.
"A Tribute to Fr. John Harvey" Tribute to the recently deceased founder of Courage, given by Fr. Paul Check, the current Director of Courage. The gentle spirit of love that pervaded Fr. Harvey's ministry lives on in Courage.
Cardinal Raymond Burke. The Memory of Father John F. Harvey, O.S.F.S., and the Future of Courage/EnCourage (VIDEO) Transcript.
Bishop James Conley (Denver) "Courage: Speaking the Truth in Love"
Lots more material to peruse at:
Courage web site: http://www.couragerc.net/
Priests with Courage: http://couragerc.net/Priests_with_Courage.html (This network serves deacons and seminarians, too.)
(Listen, too, to how the Church can learn to love them better.)
“I became Catholic because of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality, because I view it as freedom, where joy resides, and I want to share that with other people….I want to be a voice that says, ‘Wait a minute. The Church’s teaching is good news. On every level.’ It’s motivated by God’s love for us.”
*** Same-Sex Attraction: Daniel Mattson’s Personal Testimony. (AUDIO) The Mystery and Meaning of Marriage. St. Gabriel Catholic Radio. August 24, 2013.
"Living With Same-Sex Attraction" Catholic Answers Live (PODCAST)
A Case of Mistaken Identity. Crisis Magazine. October 15, 2013.
Why I Don't Call Myself a Gay Christian First Things. July 27, 2012.
***Two Thomases, a Guy Named Clive and a Hobbit Called Frodo. Letters to Christopher. September 5, 2013. Speaks beautifully of the fruit of suffering, in his case, with same-sex attraction.
Wine as Strong as Fire (VIDEO slideshow) Speaks beautifully of the fruit of suffering, in his case, with same-sex attraction.
David Prosen. Catholic therapist and member of Courage.
"I desperately sought support from other Catholics who were going through the same struggles but who wanted to live chaste lives. In my former diocese, I found little or no support, and often what support I was given condoned the sin. This has helped me realize how important it is that we promote and support Courage."
Hudson Byblow. Speaks of the great joy in embracing the truth, following Christ, and knowing His love.
Testimony (AUDIO) Start at 31:39. Culture Lifeline on Guadalupe Radio Network. September 30, 2013.
Joyful Pilgrims. A collaborative blog by Catholics with same-sex attraction. Includes Dan Mattson and Robin Beck, above.
Living with Same-Sex Attraction. Catholic Spirit.com Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
"Liberated Love". Courage offers compassion, fellowship, and hope to those with same-sex attraction. Three testimonies from Courage men.
Catholic Medical Association. Homosexuality and Hope. Scholarly, with extensive documentation.
*** Catholic Medical Association. Homosexuality and Hope: Questions and Answers About Same-Sex Attraction A simplified version of the above-mentioned resource; accessible to all. (Excerpted from longer booklet. Order full-length copies at Catholic Medical Association) Excellent publication for a first resource to share with others; addresses spiritual well-being, too.
*** "Ministering to Those With Same-Sex Attraction: What Courage Members Would Like Clergy to Know" Most insightful look into the needs and struggles of people with same-sex attraction.
Rev. Thomas G. Morrow. "How Priests Can Help Homosexuals." Homiletics and Pastoral Review. (December 1997) "Having worked with Fr. Harvey for several years, I am convinced that he, and the group he founded, Courage, are the best hope for homosexuals and for the Church in helping homosexuals. "
Rev. Jeffrey Keefe O.F.M.Conv., Ph.D., S.T.L. "Outreach to Homosexual Persons: The Understanding Heart" Fr. Keefe is a clinical psychologist who teaches pastoral psychology.
Rev. Paul Check (director of Courage) Homily on Chastity and same-sex attraction. Articulately integrates teaching and guidance regarding same-sex attraction into a homily about chastity in general in the light of the treasure of the teachings of Church. "We do well to avoid either softening what the Church teaches or making it more severe than it is." "The most important thing that I can ever tell you as a priest is this: the doctrinal and moral teachings of the Catholic Church are 'pearls of great price,' (cf Mt 13:46) entrusted to her by Christ for the good of our immortal souls."
Resources for Priests Courage webpage for with several very helpful articles.
*** Priests with Courage A network of priests committed to ministering to persons struggling with homosexuality with the love of Christ and the full teachings of the Church, especially in the area of chastity. Lots of resources. Particularly worthy of note are the Goals of Priests With Courage .
Fr. Mike Schmitz. From Love, For Love, By Love: A Deeper Understanding of Contraception, Same Sex Attraction, and Authentic Love CD version Download mp3 version Incorporates the broader meaning of the person, the body, friendship, love, and of sexuality into a discussion of same-sex attraction.
Fr. Paul Scalia. A Label That Sticks. Discusses the trend toward premature and counterproductive labeling of highschool students.
Episcopal Commission for Doctrine of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Pastoral Ministry to Young Persons with Same-Sex Attraction (2011) Excellent and very accessible. A good first resource to offer those with same-sex attraction and their families.
ChastityProject.com Homosexuality section. Articles, video, and audio. Jason Evert’s new site.
Fr. Paul Scalia. "Same Sex Attraction" (ARTICLE) An articulate four-part series written for the Arlington Herald, a diocesan newspaper. Part 4, “Fidelity to Love and Truth” of this series is particularly addressed to parents and those who love someone with with SSA.
Interview with Fr. Paul Check. Loving a Child with Same-Sex Attraction . National Catholic Register, 3/21/13.
Daniel Mattson. Dealing With Same-Sex Attraction. For parents of children struggling with same-sex attraction.
Phil Sutton, Ph.D. , LMFT, LCSW, LP. What’s a Spouse, Parent, Family Member, Friend, or Pastor to Do?
Episcopal Commission for Doctrine of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Pastoral Ministry to Young Persons with Same-Sex Attraction (2011)
EnCourage Helpful Resources Testimonies from parents as well as numerous other articles and resources especially selected for those who love someone with same-sex attraction.
EnCourage. A ministry within Courage dedicated to the spiritual needs of parents, siblings, children, and other relatives and friends of persons who have same-sex attraction.
A top priority is finding a counselor who both fully embraces the teaching of the Church and specializes in working with patients with same-sex attraction. Many will not be able to find faithful and competent local help. In many cases counseling can be done by phone or Skype. DISCLAIMER: Inclusion on this list does not guarantee the competency or effectiveness of the counselors, but rather suggests that they present themselves as authentically Catholic (unless otherwise noted) and with specialized training in serving those with sexual identity concerns.
Deacon Barry Levy, LCSW-C, LMFT. Speaking the Truth in Love: Christianity and Homosexuality: Part Two (Institute for Catholic Culture) Deacon and therapist who serves those with unwanted same-sex attraction speaks about the psychological dimension of same-sex attraction and therapy.
CatholicTherapists.com Look for counselors who state that they specialize in serving those with Sexual Identity Disorders. If there is no one local, check other states for those who do phone or Skype counseling. Do a Google search for "Catholic therapists" and "sexual identity disorders" to find all of the therapists listed at CatholicTherapists.com who specialize in this area.
NARTH National Association for the Research and Therapy of Homosexuality Not explicitly religious, but offers referral service for therapists who work with patients who seek to live chastely and possibly free from same sex attraction. Call for referrals to counselors.
A supplement to the syllabus, Fullest Access:Catholicism