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January 5th, 2012
11:12 AM ET

Controversial Catholic program for gays begins in Connecticut

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) – The Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut, this month is beginning a program that ministers to gays and lesbians, CNN affiliate WFSB-TV reports.

"These are people in the Roman Catholic Church who need our care and love," Deacon Robert Pallotti, director of the Office of the Diaconate, told the Hartford TV station. "In some cases, they have been rejected by society. They need to be accepted, affirmed and supported as Roman Catholics trying to remain faithful to church teachings."

The Vatican-endorsed program, called Courage, has more than 100 national chapters, WFSB reports. According to its website, Courage was started in 1980 by the late Terence Cardinal Cooke in Manhattan "to form a spiritual support system which would assist men and women with same-sex attractions in living chaste lives in fellowship, truth and love."

Pallotti told WFSB, "Through support and spiritual intervention, we can help those with same-sex attractions live moral and fulfilling lives. These people are hurting and so are their families. Doing nothing would be a lack of compassion."

The move has not been without controversy in the archdiocese after some questioned whether the program was condoning homosexual behavior, which is contrary to the Catholic Church's teaching that sexual activity is reserved only for married heterosexual couples.

"Courage will not reduce a person's identity to their sexual desire," Pallotti told WFSB. "They are people with full human dignity not defined solely by their sexual desire."

But one gay and lesbian group in Hartford questioned the need for the group and whether the church had sought input from gays and lesbians in forming it.

"It feels offensive to us, and it feels discriminatory," Linda Estabrook, director of the Hartford Gay and Lesbian Health Collective, told WFSB.  "You're telling people not to be intimate with each other."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Gay rights

soundoff (267 Responses)
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    November 27, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
  2. Kirt

    Religion is the single worst thing to have happened to this planet.

    January 14, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Karen

      I agree. What a racket.

      January 17, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  3. Bobby

    This is a complete travesty. I don't understand why gay men and women would even want to be part of an organization that clearly doesn't accept them as they are...they must forgo intimate relationships to be members of this church? What a horrible life that must be, all in the name of "god" and his teachings. When I think of all the evil in this world that is committed in the name of God I shudder. I hope people open their eyes and realize they're being duped and their 10% is going to the defense fund of all those priests still awaiting trial on molestation charges.

    The Catholic Church needs to disband already... Haven't they ruined enough lives throughout the course of civilization? Now they want the gays, too? Disgusting. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!

    January 8, 2012 at 1:59 am |
    • Mayfly

      2 billion ++++ people can't all be wrong.

      January 9, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • Kirt

      The problem with Christianity is any hateful bigot can declare themselves one " And most do" then hide behind that shield as they spew hate and intolerance all with a air of godly arrogance.

      January 14, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  4. nuggets4u

    The problem is a spiritual problem http://nuggets4u.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/deaf-and-dumb-spirit-and-gender-confusion/

    January 7, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  5. cinderella

    The "straight" couples are the ones having the "gay" babies.

    January 7, 2012 at 4:01 am |
    • Mayfly

      God loves all of his creation. God doesn't MAKE his creation love him in return. We have a lot of work to do.

      January 9, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  6. Reality

    Back to the "nitty-gritty":

    o "Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.

    To wit:

    o The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

    “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] "

    "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

    See also the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011. Said review addresses the following “How do genes associated with ho-mose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?”

    Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.

    And because of basic biology differences said monogamous ventures should always be called same-se-x unions not same-se-x marriages.

    To wit:

    From below, on top, backwards, forwards, from this side of the Moon and from the other side too, gay se-xual activity is still mutual mas-turbation caused by one or more complex se-xual differences. Some differences are visually obvious in for example the complex maleness of DeGeneres, Billy Jean King and Rosie O'Donnell.

    Yes, heteros-exuals practice many of the same "moves" but there is never a doubt who is the female and who is the male.

    January 7, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • .........

      hit report abuse on all reality repeat bull sh it

      January 7, 2012 at 5:23 am |
    • Kirt

      Me thinks you protest to much... lol

      January 14, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Kirt

      Reality, that closet is a dark dark place ....

      January 14, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  7. One one

    Mabey they will try exorcisms again.

    January 6, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    January 6, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • jespo

      mankind is the only living thing on this planet that believes in god, and is also the only one destroying himself and the world around him.....great job god....

      January 7, 2012 at 5:23 am |
    • An inconvenient truth

      I beg to differ, all creation believes in God except for a few deluded humans who try to pretend that God is not there.

      January 7, 2012 at 5:25 am |
    • Mirosal

      So now you're Dr. Doolittle, and can speak to, and for, the animals? What do dogs think? Cats? Chimpanzees? That tree in your yard, what are its views?

      January 7, 2012 at 5:29 am |
    • Eric G

      Prayer does change things. It changes is my position on your ability to accept reality. It changes my willingness to allow you to make rational decisions that will effect others. Most importantly, because your beliefs form your actions, it changes my acceptance of your actions scincerity.

      January 7, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "All creation believes in God"? What, trees believe in God? Rocks? Cats?

      That's a new one.

      January 7, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • An inconvenient truth

      All creation believes, indeed testifies to God. Animals, plants and all living things. All declare their creator. Only mankind is given the choice to accept or reject their creator and only mankind is foolish and arrogant enough to do so. The demons know God and fear Him. Jesus said that if His people did not declare Him the rocks would cry out. I will stand on the previous statement.

      January 7, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Mayfly

      Amen to prayer!

      January 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • tokencode

      I pray organized relihion goes away.

      January 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  9. all hail me

    i'm the king of the world. prove me wrong!

    January 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Burden of proof goes to the person making the claim that something is true/exists, or if the claim is particularly extraordinary. Guess no one has to prove anything but you troll.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  10. all hail me

    phuck the church and phuck you – i'm the king of the world. prove me wrong!

    January 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  11. Buzz Aldrin

    Brainwash the gay out of them

    January 6, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Becuase God's closet is big enough to hide all the world's gays

      January 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • Mayfly

      Like the way you brainwash the hate into others?

      January 9, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  12. bobalu

    These people are demented and need help!

    The Catholics that is.

    January 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  13. Mayfly

    The Catholic Church does not reject anyone. All are welcome. People who don't want to practice Catholicism reject the Church. If you are not Catholic or don't study or believe in the teachings of Christ why do you concern yourself with attacking Catholics?

    January 6, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • 666Catholic666

      Because you support overpopulation, call consenting adult gays immoral, while simultaneously molesting little children, and then you deny it all. Catholicism = hypocrisy.

      January 6, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Church will never welcome all people straight away. They do not look at who you are and accept you for it, they look at who they want to make you and will accept you when you conform to that ideal. Also rejecting the lifestyle (even though it is a biological/genetic thing and not a conscious choice) and attempting to have the person abstain from consensual relationships by insisting that they will burn for eternity is something that should be fought against.

      January 6, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Mayfly

      We are the ones who destroy beauty. We are the ones who choose to ignore truth. We suffer because we ignore love and refuse to love. We have the means and the ability to cure the world of hate, of starvation, of suffering...but we choose not to. We choose to hate one another, hate women, hate men, hate children, hate each other, hate ourselves and all creation. God created us out of love, we decided to reject him and to become cynics. Too bad. Just think, the earth might have been the garden of eden....and we just soiled our own nest. It makes God weep.

      January 9, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Mayfly

      Humans are hypocritical. Humans fail. Humans need redemption and forgiveness.

      January 9, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  14. Saucy Jack

    This is sure to be as effective as "Just Saay No" was for drugs.

    January 6, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Mayfly

      I said no to drugs. So actually, self control is an option.

      January 9, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  15. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    "to form a spiritual support system which would ass.ist men and women with same-s.e.x attractions in living chaste lives in fellowship, truth and love." – and look how well that worked for their own priests! LOL!

    January 6, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Mayfly

      Priests are only human like you.

      January 9, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Mayfly

      Let's see, priests, pastors, religious cult leaders, school teachers, boy scout leaders, parents, relatives, brothers, sisters, sports heros, Penn State football coaches...all kinds of humans abuse children. We are sick. Through it all, God loves his creation, yet, his creation makes him weep. We must be ashamed of ourselves and try to right the wrongs.

      January 9, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.