Chastity Taught to LGBTQ Catholics at National Conference
I know very few LGBTQ people who haven't had an encounter with religion in one form or another. I know a lot who grew up going to church, or attended Catholic school, or went to a religious based university. For a lot of us, this wasn't a pleasant experience, and many LGBTQ people have cut ties with religion at the first chance possible. Some stick around but it is few and far between.
In recent year, there has been forward steps as the Pope has changed his tone with the LGBTQ community and denominations have allowed same sex marriages for congregants and pastors. They are few and far between, but progress is being made.
At other times, while progress is being made, it doesn't always look like what people want, and can even be taken as regressive. Such can be said of Courage International that preaches chastity to LGBTQ Catholics.
Father Phillip Bochanski, is the executive director and sat down with Crux to talk Courage International and its EnCourage program for those who are friends and family members of LGBTQ Catholics. Father Bochanski describes the five goals of the group as: Living chastity; developing a life of prayer and dedication; helping one another by sharing experiences; forming chaste friendships; and giving good examples to others. It is an interesting list to say the least and he describes it farther.
As Father Bochanski puts it, the Church doesn't frown upon "same-sex attractions" but it is wrong to act upon them and enter intimate relationships. The organization does not seek to change ones sexual orientation, but that to live according to the teaching of the Bible and the Church one must be remain chaste. Father Bochanski says that in this world it isn't easy to and thus Courage was formed. It gives people a community to pursue chastity together. He also says the the model provided by chaplains also give people hope and courage.
Also interesting to note, is the fact that Father Bochanski doesn't like the labels that traditionally come with LGBTQ. He argues that they mean that one is sexually active and that it may not be the best fit for one desires. I don't necessarily agree with this thought, as I think LGBTQ clears up a lot of confusion and doesn't mean one is automatically have sex.
I know that this, and even religion isn't something for me. I like to adhere to live and let live. So if someone out there want to live a chaste life, then by all means do it. I would state, that I don't think it should ever be forced on someone or be their only option. Maybe as the years go on, we will see less of this and more open and acceptance from religious communities.