The group Courage is bringing to Maine the long-discredited ideas of reparative or conversion therapy, which assumes a person needs to overcome same-sex attraction, instead of changing the negative social attitudes towards homosexuality.

These “therapies” to “pray away the gay” contribute to a person’s negative self-image, leading to depression and even suicide. Conversion therapies encourage lesbians and gays to deny and suppress their sexuality. Homosexuality is not an illness.

If the aim of the group, as stated in the article on Feb. 3, is to help people “live in accordance with the church’s teaching on homosexuality — specifically that the dignity and identity of every person is not determined by their sexual attractions,” why would Courage dishonor the dignity and identity of people based on their sexual attractions?

The Catholic LGBT community should expect more from their church. Some Catholic churches offer “More Than A Monologue,” a program that seeks to develop a conversation about Catholic LGBT issues and how those unanswered concerns affect all Catholics. “The time has come for us to learn to listen to all their voices and engage in a more enlightened, compassionate, and honest conversation.”

Donal Godfrey’s book, “Gays and the Grays: The Story of the Gay Community at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Parish,” offers real support. Instead of focusing on “creating a chaste kind of life” for LGBT people, a number of parishes, such as Holy Redeemer in San Francisco, New York City, Rochester, Boston and other cities across the country, have created LGBT-specific ministries that support gay Catholics by providing a safe and affirming environment in which to explore and grow in spirituality.

Maine Bishop Richard Malone could serve the LGBT community more effectively by encouraging all Catholic churches in Maine to offer the “More Than A Monologue” program.

Betty Armstrong

Windsor


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