Catholic gay rights coalition asks Colorado Springs diocese to reconsider

The following press release came across my desk today from "Equally Blessed," a Catholic gay support coalition.

Equally Blessed, a coalition of four Roman Catholic organizations that support full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families both in the church and in civil society, today called upon the Diocese of Colorado Springs to reconsider its decision to offer a 12-step program for LGBT Catholics in which participants are asked to state that they are “defective.”

“We are all sinners, but in this instance, the sin lies not in gay and lesbian Catholics, but in those who describe children of God in such demeaning language,” said Frank DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry, an Equally Blessed partner.

“The notion that homosexuality is an illness similar to alcoholism or addiction to narcotics finds no support in psychological literature,” DeBernardo added. “You don’t need an advanced degree to understand that the fruits of lifelong, committed, monogamous relationships are quite different than the damage and heartache done by chemical dependencies.”

Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan has said that the diocesan program is different than the widely discredited “reparative therapy” programs favored by organizations such as Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, and seeks only to support participants in living a chaste life.

“We appreciate the bishop’s pastoral intentions and his rejection of reparative therapy, but this 12-step initiative points out a contradiction at the core of church teaching,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, an Equally Blessed partner.

“Catholics are taught that heterosexual celibacy is an act of heroic sacrifice accomplished through special grace, while homosexual celibacy is simply mandatory—part of the hand that God dealt you. Perhaps unwittingly, the church has made God the author of human prejudice. And that’s not very good theology.”
“There are many community programs and churches in Colorado Springs that can provide support for LGBT people and families seeking to live with integrity and joy,” Duddy-Burke said. “We encourage people who are interested to find places that will offer affirmation and positive guidance.”

Equally Blessed is a coalition of Call To Action, DignityUSA, Fortunate Families, and New Ways Ministry. We are faithful Catholics who have worked more than a combined 112 years to support full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their families both in the church and in civil society.

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