Add this to the list of ways the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has improved in recent years — the Courage apostolate is active and endorsed by the Archbishop. From the December 2014 edition of the Catholic Telegraph of Cincinnati:

Courage, an international apostolate of the Catholic Church that ministers to persons with same-sex attractions, now has a chapter in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

The ministry stems from the awareness of the late Terence Cardinal Cooke of New York that the church previously had little, if any, formal outreach to persons with same-sex desires, be it support groups or information. In response to this concern, he decided to form a spiritual support system that would assist men and women with same-sex attractions in living chaste lives in fellowship, truth and love.

Knowing of moral theologian Father John Harvey’s extensive ministry experience in this field, he invited him to come to his archdiocese. With the help Father Benedict Groeschel and others, Father Harvey, who passed away in 2010, began the Courage apostolate with its first meeting in September 1980.

With the endorsement of the Holy See, Courage now has more than 100 Chapters and contact people world-wide, over 1,500 persons participating in its ListServs, and hundreds of persons per week receiving assistance from the main office and website. It has become a mainstream Catholic apostolate helping thousands of men and women find peace through pray, fellowship and the sacraments, according to the Courage website.

Andrew Sodergren, a psychologist currently ministering locally at Ruah Woods, first became acquainted with Courage while working with a Catholic counseling agency in Washington, D.C. He was impressed with how the ministry helped those struggling with same-sex attractions that “wanted to live chaste lives and be more fully integrated with Catholic faith and values.”

We’ve come a long way since the associational confusion of the last episcopate.

There is a lot of talk about the New Evangelization, and it seems to have as many definitions and methods as there are parishes and apostolates. That can be a good thing — let a hundred flowers bloom. The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has launched a “Contagiously Catholic” program to help further “the NE,” and I hope it is successful. Yet I can’t help but think that evangelization, i.e., the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, is best done soul to soul, from one soul to another. That what truly attracts people to Christ and His Church is the holiness of her members. Or even just one member. Think of the sublime moments in your life. They often were inspired by the singular Christian witness of a holy man or woman, were they not? I’ve been enjoying the late and colorful Msgr. A.N. Gilbey’s excellent “We Believe” catechism lately. During a dinner with philosopher Roger Scruton in 1985, at the height of the Catholic silly season, he reportedly said, “We are not asked to undo the work of creation or to rectify the Fall. The duty of a Christian is not to leave this world a better place. His duty is to leave this world a better man.” Scruton observed that an “intense personal relation to the Redeemer rescued Monsignor Gilbey from worldliness.” Perhaps I’m not ambitious enough, but that sounds like my kind of program.

The always measured and, to some, frustratingly fair-minded Fr. Dwight Longenecker writes about the interconnectedness of art, faith, music, worship, and beauty in authentic Catholicism. The key ‘graf, one of the best pithy illustrations of lex credendi lex orandi I’ve read, follows:

The church is in crisis and the fact that some of the perpetrators of this well meaning exercise in brutal iconoclasm are [now] approaching the highest level of the hierarchy is discouraging indeed, for be assured what they have done to the architecture is symbolic of what they are doing to the church and her teachings. Just as the altars were stripped the sacrifice of the Mass which was offered on those altars was watered down to be a fellowship meal. Just as the images of saints and angels were removed so veneration of the saints and angels was scrapped. Just as the reverence and solemnity was replaced by banal music and servers in sneakers so the belief in what was held sacred was denigrated and thrown out.

The touch-point is the Voskoesque destruction of the chapel at nearby Columbus’s Josephinum seminary overseen by Bishop Blase Cupich, recently elevated by Pope Francis to the see of Chicago.

Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, as quoted in the December 2014 issue of the Catholic Telegraph of Cincinnati:

“We have to be compassionate,” the Archbishop said. “Does this mean that a parent (who is a teacher-minister in an archdiocesan school) cannot attend a ceremony should one of his or her children choose to join in a same-sex union? Of course not; parents need to show their love for their children.”

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence in a 2 May 2013 pastoral letter to Rhode Island Catholics:

And because “same-sex marriages” are clearly contrary to God’s plan for the human family, and therefore objectively sinful, Catholics should examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies, realizing that to do so might harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others.

I had the pleasure of meeting two priests from Bishop Tobin’s diocese on St. Peter’s Square before St. Francis’s midday Angelus during my Rome pilgrimage earlier this month. They are good men serving a thoughtful shepherd.

And for what it’s worth, Archbishop Schnurr’s breezy “of course not” bit is a big part of the problem with his statement, as though it’s a matter that shouldn’t trouble anyone’s conscience. That he makes statements on pressing topics so infrequently makes it all the more glaring.

Tip, CatholicBuckeye.

Mideast scholar Daniel Pipes notes additional confirmation that the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the official dialogue partner of the USCCB and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, is a terrorist organization:

Having explained why the UAE listed CAIR on its terror manifest, we must pose a second question: Is the listing warranted? Can a Washington-based organization with ties to the Obama White House, the U.S. Congress, leading media outlets, and prestigious universities truly be an instigator of terrorism?

CAIR can rightly be so characterized. True, it does not set off bombs but, as the UAE’s foreign minister explains, “Our threshold is quite low. … We cannot accept incitement or funding.” Indeed, CAIR incites, funds, and does much more vis-à-vis terrorism:

Apologizes for terrorist groups: Challenged repeatedly to denounce Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups, CAIR denounces the acts of violence but not their sponsors.

Is connected to Hamas: Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and many other governments, indirectly created CAIR and the two groups remain tight. Examples: in 1994, CAIR head Nihad Awad publicly declared his support for Hamas; and the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), a Hamas front group, contributed $5,000 to CAIR; in turn, CAIR exploited the 9/11 attacks to raise money for HLF; and, this past August, demonstrators at a CAIR-sponsored rally in Florida proclaimed “We are Hamas!”

Settled a lawsuit: CAIR initiated a libel lawsuit in 2004 over five statements by a group called Anti-CAIR. But two years later, CAIR settled the suit with prejudice (meaning that it cannot be reopened), implicitly acknowledging the accuracy of Anti-CAIR’s assertions, which included:

“CAIR is a terrorist supporting front organization that is partially funded by terrorists”;
“CAIR … is supported by terrorist supporting individuals, groups and countries”;
“CAIR has proven links to, and was founded by, Islamic terrorists”; and
“CAIR actively supports terrorists and terrorist supporting groups and nations.”

Includes individuals accused of terrorism: At least seven board members or staff at CAIR have been arrested, denied entry to the US, or were indicted on or pled guilty to or were convicted of terrorist charges: Siraj Wahhaj, Bassem Khafagi, Randall (“Ismail”) Royer, Ghassan Elashi, Rabih Haddad, Muthanna Al-Hanooti, and Nabil Sadoun.

Is in trouble with the law: Federal prosecutors in 2007 named CAIR (along with two other Islamic organizations) as “unindicted co-conspirators and/or joint venturers” in a criminal conspiracy to support Hamas financially. In 2008, the FBI ended contacts with CAIR because of concern with its continuing terrorist ties.

On learning of the UAE listing, CAIR called it “shocking and bizarre,” then got to work to have the Department of State protest and undo the ruling. Nothing loath, department spokesperson Jeff Rathke noted that the U.S. government, which “does not consider these organizations to be terrorist organizations,” has asked for more information about the UAE decision. The UAE minister of state for Foreign affairs replied that if organizations can show that their “approach has changed,” they are eligible to appeal “to have their names eliminated from the list.”

Pressure from the Obama administration might reverse the UAE listing. Even so, this will not undo its lasting damage. For the first time, an Islamist government has exposed the malign, terroristic quality of CAIR – a stigma CAIR can never escape.

Fr. Martin Fox reports that our very own Archbishop Schnurr is being “targeted” by the LGBT syndicate for his fidelity to Church teaching on human sexuality:

Let me amplify that. This isn’t about the Archbishop. Our Archbishop is simply being faithful to the teachings of our Lord and Savior. He is doing his job. He is being our shepherd. This is an attack on the Body of Christ as a whole, and that means every one of us.

And the Archbishop deserves to know that the faithful stand with him. When he stands up for Christ, we must stand with him!

While I don’t imagine his Excellency is fretting over this, I also don’t imagine this is going to be pleasant. Even if the efforts of the “LGBT activists” are reasonably civil (let us hope), this is not something most of us would want to endure outside our places of work, churches, or homes.

I’m not sure the Archbishop would want me to, er, organize any letter-writing, but I don’t know why you couldn’t contact him and let him know he has your prayers and support.

May he wear it as a badge of honor. We’ll be praying for him this Thanksgiving weekend.

Paragraph 1753 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church provides the following warning about the moral theory of “consequentalism”:

A good intention (for example, that of helping one’s neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just. The end does not justify the means. Thus the condemnation of an innocent person cannot be justified as a legitimate means of saving the nation. On the other hand, an added bad intention (such as vainglory) makes an act evil that, in and of itself, can be good (such as almsgiving).

It came to mind when I read an op-ed on Obama’s immigration executive order last Friday in the Cincinnati Enquirer from local attorney Kenneth Craycraft Jr. And it especially came to mind this morning when I listened to Mr. Craycraft, a self-identified member of St. Andrew’s parish in Milford, elaborate on the points in his piece on Catholic radio during a sympathetic interview.


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