The former spiritual advisor for Courage Latino recently explained how the organization ministers to homosexuals while remaining faithful to the Catholic Church.
“This apostolate is entirely spiritual,” Fr. Leopoldo Sanchez told CNA. “The way we help people with same-sex attraction is by creating support groups where they can discuss and share their life experiences in a spirit of fraternity.”
He added that prayer and spiritual direction are also essential elements of the program.
Courage Latino is part of Courage International, an organization founded by Fr. John Harvey in 1980 to minister to those struggling with same-sex attraction. In Latin America, Courage has offices in Mexico and Puerto Rico.
Fr. Sanchez said Courage Latino offers psychological counseling to help members “grow in maturity as human beings and as Christians, so they can live with their attraction according to the Gospel, as the Church teaches”
He noted that his experience with the ministry was overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. “It was truly a resurrection experience,” he said.
Countless members of the program “regain their self-esteem,” as well as their “ will to live,” Fr. Sanchez recalled.
“Sometimes the Church is accused of being homophobic and promoting a culture of condemnation and rejection of homosexual persons. But with this apostolate, the Church shows that what she really wants is to fulfill the Lord’s desire that all men be saved.
“And everyone means everyone,” he said.
“Within the Church there is a percentage of people who have same-sex attraction,” Fr. Sanchez said. “They are sons of the Church, they are our brothers, children of God, living temples of the Spirit, and they – like everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation – need our support and the genuine help of the Church to attain a life of fulfillment and happiness as human beings and as Christians.”
While Fr. Sanchez has been given a new position in his diocese and no longer serves as spiritual advisor for Courage, he continues to promote and support the ministry. “It has been a blessing for me to serve this part of the Church,” he said.