A new chapter of the Courage apostolate has opened in Oakland to minister to Catholics and others who have same-sex attractions. A California Catholic paper said the event showed a “landmark shift” away from other regional groups’ dissent from Catholic teaching on chastity and homosexuality.
The formation of the chapter was announced in the July 19 edition of The Weekly, a chancery publication for the clergy, religious, employees and parish staff of the Diocese of Oakland.
“Do you know someone who identifies her/himself as Gay/Lesbian, Homosexual, or Same-Sex Attracted and feels that this keeps her/him from taking full part in the life of the Church? If so, consider talking to her/him about Courage where we believe that the Catholic Church welcomes all of her children and is our home,” the chapter’s notice read, according to the California Catholic Daily.
The national Courage website explains the apostolate’s outlook: “By developing an interior life of chastity, which is the universal call to all Christians, one can move beyond the confines of the homosexual identity to a more complete one in Christ.”
The California Catholic Daily said the new Courage chapter represents a “landmark shift” in the diocese’s pastoral approach to homosexuals. It noted that retired diocesan priest Fr. Jim Schexnayder was a co-founder of the group which became the Catholic Association for Lesbian & Gay Ministry (CALGM). The paper charged that the priest and the group advocate “views of human sexuality inconsistent with Church teachings,” while Courage has been endorsed by the Pontifical Council for the Family.
In September 2008 CALGM invited the then-coadjutor bishop of Sacramento Jamie Soto to deliver its keynote address, but responded negatively when the bishop reiterated the sinfulness of homosexual acts and criticized the manipulation of marriage for those who “believe that they can and have a right to mimic its unique expression."
The new Courage chapter in Oakland joins other California chapters in East Palo Alto, Fallbrook, Los Angeles, Cosa Mesa, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, and Santa Rosa.