The Catholic Thing
Only Gays Can Get Angry? Print E-mail
By Austin Ruse   
Friday, 29 November 2013

“It’s a Catholic priest speaking at a Catholic school. It’s touchy,” said Tym Moss of the Bronx LGBTQ Center.

Linger over that. A Catholic priest speaking at a Catholic school is touchy? You’d think that priests speak at Catholic schools every day and it would be completely unremarkable. But you don’t live in gay world.

Well, actually you do. You just don’t know it yet.

The prestigious Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx, created precisely to teach inner-city kids whose parents fight to keep them out of the disastrous New York Public School system, is under fire for inviting a Catholic priest to speak on Catholic teaching.

A Spellman parents’ group invited Reverend Donald Timone to talk about Church teaching on homosexuality and a Church-sanctioned program for gays who want to live in accordance with Church teaching. The program is called Courage, and has chapters all over the country, and overseas.

You would have thought Hitler was coming to town rather than a kindly octogenarian priest. The New York Daily News headline screamed, “Rev. Donald Timone – who advocates ‘pray away the gay’ – will speak at Cardinal Spellman High School.”

The reporter never revealed exactly where Father Timone advocates something called “pray away the gay.” That’s a slur used by gay activists against those who would help men and women with unwanted sexual attractions. Most of the news reports on this controversy repeated some version of what Courage does not do, so-called “conversion therapy.”

ABCLocal used “pray away the gay” and called it a twelve-step program, which it’s not. “” said that Courage and its allied group, Encourage, which helps friends and relatives of gays, does “reparative therapy.” Also false. offered an example of Timone’s “anti-gay bias”: “Courage claims that ‘by developing an interior life of chastity, which is the universal call to all Christians, one can move beyond the confines of the homosexual label to a more complete identity in Christ.’”

Oddly, the New York Times got it near right in describing Courage’s work as encouraging “men and women with same-sex attraction to remain celibate.” Nothing about “praying away the gay” or “reparative therapy” or “conversion therapy.”

What does the scary Courage actually do? Through group meetings, online support groups, and retreats, Courage has five goals for its members:

  • to live chastely according to Church teaching;
  • to dedicate their lives to Christ through service to others and a regular regimen of religious activities;
  • to foster a spirit of fellowship;
  • to be mindful of the truth of chaste spiritual friendships;
  • and to live lives that may serve as good examples to others.

Cardinal Spellman High School

This is the program that has caused some students, parents, and trustees to quiver and quake.

The Post reporter somehow found an alum – a drag queen going by the name Miss Coco Peru – who is apparently “incensed” that the priest is coming. “They’re trying to shame these kids,” he said.

An online petition was launched. A Facebook page was started. There was going to be a candlelight procession outside when the priest spoke.

Clearly, the students have not been very well catechized on Church teaching, or the parents for that matter. Parent Leanne Arena said, “I think God made everyone and everyone deserves to be who they are and there’s no person that can change that.” Tell that to Augustine who rolled in briars to change himself.

Seventeen-year old student Aneesa Alli said her “Theology of the Body” teachers explained that being gay was a type of sexuality and nothing more.

The student body president, Jamie Crowther, said perhaps the most sensible thing, “Some people it may offend and some it doesn’t and some don’t even care. At the end of the day it’s his own belief and your own belief and you don’t have to take it.” Note, however, that he referred to Catholic teaching as the priest’s “own belief.”

The event likely would have gone off without a hitch except for a claque of gay alums who watch and wait to impose their views on Spellman. How else did this local story break out into the most important newspaper in the world?

How did the newspaper reporters, a notoriously lazy lot, find not one but two and perhaps many more former students who are gay activists, including the drag queen and someone named Gypsy Guillen Kaiser, who the Times identified as “an independent advocacy strategist.” Of course, Gypsy and Miss Coco Peru alerted the media to latest offense against their sensibilities and the media obediently lapped it up.  

Besides yet another uncatechized generation, the bigger problem in the immediate situation is with the Board of Trustees, which postponed Fr. Timone’s talk. That board includes at least one person, probably more, who would be highly sensitive to any whiff of “homophobia,” even in Church teaching.

Paula Madison, a long-time print and broadcast journalist, retired a few years ago as the first “chief diversity officer” of NBCUniversal in Los Angeles. Diversity means privileging, protecting and promoting anyone other than white males unless a white male is gay.

Madison spoke at a 2000 conference of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association at which an MSNBC producer complained about the idea of balance in reporting, and compared talking to critics of homosexuality with talking to the Klan about black issues: “I don’t see why we would seek out. . .the absurd, inane point of view just to get another point of view.”

At the Jefferson Lecture a few years ago, Harvard Professor Harvey Mansfield said, “You can tell who is in charge of a society by noticing who is allowed to get angry and for what cause.”

Indeed, you can tell who is in charge these days. The gays and their allies are allowed to get really angry, any time and over practically nothing. The Church, however, must tippy-toe.

What was the N. Y. Archdiocese’s response to the Spellman kerfuffle? Of course. No comment.*

*After this column was published it came for our attention that the Archdiocese of New York did comment: in a column by Caridinal Timothy Dolan himself.

Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washington, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy. The opinions expressed here are Mr. Ruse’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of C-FAM.
The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

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Comments (27)Add Comment
written by Deacon Ed Peitler, November 29, 2013
The person who is to be held accountable for backing down from the priest from Courage speaking to the students at Spellman CATHOLIC High School? His Eminence Timothy Cardinal Dolan. The shepherd sleeps while the sheep are snatched and slaughtered by the wolves. Shame on the shepherd. He wears red as a sign of his preparedness to sacrifice his life. The purple of penitence is more apt.
written by Allan, November 29, 2013
Would you comment on my belief/perception that Catholics, especially Catholic writers such as yourself, should use the word "homosexual" as opposed to the word "gay". The latter term seems to "mute" the reality of the situation (and I think it is by design and excellent marketing)and lessen the Church's ability to effect change in the current dominance of the homosexual lobby. Thank you.
written by Mack Hall, November 29, 2013
I don't know the governance of Catholic schools (I live in an area where "cowboy" is a High-Church concept). What power is there in a board of trustees for a Catholic school, that is, what can they legally do?

I do know that almost no one ever votes for the school boards of public schools. People complain on the 'net, but they don't vote. Democracy is not a spectator sport.
written by Dave, November 29, 2013
This is the best single definition of "diversity" that I have read to date, and it's perfect, actually: not a wasted word, and I'm glad Austin led off with "privileging." I am also glad to see the five goals of Courage posted, as I have always wondered at how Courage does help its members live chaste lives. We, too, who hold the Faith once delivered by the Apostles are also privileged. Our Lord said that the disciple is not above the Master, and that what was done to Him will be done to us, if we are faithful. White martyrdom, red martyrdom, any kind of martyrdom -- slander, calumny, detraction, etc -- we may undergo and endure for fidelity to the Gospel is a sign of predilection. And we have Tertullian's words to recall, too: the blood of the martyrs -- those Christians who never seek it but accept it as the price and call of discipleship -- is the seed of the Church. Given the current worldwide persecution of Christians, now red, now white, we can live in the joyful hope that the New Springtime of Christianity foreseen by our Holy Father John Paul the Great, of blessed memory, is not far off in coming. When evil is called good and good, evil, our Father God waits only so long before intervening to save and recreate.
written by John S., November 29, 2013
I agree with the above comment that it is ultimately Timothy Cardinal Dolan who has failed here. I am also reminded of the comment by Fr. John Corapi that "if you want your children to lose the Faith, send them to Catholic schools." That was not the case in the 1950s and early 1960s when I was in school but sadly it is often the case today.
written by Rich in MN, November 29, 2013
I've heard it said that a person loses a "combox" argument the moment they make any kind of comparison to Hitler. Okay, let me start by losing the argument: When the Nazis were battling for political power in the 1920s, they would send groups to the speech rallies of their opponents (held in outdoor public spaces) and bang on drums to keep the opposing candidate from being heard. (This was some time prior to the advent of portable PA systems.) There was no debate, no discussion, just tactics to drown out and demonize their opponents.

And today, people are becoming so indoctrinated with the paradigm of "Gay World" that they don't even see the errors and non-sequitors in the narrative anymore. For example, how often do we hear words such as those of Leanne Arena: “I think God made everyone and everyone deserves to be who they are and there’s no person that can change that”? What would Ms. Arena be saying if Fr. Timone were coming to Spellman to talk about the Church’s teaching against pedophilia and pederasty, and he plans to offer some tools for those struggling with those terrible temptations? Does she believe that all same-sex attraction is from God and all attraction to minors is due to the dysfunctional and evil free choices of the perpetrator? Does she not realize how much more complicated the situation is than that -- on both sides of the coin? No, probably not. She is too busy with other things to think about that. She is too busy with the shuffleboard game on deck to consider the fact that the Titanic has struck an iceberg.

Another one of the odd comments from “Gay World” that no longer sounds odd to the mislead sheep can be illustrated in a recent AOL headline: “Couples File Lawsuit to Overturn Texas Gay Marriage Ban.” At one time not too long ago, that headline would have sounded as absurd as “Musicians File Lawsuit to Overturn Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Kazoo Ban,” or “Food Shoppers File Lawsuit to Overturn Produce Department’s Hamburger Ban.” But the idea of overturning a “gay marriage ban” is now the regular talking point of gay rights groups and the mainstream media.

And I am sure that Cardinal Dolan is a very devout, thoughtful shepherd. However, if Pope Francis really, really wants to “make a mess of things,” I wonder if he would consider playing Episcopal musical chairs and switching around, say, Cdls Dolan and Burke? Or maybe Cdls Wuerl and Burke? Hmmm…. But I suppose that is not what the Holy Spirit has in mind – changing Canon Law to Cannon Law….
written by Thomas Tucker, November 29, 2013
If Cardinal Dolan made this decision, my respect for him has diminished considerably. What a great teaching moment this would have been, delivered in his initimable style, but now wasted.
written by Deacon James Stagg, November 29, 2013
Thank you, Deacon Ed. Yours was an appropriate observation, unfortunately applied to many of our nation's episcopacy.
written by Aaron, November 29, 2013
The blame cannot be squarely on Cdl Dolan. I used to work in a Catholic school in which the episcopal vicar allowed the school to use a Masonic temple for their Christmas choral concert the year before I was hired. The bishop never even knew about it until after the fact, when parents wrote to the bishop to express their displeasure. The vicar decided to acquiesce to the Board President because he was afraid of losing the man's money and community clout. In fact, when I spoke with the Bishop, it was clear that the Bishop was PURPOSELY held out of the loop on decisions that ran counter to Church teachings. He was not pleased at things.
written by nolite errare deus non irridetur, November 29, 2013
Dolan is a waste of red fabric.
As for Ms. Gypsy and Ms. Coco; who is to say that they weren't put up to it by those who run the media?
written by georgia hedrick, November 29, 2013
Being 74 years old, long have I waiting for some sort of 'Theology of homosexuality'. I mean we are born however God made us. We can't undo this. However, we surely can learn how to handle our sexual orientations. It seems that the idea behind the COURAGE program is just that: how do I live with how God made me? It in no way wants anyone to 'undo' what they are; it simply focuses on how to handle yourself in a manner that is very Christian.

I do not understand the concept of 'gay marriage' as this seems to be an oxymoronic term. I do not care if it is legal or not because I have learned well, over time, that all that is legal is not good, and all that is good, is many times not legal.

Each of us have to learn to live with who we are as we cannot change it, but we surely can live our lives with courage. In my view, it takes great courage to be celibate.

I do not see having sexual relations as a human right. Sexual relations is right only within marriage between male and female. All others are called upon to have great courage and live celibately. To this end, a theology must be developed and not run from. gh
written by Robert, November 29, 2013
I went to a national conference of Courage a few years ago and heard Fr. Timone give a talk. I may be preaching to the choir on this site, but anyone who thinks that his message, or that of the Church, is one of shame could not be more mistaken. In his talk, he affirmed the dignity of everyone, same-sex attracted or not. I remember him saying, with force, "God apologizes to no one for making you." I left the conference feeling more valued and loved by the Church than ever. Those of us with same-sex attractions have dealt with shame for much of our lives, and I empathize with anyone who experiences same-sex attractions no matter what choices they've made. Shame is the cause of the disorder in the first place. But adopting a gay identity just serves to mask the shame without healing it. No amount of social approval for same-sex relationships or gay identities will ever be enough for gays, because that approval doesn't affirm the worth of the person. The message of the Church does.
written by RJO, November 29, 2013
Not only should the Fr. have spoken, Cardinal Dolan should have been there to show his support, and should the minions of the evil one have shown up outside to create a fuss, a public exorcism should have been performed. Anyone want to wager how many of them would have run screaming back to perdition???
written by Seanachie, November 29, 2013
Paula Madison's definition of diversity(above)is spot-on based on my observations/experiences in corporate America over several decades. Like a systemic cancer, diversity has spread into every aspect of American life and poisoned the national body. Little wonder that Catholic school students, school boards, and even Church leadership at all levels would reflect a "diverse" viewpoint and act accordingly.
written by Daniel, November 29, 2013
Homosexuality is defined by sex. It cannot be defined by love. It cannot be defined by marriage. And it cannot be defined by children. It is defined by sex. It is defined WHEN two folks of the same sex engage in perverted sex. If sex were not involved in the "relationship" it could not be homo-sexual. Homosexuality is defined by sex. Heterosexuality is defined by God.
written by Peter Shafton, November 30, 2013
Thank you Austin Ruse, for an interesting and informative article. I live in Australia, but am still a member of Jesus’ Church, and as such am also affected by the actions of Satan’s minions anywhere on Earth. Those same minions are just as insidious and dangerous in this part of the world.
Satan appears to have planted the seeds of today’s harvest in our primary schools way back around the 1960s. Since then, our children – who are today’s adults – have known less and less about the Catholic faith. Sin is not even mentioned in primary schools any more, hell is just a Catholic myth – many priests I know do not think it really exists. So what if Jesus mentions it in the Gospels! And love, is something you ‘make’.
John S’s mention of Fr John Corapi’s comment “If you want your children to lose the faith, send them to a Catholic school”, is so, so true! I can vouch for the accuracy of that assertion with my own experience with our kids.
If we consider ourselves part of the same Catholic family, we must DO something about this apostasy. As Mack Hall so eloquently put it, “Democracy is not a spectator sport”, we need to voice our position whenever possible – don’t let the followers of the Evil One keep shouting us down. And of course, WE have prayer and the Eucharist THEY do not, let’s use these gifts.
written by TeaPot562, November 30, 2013
In Will Durant's multivolume History of Civilization, his analysis states that the decay of several civilizations - Egypt, then Alexander's Greece, then Rome was preceded if not caused by the ruling class or caste (native Romans in Rome's case) abandoning marriage and the rearing of children in order to seek sexual pleasure with whoever, and not restricting sex to marriage. The adult females refused to bear children, by that day's equivalent of contraceptives, abortions, or leaving the newborn infants outside to die from exposure.
Why did the term "gay" stop meaning cheerful and happy? Those who self-refer as gay all seem angry today.
written by Clarvie, November 30, 2013
It seems arguable whether or not Courage engages in "reparative therapy" or "sexual orientation change therapy" or "conversion therapy" since such terms can be and often are defined in many different ways. I find evidence that Courage itself uses the terms "reparative" ( or "reparational"), "conversion" and "change" in regard to its programs. I also find, for example, that the CourageRC websites link to an organization known as NARTH which reportedly has deep involvement in the "reparative therapy" / sexual orientation change business. It's even reasonable, in my view, to say that the CourageRC websites may be advocating such programs in light of how, for example, the website discusses (under/as "Living In Truth") some "research report" alleged to NARTH which the CourageRC website premises/precedes with a Church quote about assistance "in full accord with the teaching of the Church". The CourageRC website also quotes a statement alleged to the "Executive Director of NARTH" which says "we should stop telling young people and others struggling with homosexuality that they're stuck with it. Instead we should say, If you want to change, you can, like so many others who have." And that quote is posted on the CourageRC website not simply about changing behavior but apparently in regard to "individuals who sought treatment because of unwanted homosexual feelings" who purportedly "experienced a marked increase of heterosexual feelings as a result of therapy.". Similarly, CourageRC appears to adopt and promote some kind of unproven psychoanalytic parent-child paradigm about the origins of homosexual attraction that is not Catholic Church doctrine.

As to "pray away the gay", the page has what it calls a "specific prayer" for "persons who struggle with SSA", calling for a "cleansing" of the person's homosexual orientation / inclination (aka "disordered content"), mind, memory imagination and dreams.

As to whether Courage is or has a 12-step program, the CourageRC website expressly says "The 12-Step format is integral to Courage meetings" and then proceeds to list its 12 steps which it expressly reports as "based on the original Twelve Steps of A.A."
written by pauline, December 01, 2013
To John S. who wrote on November 29th, Archbishop Fulton Sheen made the comment, "If you want your children to lose the faith, send them to a CAtholic school", NOT Fr. John Corapi. Fr. Corapi always said that those were not his words, but Archbishop Fulton Sheen's words,, and that comment was made in the 1950's!! We were all fast asleep.
written by Austin Ruse, December 01, 2013

Many thanks for your post.

That Courage links to Narth or otherwise approves of their work does not mean they do the same thing. Narth does very important work as do the brave psychiatrists who help those with unwanted same sex attraction to lose that attraction or at least deal with it. Many ex-gays, and they are legion, have found healing for waht they consider to be an affliction.

As to Courage mirroring a 12 step program, I regret the error and am delighted that they do.

As to pray away the gay. It would surprise me that those who want to leave behind sexual afflictions would pray for chastity, something all Catholics are called to do. This is hardly pray away the gay, more akin to pray in the chastity.
Pray away the gay is a slur against Christianity that teaches we should pray without ceasing and for all things.
written by Deacon Ed Peitler, December 02, 2013
Austin, Thanks for your response to Clarvie. By the way, I am a licensed professional counselor and would have no compunction at all with assisting someone who has unwanted same-sex attraction. And, furthermore, I would never ever encourage someone who is unmarried (which always means to someone of the opposite gender) to engage in sexual activity - with himself or anyone else. In fact, I would discourage them from doing so. And if threatened with the removal of my license, I am an ordained clergy and will continue to do so on that basis (as long as my Church continues to teach that fornication of any kind is a sin).
written by Clarvie, December 02, 2013
Austin, even if Courage itself does not direct or perform the reparative or conversion therapies (which is a matter of opinion since the terms are vague and not agreed upon even among therapists and programs that claim to practice them), if they point people to it and publicly or privately support it, then many people may still say that Courage is (culpably) in league or partnership with those practices. Some might even compare it to pimp and prostitute, but I do not know nor can I exclude the possibility that there might also be a financial connection between Courage and the other groups or therapists . Likewise, there is a serious issue as to what these "outside" therapies and programs really involve and whether Courage should even be promoting them. For example, Google "Porn in the Strangest Places: Reparative Therapy and Pornography" and compare the man in question in that article with the man whose "research" is cited and promoted on Courage's website immediately beneath quotes from Church teaching about assistance "in full accord with the teaching of the Church". Such work might be "important" but the ends do not justify the means, and Courage's reputation is on the line iif Courage promotes such work or turns a blind eye to it.
written by Deacon Ed Peitler, December 03, 2013
Austin, don't even try; it's no use.
written by Northern Witness, December 04, 2013
"You would have thought Hitler was coming to town rather than a kindly octogenarian priest."

Hitler labeled homosexuals as outsiders and non-participants, Just as the Church does.

Hitler deported homosexuals to labour camps, just as the Church seeks to group homosexuals in monasteries or some other form of chastity to live lives of contemplation.

Hitler ordered homosexuals to wear a pink triangle on their clothes, just as the Church orders homosexuals to declare themselves unfit for marriage or raising families.

A lot of WWII era Germans thought Hitler was kindly and had the interests of Germany at heart, just the writer of this article thinks a Catholic priest spewing hatred and division is kindly and has the interests of Catholicism at heart. All are wrong in these assessments.
written by Russell Wesley, December 04, 2013
A very interesting subject indeed. As a gay man [homosexual] I often hear this stuff directed towards us. I can easily see the churches teaching on this subject. I am a devout catholic, who in the past has led a not so nice life. Now paying for it. I accept the consequences, am now celibate by choice and more understanding. BUT, I would like to see something like this for the straight [hetrosexual] single people who live lives as sinful as some gay people do. It would make it appear that the church is equally concerned with both straight and gay lifestyles. It does come across as heavy handed toward gays and meanwhile the straights seem to be coasting by with nary a comment from the Ambo, pulpit. I did hear in Kamloops BC Canada, last year on a trip, a priest nailed the LOOSE lifestyle of straight people to the wall. I looked about to see how many were getting up to leave. None did. Wow. And you should have heard that. I was stunned, and pleased that Father had the COURAGE to say what he did. Good on him, and I thanked him for something that the other side needed to hear as well. This goes BOTH ways for people to act better. May GOD bless us all. And give all of us the strength to do and be holy and righteous creatures of GOD.
written by Brendan Mooney, December 04, 2013
I am a gay man who is Catholic, and in a celibate relationship with another man. We made a choice to embrace the Church's teaching fully. We love one another deeply and more profoundly than words can describe. Nothing has changed in our relationship apart from no longer being sexual. But I sense a tinge of something unwholesome in this article. It has an 'us' and 'them' flavour to it, a sense of not seeking to understand the problems and issues, but to highlight the distinction between the 'angry gays' and those who believe in the Church's teaching. If you want to engage with gay and lesbian people about the Church's teaching, it must be about relationship and relationality, about being in relationship in its many and varied ways-friendship with one person, or/and as part of a community. Gay people need to feel loved and lovable as much as do straight people. And there is a need for healthy well adjusted gay people who have chosen the path of Church's teaching for their lives, to talk about how gay and lesbian Catholics can creatively redirect libidal energy, (rather than crucifying the self in self hatred). Also, people need time to adjust, and so it should never be a message of "my way or the highway" to gay people. We are called to love everyone equally, both those -gay and straight- who struggle with the teaching of the Church and those who don't. There is much work to be done and I hope Courage is able to offer a Gospel of integration, optimism and life fulfilment, rather than a regime of 'do's and 'don't.
written by John, December 04, 2013
Having grown up in a major city with a sizeable homosexual population, I think there is quite a bit of whitewashing going on regarding same sex attractions. To listen to the activists, everything is just roses in the world of same sex relations. It is made to seem that loving, monagomous relations are the norm - even better then heterosexual relations. That's the image being sold. But I have seen quite a bit more of the uglier side of things - high substance abuse rates, high suicide rates, physical damage to delicate areas of one's anatomy - and all of this in communities that openly embrace homosexuals (no pressure from the Catholic Church in those places)!! I don't see the Catholic Church as going into these areas and harrassing gays. I also don't see anyone questioning sexual orientation as you head into Mass. In fact I don't think I've ever heard a homily railing against homosexuality. I'm beginning to think that there truly is actually something wrong with this orientation because it seems to result in unhappiness and, yes, shortened life spans. I also have to wonder about the people who encourage young men to indulge in this life style when it seems to lead to unhappiness and an early grave. And, no, heterosexuals that behave poorly do not get a pass either. Neither do alcoholics or substance abusers. Let's stop defining people by their sins and let's stop trying to find new and novel ways to make sin OK. It's ALL sin. Face up to it and pick uop your cross. Let's do the best we can to make ourselves like Christ.

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