A Pennsylvania-based Catholic group will mark the holiday weekend by hosting an annual sports camp with the reported aim of helping men resist homosexual urges.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Courage, a group which encourages people with same-sex attraction remain celibate, will provide an opportunity for "men [to] physically compete on the field while enriching their souls through a daily regimen of prayer, confessions, mass, and the Liturgy of the Hours." Previous camps have attracted several dozen men from across the country, the Inquirer notes.
"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," Courage officials proclaim on the group's website. The site also links to a subsidiary group, EnCourage, which "ministers to relatives, spouses, and friends of persons with same-sex attraction."
Also featured on the site are testimonies from previous Courage participants. "Every man with [same-sex attraction] should attend the Sports Camp at least once," a man identified only as Ted from Philadelphia noted. "The two best things about Sports Camp are the awesome fellowship, and the wonderful chance it has given me to let go of the years of shame and humiliation I have experienced around sports."
A second, more detailed testimony from a participant identified as Robert reads: "One time a teammate gave me a sweaty celebratory hug. He was humbly secure in himself, just as he was, selflessly and joyfully showing affection to others. I also liked when one man, whom I'd felt intimidated by, gave me a pat on my belly, meaning 'way to go!' His touch made me feel accepted as one of the guys."
Another Philadelphia-based group, the Peace Advocacy Network, plans to protest the camp, which runs from Thursday, May 24 through Sunday, May 27, outside the St. Charles Borromeo seminary. "They think that in offering people with same sex attraction the chance to learn how to play sports they will learn to be manlier," Ed Coffin told the Inquirer.
Take a look at some openly gay sports stars below: