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Courage, Gay And Lesbian Pro-Abstinence Group, Branch Planned In Hartford: Connecticut Archdiocese

First Posted: 01/04/2012 4:00 pm EST Updated: 02/02/2016 5:59 am EST

Although New England is generally considered one of the most liberal U.S. regions, one Connecticut-based archdiocese's take on the state's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is considerably more stringent.

As The Hartford Courant is reporting, the Hartford archdiocese stated that its Office of Diaconate director, Deacon Robert Pallotti, is planning to launch a local chapter of a national ministry called "to support men and women who struggle with homosexual tendencies and to motivate them to live chaste and fruitful lives in accordance with Catholic Church teachings."

The ministry, called Courage, is based in Norwalk, Conn. and claims to have more than 100 chapters around the country. "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 organization's website explains.

"Through support and spiritual intervention, we can help people with same-sex attraction lead moral and fulfilling lives," Pallotti noted. "These people are hurting and so are their families. Doing nothing would be a lack of compassion."

He also stressed to Connecticut news station WFSB: "Courage will not reduce a person's identity to their sexual desire. They are people with full human dignity not defined solely by their sexual desire."

The news has nonetheless sparked the ire of LGBT advocates on both the local and national level. "Efforts to repress sexual orientation are harmful and ineffective, but Courage represents a more malevolent intent to deprive gays and lesbians of the opportunity to love and be loved," writes ThinkProgress blogger Zack Ford. "Pallotti speaks of compassion, but turning gays' own victimization against them and using the fear of Hell to make them afraid of love is the very opposite of compassion."

Added Robin McHaelen, executive director of True Colors, a nonprofit LGBT youth agency based in Hartford: "I can't tell you how many kids I work with who have been spiritually wounded by this and similar religious perspectives. In my opinion, that's the abomination."

In 2008, Connecticut joined Massachusetts as one of two states in the U.S. at the time to perform same-sex marriages.

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Filed by Curtis M. Wong  |