|From the Courage Apostolate website|
It was a real joy to read this press release, which informs us that Archbishop Vincent Nichols (Westminster) made a visit to the (En)Courage Advent Retreat Day last weekend. During his time with members of the Apostolate, the Archbishop spoke about the courage needed to proclaim and live up to the demands of the Catholic faith in its entirely. He compared those who struggle to live holy lives of internal and external purity, totally dedicated to Jesus Christ as opposed to the self, with the martyrs of the English Reformation.
Those men and women currently part of the 'gay culture', but who feel trapped by its empty promises, as well as all those Catholics who carry the cross of same-sex attraction, should make use of the Courage / (En)Courage Apostolate -- it is a great gift from the Church to the modern world. Unlike certain other groups, one of which is mentioned in the press release, that appear to promote the 'gay cause' within the Church, the Courage Apostolate is totally orthodox and is therefore a truly radical and liberating path to holiness.
From (En)Courage (I have edited references to individual names): -
Members of (En)Courage, one of Britain’s leading spiritual support groups for men and women with same-sex attraction (SSA), were themselves greatly encouraged by a visit to their Advent Retreat Day in Central London last weekend by Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster.Courage / (En)Courage is the only organisation of its kind to be fully endorsed by the Holy See. It was established by Cardinal Terence Cooke of New York who knew that the individual dealing with same-sex attractions needed to experience the freedom of interior chastity and in that freedom would find the steps necessary to living a fully Christian life in communion with God and others.
The theme of the retreat was ‘Living Expectant Faith’ and consisted of talks, prayer of the Church, Mass, a Holy Hour and confessions, and lots of social time. The Archbishop spent a significant amount of time meeting men and women from (En)Courage, made up of single and married people, the parents of same-sex attracted children as well as other individuals seeking to understand and support those with same-sex attraction.
In his own sharing with the group, Archbishop Nichols stated that “trying to live a faithful life and a life of discipleship is not easy.” He spoke of the great courage shown by the English Martyrs and their commitment to the resurrection, to the Mass, and also to the Papacy. “Maybe today we don’t make that kind of sacrifice,” he said, “but anyone who wants to be a disciple of Christ will have to make daily sacrifices.” He stated, “it is not possible to live faithfully to Christ without some daily sacrifice. It takes courage to try and find and follow the pathway of Christ, which is true for all of us.”
Quoting from a recent Vatican document, he went on to say: “the love of God sometimes follows paths one could never have imagined but it always reaches those who are willing to be found. Hope is nourished then by this certainty: we ourselves have known and believed in the love that God has for us.” The Archbishop then heard some incredible stories from individuals from four continents of the world whose ages ranged from early 20s to mid-70s of how they were finding and following the pathway of Christ.
P-----, 35, from Spain shared how he came from a Catholic family but was distant from the Church. “I felt I could not be Catholic and lead a gay life. Last year while with my male partner of 12-years I very suddenly came to realise that my entire homosexual life had been a mistake. I rapidly saw that the way my relationships had been formed was wrong. I found myself in fear and shock. Where could I go with this? Only the Church offered a message that fitted what I was then experiencing deep below the surface which I now know to be the truth. The Catholic Church’s teaching offers same-sex attracted people the truth. My life began to completely change when I discovered (En)Courage, which was saying what I had discovered intuitively. I began to embrace chastity and stopped every sexual relationship. My life now has nothing to do with how I used to live. My identity is now in Jesus.”
J------, 26, raised in London by African parents talked of being “quite lost, and having no role model for my sexuality.” He shared how he “spent many years in the wilderness. This year I have come to understand that homosexual practice is wrong whereas I had been totally swept away by this in the past. I am really thankful for what God’s given me. He truly has saved my life.”
J------, aged 23 from London, told the Archbishop how he “went to the Soho Masses who said it was ok to live an active homosexual lifestyle, but that is not what I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear that actually you will be blessed and supported in living a chaste life as a Catholic. The message was not there. I know of so many people who have struggled but have not been able to persevere.
“Being brought up in a Catholic setting,” he went on to say, “did not make my sense of inadequacy any worse as some might think. On the contrary, I never heard anyone speak about homosexuality in a cruel or condemning way. I knew it would not be right to live an active lifestyle, and I didn’t want that. It was the Catholic faith that kept me strong and kept me alive. My belief in God has pulled me through.”
Members of (En)Courage across Britain were grateful for earlier support shown by Archbishop Nichols in a recent letter dated 31 October in which he wrote that he hoped “that with the help of God's grace each may come closer to the Lord and grow in holiness of life. This, of course, is the invitation that is offered to every person. Many will be encouraged by the example that you and the group will give. May God bless the work of (En)Courage here and around the world.”
According to the organisation, there are more than 100 Courage Chapters around the world, with over 1,500 persons participating in its ListServs (I am not sure what they are), and hundreds receiving assistance from the main office and website each week.
The Five Goals of EnCourage are:
1 - Live chaste lives in accordance with the Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality. (Chastity)Contact
2 - Dedicate ones life to Christ through service to others, spiritual reading, prayer, meditation, individual spiritual direction, frequent attendance at Mass, and the frequent reception of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. (Prayer and Dedication)
3 - Foster a spirit of fellowship in which all may share thoughts and experiences, and so ensure that no one will have to face the problems of homosexuality alone. (Fellowship)
4 - Be mindful of the truth that chaste friendships are not only possible but necessary in a chaste Christian life and in doing so provide encouragement to one another in forming and sustaining them. (Support)
5 - Live lives that may serve as good examples to others. (Good Example/Role Model)
To contact (En)Courage for further information about this Apostolate, please email email@example.com