Aug212014
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Is Dignity the only ministry to GLBT Catholics?

No. Through his pioneering books, lectures, and counseling, Fr. John McNeill, expelled from the Jesuit order for his work, continues to minister to gay and lesbian Catholics.

  • Since 1977, New Ways Ministry in Mount Rainier, Maryland, has provided a national service of education, publications, workshops, and newsletter on homosexuality and Catholicism. Although in 1999 and again in 2000 the Vatican officially silenced co-founders Fr. Robert Nugent, S.D.S., and Sr. Jeannine Gramick, S.S.N.D., the organization continues to provide a "gay-positive ministry of advocacy and justice for lesbian and gay Catholics."
  • Another network of groups, much smaller than Dignity, is Courage. Founded in the early 1980s by Fr. John Harvey, O.S.F.S., of New York City, it helps people to be celibate "in accordance with [the narrowest interpretation of] the Roman Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality." A positive, life-enhancing celibacy is certainly a legitimate goal for those who freely choose it. But the Courage ministry rests on the belief that homosexuality is a psychological aberration, an emotional debility. Built on a 12-step program like Alcoholics Anonymous, Courage aims to have people restrain and control their "sickness." Such a negative starting point, which ignores the bulk of current scientific opinion, can hardly foster personal integration, emotional well-being, or real holiness.
  • Many dioceses now have their own official gay ministries or at least appointed chaplains, and many belong to the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian & Gay Ministries. These ministries vary in quality from excellent to oppressive to nominal.