Yesterday I learned that Fr. John Harvey
passed away. He was the founder of Courage,
a group devoted to helping Catholics with Same Sex Attraction live chaste lives through the grace of the sacraments. What I appreciated so much about the Catholic view of homosexuality was the compassion felt for the person experiencing SSA. The Church does not condemn the homosexual person but recognizes they have even a greater burden than others in living a chaste life.
The Catechism states:
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
What sets Fr. Harvey's ministry apart from many others is that it does not seek to convert the person to heterosexuality. Rather, it provides the tools for chaste living using the grace of God through the sacraments of the Church, in particular, the Eucharist and confession. To me, this makes much more sense and in practice is more effective in keeping a person chaste. Many of the protestant programs attempted to "cure" or heal the homosexual but they have since been shown to be ineffective in this regard. To lay hands on someone in a healing service and pronounce "they are healed" of their same sex inclination then forces that person to deny their feelings. The person then has to live in a state of denial and live in a paradigm that flys in the face of reality- Not unlike my wife and I believing that she "had been healed by his stripes" as her tumors continued to grow as evidenced by the chest x rays. (I still believe God can heal anyone of anything, anytime, but it is according to His will and plan, not ours. "Not my will but yours Lord")
So rest in Peace, Father Harvey. I now have the prayers of a righteous man in heaven who can intercede for those close to me who struggle with SSA.