Cardinal George criticized for plans to attend alleged gay-conversion conference
BY FRANCINE KNOWLES Religion Reporter
Cardinal Francis George is being called out in a petition drive to drop plans to offer mass at a conference where critics say therapists and priests will be trained in “dangerous ex-gay” therapy or controversial conversion therapy.
But conference organizers deny the claim.
At the four-day “Courage Conference,” which kicks off Thursday in Mundelein, George is scheduled to celebrate mass on Friday morning. Courage International Inc., a Connecticut-based Roman Catholic Apostolate, is hosting the program.
Executive Director Father Paul Check says the organization provides spiritual support for Catholic men and women with “same-sex attractions” who desire to live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality.
The conference plans to hold a “Therapist Seminar” scheduled for Friday. But Check said while the Courage community has members of the mental health profession, “their work for us and with us is not directed towards a change of sexual inclination or desire” and emphasized that’s not the organization’s mission.
Homosexual men and women often struggle with “difficulties that in some way may be related to their struggle to live chaste lives,” including substance abuse and depression, and the organization seeks to assist people in such struggles, Check said.
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