Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cardinal Francis George to Celebrate Mass at Courage Conference Featuring NARTH Speakers

Maureen Fiedler reports at National Catholic Reporter this morning that the past president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Francis George, will be celebrating Mass for the group Courage next week. As she notes, Courage is "a Catholic group that encourages lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to remain celibate in keeping with the teaching of the Catholic hierarchy."

But as she also points out, this year, Courage has invited to its annual conference two therapists, Bill Consiglio and Timothy Lock, who are associated with the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), an organization which promotes the bogus notion that homosexuality is a mental disorder susceptible to cure. 

Here's what the leading professional body in the field of psychotherapy, the American Psychological Association, has to say about NARTH and the idea that homosexuality is an illness that can be cured:

For over three decades the consensus of the mental health community has been that homosexuality is not an illness and therefore not in need of a cure. The APA "concern about the position" espoused by NARTH (The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality) and so-called conversion therapy is that they are not supported by the science. There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Our further concern is that the positions espoused by NARTH and Focus on the Family create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish.

As the Southern Poverty Law Center notes, NARTH has become the leading peddler of anti-gay "junk science" in the U.S.--junk science that leads many human beings to false hopes of a recovery from an illness that is not an illness, and which fosters attitudes of self-loathing that sometimes issue in self-destructive acts. As Sister Maureen Fiedler concludes, "Regardless of the Roman Catholic hierarchy's teachings on homosexuality, Cardinal George should dissociate himself from these bogus and harmful medical techniques."

And she's absolutely right.

(For more on George and his history of outright hostility to the LGBT community, click his name in the list of labels below.)

The graphic is from an essay by Gabriel Arana at the Qu website.

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