Just got this press release from Catholics for Equality:

WASHINGTON – Catholics for Equality, a national political group of Catholics who support full civil equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans, today voices concern over recent funding from the Dioceses of Oakland, CA and Colorado Springs, CO for the establishment of chapters of the Courage Apostolate, a discredited reparative therapy program. The funding and endorsement of the discredited program reveals the disturbing trend of some bishops to align themselves more closely with anti-gay extremists than American Catholics and the American public.

The Courage Apostolate’s misuse of the 12-step program holds the premise that same-sex attraction is a disease, similar to alcoholism, and should be “controlled.” Its underlying intrinsic disorder philosophy mirrors the “reparative therapy” programs developed through Evangelical ministries – all of which have been discredited by both the American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association.

Recently, the Courage Apostolate’s framing of homosexuality was used by Archbishop Timothy Broglio, Archbishop for the Military Services in the United States of America Services, in opposition to allowing gay and lesbian solders to serve openly in the military.

“As American Catholics we are embarrassed that leaders of our church would embrace such outdated and discredited theories about human sexuality and the human condition,” says Catholics for Equality Executive Director Phil Attey. “We are further embarrassed and frustrated when these arguments are made in public and used to influence civil law in America. Many American Catholics feel like we’re back in the days of Copernicus when we hear our bishops making erroneous statements like these on behalf of the Catholic community.”

“That more dioceses are funding these programs should be alarming for every Catholic in America,” says Joseph Palacios, Director of the Catholics for Equality Foundation. “It signals that our institutional church is further being taken over by the Catholic fundamentalist movement which is working to return the Roman Catholic Church to the pre-Vatican II attitudes that separated Catholics from the modern world. We fear that if American Catholics do not speak out against these trends and this restorationist movement succeeds, our church will no longer be a home for American Catholic families seeking to be faithful Catholics as well as Americans committed to inclusion and equality for all citizens.”

Catholics for Equality calls on pro-equality Catholics nationwide to ask their pastors if their weekly offerings are being channeled into local Courage Apostolate programs. We also ask every American Catholic to contact their state legislators and members of Congress to counter the harmful influences that the Conference of Bishops, the Courage Apostolate and other discredited reparative therapy programs are having on American public policy regarding legal equality for all Americans.

This group doesn’t speak for all American Catholics, obviously, but one of the encouraging things about the American strain of Catholicism is that much of it is moving away from treating the Pope and their Bishops as if they’re infallible, and more and more, they’re vociferously questioning those supposed “moral authorities” in public.