Contact: Wayne Besen, Executive Director
Phone: 917.691.5118


Truth Wins Out Slams Philadelphia Catholic Archdiocese for Offering Anti-Gay Sports Camp 

Male Retreatants Taught to “Resist” Homosexuality Through Athletic Activity

BURLINGTON, Vt – Truth Wins Out slammed the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia today after the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Kathy Boccella revealed it plans to hold an all-male sports camp this weekend with the purpose of teaching men how to “resist homosexual urges.” The retreat is sponsored by a group called Courage, an official archdiocesan ministry that uses a 12-step program, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, to encourage Catholics struggling with so-called “same-sex attraction” to suppress their sexuality and live totally celibate lives.

“The idea that homosexuality is a treatable disease like alcoholism, or that sports can somehow influence a person’s sexuality, is an insult to common sense that’s totally detached from reality,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “The so-called ‘Courage’ ministry masquerades stereotypes as science. It’s shameful that the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia is selling this snake oil to vulnerable parishioners.”

The Courage camp, in which “men physically compete on the field while enriching their souls through a daily regimen of prayer, confessions, mass, and the Liturgy of the Hours,” is being held at a Philadelphia-area seminary after a bruising week for the ex-gay industry. Dr. Robert Spitzer, author of a widely-repudiated 2001 study that claimed certain “highly motivated” homosexuals could change from gay to straight, retracted the study and apologized to the LGBT community. Additionally, the Pan American Health Organization, an arm of the World Health Organization, condemned so-called “reparative” or “conversion” therapy as a violation of human rights and a threat to the health of its victims.

“By promising celibacy rather than a cure, Courage is serving up the very same discredited anti-gay propaganda as the better-known ‘ex-gay’ programs – wrapped in a more subtly-colored bow,” said John Becker, TWO’s Director of Communications. “But whether it’s praying or playing, it doesn’t work. You just can’t ‘play away the gay.’”

News of the Courage “ex-gay” camp comes at the same time that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is defending Msgr. William J. Lynn, its former secretary of the clergy, against criminal charges that he protected predatory priests. Msgr. Lynn is the highest-ranking Catholic Church official in the United States to face trial on charges related to child sexual abuse. The Vatican is said to be monitoring the landmark case.

“For the Philadelphia Archdiocese to demand that LGBT Catholics repress their natural, adult sexuality at the same time as they’re defending a man who shuffled pedophile priests between unknowing parishes, displays a level of arrogance that can only be described as astounding,” said TWO’s Becker. “The archdiocese has lost any moral authority to force its Stone-Age sexual strictures on gay and lesbian Catholics.”

Truth Wins Out is a nonprofit organization that fights anti-LGBT extremism. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.

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