Cardinal Francis George, OMI
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
3211 Fourth Street, NE
Washington, DC 20017
Dear Cardinal George,
I recently read that in your position as president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, you issued a statement on February 5, 2010, saying that New Ways Ministry does not provide ‘an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching.’ As a gay Catholic man, I humbly disagree.
Last year I sent you a letter last year detailing my story as a gay Catholic. At one point I was suicidal. What “saved” me from death was my contact with Dignity/USA and then New Ways Ministry.
On one occasion, I attended a local New Ways Ministry workshop in Columbus, Ohio and on another occasion, I attended a NWM conference in Louisville, Kentucky. During these occasions, I always heard what the Catholic Church teaches on the morality of homosexuality and homosexual relationships.
I deliberately am using the word “relationships” instead of ‘acts.” Courage and similar “ex-gay” programs speak only of “acts” and “same-sex attractions” as if they were just some “temptation” that is to be avoided. When we talk about a homosexual orientation, we are talking about a deep and integral part of a person’s sexuality and spirituality with the possibility of mature integration.
New Ways Ministry helps gay men and lesbian women AND their parents and loved-ones deal with a profound aspect of human sexuality. The Catholic Church officially does little to help them understand their ‘discovery’ and seems to condemn any organization that fills the obvious void. Your support of Courage does not fill this void because it bases its presentations on out-dated and inadequate psychological and theological information.
Without even consulting New Ways Ministry about what they present in their workshops and conferences, you have not even given them the opportunity to correct your misunderstanding. I hope that you can correct this situation.
I pray for you and all American Catholic Bishops every morning and ask God to give you whatever grace you need.
Joseph Gentilini, Ph.D.
Cc: Archbishop Pietro Sambi
New Ways Ministry