Speaker explains how Christians should treat same sex-attracted persons
Courage – Philippines president Edwin Valles gives the “Courageous Love: Helping persons with same sex attraction” workshop on the second day of the CFC – Singles for Christ International Conference 2018 at Our Lady of La Paz parish, Makati, Feb. 17, 2018. NIRVA DELACRUZ
By Nirva’Ana Ella Delacruz
February 19, 2018
Far from the image of the Bible-quoting Christian, a person who has genuine compassion for persons will recognize the woundedness of persons with same sex attraction (SSA), inviting him or her to encounter Jesus through the Church.
This is what a lay speaker told hundreds of delegates attending the “Courageous Love: Helping persons with same sex attraction” Singles for Christ International Conference (SFC ICON) 2018 workshop Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Our Lady of La Paz church.
“’I see you’re wounded, you’re bleeding. Let me apply first aid. I know of a great healer, let me lead you to Him’… This is the genuine voice of the Catholic Church,” said Courage – Philippines president Edwin Valles, describing the attitude Christians should have towards persons with SSA.
According to him, this is totally different from the tendency of some Christians who expect persons with SSA to “fix themselves” first before they can be invited into the Church.
It is also radically different, he said, from what the LGBT movement tells persons with SSA, which in effect tells them: “’See, I also have that. That’s not a wound. Let’s celebrate what we have.’”
It is no surprise then, noted Valles, that persons with SSA are more drawn to the latter’s celebratory message than to many religious people’s condemnatory stance.
Aside from actively inviting persons with SSA to be part of the Church, he encouraged the faithful to have deep and meaningful friendships with them.
“The base calling of the Church for everyone is friendship,” said Valles.
He also stressed the need to treat persons with SSA with respect.
“I hope we [in the Church] won’t be the first ones to call them gay or tomboy.. We call them by their baptismal name.. and we look at them as our brothers and sisters. It’s very important. We have to provide a counter witness to what the world would want us to believe,” explained Valles, noting the power of words.
Founded in 1980 in New York City in the U.S., Courage is a Catholic apostolate that supports persons with SSA.
According to Valles, the organization was the brainchild of Terrence Cardinal Cooke, Archbishop of New York, who started to set up the group in the late 1970s around the time when the first HIV cases appeared in the U.S., in New York in the East Coast and in San Francisco in the West Coast.
In the Philippines, Jaime Cardinal Sin started Courage – Philippines in 1995.
“It’s really a concrete expression of the Catholic Church’s care for persons struggling with same sex attraction,” said Valles.
Other SFC ICON 2018 workshops focused on topics like evangelization through social media and Theology of the Body, among others.
Some 7,000 SFC members and leaders from all over the Philippines and other countries like Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Guam, among others, gathered at Circuit Makati for the main sessions of SFC ICON 2018. CBCPNews