Most of the world has finally begun to laugh at the idea of “praying away the gay.” That is, with the exception of Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. The celebrated homophobe has taken a step back to the 1950s with his own “pray the gay away” campaign.


But before we explain what Chaput is doing to foster this dinosaur of quackery, we must first talk about Courage International.


Courage International began in 1980 with a small group of Catholic men who met regularly in New York City. Cardinal Terence Cooke, the then-archbishop of New York, asked the Rev. John F. Harvey to provide pastoral support for these men, who were living with same-sex attractions and desired to live chaste lives following the teachings of the Catholic Church. The original Courage group established five goals for the apostolate: chastity, prayer, fellowship, support and service — which still guide the work of Courage today.


Chaput decided to bring a Courage crusade to Philadelphia. The archdiocese sent out a letter to all priests stating, “The office for Clergy is once again presenting fall workshops for priests of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We are pleased to present Carity and Charity: An Authentically Catholic Response to Homosexuality.”


Oh, it gets better.


The letter goes on: “I ask that you please return the enclosed registration form along with your check in the amount of $75 … The fee for the workshop is payable out of parish/institutional funds as part of each priest’s continuing education benefit.”


That last paragraph should have you asking some questions.


Remember that line, follow the money? The church gets more of your tax dollars than almost any other “nonprofit” institution in the nation. I went over those figures in a previous column. Most of those tax funds get into the hands of people like Chaput for education programs.


Are you with me so far?


Here’s the clincher: Are the taxpayers of Pennsylvania paying to pray the gay away? I think we are getting close to the point when an immoral church leadership and their ways of grabbing our hard-earned tax dollars need to be investigated. I do not want my tax dollars going to voodoo “charity.”


Just to be clear, we’re talking oppression and the misuse of tax dollars. The report that was recently released on Catholic Church clergy child-rape would make one think that maybe the church might put a higher priority on chastity in their own home.


More on this later.


Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. You can follow him on Facebook at or Twitter at



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