Thousands Call For Cardinal George To Cancel Appearance At Gay Conversion Conference

By Samantha Abernethy in News on Jul 25, 2013 8:30PM

2013_3_4_cardinal_george.jpg Cardinal Francis George plans to attend a gay conversion conference in Mundelein on Friday, and an online petition with 14,000 signatures calls for the leader of Chicago's Catholic Church to cancel the speaking engagement.

The "Courage/Encourage Conference" lists Cardinal George as "the main celebrant for mass on Friday, July 26, at 11:30 am."

George defended his plans to the Sun-Times in an email saying, “Courage is an organization of homosexually-oriented Catholics who support one another in their quest for holiness as homosexuals. I haven’t seen their program, but their literature speaks only of spirituality, not of therapy. When national Catholic organizations meet, the local Bishop is often asked to offer Mass for them. That’s the only reason I’ll be there. (It’s called loving your neighbor.)”

Oh, you didn't know about it, Cardinal? Here is how the organization describes itself:

The Courage apostolate aims to help those who have same-sex attractions and want to live according to Catholic teaching, which recognizes homosexual acts as grave sins. The conference is geared for Courage members and their friends as well as members of EnCourage, a partner organization for parents of those with same-sex attractions.

Gay conversion therapy is widely believed to be dangerous as a contributor to depression. According to the Human Rights Campaign, "every major medical and mental health organization in the United States has issued a statement condemning the use of reparative therapy."

The Sun-Times writes:

But Michael Sherrard, executive director of Faithful America, which launched the petition drive, contends “priests and therapists will be trained in dangerous and debunked techniques that don’t cure homosexuality but do contribute to suicide and depression.”

He added, “By appearing at this conference and celebrating mass there, Cardinal George is implicitly endorsing practices that cost the lives of gay and lesbian youth.”