Although a spokesperson for the Courage conference told New Ulm reporter Josh Moniz that the Catholic group doesn't advocate reparative therapy (the notion that gay people can be "cured"), those attending a therapist seminar that was part of the conference heard from Phil Sutton, a current board member and former president of the National Association for Research and Treatment of Homosexuality (NARTH).
Sutton wasn't the only "reparative therapy" advocate at the conference.
Truth Wins Out, notes on its website's page for NARTH:
The National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) is a self described “non-profit, educational organization dedicated to affirming a complementary, male-female model of gender and sexuality”www.narth.com
NARTH explains in their mission statement “clients have the right to claim a gay identity, or to diminish their homosexuality and to develop their heterosexual potential.” They claim to attain this through years of reparative therapy, (also used interchangeably with the terms conversion therapy and sexual brokenness) a practice the American Psychiatric Association says can “lead to depression, anxiety and self destructive behavior, and may reinforce self hatred.”
Moniz reported in Bishop LeVoir to speak at Courage Apostolate conference:
Courage neither requires its members to change their same-sex attractions nor encourages them to seek that change. Check said they do not address the controversial practices of "reparative therapy" or "conversion therapy," which seek to change a homosexual individual's orientation to heterosexual, and their policy prohibits facilitating members that seek these programs.[emphasis added] These therapies are widely rebuked by gay rights organizations and by the American Psychological Association, which calls them "harmful."
Check said they believe same-sex attraction is not a sin, but acting on these feelings is a major sin. He said they believe this inclination is a symptom of the individual's disorder with nature.
Courage is controversial among gay rights groups for believing homosexuality is a disorder and for being unwilling to rebuke "reparative therapy." Courage's website lists these therapies as likely counterproductive, but states they worked for some members. The recommended books section contains "reparative therapy" books and the Courage Reparational Group is listed as a group of men and women "praying for the conversion and healing of those who struggle with same-sex desires."
LeVoir is the Bishop of New Ulm; he helped establish Courage in the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul and served as the group's chaplain before becoming a bishop.
Sutton wasn't the only reparative therapist to present at the Courage Conference. The Chicago Sun Times' Francine Knowles reported in Chicago Cardinal George criticized for plans to attend alleged gay-conversion conference:
But Michael Sherrard, executive director of Faithful America . . . contends “priests and therapists will be trained in dangerous and debunked techniques that don’t cure homosexuality but do contribute to suicide and depression.” . . .. . .the forum includes Dr. Timothy Lock and Dr. William Consiglio, who is described on the conference website as a part-time “Christian Psychotherapist,” specializing in the area of Sexual Orientation Resolution Therapy.
Consiglio also is the author of the book “Homosexual No More.” Lock’s presence at the conference is being highlighted on the website of the controversial organization National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, which identifies Lock as a member.
The association’s website says “clients have the right to diminish their homosexuality and to develop their heterosexual potential. The right to seek therapy to change one’s sexual adaptation should be considered self-evident and inalienable.”
Here's the program for the seminar:
In 2011, Good As You looked at National Org. For Marriage's Ruth Institute [was] pushing 'ex-gay' therapy.