Around this time of year I hear a fair amount of grumbling from social conservatives understandably dismayed that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, you-name-it Pride parade takes over the downtown core for an afternoon. If you wish to safeguard your kids' innocence, it's a good day to avoid the area altogether. And in cities such as ours the Pride Parade is only the very visible climax of a whole week of events celebrating queer sexuality.
What can you do about Pride? You can choose some form of private fasting or sacrifice and join in prayers of reparation.
Now in its very final stretch is a campaign, sponsored by Courage Toronto and EnCourage Toronto, of Prayers of Reparation for Pride Toronto 2012.
Courage is the official Catholic apostolate for persons with same-sex attraction (SSA); within that, EnCourage is the official Catholic apostolate for loved ones of persons with SSA. In the Archdiocese of Toronto, these are the only approved ministries concerned with SSA. The two groups collaborate in the Courage Reparational Group Toronto, a group of men and women who desire to unite themselves with Our Lord particularly in their weakness while praying for the conversion and healing of those who struggle with same-sex desires.
The campaign is based on a "theology of weakness." Says the founder of the original Courage Reparational Prayer Group, "We offer up our own pain and struggle, and unite it with the passion of Jesus to bring life to others. It gives meaning to our suffering."
The Toronto campaign, which has drawn volunteers from around the world, covers the 240 hours from the opening of Pride Toronto 2012, which took place at 8:00 am Friday, June 22, until 8:00 am Monday, July 2. (This runs after the official close of Pride, but the parties planned for after the parade surely present many occasions of sin.) Key events such as the Pride Parade called for extra volunteers. There's a sign-up sheet where you can commit to an hour praying in the presence of Jesus in the Tabernacle (or better yet, at Exposition).
At the core are three prayer intentions:
Charity: We repent of any ways in which persons with SSA or gender identity conflicts have been the object of unjust discrimination, including violent malice in speech or in action, and have been abandoned, rejected, or denied unconditional love. We affirm that there is a place in the Church for persons with SSA and gender identity conflicts, who are included in the universal call to holiness.
Clarity: We repent of any distortions of Church teaching as properly expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 2357 to 2359. We affirm that same-sex acts cannot be approved under any circumstances; that same-sex inclinations are objectively disordered, a sign of concupiscence and not in and of themselves sinful; and that persons, regardless of their inclinations and acts, are made in the image of God, have intrinsic dignity, and are to be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.
Chastity: We repent of any sins against God’s plan for male and female complementarity and the gift of human life, including, but not limited to immodesty, masturbation, artificial birth control and artificial reproductive technologies, abortion, pornography, sexual abuse, adultery, fornication, polygamy, prostitution, no-fault divorce, and same-sex acts. We affirm the unitive and procreative meanings of authentic married love; and the treasure of holy celibacy as lived by single persons, religious, and priests.
Many pro-family people have been inspired by the example of 40 Days for Life, in which prayer vigils are held outside abortion clinics. Sometimes 40 Days yields a visible result such as a mother giving the thumbs up to declare she's chosen to keep the baby, a driver who stays seated in her parked car and then drives away without having gone into the building, a passerby who unburdens himself about the child he paid to have killed twenty years ago, . . . but often we won't find out in this lifetime what effect our prayers have had.
If you pray for the intentions listed in reparation for Pride, the results will tend to be ones you won't be present to see with your own eyes. A troubled high school student who is consoled by the memory of a kind word when she is feeling harassed and unloved. A cruising ground aficionado who, after yet another episode of meaningless sex, asks himself, "What am I doing here?" A gay activist who, looking for ammunition against those dreadful Catholic bigots, decides to inspect the Catechism for himself. Trust that God will use your prayers!
I know from previous years that I tend to feel a spiritual heaviness from this season's continual social pressures to accept gay ideology. What a relief then to cast such troubles at the foot of the Cross! I can attest how much better I feel having taken extra advantage of the opportunity to adore the Blessed Sacrament this week. It is such a privilege to intercede for people who experience same-sex attraction (whether or not they're trying to practise chastity).
Thanks, by the way, to SoCon for promoting the campaign.
Note: If you've read this post too late to sign up for the Toronto campaign, plenty of other cities have Pride events for which reparational prayers would help. Why not start an international campaign of prayer for your own city?