Any mention of “diversity” in counseling circles begs the questions: Is the CPA sexually inclusive? Does it welcome all sexual identity variations? We now live under a 50-year-resume of “gay” affirmation that has morphed into an LGBT+ mandate—include us, or else!
We must answer. Gratefully, we as Catholics have the only response that will endure: the robust call to chastity that includes every human being, regardless of their starting point. Chastity is an equal opportunity offender! And we do everyone a favor by refusing to treat some expressions of disintegration as blessed, worthy of full rights and privileges on par with gender integration.
For the last 40 years, I have studied, created, and practiced a group approach to a range of sins against chastity. The best approach to “sexual inclusivity” is to gather with the admittedly disintegrated and, in accord with Jesus and His friends, to take steps together toward integration. A sound working understanding of chastity is essential, as is the theological anthropology that informs the trajectory for becoming integrated in one’s gender and in relation to the other. Key psychological insights will be highlighted, as will the rationale of the group process for repairing and fortifying persons seeking progress in chastity.
Central to this process is reliance upon Divine Mercy. Together, we welcome Jesus’ flow into our impaired passageways. We of course do our part, and with diligence. In the end, we honor Him as the Source that sets persons free from misbegotten anthropologies, addictions, and abuses that undergird and are perpetrated by sins against chastity.
40 years ago, I had taken much ground in overcoming same-sex attraction as a husband and father through psychotherapy; I was also studying to become a therapist and a minister at Fuller Theological Seminary. Simultaneously, my wife and I determined to provide opportunities at our local church for persons dealing with sexual disintegration. We refused to become a subculture of “ex-gays” or “addicts in recovery” or “victims of abuse.” Rather, we pointed every seeker to Jesus, His community, and the integration He inspires, one day at a time.
Today, as Catholics, we include all persons in our diocese who seek help for having violated or been violated by the boundary-breaking freedoms of our age. Mercy finds rich expression as we gather to discover the beauty of our powers of life and love.
This group format has been piloted around the world in a variety of community settings, with feedback from leaders and participants refining its form and content. Unlike many clients who seek professional psychotherapy, persons come to us agreeing with a traditional understanding of sexuality. Nevertheless, this presentation will provide a hopeful and helpful resource for all skilled helpers who will benefit from discovering how spirituality and sexuality converge in chastity for the dignity of the individual.
3 Objectives to be Learned During this Presentation.
1. Cast a lifegiving and dimensional understanding of chastity for the therapist, consider how a group process combined with individual psychotherapy enhances positive outcomes in growth in chastity, and how an integrated approach to addressing sexual disintegration is the best way forward for addressing LGBT+ demands upon the Christian psychotherapeutic community.
2. Does a sound Catholic understanding of chastity provide a way forward for those in the LGBT+ lifestyle? Yes, insists this formally gay-identified man. LGBT+ ideology has pervaded our clinical culture.
3. How we navigate a variety of clients’ starting points, while providing clinically sound options for them, is essential. We will explore therapeutic and spiritual insight into an authentic grasp of chastity for clients seeking clarity in their sexual selves. We as Catholics have the only response to the LGBT+ community that is just and enduring. The robust call to chastity includes every human being, regardless of their starting point.
Andrew Comiskey (M.Div.) has worked extensively with the healing of the sexually and relationally broken. He is the Founding Director of Desert Stream/Living Waters Ministries, a multifaceted outreach to the broken. Andrew’s ministry grows both out of his own commitment to overcome homosexuality and his experience as a husband to Annette, father of four children and grandfather to five grandkids. He is author of Pursuing Sexual Wholeness (Creation House), Strength in Weakness (InterVarsity Press), Naked Surrender: Coming Home To Our True Sexuality (InterVarsity Press) and the Living Waters healing program. Andrew seeks to equip the Church to be whole and holy, a bride ready to receive Jesus. Andrew serves at St. Thomas More Parish in Kansas City, Missouri. After over four decades of ministry, Andrew still loves receiving and extending mercy to sexual sinners like himself.