Project Zacchaeus: A Mexican Group’s Desire to be Recognized as Catholic and Gay

By Alfonso Gomez-Rossi.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 11, 2015 $US5.00

In July 2013 a schism within the apostolate called “Courage Latino” went unnoticed by society in general; a small group of five men led by a parish priest decided to form an alliance of people who have “same sex attraction” (SSA) and also desire to remain in the “Catholic” Church. The movement, which ceased to exist in March 2014, had a different purpose than the one set up by Father John Harvey, founder of Courage a religious movement that asks “Catholic” men and women to live within the bounds of chastity. Courage was founded in the 1980’s as an outgrowth of the Culture Wars in America. It was a Conservative option to other ministries like Dignity and The New Ways Ministry who desired to incorporate the tenets of the” gay” movement with certain aspects of “Catholic” religion and spirituality. Under the pontificate of John Paul II, these movements were excluded from the Church, unwelcome to operate within church property in the United States with little or no support from Bishops who followed the Vatican ideology. Courage unlike the other two, was sufficiently Conservative in outlook to merit the support and recognition of diverse groups within Catholicism. Courage branched out in to diverse countries of the western hemisphere; “Mexico” was the first outpost of the movement, which later expanded to Puerto Rico, El Salvador and other Hispanic-American countries. Though it had the support of Catholic Orders like the Legion of Christ and several Bishops and Archbishops, the movement has remained peripheral never having more than ten people in each group. “Project Zacchaeus” grew out of the dissatisfaction of the leader with the message Courage offered to” gay” men and women. The paper submitted for this presentation explores why Zacchaeus was created, what the men and women who joined this group desired and why it eventually splintered in to a different group.

Keywords: Catholic, Gay, Same Sex Attraction, Mexico

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 5, Issue 2, June 2015, pp.35-45. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 11, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 440.141KB)).

Dr. Alfonso Gomez-Rossi

Doctoral Student in Creation and Culture Theory, School of Arts and Humanities, Universidad de las Américas Puebla, Puebla, Puebla, Mexico