The Rev. Paul Scalia, son of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, will speak July 27 at the Courage/Encourage Conference in Mundelein, Ill., to promote chastity for people who are gay.
Scalia is an Arlington, Va., based Roman Catholic priest and serves on the board of Courage, the international group that's sponsoring the conference.
"Really to our mind this is such a simple thing," Scalia told U.S. News in a brief phone conversation. "It's a matter of care of souls."
The event is "private in the sense that you need to register for it," Scalia noted. He expressed some concern reporters might invade attendees' privacy.
Scalia declined to speak in depth about the conference, saying, "I'd rather not be dragged into the political and cultural battles."
Courage is an officially recognized Roman Catholic apostolate - a group of religious leaders endorsed by the Vatican - and operates 100 chapters in the U.S. and in several countries around the world, according to its website.
An agenda for the four-day conference - which costs $375 to register for, including lodging - says Scalia's Saturday morning address is titled "Fearing the Lord ... and Not Being Afraid." The "commuter" charge for attending the conference is $70 per full day, or $50 per half-day.
After Scalia's address, conference workshops will include "A Model of Transformation for Persons with [Same-Sex Attractions]" by Andrew Comiskey of Living Waters Ministries. Two members of the Philadelphia branch of Courage will speak to attendees about "Taking Your Local Chapter to the Next Level."
Some workshop titles have no obvious relation to sexual orientation, including, "Sacred Imagery in Art: Visual Representation of God's Word from the Baroque to the Modern."
The agenda encourages attendees who are "struggling" with same-sex attractions to prepare for the conference with this prayer:
Lord Jesus, I consecrate my sexuality to you;
cleanse my mind, my memory, my imagination and
my dreams of all erotic content.
Grant me the gift of chastity, to bring my sexual
drive into subjection of your Holy Spirit dwelling within me.
If there be any dividedness in my heart in this regard,
please make my heart pure and simple.
Guard my weakness by your Holy Cross through
the intercession of your Mother Mary, my
guardian angel, Saint Charles Lwanga, and the
communion of saints. AMEN
Conference organizers do not currently have a hard figure for the number of attendees expected, as registration is open until July 17.
Efforts to promote chastity or reorientation for people attracted to members of the same sex are highly controversial. In June the president of Exodus International, a group with around 200 branches that has urged "reparative therapy" since 1976, apologized for his work, admitted it was often harmful or ineffective and announced the organization would close.
Watch a sermon by Scalia: