Kathy Schiffer is a Catholic blogger. In addition to her blog Seasons of Grace, her articles have appeared in the National Catholic Register, Aleteia, Zenit, the Michigan Catholic, Legatus Magazine, and other Catholic publications. She’s worked for Catholic and other Christian ministries since 1988, as radio producer, director of special events and media relations coordinator. Kathy and her husband, Deacon Jerry Schiffer, have three adult children.
Are same-sex relationships a concern for the family? Father Paul Check, executive director of Courage International, believes that they are; and that is why the Courage apostolate has planned a one-day conference “Living the Truth in Love” at The Angelicum in Rome on October 2, just two days before the Ordinary General Synod of Bishops on the Family convenes.
Courage's first Rome conference will address the pastoral needs of men and women who experience homosexual tendencies. “We hope that many Synod Fathers will attend the conference,” Father Check told The Register, “and that this new project, 'Truth and Love', will be of continuing service to the Church.”
Co-sponsored by Courage International and Ignatius Press, the conference is open to the public but is especially designed for bishops, priests, religious, seminarians, lay faithful in ecclesial ministry, and for all those who want to welcome and accompany those who have same sex attractions. Same-sex attraction is an important political issue in contemporary society; but the conference will also consider it as a personal reality in the lives of individual men and women. The speakers will address the complex reality of homosexual tendencies through the lenses of the empirical and social sciences, the personal experience of homosexuality, the testimony of Sacred Scripture, as well as Sacred Tradition—the bi-millenial wisdom of the Catholic Church.
Registrants will hear from faculty including Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy at the Vatican; and Monsignor Livio Melina, president and professor of moral theology at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at the Lateran University in Rome. The conference will also bring together experts including Dr. Paul McHugh of Johns Hopkins, clinical psychologist Dr. Timothy Lock, and Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute.
Father Paul Check will moderate an afternoon panel discussion with Q&A, at which four people with homosexual tendencies will report how they found joy and peace, following their decisions to live in accordance with the authentic teachings of the Church.
Fr. Check explained that the Living the Truth in Love conference distinguishes itself from other conferences by offering a fuller and more precise understanding of the human person. “Through His Church,” he explains, “Christ invites everyone to the abundant life (Jn 10:10). He offers His mercy (‘neither do I condemn you’), and then He calls us to conversion of heart (‘now go and sin no more’), and He gives us the grace to make this possible. In the Gospel, Jesus not only offers his compassion but He also calls us to conversion because He knows we will only be truly joyful and fulfilled when we live as He created us to be.”
“So many of the current approaches to homosexuality do not include this fuller perspective of the human person,” said Fr. Check. “Rather, they seem to limit themselves to ‘acceptance’ without recognizing Jesus’ call to conversion. And they defend a ‘right’ to sexual intimacy, but they do not acknowledge God’s design for marriage to which Jesus Himself refers in Matthew 19.”
Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., founder and editor of Ignatius Press, adds: “Genuine compassion and mercy require that we support all those who desire to live authentic Christian discipleship. We are pleased to join with Courage not only in holding this conference, but also in providing a range of pastoral and personal resources that will provide practical guidance long after the conference—and the synod—are over.”
This event is open to the public. Registration is free but lunch is included for an additional fee. Those interested in registering can visit http://www.TruthandLove.com.