NORWALK, Conn. – A new website aimed at offering an array of resources for persons involved in the pastoral care of men and women who experience same-sex attractions (SSA) has been launched by Courage & EnCourage International, the Catholic Church’s officially recognized ministry in the field.
Truth & Love (www.truthandlove.com) offers a wide range of content on the subject of homosexuality, sexual identity and related topics such as pornography. Visitors to the website will find resources on these topics from the perspectives of official Church teaching, theology, philosophy, anthropology, pastoral care, health, psychology and personal testimonies of persons who experience SSA.
“I am pleased to introduce to you and recommend [Truth & Love] as a valuable tool for anyone who wishes to understand the host of theological and pastoral issues related to the Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality and those who experience same-sex attraction,” writes Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and head of Courage International’s episcopal board.
The cardinal made these remarks in Truth & Love’s inaugural blog post, published Nov. 9, 2017. This blog will be updated on a weekly basis, and will feature articles from experts in the various topics related to those explored on the website.
“We all know that these issues can be difficult and challenging, especially in today’s culture, where Catholic teaching struggles to get a fair hearing or is misrepresented as outdated and unloving. What you will find here are resources and articles that are faithfully committed to teaching God’s plan for sexuality and which proclaim this message in truth and love,” the cardinal writes.
The primary targets of Truth & Love are clergy, religious, pastoral care workers and anyone who expects to encounter men and women who experience SSA in their ministry. The site’s secondary target is anyone who wishes to deepen their understanding of human sexuality from a Catholic perspective.
Intended to complement the main Courage International site (couragerc.org), Truth & Love comes in response to a recognition of the need for sound formation of persons — especially priests — who offer pastoral care for persons with SSA.
“There are many men and women who experience SSA who are members of our parish community, and as such are in need of spiritual guidance and support,” said Fr. Philip Bochanski, executive director of Courage International.
“It is therefore imperative that our clergy have a comprehensive understanding of this topic, and how to respond when someone shares their experience with them. This involves listening to personal stories, understanding the Church’s teaching (including the reasons the Church employs particular terminology), and being aware of issues related to physical and emotional health,” Fr. Bochanski said.
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
Background on Courage International and Encourage
Courage International is an apostolate of the Catholic Church which offers support to persons experiencing SSA who have chosen to live a chaste life. It was founded by Fr. John Harvey, OSFS at the request of the late Cardinal Terence Cooke. The first Courage chapter meeting was held in New York City in 1980, and it was this initial group which developed the Five Goals of Courage: Chastity, prayer and dedication, fellowship, support, and good example/role model. Fr. Harvey was succeeded as executive director by Fr. Paul Check, who held the position from 2008-2016. Fr. Check was succeeded by Fr. Philip Bochanski in January, 2017. Today, Courage has over 100 chapters in fourteen countries. Courage and EnCourage received canonical status in the Roman Catholic Church as a diocesan clerical public association of the faithful on November 28, 2016.
EnCourage is an apostolate under the Courage umbrella which provides support for families and friends of persons with SSA, and aims to teach them how to reach out to their loved ones with true compassion. The group was first formed in 1987 by families in search of guidance and understanding for supporting their loved ones with SSA. In 1992, this group adopted the name EnCourage. Currently, their chapters can be found in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, Italy, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.
For additional information, please visit our website at www.couragerc.org.
For more information, or to schedule an interview with Fr. Philip Bochanski:
Kevin Wandra, Carmel Communications