Pre-Synod conference unites cardinals and men and women living with homosexual tendencies

“Living the Truth in Love” conference and resource event will be held Oct. 2 in Rome.

Courage International and Ignatius Press announce their first Rome conference to address the pastoral needs of men and women who experience homosexual tendencies. Living the Truth in Love is a conference and resource event which will be held October 2, just before the start of the Ordinary Synod on the Family, at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (“The Angelicum”).

The theme of the conference will be “The Ways of True Love—Pastoral Approaches to Welcome and Accompany those Living with Homosexual Tendencies.”

The conference will feature Cardinal Robert Sarah, Cardinal George Pell, and Msgr. Livio Melina, as well as Dr. Paul McHugh of Johns Hopkins University; Dr. Timothy Lock, a clinical psychologist; and Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute. A panel discussion will be held featuring the testimonies of faithful Catholics living the reality of homosexuality in their everyday lives.  

Resources will be available to conference attendees, including a collection of books recently released by several of the conference participants, among them Cardinal Sarah and Cardinal Pell. A press event will take place in conjunction with the conference for members of the media.

The conference will take place just days before the opening of the Ordinary Synod on the Family that begins at the Vatican on October 4 and extends through October 25. The conference offers a response to the important question before the synod regarding how the Church should give pastoral care to persons with homosexual tendencies and their families.

The conference approaches homosexuality not as a cultural or political issue of the day (without forgetting that it is those things), but rather 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.

Conference organizers intend the event and its resources to help those responsible for pastoral ministry to better understand each of these dimensions and to be better equipped to welcome and accompany men and women with homosexual tendencies, and ultimately to help them find the fullness of joy in their journey with and to Christ.

Father Paul Check, executive director of Courage International, explains 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, 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 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.”

Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, 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 or in further information can visit

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