Proclaiming the Splendor of Truth with Love

2018 Truth & Love Conference

A conference offering sound, practical and pastoral guidance on the topics of homosexuality and sexual identity. Designed for clergy, religious, and those lay faithful working in ecclesial ministry, as well as, medical and mental health professionals.

Stay tuned for videos and other updates from this year’s conference!

October 22 – October 24, 2018

Pastoral Center (formerly St. Thomas Seminary)

Bloomfield, Connecticut

View this Years Main Brochure Below:

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Presenting Speakers

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  • Avera Maria Santo

  • Daniel Mattson

  • David Prosen

  • Deacon Patrick Lappert, M.D.

  • Dr. Janelle Hallman

  • Dr. Janet Smith

    Author of Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later and of the Right to Privacy and the editor of Why Humanae Vitae Was Right: A Reader.

  • Dr. John Cuddeback

    Professor of philosophy at Christendom College

  • Dr. Mary Healy

    Professor of Scripture at Sacred Heart Major Seminary

  • Dr. Michael Horne

  • Dr. Paul Hruz

  • Dr. Susan Selner-Wright

  • Father Paul Check

    Rector of St. John Fisher Seminary and former executive director of Courage International (2008-2016)

  • Father Philip G. Bochanski

  • Garrett Johnson

  • Hudson Byblow

  • John Grabowski, Ph.D.

  • Martin Nussbaum, Esq.

  • Suzanne Baars, Ph.D

Avera Maria Santo

Witness Testimony

(Monday Plenary Session)

Avera speaks and writes on homosexuality and Catholicism at the young age of 22. She travels the country sharing her story, giving a tangible and joyful witness to the goodness, truth, and beauty of the Church’s teachings. Avera blogs at Inside My Holy of Holies: http://couragegulfcoast.wixsite.com/blog

Daniel Mattson

David Prosen

“I Thirst”: What We Who Experience Same-Sex Attraction Need from You in Pastoral Care 

(Tuesday Pastoral Care Track)

How do we authentically love without condoning acts of sin? A Courage member and Catholic counselor who treats depression, anxiety, trauma, and more will speak about living with same-sex attraction and coming to embrace the Gospel call to holiness and chastity found in the Catholic Church. He will offer concrete strategies based on his own life experience as well as his educational and professional experiences, on how to reach out and support men and women who experience same-sex attraction.

Deacon Patrick Lappert, M.D.

Transgender Surgery & Catholic Anthropology

(Tuesday Sexual Identity Track)

The subject of Gender Identity will be examined, including a review of the history, terminology, scientific evidence, and the medical and surgical interventions that are proposed for the care of self-identified transgender persons. We will call upon the Catholic understanding of the nature of the human person to illuminate the crucial moral questions that must be addressed in pastoral care.

Dr. Janelle Hallman

Parenting Children with Same-Sex Attraction

Parental support, acceptance, and closeness are essential factors for an child’s well-being and healthy development. Perceived parental rejection can result in low self-esteem, impaired sense of self-adequacy, negative world view, and emotional instability within the child. It is imperative then that parents be adequately supported to not only navigate their child’s disclosure but to continue to provide an ongoing supportive, warm, and caring relationship. This workshop will provide multiple practical parental and family interventions wherein a warm attachment with the child can be sustained and strengthened.

Dr. Janet Smith

Author of Humanae Vitae: A Generation Later and of the Right to Privacy and the editor of Why Humanae Vitae Was Right: A Reader.

Humanae Vitae: Fifty Years Later

This talk will review the genesis of Humanae vitae, the responses to it, the consequences of dissenting from it and the Church’s response to dissent, newer defenses of it and new challenges to it.

Dr. John Cuddeback

Professor of philosophy at Christendom College

Encouraging Chaste Friendships

Dr. Mary Healy

Professor of Scripture at Sacred Heart Major Seminary

Scripture, Mercy and Homosexuality

The Bible’s teachings on homosexuality can seem harsh and discriminatory. Are these passages still relevant in today’s context, and how should they be interpreted? What does Scripture offer to those who experience same-sex attraction? This talk will explore what Scripture says about homosexuality, explaining key passages within the broader context of biblical teaching on the human person and on the love and mercy of God.

Dr. Michael Horne

Charity and Clarity

Given the current social and political climate of our country, conflicting messages are common surrounding the topic of male and female sexuality. This talk will examine common misconceptions held about same-sex attraction, with an emphasis on pastoral support, the dignity of all persons, and the importance of chastity.

Dr. Paul Hruz

The Use of Hormones in the Treatment of Gender Dysphoria:  Science, Ideology, and Ethics

Children who identify as a gender that does not correspond to their biological sex frequently experience significant dysphoria and psychosocial morbidity. Over the past decade, increased clinical and societal recognition of this condition has led to the development of new clinical practice guidelines that include pubertal suppression and hormonal therapy directed toward inducing physical changes corresponding to an individual’s identified gender. This is accompanied by efforts to mandate societal acceptance and accommodation of patient gender preferences. Widely divergent ideologies regarding human sexuality among physicians and advocacy groups have generated ongoing controversy over approaches to the care of children with gender dysphoria. Current understanding of the etiology of gender dysphoria, risks and benefits of the new treatment paradigm, and available outcome data will be presented. Ethical considerations and societal implications of gender dysphoria treatment will also be discussed.

Dr. Susan Selner-Wright

Christian Anthropology, The Basis for the Church’s Approach to Issues of Same-Sex Attraction and Gender Ideology

Drawing on the unbroken tradition of seeing the human person as an embodied spirit, this talk will review why the Church teaches that our bodies are as much ourselves as our souls are, that our human nature sets boundaries for actions consistent with our flourishing, and that our bodies are important prophets of God’s plans for us.

Father Paul Check

Rector of St. John Fisher Seminary and former executive director of Courage International (2008-2016)

The Joy of Christ: The Splendor and Fulfillment of Truth. Veritatis Splendor at 25

The prophetic and enduring quality of Veritatis Splendor. Why its wisdom and pastoral charity continue to guide the Church. What it teaches us about ourselves and the fulfillment of the human heart in Christ.

Father Philip G. Bochanski

The Importance of an Authentic Christian Anthropology

(Monday Plenary Session)

The Church’s teaching about sexuality in general, and homosexuality and gender in particular, is rooted in its understanding of the human person.  This talk will consider the fundamental teachings of the Church regarding personal identity, the ordering of desires, and the morality of actions, and provide terminology and perspective for communicating these teachings in a clear and compassionate manner.

An Authentically Welcoming Parish: Preaching, the Sacraments and Parish Life

(Tuesday Pastoral Care Track)

Ministry to the parish community is often characterized by what Pope Francis has called “the art of accompaniment,” and clergy and others in pastoral ministry must be prepared to welcome and accompany parishioners who are living with the experience of same sex attraction or confusion about sexual identity in their own lives or in the life of a loved one. Father Bochanski will discuss what the Church expects an authentic welcome to look like in parishes and schools. In particular, he will consider the guidelines that the Church provides for participation in parish life and ministry, and for the celebration of the sacraments. He will also consider the importance of adult faith formation and the Sunday homily among efforts to “speak the truth in love.”

Authentic Pastoral Care in Light of Confusion About Sexual Identity

(Tuesday Sexual Identity Track)

Our pastoral priority toward people who are experiencing confusion regarding their sexual identity, and towards their parents and loved ones, must be to welcome them in the name of Christ and to help them to understand and accept God’s plan for their lives. This talk will consider how “speaking the truth in love” to someone about his or her identity, vocation and relationships can lead him or her to a greater self-understanding and fulfillment in Christ. It will also consider the impact that the experience of confusion about sexual identity can have on the life of the parish, and how clergy and others in ministry should respond.

Garrett Johnson

Witness Testimony

(Monday Plenary Session)

Garrett Johnson came back to the Catholic faith after years of living a godless, pagan lifestyle. He joined the Arlington, VA chapter of Courage in 2013 and shares his journey on brotherwithoutorder. com. Garrett has spoken at Courage events and has appeared on EWTN. He lives in Washington DC where he is a stylist and salon manager.

Hudson Byblow

Witness Testimony

(Monday Plenary Session)

Hudson Byblow is a speaker and author who addresses the difficult topics facing today’s Catholic youth. He has spoken across North America at conferences, to school boards, college missionary groups, Catholic Universities, and at diocesan events. More information can be found at Hudson’s website, www.hudsonbyblow.com.

John Grabowski, Ph.D.

Engendering Discussion:  Recent Catholic Thought on Sexual Difference

(Tuesday Sexual Identity Track)

Recent Church teaching has warned of the dangers of “gender ideology” and its destructive impact on persons and families.  But what positive resources does the Christian tradition have to offer a culture which now lists over 70 genders on Facebook?  Surveying recent Catholic theology and Church teaching (particularly the Theology of the Body of St. John Paul II), the presentation will argue that sexual difference is best understood as two complementary personal expressions of the one nature of humanity.  That is, sexual difference is accidental to human nature but essential to existing human persons.

Martin Nussbaum, Esq.

Surviving the Revolution in Good Conscience

Martin Nussbaum will explain the revolution in the constitutional law regarding sexuality and survey the torrent of statutes, regulations, and executive orders implementing the new sexual order. He will show how these laws burden the religious exercise of Catholics and their institutions. He will then discuss the importance of religious freedom and describe a comprehensive strategy to protect the values and consciences of religious persons and entities.

Suzanne Baars, Ph.D

Guarding Our Capacity for Authentic Love: The Importance of Affectivity in Daily Life

(Tuesday Pastoral Care Track and Mental Health Track)

Affectivity is our capacity to be affected or moved by the human emotions of love, desire and joy – emotions necessary for our ability to be moved by the goodness of things and persons. It is complemented by effectivity, or our ability to think and act effectively, to produce or achieve something. While both effectivity and affectivity – or mind and heart – are necessary for a balanced human life, so often we find ourselves striving to make things better, produce change, or fix problems – and wound already wounded people in the process. While such goals may be commendable, the ability to love authentically develops more readily when one recognizes that it is the heart, or affectivity, that brings peace and resolves difficulties. When we learn to approach others with open hearts, our actions are more likely to be experienced as respectful and loving, and therefore bring healing.




“At times, in the discussions about new and complex moral problems, it can seem that Christian morality is in itself too demanding, difficult to understand and almost impossible to practise. This is untrue, since Christian morality consists, in the simplicity of the Gospel, in following Jesus Christ, in abandoning oneself to him, in letting oneself be transformed by his grace and renewed by his mercy, gifts which come to us in the living communion of his Church.” 
Veritatis Splendor , 119

The 25th anniversary of Pope Saint John Paul’s prophetic document, Veritatis Splendor, was at the center of an international formation event for clergy, religious, and professionals who minister to persons who experience same-sex attractions (SSA) and gender dysphoria.

The event, which focused on the theme “Proclaiming the splendor of truth with love”, featured presentations from acclaimed theologians, including Dr. Janet Smith, Dr. Mary Healy, and Fr. Paul Sullins. Participants also heard witness testimonies from two Courage members featured in the documentary Desire of the Everlasting Hills, Paul Darrow and Rilene Simpson.

The conference took place October 22-24 at the Archdiocese of Hartford’s Pastoral Center (formerly St. Thomas Seminary) in Bloomfield, Connecticut. This was Truth & Love’s fourth conference to date.

Our Truth & Love conferences offer an opportunity to learn how to care for people living with SSA and questions about sexual identity from experts in the fields of pastoral ministry, theology, philosophy, psychology, and health care.

This event was an initiative of Courage International.

Many thanks to our Sponsors