One example of the great wisdom of our Catholic faith is the recognition that sometimes things that seem opposed really go together – it is not either/or, but both/and. Bishop Robert Barron, my friend and brother bishop from Los Angeles, recently explained this in a book titled Vibrant Paradoxes: The Both/And of Catholicism. You can probably think of some examples right away: the Church looks to both Scripture and Tradition as sources of authority when religious questions arise; we recognize the harmony of both faith and reason in our modern, scientific age that is skeptical of any belief system. You see, some people wish to set against each other ideas that really go together, forcing us to choose “one or the other” when the answer is…both!
Increasingly it seems that another one of these either/or choices has been set up between truth and love, which our faith has always taught us belong together. This is especially true when it comes to matters of sexual morality, and in particular, the Catholic teaching on homosexuality, where many people struggle to understand the vision of love and chastity that the Church proposes as leading to authentic fulfillment. Often today we see priority given to the experience of love, understood mainly as a feeling, which trumps any consideration of Biblical morality or Church teaching on human sexuality. On the other hand, I am sure you can think of examples when someone expressed the truth of the Church’s teaching in a way that was harsh, scolding, or condemnatory. The first approach emphasizes love over truth; the second is so focused on proclaiming the truth that it neglects that we must always do so in love (as St. Paul teaches us in his letter to the Ephesians). Neither of these approaches gets it right! It is not a question of prioritizing love over truth or vice versa, but recognizing that truth and love always go together.
This crucial both/and lies at the heart of this important new initiative, “Truth & Love”, which I am pleased to introduce to you and recommend 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. This website contains a multitude of relevant resources, and I especially encourage you to check this blog on a regular basis, as it will be updated with the insights of expert contributors. 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.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York
Ex Officio member of the episcopal board of Courage International
Published November 9, 2017