By: Art Bennett, president and CEO of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Arlington.
A key part of the mission of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Arlington (CCDA) is that our work “is rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the official teachings of the Roman Catholic faith” (CCDA Mission Statement). To best respond to the needs of our clients, we constantly strive to provide the finest and most professional services possible, while always fully in harmony with our Catholic Faith.
One way we’re doing this is by providing ongoing training on principles, research, and practices of psychology, within the framework of the Faith, for our clinicians in the Family Services Programs and our Center for Adoption and Pregnancy Services.
We’re calling this training series “Integrating Psychotherapy within the Framework of the Catholic Faith.” We believe this unique and exciting series is critical to helping clients be healthy in mind, body and soul.
We are addressing the hottest issues of our day: forgiveness and anger; the clinical application of virtues, natural law and the anthropology of the human person. We’re also focusing heavily on that controversial topic where the Church and the culture seem to constantly butt heads: human sexuality.
This past Friday, Jan. 28, led by Dave Cavanaugh, director of CCDA Family Services in Arlington, and Dr. Frank Moncher, director of Family Services in Fredericksburg, our clinicians focused on some of the key areas of this conflict: same-sex attraction, the value of chastity today, pornography and sex addiction, and the Church’s view of the sexuality and the human person.
Fr. Paul Scalia discussed our human nature and natural law as the foundation for understanding the sexuality of the human person. Fr. Paul Check, executive director of Courage International, flew in from Connecticut to discuss the Church’s integration of compassion and conversion regarding same-sex attraction. Social worker Barry Levy talked about his work with same-sex attraction clients and Laura Thieman spoke on the virtue of chastity in clinical work.
We were also honored to have Bishop Paul Loverde discuss his letter on pornography (“Bought with a Price: Pornography and the Attack on the Living Temple of God”) with comments on clinical issues of sex addiction by Dr. Frank Moncher.
As Pope Benedict XVI said, “only in truth does charity shine forth” (Caritas in Veritate, #3). Guided always by the unchanging teachings of the Church as well as the latest in psychological research, we seek to better understand who we are as human persons in order to better help our clients.
It is one of our goals at Catholic Charities to be responsive to the needs of our clients – some of the poorest and most downtrodden, both physically and emotionally, in our midst. We have a duty to respond to them as innately valuable human beings, loved by the good God that created them.
One way we are doing that is through the gift of our Faith, beautifully and wholly in sync with the gift of our training and compassion as counselors, therapists and psychologists.
I invite you to come, learn more about our mental health clinicians and programs at our Family Services and our Center for Adoption and Pregnancy Services locations at www.ccda.net.