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The Roman Catholic Church and Homosexuality
Statements and events prior to 1997
1975: The Vatican said that homosexual orientation (feelings) were not wrong,
because one's orientation is not a matter of choice; it is something that one is born
with. However, they stated that to act upon one's feelings by engaging in a homosexual act
is a sin, whether it be in a casual or committed relationship.
1976: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops (in the US) stated that
not suffer prejudice against their basic human rights. They have the right to respect,
friendship and justice." Needless to say, basic human rights for
homosexuals do not include the right to marry the same-sexperson with whom
one has developed a committed relationship.
1976: Bishop Francis Mugavero (Brooklyn, NY) spoke on homosexuality, stating:
- Gays and Lesbians are called to a celibate life; to act out their feelings of love
towards another person is a sin analogous to a heterosexual person engaging in pre-marital
sex or adultery.
The Church should give homosexuals greater "pastoral understanding and care",
because, if they follow Church teachings, they cannot look forward to an intimate relationship with another person.
1990: Robert Broderick, author of the Catholic
Encyclopedia, quoted the Sacred Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). The congregation concluded that
homosexual behavior is caused by an individual's rejection of God.
the pastoral field, these homosexuals must certainly be treated with
understanding and sustained in the hope of overcoming their personal
difficulties and their inability to fit into society....no pastoral
method can be employed which would give moral justification to these
acts on the grounds that they would be consonant with the condition of
such people. For, according to the objective moral order, homosexual
relations are acts which lack an essential and indispensable finality.
In Sacred Scripture they are condemned as a
serious depravity and even presented as the consequence of rejecting
1992: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, then Prefect for the CDF and now
Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter to the Bishops of the church. 2 He
condemned gay-bashing. But he also appeared to blame anti-gay violence on the
victims themselves because they seek equal rights; the perpetrators of the
violent behavior are not regarded as responsible for the violence. Item 12 in
his letter stated: "When civil legislation is introduced to
protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the church nor society
at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground and
irrational and violent reactions increase."
The CDF appeared to modify the
church's 1975 position, 3 saying, in a secret document:
This paper by the CDF represents a major departure from traditional Roman Catholic
teaching. It appears to require its members to perform a direct evil (discrimination
without having first having established a justification.
that both homosexual inclination and acts "must be seen as an objective disorder. ...the
living out of this orientation is [not] a morally acceptable option."
Homosexual acts are "contrary to the creative wisdom of God".
Discrimination against homosexuals is justifiable in areas of adoption, foster care, and
employment of teachers, athletic coaches, and soldiers. Sexual orientation "does
not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc. in respect to
- Homosexual relationships jeopardize the rights of traditional (heterosexual, married)
families. [This opinion is simply stated in the document; the authors apparently consider
it to be self-evident; they provide no evidence that gays and lesbians represent a
Some discrimination against gays and lesbians is morally permissible and is justified,
because of the threat that homosexuals may pose to "genuine families",
and to "protect the common good"
- Homosexuals who remain in the closet and celibate do not need human rights protection
equal to other groups who are commonly targeted for discrimination on the basis of race,
gender, religion, nationality etc. [This would seem to condemn openly gay and lesbian
individuals to continued discrimination by others. It would also condemn homosexuals who
attempt to stay in the closet, but are exposed by others to be discriminated
On the other hand, also in 1992, the Vatican issued a new Catechism for the church. It
states that homosexuality is not a matter of choice. "They [homosexuals] do
not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial...One must
avoid all unjust discrimination against them." The church believes that there are
both just and unjust forms of discrimination against gays and lesbians.
Robert Broderick, Ed., "Catholic Encyclopedia: Revised and updated
edition," Nelson, (1987), Page 272. Read
reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
"Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual
Persons,", written by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1986)
"Some Considerations Concerning the Catholic Response to Legislative Proposals
on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons," written by the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith and secretly distributed to US bishops. (1992-JUL-23) It
was made public by "New Ways Ministry.
Copyright © 1997 to 2008 by Ontario Consultants on
Latest update: 2008-JUL-25
Author: B.A. Robinson