“As a group that has suffered more than its share of oppression and contempt, the homosexual community has a particular claim on the concern of the church.” London, CBCEW: Catholic Social Welfare Commission, 1979
What is Life Like? | Back to top
During Listening 2004
we heard that:
continual message from the church is that homosexuality is so, so
dreadful. Our gay son just hasn’t stood a chance.”
“My brother is gay; the church has
been very intolerant of him.”
At one diocesan
family listening day participants listened to the hurt experienced by a
family as a result of prevailing attitudes towards homosexuality.
“Mr D discovered some years ago that
his son was gay. He tried to talk to a fellow parishioner about his
concern, but quickly realised from the extremely hostile, disparaging
remarks made that this was not a good idea. The parish priest reacted in a
similarly prejudiced way. Mr D’s wife chose to ignore the situation. Mr
D feels angry, frustrated and totally rejected by the church. He now knows
to follow his wife’s lead and keep quiet. There seems nowhere to turn.
In his mind there is little hope for the future.”
And we also heard
“If we are to reach out to all, we must dare to hold out our hands.
…We must respond to people who are gay or lesbian. They should not feel
Challenges for the Parish| Back to top
welcomed and participating in their local faith community is the
foundation of spiritual support that the Church offers to baptised persons
with a homosexual inclination and their families. Parishes can take a
number of steps to ensure that individuals and families feel welcome:
Prayer and Liturgical Opportunities| Back to top
important to provide information about opportunities in the local area for
moral and spiritual support for homosexual Catholics and their families.
and bidding prayers are excellent opportunities to demonstrate awareness
and compassion and express appreciation for the gifts that Catholics in
all their diversity bring to their faith community.
God of intimacy, you surround us with
friends and family to cherish and to challenge. May we so give and receive
caring in the details of our lives that we also remain faithful to your
greater demands, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Father, You made us in your own image, and in the life and death of Jesus,
your Son, revealed your infinite love for all God’s family.
Help us to cherish the gift of sexuality and use our talents to
affirm one another in the building of your kingdom. Amen.
Resources| Back to top
are a range of Church documents which describe the teaching of the Church
and address the pastoral care of homosexual persons:
Life. Catholic Bishops’ Conference of
Provision for Persons of a Same-Sex Orientation. Diocese of
Note Concerning the Teaching of the Catholic Church Concerning Homosexual
People. Cardinal Basil Hume. 1997.
In some dioceses a priest is appointed to take special responsibility for pastoral care of homosexual people. In other dioceses the marriage and family life ministry coordinator keeps details of support services or help lines. Contact details of coordinators can be found here.
This leaflet was first published in May 2007 with the e-text amended in 2009 and 2012.
Instruction concerning the criteria for the discernment of vocations with regard to persons with homosexual tendencies in view of their admission to the seminary and to Holy Orders. Congregation for Catholic Education 2005
Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognitions to unions between homosexual persons. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 2003
Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the pastoral care of homosexual persons. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1986