Church Statements on Homosexuality

Statements from the Vatican, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and other influential church figures on lesbian and gay people.

“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” – Pope Francis, July 29, 2013

Bishop John Stowe of Lexington, Kentucky spoke at the 8th annual New Ways Ministry symposium on April 28-30, 2017.  Bishop Stowe said he was humbled by those who have pursued “a life of faith in a church that has not always welcomed or valued” them and their worth. Stowe said that on his many visits to confirmation classes, teens in his diocese ask: “Why can’t gay and lesbian people be themselves? Bishop Stowe, why can’t they love who they want?” 

In the 2020 documentary, “Francesco,” Pope Francis said gay people are “children of God” and “have a right to be part of the family.” He also reiterated his long support for lesbian and gay civil unions. “What we have to create is a civil union law.  That way they (gay and lesbian couples) are legally covered.  I stood up for that.”

God Is On Your Side: A Statement from Catholic Bishops on Protecting LGBT Youth was published on January 21, 2021. “Most of all, know that God created you, God loves you and God is on your side.”

On June 21, 2021, Pope Francis sent a letter of encouragement to Fr. James Martin, SJ, for his pastoral ministry to the LGBT community. Fr. Martin’s apostolate is Outreach.  In his letter, Pope Francis said: “I pray for you to continue this way, being close, compassionate and with great tenderness.” “And I pray for your faithful, your ‘flock’ and all those whom the Lord places in your care, so that you protect them, and make them grow in the Love of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” he wrote. 

In 2021, Pope Francis wrote two letters of support and appreciation to Sr. Jeannine Gramick of New Ways Ministry, a noted advocate for respect and inclusion of LGBT Catholics in their families, parishes and the church. “I know how much she has suffered,” the pope wrote. “She is a valiant woman who makes her decisions in prayer.” One of these letters was published in America magazine on January 7, 2022.  

#OutInChurch – For a church without fear was published on January 24, 2022 by German bishops.  It appealed for a revision to church teaching on LGBT people, which is described as “defamatory and outdated” expressions of Catholic doctrine. 

In a general audience on January 26, 2022, Pope Francis told parents, “Never condemn your children. Parents who see that their children have different sexual orientations, how they manage that and accompany their children and not hide behind a condemning attitude.”

The “National Synthesis of the People of God in the United States of America” was released on September 19, 2022. The document included several supportive statements of LGBT people.  “In order to become a more welcoming Church there is a deep need for ongoing discernment of the whole Church on how best to accompany our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters.” 

“Being pastorally close to homosexual persons–For a welcoming church that excludes no one” was published on September 20, 2022 by Cardinal Jozef De Kesel of Mechelen-Brussels and other bishops from the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium.  The bishops’ publication contains a suggested liturgy for same-sex blessings, including prayers, scripture readings, and parts in which the couple can “express before God how they are committed to one another.”

“Enlarge the space of your tent” was published by the Vatican’s General Secretariat of the Synod on October 27, 2022. This 44-page document calls for “a Church capable of radical inclusion,” and stresses the need to reach out to those who feel alienated from, or marginalized by, the Church. It calls for greater efforts to include women in decision-making roles, and to reach out to homosexuals, divorced and remarried couples, single parents, young people, and victims of racism and abuse.  This working document will be used during the “Synod on Synodality” which runs through October 2024.

Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers – A Statement by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family (1997)

Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Chastity and Homosexuality,” nos. 2357-2359 – Second Edition, Revised in accordance with the official Latin text promulgated by Pope John Paul II. Printed March 2000

Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (2003)

Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with Regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in View of the Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders by the Congregation for Catholic Education (2005)

Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1986)

Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (2006)

Persona Humana – Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics – by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1975)

Principles to Guide Confessors in Questions of Homosexuality by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (1973)

Responsum of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to the blessing of the unions of persons of the same sex (2021)

Some Considerations Concerning the Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (1992)

Summa Theologica – The Parts of Lust by St. Thomas Aquinas (1265-1274)

The Book of Gomorrah (Liber Gomorrhianus) by St. Peter Damian (1051)

The Strength of a Vocation – Consecrated Life Today – Pope Francis’ Conversation with Fernando Prado, CMF (2018)

The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality – Guidelines for Education with the Family by the Pontifical Council for the Family (1995)

 

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