USCCB Issues Outstanding Statement on Ministry to Homosexuals
At its Fall meeting in Baltimore on November 14th, the USCCB approved a statement on ministry to homosexuals. The purpose of the statement is to “offer guidance in the face of pervasive confusion” to “assist bishops in evaluating existing or proposed programs and ministerial efforts”.
The statement is a model of Catholic clarity, a significant step forward from so many statements on so many topics which have profoundly troubled faithful Catholics over the past thirty years. Unlike the highly controversial and doctrinally weak Always Our Children statement, issued by the Administrative Committee in 1997, the 2006 guidelines provide all that is best in Catholic tradition, combining doctrinal precision and pastoral sensitivity in the context of a very clear presentation of human sexuality in the light of natural law.
Both the scope and viewpoint of the statement are well indicated by a listing of the subtitles in the first section, entitled “General Principles”:
- Respecting Human Dignity
- The Place of Sexuality in God’s Plan
- Homosexual Acts Cannot Fulfill the Natural Ends of Human Sexuality
- Homosexual Inclination Is Not Itself a Sin
- Therapy for Homosexual Inclinations?
- Necessity for Training in Virtue
- Necessity of Friendship and Community
- Growth in Holiness
- Cultural Obstacles
The second section of the document, “Pastoral Care”, offers clear guidelines to ensure that ministry to those with a homosexual inclination will enhance rather than undermine a Catholic understanding of the problem. For this reason alone, every bishop in America would be wise to take advantage of this statement as a tool for evaluating current diocesan attitudes and programs.
Owing to USCCB copyright restrictions, you must go to the USCCB website to access the document: Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care.
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