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The Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons

by Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted

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    Document Information

  • Description:
    Part two of a three part series titled 'The Blessing of a Chaste Life' on the subject of homosexuality issued by Bishop Olmsted. The column addresses the pastoral care of homosexual persons. The first item under the heading of "what not to do" reads: "Do not see those with homosexual inclinations as problems but as persons, persons whom Jesus redeemed by His Cross, persons called to holiness, persons with an inviolable dignity and an eternal destiny bestowed on them by God, persons like you and me, persons who have a welcome place in our Church." But at the same time the Bishop stresses to pastors, "Do not condone homosexual activity or fail to teach clearly that it, along with all sexual activity outside of marriage, is seriously wrong. We should not presume that others know that homosexual behaviour is wrong. Our silence about it could reinforce that mistaken notion."
  • Larger Work:
    The Catholic Sun
  • Publisher & Date:
    Diocese of Phoenix, May 20, 2004

A few weeks ago, I sent a letter to some priests of the Diocese of Phoenix, asking them to withdraw their support from a public statement entitled “No Longer Silent Phoenix Declaration.” The letter was intended to be personal and confidential because I had hoped to engage these brother priests in a person-to-person conversation about the pastoral care of homosexual persons, without the distraction of publicity. To my disappointment, news of the letter was leaked to the press. While not making my fraternal dialogue with these priests impossible, the leak has made it more difficult.

Nonetheless, I have been able to engage the majority in substantial conversations about this important pastoral matter. And I am grateful that most, in accordance with my request, have withdrawn their support from the declaration. I continue to hope and pray that the others will do the same.

Since portions of my letter have become public, I have decided, for the sake of accuracy and fairness to all, to publish it in its entirety in this same issue of The Catholic Sun. I would like also, in this part of my series on the “Blessing of a Chaste Life,” to write about the pastoral care of homosexual persons: what not to do and what to do.

What not to do

What to do

These are only a few of the do’s and don’ts of a full program of pastoral care of homosexual persons. The books and documents mentioned above can provide a more encompassing program. As I stated in my letter to my brother priests who signed the declaration, our relationship with homosexual persons needs to be that of Christ, one that offers full and fraternal acceptance of each person as made in the image of God and one that is animated by both truth and charity. When carried out with the help of the Holy Spirit, it can help us all to grow to full maturity in Christ.


The Blessing of a Chaste Life

Part 1 - The Call to Holiness of Homosexual Persons

Part 2 - The Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons

Part 3 - Difficulties Faced by Homosexual Persons

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