Teaching by the Congregation for Doctrine in Rome
While softening the complete condemnation it voiced in the past, the Vatican Congregation for Doctrine still opposes all homosexual acts as ‘intrinsically disordered’ because they cannot lead to procreation.
Persona Humana, Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics, by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1975).
- The document acknowledges that there are ‘homosexuals who are definitively such because of some kind of innate instinct or a pathological constitution judged to be incurable’.
- ‘In 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. Their culpability will be judged with prudence.’
- However, all sexual homosexual acts as ‘intrinsically disordered’ and’ condemned by Scripture as a serious depravity’ (§ 8). See full document here.
Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, Declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1986), signed by Cardinal Ratzinger, the later Pope Benedict XVI.
- ‘It is only in the marital relationship that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good. A person engaging in homosexual behaviour therefore acts immorally. To chose someone of the same sex for one’s sexual activity is to annul the rich symbolism and meaning, not to mention the goals, of the Creator’s sexual design. Homosexual activity is not a complementary union, able to transmit life; and so it thwarts the call to a life of that form of self-giving which the Gospel says is the essence of Christian living. This does not mean that homosexual persons are not often generous and giving of themselves; but when they engage in homosexual activity they confirm within themselves a disordered sexual inclination which is essentially self-indulgent.’ (§ 7) See full document here.
Some Considerations Concerning the Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons, Declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1992), signed by Cardinal Ratzinger, the later Pope Benedict XVI.
- ‘Sexual orientation’ does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc. in respect to non-discrimination. Unlike these, homosexual orientation is an objective disorder (§ 10). See full document here.
Family, Marriage and “De Facto” Unions, Declaration by the Pontifical Council for the Family (2000).
- ‘We can also see how incongruous is the demand to grant ‘marital’ status to unions between persons of the same sex. It is opposed, first of all, by the objective impossibility of making the partnership fruitful through the transmission of life according to the plan inscribed by God in the very structure of the human being. Another obstacle is the absence of the conditions for that interpersonal complementarity between male and female willed by the Creator at both the physical-biological and the eminently psychological levels. Marriage cannot be reduced to a condition similar to that of a homosexual relationship: this is contrary to common sense. In the case of homosexual relations, which demand to be considered de facto unions, the moral and juridical consequences take on special relevance. De facto unions between homosexuals are a deplorable distortion of what should be a communion of love and life between a man and a woman in a reciprocal gift open to life’. (§ 23) See full document here.
Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons, Declaration by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (2003).
- Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts “as a serious depravity… ” (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition.
- Nonetheless, according to the teaching of the Church, men and women with homosexual tendencies “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided”. They are called, like other Christians, to live the virtue of chastity. The homosexual inclination is however objectively disordered and homosexual practices are sins gravely contrary to chastity. (§ 4). See full document here.
However, these statements are wrong. For some individuals, homosexuality is natural and a homosexual relationship is the natural consequence. See our arguments here.