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The pervasive influence of contemporary culture creates, at times, significant difficulties for the reception of Catholic teaching on homosexuality. In this context, there is need of a special effort to help persons with a homosexual inclination understand Church teaching. At the same time, it is important that Church ministers listen to the experiences, needs, and hopes of the persons with a homosexual inclination to whom and with whom they minister. Dialogue provides an exchange of information, and also communicates a respect for the innate dignity of other persons and a respect for their consciences. “Authentic dialogue, therefore, is aimed above all at the rebirth of individuals through interior conversion and repentance, but always with profound respect for consciences and with patience and at the step-by-step pace indispensable for modern conditions.”45 Such dialogue facilitates an ongoing, interior conversion for all parties truly engaged in the exchange.
We extend a word of thanks to our brothers and sisters who have labored so patiently and faithfully in pastoral ministry and outreach to persons with a homosexual inclination. They have done so at times under adverse and difficult conditions. They have set an example for this important service to the Church.
The Church is charged with the mission of preaching Christ in order that all people may be saved. In her ministry, the Church preaches the Good News of Jesus, the message of joy and peace that the world cannot give. This message provides the foundation for all her ministries. In the measure that we authentically preach Christ, we will build a healthy and holy communion of sisters and brothers, diverse in gifts but one in the Spirit. As Jesus Christ came and died for us in order “to gather into one the dispersed children of God” (Jn 11:52), so we must all work for unity among God’s people,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph 4:2-6)
Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care was developed by the Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). It was approved for publication by the full body of bishops at its November 2006 General Meeting and has been authorized for publication by the undersigned.
Msgr. David J. Malloy, STD General Secretary, USCCB
Scripture texts used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, copyright © 1991, 1986, and 1970 by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, DC 20017 and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All rights reserved.
Excerpts from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition, copyright © 2000, Libreria Editrice Vaticana-United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C. Used with permissions. All rights reserved.
Excerpts from Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents edited by Austin Flannery, OP, copyright © 1975, Costello Publishing Company, Inc., Northport, N.Y. are used with permission of the publisher, all rights reserved. No part of these excerpts may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without express written permission of Costello Publishing Company.
Copyright © 2006, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, D.C. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright holder.
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