St Francis Q&A

Friday, November 09, 2007

"On the pastoral care of homosexual persons"

1) Live concert at St Andrew's tonight! Jim and Michele Cowan, a father and daughter who travel across the country glorifying God through music are playing live during Eucharistic Adoration in the SAA Church tonight at 7 pm. The Cowans have invited us to "come join us in worship and in adoration of our Lord, as we gather around His glorious presence in the Blessed Sacrament". There are no tickets or admission fees, but we will take up a free will offering for the Cowans.

2) Youth group retreat this weekend. Please pray for the 16 teens and 3 adults who will be on retreat this weekend.
Responding to my Aug. 29 post, “Homosexuality and Hope”, Anon wrote the following: “I thought the church's opinion was that the church didn't know why people were gay and that being gay was not the problem, that the actions of homosexuality were. Can I ask why you didn't bring up church teaching and church documents?”

Thanks, Anon. In my post, I explained that the Church doesn’t know definitively why some people are homosexual and I referenced the Catechism on that point. The main point of the post was that the Church is studying the genesis of homosexuality, and finding that the overwhelming evidence points to environmental factors rather than genetic factors.

But, I appreciate your comment because it gives us a chance to read a letter by then-Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), "On the pastoral care of homosexual persons". Along with Archbishop Alberto Bovone, His Holiness wrote the letter in 1985 as Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. To view the letter in full, please click on the title of this post.

3. …In the discussion which followed the publication of the (Congregation's "Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics" of December 29, 1975), however, an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good. Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.

Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not…

10. It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered…

12. What, then, are homosexual persons to do who seek to follow the Lord? Fundamentally, they are called to enact the will of God in their life by joining whatever sufferings and difficulties they experience in virtue of their condition to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross. That Cross, for the believer, is a fruitful sacrifice since from that death come life and redemption…

Just as the Cross was central to the expression of God's redemptive love for us in Jesus, so the conformity of the self-denial of homosexual men and women with the sacrifice of the Lord will constitute for them a source of self-giving which will save them from a way of life which constantly threatens to destroy them.

Christians who are homosexual are called, as all of us are, to a chaste life. As they dedicate their lives to understanding the nature of God's personal call to them, they will be able to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance more faithfully and receive the Lord's grace so freely offered there in order to convert their lives more fully to his Way.


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