What is the official Catholic teaching about homosexuality?
In the mid-1970s, the Catholic Church recognized the difference between being homosexual and engaging in homogenital (same-sex) acts. The Catholic Church holds that, as a state beyond a person's choice, being homosexual is not wrong or sinful in itself. But just as it is objectively wrong for unmarried heterosexuals to engage in sex, so too are homosexual acts considered to be wrong.
The Church also teaches understanding and compassion toward gay and lesbian people. In their 1976 statement, To Live in Christ Jesus, the American bishops wrote, "Some persons find themselves through no fault of their own to have a homosexual orientation. Homosexuals, like everyone else, should not suffer from prejudice against their basic human rights. They have a right to respect, friendship, and justice. They should have an active role in the Christian community … The Christian community should provide them a special degree of pastoral understanding and care." In 1990, the U.S. National Conference of Catholic Bishops repeated this teaching in their instruction, Human Sexuality.
In 1997, the U.S. Catholic Bishops released a Pastoral Letter entitled Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers, directed to the parents of gay and lesbian Catholics. In this document, the bishops briefly addressed lesbians and gay men, saying, "In you God's love is revealed." The letter also encouraged families to remain connected when a member revealed his or her homosexuality, and called for the establishment of ministries sensitive to the needs of gay and lesbian Catholics and their families.
Taken from Daniel A. Helminiak, FAQs: Catholicism, Homosexuality, and Dignity, written for DignityUSA, 1996, 2000.