Catholic Church and LGBTQ+ Community

The Church's teachings on the LGBTQ+ orientation and culture and its moral basis.

What did people find harsh and uninformed in that 1986 Vatican letter?

It backed away from the prevailing ethical opinion that a homosexual orientation is morally neutral and called it "an objective disorder." Whatever this is supposed to mean, it suggests that gay people are sick, despite massive evidence to the contrary in medical, psychological, and sociobiological research. As if blaming gay people for the AIDS epidemic and ignoring their heroic — and virtually solitary!

What other considerations about the morality of homogenital acts need to be made?

Besides appealing to Scripture and Tradition (constant Church teaching), the Catholic approach to morality also relies heavily on human reasoning. The argument from natural law is a prime example. Other instances are the study of the human sciences or attention to people's personal experiences.

Hasn’t there been constant opposition to homosexuality throughout Christian history?

Recent and detailed historical scholarship questions that claim. Although one could find some opposing voice in every century, there was no common opposition to homosexuality in Christian Europe until the late 12th century except for a period around the collapse of the Roman Empire. Indeed, for nearly two centuries after Christianity had become the state religion, Christian emperors in Eastern cities not only tolerated but actually taxed gay prostitution.

What was the point of the Bible texts if not to condemn homosexuality?

It is not easy to summarize briefly the body of research on homosexuality in the Bible. But these are the interpretations that some scholars are proposing: The story of Sodom in Genesis 19 is about offense against the sacred duty of hospitality. That is how Ezekiel 16:48-49 and Wisdom 9:13-14 interpret this text. The attempted male rape only heightens the atrocity of this offense. Leviticus 18:22 does forbid male-male sex as an "abomination." But the word simply means an impurity or a religious taboo — like eating pork.

What part does the Bible play in deciding the morality of same-sex acts?

Unlike some other Christian churches, the Catholic Church does not rest its teaching on the Bible alone. But the Catholic Church does appeal to the Bible to support its teaching about natural law. Church documents have claimed that, from the book of Genesis to the end of the Christian Testament, there is constant opposition to homogenital acts.

What is the basis for Catholic teaching about the immorality of homogenital acts?

All Catholic sexual ethics rests on this principle: procreation is an essential aspect of human sexuality, so every genital act must be open to the possibility of conception. For this very same reason Catholic teaching forbids homogenital acts as well as contraception, masturbation, and pre-marital and extra-marital sex.

This teaching pertains to the very nature of human sexuality. That is, the Church presents this teaching as natural law, the ordering which the Creator built into the universe.

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.