current version of the
(ROMAN) CATHOLIC CATECHISM
on the topic of chastity and homosexuality
Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant
sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries
and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred
Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that
"homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered." They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual
act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no
circumstances can they be approved.
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination,
which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect,
compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These
persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice
of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at
times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer, and sacramental grace, they can and should
gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.
Further Bibliography of Church Teaching
Catechism of the Catholic Church, U.S. Catholic Conference, 1994.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics (Persona
National Conference of Catholic Bishops. To Live in Christ Jesus: A Pastoral Reflection on the Moral Life. 1976.
Pope John Paul II. Apostolic Exhortation on the Family (Familiaris Consortio). 1981.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of
Homosexual Persons (the so-called Ratzinger Letter). 1986.
National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Called to Compassion and Responsibility: A Response to the HIV/AIDS Crisis.
U.S. Catholic Conference, 1990.
National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Human Sexuality: A Catholic Perspective for Education and Lifelong Learning.
U.S. Catholic Conference, 1991.
Pope John Paul II. The Splendor of Truth (Veritatis Splendor). 1993.
Pontifical Council for the Family. The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality. U.S. Catholic Conference, 1996.
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