Bishop James Olmsted of Phoenix issued a letter on the dos and don’ts in providing pastoral care to homosexuals in the most recent issue of The Catholic Sun. The letter is the second in the bishop’s series of columns on the Christian meaning of sexuality and chastity, called “Blessing of a Chaste Life.”
The bishop indicated four dos and three don’ts.
Catholics must know about the Church’s teachings on homosexuality. They should inform themselves by reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, as well as recommended books on the topic, such as those by Fr. John Harvey.
Catholics should accept people “who have homosexual inclinations as brothers and sisters in Christ and support them by authentic love and prayer,” he said.
They should invite homosexuals who engage in sexual activity to live abstinence. “Assure them of the power of God’s mercy to forgive and to bring fresh hope, and pray for their conversion,” he said.
Catholics should also support groups like Courage, which “offer support to homosexual persons in their vocation to holiness, and who do this in full conformity with the teachings of the Church.”
However, they should not support groups, such as No Longer Silent or Dignity, “that fail to uphold clearly the teachings of the Bible and the Church on homosexual acts and homosexual persons,” he said. “We cannot help one another along the path of conversion and union with Christ if we deny the truth,” he said.
Catholics should not condone homosexual activity “or fail to teach clearly that it, along with all sexual activity outside of marriage, is seriously wrong,” he added.
The bishop underlined that Catholics should not see “those with homosexual inclinations as problems but as persons, persons whom Jesus redeemed by His Cross.” These people are called to holiness. They have an inviolable dignity and an eternal destiny bestowed on them by God,” he said. They are “persons like you and me, persons who have a welcome place in our Church.
“Our relationship with homosexual persons needs to be that of Christ, one that offers full and fraternal acceptance of each person as made in the image of God and one that is animated by both truth and charity,” he concluded.