The director of the Mexican bishops' Family Ministry Office issued a statement reiterating the Church’s teachings on homosexuality.
Bishop Francisco Javier Chavolla told CNA that he hopes his statement will clarify what the Church teaches about those who have homosexual tendencies and the pastoral care they should receive.
He noted that the teaching that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered is based on natural law because “(same-sex couples) do not produce genital complementarity and are not ordered towards the procreation of the human species.”
At the same time, he said, the Church distinguishes between homosexual acts and homosexual tendencies, the latter which “does not of itself constitute a moral disorder. The homosexual act, however, is considered a moral disorder and objectively grave sin.”
In accord with the teaching of Jesus, he continued, the Church extends mercy and understanding to practicing and non-practicing homosexuals alike, “recognizing their personal dignity and status as children of God, above all.” The Church exhorts them to live in chastity with the aid of penance and the sacraments, as “all Christians are called to holiness” and “to follow the will of God.”
The Church’s stance against homosexual unions does not amount to discrimination, the bishop said, but rather is part of her duty to guard the institution of marriage and the family, “based on the marriage between one man and one woman,” which is essential for stability in society.
Bishop Chavolla said the Church’s pastoral ministry extends to all the baptized regardless of their gender, age, civil status or condition.
“The moral status of a baptized person is private, and priests are obligated to respect the seal of the sacrament or exercise prudence in the case of a consultation, and such is the case with homosexuals who approach the Church.
“In any case, the Church … will seek to accompany them in their spiritual journey,” he said.
“A ministry aimed directly at homosexual persons could expose someone who would otherwise prefer to keep their struggle private, but the Church reaches out to those who publicly manifest themselves as such,” the bishop said.
The Church’s magisterium, summarized in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, contains countless anthropological, biblical and theological principals that can inspire and enlighten those engaged in pastoral ministry, Bishop Chavolla said, but “it essential they be studied and adapted to the concrete circumstances of individuals, communities and their cultures.”
Bishop Chavolla’s statements contrast with the positions taken by Bishop Raul Vera Lopez of the Diocese of Santillo. Bishop Vera has repeatedly expressed his support of same-sex unions and of the San Elredo Community, an organization that holds positions on homosexuality contrary to the Church’s teachings.
In March of this year, Bishop Vera expressed support for a forum on sexual diversity organized by the San Elredo Community, which promoted the homosexual lifestyle and the adoption of children by same-sex couples.
Fr. Robert Coogan, the American priest who founded San Elredo, told CNA that the group’s work is not contrary to the teachings of the Church. “The only answer the Catechism gives is to tell them to be celibate, and that is not enough.”
The priest expressed his own stance in favor of homosexual unions and adoptions saying, “We have the firm support of the bishop.”