In 1975, the CDF issued Persona Humana, which dealt with the pastoral care of persons with homosexual tendencies.
In some cases, this document said, “people conclude that their tendency is so natural that it justifies in their case homosexual relations within a sincere communion of life and love analogous to marriage.”
The CDF stressed that all persons must be treated pastorally and with understanding, but clarified that “no pastoral method can be employed which would give moral justification to these acts on the grounds that they would be consonant with the condition of such people. For according to the objective moral order, homosexual relations are acts which lack an essential and indispensable finality.”
In 1986, the CDF sent a “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons.”
The letter encouraged bishops “to provide pastoral care in full accord with the teaching of the Church for homosexual persons of their dioceses.”
Nevertheless, the letter said, “increasing numbers of people today, even within the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Church to accept the homosexual condition as though it were not disordered and to condone homosexual activity. Those within the Church who argue in this fashion often have close ties with those with similar views outside it. These latter groups are guided by a vision opposed to the truth about the human person, which is fully disclosed in the mystery of Christ. They reflect, even if not entirely consciously, a materialistic ideology which denies the transcendent nature of the human person as well as the supernatural vocation of every individual.”
In 1992, the CDF published “Some considerations concerning the response to legislative proposals on the non – discrimination of homosexual persons.”
That document stressed that “homosexual persons, as human persons, have the same rights as all persons including the right of not being treated in a manner which offends their personal dignity.”
However, the document noted that “there are areas in which it is not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account, for example, in the placement of children for adoption or foster care, in employment of teachers or athletic coaches, and in military recruitment.”
In 2003, the CDF published “Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons,” which clarified that “the Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to legal recognition of homosexual unions. The common good requires that laws recognize, promote and protect marriage as the basis of the family, the primary unit of society.”
Drawing on this well-established background, the latest responsum has solid roots in Church teaching. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has found it reasonable to pronounce this teaching once again.
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