Father Philip Bochanski, executive director of Courage International, told CNA the document deserves "careful study and reflection." On an initial reading, he said, "it is already clear to me that it is both insightful and useful for our constant efforts to 'speak the truth in love' (Eph 4:15) to the world about the Good News of God's plan for our lives."
Courage International is an apostolate for people with same-sex attractions who commit to strive for chastity.
Bochanski praised the document's structure of "listening, reasoning, proposing" for providing "a clear and solid framework for ministry" that accords with Pope Francis' advice that those in ministry "must accompany people starting from their situation."
"The document then lays out succinctly and clearly the anthropological and moral principles that are the foundation of our understanding of human sexuality, so that such a dialogue can assist each person to view his or her own desires and experience in light of the plan of God," he said. "And it courageously confronts trends of secular thought that are confusing or opposed to that plan, calling all people to conform their lives more completely to Christ."
According to Kingsland, the proper context for speaking about sexuality is "love and the call of the human person to communion."
"We are made in the image of God who is a communion of love," she said.
Father James Martin, S.J., a media commentator and editor-at-large for the Society of Jesus' magazine America, criticized the document in a June 10 tweet.
"It rightly calls for 'dialogue' and 'listening,' but sets aside the real-life experiences of LGBT people. Sadly, it will be used as a cudgel against transgender people, and an excuse to argue that they shouldn't even exist," he said.
"The document is mainly a dialogue with philosophers and theologians, and with other church documents; but not with scientists and biologists, not with psychologists, and certainly not with LGBT people, whose experiences are given little if any weight."
Martin then shared with his 246,000 Twitter followers a New Ways Ministry Tweet which linked to its blog post and said:
"The Vatican's new document on gender will be used to oppress and harm LGBT people. It perpetuates false stereotypes that encourage hatred, bigotry, and violence."
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U.S. bishops' statements have said New Ways Ministry is not approved of or recognized by the Catholic Church and it is misleading to claim that it "provides an authentic interpretation of Catholic teaching and an authentic Catholic pastoral practice," then-U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Cardinal George said in a 2010 statement.
Kingsland said the Congregation for Catholic Education's document acknowledges confusion about the concepts of human nature and human freedom and sees the need to clarify these for "a correct and full vision of the human person." It is also important for concepts like "natural inclinations" to be understood rightly, and important to express a concept of human rights that does not undermine "the true good of the human person."
Kingsland noted the document's "clear continuity" between the past and present teaching of the Church. The document cites the teaching of John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis, she noted.
She welcomed the document's call to form individual teachers and to build up "an entire educational community," saying, "they are called to be witnesses above all."