Homosexuality and Roman Catholicism
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Homosexuality is considered by the Roman Catholic hierarchy to be "disordered" in the sense that it is said to be "ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil" and is not directed toward what the Catholic Church believes to be the unitive and procreative purposes of sexual activity. "Homosexual acts", which the church refers to as "homosexuality", are considered sinful because "sexual acts, by their nature, are divinely intended to be both unitive and procreative". The Church also believes the complementarity of the sexes to be part of God's plan. The Church holds same-gender sexual activities to be incompatible with this framework. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that,
- "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."
These teachings are not limited to the issue of homosexuality, but form the philosophical underpinning for the Catholic teachings against, for example, fornication, other forms of sodomy, as well as contraception, pornography, and masturbation.
Many Catholics disagree with the official position of the Roman Catholic hierarchy on homosexuality, and in many locations, such as the United States, Mexico, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Northern and Western Europe, as well as much of South America in general (such as in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Uruguay), show growing and stronger support for gay rights (such as same-sex marriage or civil unions, or protection against discrimination) than the general population. In other locations, such as the Philippines, while the general populace is ambivalent on gay rights, younger Filipinos are more accepting.
Compassion for those with homosexual attractions 
The Church has stated that homosexual desires or attractions are not themselves sinful. They are said to be disordered in the sense that they tempt one to do something that is sinful (viz. the homosexual act), but temptations beyond one's control are not considered sinful in and of themselves. For this reason, while the Church does oppose attempts to legitimize same-gender sexual acts, it also urges respect and love for those who do experience same-sex attractions; thus the Catholic Church is also opposed to persecutions and violence against persons with same-sex attractions, and the 1997 edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that:
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.
The first edition, promulgated by John Paul II in 1992 with the apostolic constitution Fidei Depositum, contained the line "They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial" instead of "This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial".
The church has also issued a statement that "urges States to do away with criminal penalties against [homosexual persons]," calling it "grave violations of human rights." It opposes all forms of violence against homosexual people and believes it should be confronted at all levels, but especially at the state level.
For those who do experience same-sex attractions and identify themselves with a homosexual orientation, the Catholic Church offers the following counsel:
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.
Estimating the number of homosexual priests 
Evidence from several studies has shown that there are higher than average numbers of homosexual men (active and non-active) within the Catholic priesthood and higher orders; estimates presented in Donald B. Cozzens' book The Changing Face of the Priesthood range from 23–58%.
A 2002 nationwide poll in America by the Los Angeles Times of 1,854 Roman Catholic priests reported that 80% of them referred to themselves as "mostly" heterosexual, with 67% being exclusively heterosexual, 8% leaning toward heterosexual, 5% completely in the middle, and 6% leaning toward homosexual and 9% saying they are homosexual, for a combined figure of 15% on the homosexual side. Among younger priests (those ordained for 20 years or less) the figure was 23%.
The same survey reported that 44% of the priests said "definitely" a "homosexual subculture", defined as a "definite group of persons that has its own friendships, social gatherings and vocabulary", exists in their diocese or religious order. A 2001 survey conducted by Dean Hoge for Catholic University of America found that 19% of priests said "clearly there is a subculture", 36% said there probably is and 17% said there is not.
A number of anonymous studies have also suggested a prevalence of homosexual leanings in the Roman Catholic priesthood. Studies by Wolf and Sipe from the early 1990s suggest that the percentage of priests in the Catholic Church who admitted to being gay or were in homosexual relationships was well above the national average for the United States of America. Elizabeth Stuart, a former convener of the Catholic Caucus of the Lesbian and Gay Christian movement claimed, "It has been estimated that at least 33 percent of all priests in the RC Church in the United States are homosexual."
One report suggested that since the mid-1980s Roman Catholic priests in the United States were dying from AIDS-related illnesses at a rate four times higher than that of the general population; with most of the cases contracted through same-sex relations, and the cause often concealed on their death certificates. Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of the Archdiocese of Detroit suggested, "Gay priests and heterosexual priests didn't know how to handle their sexuality, their sexual drive. And so they would handle it in ways that were not healthy." Furthermore the report suggested that some priests and behavioral experts believe the church had "scared priests into silence by treating homosexual acts as an abomination and the breaking of celibacy vows as shameful".
Homosexuality and the episcopacy 
The existence of gay bishops in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran and other traditions is a matter of historical record, though never, until recently, considered licit by any of the main Christian denominations. Homosexual activity was engaged in secretly. When it was made public, official response ranged from inaction to expulsion from Holy Orders. As far back as the eleventh century, Ralph, Archbishop of Tours had his lover installed as Bishop of Orléans, yet neither Pope Urban II, nor his successor Paschal II took action to depose either man.
Although homosexual sexual acts have been consistently condemned by the church, a number of senior members of the clergy have been found to have had homosexual relationships. Archbishop Rembert Weakland, who retired in 2002, was alleged to have been in a relationship with a former graduate student; Juan Carlos Maccarone, the Bishop of Santiago del Estero in Argentenia, retired after video surfaced showing him engaged in homosexual acts; and Francisco Domingo Barbosa Da Silveira, the Bishop of Minas in Uruguay, resigned in 2009 after it was alleged that he had broken his vow of celibacy.
A number of Popes were rumored to have been homosexual or to have had male sexual partners, similar to the Roman Emperors. In the 11th century, Pope Benedict IX (1044-1048) was forced out of the papacy amidst a series of scandals, including his sexual orientation toward men.
In response to scandals among ordinary clergy, Saint Peter Damian wrote Liber Gomorrhianus (1050), which denounced, in ascending order of gravity, four varieties of sexual practice: masturbation, mutual masturbation, interfemoral intercourse, and anal intercourse.
Chastity-promoting ministries 
Terence Cardinal Cooke of New York City saw a need for a ministry which would assist Catholics with a same-sex attraction to adhere to Catholic teaching on sexual behaviour. Cooke invited John Harvey to New York to begin the work of Courage International with Benedict Groeschel, of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. The first meeting was held in September 1980 at the Shrine of Mother Seton in South Ferry.
The Catholic Medical Association has stated that same-sex attractions are preventable and a symptom of other issues. The goal of therapy should be "freedom to live chastely according to one's state in life."
Dissent from official Church position 
A number of Catholics and Catholic groups oppose the position of the Church and seek to change it. Over 260 Catholic theologians, particularly from Germany, Switzerland and Austria signed in January/February 2011 a memorandum Church 2011. They want more ecclesiastical respect for gay couples, who live in civil unions.
A 2011 report based on telephone surveys of American Catholics conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 43% support same-sex marriage, 31% support civil unions, and 22% oppose any legal recognition of a same-sex relationship. 56% believe that sexual relations between two people of the same sex are not sinful. 73% favor anti-discrimination laws, 63% support the right of gay people to serve openly in the military, and 60% favor allowing same-sex couples to adopt children. A 2012 Pew Forum survey which asked American Catholic respondents if they supported or opposed same-sex marriage found that 52% supported it and 37% opposed it. Catholic support of gay rights is thus higher than that of other Christian groups and of the general population.
A notable example of a theologian who has been critical of the Church's proclamations regarding homosexuality is Professor Charles Curran. Curran was removed from the faculty at the Catholic University of America following his contention that homosexual acts in the context of a committed relationship were good for homosexual people.
Roman Catholic priest Dr. James Alison argues that the teaching of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons regarding persons with homosexual inclinations is incompatible with the Gospel, and states that "it cannot in fact be the teaching of the Church." In a Question of Truth, the Dominican priest Gareth Moore states that: "... there are no good arguments, from either Scripture or natural law, against what have come to be known as homosexual relationships. The arguments put forward to show that such relationships are immoral are bad."
There have also been some practical and ministerial disagreements within the clergy and hierarchy of the Church. Two notable examples of ordained Catholics who have attracted controversy because of their actions and ministry to homosexuals are Fr. Robert Nugent and Dr. Jeannine Grammick, who established New Ways Ministry, and were both disciplined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith because of their dissent from magisterial Church teaching regarding this issue. Similarly, the American Bishops Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit and Matthew Clark of Rochester, New York were criticized for their association with New Ways Ministry, and their distortion of the theological concept of the Primacy of Conscience as an alternative to the actual teaching of the Church. Furthermore, the insistence of Bishop Jacques Gaillot to preach a message about homosexuality contrary to that of the official stance of the Church is largely considered to be one of the factors that led to him being removed from his See.
Defense of official Church position 
Some bishops have obtained a reputation for a vocal defense of Church teaching regarding homosexuality. Notable examples include Cardinals George Pell and Francis Arinze, who have insisted that the family as a unit is "mocked by homosexuality" and "sabotaged by irregular unions".
After Pope Benedict XVI was elected pope, the Congregation for Catholic Education issued an instruction prohibiting any individuals who "present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called 'gay culture'" from joining the priesthood.
A essay taking a clear position against gay marriage, written by the French rabbi Gilles Bernheim, found a great echo in Catholic circles culminating in Pope Benedict XVI quoting him at length in his annual address  to the Roman Curia, 21 December 2012.
Some Catholics who oppose gay rights and the acceptance of gay people regard the church's teaching on the matter as definitive, infallible, and unchangeable as a magisterial dogma of the Church. In an official brief called Rescriptum ex audientia of May 19, 2008 made by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone the Cardinal Secretary of State reaffirmed the norms established by the Congregation for Catholic Education in the 2005 document entitled "Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocation with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders", as being of universal value and without exceptions.
Political activities 
The Holy See, an observer at the United Nations, opposed a resolution urging the decriminalization of homosexuality, which is punishable by law in many countries, including some where it incurs a death sentence. Spokespeople claimed that the decriminalization resolution would lead to discrimination against heterosexuals, and the Holy See representative's address stated that a government can and should regulate sexual behavior, comparing homosexuality to pedophilia and incest.
In the United States, the Catholic Church has taken an active and financial role in political campaigns regarding same-sex marriage, spearheading in 2012 a failed effort to repeal Washington's same-sex marriage law and a failed effort to enact a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in Minnesota.
See also 
- Gay bishops
- Homosexuality and Christianity
- Homosexuality in the Roman Catholic priesthood
- Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders
- Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination
- Szymon Niemiec
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