In the day to day life of the Catholic community, the Church is slowly emerging from its “don't ask, don't tell” attitude toward our sons, daughters, brothers and sisters who are gay or lesbian.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms that gay and lesbian persons “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity” (#2358). In their pastoral letter Always Our Children (1997), the U.S. Catholic bishops affirmed that gay and lesbian Catholics “have a right to be welcomed into the [faith] community, to hear the word of God, and to receive pastoral care.” The bishops said “homosexual persons living chaste lives should have opportunities to lead and serve the community.”
According to Catholic teaching, gay and lesbian persons are called to a life of chastity. The Church considers sexual acts between homosexual persons sinful just as sexual acts between unmarried heterosexual persons are sinful. However, the bishops affirmed that gay and lesbian persons need to be nourished by interpersonal relationships. "This includes friendship, a way of loving...essential to healthy human development [which] can and does thrive outside of genital sexual involvement," the bishops wrote.
Gay or lesbian Catholics who are sexually active or living in a committed relationship with another person are still members of the Church; however, like Catholics who are divorced and remarried without a Decree of Invalidity, they should limit their participation in some aspects of the spiritual and sacramental life of the Catholic community (these limitation are outlined here).
• If you are a gay or lesbian Catholic who does not feel welcome in the Church, or is sexually active and have questions about your relationship to the Church, you may visit privately with a pastor, confessor or spiritual director.
(See also: "What If I Don't Agree With Some of the Church's Teachings?")
• Information for Gay and Lesbian Catholics
• Resources for Gay and Lesbian Catholics