TO ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS FROM THE CONGREGATION FOR THE
INSTITUTES OF CONSECRATED LIFE AND SOCIETIES OF APOSTOLIC LIFE
1. Is a homosexual orientation in any sense a defect?
Although the word "defect" does not appear in any magisterial document to describe a homosexual orientation, in 1975 the Church described the definitive tendency of homosexuality as "some kind of innate instinct or a pathological constitution judged to be incurable." In 1986, the magisterium characterized the tendency as an "objective disorder" because it is "ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil" (i.e., genital acts which the magisterium judges to lack "an essential and indispensable finality").
On the pastoral level, it is important to help people understand that this assessment of the homosexual orientation does not imply moral failing or sin and that fundamental respect is due to gay and lesbian persons as bearers of the image of God.
2. Are there any moral limitations on homosexual activity that do not apply to heterosexual activity? What are these moral limitations?
The Church teaches that there are moral limitations on homosexual activity that do not apply to heterosexual activity, i.e., that homogenital acts are intrinsically immoral whereas heterosexual genital activity can be moral in the context of marriage.
3. If there are such moral limitations, what is their basis?
The basis of the magisteriums stance against homogenital activity is the inseparable link between the unitive and procreative meanings of human sexuality which the Church discerns in nature and the Scriptures. This was set forth in 1986 when the magisterium stated that "it is only in the marital relationship that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good" and that "homosexual activity is not a complementary union, able to transmit life."
Respectfully submitted, this
22nd day of February, 1996
Jeannine Gramick, SSND Robert Nugent, SDS