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Statement from Matt Foreman, Executive Director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Reprinted with permission

“There’s plenty to be offended by in the new Catholic Church guidelines titled Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination, but a few things stand out. First, the bishops tried to sound more compassionate by writing that even though the Catholic Church believes ‘the homosexual orientation is objectively disordered,’ that doesn’t mean ‘the person as a whole is disordered.’ However, they also stated that ‘other inclinations can likewise be disordered, such as those that lead to envy, malice or greed.’ Sorry, but it’s still an insult to compare an orientation that leads to love to ‘inclinations’ that lead to harm.

“Second, the guidelines state that ‘no scientific consensus has been reached regarding the effectiveness of various therapies’ to change one’s sexual orientation. The authors probably saw this as a major concession to science. However, all medical and mental health professional associations do have consensus in warning of the dangers of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ programs. No scientific studies have found these programs to be effective. To the contrary, a growing body of research shows that they can cause profound psychological damage.

“Third, the guidelines say the Church should take action to keep people who experience same-sex attraction from falling ‘into the lifestyles and values of a gay subculture.' Much of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is working to protect our fam ilies, to be protected from discrimination and violence, and to have the freedom to serve in the U.S. military. So much for the ‘immoral lifestyles’ we are supposedly creating.”