We, the members of DignityUSA, an association of faithful Lesbian and Gay Roman Catholics, their families and friends, assembled on this 23rd day of July, 1987, are returning to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "The Pastoral Letter on the Care of Homosexual Persons" issued in October, 1986, as being pastorally inadequate to meet their needs of American Gay and Lesbian Catholics, their families and friends.
We are grateful that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has sought to address these needs. Nevertheless, after months of reflecting on the expression of the faith in our lives and the expression of the faith which this pastoral proposes for our lives, we cannot receive, in conscience, a pastoral plan which has neither considered its effect on those it seeks to reach, nor consulted those who possess expertise in reaching them. We cannot receive, in conscience, a pastoral plan which is ineffective in expressing the faith we hold which is based on Christ’s model of self-emptying compassion and which was handed down to us through the one, catholic and apostolic Church. We cannot receive, in conscience, a pastoral plan whose very rhetoric makes improbable a ministry of healing towards those who seek it, and whose rhetoric can and has been used by hateful people to justify further injury towards those who need its healing.
We are returning this specific pastoral letter on the grounds that it has been and continues to be ineffective in reaching those to whom it seeks to minister. In not receiving this letter we are acting in accord with the sensus fidelium as bestowed by the Holy Spirit upon the People of God throughout History. We affirm the Roman Catholic confession, and we continue to embrace the Roman Catholic Church. Until the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith presents a pastoral plan which reaches out to those it seeks to heal, by a rhetoric expressive of the self–emptying compassion to which our faith calls us, any plans the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has for ministry to Lesbian and Gay Catholics, their families and friends, will remain simply plans. We affirm that the role of the laity is to put into practice the teachings of the Church in a secular milieu. However, if a teaching can find no effective expression in the lives of the faithful, the faithful cannot realize it. Until the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith presents a pastoral teaching on sexual orientation which the People of God may realize, we remain ready and eager to pray for and consult with our pastors, at any opportunity, for the good of our Church and for the good of our world.