59 – Who am I to judge? Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person


Ever since antiquity, as people congregated in societies, the power of judgment was always attributed to people or groups qualified in order to judge issues and infractions that tend to arise within human interaction. In the Old Testament, Moses determined that wise, intelligent and experienced men be elected among the people in order to guide and judge the tribes in their concerns and controversies, for alone, he could not continue (Deut 1:12-1).

Unfortunately, human wretchedness ended up corrupting many of those who occupied such positions; to such a point that in his day, Jesus was very severe with the hypocrites who pointed out the ‘splinter’ in their brother’s eye while not taking the ‘beam’ out of their own (Cf. Mt 7:3). Consequently, he warned in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you’ (Mt 7:1).

However, He further taught how one should judge: ‘Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly’ (Jn 7:24). To Him had been given the ‘power to exercise judgment, because he is the Son of Man’ (Jn 5:27), and when He bestowed the apostolic primacy on Peter, through the ‘power of the keys’ He constituted him as supreme judge of His Church, investing him with power to judge and condemn evil, and commend good. This power to judge is extended, naturally, into the entire ambit of human morals, including when they enter the temporal sphere. Herein lies the grave responsibility that weighs upon the one who assumes the Pontifical throne.

Saint Augustine cautions: ‘If you have been constituted judge, if you have received the power to judge, if someone is accused before you, and proven guilty of sin, through real proofs, and truthful witnesses: oblige him, correct him, excommunicate him, degrade him, in conformity with the ecclesiastical norm. May tolerance be kept awake in such a way that discipline does not sleep’. (Sermon 164, 11). Above all in these days of confusion, the Pope has the obligation to be the ‘faithful echo and authentic interpretation of the permanent conviction of the Church’ – which is not a collection of ‘personal opinions’! – especially regarding such timely and serious topics as the question of homosexuality and the ideologies accompany it, with the objective of undermining the entire moral order down to its very roots. On the contrary, unfortunate and ambiguous declarations bring about insufferable concessions even, sadly to say, on the part of many pastors who should defend the truth.

Saint Alphonsus de Liguori warns: ‘The pastor that does not correct his sheep will give an account to Jesus Christ for the wrongdoings that resulted’.


Quote AQuote B
Then, you spoke about the gay lobby. So much is written about the gay lobby. I still haven’t found anyone with an identity card in the Vatican with ‘gay’ on it. They say there are some there. I believe that when you are dealing with such a person, you must distinguish between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of someone forming a lobby, because not all lobbies are good. This one is not good. If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in a beautiful way, saying … wait a moment, how does it say it … it says: ‘no one should marginalize these people for this, they must be integrated into society’. The problem is not having this tendency, no, we must be brothers and sisters to one another, and there is this one and there is that one. The problem is in making a lobby of this tendency: a lobby of misers, a lobby of politicians, a lobby of masons, so many lobbies. For me, this is the greater problem. Thank you so much for asking this question. Many thanks. (In-flight Press conference from Rio de Janeiro to Rome, July 28, 2013)

‘We need to proclaim the Gospel on every street corner,’ the pope says, ‘preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing, even with our preaching, every kind of disease and wound. In Buenos Aires I used to receive letters from homosexual persons who are ‘socially wounded’ because they tell me that they feel like the church has always condemned them. But the church does not want to do this. During the return flight from Rio de Janeiro I said that if a homosexual person is of good will and is in search of God, I am no one to judge. By saying this, I said what the catechism says. Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person. A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. Here we enter into the mystery of the human being. In life, God accompanies persons, and we must accompany them, starting from their situation. It is necessary to accompany them with mercy. When that happens, the Holy Spirit inspires the priest to say the right thing.’ (Interview with Antonio Spadaro, August 19, 2013)

Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter the various parts of our study

ContentsAuthorsIV – Basics of Christian Doctrine Regarding Homosexuality

I – The Primacy of Peter makes the Pope the Supreme Judge who no one may judge
II – Hidden works are subject to the judgment of He who knows the i
nterior of the consciences
III – Exterior works are known and subject to the judgment of the pastors of souls, above all if they provoke scandal: the Pope has the duty to judge
IV – Basics of Christian doctrine regarding homosexuality

I – The Primacy of Peter makes the Pope the Supreme Judge who no one may judge

Vatican Council I (Ecumenical XX)

Spoiler title

[Recourse to the Roman Pontiff as the supreme judge] And since the Roman Pontiff is at the head of the universal Church by the divine right of apostolic primacy, We teach and declare also that he is the supreme judge of the faithful [cf. n. 1500 ], and that in all cases pertaining to ecclesiastical examination recourse can be had to his judgment [cf. n. 466 ]; moreover, that the judgment of the Apostolic See, whose authority is not surpassed, is to be disclaimed by no one, nor is anyone permitted to pass judgment on its judgment [cf. n. 330 ff.]. Therefore, they stray from the straight path of truth who affirm that it is permitted to appeal from the judgments of the Roman Pontiffs to an ecumenical Council, as to an authority higher than the Roman Pontiff.

[Canon] If anyone thus speaks, that the Roman Pontiff has only the office of inspection or direction, but not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the universal Church, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church spread over the whole world; or, that he possesses only the more important parts, but not the whole plenitude of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate, or over the churches altogether and individually, and over the pastors and the faithful altogether and individually: let him be anathema. (Denzinger-Hünermann 3063-3064. Vatican Council I, Session IV, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ, July 18, 1870)

Innocent I

Spoiler title

In seeking the things of God . . . preserving the examples of ancient tradition . . . you have strengthened the vigor of your religion . . . with true reason, for you have confirmed that reference must be made to our judgment, realizing what is due the Apostolic See, since all of us placed in this position desire to follow the Apostle, from whom the episcopate itself and all the authority of this name have emerged. Following him we know how to condemn evils just as (well as how) to approve praiseworthy things. Take this as an example, guarding with your sacerdotal office the practices of the fathers you resolve that (they) must not be trampled upon, because they made their decisions not by human, but by divine judgment, so that they thought that nothing whatever, although it concerned separated and remote provinces, should be concluded, unless it first came to the attention of this See, so that what was a just proclamation might be confirmed by the total authority of this See, and from this source (just as all waters proceed from their natal fountain and through diverse regions of the whole world remain pure liquids of an uncorrupted source), the other churches might assume what [they ought] to teach, whom they ought to wash, those whom the water worthy of clean bodies would shun as though defiled with filth incapable of being cleansed. (Denzinger-Hünermann 217. Innocent I, Epistle 29 In requirendis to the African bishops, January 27, 417)

Council of Ephesus (Ecumenical III)

Spoiler title

No one doubts, but rather it has been known to all generations, that the holy and most blessed Peter, chief and head of the Apostles, the pillar of the faith, the foundation stone of the Catholic church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that the power of binding and loosing sins was given to him, who up to this moment and always lives in his successors, and judges. (Denzinger-Schönmetzer 250. Council of Ephesus, Ecumenical III, from the speech of Philip the Roman legate, Session III, 431)

Clement VI

The Roman Pontiff may judge all and be judged by no one

In the third place, if you and the Armenians subject to you have believed and do believe that the Roman Pontiffs who have been and we who now are the Roman Pontiff and, those who in future will be successively as legitimate vicars of Christ and full of power in the highest degree, have received immediately from Christ Himself over the complete and universal body of the church militant, every jurisdiction of power which Christ as fitting head had in human life. In the fourth place, if you have believed and now believe that all the Roman Pontiffs who have been and we who are, and others who will be in the future from the plentitude of past power and authority have been able, are able, and will be able directly by our own power and theirs both to judge all those subject to our jurisdiction and theirs, and to establish and delegate ecclesiastical judges to judge whomsoever we wish. In the fifth place, if you have believed and now believe that to such an extent has been, is, and will be both pre-eminent authority together with juridical power of the Roman Pontiffs who have been, of us who are, and of those who in future will be, has been, is, and will be so extensive, that by no one have they been, can we be, or will they in the future be able to be judged; but they have been, we are, and they will be reserved for judgment by God alone; and that from our sentences and judgments it has not been possible nor will it be possible for an appeal to be made to any judges. (Denzinger-Hünermann 1054-1056. Clement VI – letter Super quisbusdam, to the Consolator, the Catholicon of the Armenians, September 20, 1351)

Council of Florence (Ecumenical XVII)

The Pope has full power to feed, rule, and govern the universal Church

We likewise define that the holy Apostolic See, and the Roman Pontiff, hold the primacy throughout the entire world; and that the Roman Pontiff himself is the successor of blessed Peter, the chief of the Apostles, and the true vicar of Christ, and that he is the head of the entire Church, and the father and teacher of all Christians; and that full power was given to him in blessed Peter by our Lord Jesus Christ, to feed, rule, and govern the universal Church; just as is contained in the acts of the ecumenical Councils and in the sacred canons. (Denzinger-Hünermann 1307. Council of Florence, Bull Laetentur coeli, Decree for the Greeks, July 6, 1439)


No one can retract from any decision made by the authority of the Pope

Although the tradition of the Fathers has attributed such great authority to the Apostolic See that no one would dare to disagree wholly with its judgment, and it has always preserved this judgment by canons and rules, and current ecclesiastical discipline up to this time by its laws pays the reverence which is due to the name of Peter, from whom it has itself descended . . . ; since therefore Peter the head is of such (Treat authority and he has confirmed the subsequent endeavors of all our ancestors, so that the Roman Church is fortified . . . by human as well as by divine laws, and it does not escape you that we rule its place and also hold power of the name itself, nevertheless you know, dearest brethren, and as priests you ought to know, although we have such great authority that no one can dare to retract from our decision, yet we have done nothing which we have not voluntarily referred to your notice by letters… not because we did not know what ought to be done, or would do anything which by going against the advantage of the Church, would be displeasing. (Denzinger-Hünermann 221. Pope St. Zosimus, Council of Carthage, from the letter Quamvis Patrum to the African bishops, March 21, 418)

Boniface I

It is not licit to put up opposition to the apostolic supremacy

No one has ever boldly raised his hands in opposition to the apostolic supremacy, from whose judgment there may be no withdrawal; no one in this has been rebellious, except him who wished judgment to be passed on himself. (Denzinger- Hünermann 235. Boniface I, Letter Manet beatum, March 11, 422)

Gregory XVI

The government and administration of the whole Church rests with the Roman Pontiff

Remember also that the government and administration of the whole Church rests with the Roman Pontiff to whom, in the words of the Fathers of the Council of Florence, ‘the full power of nourishing, ruling, and governing the universal Church was given by Christ the Lord.’ (Council of Florence, Session 25, in definit. apud Labb., ed. Venet., vol. 18, col. 527.) (Gregory XVI. Encyclical Mirari vos, no. 8, August 15, 1832)


The Supreme Pastor has all power to judge

By certain indications that have been observed, it is not difficult to perceive that among Catholics, perhaps due to the evils of our times, there are those who, not content with being among the subjects – the position befitting them within the Church – wish to have some part in the governing of the same; or at least think that they have the right to examine and judge, in their own manner, the acts of the authority. This would be, if it prevailed, of grave harm to the Church of God, in which, through the manifest will of its divine Founder, can be distinguished in two parts, in an absolute way; the teachers and those taught, the flock and the shepherds, and among the Shepherds there is one who is the Head and the Supreme Pastor. Only to the Pastors was all power given to teach, to judge, to conduct, and to the faithful the duty to follow their teachings was imposed, to submit with docility to their judgment, to let themselves be governed, corrected and conducted toward salvation. (Leo XIII. Letter to the Archbishop of Paris, June 17, 1885)

Peter has the power of commanding, forbidding, and judging...

From this text it is clear that by the will and command of God the Church rests upon Saint Peter, just as a building rests on its foundation. Now the proper nature of a foundation is to be a principle of cohesion for the various parts of the building. It must be the necessary condition of stability and strength. Remove it and the whole building falls. It is consequently the office of Saint Peter to support the Church, and to guard it in all its strength and indestructible unity. How could he fulfil this office without the power of commanding, forbidding, and judging, which is properly called jurisdiction? It is only by this power of jurisdiction that nations and commonwealths are held together. […] Therefore God confided His Church to Peter so that he might safely guard it with his unconquerable power. He invested him, therefore, with the needful authority; since the right to rule is absolutely required by him who has to guard human society really and effectively. (Leo XIII. Encyclical Satis Cognitum, no.12, June 29, 1896)

... binding and loosing, making laws and punishing

In this same sense He says: ‘Whatsoever thou shall bind upon earth it shall be bound also in Heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth it shall be loosed also in Heaven.’ This metaphorical expression of binding and loosing indicates the power of making laws, of judging and of punishing; and the power is said to be of such amplitude and force that God will ratify whatever is decreed by it. Thus it is supreme and absolutely independent, so that, having no other power on earth as its superior, it embraces the whole Church and all things committed to the Church. (Leo XIII. Encyclical Satis Cognitum, no. 12, June 29, 1896)

The jurisdiction of the Roman pontiffs extends to the whole Christian world

Moreover, he who is set over the whole flock must have authority, not only over the sheep dispersed throughout the Church, but also when they are assembled together. Do the sheep when they are all assembled together rule and guide the shepherd? Do the successors of the Apostles assembled together constitute the foundation on which the successor of Saint Peter rests in order to derive therefrom strength and stability? Surely jurisdicton and authority belong to him in whose power have been placed the keys of the Kingdom taken collectively. And as the Bishops, each in his own district, command with real power not only individuals but the whole community, so the Roman pontiffs, whose jurisdiction extends to the whole Christian commonwealth, must have all its parts, even taken collectively, subject and obedient to their authority. Christ the Lord, as we have quite sufficiently shown, made Peter and his successors His vicars, to exercise forever in the Church the power which He exercised during His mortal life. Can the Apostolic College be said to have been above its master in authority? This power over the Episcopal College to which we refer, and which is clearly set forth in Holy Writ, has ever been acknowledged and attested by the Church, as is clear from the teaching of General Councils. ‘We read that the Roman Pontiff has pronounced judgments on the prelates of all the churches; we do not read that anybody has pronounced sentence on him’ (Hadrianus ii., in Allocutione iii., ad Synodum Romanum an. 869). The reason for which is stated thus: ‘there is no authority greater than that of the Apostolic See’ (Nicholaus in Epist. lxxxvi. ad Michael. Imperat). (Leo XIII. Encyclical Satis Cognitum, no. 15, June 29, 1896)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The ‘power of the keys’ designates authority to govern the Church

Jesus entrusted a specific authority to Peter: ‘I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ (Mt 16:19.) The ‘power of the keys’ designates authority to govern the house of God, which is the Church. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, confirmed this mandate after his Resurrection: ‘Feed my sheep.’ (Jn 21:15-17) The power to ‘bind and loose’ connotes the authority to absolve sins, to pronounce doctrinal judgements, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church. Jesus entrusted this authority to the Church through the ministry of the apostles (Mt 18:18) and in particular through the ministry of Peter, the only one to whom he specifically entrusted the keys of the kingdom. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 553)

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

The Vicar of Christ has full, supreme and universal power

Just as in the Gospel, the Lord so disposing, Saint Peter and the other apostles constitute one apostolic college, so in a similar way the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are joined together. […]But the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is understood together with the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter as its head. The pope’s power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power. […] The Roman Pontiff, as the successor of Peter, is the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity of both the bishops and of the faithful. (Vatican Council II, Dogmaic Constitution Lumen Gentium, no. 22-23, November 21, 1964)

II – Hidden works are subject to the judgment of He who knows the interior of the consciences

Sacred Scripture

Rev 2:23

Thus shall all the churches come to know that I am the searcher of hearts and minds and that I will give each of you what your works deserve. (Rev 2:23)

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Sins are known to God in our heart although not known to men by deed

For there are three things which go to complete sin: the suggestion of, the taking pleasure in, and the consenting to. Suggestion takes place either by means of memory, or by means of the bodily senses, when we see, or hear, or smell, or taste, or touch anything. And if it give us pleasure to enjoy this, this pleasure, if illicit, must be restrained. Just as when we are fasting, and on seeing food the appetite of the palate is stirred up, this does not happen without pleasure; but we do not consent to this liking, and we repress it by the right of reason, which has the supremacy. But if consent shall take place, the sin will be complete, known to God in our heart, although it may not become known to men by deed. (Saint Augustine. Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount, I, 34, no. 15)

Stephen V

The hidden crimes should be left to the judgment of He who alone who knows the hearts

Crimes effectively made public through a spontaneous confession and the proof of witness, having before their eyes the fear of God are confided to our governing in order to be judged; but the hidden and unknown should be left to the judgement of He ‘who alone who knows the hearts of the children of men.’ (cf. 1 Kings 8:39) (Denzinger-Hünermann 670. Stephen V, Letter Consuluisti de infantibus, to Archbishop Ludbert of Mainz, between 887–888)

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

Man has in his heart a law written by God; according to it he will be judged

In the depths of his conscience, man detects a law which he does not impose upon himself, but which holds him to obedience. Always summoning him to love good and avoid evil, the voice of conscience when necessary speaks to his heart: do this, shun that. For man has in his heart a law written by God; to obey it is the very dignity of man; according to it he will be judged (cf. Rom. 2:15-16). Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths (cf. ius XII, Radio address on the correct formation of a Christian conscience in the young). In a wonderful manner conscience reveals that law which is fulfilled by love of God and neighbor (Matt. 22:37-40; Gal. 5:14). In fidelity to conscience, Christians are joined with the rest of men in the search for truth, and for the genuine solution to the numerous problems which arise in the life of individuals from social relationships. Hence the more right conscience holds sway, the more persons and groups turn aside from blind choice and strive to be guided by the objective norms of morality. Conscience frequently errs from invincible ignorance without losing its dignity. The same cannot be said for a man who cares but little for truth and goodness, or for a conscience which by degrees grows practically sightless as a result of habitual sin. (Vatican Council II, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, no. 16, December 7, 1965)

John Paul II

The interior judgment of the conscience demands a ‘convincing concerning sin’

Conversion requires convincing of sin; it includes the interior judgment of the conscience, and this, being a proof of the action of the Spirit of truth in man’s inmost being, becomes at the same time a new beginning of the bestowal of grace and love: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’ (Jn 20:22.) Thus in this ‘convincing concerning sin’ we discover a double gift: the gift of the truth of conscience and the gift of the certainty of redemption. The Spirit of truth is the Counselor. (John Paul II. Encyclical Dominum et vivificantem, no. 31, May 18, 1986)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

To treat the wounds of sin, it must first be uncovered

But to do its work grace must uncover sin so as to convert our hearts and bestow on us ‘righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ Like a physician who probes the wound before treating it, God, by his Word and by his Spirit, casts a living light on sin…(Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1848)

Pius XI

Confessors have the grave responsibility to guide each penitent according to his spiritual need

Whoever has no aptitude for study and who will be unable to follow the prescribed courses with due satisfaction; all such cases show that they are not intended for the priesthood. By letting them go on almost to the threshold of the sanctuary, superiors only make it ever more difficult for them to draw back; and, perhaps, even cause them to accept ordination through human respect, without vocation and without the priestly spirit. Let Superiors of seminaries, together with the spiritual directors and confessors, reflect how weighty a responsibility they assume before God, before the Church, and before the youths themselves, if they do not take all means at their disposal to avoid a false step. We declare too, that confessors and spiritual directors could also be responsible for such a grave error; and not indeed because they can take any outward action, since that is severely forbidden them by their most delicate office itself, and often also by the inviolable sacramental seal; but because they can have a great influence on the souls of the individual students, and with paternal firmness they should guide each according to his spiritual needs. […] Let confessors remember the words of Saint Alphonsus Liguori on a similar matter: ‘In general . . . in such cases the more severity the confessor uses with his penitents, the more will he help them towards their salvation; and on the contrary, the more cruel will he be the more he is benign.’ Saint Thomas of Villanova called such over-kind confessors: Impie pios – ‘wickedly kind’; ‘such charity is contrary to charity.’(Pius XI. Encyclical Ad Catholici Sacerdotii, no. 70-71, December 20, 1935)

Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Correct privately, especially if the crime is hidden

Monsignor Sanfelice, of dear memory, one day asked me trembling: ‘Don Alfonso, how may I rest when I know that one of my sheep lives in God’s disgrace?’ Saint Gregory incriminates the bishop who does not correct with the same crime committed by the wicked. But in order that the correction be given correctly, it is necessary in the first place, that it be done with charity, and if by chance, in extreme cases, it is necessary to resort to firmness, always mix the wine with oil, rigor with sweetness. […] Correct privately, especially if the crime is hidden. He who has lost his good name, easily allows himself to be taken over by vices. (Saint Alphonsus de Liguori. The Complete Ascetical Works, Volume XVII, Reflections Useful for Bishops, pg. 470)

III – Exterior works are known and subject to the judgment of the pastors of souls, above all if they provoke scandal: the Pope has the duty to judge

Sacred Scripture

Jesus severely condemns the sin of scandal

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of things that cause sin! Such things must come, but woe to the one through whom they come! (Mt 18: 6-7)

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Scandal may induce spiritual ruin due to a lack of rectitude

As Jerome observes the Greek skandalon may be rendered offense, downfall, or a stumbling against something. For when a body, while moving along a path, meets with an obstacle, it may happen to stumble against it, and be disposed to fall down: such an obstacle is a skandalon. In like manner, while going along the spiritual way, a man may be disposed to a spiritual downfall by another’s word or deed, in so far, to wit, as one man by his injunction, inducement or example, moves another to sin; and this is scandal properly so called. Now nothing by its very nature disposes a man to spiritual downfall, except that which has some lack of rectitude, since what is perfectly right, secures man against a fall, instead of conducing to his downfall. Scandal is, therefore, fittingly defined as ‘something less rightly done or said, that occasions another’s spiritual downfall.’ (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica II-II, q. 43, a.1)

Saint Alphonsus de Liguori

The scandalous take from Jesus Christ the souls that he redeemed by his blood

The sin of scandal consists not only in directly advising others to do evil, but also in inducing them indirectly by acts to the commission of sin: Dictum vel factum minus rectum, prcebens alleri ruinam. Scandal is thus defined how St. Thomas and other theologians: “Every Word or action, more or less inordinate, that constitutes for the neighbor na occasion of falling into sin.” To understand the grievousness of the sin of scandal, it is enough to know that according to Saint Paul he who offends against a brother by leading him into sin, offends against Jesus Christ: When you sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ? (1Cor 8:12). And Saint Bernard assigns the reason, saying that the author of scandal robs Jesus Christ of the souls redeemed by his Blood. The saint goes so far as to say that Jesus Christ suffers more from those that scandalize others than He did from his crucifiers. “If our Lord,” he says, “has given his blood to redeem souls, do you not think that of these two persecutions, the one in which scandal robs him of souls purchased by his blood, the other in which the Jews shed his blood, the first is much more cruel to his heart?” (Saint Alphonsus Liguori. Selva or the Dignity and Duties of a Priest, part I, ch. 8: The sin of scandal)

Code of Canon Law

It belongs to the Church to render judgment insofar as the salvation of souls requires

It belongs to the Church always and everywhere to announce moral principles, even about the social order, and to render judgment concerning any human affairs insofar as the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls requires it. (Code of Canon Law, Can. 747 §2)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Church needs the dedication of pastors in applying Christian morality

In the work of teaching and applying Christian morality, the Church needs the dedication of pastors, the knowledge of theologians, and the contribution of all Christians and men of good will. […] As far as possible conscience should take account of the good of all, as expressed in the moral law, natural and revealed, and consequently in the law of the Church and in the authoritative teaching of the Magisterium on moral questions. Personal conscience and reason should not be set in opposition to the moral law or the Magisterium of the Church. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2038-2039)

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

Duty of the Roman Pontiff to provide for the common good of the Church and the care of souls

In this Church of Christ the Roman pontiff, as the successor of Peter, to whom Christ entrusted the feeding of His sheep and lambs, enjoys supreme, full, immediate, and universal authority over the care of souls by divine institution. Therefore, as pastor of all the faithful, he is sent to provide for the common good of the universal Church and for the good of the individual churches. Hence, he holds a primacy of ordinary power over all the churches. (Vatican Council II. Decree Christus Dominus, no. 2, October 28, 1965)

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The Successor of Peter has a specific ministerial grace for serving the unity of faith of the Church

The Roman Pontiff, as the Successor of Peter, is ‘the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity both of the Bishops and of the multitude of the faithful’ (Lumen gentium, n. 23) and therefore he has a specific ministerial grace for serving that unity of faith and communion which is necessary for the Church to fulfil her saving mission. 18 (Cf. Jn 17:21-23; Unitatis redintegratio, n. 1; Paul VI, Evangelii nuntiandi,; John Paul II, Ut unum sint, n. 98) (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Primacy of the Successor of Peter in the mystery of the Church, no. 4, October 31, 1988)

The Roman Pontiff must guarantee a rigorous fidelity to the Word of God


The exercise of the Petrine ministry must be understood – so that it ‘may lose nothing of its authenticity and transparency’ (John Paul II. Ut unum sint) – on the basis of the Gospel, that is, on its essential place in the saving mystery of Christ and the building-up of the Church. The primacy differs in its essence and in its exercise from the offices of governance found in human societies: it is not an office of co-ordination or management, nor can it be reduced to a primacy of honour, or be conceived as a political monarchy. The Roman Pontiff – like all the faithful – is subject to the Word of God, to the Catholic faith, and is the guarantor of the Church’s obedience; in this sense he is servus servorum Dei. He does not make arbitrary decisions, but is spokesman for the will of the Lord, who speaks to man in the Scriptures lived and interpreted by Tradition; in other words, the episkope of the primacy has limits set by divine law and by the Church’s divine, inviolable constitution found in Revelation (cf. Joint Declaration of the German Bishops, Jan.-Feb. 1875: Denz-Hun. 3114.) The Successor of Peter is the rock which guarantees a rigorous fidelity to the Word of God against arbitrariness and conformism: hence the martyrological nature of his primacy. (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Primacy of the Successor of Peter in the mystery of the Church, no. 7, October 31, 1988)

Benedict XV

Peter is the common teacher and rector of all

To Peter the Prince of the Apostles, the divine Founder of the Church allotted the gifts of inerrancy (Lk 22:32.) in matters of faith and of union with God. This relationship is similar to that of a ‘Choir Director of the Choir of the Apostles.’ (Saint Theodore the Studite, epistle 2 to the Emperor Michael.) He is the common teacher and rector (Saint Cyril of Alexandria, De Trinit., dialogue 4.) of all, so that he might feed the flock of Him who established His Church (Mt 16:18.) on the authority of Peter himself and his successors. And on this mystical rock the foundation (Saint Cyril of Alexandria, Comm. in Luc 22:32.) of the entire ecclesiastical structure stands firm as on a hinge. From it rises the unity of Christian charity as well as our Christian faith. (Benedict XV. Encyclical Principi Apostolorum Petro, no. 1, October 5, 1920)

Boniface I

The Pope may never feel free from the cares of the Chair of Peter

The watchful care over the universal Church confided to Peter abides with him by reason of the Lord’s statement; for he knows on the testimony of the Gospel (Mt 16:18) that the Church was founded on him. His office can never be free from cares, since it is certain that all things depend on his deliberation. These considerations turn my mind to the regions of the Orient, which we behold in a way with genuine solicitude. Far be it from the priests of the Lord, that anyone of them fall into the offense of making the decrees of our elders foreign to him, by attempting something in the way of a novel and unlawful usurpation, realizing that he thus makes him a rival, in whom our Christ has placed the highest power of the priesthood, and whoever rises to reproach him cannot be an inhabitant of the heavenly regions. ‘To you,’ He said, ‘I shall give the keys of the kingdom of heaven’ (Mt 16:19) into which no one shall enter without the favor of the door-keeper. He said: ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I shall build my church’ (Mt 11:29). Whoever, therefore, desires before God to be judged worthy of the dignity of the priesthood, […] should be ‘meek and humble of heart’ (Mt 11:29). lest as a contumacious disciple of him, whose pride he has imitated, he undergo the punishment of the teachers. […] No one has ever boldly raised his hands in opposition to the apostolic supremacy, from whose judgment there may be no withdrawal; no one in this has been rebellious, except him who wished judgment to be passed on himself. (Denzinger-Hünermann 234. Boniface I, Letter Manes beatum, to Rufus and bishops throughout Macedonia, March 11, 422)

John Paul II

The Successor of Peter has the duty to admonish, to caution and to declare certain opinions as irreconcilable with the unity of faith

With the power and the authority without which such an office would be illusory, the Bishop of Rome must ensure the communion of all the Churches. For this reason, he is the first servant of unity. This primacy is exercised on various levels, including vigilance over the handing down of the Word, the celebration of the Liturgy and the Sacraments, the Church’s mission, discipline and the Christian life. It is the responsibility of the Successor of Peter to recall the requirements of the common good of the Church, should anyone be tempted to overlook it in the pursuit of personal interests. He has the duty to admonish, to caution and to declare at times that this or that opinion being circulated is irreconcilable with the unity of faith. When circumstances require it, he speaks in the name of all the Pastors in communion with him. (John Paul II. Encyclical Ut unum sint, no.94, May 25, 1995)

The forceful expressions of the Roman Pontiffs are only the faithful echo and authentic interpretation of the Church’s permanent conviction

The Roman Pontiff in fact has the ‘sacra potestas’ to teach the truth of the Gospel, administer the sacraments and pastorally govern the Church in the name and with the authority of Christ, but this power does not include per se any power over the divine law, natural or positive. Neither Scripture nor Tradition recognizes any faculty of the Roman Pontiff for dissolving a ratified and consummated marriage; on the contrary, the Church’s constant practice shows the certain knowledge of Tradition that such a power does not exist. The forceful expressions of the Roman Pontiffs are only the faithful echo and authentic interpretation of the Church’s permanent conviction. (John Paul II. Address to members of the Tribunal of the Sacred Roman Rota, no. 8, January 21, 2000)

Pius IX

Words of conformity constitute an error and a danger for the Church

In these times of confusion and disorder, it is not unusual to see Christians, Catholics —even within the secular clergy and cloisters— who constantly have a word of conformity, of conciliation and negotiation on their lips. Very well! I do not hesitate to declare: these men are in error, and do not consider them to be the lesser enemies of the Church. We live in a corrupt and pestilent atmosphere and we must know how to preserve ourselves from it. Let us not allow ourselves to be contaminated by false doctrines, which lose all things under the pretext of saving all. (Pius IX. Speech in the Church of Aracoeli, September 17, 1861)

Pius X

The pastors of the Christian people have the duty to resist neutrality and compromise

It is for you, therefore, venerable brethren, whom Divine Providence has constituted to be the pastors and leaders of the Christian people, to resist with all your strength this most fatal tendency of modern society to lull itself in a shameful indolence while war is being waged against religion, seeking a cowardly neutrality made up of weak schemes and compromises to the injury of divine and human rights, to the oblivion of Christ’s clear sentence: ‘He that is not with me is against me’ (Mt 12: 30). (Saint Pius X. Encyclical Communium rerum, April 21, 1909)

Benedict XVI

The Pope bears the highest responsibility for Catholic Christianity

But the invitation to give this address was extended to me as Pope, as the Bishop of Rome, who bears the highest responsibility for Catholic Christianity. In issuing this invitation you are acknowledging the role that the Holy See plays as a partner within the community of peoples and states. Setting out from this international responsibility that I hold, I should like to propose to you some thoughts on the foundations of a free state of law. (Benedict XVI. Address, Visit to the Federal Parliament, the Budenstag, in the Reichstag Building, Berlin, September 22, 2011)

Saint Alphonsus de Liguori

The pastor that does not correct his sheep will give an account to Jesus Christ for the wrongdoing that resulted

It is also the office of the pastor to detach the sheep from an evil life with correction, of which he is obliged, even at the cost of his own life. ‘The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep’ (Jn 10:11). If he does not work in this way, he must give an account to Jesus Christ for the wrongdoing that resulted and which could have been avoided with correction. This is the great weight that makes holy bishops tremble. (Saint Alphonsus Liguori. The Complete Ascetical Works, Volume XVII, Reflections Useful for Bishops, pg. 470)

IV – Basics of Christian Doctrine Regarding Homosexuality

1 – Sacred Scripture

The Lord rained down sulphurous fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah

Before they went to bed, all the townsmen of Sodom, both young and old – all the people to the last man – closed in on the house. They called to Lot and said to him, ‘Where are the men who came to your house tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have intimacies with them.’ […] ‘We are about to destroy this place, for the outcry reaching the Lord against those in the city is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.’ […] at the same time the Lord rained down sulphurous fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah (from the Lord out of heaven). He overthrew those cities and the whole Plain, together with the inhabitants of the cities and the produce of the soil. (Gen 19:4-5. 13. 24-25)

Abominations that defiled their land

Do not defile yourselves by any of these things by which the nations whom I am driving out of your way have defiled themselves. Because their land has become defiled, I am punishing it for its wickedness, by making it vomit out its inhabitants. […] otherwise the land will vomit you out also for having defiled it, just as it vomited out the nations before you. Everyone who does any of these abominations shall be cut off from among his people. (Lev 18:24-25. 28)

An abomination to the Lord

You shall not offer a harlot’s fee or a dog’s price as any kind of votive offering in the house of the Lord, your God; both these things are an abomination to the Lord, your God. (Deut 23:19)

The mutual degradation of their bodies - God handed them over to degrading passions

Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity. (Rom 1:24-27)

The law is meant for the lawless - practicing homosexuals, and those opposed to sound teaching

…with the understanding that law is meant not for a righteous person but for the lawless and unruly, the godless and sinful, the unholy and profane, those who kill their fathers or mothers, murderers, the unchaste, practicing homosexuals, kidnapers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is opposed to sound teaching, … (1Tim 1:9-10)

Neither boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals will inherit the kingdom of God

Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1Cor 6:9-10)

No impure person has any inheritance in the kingdom of God

Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Eph 5:5)

The licentious conduct condemned Sodom and Gomorrah

…and if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (to destruction), reducing them to ashes, making them an example for the godless (people) of what is coming; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man oppressed by the licentious conduct of unprincipled people (for day after day that righteous man living among them was tormented in his righteous soul at the lawless deeds that he saw and heard). (2Pet 2:6-8)

For having indulged in unnatural vice it underwent the punishment of eternal fire

Likewise, Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding towns, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual promiscuity and practiced unnatural vice, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 7)

2 – Magisterium of the Church

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

Duty to respect homosexual persons, but without legitimizing behavior opposed to moral law

Homosexual persons are to be fully respected in their human dignity and encouraged to follow God’s plan with particular attention in the exercise of chastity (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2357-2359). This duty calling for respect does not justify the legitimization of behaviour that is not consistent with moral law, even less does it justify the recognition of a right to marriage between persons of the same sex and its being considered equivalent to the family (cf. John Paul II, Address to Spanish Bishops on their Ad Limina Visit (19 February 1998); Pontifical Council for the Family, Family, Marriage and de facto unions (26 July 2000); Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons (3 June 2003). (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, no. 228)

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Homosexual acts constitute a grave depravity and can under no circumstances be approved

Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity (cf. Gen 191-29; Rom 124-27). tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ (CDF, Persona humana 8). 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. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2357)

Homosexual persons are called to chastity

The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is 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. 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. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2358-2359)

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

No pastoral method with homosexuals can be employed which would give moral justification to these acts

At the present time there are those who, basing themselves on observations in the psychological order, have begun to judge indulgently, and even to excuse completely, homosexual relations between certain people. This they do in opposition to the constant teaching of the Magisterium and to the moral sense of the Christian people. A distinction is drawn, and it seems with some reason, between homosexuals whose tendency comes from a false education, from a lack of normal sexual development, from habit, from bad example, or from other similar causes, and is transitory or at least not incurable; and homosexuals who are definitively such because of some kind of innate instinct or a pathological constitution judged to be incurable. In regard to this second category of subjects, some people conclude that their tendency is so natural that it justifies in their case homosexual relations within a sincere communion of life and love analogous to marriage, in so far as such homosexuals feel incapable of enduring a solitary life. In the pastoral field, these homosexuals must certainly be treated with understanding and sustained in the hope of overcoming their personal difficulties and their inability to fit into society. Their culpability will be judged with prudence. But no pastoral method can be employed which would give moral justification to these acts on the grounds that they would be consonant with the condition of such people. For according to the objective moral order, homosexual relations are acts which lack an essential and indispensable finality. In Sacred Scripture they are condemned as a serious depravity and even presented as the sad consequence of rejecting God (Rom 1:24-27 – See also what Saint Paul says of ‘masculorum concubitores’ in 1Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and can in no case be approved of. (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Declaration on certain questions concerning sexual ethics – Persona humana, no. 8, December 29, 1975)

Every direct violation of the moral order of sexuality is objectively serious

According to the Church’s teaching, mortal sin, which is opposed to God, does not consist only in formal and direct resistance to the commandment of charity. It is equally to be found in this opposition to authentic love which is included in every deliberate transgression, in serious matter, of each of the moral laws. Christ Himself has indicated the double commandment of love as the basis of the moral life. But on this commandment depends ‘the whole Law, and the Prophets also.’ (Mt 22:38, 40). It therefore includes the other particular precepts. In fact, to the young man who asked, ‘. . . what good deed must I do to possess eternal life?’ Jesus replied: ‘. . . if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments . . . . You must not kill. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not bring false witness. Honor your father and mother, and: you must love your neighbor as yourself’ (Mt 19:16-19). A person therefore sins mortally not only when his action comes from direct contempt for love of God and neighbor, but also when he consciously and freely, for whatever reason, chooses something which is seriously disordered. For in this choice, as has been said above, there is already included contempt for the Divine commandment: the person turns himself away from God and loses charity. Now according to Christian tradition and the Church’s teaching, and as right reason also recognizes, the moral order of sexuality involves such high values of human life that every direct violation of this order is objectively serious (cf. note 17 and 19 above Decree of the Holy Office, March 18th, 1666, DS 2060; Paul VI, Humanae Vitae, 13, 14). It is true that in sins of the sexual order, in view of their kind and their causes, it more easily happens that free consent is not fully given; this is a fact which calls for caution in all judgment as to the subject’s responsibility. In this matter it is particularly opportune to recall the following words of Scripture: ‘Man looks at appearances but God looks at the heart’ (Sam 16:7). However, although prudence is recommended in judging the subjective seriousness of a particular sinful act, it in no way follows that one can hold the view that in the sexual field mortal sins are not committed. (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Declaration on certain questions concerning sexual ethics Persona humana, no. 10, December 29, 1975)

Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it must be seen as an objective disorder - living out of this orientation is not a morally acceptable option

Explicit treatment of the problem was given in this Congregation’s ‘Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics’ of December 29, 1975. That document stressed the duty of trying to understand the homosexual condition and noted that culpability for homosexual acts should only be judged with prudence. At the same time the Congregation took note of the distinction commonly drawn between the homosexual condition or tendency and individual homosexual actions. These were described as deprived of their essential and indispensable finality, as being ‘intrinsically disordered’, and able in no case to be approved of (cf. n. 8, 4) In the discussion which followed the publication of the Declaration, however, an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good. Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not. (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter to the bishops of the Catholic church on the Pastoral Care of Homesexual Persons, no. 3, October 1, 1986)

The Church rejects erroneous opinions regarding homosexuality

As in every moral disorder, homosexual activity prevents one’s own fulfillment and happiness by acting contrary to the creative wisdom of God. The Church, in rejecting erroneous opinions regarding homosexuality, does not limit but rather defends personal freedom and dignity realistically and authentically understood. (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homesexual Persons, no. 7, October 1, 1986)

Protecting those who have no intention of abandoning their homosexual behavior is opposed to the teachings of the Church

Thus, the Church’s teaching today is in organic continuity with the Scriptural perspective and with her own constant Tradition. Though today’s world is in many ways quite new, the Christian community senses the profound and lasting bonds which join us to those generations who have gone before us, ‘marked with the sign of faith’. Nevertheless, increasing numbers of people today, even within the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Church to accept the homosexual condition as though it were not disordered and to condone homosexual activity. Those within the Church who argue in this fashion often have close ties with those with similar views outside it. These latter groups are guided by a vision opposed to the truth about the human person, which is fully disclosed in the mystery of Christ. They reflect, even if not entirely consciously, a materialistic ideology which denies the transcendent nature of the human person as well as the supernatural vocation of every individual. The Church’s ministers must ensure that homosexual persons in their care will not be misled by this point of view, so profoundly opposed to the teaching of the Church. But the risk is great and there are many who seek to create confusion regarding the Church’s position, and then to use that confusion to their own advantage. The movement within the Church, which takes the form of pressure groups of various names and sizes, attempts to give the impression that it represents all homosexual persons who are Catholics. As a matter of fact, its membership is by and large restricted to those who either ignore the teaching of the Church or seek somehow to undermine it. It brings together under the aegis of Catholicism homosexual persons who have no intention of abandoning their homosexual behaviour. One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination. There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil-statutes and laws. (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homesexual Persons, no. 8-9, October 1, 1986)

Homosexual orientation is an objective disorder evoking moral concern

‘Sexual orientation’ does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc. in respect to non-discrimination. Unlike these, homosexual orientation is an objective disorder (cf. Letter Homosexualitatis problema, no. 3) and evokes moral concern. (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Some considerations concerning the response to legislative proposals on the non-discrimination of homosexual persons, no. 10, July 23, 1992)

Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered – this same moral judgment is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition

There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family. Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts ‘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’. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2357). Sacred Scripture condemns homosexual acts ‘as a serious depravity’… (cf. Rom 1:24-27; 1Cor 6:10; 1Tim 1:10). This judgment of Scripture does not of course permit us to conclude that all those who suffer from this anomaly are personally responsible for it, but it does attest to the fact that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.  (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Persona humana). This same moral judgment is found in many Christian writers of the first centuries (cf., for example, Saint Polycarp, Letter to the Philippians, V, 3; Saint Justin Martyr, First Apology, 27, 1-4; Athenagoras, Supplication for the Christians, 34.) and is unanimously accepted by Catholic Tradition. (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons, no. 4, June 3, 2003)

Congregation for Catholic Education

Sacred Scripture and Tradition has considered the practice of homosexuality as intrinsically immoral, a grave sin and an impediment to Holy Orders

From the time of the Second Vatican Council until today, various Documents of the Magisterium, and especially the Catechism of the Catholic Church, have confirmed the teaching of the Church on homosexuality. The Catechism distinguishes between homosexual acts and homosexual tendencies.

Regarding acts, it teaches that Sacred Scripture presents them as grave sins. The Tradition has constantly considered them as intrinsically immoral and contrary to the natural law. Consequently, under no circumstance can they be approved. […] the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2358; cf. also CIC, can. 208 and CCEO, can. 11.), cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’ (cf. Congregation for Catholic Education, A memorandum to Bishops seeking advice in matters concerning homosexuality and candidates for admission to Seminary, 9 July 1985; Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Letter Notitiae 38, 16 May 2002, 586). (Congregation for Catholic Education, 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, no. 2, November 4, 2005)

Pontifical Council for the Family

Homosexuality must be presented to the youth in light of the documents of the Church

A particular problem that can appear during the process of sexual maturation is homosexuality, which is also spreading more and more in urbanized societies. This phenomenon must be presented with balanced judgement, in the light of the documents of the Church. Young people need to be helped to distinguish between the concepts of what is normal and abnormal, between subjective guilt and objective disorder, avoiding what would arouse hostility. On the other hand, the structural and complementary orientation of sexuality must be well clarified in relation to marriage, procreation and Christian chastity. (Pontifical Council for the Family, The truth and meaning of human sexuality, guidelines for education within the family, no. 104, December 8, 1995)

The demand to grant ‘marital’ status to unions between persons of the same sex is incongruous

The truth about conjugal love also makes it possible to understand the serious social consequences of the institutionalization of homosexual relations: ‘We can also see how incongruous is the demand to grant ‘marital’ status to unions between persons of the same sex. It is opposed, first of all, by the objective impossibility of making the partnership fruitful through the transmission of life according to the plan inscribed by God in the very structure of the human being. Another obstacle is the absence of the conditions for that interpersonal complementarity between male and female willed by the Creator at both the physical-biological and the eminently psychological levels’ (John Paul II. Discourse to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, January 2, 1999). Marriage cannot be reduced to a condition similar to that of a homosexual relationship: this is contrary to common sense ( – ‘there is no equivalence between the relationship of two persons of the same sex and the relationship formed by a man and a woman. Only the latter can be described as a couple because it implies sexual difference, the conjugal dimension, the ability to exercise fatherhood and motherhood. Obviously, homosexuality cannot represent this symbolic whole’. Statement by the Permanent Council of the French Bishops’ Conference regarding the legislative bill ‘Civil Pact of Solidarity’, September 17, 1998.) In the case of homosexual relations, which demand to be considered de facto unions, the moral and juridical consequences take on special relevance (- with regard to the grave, intrinsic moral disorder, contrary to natural law, of homosexual acts, see: Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nos. 2357-2359; Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Persona Humana, December 29, 1975; Pontifical Council for the Family, Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality, December 8, 1995, no. 104). ‘Lastly, de facto unions between homosexuals are a deplorable distortion of what should be a communion of love and life between a man and a woman in a reciprocal gift open to life’ (John Paul II. Discourse to the Participants in the XIV General Assembly of the Pontifical Council for the Family, June 4, 1999; cf. John Paul II, Angelus, June 19, 1994). However, the presumption to make these unions equivalent to ‘legal marriage’, as some recent initiatives attempt to do, is even more serious (cf. Pontifical Council For The Family, Statement on the Resolution by the European Parliament making de facto unions, including same sex unions, equal to the family, March 17, 2000). Furthermore, the attempts to legalize the adoption of children by homosexual couples adds an element of great danger to all the previous ones ( – it cannot be overlooked that, as some of its promoters acknowledge, this legislation constitutes a first step toward, for example, the adoption of children by persons living in a homosexual relation. We fear for the future as we deplore what has happened (Statement by the Chairman of the French Bishops’ Conference after the promulgation of the ‘Civil Pact of Solidarity’, October 13, 1999)). ‘The bond between two men or two women cannot constitute a real family and much less can the right be attributed to that union to adopt children without a family’ (John Paul II, Angelus, February 20, 1994). To recall the social transcendence of the truth about conjugal love and consequently the grave error of recognizing or even making homosexual relations equivalent to marriage does not presume to discriminate against these persons in any way. (Pontifical Council for the Family, Marriage and ‘de facto’ unions, no. 23, November 21, 2000)

International Theological Commission

The dynamism towards procreation is intrinsically linked to the natural inclination that leads man to woman and woman to man

The good of the species appears in this way as one of the fundamental aspirations present in the person. We become particularly aware of it in our time, when certain issues such as global warming revive our sense of responsibility for the planet, as well as for the human species in particular. This openness to a certain common good of the species is already an assertion of certain aspirations proper to the human person. The dynamism towards procreation is intrinsically linked to the natural inclination that leads man to woman and woman to man, a universal datum recognized in all societies. It is the same for the inclination to care for one’s children and to educate them. These inclinations imply that the permanence of the union of man and woman, indeed even their mutual fidelity, are already values to pursue, even if they can only fully flourish in the spiritual order of interpersonal communion (cf. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 16). (International Theological Commission, In search of a universal ethic: a new look at the Natural Law, no. 49, May 20, 2009)

Pius V

The nefarious crime against nature

If someone commits the nefarious crime against nature, for which the divine anger condemned the children of iniquity, he should be given over to the secular authorities to be punished according to the law, and if he is a cleric, no matter what his position, he shall be degraded and subjected to analogous punishment. (Saint Pius V. Constitution Cum Primum, Bullarium romanum, April 1, 1566)

The crime which caused the destruction of the corrupted cities

That horrible crime, which caused the destruction of the cities corrupted by the conflagration of the tremendous justice of God, marks us with bitter sorrow and gravely wounds our soul, bringing us to repress it with the greatest possible zeal. […] All and any priests, be they regular or secular clerics, of whatever degree or dignity, by this present canonical authority, we deprive of all clerical privileges, all positions, dignities and ecclesiastical benefits. And degraded by this Ecclesiastical Tribune, be given over to the power of the secular State to be submitted to the due punishments, for they shall be returned to the lay state. (Saint Pius V. Constitution Horrendum illud scelus 3, August 30, 1568)

Catechism of Saint Pius X

The sin against nature provokes God and cries out for His vengeance

Q. Which are the sins that are said to cry to God for vengeance?
A. The sins that are said to cry to God for vengeance are these four: (1) Willful murder; (2) The sin of sodomy; (3) Oppression of the poor; (4) Defrauding labourers of their wages.
Q.Why are these sins said to cry to God for vengeance?
A. These sins are said to cry to God for vengeance because the Holy Ghost says so, and because their iniquity is so great and so manifest that it provokes God to punish them with the severest chastisements. (Catechism of Saint Pius X, The Precepts of the Church, no. 8-9)

John Paul II

Saint Paul declares that the immoral are excluded from the Kingdom of God

A doctrine which dissociates the moral act from the bodily dimensions of its exercise is contrary to the teaching of Scripture and Tradition. Such a doctrine revives, in new forms, certain ancient errors which have always been opposed by the Church, inasmuch as they reduce the human person to a ‘spiritual’ and purely formal freedom. This reduction misunderstands the moral meaning of the body and of kinds of behaviour involving it (cf. 1Cor 6:19). Saint Paul declares that ‘the immoral, idolaters, adulterers, sexual perverts, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers’ are excluded from the Kingdom of God (cf. 1Cor 6:9). This condemnation — repeated by the Council of Trent — lists as ‘mortal sins’ or ‘immoral practices’ certain specific kinds of behaviour the wilful acceptance of which prevents believers from sharing in the inheritance promised to them. In fact, body and soul are inseparable: in the person, in the willing agent and in the deliberate act, they stand or fall together. (John Paul II. Encyclical Veritatis splendor, no. 49, August 6, 1993)

Benedict XVI

Christian faith and ethics do not wish to stifle love, but to make it healthy

Christian faith and ethics do not wish to stifle love but to make it healthy, strong and truly free: this is the exact meaning of the Ten Commandments, which are not a series of ‘noes’ but a great ‘yes’ to love and to life. Human love, in fact, needs to be purified, to mature and also to surpass itself if it is to be able to become fully human, to be the beginning of true and lasting joy, to respond, that is, to the question of eternity which it bears within it and which it cannot renounce without betraying itself. This is the principal reason why love between a man and a woman is only completely fulfilled in marriage. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants of the Ecclesial Convention of the Diocese of Rome, June 5, 2006)

There is a biological basis of the difference between the sexes

Creatures differ from one another and can be protected, or endangered, in different ways, as we know from daily experience. One such attack comes from laws or proposals which, in the name of fighting discrimination, strike at the biological basis of the difference between the sexes. I am thinking, for example, of certain countries in Europe or North and South America. Saint Columban stated that: ‘If you take away freedom, you take away dignity’ (Ep. 4 ad Attela, in S. Columbani Opera, Dublin, 1957, p. 34). Yet freedom cannot be absolute, since man is not himself God, but the image of God, God’s creation. For man, the path to be taken cannot be determined by caprice or willfulness, but must rather correspond to the structure willed by the Creator. (Benedict XVI. Address to the the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See for the Traditional Exchange of New Year Greetings, January 11, 2010)

Profound falsehood of the ‘anthropological revolution’ in the new philosophy of sexuality of our times

While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: ‘one is not born a woman, one becomes so’ (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term ‘gender’ as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: ‘male and female he created them’ (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. (Benedict XVI. Address, Christmas Greetings to the members of the Roman Curia, December 21, 2012)

Denying the natural structure of marriage between a man and a woman brings serious harm to justice and peace

There is also a need to acknowledge and promote the natural structure of marriage as the union of a man and a woman in the face of attempts to make it juridically equivalent to radically different types of union; such attempts actually harm and help to destabilize marriage, obscuring its specific nature and its indispensable role in society. These principles are not truths of faith, nor are they simply a corollary of the right to religious freedom. They are inscribed in human nature itself, accessible to reason and thus common to all humanity. The Church’s efforts to promote them are not therefore confessional in character, but addressed to all people, whatever their religious affiliation. Efforts of this kind are all the more necessary the more these principles are denied or misunderstood, since this constitutes an offence against the truth of the human person, with serious harm to justice and peace. (Benedict XVI. Message for the celebration of the 46th World Day of Peace, January 1, 2013)

A radical denial of the nature of the creature

The most dangerous snare of this current of thought is in fact the absolutization of man: man wants to be ab-solutus, freed from every bond and from every natural constitution. He claims to be independent and thinks that his happiness lies in his own self-affirmation. ‘Man calls his nature into question…. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be’ (Discourse to the Roman Curia, 21 December 2012). This is a radical denial of the nature of the creature and child in man, which ends in tragic loneliness. (Benedict XVI. Address to the participants in the Plenary Assembly of the Pontifical Council Cor unum, January 19, 2013)

3 – Fathers of the Church, Doctors and Saints

Saint Polycarp of Smyrna

It is needful to abstain from all these things

In like manner, let the young men also be blameless in all things, being especially careful to preserve purity, and keeping themselves in, as with a bridle, from every kind of evil. For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since ‘every lust wars against the spirit;’ and ‘neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God,’ nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming. Wherefore, it is needful to abstain from all these things, being subject to the presbyters and deacons, as unto God and Christ. (Saint Polycarp of Smyrna. Epistle to the Philippians, V, 3: PG 5, 1010)

Athenagoras of Athens

Those who dishonor the fair workmanship of God

For those who have set up a market for fornication and established infamous resorts for the young for every kind of vile pleasure,—who do not abstain even from males, males with males committing shocking abominations, outraging all the noblest and comeliest bodies in all sorts of ways, so dishonouring the fair workmanship of God (for beauty on earth is not self-made, but sent hither by the hand and will of God),—these men, I say, revile us for the very things which they are conscious of themselves, and ascribe to their own gods, boasting of them as noble deeds, and worthy of the gods. These adulterers and pæderasts defame the eunuchs and the once-married (while they themselves live like fishes; for these gulp down whatever falls in their way, and the stronger chases the weaker: and, in fact, this is to feed upon human flesh, to do violence in contravention of the very laws which you and your ancestors, with due care for all that is fair and right, have enacted), so that not even the governors of the provinces sent by you suffice for the hearing of the complaints against those, to whom it even is not lawful, when they are struck, not to offer themselves for more blows, nor when defamed not to bless: for it is not enough to be just (and justice is to return like for like), but it is incumbent on us to be good and patient of evil. (Athenagoras of Athens. Legatio pro Cristianis – A plea for the Christians, Ch. 34)

Saint John Chrysostom

Sodomites ruin the soul with the body – nothing more grievous than this insolent dealing

And thus not only was their doctrine Satanical, but their life too was diabolical. […] For the murderer dissevers the soul from the body, but this man ruins the soul with the body. And name what sin you will, none will you mention equal to this lawlessness. And if they that suffer such things perceived them, they would accept ten thousand deaths so they might not suffer this evil. For there is not, there surely is not, a more grievous evil than this insolent dealing. (Saint John Chrysostom. Homilies on the Epistle of Saint Paul to the Romans, Homily IV, no. 1.2: PG 60, 417; 419)

Saint Augustine of Hippo

Offences contrary to nature are to everywhere and always be detested and punished

Therefore those offences which be contrary to nature are everywhere and at all times to be held in detestation and punished; such were those of the Sodomites, which should all nations commit, they should all be held guilty of the same crime by the divine law, which hath not so made men that they should in that way abuse one another. For even that fellowship which should be between God and us is violated, when that same nature of which He is author is polluted by the perversity of lust. (Saint Augustine of Hippo. Confessions, Book III, Ch. 8, no. 15)

Gregory I, the Great

By their just punishment they might be taught the gravity of unjust desire

Forasmuch as they had been kindled to bad desires in the ill savour of the flesh, it was meet that they should perish by fire and brimstone combined; that by their just punishment they might be taught what they had done in unjust desire. (Gregory I. Morals on the Book of Job, Book XIV, 23, pg. 131)

Saint Peter Damian

Sodomy should not be considered an ordinary vice, for it exceeds in gravity all of the other sins – it destroys the body and lances the soul into the abyss

Sodomy should not be considered an ordinary vice, for it exceeds in gravity all of the other sins, as it destroys the body, throws the soul into the abyss, pollutes the flesh, extinguishes the light of reason, expels the Holy Spirit from the temple of the soul and introduces the devil of impurity. Sodomy induces error, expels the truth from the deceived spirit, deceiving the pilgrim and projecting him into the abyss from where he may never escape, opening to him the gates of hell, closing to him the entrance to Paradise, transforming him from a citizen of the Celestial Jerusalem to an heir of the Infernal Babylon. This vice is considered as precisely the worst of crimes for it is the only that provokes divine vengeance, in violating austerity, suffocating purity, enslaving chastity, definitively destroying virginity with the violence of impure contagion, as it makes all filthy, stains all, and renders the survival of anything pure, chaste or clean impossible. (Saint Peter Damian. Liber Gomorrhianus, XVI: PL: 145, 175-176)

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Unnatural vice transgresses what has been determined by nature, is gravest of all, and an injury to God the Author of nature

In every genus, worst of all is the corruption of the principle on which the rest depend. Now the principles of reason are those things that are according to nature, because reason presupposes things as determined by nature, before disposing of other things according as it is fitting. This may be observed both in speculative and in practical matters. Wherefore just as in speculative matters the most grievous and shameful error is that which is about things the knowledge of which is naturally bestowed on man, so in matters of action it is most grave and shameful to act against things as determined by nature. Therefore, since by the unnatural vices man transgresses that which has been determined by nature with regard to the use of venereal actions, it follows that in this matter this sin is gravest of all. […] Just as the ordering of right reason proceeds from man, so the order of nature is from God Himself: wherefore in sins contrary to nature, whereby the very order of nature is violated, an injury is done to God, the Author of nature. (Saint Thomas Aquinas. Summa Theologica II-II, q. 154, a. 12; ad 1)

Our Lord Jesus Christ to Saint Catherine of Siena

A divine revelation: the devils themselves who incite to sin cannot endure the sight of the horrendous sin

But they do just the opposite to me, for they come to this mystery wholly impure – and not simply with the sort of impurity and weakness to which you are all naturally inclined because of your weak nature (although reason can calm its rebellion if free choice so wills). No, these wretches not only do not restrain their weaknesses; they make it worse by committing that cursed unnatural sin. As if they were blind and stupid, with the light of their understanding extinguished, they do not recognize what miserable filth they are wallowing in. The stench reaches even up to me, Supreme Purity. And is so hateful to me that for this sin alone five cities were struck down by my divine judgment. For my divine justice could no longer tolerate it, so despicable to me is this abominable sin. But the stench displeases not only me, as I have said, but the devils as well, those very devils these wretches have made their masters. It is not its sinfulnesss that displeases them, for they like nothing that is good. But because their nature is angelic, that nature still loathes the sight of that horrendous sin actually being committed. It is true that it was they who in the beginning shot the poisoned arrows of concupiscence, but when it comes to the sinful act itself they run away. (Saint Catherine of Siena. Dialogue, Ch. 124)

Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio

The death of the sodomites was necessary for the restoration of chastity on the earth

All sodomites, both men and women, died all over the face of the earth, according to that which Saint Jerome taught about the Psalm: ‘A light dawned for the just’, to show that he who was to be born would come to reform nature and promote chastity. (Saint Bonaventure of Bagnoregio. In Nativitate Domini, Sermon XXII, vol. IX, p. 123)

Saint Peter Canisius

Nature itself abhors this horrible and abominable sin

The men of Sodom, saith the Scripture, were very naught, and sinners before God too too much. This horrible and abominable sin Saint Peter and Saint Paul do reproach: yea nature herself doth abhor: and the Scripture also doth declare the greatness of foul a wickedness […] (Saint Peter Canisius. Summa of Christian Doctrine III, Of sins that cry unto heaven, pg. 137Latin)

Related studies
  • 102 - The family is an anthropological fact, and consequently a social, cultural fact, etc. We cannot qualify it with ideological concepts. Today there can be no talk of the conservative family or the progressive family: family is family!
  • 105 - Not all discern, in their solitude, the Lord calling them. Around us we find various families in so-called irregular situations – I don’t really like this word
  • 13 - How can we go on in a culture that does not care about the family? I do not have the recipe
  • 145 - “The divorced who have entered a new union can find themselves in a variety of situations, which should not be pigeonholed or fit into overly rigid classifications leaving no room for a suitable discernment”
  • 148 - “The Church does not disregard the constructive elements in those situations which do not yet or no longer correspond to her teaching on marriage”

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    3 thoughts on “59 – Who am I to judge? Religion has the right to express its opinion in the service of the people, but God in creation has set us free: it is not possible to interfere spiritually in the life of a person


    1. Refusal to welcome the stranger by allowing the stranger (i.e., one’s guest) to be sodomized by an unruly mob ready to break down the door of Lot’s home? Robert, are you trying to rewrite the Old Testatment as an exercise in revisionist history? Believe what you will and write what you will but God will not be mocked. Welcome to the days of Noah. Welcome to the days of Sodom and Gomorrah. But who am I to judge?

    2. If Bergoglio is not being a ‘faithful echo and authentic interpretation of the permanent conviction of the Church’, then the God-sent priests of the Denzinger-Bergoglio have the clear mission to denounce this puppet’s heretical and continuous blathering of personal opinions! I would suggest to Robert Edward Lewis that he hastily procure some bibliotherapeutic treatment for his brutally judgemental views and erroneous criteria and doctrine on such a serious topic as of homosexuality. Robert Edward Lewis, you’ve made of yourself an excellent example of the depraved low level that the proponents of homosexuality will stoop to. The accompanying ideology of homosexuality does not recognize dignity for the human person, not even for or among themselves; therefore, respect for authority is unheard of!
      The unfailing Magisterium of the Church is always very clear, and I uphold the priests of the Denzinger-Bergoglio as beacons of truth in these times of confusion. They are being true pastors to the many forlorn sheep of the Catholic Church.

    3. This is largely bullshit. As a simple example, the sin of Sodom was N O T homosexuality, it was the sin of refusing to welcome the stranger. Appeals to authority rather than to reason, science, and logic are one of the reasons that the tridentine wing of the Roman Church is destined to become marginalized along with its counterpart, the bibliodalatrist wing of the Protestant faith.

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