Church Documents

Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers (1997)
Written by the Bishops’ Committee on Marriage and the Family, this message from the U.S. Bishops is directed primarily to Catholic parents of children who have come out to them as gay or lesbian. It provides practical and encouraging advice for parents on accepting both themselves and their children. It also provides recommendations for pastoral ministers working with these populations. This link provides the document in both English and Spanish versions.

Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care (2006)
These directives from the U.S. Bishops provide a clear framework for ministry. The document lays out basic principles underlying our ministry, and then provides guidelines for pastoral care, and ends with a statement about the need for a respectful dialogue, citing Pope John Paul II: “Authentic dialogue, therefore, is aimed above all at the rebirth of individuals through interior conversion and repentence, but always with profound respect for consciences and with patience and at the step-by-step pace indispensable for modern conditions.” The authors note that “Such dialogue facilitates an ongoing, interior conversion for all parties truly engaged in the exchange.” This kind of respectful dialogue and ongoing conversion is essential for all pastoral ministy and is central to the Christian life.

Pastoral Ministry to Young People with Same-Sex Attraction (June 2011)
This document contains guidelines from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops written out of pastoral concern for adolescents and young adults who are questioning their sexual orientation or who are experiencing same-sex attraction. The document is intended to provide guidance “to all Catholics, pastors, parents and educators, as well as to young adults themselves.”

Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons (1986)
This is the Vatican’s directive to Bishops about providing pastoral care to persons with a homosexual orientation.

Catechism of the Catholic Church
Important passages about sexuality, sexual orientation, and the integration of sexuality with one’s spirituality. The full text is available here.

The chapter of the Catechism on sexual morality explains Catholic teaching on the nature and role of sexuality, and presents the rules by which all Catholics are to live in terms of sexuality. Within this chapter on sexual morality, paragraphs 2357-2359 speak specifically about homosexuality.

Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics (1975)



Other Pastoral Resources Helpful for Ministry

The following links lead to resources that provide additional support for pastoral ministry and outreach to Catholic persons with a homosexual orientation and to their families.  These resources include suggestions for developing parish ministries and responding to challenges ministries might encounter.

Homosexuality and the Catholic High School
This is a compilation of articles put together in September 2001 by the Ontario Catholic Family Life Education Network in Canada.

Statements supporting ministry to GLBT persons:  pastoral statements by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the U.S. Catholic Conference,  the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the Catholic Catechism, and other Catholic Church leaders on ministry to GLBT persons.  These are helpful when promoting or initiating local church ministries.

Ministerial Response to Children of Same-Sex Couples:  What insights does Canon Law provide in the current debates about responding to the spiritual needs of the baptized children of same-sex couples?

Pastoral Resources for Ministry in the Latino Community:
Click here for the Latino Roundtable website of the CLGS (Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion).  Click here for more resources in Spanish.

Aquí tienen la conexión para la página web de la Mesa Resonda Latina (del CLGS). Hacia el final de la página están las conexiones para nuestros primeros “recursos” en español. Por favor, usen los recursos y dennos sus comentarios y evaluación de los mismos.

Pastoral resources for parish ministries
Contact Ann McDonald at

Pastoral resources for Transsexual persons
Contact Sr. Luisa DeRouen, O.P. at

“Let’s Talk About Homosexuality”
This series, originally created as an adult education program and carried for 14 weeks  on the website of a Midwest Catholic parish, is intended for anyone interested in learning more about homosexuality and the pastoral challenges it raises for Catholics.

Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) Special Report
This CARA Report, “In Search of Best Practices in Ministry with Gay and Lesbian Catholics,” presents a portrait of experiences and best practices among successful ministries to gay and lesbian Catholics that other parishes and dioceses may use as a guide. (Summer 2004)

NACDLGM’s Guidelines for Implementing Always Our Children in parishes
Follow this link for practical guidelines developed by this organization under its old name (the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries) for putting Always Our Children into practice at the local level. (June 2003)

“What Does Gay Mean?” – National Mental Health Association