What Does the Catholic Church Teach about Homosexuality?

Few doctrines are so vehemently opposed as that of the Catholic Church on homosexuality.

Every good Catholic instinctively knows that science always supports the teachings of the Church, particularly with regards to matters of sexual morality.  Those who avoid abortion, extramarital sex, pornography, divorce, contraception, sterilization and other sexual sins are usually much more content and happy than those who indulge in these evils.1  This is only natural, since God desires us to be happy in this life as well as in the next.

happy friends women laughing together girls

The culture of death does absolutely everything it possibly can to obscure this fundamental fact, dangling every kind of distraction in front of us as it attempts to seduce us and get us addicted to various forms of illicit sexual activity.  But in the end, the culture of death has nothing but emotions and personal opinions to back up its claims, while authentic Catholics have both faith and science to support their views.

Unfortunately, there is much confusion today among Catholics regarding the teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexuality.  Much of this is due to agitation by homosexual groups falsely presenting themselves as teachers of true Catholic morality, and some is due to ambiguous teachings from Church leadership.

Regardless of the misguided statements by certain officials, and despite all of the propaganda alleging that the homosexual lifestyle is acceptable for Catholics, one thing remains clear: the teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexuality will not change.

This teaching does not stem from a “hatred” of homosexuals any more than it arises from a “hatred” of adulterers or fornicators.  The Church has always taught ― and always will teach ― that the only acceptable setting for the marital act is within marriage.  History has shown us that any deviation from this norm has always led to catastrophic results, both on the personal and on the national levels.


Homophile Subversion of the Church

Organized homosexual activists often manifest a truly Satanic loathing of Jesus Christ and of His Church.  Many homosexual books, magazines, articles and “shows” seethe with hatred and vilification of authentic Christianity. But mere name-calling is not the real threat.

A raised fist of a protestor at a political demonstration

Homosexual organizations specifically target those organizations and individuals courageous enough to oppose their agenda.  Their weapons of choice are confusion and obfuscation.  Homophiles are adept indeed at employing these tactics, and have a long history of using them.

As one of many examples, Dignity USA is a group of unrepentant “Catholic” homosexuals who insist that homosexuality is a perfectly acceptable alternative lifestyle, and its members claim that they are faithfully adhering to the teachings of the Church.  This group’s mission is to confuse the faithful with clever propaganda and misinformation, just as “Catholics” for Choice (CFC) deliberately distorts Church teachings on abortion.

Homosexuals cannot lobby church leaders directly, so they hire traitorous proxy groups to do so.  For example, billionaire homosexual Jon Stryker founded the Arcus Foundation in 2000.  One of its primary missions is to advance LGBTI special rights in the United States, and one of the ways it does this is to fund groups that promote homosexual “marriage” among Catholics and to oppose religious exemptions to such laws.  Arcus has funded several allegedly “Catholic” groups specifically for the purpose of undermining the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding homosexuality.  These groups include Catholics for [a Free] Choice, Catholics United Education Fund, and Dignity USA.2

Arcus has also funded one of the nuttiest so-called “Catholic” groups in existence, the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER), to create “a cadre of Catholic lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and their allies that would assume a leadership role within the Catholic community on issues related to gender, sexuality, [and] reproductive health.”2

Groups such as Arcus’ fail to realize that the teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexuality simply cannot change any more than the Church can change truth itself.


The Catholic Church on Homosexuality

The teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexuality has always been perfectly clear.  Every Catholic must understand and be able to transmit these teachings in order to perform one of the spiritual works of mercy, instructing the ignorant.

priest giving homily sermon, people listening, in church, catholic Mass

The Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes historical Church teachings on homosexuality:

2357 tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.  Under no circumstance can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible.  This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial.  They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.

2359 By virtues of self-mastery that teach them [persons with same-sex attraction] 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.

In 1975, the Vatican published its Declaration on Sexual Ethics, whose pivotal paragraphs on homosexuality are as follows:

Some people conclude that their [homosexual] tendency is so natural that it justifies in their case homosexual relations within a sincere communion of life and love analogous to marriage, insofar 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.  This 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 serious depravity and even presented as the sad consequence of rejecting God.  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 [¶8].

Briefly stated, while homosexual persons are always to be treated with charity and kindness, we may never encourage or support homosexual actions, for they are intrinsically disordered.


Use of Church Facilities by Homosexual Groups

Homophile groups are so convinced of the superiority of their views that they sincerely believe that the Church may not even refuse to assist them.  They even believe that they have the right to use Church facilities to denounce and undermine the teachings of that same Church.

front of catholic church

On October 1, 1987, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a letter entitled “On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons.”  This letter reaffirmed the Vatican’s Declaration on Sexual Ethics by reiterating that homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered.”

With regard to use of Church facilities, the letter asserted:

All support should be withdrawn from any organizations which seek to undermine the teaching of the Church, which are ambiguous about it, or which neglect it entirely.  Such support, or even the semblance of such support, can be gravely misinterpreted.  Special attention should be given to the practice of scheduling religious services and to the use of Church buildings by these groups, including the facilities of Catholic schools and colleges.  To some, such permission to use Church property may seem only just and charitable; but in reality it is contradictory to the purpose for which these institutions were founded, and it is misleading and often scandalous [¶17].

Thus, to prevent the appearance of supporting homosexual groups, churches should avoid lending them facilities or providing any other form of support.


On the Ordination of Homosexuals

The disastrous Church scandal of recent years demonstrates the foolhardiness of ordaining homosexuals.  As we have seen, more than eighty percent of the priestly child sexual molestation in the United States was committed against prepubescent boys, a favorite target of homosexuals.

Jorge Cardinal Medina Estevez, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has said:

Ordination to the diaconate and the priesthood of homosexual men or men with homosexual tendencies is absolutely inadvisable and imprudent and, from the pastoral point of view, very risky.  A homosexual person, or one with a homosexual tendency, is not therefore fit to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders.3

We should heed the Cardinal’s advice.


Final Thoughts

One point should be made perfectly clear:  Despite many assertions to the contrary, the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations do not condemn homosexuals, but rather condemn their unnatural and unhealthy acts, which not only contravene the laws of nature but ignore God’s Commandments.  Similarly, the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations do not condemn heterosexuals who commit adultery and fornication, but instead the sins themselves.  Homosexuals have no more cause to complain about Church teachings than do fornicators or adulterers.

The teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexuality is perfectly clear: hate the sin, but always love the sinner.

+ Endnotes

[1] See detailed mapping studies by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute for hundreds of detailed charts and graphs showing that people who follow the Ten Commandments and other laws of God describe themselves as much happier than those who do not.

[2] Arcus Foundation website, https://www.arcusfoundation.org/grantees/, May 16, 2020.

Kathleen Gilbert.  “‘Catholic,’ ‘Christian’ Gay Projects Funded by Homosexualist Billionaire.”  LifeSite Daily News, March 25, 2011.

[3] “Catholic Replies by James J. Drummey.”  The Wanderer, June 2, 2005, page 3.

Brian Clowes, PhD

Dr. Brian Clowes has been HLI’s director of research since 1995 and is one of the most accomplished and respected intellectuals in the international pro-life movement. Best known as author of the most exhaustive pro-life informational resource volume The Facts of Life, and for his Pro-Life Basic Training Course, Brian is the author of nine books and over 500 scholarly and popular articles, and has traveled to 70 countries on six continents as a pro-life speaker, educator and trainer.


  1. Elijah on July 7, 2022 at 1:11 PM

    such a shame that people are willing to condemn family over something like personal belief. smh. please treat everyone how youd like to be treated. with kindness and acceptance. you wont create godly men by rejecting people, you will create anomosity and hatred towards you and the lord. insulting and trying to change people wont do anything. its something they were born with and it occurs in nature in many different species. please just be kind. god will understand, i’m sure. rejecting people and condemning them is not love. its hatred. please dont let your beliefs come between you and family. it ruins lives and pushes people away.

    • Anne B. on December 21, 2023 at 8:05 PM

      The article says NOTHING about “rejecting and condemning people.” Like many LGBT proponents, you think that in order to accept and love a person, we must accept and love everything they do. But that’s defining a person solely by their sexual impulses, and it’s not “loving.” Suppose you have a friend who is an alcoholic. In order to love that person, must you “love” the fact that they are drinking themselves to death? Of course not. The homosexual lifestyle is just as self-destructive as alcoholism, and it’s not “loving” to encourage it.

      And contrary to what LGBT propaganda claims, they aren’t “born that way.” The vast majority have some trauma in their past that they’ve never come to terms with – and the ones who have realized that are often able to change their sexual orientation.

      And what species of animals doesn’t know instinctively that mating is meant to produce offspring? The fact that some humans don’t understand that is evidence that human nature is fallen – not that it’s “natural” or normal.

      Yes, God does understand that we are all subject to temptation – we all have sinful and self-destructive impulses, and not all of them have to do with sex – but He also gives us the graces to overcome them. Yes, He forgives our sins – but he also tells us to “sin no more.”

  2. Kiara Castillo-Marin on December 14, 2021 at 7:39 PM

    This is disrespectful, and wrong. These acts are not to be hated or condemned, for they are just as natural as any other heterosexual act. This is also very rude. The catholic church should learn to follow their own literal teachings to LOVE EVERYONE NO MATTER WHAT, AND TO NOT JUDGE OTHERS. Jesus literally stated in his Sermon on the Mount to love everyone, and that everyone is accepted by the catholic church and in the Kingdom of God. God loves everyone, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, or identify as a different gender identity. Homosexual acts are not sin. Learn to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and love your neighbour.

    • Jimi Fadden on March 18, 2022 at 10:03 PM

      So sorry you can’t accept the truth that homosexuality is a mortal sin. Just because it doesn’t fit your agenda doesn’t change facts. As was stated, “hate the sin, love the sinner”. That is NOT a contradiction of “love thy neighbor”, it IS the very definition. You find the truth “rude”? Tough! You need to learn how to differentiate your feelings from facts. If you’re truly Catholic (which I sincerely doubt), you know better.

    • Mary A Fryer on March 19, 2022 at 10:20 AM

      Dear Kiara Castillo-Marin,
      I don’t think that you understand what the Church teaches. Perhaps you are listening to false catholic groups who want to change God’s Truth. I understand that it is the Church’s job to bring Souls to Heaven! Of course God loves everyone! But you can’t save a soul if they do not want to abide to God’s laws and Commandants. One can not call something that is sin right. God is full of forgiveness & mercy. God wants everyone to be happy in this world and the next with Him. If you truly love someone you would want the best for them. You must understand that the devil hates God & men. He will do everything he can to drag souls into hell. So we hate the sin, but love the sinner. We must love and respect them as God Loves them. God Bless. Maureen Fryer

      • Elijah on July 7, 2022 at 1:13 PM

        may i ask if you have ever felt homosexuality? just try to love someone who you cannot feel love for. its impossible. why would you ask this of someone else. it seems unfair to me. i understand life isnt fair but why make it more difficult than it needs to be?

  3. Ann M McErlean on December 10, 2021 at 7:08 PM

    There are two things about the Catholic Church, and gay people.
    First, on the issue of gay priests, not only is it a temptation to sin with other men/boys; but what will they teach about the sacrament of marriage.?
    Secondly, in considering whther to hire a gay applicant, they might need to klnow ahead of time that no favoritism will be given to them; just like other workers. That any gay propaganda won’t be allowed, etc.

  4. Kathy on March 24, 2021 at 7:45 PM

    Thank you!! God bless

  5. Tim Sullivan on March 19, 2021 at 5:39 PM

    Thank you for this clear summary of Church Teaching.

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