The Church’s Catechism has a section titled “Chastity and homosexuality” which states:
2357 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, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” 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.
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. 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.
2359 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. 1
The same Church document that refers to homosexual acts as “intrinsically disordered” 2 refers to the act of masturbation as “intrinsically and gravely disordered” 3.
In this context, "disordered" is a philosophical term not a clinical or psychological term. The Church's Catechism states:
2351 Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes. 4
Also, the term “objectively disordered” is not synonymous with “sinful”. The Church’s Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons states:
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. 5
2515 Etymologically, “concupiscence” can refer to any intense form of human desire. Christian theology has given it a particular meaning: the movement of the sensitive appetite contrary to the operation of the human reason. The apostle St. Paul identifies it with the rebellion of the “flesh” against the “spirit”. Concupiscence stems from the disobedience of the first sin. It unsettles man’s moral faculties and, without being in itself an offense, inclines man to commit sins. 6
The Catholic Church teaches that:
It is not sinful to be homosexual (gay).
It is sinful to engage in homosexual acts (gay sex).
Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons (Vatican) (www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19861001_homosexual-persons_en.html)
Always Our Children: A Pastoral Message to Parents of Homosexual Children and Suggestions for Pastoral Ministers (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) (www.usccb.org/laity/always.shtml)
Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) (www.usccb.org/dpp/Ministry.pdf) This is a PDF file and requires Adobe Reader for viewing.
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1 Catechism of the Catholic Church Part 3 Section 2 Chapter 2 Article 6 Section II www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm#II
2 Persona Humana Section VIII www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19751229_persona-humana_en.html
3 Persona Humana Section IX www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19751229_persona-humana_en.html
4 Catechism of the Catholic Church Part 3 Section 2 Chapter 2 Article 6 Section II www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm#II
5 Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons Section 3 www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19861001_homosexual-persons_en.html
6 Catechism of the Catholic Church Part 3 Section 2 Chapter 2 Article 9 www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P8P.HTM
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