USCCB: The Necessity of Friendship and Community

In 2006, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a document entitled Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care [pdf]. The following excerpt comes from the section on “The Necessity of Friendship and Community.” 

One way in which the Church can aid persons with a homosexual inclination is by nurturing the bonds of friendship among people. In their analysis of human nature, the ancient philosophers recognized that friendship is absolutely essential for the good life, for true happiness. Friendships of various kinds are necessary for a full human life, and they are likewise necessary for those attempting to live chastely in the world. There can be little hope of living a healthy, chaste life without nurturing human bonds. Living in isolation can ultimately exacerbate one’s disordered tendencies and undermine the practice of chastity.

It would not be wise for persons with a homosexual inclination to seek friendship exclusively among persons with the same inclination. They

should seek to form stable friendships among both homosexuals and heterosexuals. . . . A homosexual person can have an abiding relationship with another homosexual without genital sexual expression. Indeed the deeper need of any human is for friendship rather than genital expression. (USCCB, Principles to Guide Confessors in Questions of Homosexuality, 1973)

True friendships are not opposed to chastity; nor does chastity inhibit friendship. In fact, the virtues of friendship and of chastity are ordered to each other.

The virtue of chastity blossoms in friendship. It shows the disciple how to follow and imitate him who has chosen us as his friends (cf. Jn 15:15), who has given himself totally to us and allows us to participate in his divine estate. Chastity is a promise of immortality.

Chastity is expressed notably in friendship with one’s neighbor. Whether it develops between persons of the same or opposite sex, friendship represents a great good for all. It leads to spiritual communion. (Catechism 2347)

While the bonds of friendship should be carefully fostered at all levels, loving friendships among the members of a family are particularly important. Those ministering in the name of the Church should encourage healthy relationships between persons with a homosexual inclination and the other members of their families. The family can provide invaluable support to people who are striving to grow in the virtue of chastity.

The local Church community is also a place where the person with a homosexual inclination should experience friendship. This community can be a rich source of human relationships and friendships, so vital to living a healthy life. In fact, within the Church human friendship is raised to a new order of love, that of brothers and sisters in Christ.

6 thoughts on “USCCB: The Necessity of Friendship and Community

      • sticking to my question:
        if a religion is based on PersonAsGodJesus, then the religion’s obsession with ordering sex must be based on the Jesus’s teachings or commandments or … something.

        so there it is. my question. what does Jesus have to say about the RCC’s demand for specific sexual ordering? certainly there must be something He Himself said that is the basis. what is it? the judge not commandment? or the you will be with me in paradise statement? seems to me (an amateur) that declaring something as “ordered” and something as “disordered” is impossible without judging the something’s holiness or sinfulness… kind of against what i understand.

        so what am i missing from the Teacher Himself?

  1. Hi John,

    I think a lot of the Church’s teaching in these documents if flowing out of the foundations laid by Pope John Paul II in his theology of the body. The basis of this he draws from the account given “in the beginning” in the book of Genesis where he gives a detailed and beautiful exposition of the meaning of God creating man as ‘male’ and ‘female’ and the way that each is made, in a sense, ‘for’ the other; that is, that each is in a sense incomplete without the other and needs the other to reach true fulfillment beyond just being an ‘individual’ but actually being a community of persons which becomes the basis for the creation of life so that every life is created and nourished within this context of a communion of love. clearly homosexual persons also can have loving relationships and form communions, but the Church see’s sexual activity as being limited to this scenario of man and woman specifically because of the importance it sees of its tie to the family and pro creation. Obviously this is only a brief summary and the matter can’t be given full justice in so sort a time, but my point is only to give you a flavor of where the Church draws some of its theology from. It is not as basic as just looking at one verse that says it all in a straightforward way. I don’t know if this helps at all. Let me know what you think, God bless,


  2. Sorry I forgot to clarify that the Pope goes back to the book of Genesis because this is what Jesus does in Matthew 19 when people question him about divorce, He forms His teaching on sexuality according to the original Divine Plan of the Father “in the beginning”.

  3. Pingback: Sex, Love & Celibacy - ✝ Fall And Die...

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