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Abstract

The Catholic magisterium has made a distinction between homosexual orientation (disordered, but not sinful), homosexual activity (sinful, but judged “with prudence”), rights of gay and lesbian people, and the Church’s pastoral responsibilities to gay and lesbian people. Both the Vatican and the American bishops have clearly stated that the topic of homosexuality must be addressed in Catholic education, but the emphasis on how it is addressed differs between the Vatican (emphasis on finding causes and cures) and the American bishops (providing pastoral care and inclusion). Research indicated that some American Catholics may be very supportive of the rights of gay and lesbian people even if they disapprove of their sexual activity. It also appears that American Catholics are becoming more positive in their attitudes toward homosexuality over time. The Vatican has been directly confrontational with many gay and lesbian Catholic groups, expressing concern that they disregard the teaching against homosexual activity in the quest to meet pastoral needs. Some dioceses have begun to train their secondary school staffs on issues of homosexuality and to include the topic in the curriculum. On the other hand, gay and lesbian students at Catholic colleges, universities, and seminaries have a history of confrontation with Catholic educators.

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