Created in the Image and Likeness of God:

An Instruction on Some Aspects of the Pastoral Care of Persons with Same-Sex Attraction and Gender Dysphoria

Providing a framework in the Diocese of Marquette for pastoral accompaniment to persons with same-sex attraction and persons with gender dysphoria, Bishop John Doerfler provided pastors, school principals and others ministering the diocese “Created in the Image and Likeness of God: An Instruction on Some Aspects of the Pastoral Care of Persons with Same-Sex Attraction and Gender Dysphoria.” The document, delivered July 29, 2021, focuses on accompaniment with dignity and respect for the person, while remaining faithful to the teachings of the Church.

A passage from the instruction reads: “To accompany others, it is insufficient merely to state the Church’s teaching. In addition, we must strive to meet people and lead them, step-by-step, as we all walk toward the fullness of truth. Accompaniment requires docility to the Holy Spirit and discernment of the steps along the path. Discernment requires the virtue of pastoral prudence and must be carried out in fidelity to the teachings of the Church. Accompaniment does not dilute the teachings of the Church, but rather, animated by charity, we are to proclaim the Gospel in its fullness.”

The Church teaches that experiencing feelings of same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria is not sinful, but freely acting upon them is. The instruction reads, “Experiencing feelings and desires that are not in accord with the true meaning and purpose of sexuality is not sinful. To commit a sin, we must know that something is wrong and freely choose to do it.”

Bishop Doerfler noted that in previous ministry he served as a Courage chaplain. He found working with the Catholic apostolate to persons with same-sex attraction for several years as a priest to be a “privilege” and he remains inspired by the members “faith and desire to live chastely.”

To read Bishop Doerfler's instruction, click here

Learn more:

The U.P. Catholic
Story: Bishop Doerfler provides framework for accompaniment
Story: An interview with Bishop John Doerfler on "Created in the Image and Likeness of God..." Part 1
Story: An interview with Bishop John Doerfler on "Created in the Image and Likeness of God..." Part 2
Column: Bishop John Doerfler - The worthy reception of Holy Communion

Resources:

Church Documents
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “Responsum of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to a dubium regarding the blessing of the unions of persons of the same sex,” February 22, 2021. Responsum of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to a dubium regarding the blessing of the unions of persons of the same sex (22 February 2021) (vatican.va)
 
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “Considerations Regarding Proposal to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons,” March 28, 2003. https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20030731_homosexual-unions_en.html
 
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “Some Considerations Concerning the Response to Legislative Proposals On the Non‐Discrimination of Homosexual Persons,” July 23, 1992. https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19920724_homosexual-persons_en.html
 
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,” October 1, 1986. https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19861001_homosexual-persons_en.html
 
Congregation for Catholic Education. “‘Male and Female He Created Them’ Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory In Education,” February 2, 2019. https://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccatheduc/documents/rc_con_ccatheduc_doc_20190202_maschio-e-femmina_en.pdf
 
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care, 2006. https://www.usccb.org/resources/ministry-to-persons-of-homosexual-iInclination_0.pdf
 

Pastoral Resources:

Below you will find select resources to assist you in the art of pastoral accompaniment.
 
Marriage Unique for a Reason: https://marriageuniqueforareason.org
 
Courage: https://couragerc.org
 
Person and Identity: https://personandidentity.com
 
The Marriage Reality Movement: https://marriagerealitymovement.org/
 
Sexuality and Gender: Findings from the Biological, Psychological and Social Sciences
The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Society Lawrence Mayer, M.B., M.S., Ph.D. and Paul R. McHugh, M.D. Number 50 – Fall 2016 https://www.thenewatlantis.com/issues/no-50-fall-2016

 
 
 
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