Updated Dec. 9, 2021
Statement on “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 persons 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