Marriage & Same-Sex Attraction (10)

Catholic Church Marriage & Same-Sex Attraction

Full Document Index

Part 1: Introduction and Main Menu

Part 2: The Catholic Understanding of Marriage

1. What is the Catholic Understanding of Marriage

2. Do other Christian Churches share the Catholic understanding of Marriage?

3. Do other Religions share the Catholic understanding of marriage?

Part 3: The Meaning of Marriage & Sexual Difference

1. Why does the Catholic Church care so much about marriage?
2. Marriage: What’s a good starting point?
3. Where does marriage come from?
4. What is gender difference?
5. What is complementarity between the sexes?
6. Why does a person’s gender matter for marriage?
7. How is the love between a husband and wife unique?
8. Isn’t marriage just about love and commitment between two people?
9. Why can’t the Church accept that marriage in Australia includes two men or two women?

Part 4: The Gift of Children

1. Why does the Church emphasise children in relation to marriage?
2. If a central purpose of marriage is procreation, what about infertile couples?
3. Haven’t the purposes of marriage evolved over the years?
4. Does the Church think that the purpose of marriage is only for having children?
5. What’s the difference between a husband and wife who can’t have children, and two persons of the same sex, who can’t have children?
6. Why cannot ’two mothers’ or ’two fathers’ be equivalent to a ’mother and father’?
7. What about single parents? These families lack a father or a mother, just like households headed by two men or two women.
8. Aren’t children adaptable to many different family forms?
9. Don’t studies show that children do fine with two Mothers or two Fathers?
10. What is the problem with adoption by same-sex couples?
11. New technology like in vitro fertilization (IVF) can enable two men or two women to have a child. Why does the Church teach that this is unacceptable?

Part 5: The Common Good & Human Dignity

1. What does “intrinsic dignity of the human person” mean?
2. What does marriage have to do with human dignity?
3. Does the Church believe that people who experience same-sex attraction have equal dignity with heterosexual persons?
4. What does “the common good” mean?
5. Isn’t marriage a private relationship? What does it have to do with the common good?
6. Isn’t marriage just about love and commitment?
7. Isn’t marriage just a religious issue that the government should stay out of?

Part 6: Rights of any Couple to Marry

1. What are basic human rights?
2. Is marriage a basic human right?
3. What’s the harm of same-sex “marriage”?
4. Isn’t opposing same-sex marriage equivalent to opposing marriage between different races?
5. Isn’t opposing same sex marriage under the civil law discriminatory?
6. Isn’t same-sex “marriage” about equality and fairness?
7. Australians voted for same-sex marriage. Isn’t that the end of the story?

Part 7: Rights of Children

1. Why is marriage about the rights of the children?
2. How do we protect children with same-sex parents from the harm of social stigma?
3. On occasions, Catholic schools have rejected the enrolments of children of same-sex couples. Isn’t this stigmatising the children?

Part 8: Religious Freedom

1. What is religious freedom?
2. How will the change to the legal definition of Marriage have any effect on Religious Freedom?
3. Doesn’t the law provide exemptions so that ministers will not be forced to officiate at the wedding of a same-sex couple?
4. What’s the real threat to religious freedom posed by same-sex marriage?
5. Have any of these threats to religious freedom come to pass?
6. Australia is different. Surely there is no likelihood that such threats to religious freedom could occur in Australia?

Background Information – Catholic Church Teaching on Homosexuality

1. The Catholic Church Understanding of Same Sex Attraction & Homosexual Behaviour
2. ’What is Pope Francis saying about the pastoral response to people living with same-sex attraction?
3. Where can I find more about the formal Catholic teaching on homosexuality and on same-sex attraction & marriage?


The Australian Catholic Marriage and Family Council has prepared this Question and Answer Booklet for the Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

Please address all enquiries to the:

Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
Secretariat for Pastoral Life
GPO Box 368 | CANBERRA ACT 2601


F: 02 6247 6083 | T:  02 6201 9865 | W:


List of Abbreviations

CA – Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Centesimus Annus (1991)

CCC – Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd ed. (2000)

CDF 1986 – Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual persons (1986)

CDF 1992 – Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Some Considerations Concerning the Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons (1992)

CV – Pope Benedict XVI, Encyclical Caritas in Veritate (2009)

CSDC – Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (2004)

DH – Second Vatican Council, Declaration Dignitatis Humanae (1965)

FC – Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio (1982)

GS – Second Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes (1965)

LF – Pope John Paul II, Letter to Families (1994)

LL – USCCB, Pastoral Letter Marriage: Love and Life in the Divine Plan (2009)

PP – Pope Paul VI, Encyclical Populorum Progressio (1967)

RN – Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Rerum Novarum (1891)

TOB – Pope John Paul II, Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body, trans. Michael Waldstein (Boston: Pauline Books & Media, 2006). Other English versions are available online at EWTN’s website and at the Vatican website.



Key References

The official (Magisterial) teaching of the Catholic Church on Homosexuality and Marriage is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1993) , and in three documents of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:

Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Sacrament of Matrimony
Download from link: CCC – The Sacrament of Matrimony

Catechism of the Catholic Church:  The Sixth Commandment (Especially Paragraphs 2357-2359)
Download from link: CCC – The Sixth Commandment

Declaration on Certain Questions of Sexual Ethics: (CDF, 1975)
Download from link: Declaration on Sexual Ethics

Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of the Homosexual Person (CDF, 1986):
Download from link: Pastoral Care of Homosexual persons

Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons (CDF, 2003)
Download from link: Legal Recognition of Homosexual Unions


In May 2015, the Catholic Bishops of Australia issued a Pastoral Letter “to all Australians” on the ‘Same-sex Marriage’ Debate, entitled “Don’t mess with Marriage”. This summarises why the Catholic Church opposes moves to broaden the legal definition of marriage to include ‘same-sex’ relationships.

A Pastoral Letter from the Catholic Bishops of Australia to all Australians on the ‘Same-sex Marriage’ Debate
Download from link: ‘Same-sex’ Marriage Pastoral Letter


The following submissions by the Catholic Church in Australia to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee’s Inquiry into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010 also elaborate on Catholic Church teaching on marriage and same-sex attraction.

Submission 113: His Eminence Cardinal George Pell AC, Archbishop of Sydney
Download from link: (PDF 4791KB)

Submission 5: Opening Statement tabled by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference at public hearing on Thursday 3 May 2012
Download from link: (PDF 1073KB)

Submission 234: Australian Catholic Bishops Conference
>Download from link: (PDF 113KB)


Catholic Teaching on Marriage is summarised in the following “Frequently Asked Questions” Booklet.

Marriage in the Catholic Church: Frequently Asked Questions Bishops Commission for Pastoral Life, 2006.
Download from link: Marriage in the Catholic Church

Other Non Catholic Church References

Regnerus, Mark: How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study. Social Science Research 41 (2012) 752–770.


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