1. That the Church demeans the worth of persons with same-sex attraction
The Catholic Church affirms that all human persons are equal in value and dignity. Each and every man and woman is created in the image and likeness of God and we are all called to the lofty vocation of heavenly union with God. The Church goes as far to say that the value of one human person surpasses that of the entire created universe. This value extends to all persons, those with same-sex attraction included. Our Scriptures teach us that God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth and that Jesus gave himself as a ransom for all (1Tim 2:4,6.) The salvation that Christ offers through His Church is extended equally to those with same-sex attraction. In the Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons our current Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Josef Ratzinger) wrote:
It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.
2. That the Church teaches having same-sex attraction is sinful
St. Paul teaches us, [W]e have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin (Heb 4:15.) The Church does not teach us that those with same-sex attraction sin simply through the having that attraction. Indeed, Christ Himself was tempted yet remained sinless. Temptation itself is not sin, it is our reaction to temptation that leads to sin. In the Catholic Encyclopedia we read:
Temptation is not in itself sin. No matter how vivid the unholy image may be, no matter how strong the inclination to transgress the law, no matter how vehement the sensation of unlawful satisfaction, as long as there is no consent of the will, there is no sin. The very essence of sin in any grade is that it should be a deliberate act of the human will. Attack is not synonymous with surrender.
The Church does teach that homosexual acts are contrary to the moral law; but it is only when temptation develops into action that one can be said to sin.
3. That the Church teaches those with same-sex attraction cannot be practicing Catholics
The mission of the Church is to reconcile man to God the Father in the person of Christ through the Holy Spirit. Persons with same-sex attraction are meant to be drawn into this same reconciliation with all mankind. Those with same-sex attraction are subject to the same fallen nature of man and the proclivity towards sin as those without that attraction. At our core, all persons are defined by our being created in the image and likeness of God. This definition comes before any based on sexuality. The Church approaches those with same-sex attraction in the same way she approaches all men and women. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church we read:
Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. (2359)
This call is not unique to those with same-sex attraction as we also read:
All the baptized are called to chastity. The Christian has “put on Christ,” the model for all chastity. All Christ’s faithful are called to lead a chaste life in keeping with their particular states of life. At the moment of his Baptism, the Christian is pledged to lead his affective life in chastity. (2348)
Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. (2337)
The chaste person maintains the integrity of the powers of life and love placed in him. This integrity ensures the unity of the person; it is opposed to any behavior that would impair it. It tolerates neither a double life nor duplicity in speech. (2338)
The person with same-sex attraction is not asked to deny that the attraction exists, but is to deny himself or herself in giving into it. They are also not called to chastity beyond that of any other person within the Church. If they happen to fall into sin, they have equal access to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the starting point for all Christians after sin has damaged our relationship with God.