In 2006, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a statement titled, “Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination”.
“The discovery that a family member has homosexual tendencies can pose a serious concern for parents, siblings, and spouses. The Church reaches out to them, seeking to help ensure that the bonds of love among the family members are intact.”
Shortly after the USCCB statement, an organization of Catholic parents – called Fortunate Families – launched a survey of Catholic parents of LGBT daughters and sons. Fortunate Families was created for (and organized by) parents who love and affirm their lesbian daughters and gay sons.
Survey results indicate the bonds are intact for most of these families, but not because the Church reaches out to them.
“I do not feel like the Catholic Church offers any support with our children. I remain a
Catholic only because of the Mass and the Eucharist,” says an anonymous Catholic mother with a gay son.
Other parent comments are summed up by the survey project director, Casey Lopata:
Parents grieve that the institutionalized Church’s inadequate response has distanced many parents from the Church and driven many of their daughters and sons away from it. Parents also grieve what they view as a failure of the institutional Church to follow the compassionate example of Jesus. If forced to choose, they choose their children over the institutional Church, but they do not lose their faith in Christ.
Lopata sent the report to all United States bishops.
Fortunate Families is a ministry which believes that “nothing can separate us from the love of God made manifest in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:39). The group values diversity, especially in our sexual orientations; and it encourages parents to share their stories with their wider families and the larger Catholic community.