By Gudrun Schultz

BROOKLYN, New York, October 4, 2006 ( – Retired Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Sullivan, of Brooklyn, has called on Catholics who minister to active homosexuals to work towards bringing them into “full participation in the life of the church,” in a call for pastoral acceptance that dismisses Church teaching opposing homosexual activity.

Speaking to a conference of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries Sept. 21-24, Bishop Sullivan said Catholic pastoral care towards homosexuals should be “accepting, welcoming, encouraging,” care that does not “reject, define and exclude,” but that “enables, and encourages participation.”

Bishop Sullivan also suggested Church documents opposing homosexuality should be more “sensitively articulated.”ÂÂ

The Bishop’s call for acceptance of active homosexuality in the Church contradicted the Vatican directive issued to US Bishops in conflict with Rome over welcoming homosexual activists into the Church. Members of the Rainbow Sash movement demanded full recognition and acceptance by the Church as Catholics actively living the homosexual lifestyle, a demand that was granted by some US Bishops, notably Archbishop Harry Flynn of St. Paul Minneapolis.

Responding to the conflict in the US Church, Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said in an interview broadcast by EWTN, “The Catholic Church has never accepted homosexuality as normal. You read the scripture. It’s very clear. What exactly are we examining? Are we going to change Divine Law, how God made us?”

Cardinal Arinze said members of the Rainbow Sash movement were demanding something the Church could not offer. Referring to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, he said, “It says it is not condemning a person for having homosexual tendency. We don’t condemn anybody for that. But a person stands condemned for acting on it.

“Quite another matter if a person had just the tendencies and is making [an] effort to live the Divine Law, then that’s fine. So, we respect persons but be clear on the truth,” he said.

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