November 6, 2000
Dear Reverend White,
Although I was informed that a response to my letter was on your Web site, I did not receive your October 10 letter until the October 28 copy arrived. That is why this response has been delayed.
After I explained in my previous letter that Catholic teaching on homosexuality states both that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered" and that homosexual persons "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity," avoiding "every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard," I regret that you continue to say that "it is Roman Catholic teaching that helps motivate that hatred and gives license to that violence" to which persons of homosexual orientation have been subjected. Surely you are aware that a variety of religious beliefs, including belief in God itself, have, throughout the ages, been distorted and turned to causes of violence among people. In some regions of the world, as we know all too well, this is still true. However, these distortions should not be used to pressure those who believe to abandon fundamental truths of their faith.
The Catholic Church today rejects attitudes leading to violence and hatred as inappropriate to belief in God and unworthy of the dignity of the human person. We are happy to note that other faiths do the same. Wherever the expression of our religious belief is distorted by individuals into a rationale to hurt or injure people, we condemn that distortion and that behavior.
From our historical experience in this country, Catholics are no strangers to hatred and discrimination. So we join in condemning hatred, violence, and unjust discrimination but also the lack of sensitivity toward persons of homosexual orientation that can be the source of dangerous attitudes and actions. At the same time, I reiterate my appeal to you not to use language, as I think your most recent letter does, that calls into question the integrity of our religious beliefs or our obligation to carry out pastoral care in accord with those beliefs.
Finally, I have discussed the matter with several bishops, and one of them should be in contact with you, in advance of the General Meeting, to talk with you about our response. Moreover, I am glad to see that you published my first letter on your Web site, and I hope you will be kind enough to do the same with this one.
Sincerely yours in Christ
Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza
Bishop of Galveston-Houston