Christian gay groups have criticised guidelines approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) today on the attitude towards homosexuality.

Officials at the gathering approved a document entitled Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care.

The guidelines attempt to create a balance between welcoming gays and lesbians into the Church whilst upholding religious teachings.

However, gay Catholic group, Dignity USA, says the document will cause more discrimination, “”This document attempts to welcome gay and lesbian people into an institution that is simultaneously leading attacks on our civil rights, relationships and families all across the world. It is an invitation to collaborate in our own oppression.

“As LGBT Catholics, families and friends, we call on the US bishops to listen

to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Catholics, who will willingly tell of

the gifts we have received through our God-given orientation and the blessings we know through our loving relationships – as well as of our spiritual struggles in our church. Our voices and that of the Holy Spirit speaking in and through our lives must be heard in outlining the pastoral care the church provides.”

The guidelines state that while the Church teaches that homosexual acts are immoral, there is a distinction between engaging in homosexual acts and having a homosexual orientation. ?While the former is always sinful, the latter is not.?

“It is crucially important to understand that saying a person has a particular inclination that is disordered is not to say that the person as a whole is disordered. Nor does it mean that one has been rejected by God or the Church.”

It asserts that the Church should have the right to deny roles to anyone whose behaviour violates biblical teachings, but states that gays and lesbians should play an active role in the congregation. This includes rejecting same sex partnerships and gay adoption.