BALTIMORE — The nation's Roman Catholic bishops adopted new guidelines for gay outreach Tuesday that are meant to be welcoming, while also telling gays to be celibate since the church considers their sexuality "disordered."
Gay Catholic activists said the approach was so contorted and flawed that it would alienate the very people it was trying to reach.
The statement, "Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination," was adopted by a 194-37 vote, with one abstention, at a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The bishops also overwhelmingly adopted separate statements encouraging Catholics to obey the church's widely ignored ban on artificial contraception, and directing parishioners to examine their consciences to decide if they are worthy of receiving Holy Communion.
Anyone who knowingly persists in sinful behavior, such as gay sex or using artificial birth control, should refrain from taking Communion, the bishops said.
"To be a Catholic is a challenge," said Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, N.J., chairman of the bishops' doctrine committee. "To be a Catholic requires a certain choice."GREENSBORO -- The state's largest religious denomination will no longer affiliate with churches that embrace openly gay members.
North Carolina Baptists on Tuesday approved an anti-gay measure that prevents member churches from hiring, ordaining or accepting for membership anyone whose action "defies so blatantly the word of God."
"We cannot compromise the word of God to meet people's opinions," Muteti said. "... What will Jesus tell us when we meet him? Will he say, 'Praise my holy name' ... or will he say, 'Sorry, you compromised my word.' " Baptists aren't alone in struggling with the issue of gays and spirituality.
"There are a lot of religious denominations that are compromising -- we can't," said Mike Harris, chairman of the convention committee commissioned to study the proposal...
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