- Purchase/rental options available:
This essay examines the Catholic Church's pastoral letter on homosexuality, Always Our Children. While its primary audience was the parents of gays and lesbians, the letter also had to address gay and lesbian Catholics and conservative bishops. A key task for the letter was acquiring the imprimatur, or silent assent, of bishops. The letter used three strategies to attain this assent: strict definition of purpose, an almost exclusive use of previous institutional rhetoric as supporting material, and the deflection of responsibility for the issue at hand onto outside groups. The letter ultimately failed to persuade its audiences and was revised because of tensions in its characterization of gays and lesbians.