Roman Catholic teaching on homosexuality highlights some of Catholicism's best kept secrets: the primacy of a fully informed personal conscience, the hierarchy of truths, and the development of doctrine. The Catholic Bishops of England & Wales rose to these challenges when they authorised the publication of "An Introduction to the Pastoral Care of Homosexual People" in 1979.
These guidelines stayed faithful to Catholic teaching that sexual activity is only admissible within marriage, but stated that both homosexual orientation and heterosexual orientations are morally neutral. This underscores the Vatican position that the orientation in itself is not sinful, but moral decisions relate to how that orientation is expressed sexually. Whereas the Vatican would go no further in the discussion, the local Pastoral Care guidelines encouraged clergy to adopt a more nuanced approach when faced with two people in a permanent, faithful relationship who choose to exercise their rights of conscience. The Vatican was not pleased with this liberal interpretation.