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  • Studies into the incidence of homosexuality in the Roman Catholic priesthood are contested and controversial. The issue is complicated by the distinction between priests who are to some degree homosexual, and those priests who engage in or promote gay sexual activity in contradiction to their vows and to the teaching of the Catholic Church. The teaching of the Church, as stated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is that homosexual persons, including priests, "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity", and that "every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided". Regarding gay sexual activity, however, the Catechism states that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered", and that "under no circumstances can they be approved". These prohibitions apply especially to priests, as the canon law of the Catholic Church requires that clerics "observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven". For this reason, priests in Latin Catholic dioceses make vows of celibacy at their ordination, thereby agreeing to remain unmarried and abstinent throughout their lives.