Homosexuality Is Biologically And Metaphysically Against The Natural Law - Gary L. Morella
As a Catholic layman, a grandfather who grew up in the pre-conciliar Church, the last thing that I thought that I would have to be doing at the turn of the millennium would be to defend the Catholic Church teaching on homosexuality not only against attacks from modernists, but more importantly against attacks from misguided Catholic clergy, especially Catholic bishops, who have forgotten their vows of ordination and consecration. The latter attacks are particularly invidious because they go to the heart of what the Church has stood for since her founding by Christ upon the rock that is Peter. They break what used to be an indissoluble bond of trust between our good shepherds and the sheep, which is necessary for the faithful to find the light in a world that has been overtaken by an incredible darkness. Reason itself has been perverted to the extent that there is no longer any distinction between what is absolutely right or wrong, only a blurring in a situational ethics sense where the autonomous unencumbered self creates his own universe, defining what’s right or wrong for him with no thought whatsoever about what the consequences are when his autonomous neighbors’ similar universal rights conflict with his. Such is the state of the world and Roman Catholicism in the year 2000 A.D.
Monsignor George Anthony Kelly in his books Inside My Father’s House, Battle For The American Church, and Battle For The American Church Revisited, in no uncertain terms, tells us that the days when the laity could sit in the back seat of the car and leave the driving to the priests have long since passed. The dissidents from Church teaching have done their work well, particularly in regard to the malformation of our prospective priests in many seminaries throughout the world where evidence of orthodoxy is taken as a fault, and heterodoxy praised as an indication that the "old rigidity" of pre-Vatican II days is "gone with the wind." The fact that the "old rigidity" equaled a primary concern for salvation never seems to bother those in charge of these seminaries who completely lost sight of the fact that the only reason for a priest’s existence is getting the faithful to Heaven as opposed to Hell.
Reference the following excerpts from "The Death of a Catholic Seminary" from the May '95 issue of The Homiletic & Pastoral Review. The author’s name was withheld for obvious reasons.
After spending four years in a Neo-Modernist Roman Catholic seminary, I have come to the firm belief that the source of the current crisis in the Church in the United States can be traced directly to the seminaries. The seminary is literally the seedbed of the faith.
Seminary education has traditionally been seen as one of the most important apostolates. Those charged with the formation in seminaries had upon their shoulders a very great responsibility: they were not simply forming a future priest, but the entire Church. Hence, the absolute necessity of quality spiritual and academic formation was clear.
One might argue that this sense has been lost in the torrent of the many erroneous interpretations of the "spirit" of the Second Vatican Council. It is not infrequent that one finds many aberrations in contemporary Catholicism, to the point where many of the faithful, even bishops, are unclear about what the Church really teaches.
Priestly formation has changed drastically in most seminaries since Vatican II. In some seminaries, the changes were well implemented and orthodoxy was retained. In others, disaster followed, and has remained deeply rooted. Many embittered, frustrated priests and nuns continue to work in seminaries with an agenda for "reform" and "change" so that their corporate and personal ambitions and desires can be met.
Many want to see priestesses, married clergy, allowance for dissent, and acceptance of homosexual and lesbian lifestyles, and believe the Spirit of the Council called for this kind of "openness" and change. Almost all of them are highly educated and experienced seminary educators.
The kind of formation one receives in seminary depends on the way the particular seminary leadership and faculty interpret the meaning of priesthood, and for that matter, ministry, worship, revelation, and even God himself. With the great political struggles going on deep within the fabric of the Church today, the essential meaning of our very religion is at stake. It is the same when one begins in seminary with the basic question of his vocation to the priesthood.
Because of this divisive crisis, there are now "correct" and "incorrect" ways to talk about priesthood.
Simply a "presider"
The "modernization" of the priest's role means that he is a social worker with religious politics, or a "community animator" with a dynamic personality and flair for drama and entertainment. He may also be simply "a leader of the community, " a "presider" who arranges worship and leads others as a conductor for an orchestra, and also runs the parish as another kind of business. He may also be the "counselor on call" who helps people feel better about themselves. In a time when pride causes us to so easily confuse personal ambition with vocation, it is becoming more and more common to find notions of priesthood that increasingly exclude rich sacramental definitions. Because of the inevitable and increasing envy and jealousy over the priest's unique ontological status and sacramental ministry, there is a mounting movement to demythologize the priesthood and remove its sacred and unique character, and have the priest be essentially no different than anyone else. If others cannot have what he has, then what he has must be removed. If it cannot be removed, it should be watered down.
In the seminary where I went, the more liberal and watered-down definitions of priesthood mentioned above would fall well within the acceptable parameters of a "correct" description of a priestly character. "Social Justice" was the key term to profess at all times. It was in an erroneous interpretation of this term that one could find considerable room within which to form his own notion of priesthood - as long as it maintained a prophetic witness against "unjust structures."
A man would inevitably find trouble, however, if he used language like "the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass." He would have two strikes against him if he, in turn, stood in opposition to the concept of "priestesses" in the Roman Catholic Church. Such a position would not be respected or looked upon as being even remotely reasonable in light of the experience of "modernity." To think and hold such ideas privately was considered allowable. To hold these things with conviction would not.
The course of formation I experienced, sadly enough, depended heavily upon the guiding principles of political, and especially theological, correctness. These principles controlled the spiritual and academic climate of the seminary institution and its faculty. They were opposed to an adherence (in a spirit of conviction and fidelity) to the authentic teachings of the Church, exhibited through the Holy Father, Magisterium, and Sacred Tradition. The Church's Tradition and traditions were studied from a certain subtle but consistently biased perspective, so that the meaning of many events and personal contributions would be perverted or cast in a negative, offensive light. The spirit of "reform" became most attractive and was perhaps best inculcated after the student could be substantially convinced of the overwhelming "unattractiveness" of the Church's past.
For example, St. Thomas Aquinas was rarely if at all used for our instruction in philosophy or theology. Instead, certain select writings were chosen or referred to for the purpose of exemplifying the limitations of antiquated medieval thought. Particularly underscored were Aquinas's "sexist and demeaning attitudes toward women," and his "erroneous" understanding of human biology. From there it was no difficult task to argue his disqualification from serious contemporary theological discourse.
Latin, Greek and Hebrew were deemed irrelevant or useless for the needs of parish ministry; hence these were not part of our seminary training. Patristics were infrequently mentioned and not encouraged, and the lives of the Saints and Doctors of the Church were implicitly written off as antiquated piety. The Rosary was looked upon as being suitable for those without the capacity to approach God intellectually, and it was beneath one of theological sophistication.
Through various erroneous interpretations of the "Spirit of Vatican II," a certain spirit of "sophistication" paved the way for many different "ecclesiologies," not all of which are from Christ. Many are laden with ideologies foreign or contrary to the Gospel. Moral theologies have collapsed into versions of proportionalism anchored vaguely in the "fundamental option" - to the point that mortal sin is nearly impossible to commit, and one may have allowance to live any way he chooses -as long as he is fundamentally "oriented" in the direction of God. An authentic Catholic spirituality of moral discernment may easily collapse into values wedded to the world, naturally heading towards moral and spiritual relativism.
All of these elements found their way into the fabric of our seminary instruction, one way or another. Even if one did not directly espouse pure relativism, there was still a pervasive, insistent demand for "dialogue" with various perspectives with relativism as a subtle philosophical basis. Faith could venture too close to a seemingly innocent, though mortal, compromise. It didn't seem far from the curb to the gutter. But to hold to "official" teaching, i.e., magisterial documents, was perceived as theological rigidity, disagreeing with certain dubious or erroneous philosophical positions was considered intolerance.
The difference in perspectives was well symbolized by our way of worship. To begin with, we were instructed upon entry to the seminary that we could not kneel at the consecration during Mass, nor could we kneel after receiving communion. This would "break community." We were told that standing was also a posture of reverence on par with kneeling, and that it was more in keeping with Vatican II's " call to mission" of Social Justice-hence standing to be ready to "go out" to enact this justice. Kneeling was considered a "private" worship disconnected from others. It also reflected a repressed piety, a spirituality of "Ghetto Catholicism." This was said to be incompatible with the theology of the Council, and the spirit of the liturgical reforms.
I learned early on that everything done at the seminary had reasoning behind it, although not always good reasoning. The reality behind the theory was that our worship and training were being watered down. We were in practice living a protestantized version of worship. What had always been distinctively Catholic in our Tradition was circumvented, de-emphasized, omitted or excluded. The way we pray is the way we believe.
Inclusive language was the most powerful of all corrosive agents. Not only were the most vocal "justice-conscious" seminarians rewarded for their attacks in class against "insensitive" theological language and oppressive liturgy in the Church's worship, they were considered "courageous men" and commended for their concerns for justice. All through our community Masses, one could not keep from hearing the deliberate and loud references to God in repetitious neutral or even feminine pronouns. The result was the total disruption of the Mass, transforming it from worship to a battle of words.
We, as Roman Catholic seminarians, were not allowed to wear clerical clothing. This was because the collar was a sign of "clericalism. "Though the rector had been known to tell bishops he did not want to "confuse ministry with the wearing of the collar," the reality behind abolishing the collar in our seminary was that it was a cause of great anxiety for the feminists. In many ways it was, for them, a great symbol of oppression - it was a form of ministry that "excluded" women, and therefore an excessive wearing of the collar was unjust and insensitive.
Another divisive factor in the seminary was the reputation of a large homosexual culture. Having gone there for four years, I had seen much that was demoralizing. This was a volatile issue in the seminary, as there were sizeable numbers of men on both sides of the issue. During a class conference, the question that was raised was the unchecked effeminate, scandalous seminary gained by this recurring image, and the kinds of role models the seminary was tacitly approving in recommending these men for orders.
The Vice Rector replied by saying the seminary admitted men of both orientations, but the policy was that all had to be celibate. The general split of the house policy was toleration. On the other hand, I did learn through experience that what was not condoned was "intolerance" and "homophobia."
As soon as it was learned that I was one who disliked and criticized such behavior, I was labeled "homophobic." I was even criticized by some seminarians and faculty as being "too masculine." I was concerned what my friends and family would think of the priesthood if I invited them to see where I lived and studied. Because I found these things embarrassing or shameful, many who were charged with evaluating me felt I was the one who had the problem.
A parallel magisterium
Although the seminary faculty believed they did "technically" teach what the Church teaches, the reality was that they taught a version - and most seminarians innocent or ignorant of authentic Church teaching would have no reason to believe otherwise. Church teaching would be mentioned, but it was always " nuanced" or muted, or given a relative status with other, liberal theologians. A parallel magisterium of popular liberal theologians was often presented and considered with equal authority. We often studied Protestant theologies right alongside Rahner, Schillebeeckx, Kung, Boff (even on occasion Matthew Fox) and so forth. Since there was no reliance upon the Magisterium for guidance or point of reference in most theological discussions, we seminarians would be adrift in a sea of opinion and interpretations, both Protestant and Catholic. To bring Magisterial positions into a "serious theological discussion" was somehow an offense to "academic freedom" and was thus perceived as an insult.
The study of moral theology was characterized by Charles Curran and the fundamental option, proportionalism and the subtle ridicule of traditional moral theologies. Papal encyclicals and theologians like Thomas Aquinas and Alphonsus Liguori were bumped because they were "old," and because of a few examples of apparent contradiction in their writings, chosen without appropriate and necessary contextualization. The impression was that the Pope was very fallible, traditional theologies were irrelevant or ridiculous in light of modern science and psychology, and the Magisterium was an agent of the Vatican for control over theological discussion. The components that were attacked were precisely those pillars preventing the various agendas of "the world" from entering and taking root in the mind and heart of the Church.
My question to the faculty of the seminary involved whether it was formation we were receiving, or deformation. And, in turn, the question the faculty put to me was whether I was "open to where the Church is going today." But were doctrinal confusion, homosexuality, feminist anger and destruction of the priesthood where the Holy Spirit was truly leading us?
After four years in the seminary of standing up for what was right, I was finally punished with dismissal. I was asked to leave at the end of the academic year and to not return. Even though I was pointing out direct cases where the seminary stood contrary to Catholicism in its spiritual climate, members of the faculty protected themselves and the institution by making it appear I was the one who opposed the Church, her authority, and seminary formation.
In order, the charges against me were reactions to the truth - "narrow" was another way of saying I was too much the "papist" in my thinking, and that I couldn't appreciate other "ecclesiologies." "Rigid" meant that I would not compromise the teachings of the Church, or water them down to accommodate theological correctness. "Not open to dialogue" meant that I did not entertain dissent as an option in my faith. "Having problems with women" simply meant that I was critical of feminism and feminist theology, and the feminist agendas being forced on me.
If I were to deny my faith - what I believed to be true about the Church, indeed what all orthodox Catholics and even the Pope himself believes and teaches - I would in effect be denying Christ, the Church's Author and Bridegroom.
Because of the ramifications of the rector's rage, and to my surprise, the bishop in turn also "released" me, as the matter had become quite political for him. The man who once told me in private not to compromise my beliefs compromised me, even after I had made him aware of everything I experienced at the seminary through letters. I was disappointed that he declined to intervene on my behalf, and that he could look the other way after all I had told him. He compromised because he did not want confrontations with a Pandora’s box.
Let the fruits speak for themselves as we look into the history of Catholic conscience and find the incense of compromise now billowing in the halls of Christ's seminaries.
This is a sobering reality for the laity on the state of their Church at one of its most critical levels. Today we are more concerned with "peace, justice, time, talent, and treasure," a secular gospel if there ever was one, which puts no premium on the final last supernatural things but rather is more concerned with our natural interactions with our neighbors with little or no thought to their metaphysical end, the final destination of their souls. When your parish priest tells you that the 1500 inserts that you copied representing the Magisterial teaching on homosexuality should not be put as inserts into your Sunday bulletins but instead put on an obscure table in the "gathering space" of your Church where they are lost among a plethora of more important announcements like Bazaar assignments, the Oktoberfest Dance, and the plans for the new parish social center, at a time when the virtues of living homosexual lifestyles are being promoted by your university, in particular, your university priests, to your community and your school district, and when your bishop tells you that one of the most problematic documents ever to come from a committee of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Always Our Children, is the definitive Church teaching on homosexuality, that should be a red flag that things are not quite right with Catholicism in your neighborhood. It is time for you to educate yourself in the faith so that you will be able to pass some semblance of it on to your children and grandchildren. That education is your only hope in a world where much masquerades as Catholicism.
Let us concentrate on the Catholic education necessary to refute the heinous lie that homosexuality is an alternative lifestyle in an affirmative action civil rights sense. First, an examination of the Catholic teaching on homosexuality is in order.
The teaching of the Roman Catholic Church on homosexuality is given in the official Latin version of the Universal Catechism. Please reference the following paragraphs, 2357-2359. The Catholic teaching on this issue is now in accord with Cardinal Ratzinger’s pastoral, speaking for the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church, which was released in 1986 and is subsequently referenced below. It is confirmation of traditional Catholic Teaching to make every attempt to avoid the occasions of sin.
2357. Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared,
2358. The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359. Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
The definitive position of the teaching Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church on homosexuality is presented in a"Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons" given at Rome, 1 October 1986 by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The major excerpts from that letter follow.
Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.
Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is NOT.
To chose someone of the same sex for one’s sexual activity is to annul the rich symbolism and meaning, not to mention the goals, of the Creator’s sexual design. Homosexual activity is not a complementary union, able to transmit life; and so it thwarts the call to a life of that form of self-giving which the Gospel says is the essence of Christian living. This does not mean that homosexual persons are not often generous and giving of themselves; but when they engage in homosexual activity they confirm within themselves a disordered sexual inclination that is essentially self-indulgent.
As in every moral disorder, homosexual activity prevents one’s own fulfillment and happiness by acting contrary to the creative wisdom of God. The Church, in rejecting erroneous opinions regarding homosexuality, does not limit but rather defends personal freedom and dignity realistically and authentically understood.
It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others that endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.
But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.
It has been argued that the homosexual orientation in certain cases is not the result of deliberate choice; and so the homosexual person would then have no choice but to behave in a homosexual fashion. Lacking freedom, such a person, even if engaged in homosexual activity, would not be culpable.
Here, the Church’s wise moral tradition is necessary since it warns against generalizations in judging individual cases. In fact, circumstances may exist, or may have existed in the past, which would reduce or remove the culpability of the individual in a given instance; or other circumstances may increase it. What is at all costs to be avoided is the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behavior of homosexual persons is always and totally compulsive and therefore inculpable. What is essential is that the fundamental liberty that characterizes the human person and gives him his dignity be recognized as belonging to the homosexual person as well. As in every conversion from evil, the abandonment of homosexual activity will require a profound collaboration of the individual with God’s liberating grace.
Christians who are homosexual are called, as all of us are, to a chaste life. As they dedicate their lives to understanding the nature of God’s personal call to them, they will be able to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance more faithfully and receive the Lord’s grace so freely offered there in order to convert their lives more fully to his Way.
The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation. Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well. Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a "heterosexual" or a "homosexual" and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life."
The following document from Cardinal Ratzinger is the Catholic response to legislative proposals on the non-discrimination of homosexuals.
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith 1992
Some Considerations Concerning the Catholic Response
to Legislative Proposals on the
Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons
Recently, legislation had been proposed in some American states, which would make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation illegal. In some Italian cities, municipal authorities have made public housing available to homosexual (and unmarried heterosexual) couples. Such initiatives, even where they seem more directed toward support of basic civil rights than condonement of homosexual activity or a homosexual lifestyle, may in fact have a negative impact on the family and society. Such things as the adoption of children, the hiring and firing of teachers, the housing needs of genuine families, landlords’ legitimate concerns in screening potential tenants, for example, are often implicated.
While it would be impossible to foresee and respond to every eventuality in respect to legislative proposals in this area, these observations will try to identify some principles and distinctions of a general nature which should be taken into consideration by the conscientious Catholic legislator, voter, or Church authority who is confronted with such issues.
The first section will recall relevant passages from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s "Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Person" of 1986. The second section will deal with the applications.
I. Relevant Passages from the CDF’s "Letter"
1. The Letter recalls that the CDF’s "Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics" of 1975 "took note of the distinction commonly drawn between the homosexual condition or tendency and individual homosexual actions," the latter which are "intrinsically disordered" and "in no case to be approved of" (no. 3).
2. Since "[i]n the discussion which followed the publication of the (above-mentioned) Declaration ..., an overly benign interpretation was given to the homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even good," the Letter goes on to clarify: "Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not" (no. 3).
3. "As in every moral disorder, homosexual activity prevents one’s own fulfillment and happiness by acting contrary to the creative wisdom of God. The Church, in rejecting erroneous opinions regarding homosexuality, does not limit but rather defends personal freedom and dignity realistically and authentically understood" (no. 7).
4. In reference to the homosexual movement, the Letter states: "One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination" (no. 9).
5. "There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil statutes and laws. This is done in order to conform to these pressure groups’ concept that homosexuality is at least a completely harmless, if not an entirely good, thing. Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved" (no. 9).
6. "She (the Church) is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society’s understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy" (no. 9).
7. "It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others, which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law. But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one as any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase" (no. 10).
8. "What is at all costs to be avoided is the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behavior of homosexual persons is always and totally compulsive and therefore inculpable. What is essential is that the fundamental liberty which characterizes the human person and gives him his dignity be recognized as belonging to the homosexual person as well" (no. 11).
9. "In assessing proposed legislation, the Bishops should keep as their uppermost concern the responsibility to defend and promote family life" (no. 17).
10. "Sexual orientation" does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc. in respect to non- discrimination. Unlike these, homosexual orientation is an objective disorder (cf. "Letter," no. 3).
11.There are areas in which it is not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account, for example, in the consignment of children to adoption or foster care, in employment of teachers or coaches, and in military recruitment.
12.Homosexual persons, as human persons, have the same rights as all persons including that of not being treated in a manner which offends their personal dignity (cf. no. 10). Among other rights, all persons have the right to work, to housing, etc. Nevertheless, these rights are not absolute. They can be legitimately limited for objectively disordered external conduct. This is sometimes not only licit but obligatory. This would obtain moreover not only in the case of culpable behavior but even in the case of actions of the physically or mentally ill. Thus it is accepted that the state may restrict the exercise of rights, for example, in the case of contagious or mentally ill persons, in order to protect the common good.
13. Including "homosexual orientation" among the considerations on the basis of which it is illegal to discriminate can easily lead to regarding homosexuality as a positive source of human rights, for example, in respect to so-called affirmative action, the filling of quotas in hiring practices. This is all the more mistaken since there is no right to homosexuality (cf. no. 10) which therefore should not form the judicial basis for claims. The passage from the recognition of homosexuality as a factor on which basis it is illegal to discriminate can easily lead, if not automatically, to the legislative protection of homosexuality. A person’s homosexuality would be invoked in opposition to alleged discrimination and thus the exercise of rights would be defended precisely via the affirmation of the homosexual condition instead of in terms of a violation of basic human rights.
14. The "sexual orientation" of a person is not comparable to race, sex, age, etc. also for another reason than that given above which warrants attention. An individual’s sexual orientation is generally not known to others unless he publicly identifies himself as having this orientation or unless some overt behavior manifests it. As a rule, the majority of homosexually oriented persons who seek to lead chaste lives do not want or see no reason for their sexual orientation to become public knowledge. Hence the problem of discrimination in terms of employment, housing, etc. does not arise. Homosexual persons who assert their homosexuality tend to be precisely those who judge homosexual behavior or lifestyle to be "either completely harmless, if not an entirely good thing" (cf. no. 3), and hence worthy of public approval. It is from this quarter that one is more likely to find those who seek to "manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil statutes and laws" (cf. no. 5), those who use the tactic of protesting that "any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people ... are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination" (cf. no. 9).
15. Since in assessing proposed legislation uppermost concern should be given to the responsibility to defend and promote family life (cf. no. 17), most careful attention should be paid to the single provisions of proposed measures. How would they effect [sic] adoption or foster care? Would they protect homosexual acts, public or private? Do they confer equivalent family status on homosexual unions, for example, in respect to public housing or by entitling the homosexual partner to the privileges of employment which might include "family" participation in the health benefits given to employees (cf. no. 9)?
16. Finally, since a matter of the common good is concerned, it is inappropriate for Church authorities to endorse or remain neutral toward adverse legislation even if it grants exceptions to Church organizations and institutions. The Church has the responsibility to promote the public morality of the entire civil society on the basis of fundamental moral values, not simply to protect herself from the application of harmful laws (cf. no. 17). (END OF DOCUMENT)
Monsignor William Smith of Dunwoodie, the seminary for the Archdiocese of New York said, "When this 1992 CDF statement came out, skyrockets went off in the Catholic world", implying that the Church was discriminating against heterosexuals with homosexual tendencies. Typically, this type of reaction was prevalent in dissident publications such as the Jesuit America Magazine and The National Catholic Reporter. In fact, this clarification by the CDF was nothing more than a reinforcement of what the Church teaching was in the Universal Catechism, which was now in accord with the 1986 Pastoral to the world’s bishops on homosexuality, an invariant teaching to be sure. What was forgotten in the charges of discrimination was that Holy Mother Church has every right to discriminate between right and wrong just as parents must do to insure the welfare of their children, else they cease to be responsible parents.
Dr. Janet Smith of the University of Dallas in "Aquinas’s Natural Law Theory and Homosexuality", Homosexuality And American Public Life ed. by Christopher Wolfe, tells us that no thinker is as closely associated with Natural Law theory as Thomas Aquinas, which is why his thought is a point of departure for those who appeal to the Natural Law tradition in arguing against the validity of a homosexual lifestyle. Similarly, those who wish to undermine the Natural Law understanding of homosexuality, of necessity, must attack or attempt to reinterpret Aquinas. For if Aquinas’s understanding of homosexuality would turn out to be groundless or incoherent, the Natural Law approach to this question could be vitiated. John Boswell in his Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, is one of these "reinterpreters." Before examining the techniques of Boswell and Company, it is necessary to see what Aquinas says on homosexuality. This will be done in the context of observing how the militant homosexual agenda is being promoted in the university community in which I live and some responses to it.
I cannot express in words the incalculable damage done to the cause of the Truth (a Person - Jesus Christ, not a thing), by the issuance of the extremely flawed letter from a committee of bishops of the NCCB entitled "Always Our Children." I am referring to the original and revised version, both of which remain extremely flawed per the critiques of Father John Harvey, the founder of COURAGE, a ministry to Catholics wanting to leave as opposed to live the homosexual lifestyle.
A clinical psychologist identifying himself as Catholic who, under direction of the diocese of Altoona/Johnstown, interviews our prospective seminarians, in public comments to our local School Board, offered to supply them with a copy of the "encyclical" ‘Always Our Children’, (his words) to give them the "spiritual" evidence, as he put it, for legitimizing homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle in our public schools.
It came to my attention that one of the candidates interviewed by this individual for the diocese was asked an inordinate number of questions about homosexuality, "Was he homosexual?", "Did he have homosexual experiences?", "Was he homophobic?", "Did he have anything against homosexuals?"
This "Catholic" psychologist then proceeded to tell the School Board that he was "appalled" that the School District had originally excluded nationally known militant homosexual speakers on the faculty and administration at Penn State from making presentations to our teachers at a winter in-service. The District had previously made this decision after complaints from a group of parents concerned with the usurpation of their rights by the public schools as evidenced by the exclusion of anyone speaking for traditional Judeo/Christian values. The psychologist called these pro-homosexual speakers "responsible and very conscientious" - the same speakers who are on record as promoting homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle and who are either homosexuals themselves or homosexual advocates – one of whom is primarily responsible for sponsoring homosexual seminars at Penn State calling for the recognition of homosexuality in our children at the earliest of ages. The psychologist called it a "travesty of diversity" that the homosexual question is excluded from a diversity seminar. He made the claim that the suffering of homosexual children is primarily because of the insensitivity toward them by the comments of an "ill-informed" public, totally ignoring the evidence of Dr. Jeffrey Satinover in Homosexuality And The Politics Of Truth to the contrary.
Satinover showed that, in spite of the superficial plausibility of the activists repeated claims, "NO studies support the hypothesis that the social disapproval of homosexuality causes any of the high levels of internal distress in homosexuals - even long before AIDS." In his book, Satinover clearly exposes the circular arguments and self-serving explanations for homosexual distress. Satinover is a M.D. and has practiced psychoanalysis and psychiatry for more than nineteen years. He is a former Fellow in Psychiatry and Child Psychiatry at Yale University and a past president of the C.G. Jung Foundation. He holds degrees from MIT, the University of Texas, and Harvard University.
The psychologist went out of his way to state that "he used to be professionally involved in the practice of Christian theology and the ministry of it" and that "he was a Christian" and, as such, was appalled at the decision of the district to disinvite militant homosexual activists to speak to our teachers. He implied that it was not the Christian message to hate people which he inferred were the reasons for the objections to the homosexual activists speaking to the teachers - the typical "homophobic" straw man used to marginalize any who would disagree as uncharitable and/or insensitive. I agree. That has never been the message conveyed to the School District by Christians. They are concerned with judging actions, not people. In particular, they are concerned with the proliferation of lies about homosexuality as a normal, alternative lifestyle, which is the message sent by the District when they choose to include it as a cause for nondiscrimination in the civil rights sense of skin color or ethnicity.
Not only did the psychologist say that he was appalled, he stated that "Jesus Christ would be appalled" if homosexuality was not included on the teacher in-service menu. He wasn’t finished yet. He made one final appearance before the Board and told them "that if anyone (on the Board) needed spiritual comfort, I would encourage you to read the recent encyclical of the American Council of Catholic Bishops and I think that you would all feel very encouraged with your vote because of that document. I would be happy to supply each and every one of you a copy of that pastoral letter if anyone wants to read it."
Thanks in no small part to the testimony of a litany of homosexuals and homosexual advocates at a hastily called meeting of the School Board, especially the testimony of this psychologist, the School Board by a 8-1 vote saw fit to reverse the earlier decision of the District and reinvite the militant homosexual activists thereby given them a forum for the propagandizing of sexual perversion as an alternative lifestyle. One of the homosexual speakers showed parts of a film entitled "It’s Elementary" which brought homosexual agitprop to our schoolteachers, and subsequently our children.
Upon being confronted by concerned Catholics in regard to the outrageous nature of the psychologist’s comments speaking for Roman Catholicism, he told them, "You make me ashamed to be Catholic."
I submit that, in the light of his comments to the State College Area School Board, this psychologist has a lot to be ashamed of but being Catholic is not one of them. He would be easily acquitted in a court of law on any charges of being a Catholic.
In regard to his interview with a seminary candidate, as it was reported to me by the interviewee, this psychologist asked the prospective seminarian about "women priesthood." The candidate told him that the Pope had clearly stated, infallibly, that the "women priesthood" issue was closed and that he (the candidate) no longer wanted to talk about it. Later on in the course of the interview, the psychologist asked this question again and become "very frustrated" and "antagonistic" to the candidate when given the same answer as previous. He then told the candidate that "you won’t last, you’re too rigid, you’re too dogmatic." He said this in a reported "angry tone". The candidate stated that "he felt that he had been personally attacked" and was amazed at the inordinate amount of questions asked of him on homosexuality and homosexuals by the psychologist.
I submit that this psychologist is not qualified to be interviewing prospective seminarians as, by his actions to date, he is a dissenter from Catholic teaching.
The Ordinary of our diocese was notified accordingly. I have learned from a reliable source that his reaction was, "He had no problems with the psychologist interviewing his prospective seminarians."
I believe that the universally recognized extremely flawed nature of Always Our Children, in particular, its increasing usage as THE main tool for homosexual activists to gain sympathy for the cause of legitimizing sexual perversion as a civil right, demands its immediate rescindment or modification to absolutely insure that no ambiguity whatsoever remains between it and the teaching Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church.
This Catholic clinical psychologist left our school board with the impression that the Roman Catholic Church somehow changed its position on homosexuality via what he called the "encyclical, pastoral, Always Our Children, which he implied was a dogmatic document of the Catholic bishops. Nothing could be further from the truth. He was wrong on ALL counts. This document was not an encyclical. Encyclicals come from popes. It was not, technically, a bishops pastoral. Pastorals in that sense speak for the entire body of Catholic bishops, which the document, as was recently clarified at a meeting of the National Council of Catholic Bishops and the issuance of the Vatican Document Apostolos Suos, does not. It most certainly was not dogmatic by its own admission. As it turns out, Always Our Children was nothing more than a very problematic letter issued by a small committee of bishops on the reported questionable advice of homosexual advocates within the clergy, many of whom are well-known dissenters from Roman Catholic doctrine and, as such, their orthodoxy and that of the document is open to question, in particular, the advice to parents by the authors in the original version to let any homosexual tendencies on the part of their children go unquestioned. This bogus charge to parents has been condemned by Catholic authorities, clergy and laity alike worldwide, especially by Father John A. Harvey, the founder of COURAGE, a Catholic ministry to homosexuals with the emphasis and proven success on "leaving" as opposed to "living" the lifestyle - something homosexual advocates at universities like Penn State do not want the public to know.
While the most disturbing parts of Always Our Children were removed in a revision, e.g., the advice that parents must do nothing while their children are inclined to sinful, objectively disordered acts, this document remains extremely flawed per Rome’s allowance of the continuing criticism of it by COURAGE’S Father Harvey. The Church recognizes that having a sexual-genital attraction to another person of the same sex can never lead to a morally good act between the two individuals, but rather will always lead to an immoral act as the unitive and procreative aspects of sexuality are violated.
A prophetic consequence of ignoring Church teaching is the irrationality which has overtaken professional psychiatric associations who are now constructing the psychological normal pedophile, sadist, and masochist by telling us that these conditions are no longer disorders similar to homosexuality, that childhood sexual abuse is on average, only SLIGHTLY associated with psychological harm. The J. of Homosexuality says that adult-child sex is "male intergenerational intimacy", the title of a special issue that neither hides nor condemns pedophilia. Rather, it is argued that pedophilia is an acceptable aspect of sexuality, especially homosexuality. The San Francisco Sentinel, a Bay area gay-activist newspaper, published an article that argues that pedophilia is central to male homosexual life.
Our diocesan clinical psychologist reinvents the Church to accommodate sin, which MUST be discriminated against if a supernatural end is our goal. He conveniently forgets that Jesus told the Magdalenes of the world to go and sin no more.
At a School Board meeting I heard something that, as a Roman Catholic, I found to be so totally preposterous that I could not believe someone calling himself "Catholic" capable of making such a statement. The Board and the Community were told by this same psychologist that the "sin of Sodom was inhospitality" and that Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica challenged natural law arguments, and said that "homosexuality is natural, not unnatural and that homosexuality among animals is natural, not unnatural."
I would ask this psychologist to please give us the exact references in the Summa Theologica where Thomas Aquinas made those statements.
It should not be required to formally refute such outrageous, scandalous statements but because of the confusion spawned by dissident theologians who would create their own heretical "magisteria" co-equal with that of Holy Mother Church, a response is in order.
I will let Saint Thomas Aquinas respond directly through his own words in the Christian Classics 1948 Benzinger edition translation of the Summa Theologica, the clarity of which is unmistakable. First the Natural Law will be addressed, then homosexuality.
The Natural Law.
Since, however, good has the nature of an end, and evil, the nature of a contrary, hence it is that all those things to which man has a natural inclination, are naturally apprehended by reason as being good, and consequently as objects of pursuit, and their contraries as evil, and objects of avoidance.
Because in man there is first of all an inclination to good in accordance with the nature which he has in common with all substances; inasmuch as every substance seeks the preservation of its own being, according to its nature: and by reason of this inclination, whatever is a means of preserving human life, and of warding off its obstacles, BELONGS to the Natural Law. Secondly, there is in man an inclination to things that pertain to him more specially, according to that nature which he has in common with other animals: and in virtue of this inclination, those things are said to belong to the Natural Law, WHICH NATURE HAS TAUGHT TO ALL ANIMALS, such as sexual intercourse, education of offspring and so forth.
Thus man has a natural inclination to know the truth about God, and to live in society: and in this respect, whatever pertains to this inclination belongs to the Natural Law. [Summa Theologica, Vol II, Pt. I-II, Q.94 Art. 2]
For it has been stated that to the Natural Law belongs everything to which a man is inclined according to his nature.
Wherefore, since the rational soul is the proper form of man, there is in every man a natural inclination to act according to reason: and this is to act according to virtue.
Temperance is about the natural concupiscences of food, drink, and sexual matters, which are indeed ordained to the natural common good, just as other matters of law are ordained to the moral common good.
By human nature we may mean either that which is proper to man - and in this sense all sins, as being against reason, are also against nature, as Damascene states (De Fide Orthod. ii. 30): or we may mean that nature which is common to man and other animals; and in this sense, certain special sins are said to be AGAINST nature; thus contrary to sexual intercourse, which is natural to all animals, is unisexual lust, which has received the special name of the UNNATURAL CRIME. [Summa Theologica, Vol II, Pt. I-II, Q.94 Art. 3]
Consequently we must say that the Natural Law, as to general principles, is the same for all, both as to rectitude and as to knowledge.
As, in man, reason rules and commands the other powers, so all the natural inclinations belonging to the other powers must needs be directed according to reason. [Summa Theologica, Vol II, Pt. I-II, Q.94 Art. 4]
The Natural Law dates from the creation of the rational creature. It does NOT vary according to time, but remains unchangeable.
The Natural Law was perverted in the hearts of some men, as to certain matters, so that they esteemed those things good which are naturally evil. [Summa Theologica, Vol II, Pt. I-II, Q.94 Art. 5]
THY LAW IS WRITTEN ON THE HEARTS OF MEN, WHICH INIQUITY ITSELF EFFACES NOT. But the law which is written in men’s hearts is the Natural Law. Therefore the Natural Law CANNOT be blotted out.
There belong to the Natural Law, first, certain most general precepts, that are known to all; and secondly, certain secondary and more detailed precepts, which are, as it were, conclusions following closely from first principles. As to those general principles, the Natural Law, in the abstract, can NOwise be blotted out from men’s hearts. [Summa Theologica, Vol II, Pt. I-II, Q.94 Art. 6]
The unnatural vice IS a species of lust. It is reckoned together with other species of lust (2 Cor. xii. 21) where we read: ‘And have not done penance for the uncleanness, and fornication, and lasciviousness,’ where a gloss says: ‘Lasciviousness, i.e., unnatural lust.’
The venereal act is rendered unbecoming through being contrary to right reason, and because, in addition, it is contrary to the natural order of the venereal act as becoming to the human race: and this is called THE UNNATURAL VICE. This may happen by copulation with an undue sex, male with male, or female with female, as the Apostle states (Rom. i. 27): and this is called the VICE OF SODOMY. [Summa Theologica, Vol IV, Pt. II-II, Q.154 Art. 11]
Augustine says (De adult. conjug.) that ‘of all these’, namely the sins belonging to lust, ‘THAT WHICH IS AGAINST NATURE IS THE WORST.’
I answer that, in every genus, worst of all is the corruption of the principle on which the rest depend. Now the principles of reason are those things that are according to nature, because reason presupposes things as determined by nature, before disposing of other things according as it is fitting. This may be observed both in speculative and in practical matters. Wherefore just as in speculative matters the most grievous and shameful error is that which is about things the knowledge of which is naturally bestowed on man, so in matters of action it is most grave and shameful to act against things as determined by nature. Therefore, since by the UNNATURAL VICES man TRANSGRESSES that which has been determined by nature with regard to the use of venereal actions, it follows that in this matter THIS SIN IS GRAVEST OF ALL. After it comes incest, which is contrary to the natural respect which we owe persons related to us.
Just as the ordering of right reason proceeds from man, so the order of nature is from God Himself: wherefore in sins contrary to nature, whereby the very order of nature is violated, an INJURY IS DONE TO GOD, THE AUTHOR OF NATURE. Hence, Augustine says (Conf. iii. 8): ‘Those foul offenses that are against nature should be everywhere and at all times DETESTED and PUNISHED, such as were those of the people of Sodom, which should all nations commit, they should all stand guilty of the same crime, by the law of God, which hath not so made men that they should so abuse one another. For even that very intercourse which should be between God and us is violated, when that same nature, of which He is the author, is POLLUTED BY THE PERVERSITY OF LUST.’
Vices against nature are also against God, and are so much more grievous than the depravity of sacrilege, as the order impressed on human nature is prior to and more firm than any subsequently established order.
The nature of the species is more intimately united to each individual, than any other individual is. Wherefore sins against the specific nature are more grievous.
Wherefore among sins against nature, the most grievous is the sin of bestiality, because use of the due species is not observed. After this comes the sin of Sodomy, because use of the right sex is not observed. [Summa Theologica, Vol IV, Pt. II-II, Q.154 Art. 12]
Thus spoke Saint Thomas Aquinas.
The following is an example of the obfuscation of the Catholic Teaching on Homosexuality that I have continually observed in both the secular and dissident Catholic media.
When Cardinal Ratzinger's pastoral is referenced, it is always taken out of context in that the only paragraph quoted is that saying discrimination (meaning invidious discrimination) against homosexuals cannot be tolerated giving the distinct impression that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had absolutely nothing to say about the inclination to homosexual behavior being objectively disordered, that the living out of this inclination to homosexual behavior is NOT an acceptable option, and about the behavior itself being ordered to an intrinsic moral evil. These truths are conspicuously absent. Nowhere is there any admonition to the Faithful that sin can be JUSTLY DISCRIMINATED against!
The Church talks about "objective disorders" for very good reasons because that is exactly what we're dealing with here. Most certainly the Church welcomes the sinner but the Church hates the sin. You do not say to an alcoholic we love you, and we also love your alcoholism that is killing you. Moreover, you would not encourage this individual that is was OK to be inclined to such a disorder leading only to misery. You would do everything in your power to get him to see that the direction in which he is heading leads to nowhere.
And yet, this is exactly what we are being told in regard to homosexuality by totally ignoring the fact that the inclination to this lifestyle is objectively disordered. There is no "nice" way to couch this phrase anymore then there is a substitute for partial birth infanticide which some call "a form of late term abortion", or "dilation and extraction."
Catholics are entitled to authentic catechesis. There are enough lies to go around in the secular world without adding to the problem. And that is what is happening in many dioceses in the world. Catholics are adding to the problem instead of witnessing to the Faith.
The bottom line in what has been happening in regard to the homosexual question, not just locally, but internationally, is that there is no conceivable right to behavior that is intrinsically ordered to a moral evil.
THE important point which is continually being missed but which must be UNDERSCORED IN BOLD PRINT and SHOUTED from the rooftops is that not only is the behavior intrinsically ordered to a moral evil, i.e., the behavior a grave sin, the INCLINATION TO THE BEHAVIOR IS AN OBJECTIVE DISORDER because it can NEVER LEAD to a morally licit act. As such the inclination to the behavior remains an occasion of sin that must be overcome, avoided at all costs; else it becomes fertile ground for sins.
See Matthew 5:27-30 "you have heard it said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has ALREADY COMMITTED ADULTERY with her in his heart. And if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your member than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell."
Our Lord is not talking literally about bodily dismemberment here but rather spiritual dismemberment from the occasions of sin. His language is strong to show the severity of avoiding the occasions of sin to keep from damnation. That is undeniable in this passage of Matthew.
Anyone making a blanket statement to the effect that thoughts are never sins is not speaking the truth. Thoughts most certainly are an occasion of sin because they can be categorized as good or bad. Such thoughts, temptations in and of themselves are certainly not sins if the temptation is resisted. However, any book in Catholic Moral Theology if it is true to the teachings of the Church will state that thoughts leading to willful desires of sinful acts ARE sins regardless of whether the act is physically committed or not. In particular, reference the sins of lust in Prummers Moral Theology - specifically the treatises on thoughts and the vices contrary to temperance and chastity. The key here is the will. We have free will to be with God or against Him. This is what Our Lord is referring to in the aforementioned biblical reference.
Accordingly, authentic pastoral care for heterosexuals with homosexual attractions is NOT making a public statement in the local newspaper saying that there are HEALTHY aspects of homosexuality as was done by a priest from the Penn State Catholic Community. That is heresy! That is encouragement to an inclination (to a lifestyle) that is an occasion of serious sin. As Catholics, we were taught to avoid such occasions at all costs. We need to be taught that again, especially by our bishops. We answer ultimately to God who is Perfect Truth to be proclaimed UNCOMPROMISINGLY. That and only that is genuine compassion for sinners. To forgive them certainly but to remind them that any Act of Contrition, if it is meaningful, states that I firmly resolve with the help of Thy Grace to confess my sins, to do penance, and to AMEND MY LIFE, AMEN!
The last is an absolute requirement, to make the effort to amend our lives in answer to the forgotten admonishment of Jesus to the Magdalenes of the world after they were forgiven, to "go and sin no more."
What we have to understand is that the door is opened to the acceptance of sexual perversion as a civil right by agreeing that there is nothing wrong with being inclined to these acts. When you divorce the act itself from the inclination, you conveniently say that being inclined to aberrant behavior is all right and we must leave all of those with these inclinations alone since that would be an offense to their dignity.
Do we apply the same illogic to those inclined to alcoholism, kleptomania, sadism, masochism, pedophilia, et al.? Sanity declares otherwise but of course we no longer live in a sane world given Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, and the American Psychiatric Association telling us that homosexuality, sadism, masochism, and pedophilia are no longer disorders.
This is the modus operandi of the militant homosexual movement that, if given an inch, will take a mile toward not only the promotion of homosexuality as a civil right but the enforcement of it making it a hate crime for anyone to say otherwise, in particular, that the inclination is objectively disordered.
When you ignore this fact you're adding more fuel to a fire that is getting increasingly out of control.
It is also the message of the extremely flawed document Always Our Children, which should have been dead on arrival instead of given a life by the NCCB. National Councils of Bishops have had problems with such statements before as evidenced by the French debacle calling for condom use to prevent AIDS.
The problem is not with thoughts per se being sins although Jesus had something to say about this regarding committing adultery in your heart. But what you are thinking about can be categorized as good or bad in the same manner that the acts you perform can - the idea being to avoid the occasions of sin (committing the act) by resisting bad thoughts.
If the thought is an inclination to an act of sexual perversion, then I submit that that thought is "immoral" in the sense of its broad definition and must be recognized as such. "Immoral" here means "conflicting with generally or traditionally held moral principles." Always Our Children said, in effect, that such thoughts are not immoral which is not true given the broad sense of the definition of "immoral."
If our thought is a temptation to sexual acts with someone of the same sex, that thought or temptation is "immoral", "disordered" in the sense of moral meaning "of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior, ethical judgments, expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior, conforming to a standard of right behavior, sanctioned by or operative on one's conscience or ethical judgment." Would a thought, temptation regarding having sex with a
person of the same sex be "conforming to a standard of right behavior"? I do not think so anymore than a thought regarding having sex with a child, or inflicting pain on oneself or another for sexual pleasure is conforming to a standard of right behavior. If not, then that thought at that particular time is an "immoral" thought, a temptation which, if resisted, is not a sin.
What the committee of bishops seems to have cavalierly done with one fell swoop of the pen was to give the erroneous impression that homosexual orientation was not disordered by saying that it was "not immoral". If disordered means "morally reprehensible, how do they rationalize that statement?
In the context of Cardinal Ratzinger's 1986 pastoral to the world's bishops, a person's inclination to homosexual behavior is objectively disordered (objectively morally reprehensible) because it can never lead to a morally licit act for the reasons given below.
Where the procreative and unitive aspects of sexuality are violated is by the unnatural acts of homosexuality which is why the Church teaches that any orientation to this behavior is objectively disordered, i.e., it is an orientation to a misuse of human sexuality, an orientation to acts which are sins against nature and nature's God. The unitive is violated because the plumbing doesn't work, i.e., man wasn't created physically for homosexual acts; the procreative is a consequence of this fact.
Heterosexual attraction is natural to man and woman (Catholic Catechism #2333), while homosexual tendencies are unnatural. Heterosexual attraction is God-given, and for the vast majority of the human race, leads to marriage, children, and family; same-sex attractions are an objective disorder, but not sinful in themselves (CDF Statement, 1986, sect. 3). One often hears this objection to the term "objective disorder" being applied to homosexual tendencies: "If a man lusts for a woman or vice versa, this too is an objective disorder." But this is not so, because, if the man or woman controls this natural attraction, and wills to express it in the natural state of marriage, it is a good thing, desired by the Creator. But if one has a sexual-genital attraction to another person of the same sex, it can NEVER lead to a morally good act between the two individuals, but rather it will ALWAYS lead to an immoral act. That is why it is called an objective disorder.
To say that the "Church does not ask homosexuals to deny their homosexuality" as a Penn State priest said in the local paper implies somehow that homosexuality is a gift from God - another obfuscation of Church teaching reinforced by the latest research in regard to homosexuality and orientation toward it. The Church clearly is teaching those inclined to homosexual lifestyles out of unconditional love for them that they are embarking down a road leading elsewhere than to salvation per the Catechism.
The word "orientation" has serious theological implications. If you believe that some people are essentially homosexual, you turn Christian anthropology on its head. Christianity holds that we are all heterosexual in our God-given nature, though some heterosexuals have a problem with same-sex attractions. If you believe that homosexuality is part of a person's nature, given by God, then homosexual acts become a fulfillment of a person's God-given nature, and
That has never been the Catholic teaching.
The editors of the Catechism of the Catholic Church recognized this distinction. The original draft of the catechism (1994) was modified in 1998 to refer to homosexuality as an "inclination, which is objectively disordered."
The homosexual condition is neither normal nor natural. It remains an occasion of sin for which heroic chastity is necessary for avoidance. The same heroic chastity, I might add, that unmarried and married people need to avoid sin. There is no difference whatsoever.
As an aside, the phrase "sexual orientation" is problematic as there is absolutely no evidence that innateness is involved here along with a finality that excludes reparative therapy per NARTH, The National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality. It is a phrase that evolved for political reasons from sexual perversion to sexual deviancy to sexual preference in the same manner that homosexuality was falsely characterized as being "gay". There is nothing gay about it per statements from the objective psychologists, psychiatrists, and behavioral scientists of NARTH as a function of many case studies.
Noted Catholic moral theologian, Msgr. William Smith once commented on how "rights talk" and "tolerance" have reached intolerable proportions. He observed that G.K. Chesterton was right to say that tolerance is the only virtue common to those who don't believe in anything. What Msgr. Smith was referring to indirectly related to the situation in the public square where many believers are
being coerced into supporting laws which their faith holds in anathema. Somehow, this clarion call for unconditional tolerance conveniently excludes those who, for reasons of faith, cannot welcome the sin with the sinner. Moreover, they are certainly not required to do so in any sane reading of Sacred Scripture and Church tradition that does not erase significant portions of the Bible or Church teaching to accommodate the current vices in vogue.
The Church is aware that the view that homosexuality is equivalent to or acceptable as sexual expression of conjugal love in marriage has a direct impact on society's understanding of nature and the rights of the family and it puts them in jeopardy. The Church cannot budge from that position because the promotion of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle is not really a neutral advocacy. The only sexual relationship that enjoys the sanction of civil law in our society is stable marriage and family life. We have no special laws for fornicators. We have no special protected zones of advocacy for adulterers.
What kind of message do we send to children growing up? If we send an ambiguous or ambivalent message, a message that human sexuality whether it's normal or deviant is just like being right or left handed, we are sending a very dangerous message leading to physical as well as spiritual destruction.
Law functions as a teacher as to what we approve and disapprove of in society. Thus, to imply that "sexual orientation" is equated with immutable natural characteristics or constitutionally protected behavior says that being inclined to behavior which is an intrinsic moral evil is OK, and there is nothing wrong with inclinations that are objectively disordered (morally reprehensible).
What we must never lose sight of is that we're talking about a disordered form of behavior to which no one has any conceivable right. If there is no right, there can be no discrimination in regard to opposing this behavior.
The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation. Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well. Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a" heterosexual" or a "homosexual" and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life.
Every parent with an IQ in double figures knows that growing up with extra burdens, extra pains is not good for children. Sending wrong signals in our society will only complicate their lives.
If we can't affirm the normative position of stable, heterosexual marriage and
family life of "mother, father, and children," then our society will become a footnote in history like so many others which destroyed themselves from within.
The late Justice Brennan, in order to give benefits to illegitimate children, said that marriage was a legally impermissible category. If you want to give food lunches to illegitimate as well as legitimate kids, there must be some way to do that without coming up with a radical statement like Brennan's.
Similarly, if you want to discourage the harassment of students, there is a way to do this without legitimizing objectively disordered inclinations to deviant acts by equating universally recognized normative, immutable natural characteristics and constitutionally protected acts with universally recognized aberrant behavior. This is behavior that has the unanimous condemnation through millennia of religious tradition and Sacred Scripture involving very different contexts but always coming to the same conclusion. The early fathers of the Church are in total agreement with the harmony of the Pauline epistles and Genesis in this matter.
We have to think of family all the time in the promulgation of our laws which are rooted in the Natural Law which is a participation in the Eternal Law of God. The Ten Commandments can be considered an early warning system. They are not the ten suggestions. If you obey them, you will flourish; if not, you will participate in your own destruction. Where are the societies that have played fast and loose with the Commandments, stable marriage and family life. I'll tell you where they are, they "USED TO BE."
What's happening locally is not unique to our area. It is a microcosm of the world at large where Catholics are fighting a culture war for souls, in particular, the souls of their children. They need the support of their Church in giving a clear witness for the faith at a time when confusion reigns supreme thanks to the father-of-lies. Satan's most effective ploy is to sow dissension within the Body of Christ, in particular, making it acceptable to dissent from the Teaching Magisterium of Christ’s Church.
What the reinventers of Aquinas, Sacred Scripture, and Church tradition, such as the "Catholic" clinical psychologist that I previously referenced, and John Boswell in his Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality, do not understand is the proper interpretation of Aquinas’s Natural Law in a metaphysical context. They fail to understand Aquinas’s understanding of nature and its role in his evaluation of ethics.
There are several fundamental principles that one must keep in mind when interpreting Aquinas’s Natural Law teachings: 1) Aquinas understands God to be the author of nature and thus what is natural is good. 2) The primary meaning of the word "nature" for Aquinas is not physical or biological but ontological in that "nature" most precisely refers to the essence of a substance, in the case of man, to a substance that is a unity of spirit and body. 3) Natural Law ethics and virtue ethics are integrally related for virtues are a perfection of man’s nature. All sins are a violation of some virtue. 4) Since the Fall, man’s physical nature and intellectual nature are flawed and thus can mislead him in his actions. Aquinas is concerned about what is fitting for man’s final end (telos). What is fitting in this sense is what is ordered to the good, not what is objectively disordered. His concern about this "good ordering" is centered around its leading to the perfection of one’s nature toward this final end, which leads to the union of body and soul, the soul being the form of the body. So Aquinas has a very metaphysical purpose in defining nature in that the soul cannot be divorced from the body in an eternal sense.
Although Aquinas speaks of the good of sexuality as being "the propagation of the species", the propagation of the human species should not be understood in the same way as the propagation of all other species, since humans have immortal souls and are destined not just to contribute to the longevity of the species but also possess an intrinsic value in their own right. Humans in generating offspring are not just preserving the species; they are "multiplying individuals", i.e., they are helping to populate Heaven (not earth). Thus, humans not only reproduce; more properly they procreate. They participate in the coming to be of a new human soul. God is the Creator of each and every human soul but He requires the provision of matter by human beings in order to affect the coming to be of a new human being (body and soul). Semen, then, (and the ova) is part of the matter into which God infuses the human soul. To deliberately misuse semen, or the ova, i.e., to use them in a way that prevents them from providing the matter for new human life, is to violate a great good in a metaphysical sense, which is against the Natural Law. Man is not allowing God to be God. Thus, the "natural" in the Natural Law for Aquinas not only applies to "natural" in a biological sense, i.e., a violation of the plumbing, but more properly to "natural" in a supernatural sense, where metaphysics is the path of reason to the Divine.