12 November 2015

Intrinsically disordered

I feel, frankly, embarrassed when I hear homosexuality discussed in ways which must be uncomfortable to millions of good and admirable Catholic people with homosexual 'orientations' who, with the help of God's grace, live a life in accordance with divine law; or, perhaps, sometimes fall into sin but do their best by cooperating with Grace to live well, rejecting the corrupt voices inviting them to proclaim such actions as normal. There was a fair bit of this going on in the context of that Synod, with one tendenz demanding changes in the teaching of the Church; while others defend Christian teaching without avoiding insensitive language. (By the way: I am one of those who use the term 'homosexualist' to mean, not a person with an affective inclination towards their own gender, but those people, of whatever 'orientation', who make an ideology out of portraying homosexual genital actions as normal.)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2357, quoting the SCDF Declaration Persona humana of 1976, describes such actions as "suapte intrinseca natura inordinati", and goes on to comment "Legi naturali sunt contrarii". I would simply wish to point out that this language is very much in line with the language of the Encyclical Casti Connubii which Pope Pius XI issued in 1930, and which, incidentally, was a reaction to a Anglican Lambeth Conference which had very slightly opened the door to the possibility of 'Contraception' in hard cases. (Here again, we detect Anglicanism in its adoption of error as being simply a generation or two ahead of those Catholics who now urge the same apostasies upon their own Church.) The Roman Pontiff, in that Encyclical, describes Contraception as "intrinsece contra naturam"  and "Intrinsece inhonestum". Indeed, he goes on to remind us that "the Divine Majesty detests this unspeakable crime (nefandum facinus) with the deepest hatred and has sometimes punished it with death". Tough talk.

To put the same point the other way round: since the Magisterium describes contraceptive heterosexual activity as intrinsece wrong, it would be irrational and discriminatory if it did not use similar language with regard to homosexual activity.

I believe that our Holy Mother the Church is 105% right in her teaching about the intrinsic disorder of homosexual genital actions. But I think it is unbalanced to dwell upon this without, equally loudly, reminding each other of the strong language with which Tradition and the Magisterium have condemned perverted activities within marriage; activities which, so some people are endlessly anxious to convince us, are very common among modern married Catholics.

And, while I'm on about all this, a word about Friendship. There is sound evidence in the Christian Tradition for the sanctifying character of Amicitia. The problem now is that if two people of the same sex are known to be living together and to be fond of each other ... and why on earth should this not be so ...  the censoriously orthodox may be tempted to jump to the conclusion that they are cohabiting in unnatural vice. But in (I think) Launceston church there is a moving eighteenth century monument to two gentry who lived together in much amity all their lives. And the Byzantines had liturgical rites for constituting two men as Brothers. In such cases, there is not the least suggestion of approval of genital perversion (which in eighteenth century England was a capital offence and is explicitly dealt with in Byzantine penal codes). But now we live in an age of innuendo and snigger and ... worse: the homosexualist Thought Police seize every opportunity of flaunting anything which seems to them to indicate that large percentages of people are 'gay'; and that being 'gay' is normal and 'coming out' is highly praiseworthy. So such a couple runs the appalling risks of being labelled as 'a gay couple'; being regarded with suspicion by some of the orthodox; and being treated with patronising and condescending approval by a ruthlessly aggressive homosexualist mafia.

It's a difficult ... and very nasty ... world that we live in. For men; for women; for heterosexuals; for homosexuals.


Vox Cantoris said...

Father, The blog by Joseph Sciambra in San Francisco, USA, http://www.josephsciambra.com/, is a testament to what you have written. During the Synod, it was sad to see how this man had to suffer when he know the Truth and others sought and seek to undermine It.

Anonymous said...

"I am one of those who use the term 'homosexualist' to mean, not a person with an affective inclination towards their own gender, but those people, of whatever 'orientation', who make an ideology out of portraying homosexual genital actions as normal."

Yes. In a similar way, I prefer the term "progressivist" for those who make a fetish of an imagined progress that happily coincides with them and their ideological fixations.

Romulus said...

I have disordered desires, including many completely unrelated to sex. Haven't we all? It's all very well to decry gratuitous cruelty, but let's not obscure truths that need to be proclaimed.

Liam Ronan said...

Edifying observations, Father. Thank you.

I wonder if you might some day turn your thoughts to the theological concepts of 'imperfect contrition' and 'firm purpose of amendment', both of which are predicate to the forgiveness of sins (habitual or not)in confession.

Sean W. said...

Right on, Father. The Church does an injustice, I think, by dwelling at length on "homosexuality" as if the sexual appetites of persons is relevant to her condemnation of sodomy. It isn't. Sodomy doesn't cease to be a sin that cries out to Heaven for vengeance simply because it's committed by good Dr. and Mrs. Wilson instead of, I don't know, Elton John.

The Church of course loves all sinners, but she doesn't seem the need to qualify her condemnation of murder by reminding everyone that she loves sociopaths, or her condemnation of theft by reminding everyone that she loves kleptomaniacs.

Unknown said...

"It's a difficult ... and very nasty ... world that we live in. For men; for women; for heterosexuals; for homosexuals"

What unbridled pessimism! The World is getting better for its human inhabitants, according to almost any metric that you care to choose. In terms of sexism and prejudice against sexual orientation, things are getting better thanks to the inexorable progress of secular morality fighting against the religious tendency to cling to the old; how anybody thinks that homosexual acts are a sin whilst ignoring the other rubbish that is found only verses away within the book of Leviticus is quite beyond me. If we were to accept that the Pentateuch represented divine truth then we would have to adopt a pro-slavery stance, amongst other moral abominations.

I enjoyed your Latin tuition, delivered through your focused intellect, for many years and I confess, therefore, to being somewhat disappointed in what seems to me your rather benighted view of the World. The bible may represent the height of Bronze Age / Iron Age philosophy and fain would I keep the baby whilst emptying the bathtub, but I do wish that we would learn to reason for ourselves.

I beg you approve this comment and explain why you disagree rather than simply edit it away :)

Kathleen1031 said...

Andy Hood, may I just say that I have no idea what metric you are employing in your conclusion about the state of the world, but, having been on this earth a fair amount of time, in my opinion and in the opinion of many others, it most certainly is not improving, and much of our decline can be traced directly back to what you call the "progress of secular morality", which many call by a simpler term, atheism.
Fr. Hunwicke has stated it correctly, it is a difficult and very nasty world that we now inhabit.

Sheila Kippley said...

Congratulations, Father H. I appreciate your reminding your readers that sodomy is the sin of sodomy whether by married heterosexuals or single homosexuals. In the natural family planning movement, there is a reluctance to be clear about these things, and I would hazard a guess that I am not popular in the movement by saying these things. As a result, sometimes people doing fertile-time immoralities will stumble across one of our NFP books and will learn that the Church condemns their behaviors. In one case a woman told me that she and her husband had been doing fertile-time immoralities since they took their NFP course 23 years previously, a course in which these things were ignored. Romans 10;14ff applies. How can the Church expect people to live virtuously if its agencies refuse to tell people what is right and wrong? Written at my wife's computer. John F. Kippley

Christopher Boegel said...

Andy - should I hold you responsible for the death of a young man ravaged by STDs and aids?

Gillineau said...

Andy Hood, that's quite a comment. I too am always a little wary of those who bemoan the state of the world - it comes over a little protestant, as if the world was irredeemably ruined by adam and eve, which isn't Catholic thinking. Rather, I hope upon hope that the horror show before us now is the horror show of the ages. But I don't think it is. Indeed, I think your idea of progress measured by 'metrics' demonstrates this more than it demonstrates progress, because whilst the late c20 and early c21 have been rather nice for middle class white people (who have been born) in western Europe, Australasia and North America, it's rather difficult to argue that this state of affairs is more than a blip in history. For non-white people the history of the post-reformation and self-declaredly enlightened world has been a vale of tears, characterised by slavery, imperialism, mass slaughter, total war, objectification and ruthless exploitation by those same happy white people who luxuriate in a sense of progress. It is still so. The fate of the unborn has been less than ideal, to put it mildly. The same historical period (in which progress is discerned - it couldn't happen in the Dark Ages with all that Catholicism!) has witnessed the largest mass extinction of flora and fauna since the dinosaurs, all at the hand of man and, following Arendt, specifically because of enlightened thinking. So Mother Earth isn't faring well either. I don't think metrics would prove the condition of women as markedly improved either, even white ones - biology would suggest that it is an unhappy and defeated animal that chooses not to reproduce, to destroy its own young, not a free one.

Our culture has, like the Roman's before us, spent the autumn of its years legislating for its own appetites (which are more than just sexual but spring from the same source, namely concupiscence), rather than trying to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. So to declare that freedom to act on appetite is anything like a marker of progress just comes across as rather ill-informed.