22 February 2022

The Paedophile Question


The first thing I object to in the reported remarks of some foreign cleric called Hollerich is the imprecision in the use of terms such as "homosexual".

Does this refer to orientation? Or to a cohabiting relationship in which the probability is flaunted that unrepented genital activities are performed?

The respect I have ... and it is considerable ... for a person with homoerotic inclinations who, by God's grace, lives a celibate life, is in strong contrast to my convictions about the objective moral state of any human being who engages in sexual relationships with any person to whom they are not joined in Christian wedlock.

To elide this difference, especially in public debate, is to omit such a centrally important piece of the evidence that it is pretty well a lie.

So is this Hollerich, who "knows of" homosexual priests and laypreople in his diocese, refering to the one or the other? It seems to me to make a big difference. To say "No one is dismissed because they are homosexual" without defining terms is not so much just shifty as plain dishonest.

"I believe that the sociological-scientific foundation of this teaching is no longer correct." (Hollerich.)

So many statements like this are bandied around. "God made me like this so it must be OK for m,e to play out my inclinations".

The test to be set against all such statements is: Does it also apply to paedophiles?

But this gets you into trouble. People who can't think straight allege that you are saying 

(a) all homosexuals are paedophiles; or/and

(b) homosexuals are "as bad as" paedophiles. 

Asking "Does it also apply to paedophiles?" involves neither of these beliefs, from each of which I firmly dissociate myself.

It does involve an argumentum ad hominem, "pressing a man with the consequences of his own concessions". 

If you claim that X is justified in acting on the basis of his innate inclination simply because he has that inclination, you must allow the same liberty to paedophiles. Or, if you don't, you must tell us why.


"The cardinal said it was time for a fundamental revision of church teaching, and suggested that the way Pope Francis had spoken about homosexuality in the past could lead to a change in doctrine".

I hope this is a misreport, because, if it is accurate, it reveals a thoroughly heterodox mindset. It implies fundamental  doctrinal change; it implies or suggests that the basis of such change could include obiter remarks uttered by a pope without having been checked through by ... for example ... the CDF.

I repudiate with all my heart, and execrate, such an account of how Dogma can or should evolve. And I similarly repudiate any purported exercise of the Petrine Office which might appear to confer legitimacy upon such accounts.



PM said...

For anyone who adheres to the dogmatic definitions of Nicaea and Chalcedon, to state that the foundations of this teaching are 'no longer correct' is tantamount to saying that God got it wrong, specifically that God the Son Incarnate got it wrong when he quoted Genesis ('male and female He created them') before strengthening the teaching of the Mosaic Law on the permanence of marriage.

This is not just an argument about morals: it is about Christology. Hollerich's position invites the question: if the Son of God got sexuality so hopelessly wrong, why would anybody take Him or His Church seriously on anything else? And why bother having cardinals and bishops, let alone taking any notice of them?

Greyman 82 said...

Excellent post, Father H. Good reasoning and precision of thought.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear Father. There is no such thing as a homosexual.


The labeling of such disordered men is a recent phenomena.

Michael Leahy said...

Science has yet to demonstrate that homosexuality is built in. On the other hand, the transexuals would assert that what is known to be built in makes no difference.

Albertus said...

Dear Father, the Church's current teaching on homosexuality is not a dogma. It is quite incorrect to call it a dogma, or to even compare it to a defined truth of faith. It seems to me that several aspects of the current teaching on homosexuality are defective, and can be improved. A permanent love relationsip between two adults of the same sex cannot possibly be equated with acting upon an inclination to paedophilia! For so many reasons, that i donot think it necessary here to lay out. Belief in "limbo puerorum" was a teaching, but never a dogma, and has mostly fallen out of consensus. The taking of interest on lent money was formerly condemned as sinful, but is long not so.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

A relationship between two same sex-adults puts them in an occasion of sin unnecessarily, so it is not love at all, but mutual selfishness. Not only that, the church's teaching on homosexuality is nothing other than the natural law, so is therefore infallible.

There is no valid analogy with the teaching on limbo puerorum.


Tee Pee Gee Eff said...

@Albertus. To call homosexual relations “love” begs the question. It cannot be love if indulging in it condemns oneself and one’s partner to damnation. Since sex is ordered to procreation, sexual activity which of its nature is incapable of procreation must be immoral. As for “not dogma” try Romans 1:26-27, Jude verse 7, Galatians 5:16-21. Laxist propositions were condemned by the Holy Office under Alexander VII 1665-1666, homosexual behaviour covered by DS 2044. “Pederasty, sodomy, and bestiality are sins of the same interior species; therefore it suffices to say in confession one has procured a pollution.” (NB that is an expression of the opinion condemned as lax).

Max said...


PM said...

Perhaps, Albertus, we should restate an eminently traditional Catholic perspective on morals which every well-trained confessor should know: there is nothing sinful about having an orientation - i.e. being tempted to act in intrinsically disordered ways - provided that one does not, by an act of the will, give in to those temptations. 'Homosexuality' as an attraction is thus to be distinguished from the decision to indulge those attractions.

John Patrick said...

@Tee Pee Gee Eff said: "Since sex is ordered to procreation, sexual activity which of its nature is incapable of procreation must be immoral." The article linked to by @Mick Jagger et al makes a similar statement.

By that definition, sex between a husband and wife where the wife is beyond childbearing years is immoral, as is sex between a married couple where one or both partners are infertile. This leaves out the fact that sex while primarily ordered to procreation also has a unitive aspect in a married relationship.

Buckle13 said...

The Luxembourg PM is a cohabiting homosexual and best explains the Cardinal's remarks. Vincent Nichols is under different pressures in the UK. Lobbying for oligarchs has always been a feature of the Church’s life.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

It is still ordered to procrestion when thevwige has reached menopause - it is potentially procrestive, but is actually not, due to God being the one who opns and closes the womb. He can, and sometimes, but not often, decides otherwise (e.g., Abraham and Sarah). But John Patrick, you're right - the unitive aspect is absolutely licit, and not only that, but HOLY. If only more of my fellow trads realised this. That they don't explains why some of them are absolutely obsessed with the idea of a priest not only being celibate, but with the IXKSP, a virgin (no widowers at Gricigliano!!). Of course, that didn't prevent one or two notorious queens who caused endless trouble from going there ...


Tee Pee Gee Eff said...

These objections are well answered by the moral theologians. I chose not to clutter my response with hair-splitting. Your response either adds nothing, or, if you believe homosexual relationships are about love, begs the question.

Bill Murphy said...

Cardinal Hollerich SJ (why am I not surprised that he's a Jesuit?) produces an "argument" that can be multiplied indefinitely. I am sure we can say that Sir James Savile, OBE, KCSG was made that way when he indulged in horizontal activities in the morgues of the hospitals where he did such selfless voluntary work. And that the 1918 Code of Canon Law was horribly judgemental when it condemned relations with our four legged friends.

PM said...

John Patrick's second paragraph finals because the infertile or post-menopausal wife is fertile by nature, secundum se as the scholastics would se, but infertile per accidens. Similarly, she would remain what she is by nature if she lost a leg in a car accident.

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

St. Vincent of Lerins: Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense Catholic, which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors.

Limbo remains doctrine despite the New Theologians abandoning it to try and quell the guilt of those who have had abortions or not had their children Baptised.

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...


I don't know that that is true.

So far as I am aware - and even the SSPX admits this, if I remember correctly - it has never been tsught infallibly, but is merely a theological opinion (originating with St Augustine).


P.S. Father, if you vould remember a certain lady in your memento of the living ...

Mick Jagger Gathers No Mosque said...

Dear AvB..

Limbo citations