Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity
“Objectively Disordered” first appeared in the July/August 1998 issue of Touchstone.
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A Sidebar in Kendall S. Harmon’s “Sex Without Form & Void”
by Peter Toon
Readers may be interested in a significant change made in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1993) concerning homosexuality.
The official edition of this most important work is now not the French but the Latin (Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesia, 1997), and it contains a correction of the official teaching of the Church.
In the French/English paragraph 2358, we read, “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial.”
“They do not choose their homosexual condition” was open to a reading contrary to the historic moral teaching of the Church, as articles in the liberal Jesuit magazine America illustrate.
The 1997 Latin edition (in translation) contains the received moral teaching of the Church in a much clearer manner in paragraph 2358. The second sentence reads: “This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial” (Latin, p. 598).
Objectively disordered, that is, contrary to nature, and contrary to God’s purpose within nature and for the relation of the sexes and for procreation. However, as another Vatican document states, “it is not a sin as such but it is a more or less strong tendency towards an intrinsic moral evil and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder” (CDF-PCHP, 1986, note 3).
Thus, all the loving pastoral care of the Church is to be offered to those who have this objective disorder so that they may overcome its inclinations and be chaste for Christ’s sake and for their own sanctification and maturity.
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