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Chilean Cardinal draws ire for upholding Church doctrine July 29, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, scandals.

Recently, Chilean Cardinal Jorge Medina Estevez drew the ire of media in S. America and around the world for stating that a homosexual tendency is a disorder, a defect like being born blind or with a club foot.   From CatholicCulture

The gay community in Chile is reacting with indignation to recent comments by 83-year-old Cardinal Jorge Medina Estévez, who led the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments from 1996 to 2002.

Reacting to Argentina’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage, the cardinal said that “the Church distinguishes the homosexual tendency and homosexual practice. If a person has a homosexual tendency it is a defect, as if one lacked an eye, a hand, a foot.” On the other hand, homosexual activity, he noted, is immoral.

“In my life as a priest, I have had [pastoral] care of many people with this problem,” he added. Some, like alcoholics, have overcome this tendency by “discipline, education, or reeducation,” he said, while others have heroically resisted this tendency for their entire lives.

Same-sex marriage, he added, “is something in opposition to the law of God, and no human law can go against the law of God. If a human law goes against the law of God, that human law does not exist.”

In a 2002 letter, Cardinal Medina Estévez, in his capacity as a Vatican prefect, had reiterated the Church’s discipline against ordaining men with homosexual inclinations.

“Ordination to the diaconate and the priesthood of homosexual men or men with homosexual tendencies is absolutely inadvisable and imprudent and, from the pastoral point of view, very risky,” he wrote. “A homosexual person, or one with a homosexual tendency is not, therefore, fit to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.”

Now, scientifically, it has not been established that a person can be born gay.  Researchers have been frantically searching for a ‘gay gene’ for years and have not found one.  There does seem to be some correlation in terms of homosexual tendencies among siblings, but that could just as easily be due to upbringing and environment as a genetic cause.  So, from the outset, it is not certain that having strong homosexual tendencies is quite like being born blind or with cerebral palsy.  But, the prefect was simply stating Church doctrine: homosexual tendencies are fundamentally disordered and homosexual acts are intrinsically sinful.  I think the relation to addiction is one that may hold some merit: there is no proof of one being born with an addictive personality, although it could be a factor among many.  But let’s say that addiction is 100% genetic, and let’s say homosexuality is the same thing.  What does that change?  It is a sin to be drunk or loaded on drugs.  That I have a very strong genetic or other predisposition to get drunk or loaded might mitigate some of my culpability, it is still sinful.  Having a tendency to get drunk or high all the time is inherently disordered.  But the fact that one may be born an addict does not suddenly mean they can go crazy getting loaded all the time and the Church will be just fine with it, “because they were born that way.”  And there is no question that addiction is a fundamental, deep seated part of one’s personality, and once  you’re an addict, you’re always an addict.  Not so different from the situation ascribed to homosexuality, at least on some level.

And we can take the analogy a step further.  Certainly, the Church spreads its arms wide to welcome addicts into Her fold, but I don’t know of any churches that have programs to keep addicts in active addiction, that embrace the “addictive lifestyle” and march in “addiction pride” parades.  Why not?  Isn’t this discrimatory?  Shouldn’t we have Church groups catering to those in active addiction who have no desire to reform?  Shouldn’t  we have progams for parents that convince them that addiction is something their child was born with, and therefore nothing can be done about it?  In fact, wouldn’t it cause more harm to “reform” an addict than to embrace their crazy, lovable drunk, drugged up ways? 

Any sane person would say, absolutely not.  That’s crazy.  But such things are argued within the Church in order to support a “change” in Church doctrine regarding homosexuality.  I don’t think the analogy is too unreasonable.  There are certain acts that are sinful.  Homosexuals do have a particularly heavy cross to bear, but so do those who are called to the single life, and, thus, celibacy, as well as addicts who must maintain their sobriety, and others.  We do not have “fornication pride” or “adulterer pride” groups in our Catholic churches, but I am certain that one day science will “prove” that we’re all born to have lots of sex partners and this idea of marital fidelity is an outmoded, antiquated construct. 

Church doctrine on homosexuality has been consistent for over 2000 years.  In God’s prior revelation, before Christ came to establish the last age, prohibitions against homosexual acts were clear.  It is only in the last few decades that there have been serious efforts to change this unchangeable doctrine.  Those who cannot accept that God might create them having homosexual tendencies, and at the same time expect them not to act on those tendencies, have a great deal of company.  Every human being has innate tendencies that are contrary to the Law of God.  The answer is not to scream at God for making you this way (the created telling the Creator He did it wrong?) and demand that His Church change to accept your preferences.  The answer is the universal call to holiness.  The answer is to do the best you can and live for God, by the Truth He has revealed through His Church.


1. Awesome advice « A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics - July 30, 2010

[…] doctrine of the Church regarding his sexuality (and all other matters).  This is all we can do.  As I said yesterday, many, many of us have significant crosses to bear, and many of us have aspects of our personality […]

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