Wednesday, November 30, 2005

what does it mean that the Church calls something "objectively disordered"

Here’s an interesting reminder on what it means to judge something (a tendency, orientation, whatever) as “objectively disordered.” Contrary to popular understanding, it has little to do with a person’s psychological health.

In 1987, John Quinn, then the archbishop of San Francisco, tackled this question in an article for America Magazine. He noted that all of us, all people, yep you and me folks, have “disordered” inclinations.

For instance, the inclination to rash judgment, cowardice, or hate are all disordered. This does not mean that everyone who has these inclinations is suffering from a diagnosable psychological disorder.

Quinn wrote that when the Church says that homosexuality is objectively disordered, it is making a philosophical judgment: a judgment which says that homosexuality cannot be properly ordered or oriented towards marriage and procreation....just as rash judgment is not ordered towards prudence, cowardice is not odered towards bravery, hate is not ordered towards love.

Is that the Church's mind?

Well, Cardinal Ratzinger subsequently wrote to Quinn about the article, expressing his gratitude for his analysis of the Church’s teaching. So apparently, the Cardinal approved of Quinn’s understanding and interpretation.

I'm writing this partly in response to the "Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations With Regard to Persons With Homosexual Tendencies in View of Their Admission to the Seminary and to Sacred Orders," composed by the Vatican's Congregation For Catholic Education.

Reading through it, I detect that the key word that keeps popping up as a main criterion for admission to the seminary is not "heterosexuality"; but rather, "maturity"...."affective maturity" to be exact.

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