The Mysterious Case of CCC 2358 on objectively disordered homosexual inclinations

From Fr Z’s blog:

This is an unusual post.

First, I must preface this that some one sent me information about this recently, but I can’t remember who it was, I’ve looked for the email.  So, someone found this before I did.  I would like to give full credit for the discovery, but I will have to wait until this post shakes the tree.

Next, the change to the Catechism of the Catholic Church 2267 on capital punishment was deeply troubling.

Briefly: It was not troubling because it had to do with capital punishment.  That concerns contingent moral choices about a tiny class of criminals.   It was troubling because it introduced less clarity into a reference work whose very purpose is to bring greater clarity.  The change to 2267 says that capital punishment is “inadmissible” which contradicts the fact that the Church has always taught that it is permitted.  The basis for the change rests on the claim that social conditions have changed.  It also rests on a claim for the protection of the human dignity of the condemned.  However, while 2267 made a global statement about capital punishment being “inadmissible”, social conditions across the globe are uneven.  Also, some might argue that keeping a person in a box like a rat for her entire life without the mortal urgency to reflect and repent is less humane than setting a date.  After all, the Church’s secondary focus considers the exigencies of this life, but her primary focus is salvation of souls and eternal life in heaven.   One could argue that 2267 does not say that capital punishment is “intrinsically evil” which would be a very clear contradiction of the Church’s perennial teaching.  It only says “inadmissible” which, though strong, isn’t the same.  Hence, the change to 2267 is troubling.

It is troubling for another reason.

If this paragraph on capital punishment, then why not other paragraphs?

Capital punishment is not popular in many wealthy countries.  Therefore, the changers of 2267 could relay, fairly safely, on support for the change (by those who didn’t bother to think through the ramifications of changing some teaching in the CCC).

But.. think about this.  The change would also be welcomed by those who think a great deal about the ramifications of changing the CCC.

Furthermore, I found the reasoning in the Letter to Bishops that accompanied the change to the text of 2267 could be used for other issues as well.  You can, for example, substitute some terms and, as I did, argue along the same lines for a change to the Church’s teaching about same-sex marriage.

Thus, I arrive at the deeper point of this post.

Was the change to 2267 was a trial balloon?

Perhaps somebody who really aims at a more controversial change to the CCC is using this as a test case.  A test case or a softening up of the terrain?  A test case, a softening, and an invitation for calls to change other teachings in the CCC, a creation of astro turf?

“But Father! But Father!”, you libs are surely keening as you twist in your shorts, “That … that… that’s loopy even for you, you… you blood-thirsty, xenophobic, homophobic, patriarchal troglodyte.  Doctrine inevitably evolves… er um…develops and, no matter what you blather about ‘always and everywhere and everyone’ and ‘in the same sense’ – ha ha! – you can’t stop it.  It is an inevitable path!  This is the law of history which result in the final glory of societal transformation and peace on earth!   And you have no evidence whatsoever that there is anything going on here other than the loving and wonderful concern for the present life of El Pueblo on the part of those who surround Francis like a phalanx of.. of… a cohort… ummm… a bouquet of … of… …. YOU HATE VATICAN II!”

You know.  You are right.  I don’t have evidence to clinch it.

I do have this.  And I repeat that someone else found this before I posted.  I’d like to give credit.

If you do a search for “Catechism of the Catholic Church” you will be offered the vatican.va official site for the text of the CCC.

Say you want to learn about the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.   Hence, you scroll down to the section on the Sixth Commandment.  Then you click on the section on “The Vocation to Chastity”.

That item has this link: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P85.HTM

That is the standard format of every other link to the various sections of the CCC on the Vatican’s site.  Note especially that before the P85.HTM there are 2 underscores.

The first thing that strikes you is that this page seems to be “broken” in a couple of respects.  The images for the logo of the Holy See is broken, as are the back and up arrows.  Also, the background is white, whereas the normal background is that dreadful Paul VI Beige that has plagued us since the sites inception.

“Okay,”, you say”.  What does the text say?  That’s the important part.

Here is the text of the paragraph that concerns homosexuality and chastity.  My emphases:

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

The text says that the inclination is “objectively disordered”.

Now comes the really creepy part.

Above, I alerted you to the fact that the link had 2 underscores.

What happens if you remove one of those underscores and then refresh?

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P85.HTM

Look at this!  The Paul VI Beige background is back.  The logo and arrows are back.  The text, this times, as links for all the vocabulary.

Link a term, like “chastity” and you go to a page that shows every use in the catechism.  Spiffy.

But that is not the point.

Scroll down to that paragraph on homosexuality that we looked at above.

What does the text say?  That’s the important part.

2358 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 must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

The text is different.

Compare:

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P85.HTM

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P85.HTM

2358 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 must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

What on earth is going on with this?

On one page of the Vatican’s site, the official link, is the text about homosexuality being “objectively disordered”, but buried… hidden behind that page is another version that says something different.   First, the problem is that it says something different.  Next, the problem is that is says something extremely slippery.

Jesuit homosexualist activist James Martin has said that the teaching in the CCC about homosexuals is cruel.  For example, regarding Martin’s controversial book:

The real purpose of this book is to advocate for a relaxation of the Church’s teaching that sodomy is gravely immoral and that any attraction to commit acts of sodomy is an objective disorder in one’s personality.

Father Martin rejects the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church that the “inclination” to “homosexual tendencies” is “objectively disordered” (2358). He writes:

“The phrase relates to the orientation, not the person, but it is still needlessly hurtful. Saying that one of the deepest parts of a person — the part that gives and receives love — is ‘disordered’ in itself is needlessly cruel” (pp. 46-47).

So, what would Martin change in CCC 2358 if he could?  This is what he says at Jesuit-run American Magazine.  My emphases:

To that end, it’s important to state that in the eyes of the church simply being gay or lesbian is not a sin—contrary to widespread belief, even among educated Catholics. That may be one of the most poorly understood of the church’s teachings. Regularly I am asked questions like, “Isn’t it a sin to be gay?” But this is not church teaching. Nowhere in the catechism does it say that simply being homosexual is a sin. As any reputable psychologist or psychiatrists will agree, people do not choose to be born with any particular sexual orientation.

But when most people ask questions about “church teaching” they are referring not to this question, but to restrictions on homosexual, or same-sex, activity as well as the prohibition on same-sex marriage. Homosexual acts are, according to the catechism, “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to natural law.” (The bulk of the catechism’s attention to homosexuality is contained in Nos. 2357-59.) Consequently, the homosexual orientation (and by extension, any orientation other than heterosexuality) is regarded as “objectively disordered.”

Martin has said that the CCC should say something like “differently ordered”.

What’s wrong with that?  What’s wrong with saying, in the Catechism, that homosexual inclinations are “not chosen”?  That they are merely “different”.  Those approaches suggest that homosexual acts are be natural behavior for “differently ordered” people whom, perhaps, God made to be homosexual.

Here is an interesting point.  Martin has tweeted on this very paragraph and this very discrepancy of text!

Did you get that?   It is not hard to check old editions of the Catechism.  However, let’s think about this.

First, why would the older, abolished text be preserved and why would the newer text be on a broken or incomplete page?

Those who strongly oppose the application of capital punishment will now insist that we have to accept the change to CCC 2267.    The text was corrected.  Right?

However, the text of CCC 2358 was corrected to say that homosexual inclinations are objectively disordered.  Right?   Don’t those who are homsexualist activists have to accept that teaching rather than call for yet another change?

John Paul II called the CCC “sure and authentic reference text for teaching Catholic doctrine and particularly for preparing local catechisms.”

Did you get that last part?   The CCC can be a basis of local catechisms.  The Bishop of Libville is free to teach something different from the Bishop of Black Duck… I guess.  That’s been the result of Amoris laetitia chapter 8, as well, even in the cases of conferences of bishops.

I ask a couple questions.

Could someone explore other sections of the online CCC to see if this same phenonenon exists?

Is there a change that this phenomenon in CCC 2358 presages a change to the Catechism about the intrinsically disordered nature of homosexual inclinations and acts?

Was the change to 2267 a rehearsal?

BTW… the homosexualist group New Ways Ministry has already connected the dots between the change to the teaching on the death penalty and now changing teaching on homosexuality.

I tried the double underscore trick on CCC 2267 and there is nothing unusual.  Also, the unchanged text is still on the Vatican site.

And with the single underscore:

It could be that no change will be made until the new text appears in Acta Apostolicae Sedis.  Right?

Right?

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7 Responses to The Mysterious Case of CCC 2358 on objectively disordered homosexual inclinations

  1. Kate says:

    Steve Skojec from OnePeterFive also did an interesting report on this online CCC discrepancy: https://onepeterfive.com/is-the-vatican-tinkering-with-the-online-catechism-to-remove-catholic-teaching-on-homosexuality/

  2. Mary Salmond says:

    To change to a new text, without reference to the older text, is a slippery slope for future liberation theology and relativism to be slipped in. New readers will not have known the church’s original position. This will be an omission of information that the new reader will be unaware of and no reference point of the past. Father Z is astute to what can happen on the Vatican website.

  3. Mary Salmond says:

    RM: thanks for that link.

  4. As Fr. Z makes note, it’s the older text from the 1st edition of the JP II Catechism but the “current” language has been revised. However, it’s odd that there is two different url’s whereas one can simply edit text within an existing url as everyone who uses wordpress can observe.

  5. It’s interesting that in that onepeterfive post, it’s talks about Pope Francis wanting to change the language on the death penalty… and wah la

  6. johnhenrycn says:

    The Pope can change a catechism, but he can’t change the Holy Bible which recognises capital punishment as a just punishment in numerous passages – in the Old Testament mostly to be sure, but also in the New Testament (cf. Romans 13:1 – 4)

    As has been powerfully expounded by Fr David Nix on his personal blog – reproduced here on CP&S two days ago – the Catechism of the Catholic Church is not infallible. There are several sources of infallible teaching – 5 according to Fr Nix – but personal opinions of popes and teachings set forth in catechisms are not amongst them. Not even the venerable Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent was or is infallible – not technically speaking – although to find actual error in it is beyond my theological talents. Insofar as the current Catechism of the Catholic Church promulgated by Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope JP II (as they then were) in 1994 is concerned, all one need do is read CCC ¶841:

    “The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.”

    If any reasonably well informed orthodox Catholic believes that to be an infallible teaching, well…

    So when our dear Pope Francis sits cross-legged under his palm tree – hands resting on his knees, eyes lifted heavenwards – and pronounces with the aid and succor of his camarilla of cardinal faggots this new teaching: “the death penalty is inadmissible”, some exceptionally brave priest (Fr Zzzzzzzzz?) should remind them that the Good Book says otherwise.

    I’ve taken the time to carefully read Fr Nix’s piece (twice actually) and it gives me a great deal of comfort knowing that our Holy Father’s remit is nowhere near as expansive as he and his cabal would have us believe.

    Ironically, although this change was approved by Francis in camera about 3 months ago, the formal Vatican announcement of his new teaching was made on August 2nd, the Feast Day of St Eusebius of Vercelli, enemy of the Arian heretics, exiled by Emperor Constantius II during the reign of Antipope Felix in 355, whilst the Arians were in ascendancy, for refusing sign a formal denunciation of St Athanasius, another opponent, the prime opponent actually, of the Arians. What a wicked web is being weaved, some say.

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