San Diego Cardinal Doubles Down in Defense of Homosexuality

FILE - Robert W. McElroy, bishop of the diocese of San Diego, arrives to attend a conferen
AP Photo/Andrew Medichini

ROME — San Diego Cardinal Robert McElroy has dug his heels in defending homosexuality, insisting that the Catholic Catechism should be modified to offer a more positive view of gay sex.

“I’ve said for some years,” Cardinal McElroy argues in a Friday interview with the Jesuit-run America magazine, “that the intrinsically disordered language is a disservice.”

The Catechism, a compendium of authoritative Catholic teaching, says that Sacred Scripture “presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,” and thus tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” and are “contrary to the natural law.”

Attempted copulation between two persons of the same sex is naturally closed to the gift of life and does not “proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity,” the Catechism states, and therefore, under no circumstances can such relations “be approved.”

“The problem is,” McElroy asserts in his critique, the word “disordered” is used in the Catechism “as a philosophical term, but to us in our country and really most of the world, disorder is thought of as psychological.”

“It’s a terrible word and it should be taken out of the catechism,” he declares.

The Cambridge dictionary, for instance, defines “disordered” as “not normal, in a way that is unhealthy.” For his part, Saint Thomas Aquinas said that in the case of homosexuality an act of lust is disordered because “the generation of offspring cannot result from the act” and “such is the vice against nature.”

Rather than focus on a person’s sexual activity or orientation, McElroy declares, Christians should strive above all to reject judgmentalism, which “is the worst sin in the Christian life.”

Moreover, the cardinal states, one must not assume that sex outside marriage is a serious sin, adding that this view is not “a good part of the Catholic moral tradition.”

More than prohibiting certain sexual acts, such as gay sex, the “central assertion” of the Catholic faith is that “sexuality is something profound rather than something casual,” the cardinal argues, from which one infers that “profound” gay sex is more in consonance with the Catholic faith than “casual” heterosexual sex.

“My pastoral vision here in San Diego is to make — and it’s hard to accomplish this — to make L.G.B.T. people feel equally welcome in the life of the church as everyone else,” the cardinal states, because Christ “would want every person, every L.G.B.T. person and their families, to feel equally welcomed in the church.”

Jesuit Father James Martin, a vocal LGBT activist, found comfort in the cardinal’s words, retweeting the prelate’s insistence that the Catechism’s assertion that gay sex is “intrinsically disordered” is “terrible” and “should be taken out of the catechism.”


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