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Aragon

Homosexuality disordered/if you speak a foreign language please read this

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Aragon

I have a question for those people who speak a language other than English. In English paragraph 2358 of the CCC that describes the homosexual orientation as "objectively disordered" sounds particularly harsh because the word 'disorder' in English has strong psychological connotations, so it sounds like the Church is passing a negative judgement on the mental health of SSA people. I was wondering if the word used for 'disordered' in non-English languages has a similar negative connotation in those languages, or if it's just an issue with English. I've cut and paste the sentence in a few different languages below for those who can speak them (or feel free to look up the section in your own language if it's not included below).

I guess this is quite important for me  because I have heard/read super conservative Catholics using this language to justify their view that homosexuality is an illness a few times and it really frustrates me that the Church would talk about gay people like that, so basically I'm hoping it's just an unfortunate coincidence in the English language that the two words are the same and that the connotation of illness/disease isn't there in other major languages too.


Thanks!

 

English - This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial.

Italian - Questa inclinazione, oggettivamente disordinata, costituisce per la maggior parte di loro una prova.



Spanish - Esta inclinación, objetivamente desordenada, constituye para la mayoría de ellos una auténtica prueba

Portugese  -  Esta propensão, objectivamente desordenada, constitui, para a maior parte deles, uma provação.

French - Cette propensionobjectivement désordonnéeconstitue pour la plupart d’entre eux une épreuve

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The camel

I think the difficulty is that it is actually the use of a Latin word in English! What it means, I think, is that the sexual act is ordered to procreation. That is according to the 'order' of nature. It is intended as a technical description, and I do not think it is meant to suggest SSA people have a mental health issue.

That said, the clear implication is that the orientation is disordered, of course, ie unnatural. I have a major problem with this, and I don't find being told that it is my problem is very helpful!

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Luigi

I think the Church has done a rather poor job of defining this technical term to the non-Catholic public. I also think the non-Catholic media often intentionally misunderstand the definition of this technical term when it is explained.

"Disordered" - ordered (directed) toward the wrong object

"Objectively" - having to do with the object of one's affection/capacity. In common American parlance, "objectively" usually means "the opposite of "subjectively; based on observable facts rather than feelings." In the phrase "objectively disordered," it doesn't mean that. It means "one's objective, one's goal" - as in a military objective.

On another note: If it's not your problem, whose problem is it?

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The camel

 

On another note: If it's not your problem, whose problem is it?

​Very badly phrased on my part, Luigi, sorry.

What I should have said is that (i) I have no personal problem with SSA. It is not a problem for me. (ii) I think the Church has problems with SSA and its approach to it. Partly, as you have identified, this is a semantic problem. The language the Church uses seems very uncaring. The fact that the Church calls all people to chastity, and condemns discrimination against gay people, is overlooked. There is also a problem within the Church, that pastoral practice varies so much (I know of gay couples who attend Mass as couples, and receive communion), and when it is 'strict', takes no account of either the fact that gay people cannot find a legitimate outlet for their sexual urges/needs, and often end up very conflicted.

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dUSt

That said, the clear implication is that the orientation is disordered, of course, ie unnatural. I have a major problem with this, and I don't find being told that it is my problem is very helpful!

​Can you clarify what you mean by this? Do you disagree with church teaching on this matter?

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Nihil Obstat

​There are only so many ways to tell a person they are wrong. It seems to me that many people want the Church to figure out a way to allow gay people to continue living their lifestyle and also be in good standing with the Church. This will never happen. Any expectations of such need to be squashed so people who want to live according to Christ's teaching can make a decision to either be people of faith, or slaves to their sexual urges.

​Dude, well said.

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The camel

No, I am not sure I can clarify what I mean. Once upon a time, I was very certain about this. I find myself very confused now. The rather mixed signals coming from the hierarchy don't help, but that is not the root cause of my lack of clarity. Rather it is the conflict between what I am taught, and what I experience. And sometimes experience triumphs over teaching, no matter how right or good or logical that teaching is, because when you know something experientially, you 'know' it at a far deeper level than reason. It is not unreasonable, but subreasonable.

I am afraid you wont find this a very satisfactory response, but it is an honest one.

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Nihil Obstat

No, I am not sure I can clarify what I mean. Once upon a time, I was very certain about this. I find myself very confused now. The rather mixed signals coming from the hierarchy don't help, but that is not the root cause of my lack of clarity. Rather it is the conflict between what I am taught, and what I experience. And sometimes experience triumphs over teaching, no matter how right or good or logical that teaching is, because when you know something experientially, you 'know' it at a far deeper level than reason. It is not unreasonable, but subreasonable.

I am afraid you wont find this a very satisfactory response, but it is an honest one.

​Sounds rather like the Protestant approach to revelation.

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The camel

​Sounds rather like the Protestant approach to revelation.

​Sounds like a completely unhelpful thing to say to someone who is expressing genuine confusion over an issue which troubles him.

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Nihil Obstat

​Sounds like a completely unhelpful thing to say to someone who is expressing genuine confusion over an issue which troubles him.

​Perhaps. Call it a word of caution. 

Do you consider experience to be superior to or deeper than what we as Catholics consider infallible teaching?

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The camel

Oh dear. I really had no intention of getting into such hot water.

Fact is, I no longer know. I guess having come this far, I better lay (some) of my cards on the table.

Until recently, I would have agreed with the proposition that the Church's teaching took precedence over my experience. Of course it did. I am just one man, the Church is Christ's body on earth. The Church is that body of people who witnessed the events we celebrate this weekend, and has transmitted that witness down through 2000 years.

And so my own 'disordered sexuality' must be judged by the standards of the Church's teaching, and I must do my best to conform.

The problem is, accepting something intellectually is one thing. It is easy. I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast, as the queen told Alice.

But the conflict between what I believed and what I felt, what I knew in some deep way too deep to fully articulate, drove me to the brink of alcoholic self destruction. It was a conflict too big for me to handle.

So where does that leave me? I am not sure. Do I leave the Church? Do I simply accept that ambiguity is part of life?

I have heard all the arguments from well meaning people, but quite frankly, without wishing to be a drama queen, unless you have experienced the tension you cannot know what it is like, and I have found it simply impossible to go on.

As I say, I am sorry to get into this, and as a newcomer. It was not my intention. But since pushed, I think it as well to be honest.

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Luigi

Thank you for your clarification and your honesty.

I learn/understand best through metaphors or similes. So my understanding of the Church's teaching on SSA and the correctness of not acting on it is:

Diabetics may want candy, but it's not good for them. So they must avoid it. They can say to the Church (or doctor), "But how will I ever be able to satisfy my sweet tooth?" And the Church or doctor simply must tell them, "Candy is bad for you. If you indulge your sweet tooth, you will feel worse than if you avoid candy." The diabetic can choose to follow the best medical advice, or ignore it and live with the consequences.

Some people crave alcohol, but indulging in it has seriously negative consequences for them. Some people crave coffee, but it has a deleterious effects on their hearts. Some people want to eat every good thing they see, but it has a negative effect on their weight. Arsonists want to burn down buildings, but they really need to not do that. Some people want to drive at high rates of speed, but it can have deleterious effects on themselves and others. And on and on.

To quote the Rolling Stones, "You can't always get what you want, but if you try, sometimes you get what you need."

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The camel

Thanks Luigi for your response to what you kindly call my clarification.

The reasoning you use is not new to me. The trouble is, it doesn't work for sexuality. Cravings are based on behaviours which have become habitual. Overcoming them can be hard, but it is possible. Sexuality seems to be rather different. I say 'seems', because I am no expert on human sexuality. All that I have read leads me to the conclusion that it actually is a very badly understood aspect of the human psyche. Science is still in its infancy here.

What I also think I know, however, is that our sexuality exists at a far deeper level of our personhood than a craving for sweet things or alcohol. It is intrinsic to who we are as human beings. Thus I have a sweet tooth, but I am gay.It is a different order of things.

When you consider that we are both matter and spirit, it is unsurprising that something so intrinsic to our material side should also seemingly impact on, and exist in, our spiritual side. I have to identify as gay not because I want to, but because in all honesty I have to. It is part of who I am at the deepest possible level.

I cannot quite explain it, I just sort of know it. I realise that is not terribly satisfactory, but there we are.

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Nihil Obstat

It is true, you are at a crossroads. Either you accept your experience, or you accept Church teaching as being the force that must - or perhaps simply the force that will - guide your life.

But, I am not surprised that attempting to accept Church teaching causes you pain. Of course it does. It should, frankly. The Church requires from us a radical renunciation of the self. A willingness to give up everything, like Abraham was asked to give up Isaac. And to me that is the most 'subreasonable', as you put it (I would rather say, perhaps, super-rational or proto-rational depending on which way you want to spin it), re-orientation of our nature. Go deeper/higher than one's own experience, and abandon oneself to God's experience.

In that manner, the Church does not merely present us with a list of ethical duties and prohibitions. Rather, the Church communicates to us God's Will, which is incomprehensibly beyond mere human will. Our human will is mercurial and prone to sin. God's will is pure charity, pure worship; perfection itself.

And ultimately, that is why I doubt my post is going to influence you. That is God's work, not mine. :) But, should you seek God's Will, you will find it. 

[7] Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. [8] For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.

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