Objectively disordered?

Disclaimer up front: This will not be about the legal considerations related to same sex marriage. This will be an attempt to help elucidate the teaching of the Catholic Church with respect to marriage and homosexuality. While some may think that a religion ought not to get involved in such matters, the Church believes that Christ not only revealed God to man, but also man to himself. Therefore, what has been called theological anthropology is what makes such matters in-bounds for the Catholic system of belief and thought.

There is such vitriol directed at the Church for its pronouncements that homosexual activity is “objectively disordered”. Many reactions are confused: they equate it to mean that the Church has declared that homosexual persons themselves are disordered. Not true. We are talking about acts, not persons.

Let’s say Harry and Sally are looking to be married. They are a little different than a typical couple. For whatever reason, both have a complete lack of interest in conventional intercourse. There is no way to put this delicately: they intend to never engage in penis-in-vagina sexual relations. They have both agreed that Harry will only do anal intercourse with Sally. Additionally, Sally will only be fisted by Harry. This will be the extent of their sexual activity, with some oral and other activity thrown in, but no P-in-V whatsoever.

Now this couple goes to their local Catholic priest and seeks to be married in the Church. If they say nothing about their intended sexual plan, the priest is none the wiser. Yet Harry and Sally for some reason feel compelled to tell their pastor about their plans for the bedroom. The priest objects and says there is no point in performing a marriage ceremony for a couple that has no intention of consummating the marriage. Harry and Sally cry foul.

The priest patiently explains that what they are describing  is a situation that would be a slam dunk annulment case down the road had this been hidden and later came to light. Since it is out in the open now, the marriage is known to be null from the start and it cannot proceed, as it would be a sham.

Some might say that this scenario is absurd on the face of it. Yes, it is. Intentionally so. Yet it is basically the equivalent of the case regarding same sex marriage. Is it a stretch to imagine a couple that would be inclined to forego P-in-V sex? Absolutely! Our instincts tell us that this is a very dysfunctional–or you could even say “objectively disordered”–approach to sex for any couple, especially one who seeks to be married.

Yet this is exactly what same sex couples are doing–by definition. Harry and Sally had the option to keep their plan a secret. Harry and Tom have no such luxury. Nor do Sally and Patty. Their very biology exclaims what they plan to do with respect to sexual engagement.

In this regard, Harry and Sally have a built-in advantage. It is not an advantage given by the Church nor is it a disadvantage foisted upon the same sex couples by the Church. It precedes the meeting with the pastor. The priest does not create the distinction, he merely recognizes it. To not recognize it would be to voluntarily not exercise his capacity for rational thought. Or to put it plainly, to pretend. (Therefore, marriage inequality already exists, but it is not the Church bringing this inequality about. It is the facts of biology that are responsible.)

All moral considerations aside, this is more about truth and falsehood. A same sex couple is openly declaring their intention to do something that falsifies the Church’s pre-existing understanding of marriage. The Church is not suddenly acting with bigotry.


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