Here is what the Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church has to say about homosexuality. If you want to convert to Roman Catholicism, you have to tell a priest you believe all of this.

“2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141

Actually, no it doesn’t. It refers to worship of other gods, and oppressive sexual practices like gang rape in Genesis which are as far from the average gay man’s sexual experience as they are from the Pope’s.

tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law.

Oh come on, Benny, if it were unnatural, it would not happen, in any species. It happens in most or all.

They close the sexual act to the gift of life.

This disregards the primary purpose of the sexual act, which is to unite a couple to each other. “The two shall become one flesh” says St Paul. It devalues the love of a fertile person for an infertile partner, as well as of gay people.

They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity.

Have you never met a gay couple who just fit together? Really? And what would a load of celibate priests know about complementarity, anyway?

Under no circumstances can they be approved.

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.

Just discrimination would be OK, then. And it is “signs” which should be avoided, the appearance rather than the reality of discrimination is what matters. This is not unduly picky: it is a carefully worded document. I particularly love the distinction between our desire, which is “objectively disordered”, and our acts, which are “intrinsically disordered”, according to this great moral guide and compass.

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 thing is, we encounter no difficulties whatsoever from our condition. It is more difficult to have children, but science and society can overcome these difficulties. We encounter the difficulties from the oppression and bigotry of the Catholic Church, among others.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

So we will be tolerated as long as we try to conform to Straightworld. Thanks, Maledict, but no thanks. Some fuckwit in a dress proclaims the nature of reality and morality as he sees it, and everyone else has to agree with his precise verbal formulation. That is no basis for a religion. You might notice that the phrase “some fuckwit in a dress” is not particularly respectful. Why should I show respect to a wicked old man who tells lies about gay people, and demands that others tell the same lies? He has learned nothing from Galileo.

Religion is about Truth, which language cannot attain, only approximate. That is why the Bible is not a rule-book, but a story-book. Yet people want the safety of rules, which they formulate obsessively. Happy Bonfire night, everyone.

I am delighted to find Catholics for Equality, speaking out against the oppression of their pope, cardinals, bishops and priests. Catholics in the US support equal marriage. Even priests support it- but cannot speak out because of the control of the hierarchy.

17 thoughts on “Catechism

  1. By identifying as a catholic, a person is owning this bigotry. This institutionalized bigotry doesn’t belong to others, isn’t a bit of unpleasantness that can be safely ignored, isn’t something that is susceptible to democratic reform, but an entrenched moral precept that is ugly and wrong.


    • Indeed. I do not think that it renders the whole thing- I mean Catholicism- utterly and entirely worthless, but at least it is a monstrous carbuncle on the face of what ought to be a friend. Also, I think it possible to seek to reform it from within, though with the marginalisation of Hans Kung, for instance, this is increasingly difficult.

      Maybe you do. I can live with that.


      • On the one hand, now that church has been de-fanged and held away from holding political authority outside of its four square blocks of Rome, many might be fooled into thinking well of it. But is is a theological tyranny in practice.

        There isn’t a tent pertaining to any subject of interest to human inquiry under which the catholic church will not try to stick its nose and make pronouncements as if it had a place at the table of adult conversation. It doesn’t. I loath its pernicious effect in the public domain and its promotion of faith-based beliefs as an alternate ‘way of knowing’ that produces not one jot, one tittle, one speck of knowledge; but it can be counted on to reliably promote ignorance, bigotry, misogyny, and discrimination based on superstitious nonsense wherever and whenever its tenets come into conflict with reality and it masquerades as a reasonable voice when in reality it’s anything but.

        On the other hand, I have never met a ‘bad’ catholic I didn’t like.


    • This observation seems to go against the core notion that morality derives from religious belief and the recognition of necessary objective moral laws, by which many religious folk condemn us atheists. And yet it appears perfectly obvious to me that the average christian’s moral compass moves along with everyone else’s, namely, accepting the current moral zeitgeist. What was once held to be inviolate, now is considered a past error (like no biblical condemnation of slavery, for example) overcome by modern and enlightened thinking (usually without paying any respect to the secular roots of legal equality, freedom, and rights).

      So, andyduc, I agree with you that most people are ‘gay-friendly’ and that the catechism is reprehensible in its entrenchment for bigotry (it hardly begins and ends just here). Where I take exception with you is your attribution that the cause is the church leadership rather than what’s actually true: it is the central tenet of the catholic doctrine that is at fault because it’s indefensible based on any evidence from reality. The defense comes solely from metaphysical assumptions untethered to reality… as is the doctrine itself. What’s true in reality is that the institution is a criminal organization that sometimes does some good.


      • Too extreme.

        The campaign against the slave trade was a Christian campaign. There were Christians who read that bit in Genesis about Ham’s son serving Shem and Japheth, to mean God enacted the slavery of Africans, but there were also Quakers and Methodists and others who campaigned against it. And there were Quakers ahead of the game in the UK, before “sodomy” was made legal in restricted circumstances. Christians lead, as well as follow, morality.


      • Yes, the campaign for raping children and keeping those responsible out of the hands of secular authorities was a christian campaign (tongue in cheek).

        I don’t paint all christians with this broad stroke any more than I hold christians responsible for fighting against the slave trade. Sure, some christians rape children and some christians fought against the slave trade.

        There’s nothing extreme about this observation. But so what?

        My point, if you revisit what I wrote, was that there was no biblical injunction against slavery (and many biblical examples of thinking it to be a perfectly natural part of society) and yet I know of no christian today who thinks slavery is a moral good. How could this happen if we owe our moral sense to some moral law giver revealed to us within the collection of writings that make up the bible? The bible stayed the same, but the moral zeitgeist shifted. That this change happened was (obviously) not due to but in spite of religious belief in such a law giver as revealed in the bible.

        The same moral shift is happening now that legal discrimination against gays and lesbians (and to a lesser extend transgendered) is being fought by secularists and the court wins mount. The stalwart opposition remains almost entirely religiously motivated and you are welcome to give them apologetic comfort. I’m not so forgiving; bigotry and misogyny and legal discrimination for poor reasons need to be confronted first before we can even begin to hope for any substantive legal change. I happen to think real people are worth it because they represent my rights and freedoms piously undermined by religious belief. This must stop for legal equality to be supreme to some people’s contrary faith-based beliefs.


      • There is a Biblical injunction against slavery, or at least restricting it: Jeremiah 34:9, no-one should hold another Judean in slavery. Slaves come from the surrounding countries. When the Roman empire became Christian, there was a law that no non-Christian could own Christian slaves, which of course led to both converting in droves.

        The opposition to equal marriage is indeed mostly religious, and- again the Quakers, Reform Judaism, Unitarians, others, campaigning for it. And Catholics believe in continuing revelation, or there would be no need for the Pope to be able to make “infallible” statements. It is Protestants who Only regard the Bible.

        Possibly the Pope himself is involved in the cover-up of priestly abuse of children, which has scandalised his church wherever it is strongest. I think it is a human organisation which sometimes does some harm. Where is the balance? I have no idea.


      • Where’s the balance? A good start is to get religion out of the public domain, drop any and all parasitic tax exempt status, and return faith-based belief strictly to the private domain where it rightly belongs.

        Don’t want assisted suicide? Fine. Don’t want abortion? Fine. Don’t want equal rights? Fine. And so on. Private, regarding one’s self. Fine. But the line is crossed when religious folk advocate on the basis of their faith-based beliefs that others should be subject to them. When entering a debate in the public domain, best reasons should be expected to be examined based on secular enlightened values and not on some Iron Age inviolate faith-based beliefs that without my consent transfer my ownership of my life, my freedoms and rights, my equal say to be subservient to someone else’s god and all the sanctimonious baggage and demands for respect that accompanies it. That some religious folk advocate for secular values does not add any social value to their religious beliefs at all; the values stand or fall on their own merit. But to confront the contribution to the religious forces arrayed against achieving secular values in public policy does matter because it has crossed the line and is now using theology, which becomes fair game for direct criticism.

        No organization is more active, more vocal, more insidious than the RC church to confront and try to defeat by any means possible secular enlightened values in governance, education, and law. And we allow this cancerous danger to grow with the abuse of public dollars at our civic, legal, and healthcare peril. Take the (very conservative) 72 billion dollars of religiously exempted tax last year (2011) in the United States and put that amount to work directly doing the social aid work religions try to use to justify their exemptions. I guarantee that this amount would dwarf the combined efforts of all religious denominations (around 16% of this amount).


        • It is different in the US, with the Republican-Evangelical marriage made in Hell. It is otherwise, here. But it does matter if religious people are at the forefront of moral advance. If you ascribe anti-abortion to someone’s religious values, you must ascribe the pro-choice to the other’s religious values too.

          And- we are still in the Iron Age.


      • It is only different in practice but not in principle; religion in the public domain remains a significant impediment to secular enlightenment values… values like legal equality.

        I made reference to the kinds of personal opinions one might take that we often find associated – and justified – with religious – specifically RC – values, like beginning and end of life issues where the effect of these religious values on equality law is well documented, where the imposition of the religious values in practice on those who do not share them is in stark contrast to the enlightenment value of legal equality in principle. I meant to point out how there is no natural public alliance between the two – religious and secular – but comes pre-loaded with inherent conflict and principled incompatibility. This why, as you say, ‘advances’ led by the religious do matter, because if religious values are what is actually being promoted, then we know they stand contrary to enlightenment values. Only one set of values can rule in the public domain and currently the religious set shows its usual pernicious effects wherever it is applied in the public domain.

        As for the Iron Age, it is usually denoted to end where the Middle Ages begin. So yes, in religious language I guess we are still in this age, but in anthropological terms, today’s European liberal secular democracies left this age somewhere around 500 CE.


        • Oh, OK. We are not in the Iron Age, then. Religious thought and sensibilities are post-Enlightenment, and cannot fail to be influenced by the Enlightenment, not even ultra-Orthodox Judaism in Israel.

          All Christians, as well as the legalism of condemnation of all sorts of bad people, are exposed to the command “Love one another”. Some of us see that as the most important command. I have just been reading how Superstorm Sandy is a result of Gay Pride, God’s judgment on America, which makes me wonder what weather patterns were around the time of the Boston Tea-Party. I would love to create an argument that Independence was against God’s will.

          You find the good in Christianity vitiated by the harm. I see that good shining in so many Christians.


      • The assumption, as always, is that the direction of goodness comes from religion to action. This is simply not true. Yes, there are many wonderful people who are also christian, many concerned people who advocate for enlightenment values who also happen to be christian. But in no case can it be shown that this goodness is derived from the religious rather than the secular values being expressed and/or supported. In fact, very often the most substantive impediment to implementing secular enlightenment values in the public domain (like education, law, governance, foreign policy, research, defense, and so on) are people motivated by religious values that are not in any way comportable values for today’s modern era. Many of these people are also wonderful people in many ways, but badly misguided for supporting bad ideas and inequalities for the very worst of reasons, namely, faith positions once approved by local religious organizations and institutions and held to be true for all people for all time… whether they agree or not! This principle is always going to be antagonistic towards others who do not agree with the faith position, forever, because there isn’t even the possibility to find a middle ground except between the public and private divide.

        The principle of legitimate political authority described by the Enlightenment thinkers that fueled the American and French revolutions is deeply antithetical to the foundation of religious faith, of religious authority, of religious political expression. The notion of independence from top-down authority, from top down privilege, from top down public policies and moral pronouncements, is anti-religious at its philosophical core. That’s why this was a revolutionary idea, that consent by the governed was a necessity for legitimacy, that authority over the governed had to originate from the governed (what a beautifully clear phrase: of the people, by the people, for the people).

        Religious faith, by contrast, is the exact opposite: that legitimate authority comes only from god, that we are mewling, fallen, unworthy creatures in need of guidance and strict adherence to a law not of our making but imposed on us for our own good (to be followed or, if rejected, damned). How childish! This is a recipe for maintaining eternal immaturity, eternal irresponsibility, eternal servitude for all the wrong reasons, a debt owed, a payment always in arrears.

        You want love? Well, the only kind of love offered through the religious model is a deeply immature, dependent, conditional kind. I want a mature love from others, one that is given freely from a mature, independent, unconditional, and responsible source that must be afforded choice free from obligation. To give because one can. To care simply because one can. To love simply because one can. To aid and give comfort because one can. To do good because one can, and so on. If that is the motivation of religious people to undertake some any action rather than out of some warped sense of obligation and servitude to an invisible father figure, then it ain’t religious! It’s secular though and through, which in all cases in a superior moral code able to respond and shift over time as our knowledge pares away the layers of deceit and inaccurate assumptions laid down by self-serving religious authorities bent on imposing a theological tyranny on all of us under the banner of piousness and sanctimonious righteousness.


        • Oh, hello again.

          Pious tyranny?

          🙂 Yummy! 🙂

          [added 7 Nov] That was a defensive response. I hear you as saying that all mature love is humane, secular love, and I disagree.

          The word “God” has useful meaning, whether it refers to something like the zeitgeist or to an Eternal Creator. Churches are groupings of human beings, more for good than harm. What I hear from you is anger, with some argument and some assertion, against an institution which has blessed me and which blesses my friends, and does more good than harm. Jesus, the Buddha, Lao Tzu and others are within a religious tradition.

          You can explain scanning for Qi without Qi. Thank you, that is wonderful. I may yet need the concept of Qi to let me accept other human characteristics.

          Your voice has value in the ongoing human conversation, and so has mine. I will speak for the theists.


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