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Vatican’s Intrinsically Disordered Opposition To Decriminalizing Homosexuality

Jim Burroway

December 2nd, 2008

The Catholic church — as part of a what it sees as a consistent “pro-life” ethic — opposes the death penalty. But the Vatican’s representative in the United Nations is opposing a measure calling on governments around the world to decriminalize homosexuality — including countries which impose the death penalty on gays:

Archbishop Celestino Migliore said the Vatican opposed the resolution because it would “add new categories of those protected from discrimination” and could lead to reverse discrimination against traditional heterosexual marriage.

“If adopted, they would create new and implacable discriminations,” Migliore said. “For example, states which do not recognize same-sex unions as ‘matrimony’ will be pilloried and made an object of pressure,” Migliore said.

The proposed measure does nothing to extend rights to anyone — unless you consider the elimination of the death penalty, imprisonment or fines for homosexuality a special right. Because that’s all the proposed resolution does: it only calls for decriminalization.

Homosexuality is still punishable by imprisonment or fines in more than 85 countries. Some, including Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen, impose the ultimate penalty of death. A Vatican spokesman argues that the church is against all that, saying that “no one wants the death penalty or jail or fines for homosexuals.” And yet the Vatican opposes a measure calling for the elimination of these very penalties that “no one wants.” Because, according to the Vatican, the only way to prevent adding “new categories of those protected from discrimination” is to preserve the most egregious examples of discrimination — criminal sanctions against gay people.

No wonder an editorial in Italy’s La Stampa called the Vatican’s stance “grotesque.” Me, I think that this sort of flawed and inconsistent reasoning is just instrinsically disordered.



December 2nd, 2008 | LINK

“I think that this sort of flawed and inconsistent reasoning is just instrinsically disordered.”


December 2nd, 2008 | LINK

“objectively” so.

December 2nd, 2008 | LINK


If Teh Gays are given equal rights who will we have left to legally discriminate against?

December 2nd, 2008 | LINK

Honestly, my first reaction to this post was to think “Barney Frank really shouldn’t wear hot pink.”

David C.
December 2nd, 2008 | LINK

How do you fight stuff like this? This is just objectively vile and repugnantly stupid.

The official Catholic Church has been a plague on many thinking people since its inception. Is anyone really surprised at this kind of reasoning coming from them?

The Catholic Church hierarchy is opportunistic and certainly not above forming alliances with other religions it has in the past actively sought to extinguish by force, just so it can advance its particular kind of “morality”. You can probably count on them doing so again.

By now everybody should be forming a clear picture in their minds of the kind of enemies we are facing.

December 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Doesn’t the Vatican realise how it’s undermining its own credibility by taking a stance like this?

It’s this kind of stupidity that makes me, as a Catholic, profoundly ashamed of my church.

Lynn David
December 3rd, 2008 | LINK

This stance by the Catholic Church is as dumb and wrong-headed as that of their stance against condom use to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.

The proposal by France is not going the normal route via the “Third Committee” on Human Rights. Instead France is introducing a “political declaration” – distinct from either a “resolution” or a “declaration” – which need not be voted upon. Any member state can propose a political declaration, which other countries may then join, before sending it to the Secretary General. Political declarations are nonbinding, but they may reappear in a more definitive format later. Thus a resolution on the Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty, which passed the Third Committee last year, first appeared under the guise of General Assembly political declaration.

The Third Committee is made up of member states which are African, Arab or from Oceania which more often than not criminalize homosexuality.

December 3rd, 2008 | LINK

It reminds me of James Dobson’s railing against Lawrence vs Texas. As you say, it is not even consistent with what else they say, they simply oppose it because it feels wrong, and rationalize it afterwards. They are against penalizations on a case by case basis but cannot be seen making a principle of it. It would give the wrong impression.
By the way, is it not misleading to use quotation marks around a translated word? It would also help if you included a link to the editorial.

December 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Of course, the Catholic Church will not Decriminalize Homosexuality. They need some one else to persecute. Let’s see in the past they had the Jewish faith, the Protestants, the Muslims and most recently they had the natives of North, South and Central America. Too me it seems like the Catholic Church just loves to have blood on its hands. Yes they are really Pro-Life aren’t they?

December 3rd, 2008 | LINK

I am not going to listen to the opinions of someone wearing a pink cape. Now if he had a black cape and fangs, I might pay attention.

December 3rd, 2008 | LINK

Are gay activists going to protest the Roman Catholic Church?

There have been protests here directed against the Mormon Church for opposing the legal recognition of same-sex marriages. That seems to be far less anti-homosexual to me than opposing a non-binding resolution calling for the end of criminal punishments for homosexual acts.

IN all fairness, if we don’t see protests directed against the Roman Church of the kind that were made against the LDS Church, gays should have to answer why they hold Mormons to a higher standard than Catholics.

Jim Burroway
December 4th, 2008 | LINK


Mormons make up only about 2% of the California electorate, yet they contributed at least 40% of all funds raised to pass Prop 8. If the Catholic Church had cajoled their members to give the way the LDS leaders did theirs, they would have raised, at a minimum, twelve times what the Mormons did.

Meanwhile, leaders of the LDS church also held leadership roles in Prop 8 in a way that Catholic leaders did not.

The protests at LDS temples reflect the very prominent role that LDS leaders chose to actively lead and finance the Pro-prop 8 campaign. Yes, you bet, if the Catholic church had played such a prominent, public role, they’d be a target as well.

The reason we hold Mormons to a higher standard than Catholics is because the Mormons chose to participate at a MUCH higher standard. By chosing to get way out in front of this political campaign, they invited the attention they got. That’s the nature of politics. No one is immune from that.

St. James
December 4th, 2008 | LINK

The UN rsolution is an admirable step forward in the establishment of human rights. The opposition of the Catholic Church is regrettable, in fact, their whole approach is seriously flawed as well as inhumane. It may take another century or two to get the church to come into the real world of contemporary thought (if ever).


December 4th, 2008 | LINK


You completely miss my point.

The Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church are more respected and have more clout on human rights matters than the various governments that criminalize homosexual acts.

The Vatican is in the position to play the same role in opposing the resolution that the LDS Church played in in promoting the passage of Prop 8. If it does play such a role in defeating the resolution, shouldn’t the Catholic Church get the same treatment as the Mormons got?

Jim Burroway
December 4th, 2008 | LINK

Well, to be honest, I suppose we have to pick our battles. Right now, the biggest battle on our plate is marriage in California. It may be a selfish selection — marriage in California vs. gays in Iran — but then I don’t exactly Christians making a big deal over Darfur or the Chaldeans in Iraq during the past election either.

But let’s pose it this way. If the Catholic Church had played the role that Mormons did against my own fellow American citizens, then yes, I’d be at the front of the line.

December 4th, 2008 | LINK

“Intrinsically Disordered Opposition…”

i love it. this was a concept i heard the nuns and priests use when i was in catholic school. i always thought that “intrinsic” was a church doctrine until i found it in the dictionary.

have you also read that the good archbishop Migliore admitted that the Vatican previously opposed a U.N. motion dealing with rights and benefits for the handicapped, because it did not include “anti-abortion” language?

oh, that’s “intrinsically disordered”. isn’t it…?

not to mention hypocrisy.

one of the best decisions i ever made was leaving the church. actually, i think they forced me out with their actions. the hypocrisy and idiocy turned me into what some people identify as an “existential atheist”. well, i identify that way also.

frannie schafer
February 17th, 2010 | LINK

The phrase, “intrinsically disordered” rings of Nazi racial politics. Let someone who is a better researcher than I find that prtecise term in a Nazi document and the link between the Hitler Youth child and the Catholic pope adult will be indisputable.

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