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Bishop Robert McElroy during a Feb. 1, 2021, Georgetown University online public dialogue.Global Georgetown / Youtube screen grab

(LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Robert McElroy is again attacking Catholic doctrine that sodomy is “intrinsically disordered,” but, in doing so, he contradicts both the constant teaching of the Church and the undeniably harmful nature of homosexual acts.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraph 2357, teaches:

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, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’ They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

Furthermore, Paragraph 1867 of the Catechism lists sodomy as one of four sins that “cries out to heaven” for vengeance. This view is consistent with what the Fathers and Doctors of the Catholic Church, including Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas, have consistently taught for over a millennia. As an example, Saint Peter Damian (1007-1072), a cardinal who wrote extensively against homosexuality among the clergy in his own day, stated: “Truly, this vice is never to be compared with any other vice because it surpasses the enormity of all vices.”  

READ: Pope Francis’ new cardinal pick has a horrifying record on homosexuality and abortion

Notwithstanding the foregoing, in a recent interview, Cardinal Robert McElroy argued that the reference to homosexual acts being “intrinsically disordered” should be removed from the Catholic Catechism: “I’ve said for some years I felt, and others have too, that the intrinsically disordered language is a disservice. The problem is, it’s 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.” 

So is homosexuality objectively disordered by our modern standards? If one looks at the issue solely from the point of view of the negative impacts of these acts on the physical body, the evidence of their harmful nature is irrefutable.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has this to say on the subject: “There are many reasons why gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men may have higher rates of HIV and STDs. Some of them are:

  • Prevalence of HIV among sexual partners of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men is 40 times that of sexual partners of heterosexual men;
  • Receptive anal sex is 18 times more risky for HIV acquisition than receptive vaginal sex;
  • Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men on average have a greater number of lifetime sexual partners.”

READ: Gay men are 2% of population but 55% of AIDS cases: CDC

How many more lifetime sexual partners do homosexual men have? According to Psychology Today: “… one study in San Francisco found that nearly 50% of gay men had more than 500 partners.” In the face of such staggering numbers, one has to ask, does that sound like behavior that is intrinsically well-ordered?

There are many more adverse health consequences related to homosexual behavior which are well-documented by both Christian and secular medical sources. These include high rates of domestic abuse, drug and alcohol use, depression, and suicide, including for lesbian and bisexual women.

READ: Domestic violence in LGBT relationships 8 times higher than that of heterosexuals: DOJ report

Thus, Saint Paul’s writings on the subject still ring true after more than 2,000 years: “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:26-27). 

Based on the foregoing, if one has to choose between Cardinal McElroy’s views on the subject, as opposed to those of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and Saint Paul, the answer should be clear: The Catechism’s statement on the intrinsically disordered nature of homosexual acts is still true today.

Those who commit the grave sin of sodomy are called to repentance to attain eternal salvation, and God’s infinite mercy is always available to Catholics through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Unfortunately, the Church did not learn well enough the lessons taught by Saint Peter Damien concerning the potential serious problems caused by homosexual clergy. In that regard, as of February 9, 2023, Cardinal McElroy announced that he anticipates soon placing the San Diego Diocese into bankruptcy because of a new crop of some 400 clerical sex abuse cases. Yet, there can be no denying that the documented pattern in the Church has been that approximately 80% of these cases have involved the sexual abuse of boys by men (i.e. homosexual predation). Moreover, the Cardinal states that this comes after the San Diego Diocese has already paid out $198 million to fund 144 such clerical sexual abuse settlements. Ironically, this news also comes at the same time that Cardinal McElroy seeks to encourage more active participation of practicing homosexuals into the life of Church, but with no simultaneous call for repentance or chastity on their part. This seems to present serious additional risks for both the material and spiritual well-being of the Church and all its members.

Charles LiMandri is a Catholic attorney in San Diego who specializes in religious liberty cases: