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Cardinal Fernández, at an April 8, 2024, press conferenceMichael Haynes

VATICAN CITY (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Victor Manuel Fernández issued a call for the Catholic description of homosexual acts as “intrinsically disordered” to be changed, saying a “clearer” expression would be better.

Speaking at an April 8 press conference launching the Congregation (now Dicastery) for the Doctrine of the Faith’s new text Dignitas Infinita, Fernández fielded questions regarding homosexuality and the Catholic Church’s teaching on the topic. 

READ: Cardinal Fernández’s Dignitas Infinita condemns abortion, gender theory but is silent on homosexuality

The cardinal was asked if it is time for the DDF to change the Church’s teaching on homosexual activity being “intrinsically disordered.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2357) teaches that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the natural law.” The Catechism is very clear that homosexual activity can never be approved and repeats that “[h]omosexual persons are called to chastity.” 

The CDF’s 1975 document Persona Humana notes “[t]here can be no true promotion of man’s dignity unless the essential order of his nature is respected.” While urging that individuals suffering homosexual tendencies be treated with “understanding” and helped to overcome their trials, Persona Humana adds that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and can in no case be approved of.”

Fernández did not initially answer the question with a simple affirmation or negation but replied that the phrase in question is a “strong expression that should be explained, it would be good if we could find an expression that is even clearer.” 

“What we wish to say is that the beauty of the encounter between man and woman which is the greatest difference, is the most beautiful,” he said. 

“The fact that they can meet, be together, and that from this encounter new life can be born, this is something which cannot be compared with anything else,” commented the cardinal about marriage.

“So before this, homosexual acts have this characteristic that they cannot in any way match this great beauty,” stated Fernández. “This expression may also be conveyed in other words that may be more appropriate to convey this mystery.”

The cardinal’s reply drew heavily from his much anticipated Dignitas Infinita (DI), which does not mention homosexuality at all.

Instead of mentioning homosexuality, DI is somewhat critical of “gender theory,” stating that “it intends to deny the greatest possible difference that exists between living beings: sexual difference.” 

Fernández noted that this difference is utilized in marriage:

This foundational difference is not only the greatest imaginable difference but is also the most beautiful and most powerful of them. In the male-female couple, this difference achieves the most marvelous of reciprocities. It thus becomes the source of that miracle that never ceases to surprise us: the arrival of new human beings in the world.

The cardinal’s choice of language, both in his document and in the press conference, is of particular note. By denoting homosexual acts simply as not being able to “match” the “great beauty” of marriage between a man and woman, the cardinal appeared to suggest the possibility that homosexual actions have their own kind of “beauty.”

By denoting homosexual acts simply as not being able to “match” the “great beauty” of marriage between a man and woman, the cardinal appeared to suggest the possibility that homosexual actions have their own kind of “beauty.”

READ: The ‘Synodal Way’ wants to reverse Catholic teaching on homosexuality. Here’s why that’s impossible

The DDF previously hinted at such a heterodox proposal with its document on homosexual “blessings” green-lit by Pope Francis in February 2021. The document, while denying the possibility to give “blessings” to same-sex “couples” – something later contradicted by Fiducia Supplicans – suggested the existence of so-called “positive elements” in homosexual relationships. At the time, the passage was criticized by some Catholics as a Trojan horse.

Prominent Catholic prelates, including Cardinal Robert Sarah and Cardinal Raymond Burke, have strongly condemned the idea that homosexual relationships can have “positive elements,” with Cardinal Sarah pointing out that there is nothing “good” or “true” about such depraved relationships.

Fernández arrived to the April 8 press conference launching DI well-armed with resource texts and began by issuing another defense of Fiducia Supplicans and its promotion of “blessings” for homosexual “couples.”

“Pope Francis has expanded our understanding of blessings,” he claimed, arguing that this expansion of “understanding” was well within the pope’s purview.

READ: Cardinal Müller: Fiducia Supplicans ‘leads to heresy,’ Catholics cannot accept it

With such an opening salvo, Fernández made it clear that he would not be making any concessions to his current stance regarding homosexuals and homosexual relationships. It remains to be seen in the coming months, perhaps at the October session of the multi-year Synod on Synodality, if a formal move is made to defend homosexual relationships as having a “beauty” of their own, even if it does not match that of marriage.