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Disordered or Just Different?

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Is the Catechism of the Catholic Church too harsh in calling homosexual inclinations “objectively disordered”? Father James Martin has suggested a change in wording to something such as “differently ordered.” Might that be helpful?

Cy Kellett: The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that homosexual inclinations are objectively disordered. Should that language be changed? Next on Catholic Answers Focus.

Cy Kellett: Hello and welcome again to Catholic Answers Focus. I am Cy Kellett, your host. And a this week we tackle a somewhat difficult subject and we will try to do so with intellectual integrity; and it’s also a very emotional subject, so I want to acknowledge that for many people this is an emotional subject, but the mode we’re going to take today is to try to intellectually work through this to find a reasonable answer. The question of the day has to do with the wording in the Catechism of the Catholic Church about what it calls “homosexual tendencies.” In paragraph 2358 in the Catechism it says the following, “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.”

Cy Kellett: Of course the words that produce such a great outpouring of other words, trying to qualify them, categorize them, and in some cases, challenge them, are “objectively disordered.” And so the question on the table today here for us at Catholic Answers Focus is: is that wording acceptable or should it be changed? Here to help us address that is just the man you would want answering such questions, Karlo Broussard. Karlo is an apologist here at Catholic Answers, the author of a couple of books, the most recent of which is…

Karlo Broussard: Meeting The Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs.

Cy Kellett: Karlo, thanks very much for being with us.

Karlo Broussard: You’re welcome Cy. It’s always great to be with you.

Cy Kellett: And you’d agree with me there’s a great deal of emotion around this.

Karlo Broussard: Indeed, there is. There is a great deal of emotion. However, what we want to do is think it through, right? We want to think through this issue intellectually and calmly. I think that God made us in a certain way. The will follows the mind. And so we can actually train our emotions based upon what we know to be real and what is true. So once the intellect is straight, once we get the mind straight, that can actually help our emotional response to these things. And so that’s what we’re seeking here.

Cy Kellett: It’s so interesting to hear you say “Aquinas says that,” because that is cutting-edge psychology right now. Everywhere in psychology people are talking about cognitive behavioral therapy, which is “Get the thinking right and the emotions follow.” So-

Karlo Broussard: That’s music to a Thomist’s ears, brother.

Cy Kellett: So it’s impossible really–and in no way meaning to derogate anyone’s name or reputation–but it’s impossible to talk about these things in the Catholic church anymore without talking about Fr. James Martin and his book Building Bridges and the work that he does. So I want to give you the quote from Building Bridges, and then one that you shared with me from an interview in 2017 that he gave; but he takes this idea of “objectively disordered” and he says, “The phrase relates to the orientation, not the person.”

Karlo Broussard: Which is correct.

Cy Kellett: Which he is quite correct about. “But it is still needlessly hurtful. Saying that one of the deepest parts of a person, the part that gives and receives love, is ‘disordered,’ in itself is needlessly cruel.” And that comes from pages 46 and 47 of his book. He later goes on in an interview that he gave in 2017 to say that it should be changed from “objectively disordered” to-

Karlo Broussard: He suggests that it should be changed, possibly.

Cy Kellett: Thank you. That it could be changed to “differently ordered.”

Karlo Broussard: Right. Yeah. And that was a 2017 interview at ReligionNews.com with columnist Jonathan Merrit. So he suggests, possibly, in order to be more pastoral, that the language should be, or possibly be, “differently ordered” as opposed to “objectively disordered.” So that’s the claim. Now, what’s interesting, Cy, is that it’s unclear whether or not Fr. Martin still holds this view. So in a 2018 article for America Magazine, he actually articulates the Church’s official teaching on the objective disorder of same-sex sexual activity and the disorder of the desire for it. Right?

Cy Kellett: Okay.

Karlo Broussard: And he then says in that article, “As a Catholic priest, I have never challenged those teachings, nor will I.”

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Karlo Broussard: So that’s in 2018. So, it’s kind of unclear as to what he believes and holds to personally. In fact, our colleague here, Todd Aglialoro, our chief editor and director of the press department, recently put out a piece this past Friday, I think it was, at Catholic.com proposing four questions to Fr. Martin to answer in order to get clarity as to where he stands. Like does he actually affirm the Church’s teaching to be an authentic description of reality, right?

Cy Kellett: Yes.

Karlo Broussard: And Fr. Martin seems to be saying, “Yes. I affirm the Church’s teaching. I’ve always taught the church’s teaching.” I think we can push back a little bit on his claim that he’s “never challenged” this teaching because of his 2017 interview saying it should be changed possibly from “objectively disordered” to “differently disordered.” But regardless of Fr. Martin’s position, we still are left with the question: are romantic desires from members of the same sex disordered, or merely different? That’s what we have to ask.

Cy Kellett: And as we address that, I just want to add that Archbishop Chaput of have Philadelphia also weighed in on this recently. A very polite interchange between the Archbishop and Fr. Martin about all this–but the Archbishop was quite firm in asserting that it’s really not enough to say, “I, as a Catholic priest, don’t challenge this.” We need to be teaching this as an objectively good and helpful teaching of the Church. We needed to embrace it and teach it as liberation.

Karlo Broussard: Because it accurately describes reality.

Cy Kellett: Right.

Karlo Broussard: And declares what is true. And so that gets to the fundamental question of: are we to live our lives in accordance with what is true? And so Archbishop Chaput, there was one of the points in which he addresses this question specifically, of whether we should change that language from “objectively disordered” to “differently ordered.” And of course he answers in the negative and says no. And then he gives us a quote from the US bishops’ 2006 document Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care in order to support his conclusion. But I do think, Cy, that we can dive quite a bit deep, a little deeper, here in our segment for Catholic Answers Focus to try and substantiate or defend Archbishop Chaput and what the Church teaches, that these desires are objectively disordered and that we ought not to be referring to them as merely “differently ordered.” Right?

Cy Kellett: Right.

Karlo Broussard: And so what are the reasons for that? And so that’s what I think we should get into here today. At least, that’s what I want to get into.

Cy Kellett: Okay, fair enough. So the challenge has been made by Fr. Martin–and by others–but Fr. Martin being the most prominent spokesperson on this point, we take his words. The challenge has been made, let’s find some other words. This is “needlessly hurtful.”

Karlo Broussard: I would argue it’s not needlessly hurtful. But that assumes a host of principles and philosophical reasoning concerning the desires for a particular activity and the activity itself. So how-

Cy Kellett: Can I make my objection?

Karlo Broussard: Yeah. Go ahead.

Cy Kellett: Because I would like to get your response to this. Because I know you want to dig deeply into this, but my objection to this paragraph in the Catechism is that, as a catechism, which is meant to be popularly read, it has clearly been misunderstood so much that it requires … I would extend this paragraph to two or three paragraphs long and explain it, because it’s clearly not being received with clarity by people. Now, I may be wrong about that. It may be that people are receiving it with clarity, they just don’t like it.

Karlo Broussard: Right.

Cy Kellett: Which in that case, okay, you can’t satisfy that person. But say it’s a 17-year-old kid who is really just wants to explore what the Church teaches. This is clearly not doing it, because enough people have been confused by this now that I think Fr. Martin should be granted some…”Okay, yes.” Now I wouldn’t change the wording, but I would give it a whole full explication right.

Karlo Broussard: A context in which that wording could be enlightened and understood.

Cy Kellett: Especially that makes clear that neither the Catholic Church nor Jesus rejects anyone. You are not rejected by the Church. And so that’s all my only argument.

Karlo Broussard: Right. And this is what Archbishop Chaput, and even Fr. James Martin, rightfully articulated. It’s a reference to the orientation. And I would even push back on using that language. I would talk about these desires, that one comes to an awareness that they have this attraction, this desire to be romantically involved with a member of the same sex. When you talk about orientation within, you have to start parsing out, well, is this something that belongs to the nature of us as human beings? Like insofar as we are human beings, we have this fundamental natural drive and inclination, right?

Cy Kellett: Right.

Karlo Broussard: Or orientation, insofar as we’re human; that’s what the word “orientation” signifies and connotates. And so if you’re going to say that you have a fundamental orientation and a drive for romantic involvement with a member of the same sex, well then you’re getting into some serious problems of saying, “You’ve got two different natures here.”

Cy Kellett: Yes. Right.

Karlo Broussard: And it’s related, but that’s one avenue that we could possibly go down in thinking through this stuff. So this is why when the Catechism, it talks about homosexual tendencies, I think if we could sort of interpret that, what that means is that an individual comes to discover these desires. Sure, they didn’t choose them. For a lot of people, they’re not chosen. They just come to an awareness that they have this attraction and this desire to be romantically involved with a member of the same sex, right?

Cy Kellett: Yes.

Karlo Broussard: And so the question is, is that a good, normal, natural desire? Or is that a wayward, disordered desire?

Cy Kellett: Yes. Okay.

Karlo Broussard: And this is extremely important. We have to distinguish between “different” and “disorder”; because if you say it’s “different,” it’s just that it’s “differently ordered”–and when we say “ordered,” it’s just “pointing to,” right?–if we say it’s “differently ordered,” that suggests the desire is not disordered. Because, for example, we don’t say someone’s preference of chocolate ice cream over vanilla ice cream is disordered.

Cy Kellett: No.

Karlo Broussard: Right. Because preference for flavors of ice cream is not the type of thing that’s subject to some sort of order so that you can have disorder. If it’s not subject to a particular order, then there can be no disorder. Right.

Cy Kellett: Exactly.

Karlo Broussard: So to say it’s different is to say the desire is not disordered. Now to say the desire for a romantic involvement with member of the same sex, to say that the desire for same-sex sexual activity is not disordered, that entails the further claim that there’s no disorder in same-sex sexual activity itself.

Cy Kellett: I see. Because if there’s no disorder in the act, then there’s no disorder in the desire.

Karlo Broussard: Right.

Cy Kellett: But if there is a disorder in the act, if it’s wrong to do that-

Karlo Broussard: Then the desire for it would be-

Cy Kellett: Disordered.

Karlo Broussard: Disordered.

Cy Kellett: I’ve got you. Yeah.

Karlo Broussard: So when we’re thinking through the desire for the act, it actually presupposes a more fundamental question as to: what is the order of the same-sex sexual act? Is that morally ordered, or is that morally disordered? See, that’s where the rub is, and that’s where the conversation has to be.

Cy Kellett: So how would I even answer a question like that? I mean, people would say, Karlo, and people do say this to you all the time. I’ve heard them say, like, “Who are you to say what’s ordered and what’s disordered? How would I decide whether, say, homosexual sex is disordered and heterosexual sex is ordered?” How do you even-

Karlo Broussard: Well, I think we can employ the help of St. Thomas Aquinas here, right?

Cy Kellett: Okay.

Karlo Broussard: And assessing what determines a human action to be morally ordered or morally disordered. And basically a morally disordered act is a human act–so it’s an action that’s proceeding from intellect and will, is voluntary, right–but it’s a human act that lacks the order to it’s due end. All right.

Cy Kellett: Yes.

Karlo Broussard: So in other words, it’s a human act that intentionally misses the mark. It’s analogous to an archer that intentionally misses the target he’s supposed to hit with the arrow. So here’s what Aquinas, here’s how he defines it. He says, “We call every act that is not properly related to its requisite or due end as a disordered act.” And what’s driving that claim there is that even human actions have natural ends or goals. Some human actions have natural ends or goals that they naturally aim at. And what’s driving Aquinas’ thought here, and the tradition of the Church, is that a due end, the proper end or goal of a human action, is it’s natural end or goal. What it naturally aims at, right?

Cy Kellett: Right.

Karlo Broussard: So consider for example how the due end or the goal of an oak tree is to grow and to reproduce itself.

Cy Kellett: Yes.

Karlo Broussard: And that entails sinking roots deep into the ground, taking in nutrients, performing photosynthesis, dropping acorns, right? Such things are due or proper to the oak tree in that the achievement of such things makes the oak tree flourish as the kind of thing it is. So if the oak tree were to fail in achieving these natural goals, right, given the kind of thing it is, we would say it’s defective in being the kind of thing it is–namely an oak tree. Right? So notice that the due end of a thing–or even in our case, we’re going to see, a human action–is the natural end or goal of a thing and its activities. It’s going to be that which is befitting of the perfection of the thing, making it a good instance of its kind. Okay?

Cy Kellett: Okay.

Karlo Broussard: So the due end is going to be the natural end: that which is perfective of the thing in question and perfective of its activities. Now, human actions, the same holds true for human actions. Some human actions have natural ends or goals that constitute the perfection of the act itself. So take, for example, the act of assertion or the act of communication, which has–its natural goal, the natural aim, to make an assertion is to express that which we believe to be true.

Cy Kellett: Right.

Karlo Broussard: So when you express that which you believe to be true in communicative form, that act is perfected in as much as it’s being the kind of act it’s supposed to be. Because it’s achieving its natural aim, its natural goal. Right.

Cy Kellett: Okay. Right.

Karlo Broussard: Here’s a clearer example, the act of eating. That has the natural aim or goal of nourishing the body, right?

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Karlo Broussard: So when you eat in such a way that your act of eating achieves its natural end or goal, well, that act of eating is a good act of eating. It succeeds in being the kind of act that it’s supposed to be, because the act of eating is naturally ordered to nourishment of the body. So when you engage in the act of eating and it achieves its natural end, or at least it’s ordered to that natural end, that’s the kind of act it’s supposed to be. Following me?

Cy Kellett: I do, but I actually think the speech one has more moral content to it. For example, like if I say “I love you” to my wife, I say that because I love her. But a man can say, “I love you” to a woman because, I don’t know, he wants her to have sex with them, or something like that. In which case, I can see that a speech, an utterance like that, that’s against the nature of speaking, really. That goes against the nature, which is to tell the truth.

Karlo Broussard: And you see, what you’re doing is you’re going to the next step that I was going to go to.

Cy Kellett: Oh, okay.

Karlo Broussard: Yeah. So you’re thinking along the right path here brother.

Cy Kellett: Maybe because I read your article.

Karlo Broussard: Because what you’re doing here is now you’re introducing disorder into a human act.

Cy Kellett: Okay. Got you.

Karlo Broussard: So notice that disorder–because now we have to ask, okay, now we’re going to know the due end of a human act is its natural end, that which is going to be perfective of the act itself, right? Constituting the action to be the kind of action it’s supposed to be. All right, so disorder enters into a human act when we voluntarily engage in an act that has a natural aim, but we direct that act away from its natural end or goal. We direct it away from its due end or goal. Such an act is a defective human act. Because notice it intends, from the beginning, the lack of order due to the action itself. It’s a lack of order to the action’s due end or goal. And you’re intending that lack of order. So you’re engaging in this human act, but, from the beginning, intending to deviate the act away from its natural aim from its due end. So notice you’re intending the lack of order from the beginning. Here’s an example: take the act of eating right?

Cy Kellett: Yes.

Karlo Broussard: So the act of eating has the natural aim of nourishing the human body, right? So rationally, it would be reasonable that when you engage in the act of eating, you engage in it in such a way that the order remains, that it’s naturally aiming for nourishment of the human body and that it achieve its natural goal. Now suppose we engage in the act of eating with the intention to vomit our food afterward in order to just get the pleasure, but to-

Cy Kellett: Not get the calories.

Karlo Broussard: To thwart the achievement of the natural goal of nourishing the body. That would be considered a disordered human action, a defective human action. Because you intend, from the very beginning, the lack of the order that nature inscribes within the human act itself.

Cy Kellett: Ah, right.

Karlo Broussard: You see?

Cy Kellett: Yes.

Karlo Broussard: Now here’s the linchpin. Because notice we’ve been talking about disordered human action. Here’s another example: so let’s say a doctor, the practice of medicine is naturally ordered to, or aims at, healing.

Cy Kellett: Right.

Karlo Broussard: And so whenever a doctor engages in his act of medicine, he ought to intend that order toward healing. If a doctor uses his medicine and his skill and his art to bring about illness and make people sick, that would be a disordered act, right?

Cy Kellett: Right.

Karlo Broussard: Because you would be intending, from the very beginning, the lack of the order in practicing medicine. Because you’re directing it away from its natural goal of healing and towards some other goal that actually militates against its natural goal, right?

Cy Kellett: Right.

Karlo Broussard: So these are examples of disordered human actions. Now, here’s where the moral aspect comes in. The achievement of the natural ends of human action are not only perfective of the act itself, but also of the person who performs the action. Because think about this Cy: the power to act, the power to direct our lives and to behave and to engage in human activity, that belongs to a person for the sake of fully actualizing himself and to flourish as a human being. The very purpose of our powers to act in the world is to direct our lives in such a way that we’re going to achieve those things that are going to be perfective of our nature, right?

Cy Kellett: Right.

Karlo Broussard: That are going to help us flourish. That’s what we call good, right?

Cy Kellett: Right. So doing good, then, doesn’t just do the good thing. It also makes me good.

Karlo Broussard: Amen.

Cy Kellett: That’s what you’re getting at.

Karlo Broussard: Because that which is good for … A good action is an action that’s directed to that which is good for me and perfective of my nature. So think about the act of looking, or the act of seeing, right? That has the end of sight.

Cy Kellett: Right.

Karlo Broussard: Now whenever you see things, that’s not just perfective of the power of seeing itself, right? It’s flourishing as a power, right? It’s functioning like it’s supposed to. But it’s also perfective of me, right? It’s a good for me to actually see things. That’s perfective of my human nature.

Cy Kellett: There we go, I got it.

Karlo Broussard: The act of eating has the natural end, aim, or goal of nourishing the body. And whenever that act of eating is a good act of eating, it’s going to be perfective of me, because nourishment of the body is perfective of my nature, right?

Cy Kellett: Right.

Karlo Broussard: So notice how the achievement of the natural ends or the goals of the human act constitute what’s good for me, or what’s a perfection of my nature. And that’s the linchpin for understanding how a disordered human action constitutes a moral disorder. Because when a person voluntarily thwarts his or her act from achieving that natural end, the person is actually rejecting the associated good.

Cy Kellett: Got it.

Karlo Broussard: It’s a rejection of the order to what’s good for the human person. And that is what we call an immoral act. That’s a morally disordered act because it’s a rejection of the due good for the person. The fundamental precept of all morality is “Do good and avoid evil.” So if you willingly engage in a behavior which entails the rejection of your order to what’s good for you, that’s an immoral act. So now that we have a picture and understanding of what morally disordered acts are–these actions that you voluntarily engage in and direct these human acts away from their due or proper end or goal–now we’re able to see and analyze the moral disorder of same-sex sexual activity.

Karlo Broussard: Here’s how. One of the natural ends or goals of our sexual powers is procreation, right? That’s an end. That’s a natural aim of the sexual act itself. It’s an aim of our sexual powers. So to engage our sexual powers, to engage in sexual activity, use the sexual faculty voluntarily in a way that’s going to thwart the achievement of that which the sexual powers naturally aim at–namely, procreation–that constitutes a defective or disordered human act. But because that end of our sexual powers is a human good, it’s a rejection of that which is good for us as a human being, and consequently is considered a morally disordered human action.

Cy Kellett: So would one way of saying this, would this wording trouble you or would this work, to say: to do things that hurt yourself, that’s morally wrong.

Karlo Broussard: But I would qualify, what do you mean by “hurt?” Because if you’re restricting “hurt” only to physical hurt, then I would say that’s inadequate. Because you can also harm yourself, morally speaking; because you can engage an immorally disordered human action and it not entail any sort of physical damage.

Cy Kellett: Oh, fair enough. Okay. Right.

Karlo Broussard: But nevertheless, it’s still harmful, because it’s harming the moral character of the individual. Because you’re acting against reason, which is not befitting of our nature as rational animals. And so this–actually, this is an appropriate response to the comments from the mantra that you hear in our culture. “It’s okay as long as nobody gets hurt.”

Cy Kellett: All right.

Karlo Broussard: Right?

Cy Kellett: Yeah,

Karlo Broussard: “You can engage in these sort of sexual activities as long as nobody gets hurt.” Well, that just simply begs the question against the classical natural law theorist and saying, “No, this particular activity, same-sex sexual activity, it might not involve any sort of physical hurt or physical damage in any way, right? But it still is harmful in that it goes contrary to our reason and thus harms our moral character.”

Cy Kellett: Okay, so same-sex sexual acts, then, to use your arrow analogy from before–to fire an arrow and intentionally miss the mark is somehow against the nature of what the archer is supposed to do–

Karlo Broussard: Now the analogy would that fall short is because that the archer is-

Cy Kellett: It’s kind of morally neutral.

Karlo Broussard: It’s accidentally. Right?

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Karlo Broussard: It’s morally neutral and it’s also a human construct, right? We determine which target that you need to be shooting at.

Cy Kellett: Right?

Karlo Broussard: Whereas here we’re talking about what nature, what our human nature, directs these capacities, namely our sexual capacities, to.

Cy Kellett: Okay, so what are the ends, then, that the same-sex sexual act misses? Do you see what I’m saying?

Karlo Broussard: That’s right.

Cy Kellett: Is there just one end that it-

Karlo Broussard: Initially, that’s a very good question. This is probably a whole ‘nother podcast.

Cy Kellett: Oh, sorry.

Karlo Broussard: But initially I would say it’s thwarting the activity away from the due end of procreation.

Cy Kellett: Okay.

Karlo Broussard: But at the same time, once you understand, Cy, that to engage in such activity is a morally disordered act, well then it necessarily involves a violation of the unitive goal of sexual acts.

Cy Kellett: Right.

Karlo Broussard: Because if you engage in an activity that’s morally harmful for you and your loved one, the one that you’re engaging in sexual activity with, well then that is not an expression of love. Because rather than willing what is good for the other, you’re rejecting what is good for the other and willing what is morally harmful for the other. And that cannot possibly be an act of love. So I would say that same-sex sexual activity initially violates the procreative end, the primary end of the sexual act.; but in as much as it does so, it also at the same time undermines the complimentary goal of the sexual act, namely, union of the spouses, unity of love. You cannot thwart the procreative end and have union and love at the same time. They go hand in hand.

Cy Kellett: So that means that to desire such things is not a sin, but it’s a disorder, because if you follow that desire, you will end up doing things that are sinful.

Karlo Broussard: That’s right. The reason why we say we should not speak of these desires for romantic involvement with members of the same sex as merely “different” rather than “disordered” is because it would be a bearing of false witness, right? The reason why we say such desires are disordered is because they’re leading to an action that in and of itself, independent of intention and independent of circumstances, the act in and of itself–namely, same-sex sexual activity–is morally disordered, morally harmful for the character of a reasonable creature like ourselves. Right?

Karlo Broussard: And so notice how the desire is leading us to a disordered human act. And so consequently, it’s accurate and truthful to say that the desire itself is disordered. But, with qualification, as you stated, Cy, the desire that a person has, in and of itself, is not morally disordered. It’s just simply disordered in that it’s leading to a morally disordered act. So there’s no guilt of sin in the individual for having or becoming aware of the desire for same-sex sexual activity, right?

Cy Kellett: They haven’t done anything wrong.

Karlo Broussard: They haven’t done anything wrong in as much as they have the desire; but nevertheless, we still have to acknowledge that the desire is flawed, right? The desire is defective in some way. It’s disordered. We’re just using synonyms here, right?

Cy Kellett: Right.

Karlo Broussard: Because it’s leading to an action that is not befitting of our dignity as human beings within the arena of sex. Now, if an individual indulges in the desire, follows the desire, and engages in same-sex sexual activity, well then that becomes sinful because you’re engaging in a morally disordered act. Right?

Cy Kellett: Right.

Karlo Broussard: And that’s going to constitute moral defect in your moral character. Now, whether that person is fully culpable for this activity or not, only God can judge the subjective dimensions of the human heart. Right? Full knowledge, deliberate consent. But we can say, objectively speaking, that same-sex sexual activity, in and of itself, is contrary to reason. And as a rational being, we ought not to engage in such activity because it would be a violation of our rational nature. And that’s basically the essence of sin.

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Karlo Broussard: It’s to willingly engage in a behavior that lacks the order of reason.

Cy Kellett: Yes.

Karlo Broussard: And that cannot possibly be good for us as human beings.

Cy Kellett: Is there any other, like just as a way of an analogy, because lots of people do think by analogy, I know I am one of them, is there any other objectively disordered desire you could point to? Just so that I could say, “Oh, so this is like that.”

Karlo Broussard: Right.

Cy Kellett: Like you said, the physician who desires to use his medical skill or her medical skill–I don’t want to be sexist when I’m pointing out other people’s sins–so, the physician who desires to use that skill for harm, that’s disordered. Do you see what I’m saying?

Karlo Broussard: Yeah.

Cy Kellett: Is there another natural desire that we are-

Karlo Broussard: Well, I would qualify the use of the word “natural,” because if a desire is objectively disordered, then it doesn’t belong to the nature of the human being. And so therefore it’s not natural.

Cy Kellett: Well, let me propose the desire for intoxication, right? Would that be-

Karlo Broussard: There is a form of disorder. Now the desire for the legitimate substance, right?

Cy Kellett: Yeah, that’s why I’m looking for analogy.

Karlo Broussard: That’s ordered. But the desire for the overindulgence is disordered. The desire for a man to desire romantic involvement with a woman is naturally ordered. But if he desires romantic involvement with a woman that’s not his wife, that’s disordered.

Cy Kellett: Okay.

Karlo Broussard: Or desires romantic involvement with a woman contrary to reason, like outside of marriage, that’s disordered. Right? But here’s something that I think is closer-

Cy Kellett: Analogy?

Karlo Broussard: Yeah. A closer analogy is, for example, there’s a disorder where people desire to eat dirt.

Cy Kellett: Okay, that’s what I’m looking for.

Karlo Broussard: I don’t know if it’s Pica. I think it might be Pica. I’m going to have to look that up. It’s slipping my memory as what the correct terminology is to describe that psychological disorder. But people apparently have disorder where they desire to eat dirt. Now that is an objectively disordered desire. Why? Because you’re desiring to engage in an act that naturally is ordered to nourishing the body, but this particular action is thwarting the act away from its natural end of nourishing the body.

Cy Kellett: And probably even harming the body.

Karlo Broussard: That’s right. So, to desire that sort of activity, like if you just happen to discover when you wake up tomorrow and “I want to eat dirt.” I mean, like, you didn’t choose that desire, but the desire is there. But the desire is objectively disordered because it’s leading you to a human action that’s objectively disordered. And in this case it would even be morally disordered because it’d be a rejection of the good of the human being. Same principle applies for the desire for same-sex sexual activity. The desire is leading to certain actions that are contrary to our human good and thus morally disordered. And so the desire itself must be disordered. You see? Now, in the comparison between those two, you do have the comparison falling short in this sense, that many times in same-sex sexual activity, you have no physical harm that you’re incurring, whereas you may very well harm your body eating dirt.

Cy Kellett: But all analogies fall short at some-

Karlo Broussard: That’s right. But some will push even back on that, right?

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Karlo Broussard: And say, well, engaging in same-sex sexual activity, the research shows, does cause physical harm, but-

Cy Kellett: Whatever. Yeah.

Karlo Broussard: -if we could just put that aside. I don’t even want to go there. I think we can articulate the disorder of same-sex sexual activity just by moral analysis.

Cy Kellett: So the conclusion, then, would be that Fr. Martin’s suggestion that we should change the wording in a particular way, that we should not say “objectively disordered” anymore and we should find another phrase, and he offers the example of “differently ordered,” this would not improve the Catechism. It would detract from it.

Karlo Broussard: It would, because it suggests that we speak of things as if they are what they’re not.

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Karlo Broussard: It suggests that we speak of desires for romantic involvement with members of the same sex as something okay, natural and good, just different from some other good. And that’s not the truth. You see? So we need to speak about these things in ways that communicate the reality of these things and what’s true about these things.

Cy Kellett: Yeah.

Karlo Broussard: And I don’t know about you, Cy, but I don’t see anything needlessly hurtful in living in the truth and inviting people to live in accord with that truth as well.

Cy Kellett: Karlo Broussard, thank you very much for helping me work through that.

Karlo Broussard: Thank you Cy.

Cy Kellett: Thanks to everybody who joins us here on Catholic Answers Focus. If you would a give us a like where you get yours. Maybe, you get the podcast at iTunes or the Android store or the Google play or wherever. If you give us a like maybe even a comment that would be very helpful to grow this. Also become a subscriber and then you’ll just get it every week. You can also become a member of Radio Club at CatholicAnswersLive.com. You just put your email address in and we send you notices when there’s a new focus out and we send you all kinds of other free stuff as well. We’d love to have you as a member of the radio club. Thank you again for joining us. We’ll see you next time, God willing on Catholic Answers Focus.

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