AP badly flubs Catholic teaching

The media’s obsession with sexualityism is somehow getting even more pronounced. We have a backlog of stories to look at.

But here’s a quick example of how shoddy the coverage is, this time from the Associated Press:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie plans to sign a bill Monday barring licensed therapists from trying to make gay minors straight.

There are so many questions I have about this. So many questions not answered in this brief AP report. One might be how this bill handles treatment of minors who have unwanted same-sex attraction. Does this ban affect their treatment options? How so?

In any case, that’s not why I mention the story. Here’s the portion that fails utterly:

In a signing note accompanying the bill obtained by The Associated Press that will be made public Monday, Christie says he believes people are born gay and homosexuality is not a sin. That view is inconsistent with his Catholic faith.


How so?

AP preaches this interpretation of Catholic teaching from the pulpit but provides … no substantiation. So we can’t know why AP is making this statement. I’m really curious how in the world that view is inconsistent with his Catholic faith. That church teaches that same-sex attraction is not a sin but that homosexual acts are. And as for people being born gay, a doctrinal view of key importance in the church of sexualityism, neither is that view “inconsistent” with Catholic teaching. The church even puts its teaching on the matter online so AP reporters and others can check.

So again, AP, how is this declaration from on high substantiated?

Having said that, even though the AP happens to be completely wrong in this case, I’m glad that the media outlet is finally interested in when a Catholic official departs from church teaching. I can’t wait to see that prominently mentioned in every story about abortion rights supporters who claim a Catholic identity.

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  • Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz

    “I can’t wait to see that prominently mentioned in every story about abortion rights supporters who claim a Catholic identity.” Well as you know, you’ve got a long wait ahead of you, Mollie.

    But one wonders about the motivation behind AP’s statement. Is it the same as The Sacramento Bee’s for writing, “Gays not guaranteed the right to wed in church”? (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/getreligion/2013/08/a-front-page-puff-piece-on-same-sex-marriage/) In other words, are we looking at more agenda pushing? Or am I asking a stupid question?

  • Thinkling

    You nailed it with the analysis. The word “homosexuality” is ambiguous, so as readers we cannot even tell what they mean. And neither believing that people are born gay, nor that they are not, are inconsistent with Church teaching (one can hold either position in other words, the Church does not pick sides in that fight).

    So as I see it not much more to say. Big dropped ball on that one. Whether just gross incompetence or agenda pushing (for example milking the ambiguity in “homosexuality” for later equivocation) is another story.

    • FW Ken

      No, the Church does not opine on whether same-sex attraction is biological or psycho-social in nature. That’s a matter for science. We do, however, consider the attraction to be disordered, however it came to be. That’s important in journalism, if they wish to report on Gov. Christie’s statement, since he is not a scientist. If was quoted accurately, then indeed he was not reflecting church teaching. It’s worth noting, as above, that the reporting of his comments is substantially diffferent from those of, say, Nancy Pelosi.

  • DeaconJohnMBresnahan

    Those in the media who write about the Catholic Faith should take the time to do enough research in the Catholic Catechism that their reporting is correct.
    They might even notice that the Catechism is far more interested in being positive than in being negative.

  • Take note of how wrong the MSM is on matters that you are knowledgeable of. Now extrapolate the same extent of wrongness to all other matters.

  • Geoff McLarney

    Given that the RCC itself can’t even figure out what it teaches about gay people, we can hardly expect clairvoyance from the press!

    • Mark Chance

      The RCC herself states rather plainly what she teaches regarding homosexuality as well as a host of other topics in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    • DeaconJohnMBresnahan

      Geoff- Take the time to read the Catholic Catechism. That is what the Church teaches. When reporters seemed confused about what Pope Francis meant off-the-cuff on the airplane (about mercy for gays), he said that the Catechism was where to look for the full Catholic doctrines of sin (which includes homosexual acts) and repentance that he believes and teaches. Sadly, many in the media purposely (in my opinion) reported the story in a way to push their liberal agenda.

      • Geoff McLarney

        As noted in my reply to Richard below, the implication I haven’t “taken the time to read the Catechism” is quite astonishing.

        • Kevin Spencer

          The editorial point here is that (1) it’s not at all difficult to find the Catholic Church’s specific teaching, Catechism or not. (2) Journalists need to avoid asking non-Catholics and even those in the laity, since often their interpretations are poor. Ignorance is not an excuse in good journalism.

    • Richard Mounts


      Just in case you cannot be bothered, like most reporters, to actually look it up I refer you to paragraphs 2357, 2358, and 2359 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). These are the ONLY paragraphs in the whole CCC (some 2860 paragraphs, and a total 803 pages in my paperback copy) that say anything about homosexuality.

      Para. 2357 points out that the origin of homosexual attraction remains largely unexplained. It also explains that homosexual ACTS are what the Church objects to and calls sin.

      Para. 2358 says that men and women do not choose their homosexual condition. It also says that, “They must be treated with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

      Para. 2359 says that, “Homosexual persons are called to chastity.”

      I haven’t included all of the several other sentances in the three paragraphs. I tried to highlight the significant points. Three paragraphs contain exactly what the Church teaches about homosexuality. The Church has figured out precisely what it teaches. The Church isn’t interested in clairvoyance except to reject it and all forms of divination (see para 2116). I would hope that all sensible members of the media and the inquisitive public would do likewise.

      • Geoff McLarney

        Believe me, I’m all too familiar with the passage! The crux, as it were, is the counterfactual assertion that “Homosexuals are called to [celibate] chastity.” For gays and lesbians who express their chastity through their marriage vows, the RCC has no idea, institutionally, what to do with them, so it simply denies their existence. But Catholics on the ground who live and work and worship alongside faithful gay and lesbian families striving to conform themselves to Christ haven’t the luxury of such ostrich tactics.

        • FW Ken

          The Church teaches that the “marriage”, not the persons, doesn’t exist. That you (or some Catholics) disagree with the teaching doesn’t mean that ambiguous.

        • Thinkling

          Why did you add the word “celibate”? It is not in the source, and by adding it you do wrongly restrict the statement. Your edit is indeed counterfactual, but not the source. I’ll reiterate what was said earlier, take care to get it right before you comment on it, it’s all online after all. Of course, the whole point of the post is to give the same advice to the AP.

          • Geoff McLarney

            That’s precisely the problem, though: from the Catechism’s perspective, I am not wrongly restricting it, for it admits of no other possibility of “chastiry” for the homosexual apart from celibate chastity. The heterosexual Catholic, it is recognised, may demonstrate the virtue of chastity by fidelity within his/her own marriage, or by the ascetic.discipline of celibate chastity. The gay person either lucks out and is gifted with celibate chastity (no more a given than for straights) or is deemed a “fornicator” even if s/he is exemplary and beyond reproach in marital fidelity.

          • Thinkling

            I see the confusion now. “Celibate” means unmarried. You are using it to mean “continent”. (This is actually a common mistake.)

            There is no intrinsic obstacle to someone with SSA to be validly married. So there is no obligation for him to be celibate, by definition. If they choose to be though, then chastity (which all are called to) implies continence.

          • Geoff McLarney

            Excuse you, I am well aware of the distinction, which is why I specifically said “celibate chastity.” The RCC expects chastity of all its members: for the married person, this means fidelity; for the celibate, it means abstinence. Of course there is no “intrinsic” obstacle to gay Catholics choosing the first path. Many do. But as you surely know, the Church refuses to bless their marriages, so your comments about “no intrinsic obstacle” and “choosing celibacy” are either disingenuous or wilfully obtuse. Show me a gay RC couple whose married chastity is blessed by their ordinary.

            To put it in simpler terms, a heterosexual Catholic must wander from their spouse to commit adultery, while a gay person need only take a spouse at all to incur the charge of “unchastity.” An interlocutor once asked me, completely without irony, how a gay person’s desire to make love to their husband or wife was any different from his (sinful) desire to sleep with someone _not_ his wife. He seriously couldn’t see how he answered his own question with that “not.” Playing semantics won’t make the double standard go away

          • Thinkling

            Oh come on, this drama is neither becoming nor on topic. You misstated a piece of catechesis. I merely am trying to help you overcome the misunderstanding.

            The catechesis goes like this. All should be chaste. A marriage is between a man and a woman. Those who marry need not be continent and yet still can be chaste. There is no requirement in valid marriage for neither party to have SSA. You implied that last statement was not true: “homosexuals are called to (celibate) chastity”. Simply speaking, your reference to celibacy makes your statement false. Nothing thick or disingenuous about it.

            This piece is about the poor elucidation of Catholic teachings by the AP. One cannot competently comment on this issue without knowing that those actual teachings are. I am only trying to help you understand something you are commenting on, yet show a misunderstanding of. One is always free to not ascribe to a given catechism. But if one wishes to be honest and accurate, one is not free to misrepresent it. I thus forgive you for your mischaracterization of my comments.

            I do sympathize with your distaste for “SSA”, I too sometimes find it awkward, but it is very useful: it is much less prone to equivocation than some of its ostensible synonyms. Equivocation is bad. So no I value the precision, and I hope you do too even if it is not to your taste. Look at the original AP quote “[Christie believes] homosexuality is not a sin”. Is this consistent with his church’s teachings? The answer is we do not know because the word can mean different things at different times, sometimes by design. Did I mention I do not like equivocation? So it is worth using when applicable.

          • Geoff McLarney

            (and please, let’s dispense with the obnoxious “SSA” neologism)

  • James Stagg

    Haven’t you mentioned before that AP has a “stylebook” which legislates all the acceptable (and politically correct) terms to use in their reports? Perhaps we could all chip in for their (AP) very own copy of the CCC……just in case they are too proud to use the free copy on the Internet.

  • Rachel

    I’m not surprised. The media loves to distort any teaching the Catholic Church has in order to fit their narratives that the Catholic Church is an outdated, rigid, and judgmental institution.

  • FW Ken


    Here’s the press release from the governor’s office, with a link to the “accompanying note”. Unless the press release is the accompanying note. I’m confused, although the press release provides the full quote about the governor’s theory on same-sex attraction – or same-sex acts- who knows what “homosexuality”means? Anyway, the linked statement attached to the bill doesn’t make the governor sound like a theological hillbilly, so maybe that’s the real Christie.

  • Thinkling

    Just read elsewhere that the Governor had made more detailed comments a couple years ago which were misinformed about Church teachings. Perhaps that is what the AP is referring to. If so the clarity for this particular article is still mud.