On Disordered Appetites, “Hoosier Hysteria” and Original Sin

On Disordered Appetites, “Hoosier Hysteria” and Original Sin April 7, 2015

A reader writes:

I liked your thoughtful post and its many excellent points about both the left and the right. However, when I got to this part, I had to stop and reread it several times:

“But no real justice will have been done. The people who do not and never will be able to pretend that gay “marriage” is real or that homosex is not sinful will go on doing so. Power will have been exercised, but not justice. Gay “marriage” remains what it always has been: an ontological impossibility. And gay sex remains what it has always been: intrinsically disordered.”

I agree with you that people who believe homosexual activity is sinful or that gay marriage is an ontological possibility are not going to be able to pretend otherwise. They should not be forced to and they should not have to suffer for expressing those beliefs. Frankly, I have neither the time nor the desire to persuade them otherwise.

However, as an Indiana resident, involved citizen, and a practicing Roman Catholic who does not believe that being homosexual is intrinsically disordered or a choice, I am going to express great displeasure when the governor of my secular state signs a thinly-veiled law which supports that contention. I would express displeasure if my secular state enacted legislation that suggested that heterosexuality is intrinsically disordered or a choice. I believe that we are made in the image of God and find it unimaginable that some of us were created to be intrinsically disordered. Created as sinners? Yes. But God grants us the possibility of salvation through the sacrifice of His Son.

Personally, I am glad that many citizens in my state are devoting some “Hoosier Hysteria” to something much more important than a sport.

Have a blessed Easter.

You may not realize it, but you have just denied the entire doctrine of original sin.  The Church’s teaching is not that homosexuals alone struggle with desires that are disordered, but that we all do.  It’s not a question of God “creating” people to be disordered.  It is a matter of our having disordered appetites, darkened intellects, and weakened wills due to the reality of original sin.  Original sin is not something God intends for us, but is a consequence of the Fall with which we all struggle.  Homosexual appetites are but one manifestation of that.  Lots of other disordered appetites (for food, work, sleep, etc.) abound.  Some can be rightly ordered because their object is natural (say, for food).  Others are intrinsically disordered because their object is not natural (say for eating dirt, nails, household objects).  To grant the doctrine of original sin at all is to granted that our desires are, in various ways, disordered.  To grant that is to grant the possibility that some of our desires are so disordered that their objects cannot be made right objects by any stretch of the imagination.  Among these are the desire for sex with somebody of the same gender.  That’s not what our bodies–made by God–are for.

This is not to blame the person with the disordered appetite for their desires. It is to say that appetite is not destiny. The Church makes no speculations on why people have different disordered desires and in fact, goes out of its way to make clear that concupiscence (the darkened intellect, weakened will, and disordered appetites we all struggle with) is *not* sin.  It is called, in the tradition, the “tinder for sin” and our part is to struggle against it with the help of grace and to learn habits of virtue by which we enlighten the intellect, strengthen the will and rightly order our appetites.  That’s what we just spent all of Lent trying to do.  Indeed, the Church say that our struggle with concupiscence is the battlefield upon which we prove our mettle as disciples.  A person with homosexual desires who tries to live according to Christ will enter the kingdom of heaven ahead of a heterosexual who despises people with homosexual desires (and there are, as I have come to discover, no shortage of these).

That said, I am glad that you don’t want to join those who think that Christians with qualms of conscience about gay “marriage” should be subjected to force to crush their consciences.  Happy Easter to you too!


Browse Our Archives