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« Picture Puzzler Revealed! | Main | "Deep-Seated Tendencies"--Some Clarification »

December 01, 2005





Great analysis, Jimmy. I've not had time to read the recently released translation of the document, but your summary is insightful.


I have to agree with KristyB. I too was confused by what "deep-seated" might mean in the document. Your parallel with a heterosexual man made it very clear. Thanks so much!


I'm going to opinine that, given the disagreements this view may cause it would probably be better to blog about it *without* responding to a real case.

Tim J.

My only observation is that momentary, fleeting attractions to the opposite sex are not intrinsically disordered, as same sex attractions would be.

For this reason, I would have questions about how far one could push the analogy to heterosexual attraction.

However, though same sex attractions would constitute (in the words of the catechism) "a trial", they would not necessarily be occasions of actual sin.




I'd be happy to opine, but the gag-rule of the "Rule 20" in this case has effectively removed the possibility for a constructive discussion of the issue. I second the idea of moving this to a more open forum.

Tim J.


I don't think Jimmy's pastoral counsel on this matter precludes all discussion of the issue.

I haven't called into question Jimmy's advice to the individual, only asked for clarification on one aspect of his analysis.

I doubt this would constitute a Rule 20 violation.

If it does, of course, I would withdraw my comment.

Anonymous Teacher Person

Jimmy, I would just like to thank you for the work you do to answer questions like these in a thoughtful, comprehensive manner to the best of your abilities. I appreciate your commitment to charitable discussion of tough issues like this one.



In that case, I think you're exactly right. The Catechism's use of "deep-seated tendencies" when referring to homosexuality implies temptations, not sinful acts. The Catechism says that most people do not choose this condition of deep-seated tendencies, for them it is a trial. This is clearly temptation. If deep-seated tendencies were habitual inclinations to sin or enter the occasions of sin, it would be very much a matter of one's personal choice.

Moreover there is an intrinsic difference between homosexual attraction, which is normal and in accordance with God's design, and homosexual attraction, which is intrinsically disordered. "Deep-seated" heterosexual tendencies is what is otherwise known as being straight.

I think the answer to the reader's question is more in what it means to have overcome transitory homosexual tendencies. The definition of "tendencies," should not be in question. As I see it, a chaste, orthodox man with no attraction to women, but a commenserate attraction to men, who does not fantasize, or engage in any unchastity, still has "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" and is still ineligible for ordination, according to the decree.

That of course is quite a different case from the one proposed in the initial question.


To tack on the above, I think Mr. Akin's approach is more fruitful when discussing what it means to have "overcome" said transitory tendencies. Clearly overcoming a temptation need not mean the utter eradication of it. The overcoming of strong non-sinful homosexual urges to the point that they become weak and ephemeral is certainly relevant.

Does that mean someone is no longer physically aroused by looking at a handsome man, but instead has simply a kind of mental asthetic attraction? I guess the details will have to be settled out in practice. The circumstances of religious life, living with a bunch of men, for instance, is surely a factor to consider. That goes towards a stricter reading. For example, one might not have strong temptations towards unchastity with women. But that might be because one isn't living under the same roof with them.

In any event, I'm curious as to the reference in the document that refers to an unfinish adolescence. I've never heard that as an explanation for sexual behavior or attraction before. Can anyone shed any light on that?

Loudon is a Fool


Do the recently reported observations of Msgr. Anatrella in L'Osservatore Romano and the comments made by Cardinal Grocholewski on Vatican Radio alter your analysis?

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