Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Disorderly Conduct

Pope Benedict XVI and Catholic catechism teach that homosexuals are “objectively” and “intrinsically disordered.” With that in mind, the church is preparing to ban gays from the priesthood. Now, mental health professionals have not considered homosexuality a disorder since 1973 and the APA removed it from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders at that time. However, the DSM does list alcoholism as a disorder. The question is then, to be consistent, will the Pope soon ban all alcoholic men from the priesthood?

Of course, if the Pope were really disqualifying men from the priesthood for their disorders, he'd have to purge much of the priesthood. But the church isn't really disqualifying gays because homosexuality is a disorder; they're disqualifying gays because they still consider homosexuality a sin, "an abomination." It just doesn't sound very sophisticated for them to say so in the 21st century. So, instead, the church couches bigotry in anachronistic pseudo-psychiatric jargon.

Update 10/08: Andy Sullivan direct us to National Catholic Reporter which says Pope Benedict may be back-peddling on a complete ban of gay priests. Sort of. The statements still clearly include an implicit belief that homosexuality itself is sinful.

Of course, this could be considered somewhat progressive compared to fundamentalist Protestants, since it allows that someone be gay but not practicing and still serve as a priest. I don't think fundamentalist Baptists would consider a celibate gay much better than a practicing one. The fact that someone would accept the label "gay" for himself would be simply unacceptable.

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