Two Infaillible Ex Cathedra Definitions I Think Pope Francis Should Make

| 09-24-AD2013 | [80]

David L. Gray - Ex cathedra

There are only two streams from which infallible doctrines of the Catholic Church can originate. The first stream originates from the Church herself. While individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, through the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, they do proclaim Christ’s doctrine of infallibly whenever they are in agreement on one position, as definitively to be held concerning a matter of faith and morals (Cf. Lumen Gentium 25). We see this exercised by them more clearly whenever the college of bishops gather in ecumenical councils and issue binding canons.

The second stream from which an infallible doctrine originates is from the Roman Pontiff, as the head of the college of bishops and the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the charism of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present with the assistance of the Holy Spirit and promised to him in Blessed Peter (ibid). According to the First Vatican Council (convened on June, 29 1868), which taught and formally defined Papal infallible, the Roman Pontiff teaches infallible only when he (1) speaks ex cathedra (that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians), (2) defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church he possesses; that is, the definition must be proposed as something requiring the definitive assent of all Christians (binding, Cf. Matt. 18:18).

The purpose of infallible doctrines are, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles. In the history of the Catholic Church, infallible doctrines were promulgated primarily to resolve/clarify/expound and bind the faithful to solemn teachings of the Church that were in keeping with sacred Scripture and sacred Tradition. It should also be noted that there is a distinction between binding and non-binding teachings, as well as a distinction between divinely revealed truths and truths definitively taught but not as divinely revealed, which therefore require a definitive assent that nevertheless is not an assent of faith.

Ex cathedra definitions are extremely rare. In fact, there hasn’t been one since Pope Pius XII pronounced the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary on November 1, 1950. Although there have been several instances in the decades following the Second Vatican Council of the of Roman Pontiff speaking about things that are known to be infallible by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, such as when Pope John Paul II wrote in his Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis that Priestly ordination is reserved only for men.

I learned from Pope Benedict XVI to never presuppose the faith, but I have also learned from decades of writing that the more I write the less people read before they jump to their own conclusions. Therefore, having (hopefully) given enough treatment about what Papal infallibility actually is, now I am going to briefly write about the two infallible ex cathedra definitions that I believe Pope Francis needs to make.

The first infallible definition would concern the Church’s teaching that life begins at the moment of conception (Cf. CCC. 2270). The second infallible definition would concern the Church’s teaching that homosexuality (disordered same-gender attraction) has a developmental genesis, rather than a genesis that derives from the moment of conception (Cf. CCC. 2357). These teachings do concern faith or morals, and are already held to be true by the Magisterium of the Church; therefore, they easily qualify to become solemn Papal definitions.

There are three tremendous benefits of infallibly defining these two teachings. The first benefit is that they would instantly be made binding and require the definitive assent by all Christians. No more confusion about whether a Catholic can believe that people are born homosexual or about when life begins. The second is that it would be a great opportunity for the Church to have conversations about Papal infallibility and about why and how the Roman Pontiff is the supreme teacher of all Christians. Thirdly, the timing for these definitions is optimal right now, because the world plainly needs direction and guidance on these two issues that are threatening the very existence of humanity.

Certainly, the Holy Spirit knows much better than us whether His Church actually needs these two binding teachings, but that’s my perspective. What’s yours?

About the Author:

David L. Gray is a Catholic author, radio host, and founder of DavidLGray.INFO Inc., where he blogs at regularly; giving his fresh Catholic perspective on all things relevant and interesting. DavidLGray.INFO Inc. is a ministry that is consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. "My calling from God is to the John the Baptist Ministry; meaning that I’m here to live in truth, through word and action, and point people to Christ Jesus through the lenses of the Catholic Church." David is a part-time Disneyland dad and full-time father to three beautiful daughters, an ecstatic 2006 Catholic convert, an indifferent 1997 graduate of Central State University, a proud 2002 dropout of Antioch McGregor Graduate School, and a mild mannered graduate student at Franciscan University of Steubenville; working towards a Master of Arts Degree in Theology and Christian Ministry.
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  • nannon31

    David,
    Life or Person? If you watch closely the language in Evangelium Vitae you’ll see a battle going on within John Paul II himself on the conception issue. Apparently he had seen some of the research on identical twinning. What we know is that the early fertilized cell mass contains human life ie genetic matter…but not an individual because of the fact that identical twinning can happen up to day fourteen because cells are totipotential until that time. And this applies to the vast majority of cell masses who become nevertheless a singular individual; a lab could have teased them into twinning because of tototentiality of the cells for roughly two weeks. A person cannot be teased into becoming two persons
    nor can a soul divide. Another problem is the chimeric person who results from two fertilized fraternal twin eggs laying to close to each other after fertilization and who then fuse into one person. Ergo they could not have been two people becoming one. Here is a link to the Pope’s Jesuit order’s “Theological Studies” online and an essay that reviews the debate they had there on this matter…go to page 129, 2nd par. to get nearer the twin problem:

    http://www.ts.mu.edu/readers/content/pdf/54/54.1/54.1.6.pdf

    • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

      At what point do you believe that you were not the person that eventually emerged from your mother’s womb?

    • nannon31

      David,
      Two weeks roughly and individuation then begins as the totipotentiality of the cells closes off.
      You could have been teased into quintuplets during those first two weeks. The Popes will not touch this area in an ex cathedra manner until all data is in….watch. Ask your profs.

    • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

      Did you have soul prior to that point?

    • nannon31

      No….a soul cannot divide according to Aquinas and one Council. Mary’s case is unique and not relevant because God was not about to have immaculately conceived quintuplets and therefore would have guided nature in her case away from multiples.

    • Ryan Mayer

      Of course you had a soul from conception. This is easy. Whatever is a distinct living individual is ensouled. Is the zygote alive? Yes. Is it an individual? Yes. Then it is ensouled. We don’t nee ex cathedra statements for this.

    • Ryan Mayer

      The Pope will not speak ex cathedra on this because it is a simple matter for the empirical sciences, not faith and morals.

    • Ryan Mayer

      From the fact that an early embryo can divide it does not follow that the entity prior to the division is not a distinct living member of the human species. It is simply false to say so. If a starfish arm is cut from its source and tossed into the sea, it will grow into a distinct starfish. It does not follow from this that the original starfish was not an individual starfish. To say so would be absurd. What we can say is that at twinning, some of the matter that was once part of the original individual becomes a distinct individual itself. If refusing occurs, all this means is that there are no longer two distinct individuals, but one. One died, and its parts became part of the other, not unlike a kind of natural “organ donation”.

      At conception, an individual life begins to exist. At twinning, another comes into existence. How is this difficult?

    • nannon31

      Ryan,
      What do you think of the catechism of the Council of Trent that says immediate ensoulement occurred only in Christ. Go to Creed, Art.3, ninth par….particularly the very last line:

      ” But what surpasses the order of nature and human comprehension is, that as soon as the Blessed Virgin assented to the announcement of the Angel in these words, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word, the most sacred body of Christ was immediately formed, and to it was united a rational soul enjoying the use of reason; and thus in the same instant of time He was perfect God and perfect man. That this was the astonishing and admirable work of the Holy Ghost cannot be doubted; for according to the order of nature the rational soul is united to the body only after a certain lapse of time.”

      Delayed ensoulment was held by Jerome, Augustine, and Aquinas and St. Alphonsus even though the new outlook began at his time. The modern detail on identical twinning supports all of them and Trent…because a rational soul inheres in every part of a body irrevocably.
      Here’s Aquinas:
      Go to the Summa T. (Part I/Question 76/ article 8) here:
      ” But since the soul is united to the body as its form, it must necessarily be in the whole body, and in each part thereof. For it is not an accidental form, but the substantial form of the body. Now the substantial form perfects not only the whole, but each part of the whole. For since a whole consists of parts, a form of the whole which does not give existence to each of the parts of the body, is a form consisting in composition and order, such as the form of a house; and such a form is accidental. But the soul is a substantial form; and therefore it must be the form and the act, not only of the whole, but also of each part…. on the withdrawal of the soul, no part of the body retains its proper action…”

      Ergo as the pre embryo splits into quintuplets, it is impossible for a soul to be present because twinning etc. would be made impossible by a soul. But all preembryos can be teased into splitting for roughly the first two weeks.

    • c matt

      A person cannot be teased into becoming two persons
      nor can a soul divide.

      Does that mean if a clone is created (i.e., teased) from an adult cell, said clone has no soul?

    • Ryan Mayer

      I think the passage you cite from Trent is taken out of context and that it does not intend what you suggest. The notion that the soul inheres in every part of the body also does not mean that the soul exists spatially in each of the body parts. Rather, it means that the soul is the principle of integration of the parts of a living thing, such that the parts of a living thing, inasmuch as they are parts, must be said to be integrated into the whole by the soul. The soul cannot be spatially “in” material parts because the soul is immaterial. Consider a living organ donor. If the soul inhered (spatially) in every part of the body, then we would have to say that an organ recipient received a part of someone else’s soul along with the donated organ. But this is absurd. What happens is that the organ is integrated into the whole by the principle of life in the whole, namely, the soul. Put in Aristotelian terms, the new kidney (for example) now constitutes one of the material causes of the recipient and the material causes are informed by the recipient’s soul.

      Ergo, as I said above, when some of the material causes of the early embryo split from the original organized whole, being also organized living wholes themselves, they must be said to be ensouled. I do not seem a problem in saying that. I simply think it does not follow to suggest that because twinning is possible prior to 14 days, the original embryo does not have a soul. Whatever is a living individual has a soul (be it vegetative, sensitive, or rational). The embryo is a living whole. Since souls do not develop (being immaterial). the material development of the embryo is irrelevant to the type of soul the individual has. Because the human embryo is, by nature, a human being, it possesses a rational soul from the first moment of its existence. Everything that follows is material stage of development.

      As the CDF Instruction Dignitas Personae affirms, “Although the presence of the spiritual soul cannot be observed experimentally, the conclusions of science regarding the human embryo give a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of the first appearance of a human life: how could a human individual not be a human person?. Indeed, the reality of the human being for the entire span of life, both before and after birth, does not allow us to posit either a change in nature or a gradation in moral value, since it possesses full anthropological and ethical status. The human embryo has, therefore, from the very beginning, the dignity proper to a person.”

    • nannon31

      Ryan,
      Well you use Thomistic and Aristotelian language while departing from their delayed ensoulment which is successive in Aquinas…the nutritive soul subsumed by the sensitive subsumed by the rational. Actually Aquinas were he to live now might require the brain to be present as being the fit matter for reception of a rational as opposed to nutritive soul.
      The CDF statement carries tricks and is never the vehicle of infallibility. Their ccc 2267 parenthetically is bizarre in its lack of adverting to deterrence problems and arrest rate problems…e.g. Guatemala (Catholic) has a five percent arrest rate for murder which means prisons and life sentences are only protecting society from 5% of murderers.
      Here in your quote they use a question…how could a human individual not be a human person…to insinuate personhood which they change at the very end to digñity proper to a person. The passage shows the writer is also unfamiliar with identical twinning etc. since he is constantly presuming the non multiple.
      It’s like on the death penalty….they presume that captured murderers are the only problem while they are oblivious to uncaptured murderers and thus deterrence.

    • nannon31

      ps….show us how Trent’s delayed ensoulment is mollified by what you call its context.

  • joeclark77

    I think the problem with the second, is that we don’t really want to say that such a thing as “homosexuality” really exists. There are -acts-, and the CCC talks about people who suffer from strong -temptations- to those acts, but the CCC doesn’t recognize these people as a separate “identity group” or race of “homosexuals”. To infallibly state that one can develop into a “homosexual” would make that fallacy binding on all Catholics.

    • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

      How does reaffirming Catholic teaching that same gender attraction has a developmental genesis, rather than something imputed by God at the moment of conception create a class of homosexuals?

    • Ryan Mayer

      That’s the wrong question. The “origin” of same-sex attraction is not a matter of faith and morals. Please cite where exactly the Church teaches that same-sex attraction is developmental (I believe it is, but I believe that on the basis of psychology, not faith and morals).

    • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

      Ryan, the reference is right there in the article. CCC 2357.

    • c matt

      But as Ryan points out, this is an empirical question, not a moral/faith one. Whether the condition is genetic, developmental, or a combination of both (or neither), it does not change the morality of acting on the condition. The Church may pronounce on it if it desires, but the Church does not have the charism of infallibility on this issue. Thus, the CCC reference is merely stating the present state of empirical knowledge on the issue at the time the catechism was written.

    • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

      And as I pointed out in some other com box – the genesis of homosexuality is a moral question because of the consequences of what happen when people reject them. The life at the moment of conception is a faith issue because of the result it could have on the dogma of the incarnation and immaculate conception if it is rejected.

    • Ryan Mayer

      I think you’re applying the umbrella of faith and morals too widely. Everything, potentially, has an impact on faith and morals, that does not mean that everything is a question of faith and morals. Some individuals may be born with particular genetic drives for things that others are not (or at least not as strongly). Obviously what one does with those drives and desires is where morality comes in. Something that is not a question of human freedom cannot be a matter of morality, since only human acts can be considered moral or immoral and human acts require freedom.

    • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

      Not interested in wasting kilobytes on that discussion. Just a point of disagreement. Thanks for the reply though.

    • David Bowman

      Many Catholics on this blog – and others – seem to think that every statement or opinion expressed by the CEC is definitively to be held [definitive tenenda]. This is simply not the case. Another example fom the Catechism: “The number of persons suffering from deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligable.” Statistical, empirical, and psychological opinions have no place in a Catechism of which the primary objective is instruction of the universal Church in matters pertaining to faith and morals.

    • Ryan Mayer

      Can you please explain what about #2357 suggests to you a doctrinal statement that SSA must be a learned attraction? Because even after re-reading the passage, it seems to me (as cmatt points out below) that the Catechism is simply acknowledging that we do not know why some experience SSA and others don’t (this is the position of the APA, by the way).

    • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

      It’s PSYCHOLOGICAL GENESIS is what remains largely unexplained; not its corporeal or metaphysical genesis.

    • Ryan Mayer

      Right…still not seeing how you’re getting from A to B. My psychology can be influenced by genetics. I just think you’re reading into the term a bit much.

  • cminca

    guess what–
    the idea that life begins at conception and that people are not born gay are merely opinions–no matter who says it, when it is said, or whether or not they claim they are infallible when they say it.
    Opinions. Nothing more.

    • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

      You don’t believe that all that the Church teaches is revealed by God?

    • cminca

      No–I think all that the church teaches is taught for the sole purpose of keeping the congregants in their place.
      In other words–Pay, pray, and obey.

    • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

      Well obviously that can’t be true. Those are the three things we are the worst at doing. LOL

    • Ryan Mayer

      Ugh. Seriously? To gain what? Why am I even responding to this non-argument…?

    • cminca

      “To gain what?” Seriously?
      Pay = Money.
      Obey = Power.
      Google “Vatican” and take a look at the pictures.

    • Frank

      Try googling Vatican charities instead

    • Ryan Mayer

      No, whether life begins at conception is a simple question of embryology (the answer is an easy yes). The question of the origin of same-sex attraction is a question for psychology and biology (and perhaps sociology). Its genesis is irrelevant to faith or morals.

    • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

      How does that affect the Church’s theology on the consequences of humanities Original Sin if the genesis of same gender attraction is irrelevant to faith and morals?

    • Ryan Mayer

      It doesn’t. Our nature is tainted. That includes our whole nature, not merely the psychological part. If SSA is genetic, it is clearly because of a fallen nature, just as the predisposition to alcoholism, having a genetic component, is the result of the fall.

    • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

      If that is all people were saying that SSA is like alcoholism or sickle-cell anemia that would be one thing, but I they actually link it more closely to something like gender or race. The problem with saying that it is genetic (even if any credible science supported it) is that, rather than deal with it as an unclean spirit, we would treat it, comfort it, and learn to live with it, rather than cure the source of it, heal it, and deliver people from it.

      I’m open to it being a condition of humanities’ original sin, but science would have the say on that, and so far – nothing even close. In fact, the latest ten year study of identical twins say that it is not genetic.

    • cminca

      Since the embryo cannot exist outside the parent I’d argue that a separate life has NOT formed.
      And as a gay man I can assure you that same sex attraction is inherent.
      Don’t believe me–tell me about when and how you decided to become a heterosexual.

    • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

      Existential and empirical observations aside, no one is dismissing where you may or may not have emerged from the womb with a same gender attraction. That has nothing to do with whether God purposed you from the moment of conception to be a homosexual, as he has purposed people from the moment of conception to be male, female, black, asian and etc.

      Non metaphysical observations continued, I did about six years in prison. I can assure you that homosexual acts are a choice. I can also tell you about several men and women that were delivered from the unclean spirit of homosexuality. I don’t know anyone who was delivered from heterosexuality.

      You ask – why and how did you decided to be a heterosexual. If homosexuality is a disorder – if it is an improperly ordered attraction, then heterosexuality is properly order and natural – there is no need to choose what is natural. That’s like choosing to let your heart beat.

    • cminca

      The first paragraph is meaningless as you have no way of knowing what God did or did not purpose me to be. Any conjecture on that subject is, as I originally said, your opinion. Nothing more.
      Prison is not normal life. The Donner party weren’t cannibals until the were stranded in the mountains. Extreme circumstances lead to extreme responses.
      You don’t know anyone delivered from heterosexuality? Of course you do. It is also called “coming out of the closet”. And plenty of married men and women have been delivered from the false lives they were living to embrace their true, homosexual, SS attractions.
      And finally–you didn’t answer my question. I asked when you decided to become straight. Because if you are implying that being gay is a conscious decision, then being straight must be a conscious decision also.
      And, funny enough, you proved my point. To me, and to others like me, there is no need to choose what is natural to us. My SS attraction is as natural as letting my heart beat.

    • Ryan Mayer

      cminca, an infant also cannot exist without another…neither can you or I. Degree of dependence is not what determines value. I believe you and I have incomparable worth because of what we are, not because of how independent we are. It is biologically false to say that a human embryo is not a distinct living entity from its mother.

      I cannot speak to your experience. I think there is probably there is some kind of genetic and epigenetic predisposition toward SSA, though it has never been clearly identified. I also think there is most likely a developmental component (this is the position of the APA, by the way). But I ALSO think that this is irrelevant to the morality of sexual acts between persons of the same sex. There are other established genetic desires that I’m sure we would agree we ought not pursue, simply because they have a genetic origin.

      Even if we said that SSA is purely developmental (neither of us seems to think that), that would not mean it is “chosen”. As you your question, I am heterosexual by nature (just as you are) because my sexual organs have their telos, their fulfillment, in a woman. The fact that I may experience sexual desire for something other than a woman does not change this fact. My not “choosing” to be sexually attracted to women does not mean that every sexual desire is not the result of nurture (again, I do not think SSA is purely one or the other, and the APA agrees with this). It also does not follow that because one kind of attraction is genetic that every kind is.

    • cminca

      An infant has never survived without its mother? Think again about children rescued from dumpsters.
      Telos is a philosophical, not a biological, term. I am not hetrosexual by nature because my sexual organs do not get fulfillment with a woman.

  • Phil Dzialo

    Remember the new Pope’w words: Pope Francis faulted the Roman Catholic church for focusing too much on gays, abortion and contraception, saying the church has become “obsessed” with those issues to the detriment of its larger mission to be “home for all,” according to anextensive new interview published Thursday.

    The church can share its views on homosexuality, abortion and other issues, but should not “interfere spiritually” with the lives of gays and lesbians, the pope added in the interview, which was published in La Civilta Cattolica, a Rome-based Jesuit journal.

    “We have to find a new balance, otherwise even the moral edifice of the church is likely to fall like a house of cards, losing the freshness and fragrance of the Gospel,” Francis said in the interview. HuffPost, 9/19/13

    (1) While homosexuality may not be purely genetic, it is clearly epi-gentic…developed in the formation in the womb…you are what you are. Do your research, being gay is not a learned or chosen lifestyle. http://io9.com/5967426/scientists-confirm-that-homosexuality-is-not-genetic–but-it-arises-in-the-womb

    (2) Life is life…a person is not a zygote.

    You do not want fallible ideas considered infallible. Pope John XXIII once remarked: “I am only infallible if I speak infallibly but I shall never do that, so I am not infallible”

  • james

    Wow, if Jesus came to bring a sword David Gray came to bring a small tactical nuke.

    • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

      LOL – Reason #1 God didn’t position me to be Pope :D

    • http://stacytrasancos.com/ Stacy Trasancos

      LOL!

  • Micah Murphy

    I completely agree with the topic of life starting at conception. In fact, I have publicly called for the Solemnity of the Annunciation to be renamed the Solemnity of the Conception of Christ, not to remove the focus from the Annunciation itself so much as to act as a corrective for our times.

    However, I am lost on your understanding of the homosexuality issue. CCC 2357 says quite the opposite of what you imply, stating: “Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained.” Further, the theology of dogmas as laid out in the Catholic Encyclopedia leaves little room for a dogmatic declaration on the topic. First, because *if* there is a revealed truth on the genesis of homosexuality (and there has to be a dimension of revelation for it to be a dogma in the sense you’re discussing), then it would only be a virtually revealed truth, rather than formally revealed, which makes for shaky ground. I’m unaware of a passage of Scripture or a consensus in Tradition that speaks of the genesis of homosexuality. Second, because the CCC specifically refers to the “psychological genesis,” which clouds the application of faith or morals and makes it less clear whether the pope has the authority (the pope cannot, for instance, define history or math, much less psychology, unless it’s clear that he’s addressing a moral or doctrinal issue that merely overlaps some other discipline). Third, because there is, in my opinion, no compelling reason that we should believe homosexuality doesn’t have at least some roots in a person’s nature rather than nurture. There are arguments for both positions. As Catholics, we must say that if it is nature rather than nurture, it remains clear nonetheless that those with homosexual tendencies may no more practice them than a person with any genetic disability may indulge his own predispositions (say, a person with an XYY indulging his predisposition to violence).

    That having been said, the Church’s teachings on homosexual activity are completely spot on. I just am not certain that your idea would work. I could, of course, be wrong.

    • nannon31

      Micah,
      What do you think of the catechism of the Council of Trent that says immediate ensoulement occurred only in Christ. Go to Creed, Art.3, ninth par….particularly the very last line:

      ” But what surpasses the order of nature and human comprehension is, that as soon as the Blessed Virgin assented to the announcement of the Angel in these words, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word, the most sacred body of Christ was immediately formed, and to it was united a rational soul enjoying the use of reason; and thus in the same instant of time He was perfect God and perfect man. That this was the astonishing and admirable work of the Holy Ghost cannot be doubted; for according to the order of nature the rational soul is united to the body only after a certain lapse of time.”

      Delayed ensoulment was held by Jerome, Augustine, and Aquinas and St. Alphonsus even though the new outlook began at his time. The modern detail on identical twinning supports all of them and Trent…because a rational soul inheres in every part of a body irrevocably.
      Here’s Aquinas:
      Go to the Summa T. (Part I/Question 76/ article 8) here:
      ” But since the soul is united to the body as its form, it must necessarily be in the whole body, and in each part thereof. For it is not an accidental form, but the substantial form of the body. Now the substantial form perfects not only the whole, but each part of the whole. For since a whole consists of parts, a form of the whole which does not give existence to each of the parts of the body, is a form consisting in composition and order, such as the form of a house; and such a form is accidental. But the soul is a substantial form; and therefore it must be the form and the act, not only of the whole, but also of each part…. on the withdrawal of the soul, no part of the body retains its proper action…”

      Ergo as the pre embryo splits into quintuplets, it is impossible for a soul to be present because twinning etc. would be made impossible by a soul. But all preembryos can be teased into splitting for roughly the first two weeks.

    • joeclark77

      Would you say that Eve didn’t have a soul, because Adam was already a man before she was “split off” from him?

    • nannon31

      If you take chapter two of Genesis literally, then God intervened against nature several times…ie in making Adam from dust which has no soul even in Aristotelian terms. Further God ensouls Adam through Adam’s nostrils. I suspect you don’t want that to be a natural requirement for ensoulement. Then He casts Adam into a deep sleep. Why? Why didn’t God remove the rib during a normal sleep? We don’t know. Therefore we don’t know the nature of this deep sleep unless we go to the cross where the second Adam, Christ has died
      ( His deep sleep foretold by Adam’s deep sleep according to Augustine) and His bride ( the Church) flows from His side in the symbols of water and blood after the Roman pierces His side. So Adam was created from a dead thing…dust. Eve was created from a dead thing…rib. The Church symbolically came from Christ’s side when He was dead not while He was alive an hour prior. All of these three are miracles and do not answer questions about nature and the rational. And they are each…a resurrection from dead things….dust,rib, Christ when dead…from which death He rose.
      But this thread is about what Trent’s catechism calls…the order of nature which does not involve special interventions from God that overide the rational and natural aside from immortal ensoulement itself which is above nature.

  • FW Ken

    It’s irrelevant whether same-sex attraction derives from nature, nurture, or some combination of the two. In a world where babies are born without functioning brains and various genetic anomalies, causation from nature is entirely possible, though not proven. In fact, the Catechism was changed to make clear that the Church regards science as the forum for determining causation. All of that said, the important part is that the attraction, however it comes to exist, is intrinsically disordered.

    • cminca

      “….however it comes to exist, is intrinsically disordered.”
      Because you say so?
      Because the CC says so? (Actually, it is my understanding that the CC say homosexual ACTS are disordered, not that homosexuals are.)
      We may not be the standard, but that doesn’t make us “intrinsically disordered”. Anymore than writing with the left hand would be “intrinsically disordered”.

    • FW Ken

      The Catechism speaks of both the acts and the inclination as being “intrinsically disordered”. As to you personally being disordered, you should consider joining the human race, where we all have some kind of disordered-ness. Jesus died to save us in and from all that disorder.

    • cminca

      Guess what? Just because the “catechism” says it is so doesn’t make it so.
      I’ll agree that all of us have some disorderedness–but that doesn’t mean that the cc gets to claim to define it for anyone but themselves. And when they try to legislate their opinions then they are going to get called out as the bigots their actions prove them to be.

    • FW Ken

      Actually. Define it for anyone but ourselves. This is a catechism for Catholics.

      I’m sure your opinions are important to you, but they have no basis in scientific fact.

    • cminca

      So you’re claiming that the catholic catechism defines scientific fact?

    • FW Ken

      This is kind of fun: to what heights of absurdity can I provoke you. Sort of like shooting fish in a barrel, though.

    • cminca

      A catholic leaving a non-answer and an attempt at an insult.
      How typical. How “Christian”.

    • FW Ken

      Apparently, no one ever informed you that “how Christian” is the subject of a corollary to Godwin’s Law.

  • streiff

    I don’t object to the statements, in fact, I very much endorse them but I’m not sure either of those concern faith or morals.

    • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

      In the world we live into today the rejection of either of these teaching greatly affect morals. Whether at what point life being could have some affect on the doctrines of the incarnation and the immaculate conception.

    • streiff

      the problem, especially with #2, is that is could be proven to be false thus creating this problem http://www.ummah.com/forum/showthread.php?181811-Does-sun-revolve-around-the-earth

      Regardless of when homosexuality kicks in, and I’m very much in the nurture camp, myself, that has no impact whatsoever in address the act. The moral issue is not homosexuality but acting upon homosexual impulses.

      I think #1 is obviously true and would have less of a problem with that as a infallible statement, though I can imagine a biological pattern where there is conception, then something else – for instance an hormone release – and then life.

    • c matt

      Well, if the male gamete and female gamete are living cells prior to conception, and the zygote is a living cell after conception, I don’t really see where there could be something “dead” in between. Unless there is a “mini-resurrection” in every pregnancy.

    • james

      There are 4 motivational drives. Food, fear and agression need to
      be acted upon as not to act would result in calamity, ie: 1. you would starve 2. your life could be put at risk, 3. your life could be put at risk if you were unwilling to defend yourself or family. Fight or flight is not a choice ones cognitive powers can override. The last drive is sex and its underlying pleasure is the sole reason it is so pursued.
      The church teaches restraint. In medieval times it did all it could to
      restrict the pleasure – see the heavy cloth that was once used by
      husband and wife between their torso and genitals to restrict skin
      to skin contact. The church has never been comfortable with this
      drive. Because we are still evolving as sapiens we are probably
      ignorant as to its ultimate therapies. Any conjecture by the church
      might be greatly altered (by knowledge of the drive) by a future
      church. Having worked with people born with both set of genitals
      I think the parameters on this subject are still exspanding – but as
      David here said, that’s why God didn’t want me as pope. My point
      is that until we know what psychological damage refraining from
      gay sex would have on individuals – if thats all their drive would permit – we should tone down the condemnation.

  • john

    since when does anyone in the church say that people were not born either gay or heterosexual?? “always our children” admits there is no definitive answer to this. and how would a medical/psychiatric definition fall within the competence of the church? the church conceded long ago it has no authority in matters of astronomy. likewise, medical/psychiatric determinations and definitions should be left to medical professionals.

    • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

      Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph #2357 as referenced in the article says it. I’m really starting to think that people don’t read what I write, before they jump down to the com box.

    • http://www.davidlgray.info/ David L. Gray

      John in the article I cited Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2357. You know I really starting to believe that people jump down to the combox before they read the whole article …

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  • Marty Dancy

    Your statement on life beginning at conception is fine but I would be wider in the sexual statement and say that all sex outside of heterosexual marriage is a sin and that a person has to go to confession if he commits those sins and that if he goes to communion without confessing them, he commits blasphemy against the Body and Blood of Christ and condemns himself to perdition if unrepentant. I would not just mention homosexuality only, but all sexuality.
    The reason I think clarification on these two issues are needed is because many people are trying to justify fornication, abortion on demand, and homosexuality as something that people can’t help and they want to change these things. That is when ex-cathedra may help set things straight.