More on Fr. Vacek , S.J.


Fr. Vacek’s muddled attempt to criticize heterosexuality by pointing to the "disordered" realities of fornication and lustful thoughts

The Jesuit journal writes about the "gracious mystery of homosexual orientation."



            The December 16, 2002 issue of America magazine features two articles (not available online) defending the ordination of gay priests: "On ‘Straightening Out’ Catholic Seminaries," by AIDS physician Jon Fuller, and " ‘Acting More Humanely’: Accepting Gays Into the Priesthood," by moral theologian Fr. Edward Vacek, S.J.

Regarding the current scandals, Mr. Fuller believes (among other things) that "the sexual abuse in question––pedophilia and ephebophilia––are functions of arrested sexual development, not of a particular sexual orientation." He does not back up this dubious claim, and it is obvious that he is not going to let the scandals stand in the way of his defense of "high-functioning, integrated and self-respecting gay men."

One serious problem with both articles is the interchangeable use of terms "homosexual" and "gay," as though they mean the same thing. But the Church, in speaking of homosexuality, does not use the word "gay," because it is a word fraught with ideological and political meaning. Being "gay" means actively pursuing and engaging in a lifestyle that is sinful and seriously disordered. Those who are "gay" are often full of "pride" and want you to know it—and to endorse it. This is quite different from having an orientation, a weakness, towards homosexual desires and inclinations. Each of us struggles with various sins: pride, anger, stealing, and so forth. But the inclination towards those sins is different from actively pursuing prideful, angry, or thieving lives. The blurring of these lines is not, of course, an accident.

Mr. Fuller’s article contains this quote from Canice Connors, current president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men: "I would like to say a word about the shadow of suspicion being cast over our brothers living out the gracious mystery of homosexual orientation. We are all journeying toward God by seeking God first in one another . . ." This is strange language, to say the least. Could it be that part of this "gracious mystery" comes from not seeking God first in God? Could it be that the narcissism so rampant among gays has shaped how some of these men view God and themselves?

Fr. Vacek’s article contains equally strange comments. He is irritated that the Church continues to teach that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered" (CCC 2357) and that the Vatican recently referred to homosexuality as an "objective disorder." He writes:

The phrase "objective disorder" has often and rightly been heard as unnecessarily offensive. But for those who know the Catholic tradition, the phrase is not surprising. In fact, we have a long history of saying that heterosexuality is objectively disordered. For in addition to being an inclination to procreative sex, heterosexuality also includes an inclination to lustful thoughts, masturbation, fornication, and other evils. From Paul and Augustine through Thomas Aquinas and Alphonsus Ligouri up to the Second Vatican Council, we have argued in our theology and in our canon law that marriage is a "remedy" for this disorder.

At best, this is misleading. Scripture and Tradition are full of positive endorsements of the nuptial relationship. Yes, some Church Fathers and early Christians, in their desire to attain a state of perfect chastity or celibacy, downplayed or even slighted the marriage relationship. But the Church has never taught that sex within marriage is "disordered." Fr. Vacek’s muddled attempt to criticize heterosexuality by pointing to the "disordered" realities of fornication and lustful thoughts completely misses (or denies) the point that these sins are actually misuses of a good created by God (heterosexuality). In other words, they are acts that go contrary to the nature of a good. Thus, heterosexuality is a good; homosexuality is not.

Such attempts to justify homosexuality by maligning the God-given gift of sex within marriage are revolting and disingenuous. They are even more appalling in light of current sex scandals, the vast majority of which involve priests with teenage boys and young men. Despite what these authors think, those who are opposed to ordaining gay men are not homophobic or vindictive, but are trying to remove an evil that has deep roots in many parts of the Catholic Church in North America.

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The following will be presented in full as soon as transcription is complete

America Magazine Vol. 187 No. 20, December 16, 2002

‘Acting More Humanely’:Accepting Gays Into the Priesthood

By Edward Vacek

Shortly after the start of the second millennium, St. Peter Damian wrote a long condemnatory treatise entitled The Book of Gomorrah. He demanded what is now being called zero tolerance of clerics who had engaged in homosexual behavior. In response, ...