Francesco Torchiani

«Intrinsically disordered» acts. Notes on Church and male homosexuality in the second half of the 20th Century

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Homosexuality – Catholicism – Human Rights.

The essay aims to examine the attitude of the Catholic Church towards male homosexuality in the second half of the Twentieth century. Published in December 1975 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the declaration Persona humana on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics also addressed the «issue» of homosexuality. The document set out at length the line of conduct of the Holy See on the theme. The declaration introduced the distinction between homosexual behavior judged to be always unacceptable and a homosexual condition. The Church called for this homosexual tendency to look with compassion; nonetheless, homosexual relationships and acts were still considered «intrinsically disordered». The essay examines the reception of the document inside and outside the Catholic Church. The second part of the article analyses the debate on homosexuality that has developed within Catholic culture since the publication of the Alfred Kinsey report in 1948 until the 1975 declaration. Many voices even within the Catholic world had demanded more attention and understanding for homosexuals, but they were essentially ignored by Rome. The Church maintained an attitude of condemnation of acts that seemed to violate natural law. The same line was also maintained in the two pontificates following that of Paul VI.

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