Dear German Bishop: Catholic Teaching on Homosexuality Can’t Change

Why do certain German bishops keep proposing things contrary to the faith? One proposed something that is impossible about homosexuality.

Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Essen (ACBahn CC BY-SA 3.0 wikipedia.org/wiki/File:OverbeckAC2014.jpg)
Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Essen (ACBahn CC BY-SA 3.0)

Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Essen recently wrote an essay titled “Overcoming prejudices: The Catholic Church must change its view of homosexuality.” Although well-intentioned, this is incorrect. Let me respond in three parts: distinguishing homosexual inclination from homosexual acts, quoting the bishop, and pointing out why Church teaching cannot (and should not) change based on scripture and tradition.

Distinction

The Catholic Church does not condemn people for being inclined to any particular sin. We all have the inclination to sin. What sins predominate just varies person to person. Some people have the inclination towards sexual activity with the same sex. This inclination is not a sin. However, like many other temptations, acting out on that inclination is sinful. Homosexual acts are sinful and, no sexual act between people of the same sex can be ordered to chastity as marital sexual acts are. “Tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.’” (CCC 2357-2359)

Bishop Overbeck seemed to understand this distinction in 2010. Then, he was adamant that “expressed homosexuality” was a mortal sin.

Read more on Patheos.

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