knight to queen's bishop four. check?

By Diogenes (articles) | Sep 26, 2005

St. Louis's Aquinas Institute has a reputation as a notoriously gay-friendly theological seminary and, as it happens, is among the first to undergo the scrutiny of the Apostolic Visitation. Its Professor of Moral Theology Fr. Charles Bouchard, O.P., attempts to steal a march on the inspectors by declaring homosexual inclination out-of-bounds:

Homosexuality involves attraction to adult persons of the same sex and is not in itself sinful or sick.

Sorry, Charlie. The Church teaches that the homosexual inclination itself is an intrinsic disorder -- not necessarily sinful, but necessarily sick. Whether this particular disorder (or sickness) is curable, transient, gradated, etc., is a matter for debate, but to deny the teaching is to take a position of dissent.

The point on which Bouchard dissents not a trivial or peripheral concern. In fact, it's the reason the Seminary Visitation has attracted the attention of the BBC, the New York Times, USA Today and the prestige media generally. Those boys aren't interested in seminary student-teacher ratios or Stations of the Cross or the internal/external forum distinction. They know a key battle in the culture wars is being fought on this ground. They're watching to see whether the Catholic Church caves on the Intrinsic Disorder point or not. It matters. A lot more than seminary mattress pads is at stake.

The Instrumentum Laboris guiding the visitators asks, "Is the moral doctrine taught in conformity with the documents of the Holy See?" specifically singling out (among others) the CDF's 1986 document from which Bouchard has publicly announced his dissent. Elsewhere, the IL asks, "Is there a clear process for removing faculty members who dissent from the authoritative teaching of the Church?" If there is a clear process at Aquinas, it clearly hasn't been used on Bouchard. The conflict is already set out like a chess problem for all of us to watch. Will the Visitators do their job or will they fold?

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
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