US archbishop criticises Mary McAleese’s remarks on church

Former president said describing homosexuality as ‘disordered’ led to homophobia

A US archbishop has accused former president Mary McAleese of trying to control the faith of the Catholic Church.

Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput said she had “a very narrow point of view that’s trying to control something she shouldn’t try to control, that is the faith of the Catholic Church”.

Asked by The Irish Times in Rome about Mrs McAleese's claim last Friday that the church's description of homosexuality as "intrinsically disordered" with a tendency to "evil" led to homophobia, he said he had read the documents and the church had never said homosexual people were disordered.

“They say that the tendency to same-sex attraction is a disorder of our sexual appetite. It’s not the same thing to say that a part of us is disordered. It’s not the same thing as saying the person is disordered. I think it is clear what they’re saying in the church is that being attracted to a person of the same gender sexually is a disorder of our sexual nature.


“A lot of people have disorders. In fact we all do. Some of it would be less serious than sexual, like me and glasses, or not being able to hear well, or having a tendency to overeat – those are all disorders that a person may have but it doesn’t destroy their dignity.

“It just means they have an issue to deal with. So I think that language is being used politically.

“It’s being used by politicians in order to stir up one side against the other and that’s inappropriate for politicians to do.”

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times