The War We Are In

Vittore Carpaccio 1516

These are not the best of times. In fact, some folks say that the Catholic Church in the United States confronts today the greatest challenge in its history. Things were already tough before the November elections, but now they’re in the tank. The good news is that, this year, Catholic bishops were united as never before in defending the Church’s First Amendment right of religious freedom; the bad news is that, if the election results are to be viewed as a referendum on that issue, we lost.

Win or lose, it’s certainly time for some prayerful introspection. The battle over the HHS Contraception Mandate is only a skirmish in a larger war. Princes of the Church are publicly predicting that an age of martyrdom will soon follow the present age of chastisement. The Culture of Life now confronts, close up, the ugly and unveiled face of the Culture of Death. It brings to mind the passage from Ephesians 6 that my father underscored in his Bible long ago:

Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.

The world is engaged in a spiritual conflict as pivotal as Tours in 732, Lepanto in 1571, or Kahlenberg in 1683. The enemy is wearing a different uniform, but he is just as dangerous: and today the world once known as Christendom is woefully unprepared.

What is to be done? Well, the great saints often warned us not to get too comfortable in our spiritual life, lest we fall into a rut. As an old friend of mine used to say, the only way you can coast is downhill.

Are we in a rut? In many ways, the Catholic Church in America has been coasting for 50 years – and yes, a lot of it has been downhill. In the rearview mirror, it looks like one, long, slow-motion train wreck. Take morality. Way back in the 1960s, the Church simply stopped talking about it. When the sexual revolution took over the secular culture, the Church wasn’t there to oppose it. There was no battle: our bishops didn’t even put up a fight.

Cardinal James Francis Stafford focuses on August 1968, when our country experienced an instance of “the awful consequences of God’s judgment upon sinful humanity.” On July 25, 1968, Cardinal Stafford writes, “Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical letter on transmitting human life, Humanae Vitae. He met immediate, premeditated, and unprecedented opposition from some American theologians and pastors.”

“Ideas have consequences,” Richard Weaver wrote, and, may I add, bad ideas have very bad consequences. “In 1968, something terrible happened in the Church,” Cardinal Stafford continues. “Within the ministerial priesthood, ruptures developed everywhere among friends which never healed. And the wounds continue to affect the whole Church. The dissent, together with the leaders’ manipulation of the anger they fomented, became a supreme test.”

Indeed, many of those wounds never healed. They have left scars everywhere. Even the president of the Catholic bishops’ conference, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, candidly admits that our bishops are wounded. They have had “laryngitis”—since the 1960′s!—regarding the moral teaching of the Church. Looking back from 2012, Cardinal Dolan says that, for the American Church, Humanae Vitae was just “too hot to handle.”

To put it another way, the Church faced a “supreme test” in facing its responsibility to teach Humanae Vitae.

It flunked.

Once the teaching on morality disappeared, the Church’s entire approach to catechetics collapsed along with it. In 1967, led by Father Ted Hesburgh, longtime president of Notre Dame, universities that were once Catholic virtually declared independence from the Church (but not from their Catholic donors). They went for the big money, both from population controllers like the Rockefeller Foundation, and from the federal government, where LBJ had opened wide the spigots in the hot tub for Catholic universities who would hand over their operations to a lay board of trustees and camouflage their Catholic character.

All too often, it didn’t take much persuading.

Other dominoes fell quickly. The liturgy became a playground for egoists, both lay and clerical. The pulpit became a political podium. The Confessional became an anachronism, mortal sin became passé, annulments soared, and thousands of priests and nuns simply left religious life.

The president of the bishops’ conference worried that the priesthood was becoming “dominated by homosexual men,” but his successor praised gay priests, insisting that they were “chaste and celibate.” Alas, that didn’t always work, and the Church lost not only billions of dollars as a result, but something much more precious: “Our credibility on the subject of child abuse is shredded,” admits Bishop R. Daniel Conlon, who heads the bishops’ office of child protection. The Church suffered the worst scandal in its history, and many American Catholics simply left the Church altogether.

 After The Deluge
Maybe it is time for a reset. Perhaps the Holy Spirit is giving us the opportunity that we cannot grasp ourselves, due to a lack of fortitude and, it is painful to admit, perhaps to a lack of faith. Our bishops recognize that there is a problem. They have encouraged all the faithful to prayerfully engage in the Year of Faith, especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We should respond with energy, fortitude, and gratitude.

But with what armor are the bishops girding for battle in the war we are in? Ah, they have hired new staff—a lobbyist! And a lawyer! They have now issued a “Strategic Plan” to implement the “New Evangelization.” How? “The Committees and offices of the USCCB are asked to integrate four planning strategies into the outcome objectives and projects”—over the course of the next four years!

I wonder, is the Church really asking us to “put on the armour” of more bureaucrats and more bureaucratese? Lawyers? Lobbyists? Do we really need to “finalize” three more years of research so we can communicate the Church’s position on human dignity in 2016? Is reflecting on “the value of continuing to strengthen strategies of developing collaborative relationships” really going to prepare the Church “to stand against the deceits of the devil”?

The bishops’ “Strategic Plan” (available in full at http://www.usccb.org) strategically ignores the Church’s most profound strategic failures since the scandals: first, the Church opposes homosexual marriage, but refuses to explain why—because homosexuality is an “objective disorder,” and because homosexual acts are “an intrinsically moral evil,” as Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, authoritatively instructed the world’s bishops in 1986. Second, the Church opposes the HHS Contraceptive Mandate, but refuses to explain why—because, as Humanae Vitae plainly teaches, contraception is an “objective evil.”

Admittedly, these are unpopular truths in our culture. After all, we have just come through an election in which the victor ran on a platform of uninhibited, unlimited, and taxpayer-funded sex. Very well: we acknowledge that the popular culture rejects these fundamental truths of the Faith. What else is new? But do our bishops reject them? Homosexual marriage and the contraceptive culture are the very “deceits of the devil” with which “the rulers of the world of this darkness” and ‘the spirits of wickedness in the high places” intend to destroy the Catholic Church. Yet the bishops’ bureaucracy continues to ignore these truths, as it kicks the can down the road to 2016.

Starting Over
If Saint Paul were bringing the Gospel to the United States for the first time, would he build the church we have today? Would he urge the faithful to found charities that were glorified contractors for a secular anti-Catholic federal government? Would he ordain candidates for the priesthood who flaunted their “objective disorders”? Would he found universities that scoff at the authority of the Church and plaintively pander for federal funding? Would he found religious orders that handed over our Catholic schools to paid staff while they marched off to Washington advocating political causes? Would he put all of these enterprises under the guidance and direction of a bureaucracy in Washington full of “experts” whose knowledge of their specializations went much deeper than the knowledge of the faith?

The bishops undoubtedly paid a lot for their strategic plan. They didn’t ask for alternatives, but I have one here. It’s free.

An age of martyrdom approaches quickly. We can hear its footsteps, and they are jackboots, pounding. Stop taking the government money, close down the bureaucracy, and preach the Gospel—all of it, even the unpopular parts.

Don’t wait until 2016. Start over. Now.

This is Dr. Manion’s “From Under the Rubble” column for January 2, 2013. It is syndicated through the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation and printed here with permission of the author. The image above is “St. George and the Dragon” by Vittore Carpaccio painted in 1516.

Christopher Manion

By

Christopher Manion served as a staff director on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for many years. He has taught in the departments of politics, religion, and international relations at Boston University, the Catholic University of America, and Christendom College, and is the director of the Campaign for Humanae Vitae™, a project of the Bellarmine Forum Foundation. He is a Knight of Malta.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    Am I alone in finding an eerie similarity between the “Truce of 1968,” as George Weigal calls it, when the Congregation for the Clergy decreed that Cardinal O’Boyle of Washington should lift canonical penalties against those priests whom he had disciplined for their public dissent from Humanae Vitae and the “Peace of Clement IX” during the Jansenist controversy?

    In both cases, after the Church had been riven by a decade-long dispute, a papal document was issued that was intended to be definitive.

    In both cases, the original quarrel was immediately forgotten and argument raged over the scope of papal authority to decide the question. In the Jansenist case, peace, of a sort, was achieved, when Pope Clement IX brokered an agreement that neither side would argue the question, at least, from the pulpit.

    The “Peace of Clement IX” lasted for about 35 years and ended in 1705 when Clement XI declared the clergy could no longer hide behind “respectful silence.” Eventually, in 1713, he issued Unigenitus and demanded the subscription of the clergy to it. There was enormous resistance, with bishops and priests appealing to a future Council (and being excommunicated for their pains, in 1718). As late as 1756, dissenters were still being denied the Last Rites.

    Will the “Truce of 1968” end in a similar fashion?

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    I would like all the bishops to see Christ’s stategic plan. No lofty words at all. Here it is: +

  • Bob

    I remember when a BBC correspondent (Malcom Muggeridge, if I’m spelling his name correctly) once asked Mother Teresa how come so many poor Hindus converted to Catholicism because of her. Was it the food you gave them? Was it the medicine you gave them? Was it the shelter you gave them? “No” said Mother. “I gave them Christ.”

    Let us convert our country by living our Catholic faith fully and devoutly.

  • Alecto

    Thank you, Mr. Manion, and God bless you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RAmonAntonio345 Ramon A Sanchez

    Overall this is a very good column and its central message, one of awareness and deep reflection in order to determine how to react is most needed.
    However, I don’t read a need for prayer nowhere. Nor I read a single reflection on the enormous damage that the Church has suffered by the sexual abuse scandal and the subsequent and prevalent intent to derail the investigations that try to lead to identify those involved and proceed as Jesus Himself prescribed for that behavior, tie the proverbial stone to their neck and launch themselves to the sea.
    A Church so damaged in their leadership is the Church that pretends that those same leaders “guide” their flock to moral rights. A Church that doesn’t make prayer the center of their effort is not the Church but a big politically activist sect.
    So lets make the required adjustments first, and require that they be made first. Then, with the strength gained by acting right in our home first, we will be able to succesfully call for moral leadership, for moral righteousness and fruitful activism in society. To try to be leaders of society when amidst the permafrost that lies under our feet is to cry out marching orders when clearly we are down towards our tomb.

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  • Wilson

    I remember your great Father very well.

    • Christopher Manion

      Many thanks!

  • jk4dios

    Francis Cardinal George has said that he will die in his bed, his successor will die in prison, and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. Do we, as a Church, have the courage and strength to accomplish this or will we continue to see all this as “too hot to handle.”. Right now it appears that the bishops see it that way. Cardinal Dolan speaks out, but does nothing. May the Lord put backbones in our bishops! May St. Michael the Archangel protect the Church. May we ourselves have the courage and will to speak out as well!

    • dover_beach

      That magnificent quotation of Cardinal Francis George, however, does not end there; he concludes:

      His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.

      We must take comfort and our courage from this.

      • Laura

        But why, in the interim, are all the sheep left to suffer, and perhaps suffer martyrdom? Are we not worth protecting and guiding? Do our shepards think so little of us?

        • http://www.facebook.com/anna.dawson.9 Anna Dawson

          Because of Christ, our suffering has meaning, and our martyrdom becomes our glory. We should prepare our hearts to suffer and more, even as we push back against the aggressors who would take it so far. Pray for the best, prepare for the worst.

        • Florin S.

          jan. 15th: we hear from a handful of Bishops – where are the rest? Who has heard homilies about the sacredness of human life, all human life, from conception to death, in their Parishes? So many Catholics do not understand the teachings of the Church, many because they have never heard them. Pope Benedict has asked that we present our Catholic faith not as a series of ‘do’s and don’ts’ but in a way that presents the goodness and beauty and truth and strength of our faith…from the Cross, Jesus cried out: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!” … because they did not know Christ…how can they love and serve one whom they do not know?

          • rich

            my exact thoughts also! our priest as well as our bishops have been silent,afraid, like scared little rabbits! in most dioceses liberal bureaucacies r in control and orthodox faithfull catholics r told to shut up or worse sanctioned. while for yrs heretics have had the day! can’t even get them excommunicated! No, our clergy r lost! our only hope is God! He will raise up priests and bishops with courage to preach those homilies

        • rich

          maybe they do, Laura, but as Mr Manion points out, their “credibility has been shredded”! I couldn’t have put it better!

  • Ray Olson

    Dear Mr. Manion–A Church that faithfully stood by its doctrines and vigorously expounded them, even at the price of losing laity and religious who find those doctrines unconvincing–and that cleansed itself of hypocrisy, secrecy, and obfuscation–would be a Church indeed. As a non-Catholic Christian, I would welcome such a Church. Though I am not very sanguine that the world will soon, if ever, see such a Church, the struggle to realize it is a noble one.

    • Clement_W

      Thank you Mr. Olson for your post. I apologize for not having read your post before posting mine.

    • yan

      Of course we struggle to realize it. We also struggle to love all the members, sinners and former sinners, and to keep them within the bark so that they also may have a chance to obtain salvation.

  • Clement_W

    During this Year of Faith, having identified the state of our affairs, it seems appropriate that we should do what the Lord Lord commanded the Prophet Jonah to do in Jonah 3 when He sent him to the people of Nineveh in Babylon who were not even Israelites. I have come across several references to the Catholic Church by some fundamentalist Protestants as the ‘Whore of Babylon’ and even out the ‘mouths of babes and infants’ we have to consider the ultimately successful remedy of Fasting, Sackcloth and Ashes to reverse the ‘Age of Martyrdom of the Innocents’ and forestall the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The days of the ‘Fire and Brimstone’ sermons have been gone for several decades and calling a ‘spade, a spade’ went with them. A dose of some of these Sermons interspersed with homilies may be just the medicine we need!

    If the Ninevites of those days could repent, I am sure we can get up enough strength to do so’ After all as, John says in his letters, “The prayers of a righteous man avail much”. The bargaining of Abraham with God before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah does come to mind too.

    • thebentangle

      Clement, you want to revive “Fire and Brimstone” sermons? Why do you think they disappeared? Maybe it was because they were ineffective. And that would be because… no one took them seriously any more. You can’t revive “fire and brimstone” if parishioners are walking out.

  • Theorist

    What should be done?

    These are my opinions and my opinions only:

    (1) debunk egalitarianism (that for anything, more equality is better).

    (2) destroy negative connotations of fascism. It seems to me that the whole world-order since the end of the WWII has received its greatest strength from this. Why do we have civil rights? So we aren’t called nazis. Why do we have to tip-toe around Judaism? So we aren’t called nazis. It’s rather childish. Also, by anti-fascist memes we cannot logically argue against egalitarianism (Although I would not conflate fascism with Catholicism). As such we cannot praise ourselves and are reduced to be constant demoralized self-criticizers, playing a “more liberal than thou” game.

    (3) become at least somewhat dangerous. The Muslims are masters of this, and we, but perhaps not all of us, should learn from such tactics.

    • yan

      1] to be applied in what contexts?

      2] impossible to destroy the negative connotations of fascism. We won.

      3] specifics please.

      I presume your goal is to re-introduce the possibility of discussing transcendent values in the public square. A worthy goal in my opinion. But my values are Catholic; becoming more dangerous or fascist is not compatible with how I understand those values. Nor does it ennoble your cause in the minds of those that you would convince to accept transcendent values when you associate danger and fascism with them.

  • thebentangle

    Mr. Manion, I heartily endorse your solution: “Stop taking the government money, close down the bureaucracy, and preach the Gospel.” This is exactly what the Catholic Church must now do. It would gladden my heart were she to do so.

    If the Church focused on the Gospels, she would abandon her obsession with homosexuality and contraception, and her concern would shift to poverty, homelessness, hunger, and disease–because these were Christ’s principal concerns.

    I believe you are mistaken in thinking the Church has refused to explain why it opposes same-sex marriage. The teaching that homosexuality is “objectively disordered” is well known among Catholics and infamous among non-Catholics. It is cited again and again on this very website as the cornerstone of the Church’s position on same-sex marriage and adoption.

    I think you fail to recognize why continuing to uphold this deeply flawed and harmful teaching will have diminishing returns and only further embarrass the Church. The regular bloggers on this site already know what I am about to say:

    The Church’s teaching on homosexuality has no support in the vast and highly-respected health and social services establishment of this country and abroad. The World Health Organization has declared unequivocally that homosexuality is NOT a disorder. This is in direct contradiction to the Church’s teaching. All the major scientific associations that have any stake in this debate have signed a joint statement to the effect that:

    “There is no scientific basis for concluding that gay and lesbian parents are any less fit or capable than heterosexual parents, or that their children are any less psychologically healthy and well adjusted. The children of same-sex couples will benefit if their parents are allowed to marry.”

    Here is the list of the associations that signed onto this statement:
    American Psychological Association
    California Psychological Association
    American Medical Association
    American Psychiatric Association
    National Association of Social Workers
    National Association of Social Workers, CA Chapter
    American Sociological Association
    American Academy of Pediatrics, CA
    American Academy of Pediatrics
    American Psychoanalytic Association
    American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
    American Anthropological Association

    My publication of this information on the Crisis website is always met with out-and-out denial. I’m told that these organizations are not to be trusted, that their methods are flawed, that they have been taken over by gay activists, and that they are ideologically motivated. None of these claims can be substantiated, and none of them is true. One of the most serious problems of the Catholic Church, in my view, is its absolute refusal to acknowledge realities that are staring it in the face. This is the embarrassment that the Church is bringing upon itself. It is now in rampant denial, it is locked into rules and traditions that it is ideologically committed not to abandon under any circumstances, and it is becoming increasingly fossilized. Everyone seems to see this except hardline Catholics.

    • Rolf Worth

      “Homosexual-parenting
      is bad for children.

      Mark Regnerus, a researcher at the University of Texas, just published his
      exhaustive findings, proving children raised by one or more homosexual parents
      were undeniably harmed by it.

      This historic study finally debunks the Homosexual Lobby’s myth that children
      raised in homosexual households turn out exactly the same as those raised in a
      stable home with a mother and a father.

      When compared to children raised by a traditional family, the children of
      homosexual parents are 3 or even 4 times more likely to indulge in
      self-destructive habits.

      They are also 3 to 4 times more likely to indulge in homosexual activities than
      kids with a mother and a father in the home.

      And maybe the most horrifying
      revelation, the rate of sexual abuse among these children from parental figures
      was staggeringly higher…

      Not surprisingly, the establishment’s very first reaction was to smear Mr.
      Regnerus’ reputation and attempt to drive him out of academia.

      His own university — acting in support of the Homosexual Agenda — immediately
      opened investigations into his research methods, claiming that the results must
      have been altered.

      However, once officials familiarized themselves with his work, they were forced
      to unequivocally admit that the research was one-hundred percent sound.

      Of course even after their endorsement, the pro-homosexual establishment is
      still insisting that it’s all “lies” and “hate.”

      But you and I know better.

      Public Advocate has fought for more than 30 years against homosexual adoption.

      But if the Gay Bill of Special Rights is passed by the Obama White House and
      the Leftist-controlled Senate, homosexual adoption will explode in this
      country.

      Already we have seen Catholic adoption organizations shut down for refusing to
      turn innocent children over to homosexual “couples.”

      If the Homosexual Lobby is allowed to create a superior protected class for
      homosexuals, homosexual adoption and homosexual parenting will become the new
      “norm” in America.

      But as long as pro-Family
      Americans stand strong against them, I know Public Advocate can defeat their
      radical agenda.”

      • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

        The major problem with the Regnerus study is that the majority of the children studied were not examined in in-tact same-sex households. He asked the respondents to rate whether their parents had ever had a same sex relationship during their childhood. If they said yes, he put them in the lesbian mother or gay father category regardless of the length of the relationship. Only 23% of those indicated as in the “lesbian mother” category actually lived with their mother and her partner for at least 3 years. Only 2% of those listed in the “gay father” category lived with their father and his partner for at least 3 years.

        Only TWO of the respondents actually lived with a same-sex couple throughout childhood. Thus, the study tells you more about how damaged children are when raised by families that break down when one parent comes out as gay or lesbian than it does about two men or two women raising a child together. Maybe you should actually read the study instead of going based off an article that reports what it supposedly showed.

        • thebentangle

          Yes, Rolf, do read the study carefully, by all means. You will see for yourself that Paul’s assessment is correct.

          A society that uses stigmatization and discrimination to force its same-sex-oriented young people into marriages with opposite-sex-oriented individuals should not be surprised when those marriage fall apart, damaging children in the process. If we are to learn anything from Regnerus’s study, it is that children benefit from being raised in stable households. Not only does same-sex marriage offer such stability; it also helps to stabilize “straight” marriages by siphoning off closeted gays and lesbians who might otherwise stay in the straight-marriage pool.

      • thebentangle

        Rolf, you have been “led down the garden path” about the Regnerus study. The publisher’s own auditor, Darren Sherkat, concluded that the study was “bulls–t.” I personally investigated the Regnerus study and obtained copies of his datasets. I wrote an exposé, which you can read here: http://thebentangle.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/ten-red-flags-on-the-mark-regnerus-study/

        I would also like to remind you that the consensus of all the major health and social welfare associations in this country has NOT CHANGED. Consensus always trumps isolated studies, especially ones like Mark Regnerus’s, which was bought and paid for by the Witherspoon Institute, where Robert P. George is a senior fellow. George is also founder of the National Organization for Marriage (this country’s largest advocacy group opposed to same-sex marriage), board member of the Family Research Council (certified as an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center), and author of the Manhattan Declaration, a theoconservative document advocating civil disobedient resistance to any legislation promoting same-sex marriage. Do you think there might have been a conflict of interest there? Read my article to find out.

      • Augustus

        Rolf: The claims of gay activists below who claim the Regnerus study is flawed are applying a higher standard than the one they use on those studies that support their own agenda. Douglas (aka “TheBentAngle”) refers to Darren Sherkat’s intemperate reaction to the Regnerus study as if that was persuasive. In fact, it only demonstates how much Sherkat is unwilling to contemplate conclusions that challenge his own settled opinions. The academy is full of shysters, frauds and ideologues who have their own axes to grind. The social sciences are full of them. But there are credible dissenting voices such as Dr. Walter Schumm who responded to Regnerus’s critics in an article published in Crisis here: http://www.crisismagazine.com/2012/was-the-regnerus-study-on-gay-parenting-defective As one would expect, Paul McGuire and Douglas Remy will only present the claims of gay activists. But we both know that there are always at least two sides to every story.

        • thebentangle

          Augustus: You write, without irony, that the “academy is full of shysters, frauds, and ideologues who have their own axes to grind.” True, and this is why publications use peer review to ensure quality and objectivity. And it is why they hire auditors as a supplementary precaution. The auditors usually judge whether the peer-review process was carried out in accordance with accepted standards. For the journals, reputation is everything.

          As my article points out, there were spectacular conflicts of interest from the study’s inception and funding to its publication. The peer-review process was especially compromised.

          In the audit, Sherkat found that the Regnerus study was not scientifically valid and that the peer review had failed because of “both ideology and inattention.” He wrote that the peer-review process “failed to identify significant, disqualifying problems.” He added that the journal’s owners were more interested in the “impact factor” than in publishing reliable research: “…rigorous independent evaluation [of the Regnerus study] would have made Social Science Research (SSR) a less popular but better journal.”

          Among professional organizations calling on SSR (the journal) to recall the Regnerus study are the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychoanalytic Association. The American Sociological is poised to join them. Additionally, over 200 Ph.D.s and M.D.s signed a letter to the SSR complaining about the study.

          I don’t see that you have any basis for continuing to trust the Regnerus study. If you do, I can only conclude that, in your own words, you are “unwilling to contemplate conclusions that challenge [your] own settled opinions.”

    • Jerry McGuire

      We hardline Catholics must await the scientific discovery of the elusive ‘homosexual gene’. Until then we choose to “hate the sin, but love the sinner”.

      Until a genetic determinant for homosexual behavior is scientifically demonstrated, it seems equally likely that homosexuality is a psychological disorder resulting from an unfortunate failure to develop an appropriate gender-identity during childhood ages 0-3 yrs.

      • thebentangle

        Jerry, you seem to believe that the “default” position is that homosexuality is a psychological disorder and that anyone who thinks otherwise must provide evidence. I am of the opposite opinion. I believe that if you intend to stigmatize gays and lesbians–with all the harmful effects that stigmatization entails–the burden of proof is entirely on you, and your moral duty is to cease and desist until you can provide that proof.

        In the real world, which bears little resemblance to the world viewed through the lens of Catholic teaching, people are presumed innocent until they are proven guilty. In the same manner, no one should ever be labeled “disordered” without there being a solid scientific consensus to that effect.

        I must repeat that the World Health Organization has declared there to be nothing “disordered” about homosexuality. When you use the term “psychologically disordered,” you are presuming that the consensus opinion of psychologists supports your claim. It does not. You are making a false claim, and considering that you have been told the truth again and again, that claim is libelous.

        • John200

          Mr. Tangle,

          Let’s try it your way. The truth is that homo”sex”uality is an intrinsic
          disorder in a grave matter. You are of the wrong opinion in your sad combat vs.
          the objective truth. I believe that homo”sex”uals, male and female, are stigmatizing themselves –with all the harmful effects that stigmatization entails. The burden of proof was met — entirely – a long time ago, and your moral duty is to cease and desist with the trolleries and the drolleries until you can ‘man up’ enough to see it.

          In the real world, which is perfectly transmitted through the lens of
          Catholic teaching, people are presumed to labor under a disorder until they
          stop it. We can help some, and prayer helps more than I ever could, but the
          decision is up to the homo”sex”ual. Stop it; you can, with grace. You’ll learn that when you try.

          I must repeat (not really, I am just following your construction above) that
          there are classes of actions that are “intrinsically disordered” and that
          homo”sex”ual activity is one of those classes.

          When I/we use the term “intrinsically disordered,” I am presuming
          that you know the meaning of “intrinsic.” The evidence suggests that you do
          not. You are making a false claim of psychological consensus and then you decorate this thread with a claim that your interlocutors are libeling you. Considering that you have been told the truth again and again, that claim is
          deliberately silly, ie, the work of an internet troll who has a tangle in his
          head.

          Libelous? Relax, you are stirring up a tempest in a combox, nobody is going
          to sue you. And nobody is libeling you. Go laugh at yourself, you really need a break from full time trolling.

          • Bob

            agreed. Seriously, tangle, you must spend 75% of your waking hours posting on this and other Catholic websites. As the self-professed 69 year old atheist that you are, why waste so much of your time left of existence in here with us? As an atheist, it’s total “lights out” for you soon, shouldn’t you be spending your time differently? If I was a senior citizen atheist that believed in no afterlife, I’d find something better to do with my time.

            Or (as I’ve asked you before) is there something deep down inside you that says yes, there is a God, and that is why you are posting so much on Crisis?

            Once again tangle, I believe the Holy Spirit has dropped you in to this site as a possible last ditch effort to hear the Truth, whether you realize that or not. Because why would an atheist with little time left waste so much time posting here?

            • thebentangle

              Bob, if there were “something deep down inside of me saying Yes, there is a god,” then conversations with “Christians” like yourself would quickly break the spell and return me to my senses.

              Why am I blogging on this site? Because I dislike being slandered. What is your reason? Why do so many ortho-Catholics spend so much of their time slandering gays and lesbians and obsessing about our sexual habits and body parts? (e.g., John200) Is it because they have not worked up the courage to watch gay porn? If you haven’t spotted the psycho-fixations in these comboxes, you haven’t been paying attention.

              • Bob

                OK……just wondering……

                When someone tangle discovers the love, peace and truth of Christ, you want to share it with the world. You also want to fiercely defend it when someone attacks, ridicules, or belittles Christ and His teachings. As Christ’s bride, like any spouse that is madly in love we will defend Him even unto death. Understand also Christianity (or “turn the other cheek”) does not mean lie down and take a pummeling from someone looking to attack Christ and not defend His Truth. Possibly the civility has taken a back seat on some of these postings? May well be. To that I’ll apologize for any rudeness.

                But I do see much distortion by you in your postings on the Catholic Church. Catholics that are well catechized greatest frustration is when people who really don’t know the Church’s doctrines or teachings try to tell us what we believe incorrectly. I see countlessly the “the problem with you Catholics is…..” people give lies and false information on the Church for the soul purpose of attacking the Church.

                And Christ never threatened, demanded or pleaded with anyone to follow Him. He only lovingly invited them. Then they could choose to say yes and follow, or no, I won’t follow.

                My advice then is to ignore anyone that might be going overboard in their zeal and passion.

                So you are invited Tangle to find the beauty of the truth of Christ that I have found! Whether you accept this invitation or not, that is your choice.

                • thebentangle

                  Bob, you have made your offer, and I have heard it. But I decided a very long time ago that it did not interest me. Many religious folks over the years have played the role of the Hound of Heaven with me, and, frankly, I get really weary of it. I’m told that I’m really unhappy (though I don’t realize it), that I am going to Hell if I don’t repent, and that the god who will send me there really and truly loves me SO much! And everyone predicts that I will repent on my deathbed. You can understand why this might be tedious after a while. If Christ never “pleaded with anyone to follow Him,” then you don’t need to, either. I may be 69, but I’m not deaf. I heard you the first time. Got it.

                  I am not interested in lambasting the Church, but I don’t consider that the hierarchy IS the Church. It is true that I am very critical of the institutional Church for its teachings about homosexuality and contraception, but it is a matter of complete indifference to me whether you believe that crackers become the body of Christ or that virgins bear children. Some of your church’s teachings affect me and other non-Catholics in very serious and negative ways. That is why I am here.

                  • Bob

                    OK. We’ll agree to disagree on this issue. Mutual respect, love and peace as human beings we’ll agree to.

                    Pax……the bentangle!

                    • yan

                      Well done Bob!

          • Ernest

            Howdy John200, Frankly, I’m at a loss to explain why you feel it necessary in your postings to sheathe the word sex every time it appears in quotes. Is this intended to be some clever sardonic parsing of language for the purpose of stipulating some kind of otherwise unseen control over the word? Are you Jewish, by any chance? The only thing your eccentric and irritating fixation reminds me of is the Hebrew custom of hyphenating the word “G-D” in deference to some creedal association with the concept of the Tetragrammaton. (In Jewish custom, pronouncing the name of God was considered to be profaning his name according to the second commandment, and therefore a “sin.” The Jews became so adept at avoiding it that they eventually forgot how to spell it and pronounce it altogether.) Now, apparently, the custom seems driven to steer clear of any word that conveys the concept of deity out of respect for that deity. A great trick if you can do it. In any case, you will most likely have a far more difficult time making sex disappear by highlighting its textual equivalent and surrounding it with protective marks every time you feel the need to discuss it. Perhaps you incapsulate the word “sex” as a kind of visual reminder that it’s parenthetically trapped and separated from the rest of the sentence so you won’t have to deal with it in your own life? Or maybe it’s just…icky? Are you perhaps impotent, or physically incapacitated and using this as a kind of short-hand symbolism for physical incapacity? Are you perhaps, intrinsically disordered in some way? All these things come to mind when I see your use of quotations. In any case, it’s tiresome and not the slightest bit funny or valuable, which I’m sure you already know.

            The only combat Mr. Remy (Bent Angle) is engaged in at present is to ask those who have the means to do so (and that potentially includes everyone here including yourself) to simply stop scapegoating gays and assigning all manner of evil and calumny to them which he has shown time and time again to be illogical, senseless, and unnecessarily cruel, and to grant them by dint of the compassion that Christ has ostensibly shown to you, the same privileges, rights and legal protections that are shared by the wider community in a civil society. The only stigma of disgrace that is borne by homosexuals is that which is brought to them from the outside through the ministrations of a church which undermines the truth it claims to know by cherry picking objective scientific and psychological knowledge and branding homosexuals with derogatory classifications and labels gleaned from a misapplication of facts embraced or ignored that better suit their own narrative of sin and self loathing.

            By letting reality speak for itself empirically, you satisfy the methodology of science in a nutshell. If credible science is sidestepped however for the purposes of vindication at any cost, then little is accomplished, regardless of the goals of the parties. Whatever “burden of proof” you or the church assigns to anyone is only meaningful to the extent that both sides have agreed to reasoned discourse in the first place. Mr. Remy has met these conditions; you have not. You have already made your mind up about homo”sex”uals and homo “sex” uality by holding fast to the fiction that they are intrinsically disordered or worthy of contempt. Your apparent need to use every opportunity to be dismissive or patronizing suggests your position nicely.

            To suggest that the real world is “best transmitted through the lens of Catholic teaching” one needs only refer to your postings to gain a clear understanding of how ridiculous that sounds on its face. As for “manning up” that should be a slam dunk for you. I would recommend your adversary as a good example of someone who already has and is inviting you to do the same.

            • Bob

              “The same privileges, rights, and legal protections that that are shared by the wider community in a civil society.”

              This, of course, is conditioned on whether one believes marriage is to be redefined beyond that of a man and a woman.

              And if it is to be redefined, then why are we stopping at the redefinition to include Only men marrying men, and women marrying women?

              Why can’t the redefinition of marriage also include man marrying sister, mother marrying son, father marrying daughter, man marrying multiple women, man marrying twelve year old, etc.?

              Let’s invite everyone then to the redefined marriage table. But be careful, the beastiality people are watching closely!

              It will be wonderful, Ernest! I’ll meet you and all those wanting the “right” to marry at the bottom of the slippery slope…..

              • thebentangle

                Bob, I can’t help but think that we’ve been over this about a dozen times in the last few days. Gay marriage doesn’t harm anyone. Incest and polygamy do. Got it? And where are the “bestiality people,” please? Do they have a website? Or are they a figment of your imagination?

                • Bob

                  Tangle,

                  Here’s an article on beastiality rights. Looks like they’re hoping to coattail the gay movement. Remember, just forty years ago gay marriage was considered a small movement that would never happen:

                  http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/2009-08-20/news/those-who-practice-bestiality-say-they-re-part-of-the-next-gay-rights-movement/

                  • thebentangle

                    Well, Bob, I think you should direct your energies to the anti-animal-marriage movement right away. Is there one already? If not, you could get it started. It sounds like a very worthy undertaking. BTW, “bestiality” is spelled with only one “a,” and you’ll need to know that if you are going to start a crusade against it.

                    • Bob

                      Are we being uncivil here, Tangle, with sarcastic remarks?

                      You wanted information, I gave you information. It is actually reasonable and makes perfect sense. If marriage is to be redefined, it must be all inclusive of all orientations. Everything now in the world is relative, and my truths are as relevant as yours. If the gay community denies other groups the opportunity to marry five women, their biological father, or Daisy the Golden Retriever down the street, then the same accusations the gay community levels against heterosexuals of bigotry, hate, discriminatory, prejudice, phobia apply now to the gay community.

                      Welcome to the “big tent” of redefined marriage where all orientations and groups are welcome.

                    • Bob

                      Below is a cut and paste from the article on “bestiality” I posted. If you replace the word “zoophile” with “gays”, it is strikingly similar to arguments being written on the gay community just ten years ago:

                      “As this group gains confidence, zoophiles figure to be more open and then more outspoken in their demands for personal liberty and against discrimination. Improbable as it may seem, zoophiles might yet prove the new frontier in the battle for sexual civil rights.”

                • Bob

                  How does polygamy hurt anyone? If incest does not consciously produce children (and therefore, no possibility of child genetic defects), how does a brother marrying a sister cause harm?

                  • thebentangle

                    Bob, if there’s no harm, then there’s no problem, is there? So why are you against marriages of brother and sister? Why should I be?

                    • Bob

                      Just making an observation. Redefining marriage means redefining it for all groups, not just gays.

                    • Ray Olson

                      Dear Bob–Why? Is that what natural law theory dictates? (I doubt it.) This kind of all-or-nothing, black-or-white thinking strikes me as totalitarian and deeply anti-Christian. For doesn’t such thinking seek to destroy the uniqueness of the soul in every person? I’m not being flippant or antagonistic. I’m genuinely concerned.

                      Addendum: No advocate of gay marriage on this site has ever endorsed “redefining marriage for all groups”, to the best of my recollection. In fact, they haven’t advocated redefining marriage at all, just opening it to gays.

                    • Bob

                      Ray, I’m for marriage to be only defined as between a man and a woman. I’m a big fan of the natural law. By “just opening it to gays”, you are redefining the definition of marriage. But does this “redefinition of marriage” door close there? My point being, pro-gay marriage advocates have to accept the fact if they want marriage, then they should accept other groups and orientations should be allowed to marry.

                      But I believe (like many that have argued and explained extensively on this website) the natural law dictates marriage only between a man and a woman.

                    • thebentangle

                      Bob, I think you may have stretched your point as far as it will go. You are mistaken in thinking that gay-marriage advocates “should” accept marriage between siblings, men and parrots, women and refrigerators, etc. It is nowhere written that we are morally or ethically obligated to do so. I may object to any form of marriage that I believe not to be in the best interests of the couples involved or the society at large. And so are you. You are not morally wrong in opposing same-sex marriage, you are just confused.

                    • Bob

                      Thanks for framing and supporting my argument. There are no absolute truths anymore, only relative truths. Your truth says gay marriage is right and moral, My truth says gay marriage is wrong and immoral. Can we both be right? Are truths relative to each of our individual lifestyles, opinions and beliefs, therefore many truths?

                      You say I’m confused because I don’t believe your truth, I say you’re confused because you don’t believe my truth.

                      Or are there absolute truths that we both must live under?

                    • thebentangle

                      Well, Bob, I look at it this way: If you make a claim that is not contradicted by empirical evidence, then it may be true (or it may not be, depending on whether evidence has been gathered and analyzed). If your claim is contradicted by massive amounts of empirical evidence and by the scientific consensus, then the probability of your claim being true is almost infinitesimal. This is not relativism, and I am not a relativist. When I claim that female genital mutilation in the Horn of Africa is harmful, that claim is supported by evidence. Evidence also supports my claim that the Church’s stigmatization of homosexuality (“disordered”) is just as harmful as the Prophet Mohammad’s stigmatization of women (“Women are deficient in mind and religion,”–a teaching of the highest order in both the Sunni and Shiite branches of Islam.) Both these teachings are false and both derogate human beings with labels (“disordered,” “deficient”) that can only serve to create and sustain systems of power and privilege.

                    • Ray Olson

                      Dear Bob–I fully respect your belief about marriage, yet to say that any other “definition” of marriage necessarily entails allowing anyone to marry anything or things is preposterous. I’d like that kind of rejoinder to gay marriage advocates to stop, because it is no answer, it’s just a snarky way of saying “Shut up!”, if not “F— you!” And I’d like it acknowledged that, however devoutly it is wished by many, neither the U.S. nor any one of the states in it is a Catholic polity, and that, however much Catholics want to impose the Church’s will on the nation and states, short of successful armed rebellion, they are not able to do so now nor will they be until a significant work of conversion is done and a new Constitution, new state constitutions, and much new legislation are adopted.

                    • Bob

                      No one”s imposing Catholic will on the nation’s and states, where do you get that from?

                      Thirty years ago people would have thought legalized gay marriage in the United States was “preposterous”, but look what’s happening. Look at the link on my other post to the article on the bestiality folks looking to follow the gay marriage example.

                      I know people hate this term but…….slippery slope…….

                    • thebentangle

                      Bob, I know you hate to hear this again, but your slippery slope argument doesn’t hold water. Otherwise, you will have to advocate against traditional marriage, because it “led to” same-sex marriage.

                      Traditional marriage did not in fact “lead to” same-sex marriage any more than it “led to” Mormon polygamy or bride barters. Similarly, same-sex marriage does not “lead to” anything. It neither causes polygamous marriage to become legal nor paves the way for it. Polygamous marriage entails harm, and same-sex marriage does not. The trouble with the slippery-slope argument, which is considered a logical fallacy, is that it assumes no control on the part of the people or societies sliding down the slope. But we have control at every step of the way. You have seen for yourself how much deliberation has gone into legalization of same-sex marriage and how it is still staunchly opposed in most states. We don’t just “slide” down a greased slope into these things, as anyone can see.

                      I can assure you that your slippery-slope metaphor is based on a myth that opponents of SSM would very much like you to believe. Why DO you believe it?

                    • Ray Olson

                      Dear Bob–I made a poor choice of words, and for that, please accept my apology. I should have used “doctrine” instead of “will”, and “convince” instead of “impose”. With those alterations, I stand by what i wrote, and also by what BentAngle says about slander and the slippery slope argument, my particular bête noire in my just-previous posting.

                    • thebentangle

                      No, Bob, that is not actually true. Extending marriage rights to same-sex couples does not mean that those same rights must be extended to siblings, polygamous couples, man-sheep couples, etc. The criterion is harm, and each claim can be considered on its own merits.

                    • Bob

                      And claims can be made that sodomy and gay marriage are harmful to society.

                    • thebentangle

                      Bob, if you think a case can be made against sodomy, then make it, but without equating it with homosexuality. Again, many homosexuals (e.g., lesbians) do not practice sodomy, while many heterosexuals do.

                      If you think a “harm” case can be made against gay marriage, then by all means attempt to do so. But in all my years blogging about this, no one has ever demonstrated a “harm.” I hear about aggravations and perturbations and annoyances and sin, but I don’t hear about the harm. If you are going to make an argument to non-Catholics, you can’t just say gay-marriage is “against God’s law” or “against natural law,” because we don’t accept your premises. You have to show that there is actually some harm that results from gay marriage. I can show you plenty of benefits, but you won’t be able to show me a harm. There is none.

                    • Bob

                      I’m going to have to “sign off” of this site Tangle, I’m spending too much time in here and neglecting my work. But it’s been fun, thanks for the discussion. Like I said before, we’ll just agree to disagree on this issue. Who knows,……over a cup of coffee you and I might agree on taxes, gun control, world peace, who’s going to win the Super Bowl and American Idol.

                      But peace my friend………!

                • rich

                  doesn’t hurt anyone?? what about the child who eventually realizes that the only way he or she could have come into this world was by having a mother and a father! what selfishness!!!

              • Ernest

                Marriage has been defined and re-defined over and over throughout history. Most forms of marriage have regrettably used the female partner in those relationships as chattel, concubines or sexual slaves. Arranged marriages are old, but romantic love is a fairly recent innovation. But however you parse it, marriage is, or should be, a unity of two souls. It is the missing part of ourselves found in another human being. The bodies or gender those souls occupy is irrelevant. The slippery slope will not take us to Cocker Spaniels, Oedipal nuptials, Fish or sister-wives. Well, you know…unless you’re one of those weird fundamentalist sects that allows such things. As for pedophiliac marriages, didn’t David Koresh try that in Waco with some unsavory results? And didn’t he use the Bible to justify it? Most of us know where the lines are in terms of consanguinity and child brides. Of course, there is still that “little” problem within the church. But eventually the prolonged abuse of children by the clergy will result in something approaching justice and not just musical parish chairs. That is, if there really is a God.

                • Bob

                  Nice, did your response need to include an attack against the Catholic Church? You’re responding to my post…….where do I even mention the Catholic Church let alone religion for you to post such hate speech?

                  And you’re correct. Now that the marriage redefinition doors have been kicked opened wide, no orientation is off the table that wants to get hitched. What is “weird” to you is perfectly normal to someone else. I believe that two men getting married is “weird”, but apparently the gay community finds it OK. Everything now is relative to each individual group or person. Don’t be a hater.

                • Wilson

                  So, for you the Clinton massacre at Waco was merely “unsavory”. Too bad that you were not there, on the “receiving end”.

            • John200

              Dear Ernest,

              Thank you for the note. First, I put quotes on homo”sex”ual activity because it is not sex. It is at best, mutual masturbation and at worst, exploitation of the other person. Many errors came to you when you saw quotations around the word “sex.”: I am a Jew, I propose “making sex disappear,” I “incapsulate the word “’sex’” so I won’t have to deal with it in my own life, I find it “icky,” I am “perhaps impotent, or physically incapacitated” or “intrinsically disordered in some way.” Whew! And so you find me “tiresome and not the slightest bit funny or valuable, which I’m sure you already know.” But now you understand and, perhaps I am doing better?

              Now to correct more errors. That’s fraternal correction. No one is “scapegoating gays.” Mr. Tangle is under no threat of punishment by commenters. No one is “assigning all manner of evil and calumny to them” because we apply the descriptor “evil” to the act, not to the person. There is nothing “illogical, senseless, and unnecessarily cruel” about telling Mr. Tangle the truth. Homo”sex”ual “marriage” (here the quotes convey that it is not a marriage) is impossible. To understand this, you must know what marriage is. If you don’t, then you should.

              You assert that the Church cherry picks scientific and psychological knowledge.
              That means you don’t know Church teaching with respect to science. Thence to
              “…satisfy the methodology of science in a nutshell. If credible science is
              sidestepped however for the purposes of vindication at any cost,…” Just so you
              know, I AM a scientist. And the real world IS “best transmitted through
              the lens of Catholic teaching.” If you think that is ridiculous, then you
              do not know Catholic teaching; you are of the same status as Mr. Been Tangled. Are you sure you don’t want to admit that you are Been Tangled under a pseudonym? You have his style down pat.

              Homo”sex”ual itself identifies the homo”sex”ual as unable to determine what sex
              is. Does that make it a derogatory classification? You decide. God would spare
              His children the aftereffects attached to homo”sex”ual activity, but some
              choose it. The stigma, if any, results from the actions. Knowledge of sin will
              do you good. Self-loathing is not stigma, but it often goes with
              self-destructive behavior. ‘Tis another misfortune.

              If you think Been is an adversary, then you may want to coach him. He is poorly
              prepared. He knows little of Catholicism. He cuts-and-pastes things he does not
              understand. Are you sure you don’t want to admit that you are Been Tangled
              under a pseudonym? You have his style down pat.

              I leave the reader to make a judgment about who has “manned up” and
              who should be a “slam dunking” around here. If I dunk on the Tangler, it is
              because he has no defense.

              • thebentangle

                John200, Thank you for the clarification, if in fact it is one. Mainly that homosexual sex is not sex. Really? Then why do homosexual men bother having it? Does this mean they can only feel love when they’re being exploited by one another? Do you suppose it’s as pleasurable as the real thing….you know, marriage, separation, annulment? alimony? Is heterosexual sex that does not produce children, sex? Is rape that does produce children sex? If masturbation is not sexual in nature, why do we do it as a substitute for the real thing….the real thing not being sex, of course, unless you’re not gay. Is homosexual masturbation not sex, or just heterosexual masturbation? Isn’t masturbation, as Woody Allen observed, sex with someone you love? If you’re in love with yourself is that narcissistic homosexuality minus one partner? Is sex with a concubine inferior to sex with a primary wife? I have so many questions.

                You declare that Mr. Remy is “under no threat of punishment from commenters.” If you mean physical harm, you’re probably right. But how much verbal abuse directed at the average victim is acceptable before the recipient lashes out in resentment or rage? Think especially of adolescent children or young adults who are bullied and who are more prone to take offense than someone like Mr. Remy who has trained himself to counter such abuse effectively from a lifetime of practical experience. It depends on how you define “threat” doesn’t it? Are you saying words have no part in determining people’s actions or responses? If we were truly civil as a society, we would do our best to avoid injurious language simply because it’s wrong and mean spirited. What is the proof of this? Because we don’t appreciate it when it happens to us, as I attempted to show you by serving you some of your own medicine which apparently left a bitter taste in your mouth. You would expect that those in society who proclaim the greatest love for truth would also have the most compassionate response to those who are different. If I call you fat or stupid or ugly or disordered and you internalize those epithets to the point of cutting yourself off socially from your tormentors, or committing suicide, is that the equivalent of a no-harm form of abuse?

                The fact that most of us are thick-skinned enough to wade through the blizzard of insults in our society without internalizing them is not proof of anyone’s compassion, only of our perseverance. Using “evil” as a descriptor for a sex act is a hair’s breath away from using it to demonize those who fall under it’s label. The act is evil, but the person inclined to it is blameless so long as he/she refrains….

                Buried in the shallow turf of this tiresome refrain is the old familiar platitude, “hate the sin; love the sinner”. The assumption in this case being if you’re gay and you only avoid sexual activity you’ll be “lovable” among your heterosexual brethren who aren’t being asked to make the same sacrifice over a sexual orientation they had equally no choice over. But what is a sinner who doesn’t sin but a lie fashioned to keep us in perpetual bondage to the idea of a false love conditioned on bad ideas? Real love accepts you as you are, flaws and all, according to the Gospel. To the extent you believe redemption to be your responsibility, there is no viable escape from the hurtful position these tendentious doctrines embrace. To the extent you believe in a supernatural power that works on your behalf through grace and thorough acceptance rather than through rituals of failed performance in some kind of doctrinal meritocracy, there is every reason to have hope and to bypass fear as a daily ritual of confirmation.

                It’s not merely a compromise of convictions to demean someone while pretending to love them for who they are. The indelible imprint of one’s gender orientation is no more evil then the person who succumbs to it. In an era in which an entire generation was decimated by HIV, is it not a Christian solution to seek greater stability and responsibility among gay citizens, by providing actual legal and social incentives for stabler lives? It’s not up to us to separate the sin from the sinner, if in fact that’s what we imagine we’re doing. Or to conflate their innate physical nature with their beliefs as though arguing with one is the equivalent of addressing the other. That’s ostensibly Christ’s job as the mediator of our true condition. Real compassion is understanding and supporting that fact. Anything else is simple ignorance masquerading as “love” in the absence of real convictions. Convictions that cost nothing, make no social demands on the owner, accepts only what makes him comfortable in relation to others, and demands only that others sacrifice themselves for the sake of one’s own sense of false happiness and security. This is the impossible road the church embraces as truth in regards to sexuality. And it is a lie.

                What does happen under these circumstances is precisely what the Catholic Church in its collapsing authority wants to happen. If you deny who you are to yourself you will also deny who you are to everyone else, and to God. That takes an immeasurable toll on anyone’s life in a continuing fashion. Because if you deny truth to God, that’s the biggest sin of all. Sin of that nature is powerful. So powerful, it will destroy whoever succumbs to it. The Closet is not holy, it is not truth, it is not God’s intention, it is the flimsy work of man in service to a lie, and nothing built on lies lasts forever. That includes a sitting pope who is standing at the door of The Closet with the keys he claims Christ handed him to keep it shut.

                Arguments against homosexual marriage requires the believer to torture his intellect and his values to fit dogma that requires they believe that God’s natural order inflicts on hundreds of millions of people a sexual orientation they can never consummate or solemnize in a way that would honor His purposes. That these people, regardless of sin, cannot bear and rear children in accordance with God’s original intention. That Jesus demands celibacy of them, but not of you or me. That every marriage must be heterosexual — not to be virtuous or to benefit children, but to represent a “microcosm of humanity.”

                Buried beneath all this is an unscientific notion derived from Aquinas – that the universe is somehow perfectly gendered into two opposite and complementary halves. No one with any knowledge of contemporary biology or evolution could agree with this. And if Aquinas were alive today, he wouldn’t believe it either. The fact that you are a scientist, or claim to be one, should make the following data stream an easy win:

                Don’t like gay marriage? Don’t get one.
                Don’t like abortions? Don’t get one.
                Don’t like drugs? Don’t do them.
                Don’t like sex? Don’t have it.
                Don’t like your rights taken away?
                Don’t take away anybody else’s.

                I’m not Mr. Remy most of the time. Any more than Spartacus was a crowd of slaves with the same name. You can figure that out for yourself. I’m sure you will take comfort in the fact that the unaimed arrow never misses.

                • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

                  To take it one step further, if we accept that certain people truly do “love the sinner, hate the sin” do they go around asking gay and lesbian men and women if they are having sex before they decide if they want to accept them? Do those same people ask their straight friends whether or not they are having sex outside of marriage before they decide if they will allow them to enter into their circle of friends?

                  I would expect that most people have more respect for their friends than that and unless they are the sort of people who discuss sexual partners regularly probably don’t know whether or not their friends are having sex outside of marriage. Even if they do, would they directly relate that action with their sexual orientation? Of course not, they would condemn those specific actions. (Interestingly enough, though the church has always taught that sex outside of marriage is a problem, you don’t see the church trying to police sexual acts of the general society who aren’t religious).

                  More importantly, one can say to a straight man who is having sex with many women “you should marry and no longer sin.” But one can not similarly say that to a gay man other than “you should ignore your true self and either marry a woman or remain celibate for your entire life.” In neither instance is the gay man able to live an honest life. It is almost as if we assume that a gay man would remain celibate if he was not married (which would of course be silly because even most young heterosexual Catholics are unable to remain celibate until marriage).

                • John200

                  Good grief, Tangled, more own goals. The list of proposed questions
                  is too easy. All were answered at one time or another, many in this thread. I’ll
                  say it: You have many of the same questions because you don’t know your subject.
                  First, “evil” is a descriptor for a perverted act that is not sex. The act does
                  not demonize those who fall under its evil spell. The act is evil, and the weak
                  person commits the act to his (hopefully not eternal) detriment. Thus the mere fool
                  may end up as a damned fool. Don’t be that guy.

                  “(H)ate the sin; love the sinner” is a guideline for life. You know the
                  words, but your knowledge is so thin, you think it is just an “old familiar
                  platitude.” You should learn the wisdom in it.

                  “Buried……. confirmation.” is a most incompetent paragraph. I invite you to
                  present it to the next three people you meet. They will have different
                  interpretations, or none at all (depends on whether the three know English). Ditto
                  “It’s not merely… And it is a lie.” Go ahead, present it to someone fluent in English.
                  I won’t address “It’s not up to us to separate the sin from the sinner,…” since
                  it self-destructed in my hands.

                  You think I enjoyed that, but now I am going to do you some good. The Church
                  expects you to embrace the truth in regards to sex. It is not impossible, many millions
                  of saints have done it.

                  “(T)he Catholic Church in its collapsing authority” will welcome you into
                  the fold. Go see the priest. Not a silver ponytail dissenting Catholic. A real
                  priest who teaches orthodox RC faith is within easy driving distance. What are
                  you waiting for? Do you want to be this miserable forever?

                  “Arguments against homosexual marriage” are correct as you clearly see. “God’s
                  natural order” is against the unnatural. You cannot “consummate or solemnize (the
                  unnatural) in a way that would honor His purposes.”… “That Jesus demands celibacy
                  of them, but not of you or me” is false. You pretend to be a homo”sex”ual, so
                  he DOES indeed demand celibacy of you. I am not included in fake sex. And then
                  you rail against the proposition that, “every marriage must be heterosexual —
                  not to be virtuous or to benefit children, but to represent a ‘microcosm of
                  humanity.’ ” You do not know the purpose of marriage. I told you that a few
                  days ago. I meant it. You really don’t know.

                  Finally, I am a scientist. And your “easy wins” are a series of own goals. You
                  score repeatedly on your poor overworked goalie, mostly because you cannot tell
                  forward from backward. By the way, that goalie is getting mad at you. You
                  should stop it. Isn’t it about time???

              • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

                There is nothing inherently self-destructive about sodomy (for lack of a better word). Many straight couples engage in sodomy and nobody is policing what they do in the bedroom simply because they have an option to engage in sex you approve of. It is naive to assume that the only people in the country engaging in sodomy are gay and lesbian men and women. (Though i am linking you to an article on the Huffington Post, it links directly to a study from the CDC).
                http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/06/anal-sex-heterosexual-couples-report_n_1190440.html

                • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.brock.184 Timothy Brock

                  Thanks for the link, Paul. This is useful information and confirms what many of us have been saying about anal intercourse. It is practiced by some heterosexuals and some homosexuals, and so it cannot be used as an argument against either orientation.

                • John200

                  Thank you for the nonsensical opinion about sodomy. I know the HuffPo article very well. If you are a lawyer, you know better. Your word is your bond.

                  You should not lie so readily.

        • rich

          Libelous? Now i see! hey i have a question. R u a lawyer,ben??? u keep saying u r persecuted! but ur real agenda is to do the same to people of conscience! I can see it now! u won’t stop till we r all in concentration camps!!!! WOW

      • Mark

        “We hardline Catholics must await the scientific discovery of the elusive
        ‘homosexual gene’. Until then we choose to “hate the sin, but love the
        sinner”.

        Jerry, if you were more open minded, I think you would understand that the elusive ‘homosexual gene’ is hiding somewhere among the flamboyant gene, the lisping gene and the bad relationship with your father gene.

    • krisviens

      funny how when Jesus Christ told his follower that he was the bread come down from heaven they were shocked and said , who could endure such a teaching? They turned away because the teaching was too shocking. Yet, Christ did not call them back or say he was only kidding. He only turned to the twelve and asked if they would leave as well. Funny how when all the experts listed above gave over to the wisdom of the world, the Church still taught the truth and simply waits to find out how many of us will turn away. Sort of reminds me of Moses looking over the Hebrews, celebrating their love of the golden calf. He called to those who would follow him and who would serve the Lord God. All the experts in the world can agree on a lie, yet we must still look to the truth that has been and will be forever. Poor arguement. And yes, Christ said we would be treated as he was treated. So , pick up the cross and walk on…..

      • thebentangle

        Krisviens, this is a wonderful message that we should all take to heart.

      • http://twitter.com/pdmcguirelaw Paul McGuire

        Jesus also preached against the religious establishment at the time that was judging people based on minor infractions under the Jewish code of conduct. He said to them “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?” It is the height of human pride to suggest that preaching against the sins of homosexuality is more important than embracing the greatest commandment of all “Love one another.” The traditions of the church should not be used as a tool of oppression towards a group of outcasts.

    • Marlin

      Christ principle concern was redemption and saving souls. Before he
      cured the body, he cured the soul, and admonished the sinner to reform
      his life. I don’t believe Christ would have accepted homosexuality and
      same sex marriage. I don’t believe he had to make an issue of it; that
      few at the time doubted it was wrong, even if they were unable to live
      in accordance with that belief due to weakness. His mission included
      justifying the existing law by love.

      You offer scientific
      evidence that living in sin, living with sin, and accepting sin does not
      harm anyone. I don’t have an organized set of contradicting evidence
      to give you. I suspect that the real effects may not be easily
      connected with the cause, or may not become fully apparent for
      generations. The effect on a person’s soul will not become fully
      apparent until after his death. To me, the metaphysical issues are as
      important as the physical issues, and I don’t think the metaphysical
      issues can be answered merely by physical evidence.

      It’s been
      stated many times that the question of homosexual marriage is not a
      question of whether homosexuals can live together, pledge themselves to
      one another, celebrate their union, etc., but rather one of will society
      sanction this arrangement. As a Catholic member of society, I feel
      that I am being asked to sanction the building of a golden calf. An
      offering of scientific evidence that there are no harmful natural
      consequences from the building of a golden calf will not convince me
      otherwise, although I fully support science when it is being used to
      analyze an aspect of the physical domain. I am being asked to be a
      member of a society which offers its allegiance to a golden calf. How
      can I assent to that?

      I realize that many Catholics are
      being led to accept homosexual marriage as part of Christ’s message of
      love. A statistic I would be interested in is what percentage of
      activists for homosexual marriage see the primary purpose of religion as
      obedience to and union with God, as opposed to a social welfare
      program.

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  • thereserita

    We get the bishops we deserve. If the faithful were on fire, the bishops who do speak up wouldn’t find themselves out on a limb. Pointing fingers at “the bishops” is just too facile & adolescent.

  • BRG

    Actually, time will show that the development of lay governance boards at many Catholic colleges and universities in the US will be one of the factors that saves the Catholic identities of those institutions. The reason for this is that the religious orders that ran those institutions showed little interest in cultivating their Catholic character. What we now see at many institutions is a dynamic lay influence that takes seriously the strengthening of Catholic identity. It’s great news and it’s happening more widely than many people know.

  • thebentangle

    I just spent a couple of hours compiling data and discovered some revealing correlations concerning Catholic support for same-sex marriage in this country. The data is from each U.S. state’s religious demographic profile that is widely available from a number of sources.

    Here’s what is interesting: Same-sex marriage has been legalized in only one state that is NOT predominantly Catholic, and that is Delaware, where the largest denomination is Methodist. Eight of the nine states that have legalized SSM are in the 25 “most Catholic” states. Four of them are near the top of the ranking of “most Catholic,” at positions 3 (MA), 6 (NY), 7 (NH), and 8 (CT). Vermont is ranked as 18th “most Catholic.

    Of the states that are considering legalization of same-sex marriage this year, ALL are in the top 23 “most Catholic states, and in all of them, the largest denomination is Catholic. They are Rhode Island, New Jersey, Illinois, Vermont, Minnesota, and Hawaii.

    It appears that only the “least Catholic” states and the Mormon and Baptist states have succeeded in pushing back same-sex marriage legalization for the present.

    Catholics seem to be supporting same-sex marriage. In fact, Catholics may be among the staunchest supports of same-sex marriage. What do you make of that?

    • http://www.facebook.com/briana.grzybowski.3 Briana Grzybowski

      That they’re heretics and should leave the Church. It would do them and us Orthodox Catholics a huge service.

      • thebentangle

        Well, Briana, then I would agree with the author of this article that the Church is in one long, slow-motion train-wreck, and your hostility toward reform-minded Catholics is one of its causes. If you are willing to watch that wreck happen, then don’t let anything I say stop you. From my perspective as a gay man, the less power and moral authority the institutional Church has, the better. As Catholics continue to ignore or defect from the Church, its revenues will decline even further, as will its ability to propagate messages of hate and divisiveness.

        • http://www.facebook.com/briana.grzybowski.3 Briana Grzybowski

          I don’t know where the hell you got the idea that the Church is supposed to please people, but it’s not. Peter Jermann said in an article on this site that Jesus offended people all the time, and He was crucified for it. If we’re to imitate our Founder, we have to take up our cross as well. And besides, we have His promise that the very gates of Hell will not destroy His Church, so I think we’ll be just fine. Those who aren’t ok with that can be shown the exit.

          • thebentangle

            Go for it, Briana. Take up your cross. I urge you to spread this message everywhere. Thumb your nose at fellow Catholics and watch as more and more of the pews are empty on Sunday mornings. Soon there will be only a small number of hard-core Catholics who will meet several times weekly in rented spaces to discuss how horrible and ungodly homosexuality and contraception are. The Bishops will have to sell their mansions and their costly robes, and eventually there will be no funds to pay parish priests. Opus Dei will stop supporting Crisis Magazine and I can congratulate myself for a job well done and spend my time vexing the Baptists.

            • http://www.facebook.com/briana.grzybowski.3 Briana Grzybowski

              And the ones left over will be known as saints. You forgot that part.

              • thebentangle

                Yea, verily! Great will be their reward in Heaven. They will bask in the glory of the Heavenly Host and single hymns of praise for all eternity. Sainthood! By golly! What could be better than THAT?

                • http://www.facebook.com/briana.grzybowski.3 Briana Grzybowski

                  Nothing that I could think of.

                  • thebentangle

                    You are on the right path, my child!

                    • http://www.facebook.com/briana.grzybowski.3 Briana Grzybowski

                      If you think I’m on the right path, then you should join me. The more, the merrier.

              • yan

                To be a saint requires the living out of the virtue of charity in heroic measure. Please control yourself.

            • rich

              first of all ben the churchs already r empty and its because as Jesus said be hot or cold but lukwarm and i will vomit u out!!! i know u r offended when we say we love u put not the perverse unnatural sex act u want us to say is ok! sorry but like Jesus says all sin leads to death! and it is funny how those parish’s lead by holy orthodox catholic priest r full along with orders of nun and priest that have renewed their authentic catholic mission to be in this world but not of it, are exploding with vocations! u wouldnt wast u time with the baptists u know u have to destroy the one true faith! but don’t pat yourself on the back just yet! u have tried for 2000yrs without success! sorry, pal!

        • http://www.facebook.com/frodiak Kevin Swartz

          If you read the Gospels you will notice Our Lord never said He wanted to unite people. As a matter of fact He said it was his intention to do the opposite. Even to set a man against his son and a mother against her own daughter,etc…. “I came to set fire upon the earth and would that it were enkindled!” And before His ascension told his apostles to do the same. Doesn’t sound like “tolerance” to me. And if Catholics leave the Church, they cease to be Catholic and are become apostates.

          • thebentangle

            Catholics who leave the Church become apostates? Wow! Does that mean they burn in Hell for eternity? Will you be watching from Heaven as they writhe in torment? Will that complete your happiness or make you sad? If it makes you sad, then your happiness in Heaven will not be complete. Or maybe you will be lobotomized so that all memory of these apostates–many of them friends and family–is erased. Anyway, it will be a comfort to you in this life to know that they were wrong and you were right and that Jesus likes you and not them.

            What a grisly scenario! And Bob invites me to become a Christian! Maybe I really come to this site to feel relief that I do not believe such things.

            • Ford Oxaal

              Free will is a topic worth thinking about. In discovering truth, the Church usually just says what is not true. Here is how the Church has fenced off topics regarding free will, predestination, “the chosen”, etc — see the last paragraph on the Reprobation of the Damned here:

              http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12378a.htm

          • yan

            He wants to unite all men in the Church and so should you. And you shouldn’t be so blithe about the fact of people leaving it, even if you judge their beliefs to be unworthy of the name Catholic.

    • http://www.facebook.com/frodiak Kevin Swartz

      I think they all should repent of their cooperation in such a grave evil and obey Jesus’ commandments.

  • yan

    1. There were Catholic martyrs in England and N. Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the 18th c. there were Catholic martyrs in France. In the 19th, they were in SE Asia. In the 20th, they were in Spain, Mexico, Poland, Austria. Not to mention Christians of various stripes in other countries too.

    It’s the 21st c. Maybe it’s our turn.

    2. So don’t blame the bishops here, unless you want to blame them for what happened in those other places and times too. It’s just too convenient. What did the bishops in Spain and Portugal do wrong? The bishops in France?

    3. If history is any indication, a little bit of remedial catechesis is not going to usher in a new era of sweetness and light here.

    Love your bishops. You are going to need all the love you can muster if real persecution comes.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Describing the French hierarchy in 1789, the Catholic historian, Lord Acton wrote, “The bishops were rich, they were numerous, and they were not popular. Those among them who had been chosen by the Church itself for its supreme reward, the Cardinal’s hat—Rohan, Loménie de Brienne, Bernis, Montmorency and Talleyrand—were men notoriously of evil repute.”

      • yan

        I don’t believe Lord Acton was entirely disinterested in the matter. ‘Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely’ and all that. He was a political liberal and although Catholic, never sympathetic to the hierarchy. Even a liberal like Victor Hugo gives the bishops their due from time to time.

        in any event, I think it dubious to infer a cause and effect relationship existing between allegedly lackluster bishops and persecution of the Church.

  • John200

    I clicked my way to the USCCB’s strategic plan. Having written 100s of strategic plans, most for pay, I can claim a lively interest…. It left me speechless. I hope Mr. Manion is mistaken and that our bishops did not waste much money on this little adventure.

    May I look away now?

  • John

    Dear Bishops, do as the old hymn says, “Stand up, stand up for Jesus as soldiers of the cross. Lift high his royal
    banner; it must not suffer loss.” Let the fire of the Holy Spirit guide you and guide us all. And thanks to Christopher Manion for a solid analysis of the times.

  • Ford Oxaal

    Once the convents emptied out, the bishops have less consecrated virgins to pray for them. It shows.

  • Titus

    I hope I will be excused if I do not participate in the comment-box squabble consuming most of the previous ninety comments. Instead, I have a single question that I wonder if Mr. Manion would be kind enough to answer.

    Mr. Manion writes: “LBJ had opened wide the spigots in the hot tub for Catholic universities
    who would hand over their operations to a lay board of trustees and
    camouflage their Catholic character.”

    Would it be possible, please, to have a citation for this assertion, particularly the claim that federal education funding enacted during the Johnson administration was tied to or required recipient institutions to be controlled by secular laymen or otherwise “camouflage their Catholic character.”

    I’m not disputing the veracity of the statement. I simply want to examine the basis for the claim, including the relevant statutes and regulations, for myself. Anyone providing assistance has my thanks in advance.

    • Christopher Manion

      Sorry for the delay, I just saw your question.

      Get a copy of “What Happened to Notre Dame” by Charles Rice, ND Constitutional Law professor (St. Augustine’s Press). It tells the whole story — of the “Land o’Lakes charter signed by Catholic universities in 1967 declaring independence from the Church and, thus, their availability for receiving federal funds from LBJ’s “Omnibus Education Act.”

      It will answer all your questions and more.

      • Titus

        I had Prof. Rice for class; it’s been many, many years, however, since he taught Constitutional Law at Notre Dame: his current course load is strictly jurisprudence. I have not gotten around to reading this particular book, although it has been on my list. I will have to look into both it and the act in question, although a few seconds googling suggests that the common name for the latter is the Higher Education Act of 1965. Many thanks for the response, Mr. Manion.

        • Christopher Manion

          You’re fortunate. I took his Con Law class 38 years ago. Terrific.

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