Can Some Same-Sex Attractions Not Be Disordered?

Are there some same-sex sexual attractions that are not disordered inclinations? Melinda Selmys, among those dubbed the “new homophiles” by Austin Ruse, seems to think so. At the “Spiritual Friendship” blog, Selmys presents this thesis under the title “Still Looking to Desire.”

Now, I consider Melinda and everyone at the “Spiritual Friendship” blog to be my brother or sister in Christ. In fact, if compassion and Christian charity are good indicators, I know the “new homophiles” are closer to the Kingdom of Heaven than I am. So, while I am offering here a corrective about understanding same-sex attraction, it is offered in hopes of further enhancing, rather than diminishing, their commendable service to others in Christ.

That said, I think there are four problems with Selmys’ post:

1. She gives the impression that “homoerotic desires” have no clear remedy.

2. She asserts that the Church teaches that homosexual inclinations are not always objectively disordered but are only disordered “in so far as they concern the desire to have same-sex genital relations.”

3. She appeals to the Genesis example of Eve’s desire for the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil as an example of “ordered desire” that compares with an “ordered” version of same-sex attraction.

4. She concludes that same-sex attraction is justifiable as a legitimate form of desire for “union” with a person of the same sex in the context of a “vast” communion of persons (the entire human race).

No Remedy for Concupiscence?
Selmys says: “…no amount of theological speculation has ever proved capable of preventing ‘concupiscent movements of the flesh,’ nor can any amount of moralistic diatribe prevent homosexual persons from having homoerotic desires.”

While unwilled sexual impulses can indeed be difficult to address, Selmys seems to run counter to both Aquinas and Blessed Pope John Paul II in basically saying that we’re all stuck with our unwilled and disordered sexual desires. Aquinas says that concupiscence does have a remedy—grace. And in his “Theology of the Body,” Blessed Pope John Paul II says that pursuing “purity of heart” can liberate us from the “domination of concupiscence.”

Habitually seeking the virtue of chastity and pursuing self-mastery through a life of grace can indeed remedy concupiscence—even homoerotic desires. Grace can replace the “disordered” with order. Blessed Pope John Paul II calls this a task “truly worthy of man.”

What Does the Church Teach?
Selmys asserts that “hard-line traditionalists tend to assume that same-sex attraction is fundamentally objectively disordered in all of its aspects.” She attempts to counter this “hard-line” idea by appealing to a 2011 document from the doctrinal commission of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (“Pastoral Ministry to Young People with Same-Sex Attraction”), claiming that the commission leaves room for ordered same-sex attraction by saying only concupiscent same-sex attraction is disordered.

Does this document say this? No. It says:

2. In this document the expression “person with same-sex attraction” refers to one who feels an erotic and emotional attraction, which is predominant and not merely episodic, towards persons of the same sex, whether with or without sexual relations.

The commission defines “person with same-sex attraction” in a manner that includes not merely a desire for homogenital sex but also the “erotic and emotional attraction” to persons of the same sex. It also says:

6. …While homosexual acts are always objectively wrong, same-sex inclinations are not in themselves sinful or a moral failing. To the extent that a same-sex attraction is not freely chosen, there is no personal culpability in having such an inclination. Nonetheless, when oriented toward genital activity, this inclination is “objectively disordered.”

Selmys concludes from this that same-sex attraction is disordered only when “oriented toward genital activity.” That is, if same-sex attraction is oriented toward something other than genital activity, it can be considered properly “ordered.”

But look again at what the commission says: To the extent that a same-sex attraction [previously defined to include “erotic and emotional attraction”] is not freely chosen, there is no personal culpability in having such an inclination. Thus it’s not sinful to experience such an attraction as long as the attraction is not willed.  But if Selmys is right, then the commission is asserting that such attractions are properly “ordered” as long as they aren’t oriented toward “genital activity,” which raises an all-important question: If such “non-genital-activity-oriented” same-sex attractions are in themselves properly “ordered,” why can’t they be willed without incurring moral guilt?

Selmys is simply wrong on this point—the commission clearly indicates that the “erotic and emotional attraction” that falls under its definition of same-sex attraction is free from personal culpability only if it is not freely willed. And this means that the commission is not making a distinction between ordered and disordered same-sex attractions: rather, like the Church’s Magisterium teaches, all such attractions are disordered.

What About the “Beginning”?
Selmys then invokes the example of Eve in the Genesis account of the fall. She says that Eve “does not have concupiscence clouding her judgement” and thus provides a precedent for understanding that same-sex attraction is no more a “disordered desire” than is Eve’s desire for the forbidden fruit.

I see this as a major misunderstanding of temptation and concupiscence. Here concupiscence refers to the wounded human nature’s inability to, interiorly, always keep our appetites and passions subordinated to our intellect and will. Adam and Eve, recipients of the preternatural gift of grace that enabled them to always maintain appetites and passions in accord with reason, had no “concupiscence.” But what does this really mean? It means they were not subject to temptations arising as impulses from any disorder within themselves. This is precisely why the Tempter had to actively tempt Adam and Eve from outside themselves.

Thus Eve’s experience of temptation is still an objective experience of “disordered desire” regardless of whether the origin is from within (like we experience with concupiscence) or from the outside (like we can all experience from external forces just like Adam and Eve—and Jesus–did with Satan). Selmys is wrong to infer that Eve’s experience of external temptation was not an objectively disordered experience simply because it didn’t originate from within (concupiscence).

Is Eros for “the One” or for “the All”?
Selmys sees the example of Eve as leading to the conclusion that it’s okay for a woman to experience sexual attraction to another woman—that desire for union with an attractive woman “in the vast communio personarum” is “not disordered in and of itself” but only becomes disordered when directed toward something “forbidden.”

She is basically concluding that experiencing erotic and emotional attraction toward someone of the same sex is not always forbidden after all. So, if she’s right, then something that isn’t “disordered” can be willed, right? Yet, the bishops’ statement above suggests that one incurs moral guilt for freely choosing to experience erotic and emotional attraction toward someone of the same sex!

Here is the problem: Selmys is opting to appeal to “eros” in a way that goes well beyond anything ever said about it by the likes of Pope Benedict XVI and Blessed Pope John Paul II. First, sexual attraction is part of “eros” but is not eros itself. The purpose of sexual attraction (the impulse that arises as a human experience of the sexual values of another) is to help lead us to “the one”—the espoused, the beloved. The purpose of “eros” as a personal experience is to help lead us either to “the one” (our espoused, our beloved) or to help lead us to “The One” (our Bridegroom, Christ).

I cannot agree with Selmys that, when one is predominantly attracted to the sexual values of a person of the same sex as opposed to the opposite sex, we can call such attraction ordered toward the good, the beautiful, the true. Why? Because by definition the attraction is reductively objectifying; and it simultaneously excludes attraction to the opposite sex. As such, Selmys can’t really support the supposed “good” of this attraction by claiming it’s a participation in the communion of persons of “the All” of the human race, so to speak. It’s only a reductive attraction to “the Some,” not “the All.”

Selmys is unfortunately wrong to conclude that the “initial erotic impulse” of same-sex attraction can ever be considered “ordered” and worthy of being “willed.” Catholics need to stand fast in witness to the truth of God’s plan for us that sexual attraction exists to lead us to spouses—either a man’s bride, a woman’s bridegroom, or our eternal Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.

Editor’s note: The image above is a detail from a 1528 painting of Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

Deacon Jim Russell

By

Deacon Jim Russell serves the Archdiocese of St. Louis and writes on topics of marriage, family, and sexuality from a Catholic perspective.

  • Melinda Selmys

    Hi Deacon Jim,

    I’ve queried the editors to see if they’re interested in a response to this. If they’re not, I don’t see a lot of point in going over this again in yet another com-box. I kind of feel that there’s a significant disequilibrium in our relationship in so far as I have my cards on the table — everybody knows why I am personally invested in this issue and why I write about it so much. I have no idea why you continue to invest so much of your time and energy into having this discussion. I don’t think headway can be made until I have some idea of where you’re coming from and why this matters to you.

    • ForChristAlone

      Is this intended to shut down comment from the other side?

      • Mark

        If he believes that the New Homophile position is heresy, and THAT’S his concern, he should come out and say that, and at that point it becomes a question of appealing to authority so we need not engage in these philosophical games. He should just denounce us to the CDF and see how they respond.

        But if it’s a question of him advocating for his “tolerated opinion” then one wonders why THIS has become his pet issue. I mean, if these were lofty questions of grace and free will, ala Molinists vs Thomists, one could see why one might argue.

        But if he’s spending hundreds of hours arguing for a heteronormative queer-negative theology that doesn’t even have any particular practical effect…one wonders what bee got in his bonnet.

        • We need a theology to have heteronormative, queer-negative culture? I thought God did that in the Garden of Eden!

          • Tim

            You claim to “act neurotypical” in order to not entertain your autistic “disorder”…but don’t you realize your obsession with the literal “mathematical meaning of the term normal” (this isn’t the first time you’ve brought that up) as if that has or should have some relevance socially/culturally…is an extremely autistic trait??

            • Language should have relevance socially and culturally, if we are going to have civilization. The entire point is to point out that society has abandoned civilization- that to assume homonormative is to have lost the culture war entirely.

      • John200

        “truth does matter after all.” To you and me and Deacon Jim, yes.

        To the PoMo, not so. She gets to make up the truth as needed. She needs to make up the truth.

        Now you can perhaps make some headway. But I would drop it, the PoMo knows little of the truth, dislikes what little she knows, and does not intend to learn more.

        Best to you and yours.

    • Hi, Melinda–thanks for the comment. I want to say at the outset that, if there is any aspect of how I’ve presented your thoughts on this that is inaccurate, I would welcome and appreciate a combox correction or two.
      You ask why I am invested in this discussion–and it’s pretty simple. The truth about human sexuality is likely the defining central moral issue of our time, in my view. And regarding issues associated with homosexuality, just as with all the other issues pertaining to sexuality, there can be no adequate pastoral response to assist our brothers and sisters unless that response has its origin in truth. I have no doubt you believe that as well, so it looks like we both have an opportunity to work hard to understand and express that truth.

      • Guest

        Another great piece. Many thanks. I congratulate you on your clear moral reasoning and on your compassionate response to those who perpetuate this propaganda. I cannot read their hearts but their words on this topic are not consistent with Church teaching.

        Why we need to parse this out is troubling. It is one more example of walking up to the moral line and claiming one is faithful while leaning over it so much that one looks like they are on the other side.

      • Aaron Taylor

        Collapsing “emotional,” “erotic,” and “genital” attractions into the same category of relationality really gives way too much ground to the sexual revolution. Its a common tactic I’ve noticed among TOB-enthusiasts who seem to sign on to the the fundamentally flawed premise of modernity that latent sexual desire is somehow implicated in all of our relationships, and that, in turn, all of human relationality is ordered back toward sex. This is not an “adequate pastoral response” to anything at all.

        Saying that “emotional attraction” between people of the same sex is “disordered” is so vague and unspecified it basically prohibits *all* friendship or significant relationships between people of the same-sex, even between people who are completely heterosexual!

        • Hi, Aaron–thanks for the comment.
          1. What is a “TOB enthusiast”? Someone who accepts the papal magisterium of Blessed Pope John Paul II? If so, I guess that’s me.
          2. The quote from the Canadian bishops mentions a “predominant” “erotic and emotional attraction,” which I take to mean not merely emotional but some combination of eros/emotion. So I don’t think anyone is saying that merely emotional attraction to someone is disordered, right?

          • Aaron Taylor

            Jim, there is a difference between “accepting the papal magisterium of Blessed John Paul II” and folk like Christopher West et. al.

            As for the Canadian bishops, you are attempting the same misreading here that you attempted on the English bishops document over at Spiritual Friendship. The Canadian bishops say that the so called “eros/emotion” inclination of which you speak is objectively disordered **when** oriented toward genital activity. It doesn’t comment on the question of whether a) it is ever possible for it to be oriented toward anything else, or b) whether such an ordering would be disordered or not.

            • Aaron–the Canadian bishops clearly state: “2. In this document the expression “person with same-sex attraction” refers to one who feels an erotic and emotional attraction, which is predominant and not merely episodic, towards persons of the same sex, whether with or without sexual relations. ”
              Don’t you want to agree that this means that “same-sex attraction” is *not* dependent upon whether “sexual relations” is part of the attraction?

              Next, the Bishops say: “To the extent that a same-sex attraction is not freely chosen, there is no personal culpability in having such an inclination. ”

              Isn’t it correct to infer that this means that, to the extent that a same-sex attraction *is* freely chosen, there *is* personal culpability?

              • Aaron Taylor

                Jim, you’re just dodging the point I made.

                • No–not dodging. Attempting to provide all the context that comes before the text you’ve cited.

                  1. the bishops define same-sex attraction in a way that does *not* necessarily include “sexual relations.”

                  2. the bishops make clear that such attractions are culpable only when “freely chosen.”

                  3. THEN the bishops say “Nonetheless, when oriented toward genital activity, this inclination is “objectively disordered.”
                  They simply never say the objective disorder is *only* present when the attraction is “oriented toward genital activity.” Rather, they say in context that, despite the *non-culpability* of unwilled same-sex attraction, when such an unwilled sexual attraction *is* oriented toward genital activity, it’s objectively disordered.
                  That statement doesn’t negate the conclusion I draw from #2 above: namely, that same-sex attractions–including erotic-emotional attractions that exist *apart* from sexual relations–are culpable when freely chosen.

                  • Mark

                    I don’t think you can read that much into the “not culpable when not freely chosen” statement. I don’t think that’s intended to mean “If they were freely chosen, they would be!” and I think it’s a stretch to read it like that.

                    I think the bishops are merely trying to make the point that many gay activists make: that calling homosexual orientation a sin doesn’t even make sense, as homosexual orientation isn’t even something freely chosen, so it makes no sense to even analyze it according to the paradigm of personal culpability.

                    I don’t think it was intended to imply that IF we COULD analyze it according to free choice, it would be culpable. Merely that we can’t even analyze it that way because it isn’t a choice, so it’s a moot point: there can’t be any question of culpability for something unchosen, and homosexuality is unchosen. So the question ends there. It isn’t meant to refer to hypotheticals about “What if it WERE chosen?”

                    That’s not how language works. If I say, “Inasmuch as a woman is not even able to be ordained to the priesthood, she certainly cannot be ordained to the episcopate” this doesn’t mean that “if” women (in some absurd hypothetical) could be ordained priests, then they could necessarily be ordained bishops too. That doesn’t follow. In a world where women could become presbyters, maybe they could become bishops too, maybe they couldn’t. There’s no way to say because that’s a counterfactual situation in the first place, and the statement isn’t intending to say anything about it. You’re acting as if a statement also conveys the contrapositive, which is just bad logic.

                    As any mainstream person in our culture would read this, the Canadian bishops’ framing is essentially “apologetic.” It strives to emphasize in the first two clauses that “We’re not saying that being gay is bad or a sin!” and only in the third clause reluctantly pays lip-service to “objectively disordered,” but taking great pains to emphasize “But only in this incredibly circumscribed sense!”

              • Mark

                But Jim, you’re switching around terms here.

                No one denies that “same sex attraction” is still same sex attraction whether or not sexual attraction is part of the attraction. Indeed, that’s what the “New Homophiles” argue: that there are same-sex attractions that don’t involve sexual relations.

                The question, though, is when “same sex attractions” constitute the “inclinations” that the Catechism calls “objectively disordered.” And the Canadian bishops are quite clear: same sex attractions are only disordered WHEN oriented towards genital activity.

                I don’t see why you think it’s a big point for your argument at all that “same sex attractions” are defined as not necessarily including genital relations: that’s exactly what we’re saying! This would only be problematic for us if you “beg the question” and ALREADY are assuming that “same sex attractions” are all disordered.

                But the Church doesn’t say that. It says that “homosexual inclinations” [inclinations oriented towards same-sex genital activity] are disordered. But what the Canadian bishops say, and what the New Homophiles have been arguing, is that not ALL same-sex attraction is reducible to these inclinations.

                • “And the Canadian bishops are quite clear: same sex attractions are only disordered WHEN oriented towards genital activity.”
                  Why do you add the word “only” to what the bishops say?

                  • Mark

                    Because it would be entirely disingenuous to act as if the “when” clause was anything other than a restrictive clause. There’s no reason to add it if they meant “It’s disordered when it is oriented to same-sex genital activity (but also when it’s not, when it’s oriented to other things; but we’re just going to mention only the former arbitrarily but not the latter).”

                    The “when” clause is clearly a restrictive clause. There is no other meaningful way to interpret it.

                    • I’d say “look again,” but it seems pointless. Mark, here is what the Church teaches:
                      Same-sex attraction is always objectively disordered.

                    • Mark

                      Except it has no where phrased it as simply as that, so you’re forced to make an elaborate argument taking this statement here and interpretting it one way and trying to validate that interpretation by taking another reference from over here out of context and combining it with the unspoken “implications” of this other statement and then pretending like certain things are equivalent that aren’t while also making distinctions where there aren’t any and somehow a+b+c+d-e = the result you want.

                      The Church doesn’t plainly teaching what you say. AT MOST your argument can claim that what you say is the inevitable logical result of all the various things the Church DOES say. Except, obviously, other people disagree. Other people see the dots connecting in quite a different way.

              • HenryBowers

                Hi Jim, denying the antecedent won’t get you out of the woods. It may be said that no involuntary face-slaps are morally culpable, but voluntary face-slaps in a stage play are also non-culpable. So we need to argue your position on other grounds, which I think you’ve done.

            • Guest

              But, changing the name of some item or how you categorize it does not change its essence. If you restrict some category to the point it no longer exists then you have some other item.

              IOW, if you take the “homosexual” aspect out of the discussion then you are now talking about some other entity.

              Also, in which one of JPII’s Wednesday talks did he ever condone homosexual desire of any category?

              • Aaron Taylor

                The “homosexual aspect” is not a traditional category of analysis in Catholic moral theology. Sodomy is.

                If two heterosexual men commit an act of sodomy in a prison because there are no women around, does it make it any less of a sin because they don’t have an “erotic and emotional” attraction to each other? No.

                Or let’s say a married man commits adultery by engaging in sodomitical sex acts with a woman other than his wife. Are these acts somehow less wrong because they are not the expression of an “erotic and emotional” attraction “toward persons of the same sex”? No.

                Sodomy is sodomy, period. The attempt to import “homosexuality” or “same-sex attraction” into Catholic ethics as categories of *moral* analysis effectively creates a novel and misleading distinction between two types of sodomy, in which one type of sodomy would be OK, or at least less sinful, provided it was not an expression of homosexual eros. From a traditional Catholic standpoint, this is so patently false I don’t think it needs further explanation.

                • ***The “homosexual aspect” is not a traditional category of analysis in Catholic moral theology. Sodomy is.***
                  Well, then it’s a very helpful thing that the Magisterium has clearly covered both “eros” and the “homosexual aspect” in its *contemporary* moral theological analysis…

                  • Aaron Taylor

                    Do you deny that both of the cases of sin mentioned above are equally grave, Jim?

                    • Not sure, as I’ve not studied the specifics on this. Would you have any traditional sources in mind that you could point me to on this question? I do think it’s reasonable to assert that “sodomy” arising from sexual attraction between a man and a woman clearly does not include the objective disorder of same-sex attraction. So, the sin is arising from a disordered sexual desire, but not one identical to same-sex attraction.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      That’s the whole point, Jim. “Traditional sources” give a blanket condemnation of sodomy. The idea of “homosexuality” is a modern social construct so you won’t find it in moral literature at all prior to the 19th century (i.e., for the first 19 centuries of Christian history!). Michael Hannon (who is also, incidentally, a critic of some of our work at SF) had a good essay on this in First Things last month: http://www.firstthings.com/article/2014/03/against-heterosexuality

                      Now let’s get this straight (excuse the pun). Do you think it’s “reasonable to assert” that anal buggery between two men is less grave provided they don’t find each other attractive and they are just doing it to to relieve sexual tension, since it “does not include the objective disorder of same-sex attraction”?

                    • Aaron–help me understand the context a bit more: is the “blanket condemnation of sodomy” in the “traditional sources,” in your view, *strictly* and *only* referring to the act you identify above, *necessarily* involving one man and either a man or a woman?
                      Attempting to answer your question: when referring to “sexual attraction”, the reference is to a person’s response to the sexual values of another person (hopefully it’s a person). To the extent that “sodomy” occurs without such a response–but is itself a misuse of the person–male or female–as an *object* without reference at all to sexual values, it bears *less* correspondence to a “personal act” and would presumably be in that sense *more* grave because it is less in accord with natural law.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Thanks Jim. The answer you give above sort of evades my question (not saying it’s deliberate, of course), so I’ll try to phrase it more succinctly. For a moment, let’s leave opposite-sex sodomy out of the picture. Take these three cases:

                      Case A) A man commits sodomy with an anonymous stranger in order to satisfy his lust.

                      Case B) A man commits sodomy with a male prostitute to satisfy his lust.

                      Case B) Two men commit sodomy born of an emotional and erotic interpersonal attraction.

                      You claim that same-sex “emotional” attraction is disordered even when *not* genitally-ordered. This would mean that cases (A) and (B) are *less* grave than case (C) because case (C), in addition to the malice of sodomy, also includes the malice of “non-genitaly bound emotional and erotic” attraction.

                      That being said, do you think that cases (A) and (B) are less grave than case (C)?

                      With regards to the traditional sources, you are welcome to email me. I’d rather not go into the details of such a delicate matter here (there’s a good reason that moral manualists used to write the section on the 6th commandment in Latin even when the rest was in the vernacular … )

                    • I think the question hinges upon whether any form of sexual *attraction* (ordered or disordered) is at work in the equation. For example, cases A and B suggest a purely self-directed form of lust at work rather than “attraction” to the sexual values of another person. Both the stranger and prostitute function “subhumanly,” as I see it. They are mere objects to the lustful man.
                      In case C, I would point out that sodomy has “malice” but same-sex attraction is “disorder”. But, even so, in this example I don’t see that the presence of disordered attraction creates a *more* grave case. Rather, *every* impulse of sexual attraction must be reckoned with in the heart and constitutes its *own* moral decision. It may be that these impulses, when *willed*, add to the moral gravity of Case C, but both A and B seem much more grave at the outset than the third example.
                      And I’m not trying to be evasive–but maybe the question is more complicated than you originally thought?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      OK, I obviously still didn’t make it clear. Yes I’m assuming that in Case C the “emotional” attraction is “willed,” or at least accepted by the will, since it is a part of a sex act which is willed. The analysis you lay out in your article would mean Case C is therefore *more* grave than Cases A and B because it includes an *additional* disordered element.

                    • I don’t think it’s “additional” disorder but rather *different* disorder in Case C. In A and B the absence *altogether* of a willed or unwilled sexual attraction is disordered. In C the presence of a willed same-sex attraction is disordered. And I don’t know how to compare the relative gravities of these acts, frankly.
                      That’s how I’m understanding your examples, at least.
                      But, let’s say hypothetically one agreed that Case C is the most grave of the three–what would that mean for our conversation?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      If you hypothetically agreed Case C is the most grave, it would confirm what I said above that your theory actually sets up a false hierarchy of sin which soft-pedals the sin of sodomy in almost every case *except* where it occurs between emotionally attracted gay partners, because this case includes an added malice of volitionally approved emotional SSA.

                      There’s a bigger point here that I’m worried about, however. This seems to be connected to a tendency I’ve noticed in the *practice* of some conservative American Catholics.

                      Conservatives claim that all homosexual sex is sinful. But in practice homosexuals who go out and have risky and anonymous sex with strangers are treated with extreme indulgence as long as they claim to be sorry and say they are “struggling” against temptation. As long as they use the right *words* to describe their sexual experiences, basically. This often applies even when said homosexuals are married and cheating on their wives by having compulsive homosexual sex. They are patted on the back as long as they are “struggling” and as long as they don’t use taboo words like “gay.” Yet gay couples who might actually have a lot *less* homosexual sex, and whose sex lives are at least grounded in some kind of human interpersonal connection, are treated as if they are committing a worse sin. Thus, the classical Christian idea of chastity as a form of sexual *behavior* is actually replaced by a newfangled idea of chastity as a form of intellectual conformity to conservative ideology.

                      Your article is not the first one I’ve read that basically argues the same thing you are arguing about emotional attraction constituting an additional malice. So it seems to me that conservative Catholicism is now beginning to move from the realm of *practice* into the realm of a *theory* that justifies the established practice.

                    • Hmmm. So, from your view, might it be fair to say that you see my above article as arising from a conservative American TOB enthusiast employing certain tactics to create a theory to justify previous conservative ideologically driven practices that are more or less discriminatory against those with same-sex attraction?
                      The problem, I suppose, is that I’m not willing to acquiesce to the moral “hierarchy” of sin you’re suggesting, as it seems counterintuitive…

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      No, that’s not what I’m trying to say. I’m sorry if I sounded like I was accusing you on a personal level, that isn’t what I meant. Let me try and explain better …

                      I can’t read your intentions or heart. I’m assuming charitable and honest motives on your part as a personal individual. I think you just want to help people, even if I think you are mistaken. But I’m not asking so much what led you to put forward this theory on a personal level, but about the social context in which theories like the one you are putting forward suddenly seem so attractive to a large number of Catholics. The question is not, “why did Jim write this?,” but “why is the time ripe for people to hear what Jim has to say?”

                      And yes, I think that part of that social context is a need for conservatives to justify discriminatory attitudes toward homosexuals. Just look at the figures. Various estimates tell us that between 96 and 97% of Catholics use contraception at some point, which the Church tells us is a sin against nature. Conservative Catholics constitute a *much* bigger proportion of the Church than 3 or 4%, and even if we assume a proportion of these people are penitent, there still must be a *lot* of people out there with guilty consciences who are looking to justify their sins. Are we meant to assume that it is merely a coincidence that at a time when contraceptive has risen among conservatives, we also see discriminatory practices against homosexuals on the rise? It looks like a classic case of scapegoating to me.

                    • Thanks for the response, Aaron. But, truthfully, I’m just trying to keep it pretty simple: the cultural crisis we are facing over human sexuality is all very much interrelated, which I’m sure we agree on. The very meaning of marriage, while having been under attack through history, is being obliterated on several fronts at once: divorce, cohabitation, contraception, same-sex ‘marriage’ to name four. I think we’ve got to respond to culture on all fronts at once–including issues pertaining to homosexuality. Ultimately things change for better by changing one soul at a time–which we can do if our pastoral outreach is grounded in the truth of God’s plan.
                      That’s pretty much in one paragraph why I’m challenging the claim that same-sex attraction and “homo-eros” are order-able to the good.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      You are not in fact keeping it simple, though, even if that is your intention. Traditional Catholic moral theology is fairly simple, yes. But you are trying to introduce novel distinctions which, as I’ve pointed out, make matters much more complicated. The fact that you yourself say that the hierarchy of sin that arises from your theory is “counter-intuitive” and you don’t want to accept it speaks volumes on this point.

                    • Not so, Aaron–your claim of a “hierarchy of sin” tethered to my “theory” (what theory, btw?) is of your own making, not mine.
                      Our disagreement actually seems to be pretty fundamental (and in the title of the article): Can some same-sex attractions be not disordered? You say yes, and I’m saying the Church says no….

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      I’m not “making” a hierarchy of sin, I’m just pointing out what is already implicated in your attempt to introduce homo-emotional attractions as a new species of sin into Catholic moral thought. You say that these implications are “counter-intuitive” but you don’t seem to be able to refute the claim that they are logically implicated in your argument, and you say you are “not sure” about basic questions like whether anal buggery between men is worse when the partners are prostitutes and anonymous strangers or when they are emotionally attached partners. In other words, it sounds like this whole thing hasn’t been thought out very well.

                    • Mark

                      Exactly! There are so many contradictions here:

                      First, it is insisted that they’re just talking about a traditional condemnation that has always existed (ie, that of “homosexuality”)

                      Then, when it is pointed out that the condemnation actually targets only homo-genital activity specifically, and not “homo-eros” or any such concept in general…then suddenly there is a new, second sin, parallel to unnatural sex, which is the “disorder” of same sex romanticism or eros.

                      But, at the same time, while admitting that this is a separate category of sin, they can’t really say what traditional sin it is, so then they try to come back around and say that it still falls under the prohibition on sodomy somehow.

                      It’s crazy circles and loops!

                    • Mark

                      Right. What Jim’s theory serves to do is to justify why Catholics can tolerate a “boyfriend and girlfriend” in church (who are probably having sex before marriage, but we don’t-ask-don’t-tell and give them the benefit of the doubt), but can ostracize a gay couple even if they’re avowedly celibate, or hate on the Boy Scouts for allowing openly gay boys (even while still saying “no one this age should be sexually active one way or the other”) etc etc.

                      It’s trying to create a theoretical moral justification for a homophobia that might have only an extremely tenuous or marginal connection to the only thing that Catholic morals have really ever cared about: actual sexual behavior or lust for that behavior. It’s a way to resist new cultural constructs of gender relations.

                      It’s ironic: conservatives always scoff at the Supreme Court’s “emanations from penumbras” in their constitutional arguments about privacy. But then these anti-homophile theories seem to be, exactly-so, “emanations from penumbras” from the Church’s condemnation of sodomy.

                    • cpsho

                      Melinda et al of the New Homophiles, are searching for ways to satisfy their bodies and at the same time remain catholics-in -good-standing.
                      the problem is “God is spirit; and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth”

                    • Mark

                      “Malice” vs “Disorder”??

                      You seem to be saying something like, “Well of course we can’t condemn two men holding hands objectively, but inasmuch as it’s an expression of the ‘disorder’ of same-sex-attraction we can.”

                      But no other moral analysis works this way in Catholicism. It sounds like saying, “Well of course lining beans in a row is not objectively sinful, but if it’s an expression of OCD, it is ‘disordered.'”

                      But if that’s the sort of “disorder” you’re talking about (and imagine the Catechism is talking about) it’s unclear what it has to do with MORALITY or what authority the Church has to categorize like that.

                  • Aaron Taylor

                    Also it has not gone unnoticed that my previous comment seems to have mysteriously disappeared after I posted it, so I will restate the objection here:

                    The idea of a disordered “emotional” inclination toward the same-sex which you have put forth is so vaguely defined in both the article and subsequent comments (despite my pointing it out) that logically it would forbid same-sex attracted people from having any friendships at all.

                    • Guest

                      But the Church has spoken to this as well. She speaks of disinterested friendships to help folks with this burden.

                      No one would deny friendship to anyone.

                  • Guest

                    And this is the point. Your opponents trot out this assertion that the Church approves of some manner of same sex attraction as long as genital activity is not involved. This is a curious, convoluted, and circuitous type of reasoning.

                    Do you have any evidence this is some new teaching? It would contradict the order of theology and the order of reason it seems to me.

                    • schmenz

                      Well said.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      I’m not sure if any of Jim’s opponents have ever argued that “the Church approves” of non-genital same-sex attraction, any more than I would argue that “the Church approved” of my decision to wear a green sweater this morning, or “the Church approves” of the fact that I prefer pepperoni pizza to plain cheese. We’re merely refuting the assertion put forward by some conservatives that the Church *condemns* it.

                    • Guest

                      How are non moral issues equal to moral issues? One’a personal likes and dislikes regarding good and clothing are not in the same moral plane as sexual inclinations.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Circular reasoning. The argument is precisely about whether non-genital, platonic, emotional attractions to persons of the same-sex really constitutes a “moral” issue or not, and whether it really makes sense to talk about “sexual inclinations” that have nothing to do with actual sex.

                      As I said in a comment above, arguing that “emotional” attraction to a person of the same-sex constitutes a “sexual inclination” is grounded in the false Freudian premise that there are hidden “sexual” desires in all of our relations to other people, even when we are not aware of them.

                      If conservative Catholics want to promote Freud’s theories that’s OK but they must present them as what they are — Freudian ideology — and not claim to be expounding Catholic theology.

                    • But Aaron–no one is making “Freudian” claims. Rather, when you seek to justify what you elsewhere call “homo-eros”–particularly by basing “homo-eros” on same-sex sexual values while at the same time claiming it derives from *Platonic* “eros” (which is dualistically opposed to the flesh)–I think the challenge against this is very reasonable.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      If the claims aren’t Freudian, I would be interested to see an explanation of how “emotional” attraction constitutes a “sexual” inclination.

                    • Second reminder: the bishops said “erotic *and* emotional”….I don’t see Freud (numbered by JPII among the three “masters of suspicion” along with Marx and Nietsche) having a place at the table in this discussion…

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      The Freudian nature of the claim is in the elision of “emotional” attractions with “sexual inclinations.”

                    • Erotic and emotional, not erotic or emotional. Think “interwoven,” not either/or…

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Presumably a gay person ought never to form any sort of friendship with a person of the same-sex? If what you are saying is true it would be an occasion of sin. Who knows whether they might develop “emotions” toward them.

                    • Btw–this seems backwards–I’m defending the language used by the bishops’ statement *Melinda* cited originally. Isn’t your argument with them and not me? Alternatively, if they’re wrong in this claim, why cite them as a source to support your view of “homo-eros”?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      I have never cited the Canadian bishops document in any of my work, to support any of my claims, ever. I merely pointed out on this thread how you were misinterpreting it.

                      I’ve repeatedly pointed out the implications of what you are saying in terms of a) denying normal friendship to people with same-sex attractions (which would be an occasion of sin if what you are saying is correct) and b) creating a hierarchy of sexual sins against nature that reduces the gravity of sin as long as it is not committed by a person with same-sex attraction. You don’t really seem to have addressed (a) at all and you can’t answer (b), only saying you’re “not sure.” I think this conversation has probably reached its natural conclusion. Thank you for an interesting exchange.

                    • Okay, my mistake–I thought you and Melinda were on the same page regarding the Canadian bishops’ statement.
                      As to my “misinterpreting it”….
                      a) the CCC makes clear the kind of friendship to expect (#2359)–*disinterested* friendship. And grace is what makes such disinterested friendship possible so that it’s *not* an automatic “occasion of sin.” So, no, I don’t imply what you say above.
                      b) I claim no such “hierarchy of sexual sins” according your meaning of that phrase.
                      Still, thanks for commenting and conversing.

                  • Mark

                    It has not! If you can find a teaching that makes a distinction between “sodomy between two heterosexual men” and “sodomy between two homosexual men”…I’ll eat my hat. But there is no such distinction. Sodomy is sodomy. It’s psycho-emotional context or its relationship to this or that motive in the character of the particular sinner is irrelevant.

                  • Mark

                    Surely you know Jim that the magisterium can’t ADD anything to the Deposit of Faith. If it is not there in tradition, it can’t be there from “contemporary” teachings as if they can start adding things.

                • CadaveraVeroInnumero

                  Aaron,

                  It’s an old – and somewhat tiresome – question, but who “invented” the concept of homosexuality, and for what purpose?

                  As long as anal intercourse is not involved!!!!!!! One could take your fine-tuning to another kind of attraction . . . . .as you well know.

                • Guest

                  This is a false dichotomy you offer here. The issue is not about sodomy committed under various circumstances. The issue is that there is no Church teaching that says disordered attractions are ordered just because we live in a time of unbalanced thinking.

                  Where is this evidence that same sex attraction is in some way ordained by God? Let us finally see the moral and theological proofs.

                  • Mark

                    The burden of proof is not on proving the absence of condemnation.

                    Prove that dancing at weddings was ordained by God. Prove that having speed limits was ordained by God. Prove that saying Please and Thank You was ordained by God. Prove that being excited over a new episode of “Downton Abbey” is ordained by God.

                    Human behavior and feelings are innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around.

                    • Guest

                      This is just an example of moral relativism. You throw in dancing and saying please with a disordered desire.

                • TheAbaum

                  Or let’s say a married man commits adultery by engaging in sodomitical sex acts with his wife.

                  Still wrong.

          • schmenz

            Mr Russell:

            It is quite possible for a Catholic to respect the magisterium of the Church while at the same time finding John Paul II’s “theology of the body” to be highly problematic. In the fist place he was not defining a matter of morals to be held by the whole Church in an official “ex cathedra” manner. I hope that goes without saying.

            There is not much doubt in my mind at least that the Church will officially condemn this TOB, when the Church regains its equilibrium and sanity.

            I can respect John Paul for the many good things he said and did, but I cannot ignore his mistakes, of which there were far too many.

            • Thanks for the comment. Let’s pray that God’s will is done…

        • redfish

          You can make the same critique that you’re making from the other side, too. Saying “emotional attraction” between people of the same sex is “ordered” is also so vague and unspecified, you can’t distinguish the difference between the emotional bond that gay people have towards the same sex, and the emotional bond that straight people have towards the same sex — in Platonic or brotherly relationships — or say, the chaste appreciation of the body that straight people have for those of the same sex. Then, the logical conclusion that if a straight woman finds nude statues of women beautiful, or a straight man of men, then its a form of “sexuality.”

          But its not sexuality. What’s she’s really talking about is sublimating sexual desires.

          • Aaron Taylor

            Right, but I’m not the one trying to make the distinction. I tend to agree with you that we “can’t distinguish,” at least not in an absolute sense, “the difference between the emotional bond that gay people have towards the same sex, and the emotional bond that straight people have towards the same sex — in Platonic or brotherly relationships — or say, the chaste appreciation of the body that straight people have for those of the same sex.” That’s precisely why I don’t think we can say that “emotional” attractions to the same-sex are somehow “disordered.” Everyone has them, gay or straight. There’s nothing “sexual” about it in the sense that most people understand sexual today.

            • redfish

              Yea, but I don’t think its properly called “sexual” by any straightforward understanding of sexuality, not just how people understand the word. Although, I recognize not all sexual attraction is directly about having sex, I think it misunderstands what’s going on emotionally and psychologically to suggest its merely an affinity to bond with the opposite sex (or the same sex). A lot of people in my view “prettify” sexuality and make it something its not.

              On the other hand, I’d agree emotionally it can be deconstructed into many elements, and appreciation for beauty in the opposite sex for instance, can be separated from the rest, but its more than the sum of its parts, but the attraction can distort the other elements. Sexual attraction distorts people’s perception of beauty all the time.

            • CadaveraVeroInnumero

              ” . . .we “can’t distinguish,” at least not in an absolute sense, “the
              difference between the emotional bond that gay people have towards the
              same sex, and the emotional bond that straight people have towards the
              same sex . . .”

              Yes we can, Aaron.

              You want us (that is, the teaching of the Church) to get all tangled in the post-Freudian, postmodern gaming of language (severing words from referents, to begin with). Doing so, the conversation is stuck in the quagmire of shades of nuances, contextualizations and complexes.

              In such a fleshless, bodily bog of mind and spirit any “thing” (including these identities we are so attached to) can be manhandled into all sorts of ways. The folks over at Spiritual Friendship are very clever shape-shifters.

              Before I answer your above question, this: “essentialism” does have it part in this discussion. Where did I ever say that homosexuality is an essence that God created in Eden? If that is the case this argument if over, and “Side A” and “Side B” of the Spiritual Brothers can crawl under the same covers and have at it!

              What is “essential”, or, put another way, what is the essence of sex – though that is not its perfect wording – is the “essentialism” of the genesis of sex in God’s creative act, which was (is) full-blooded, lay down on the Eden’s Garden floor, heterosexuality (and I refuse to feign embarrassment in using that word).

              Adam has a longing no beast in Eden could satisfy, an emptiness which not even God his Creator could fill. His longing rid itself of its emptiness only when he beheld the Woman, Eve. It was more than friendship, for Adam did have that in abundance with the beasty creatures of the Garden, and with God himself. What Adam longed for was the telos (the ends) of that thing that dangled in front of him, which seemed to have no purpose, no place go, to end up, to rest its urgings upon. Until the Woman came along.

              This is the essence sex, the “essentialism” of having penises and vaginas! All else is deformation, dissension, disturbances, dissociations – and downright sin. Homosexuality participates in that essentialism by rebelling against it, by mocking it, by parodying it. Homosexuality affirms the essentialism of sex by insulting it as it attempts to muscle in (under cover of “spiritual friendship”?) into God’s act of creation: of molding Adam’s penis from the mud of the earth, and Eve’s vagina from Adam’s rib.

              Meditate on that imagery – let it judge and redeem.

              Again, have never stated that homosexuality is command of its own special “essentialism”. As with all sin, homosexuality keeps a tether (however frayed and bloodless) to the real thing from which it leeches a stolen identity As with all sin, homosexuality is a theft.

              The New Homophiles know that. They started this debate by pushing themselves forward as “gay” Catholic Christians, taking hostage our common want to be fair and compassionate. They knew we would take to this conversation our, also, common understanding of homosexuality, of what’s its like to be “gay”, including those sad tales of discrimination. They didn’t want us to dwell too much on the actual acts of “gay” sex, but they did not abuse us thinking that something special was going on. Everyone understood that it was all about sexual longings, desires, and inclinations.

              Of course, the New Homophiles assured us they were faithful Catholics being chaste and all that. Good for them. (Unless they were domiciled in Santa Cruz, Ca!) Even so, we accepted their word, offered our prayers and encouragement, and, in the recess of our minds, assumed that such a calling could not be kept perfectly. We, too, know what it’s like to be frail and tempted. We assumed that when they invited their “best” friend over for wine and a chat the bedroom was down the hall, and who would know or care if the door was shut. The New Homophiles never do get how tolerant we actually are, how Franciscan forgiving – for the confessional is only a parish church away.

              But something changed. The New Homophiles smelled the bloody scent of victory in the air and have now gone full bore. It was never about sex to begin with. Gay is not gay for being gay. Forget all this talk of penises, rectums, genital snuggling, and brotherly deep kisses. All of that is soooooo sodomish!

              For now our homosexual Catholic brethren, whom we thought were “gay” because they told us so (we even yielded to using their preferred tag), now declaim that being “gay” has nothing to do with sex, certainly not homosexual sex. Being “gay” is well . . . like you and your best friend shedding your skins and dressing up in each others flesh Something like that. They call it “Spiritual Friendship” because, in the end, it has nothing to do with bodily life, with flesh,, with penises and vaginas. It’s all about . . . not unconditional love, because it requires – to function as spiritualized friendship – a sexualized (“gender” specific) object to receive all this, supposedly, non-sexual balled-up emotions.

              At this point I can only recomment that you pop over to “Spiritual Friendship” (spiritualfriendship.org) and browse their latest postings. See for yourself how not only the rules but the game itself has been changed. It’s all about sexless gayness. “Gay” now has traveled (morphed and transformed) to something far removed from New York’s Stonewall Riots.

              Or has it? Was there, in Stonewall, something already hidden, obscured? I have always sensed that Stonewall was, in its “essence”, something more than some queens and club loungers having a bit of tease at the cops. It was more. Stonewall was a revolutionary act, a cosmic one, one could say, as much as Woodstock and Charles Mason with his knifing ladies in the canyons of Los Angeles.

              Stonewall was bound, like smoke, to filter into the Church, wrecking havoc. For Stonewall, I grant you, was more than abut sex – even homosexual sex; it was was about the total reconstruction of the human person; it was about voicing over God Word of creation, when from clay and a rib He created Male and Female.

              “Spiritual Friendship”, as defined by Melinda & Co. (and you), is that voice-over.

              No thanks. I do not need Boswell’s mischievous little book catechized. “Spiritual Friendship”, as so defined, is a snub against mankind’s (Adam’s) original longing for something other than himself (for the Woman, for Eve). The “Spiritual Friendship” boys want God to yank their ribs and fashion from it other boys, in their likeness. In that case “bone of my bone” is my bone! The “Friendship Boys” want to dethrone the proper, created, reign of Adam’s body: take Adam’s body and remold it to their liking. That would be a castration of God’s goodness, the manifestation of its “essence” as flesh. A visible sign, a swelling of God’s goodness, that only Eve, the woman could receive.

              I know what homosexuality is; had it in abundance each time I stepped into a car on the corner of Hollywood & Vine. I know what friendship is – with male and female; it is sweet, comforting, and, mostly, very rare. I know the love of woman – just ask, her.

              As for the commodification of friendship which the “Spiritual Friendship” boys dish out in heaps and piles – no thanks. Thought I spied them on Stonewall – I did (and do).

        • CadaveraVeroInnumero

          That’s silly Aaron. Same-Sex Attraction ALWAYS assumes and implies a sexual component. For friendship the reliable, old-fashion word – friendship will do.

          • Mark

            Cadavero,

            “Sexual component” only if by “sex” you mean that male or female is relevant. Not in the sense of genital activity.

            And that’s obvious. Would you deny that friendship between a straight man and straight woman is (or at least often can be) qualitatively different on account of their sexes and their orientations?

            Indeed, the Church has no category of “dating” in the deposit of faith, so all heterosexual couples dating are just a “special friendship,” no? Yes it could turn into marriage later, but until then there’s no need to recognize the relevance of their male and female sex or attraction to male and female, right?

            That’s where your logic leads, but of course it’s absurd and leaves something obvious out of experience.

            • CadaveraVeroInnumero

              What’s obvious, is that when Melinda & Co use the term “same-sex” attraction they are referencing their prior and present inclinations, or fundamental emotions, which if acted upon would be sexual acts. The potency (or latent energy) of those acts are bound up, even generated, by those deep seated attractions and inclinations. The condition is just as sexual as the act.

              Your supposed analogy does not work. You are asking us to equivocate between to sexual states of being which cannot be compared. The sexual inclination (attraction) towards a member of the same sex is always morally wrong, biologically disordered, and psychologically a state of dissociation. One cannot make a good from homosexual inclination (or attraction) for the working out (the ends) of that inclination is always sinful, disordered, and places the person in a state of dissociation.

              The evil of the act is in the inclination. This holds true for homosexuality as much as it does for pedophilia or murder.

              • Mark

                Again, it is YOU who are defining “the essential expression” of a gay orientation as gay sex. I don’t buy into such essentialism, and it’s really confusing as to how you can insist on such an essentialist intepretation of homosexuality given that you also allegedly believe that homosexuality was NOT an essence created by God.

                Being gay is no more essentially ordered towards gay sex than anger is ordered towards murder. Emotions don’t work like that. They don’t have “essential expressions.” They are “raw motivation material” that can be channeled into a variety of actions. They only become ordered towards one or the other when determined by a free act of the will.

      • Melinda Selmys

        Jim,

        That doesn’t answer my question at all. Nobody wastes hundreds of hours of their time arguing the same hyper-pedantic point without being somehow personally invested. I’m vulnerable in this discussion, you’re hiding behind a claim to be disinterestedly involved in finding “the truth.” I wish there was a way to actually have this conversation productively but unless something changes I don’t see any reason to expect a different result than we’ve had every other time.

        Melinda

        • Hi, Melinda–I have to presume you didn’t really mean to make it sound like what I’ve written is wasting time. (And it’s not actually hundreds of hours–I type pretty fast.)
          Yet, what you seem to suggest is that you don’t believe my motivation arises from being “personally invested” as a cleric in the Church founded by Jesus Christ. I understand you have a penchant for personal narrative, which I believe has been helpful to people, but I don’t think anyone has a right to someone else’s soul-baring narrative, nor that such a story must somehow be shared before engaging in dialogue regarding what the Church teaches or does not teach.
          But my hope remains that, if I’ve in any way misrepresented your views, please let me know either publicly or privately and I will do my best to correct anything I’ve misunderstood.

          • Melinda Selmys

            Hi Jim,

            It’s not that I think I have a right to your soul-baring narrative, it’s that we can’t have a

            • TheAbaum

              It’s not that I think I have a right to your soul-baring narrative, it’s that I’ve already given mine.

              Nobody has a right to “soul-baring” narrative. There’s a reason you go to confession alone and anonymously in many cases.

              • Objectivetruth

                Agreed. If someone has a “soul bearing narrative”, they’re spending way too much time focusing on themselves. Go out and focus on others: the poor, the sick, the elderly, the imprisoned, your family. You’ll see how blessed you are and be happier.

                Making yourself the third most important person in your life will give you great “JOY”:

                1. Jesus
                2. Others
                3. You

                • TheAbaum

                  Not a Catholic that I know of, but 1960’s football star Gayle Sayers wrote a book which became the basis of the movie “Brian’s Song” about the sickness and death of teammate Brian Piccolo who died of cancer at age 26.

                  The title was “I Am Third”, as in “The Lord is first, my friends are second, and I am third. Perfect echo for your list.

                  • Tim

                    Hilarious you should bring up such a homoerotic story…

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Actually it was a story of true heterosexual male friendship. Only a perverted, impure mind would warp a good story.

                    • Paul

                      No one said they weren’t heterosexuals or that they were having sex. Homoeroticism exist among straight men, it’s just sort of denied.

                    • Guest

                      Right out of the gay agenda playbook. Everything is “gay”, right?

                    • Paul

                      Homoeroticism in straight men isn’t “gay,” that’s the point. It’s not that things like this in stories are “gay,” it’s that they’re potentially ambiguous. The point isn’t saying something is “gay.” It’s that the significance of human interaction and relationality is often not pegged down to one unambiguous meaning, but is open to a variety of interpretations.

                      I remember reading this Anthony Esolen article where one got the impression he was terrified of allowing openly gay boys in the Boy Scouts because then the boys couldn’t do all these summer campy things he romanticized, like skinny dip or slap each other’s bums (or play strip poker or “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours”-truth-or-dare anymore, one imagines). And though he didn’t say this explicitly, the reasoning is because, ironically, the presence of honest disclosure of homosexuality would make the potential homoerotic interpretations of all this explicit and force men to be conscious of the latent potential significances in all these “innocent” gestures which were always “this close” to crossing that line anyway.

                      But if it’s there latently…it’s there. You can’t just…wish to put the cat back in the bag or for the ostrich to keep it’s head in the sand.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Complete and utterly ridiculous.

                  • Objectivetruth

                    Great book, great running back!

            • Please receive this next statement in the gentlest possible way, Melinda, but I don’t think that what I’ve written has been directly about your personal story, but rather about assertions being made regarding the nature of human sexuality. My critique of those assertions can’t be said to constitute a critique of the “intimate corners” of your heart. As to correcting my understanding, a simple start would be to take the four areas I mention above (or one of them) and let me know how I misunderstood. I’m totally open to that.

              • Melinda Selmys

                Jim,

                The reason that it becomes personal, as opposed to merely abstract/theological, is that I’m writing about my personal experience for an audience of people who have similar experiences. If you look at the com-box discussion on SF, you’ll notice that everyone involved in the conversation is talking in a deeply personal way about their own experience of same-sex attraction. If I’d been writing an article for New Oxford Review I’d have adopted a much more disinterested, abstract frame of reference and I’d have been more careful to use language in a philosophically rigorous way rather than assuming a common understanding based on common experience with my audience.
                In terms of misunderstandings…
                1. We don’t mean the same thing by “remedy for concupiscence.”

                2. I don’t even know what it would mean to freely will attraction for someone. I’m talking about what to do with involuntary experiences of attraction.
                3. I didn’t say the temptation wasn’t disordered, but that Eve’s experience prior to the fall wasn’t concupiscent.
                4. We don’t share a common definition or understand of “eros.”

                • Melinda–sounds like there may be more common ground to be discovered on #1–so that could be a place to start, if you want to expand on that….
                  #2–to freely choose to engage/indulge a sexual attraction is one possible response to involuntary experiences. When an involuntary impulse occurs, we either say “no” to it or “yes” to it, basically.
                  #3–okay, but if Eve’s experience before the fall *was* a disordered temptation of something “forbidden”, then it’s not a prime example an “ordered” desire free from all “clouded judgment,” right? Even *Eve* says her judgment was clouded, as I read Genesis…(“tricked” by the serpent)…
                  #4–agreed. And this difference seems to be pretty big….

                • For #2, what’s wrong with ignoring them?

                  • Melinda Selmys

                    Ignoring them works, for me, about 98% of the time. Talking to a wide variety of SSA Catholics, I would say that strategy works really well for some and for others it’s a disaster. Basically it’s like ignoring pain: if you’ve got a small cut or a minor ache and you just ignore it and get on with your life it will go away. But if you’ve got a serious problem and you’re in pain and you ignore it, the problem will get worse and the pain will intensify. The ignore/repress approach is generally advocated by people whose unwanted sexual attractions are generally a mild irritant — and for those people it works. But sometimes lust is a disordered manifestation of genuine psychological needs that are not being met. If you just ignore it in those cases, the feelings become increasingly intense until they result either in self-destructive behaviours or in compulsive sexual activity. It’s really important to learn how to take that intense sexual energy and channel it into productive, rather than self-destructive, directions — which is what my post was really about.

                    • The only productive direction for sexual energy is procreation.

                    • Sorry if this is a double response. But there is only one ordered, productive direction for sexual energy- and that is procreation.

                      All of the rest- including those other 97 heterosexual paragraphs on sins against Chastity in the catechism- is disordered.

            • ForChristAlone

              I feel like I am back in the 60’s where everyone reduced discourse to a public psychotherapy session. Carl Rogers where are you when we need you to run a therapy group?

              • Melinda Selmys

                ForChristAlone,
                I have no problem with intellectual discourse being separate from public therapy. But the post that is being critiqued is from a web-site that is devoted to providing spiritual support and fellowship for Christians who experience homosexual attractions. Within that context it’s obviously appropriate to be personal and therapeutic.

                • ForChristAlone

                  I guess that I simply cannot endorse websites where such disclosure happens. I find it to be symptomatic of our culture where people lack adequate boundaries. Again, it’s mindful of the “let it all hang out” 60’s generation. Chaque a son gout.

                  • Mark

                    Ah yeah. So this aversion goes even further than just an abstract theoretical question about homosexual orientation. It apparently goes as far as not supporting disclosure and thinking that people sharing their experiences constitutes “lack of adequate boundaries.” In otherwords, you want the Pleasantville of the 1950s back, because navigating today’s flexible individualistic world scares or disorients you.

                    • TheAbaum

                      Your flexibility is another person’s chaos.

                    • Mark

                      Yes that’s my point. Apparently some people are frightened without a conformism to hew to.

                    • TheAbaum

                      That’s not a point. It’s silly.

                    • It’s more that hewing to a conformism is what brings acceptance and trust. Not conforming is what brings bullying, hatred, and distrust. I’ve learned this well as an autistic- that queer (in the old sense of the word) will *always* bring mistrust and a lack of acceptance- because the average person can’t be expected to deal with random false narratives.

                    • Mark

                      And yet the average person is learning to be tolerant these days. Tolerant is in, tolerant is cool. We’ll even celebrate your autism if you let us.

                    • Guest

                      Oh no, we are not learning to be tolerant at all. It is the exact opposite. We are learning to be intolerant. We are laxists and relativists which are a tyranny.

                    • Tolerant is hatred. Tolerant is seeing somebody at a cliff and urging them to jump.

                    • TheAbaum

                      There’s a big difference between tolerance and the one-way tyrannically imposed indifference that masquerades as “tolerance”.

                      You must be tolerant of our “wedding”. What’s that? You want us to be tolerant of your decision not to bake a cake? YOU %&*^% INTOLERANT HOMOPHOBIC BIGOT. WE’LL SUE!

                      AND ANOTHER THING! YOU BETTER MAKE IT SUGAR FREE, AND WITHIN MICHELLE OBAMA’S DIETARY GUIDELINES.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Tolerant of what? Mortal sin?

                      Your soul is in jeopardy and in grave mortal sin, Mark. Repent, and believe the Good News. Life is short, Hell is a real place. You don’t want to end up there.

                    • Mark

                      Which mortal sin, Objectivetruth? Like I said, if you believe this question is a question of Heresy, let’s take it to the CDF. I for one am sincerely convinced my position is orthodox, and so at the very least lack “full knowledge” of any Heresy. Or are you talking about some other sin? Which?

                    • Objectivetruth

                      C’mon, Mark…..

                      What’s your goal here? I’ve reread your posts, and I still can’t figure out what you’re saying. You mention a gay couple can have gay feelings for each other, be a “couple”, yet remain “celibate.” Huh? It looks like you’re trying to distort and twist the Catechism and Catholic teaching to somehow justify……I really don’t know what!

                      In some strange, backwards way you’re trying to promote and defend gay attraction and gay lifestyle.

                      And that’s a sin.

                    • Mark

                      Which sin? The only specifically “homosexual” sin the church identifies is sodomy or lust for it.

                    • It’s worse than that. Today’s moral relativism is an active lie that is harming people, especially in the realm of sexuality. The harm is objective, provable, and cannot be described as love.

        • We are all personally invested in the destruction of civilization and Christ that is the sexual revolution in America. Defense of Christ is good enough reason for it.

    • Is not the service of Christ enough to engage in the discussion?

      If you’re engaging in the discussion simply because you either know somebody, or have had these “desires” yourself, with no reference to Christ, then that in and of itself is rather disordered.

      I’m headed over to your blog next to read the original- and shall comment there.

    • TheAbaum

      The name changed, but the picture is the same.

    • CadaveraVeroInnumero

      Dear Melinda,

      You need set your “constructions” alongside the way Aleister Crowley frames the purpose and cosmic ordering of sex. Reading his works on Sex Magik as I delved into this New Homophile controversy has been illuminating and instructive. Acknowledged or not, here lies the genealogy of the New Homophiles.

      Try it. There are commonalities between the contributors over at Spiritual Friendship and the sexual constructionism from the school A. Crowley.

    • ObiJuan

      Melinda,

      Does it not occur to you that there are some “old-school” straight Catholics out there who love Jesus and want to teach the full truth about human sexuality, to include the good, bad, and ugly? Catholics who see assaults on moral language as harmful to their friends, family, and culture? Catholics who see investing time and talents into correcting error as something worthwhile and noble?

      • Objectivetruth

        Amen….amen…….amen……..

        “If you are lukewarm about me, I will vomit you out!” Christ.

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    According to St Augustine, “Men are not willing to do what is right either because the fact that it is right is hidden from them, or because it does not please them… It is from the grace of God, which helps the wills of man, that that which was hidden becomes known, and that which did not please become sweet.” [On the Merits and Remission of Sins 2, 17, 26]

    He repeatedly contrasts earthly delights with the “delectation cœlestis victrix” – the conquering delight in heavenly things. Thus St Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always and, again, I say rejoice” [Phil 4:4]

    Commenting, Jean-Jacques Olier, the Sulpician founder explains, “It is necessary for the soul to be in fear and distrust of self; … It should make its pleasure and joy depend on sacrificing to Jesus all joy and pleasure which it may have apart from Himself. And when taking part in those things in which by Providence it is obliged to be occupied, such as eating, drinking, and conversation with creatures, it must be sparing in all, must discard what is superfluous, and must renounce, in the use of them, the joy and pleasure to be found in them, uniting and giving itself to Jesus as often as it feels itself tempted to enjoy something apart from Him and not Himself.”

  • poetcomic1

    The most interesting and sad case of Richard Gilman, a Catholic convert who fell away can be studied in his autobiography, ‘Faith, Sex, Mystery’. Here is a heterosexual man, married, converted to the church and overwhelmed by masochistic sexual drives which his wife had no intention of fulfilling. The power of these drives seemed commensurate with intense homosexual drives. The word ‘disordered’ covers a vast ground.

    • CadaveraVeroInnumero

      Bravo! Melinda’s sexual constructions need to be test-cased against a similar question which can be asked by pedophiles and S&M/bondage adepts: “can some pedophile and sadomasochistic attraction NOT be disordered”?

      Melinda & Co. cannot deny the legitimacy of the above question based upon the constructive theologies they have already engaged in reformulating the received understanding of sex regarding homosexuality. Homosexuality is not some special case or set aside exception isolated from adult/child sex or the cultivation of merging orgasm with pain (or even – when the techniques are fully developed – death).

      • poetcomic1

        Just to get away from ‘sex’, I find it helpful to speak of ‘disordered appetites’. The confusion of appetite with emotion ruins countless souls.

        • ForChristAlone

          I really do like this. “Sex” is a much too-inflated word to describe what most people (homos and heteros alike) engage in. Appetite or base-instinct seem to both work. While we’re at it, let’s reserve the word “sexual love” to only that engaged in by married couples – where couple can refer to only one man and one woman. All else is disordered appetite or base instinct

          • John200

            Try homo”sex”ual which conveys that what they do is not sex.
            It also infuriates the homo”sex”ual to read that his fun is masturbation, sometimes forced, sometimes mutual, often scandalous (that is a pretty hefty sin!), always and everywhere disordered, and never fruitful.

            So the homo”sex”ual does not have sex. He also dislikes to learn that his fun will lead him to a hot place where the flames never seem to stop, water is sold by the drop, everyone hates everyone else, and the landlord is a guy with red skin, horns, a tail, and nasty attitude toward all men.

            And yes, lesbians, you are included in all-of-the-above.

  • A question any “new homophile” should ask themselves: IF the object of my desire asks me to be best man, or maid of honor, at their heterosexual wedding, will I be able to honestly fulfill the duties as such, knowing that heterosexuality is God’s way of bringing the blessing of children into their lives? Or will I make a scene and claim that heterosexuality can’t possibly be for the object of my desire, because of my desire?

    If the first, she may have a point. If the second, then even the desire is disordered.

    • Mark

      But that has nothing to do with homosexuality. Your point would seem to apply to any jealous unrequited love.

      • What makes homosexuality disordered, is that it will always be unrequited by the standard purpose of human sexuality. In that, it is no more disordered than any other form of contraception, or for that matter, any other form of unrequited love. There is a reason why the Catechism, in the section on sins against Chastity, spends 97 paragraphs on heterosexuality and only three on homosexuality.

        • Mark

          I know of several cases of very much requited homosexual love without any unnatural sexual activity, nor lust therefore.

          • Then what makes it homoSEXUAL, if there is no unnatural sexual activity?

            • Mark

              “Sex” in the sense of male or female, Theodore, not in the sense of sexual intercourse.

              • I guess I’d call that a homogendered relationship- and I enjoy many of those in the Knights of Columbus and from what I hear, Catholic Daughters for the women. I don’t see any reason to bring the highly politicized single gender sexual relationships into it.

                I guess then I don’t understand why you can’t find that in the myriad of single gender lay and religious orders within the Church.

                • Mark

                  It may not in the end be different in nature, Theodore, but it’s certainly different in degree.

                  Two straight men nowadays are not infatuated. There used to be “romantic friendships” between even heterosexuals:
                  http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romantic_friendship

                  But nowadays, there is simply not the same zeal or adulation. “Romantic” relationships have become a narrow category, defined by their intensity of feeling and plurality of time spent together and the commitments made.

                  It may only be a difference in degree, not nature, but it’s a big difference in degree. One cannot be friends with everyone, and there are different intensities and dynamics of friendship. “Eros” is simply describing one type of interpersonal “chemistry” that galvanizes some “friendships.” Yet the qualitative differences, while perhaps existing along a continuum, are palpable for most people.

                  • Guest

                    OK, so what we have is some post modern equivocation then. You cannot really define your position so we are to accept based on “lived experience”. No sale.

                  • Eros is lust, nothing more. Eros that does not find its natural end in Storge and Philia is useless.

  • John Uebersax

    The very principle by which the ecclesiastic institutions of the Catholic Church presume to *unconditionally* label any category of human thought or action as “sin” (much less mortal sin) is atavistic and wrong. It is Scholasticism gone mad!

    The basic epistemological model — to try to deduce by formal logic and questionable first principles unconditional proscriptions against certain sexual activity or inclinations — is misguided.

    Moreover, in this case we have the undeniable fact that some human beings are anatomically inter-sexed. And what is true anatomically is likely also true of those unseen biological processes associated with sexual attraction.

    Our nearest biological relatives, bonobo chimpanzees, are flagrantly homosexual. All available empirical evidence suggests that our species is similarly variable in sexual orientation. It would require a heroic argument to try to explain this evidence away (e.g., “Yes, God give us homosexual urges — but only so that we could develop our moral integrity by denying them.”). Any such such argument would require one to assume premises that are not self-evident.

    • Guest

      This reasoning is what happens when we misdefine, health, pathology, normal, abnormal, good, and evil.

    • TheAbaum

      “Our nearest biological relatives, bonobo chimpanzees, are flagrantly homosexual.”

      And we once understood how far apart that was..

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJT2vJMsYc4

      • Objectivetruth

        Great movie! The ending blew me away when I first saw it!

    • Objectivetruth

      Bonobo chimpanzees also eat their own feces and will attack and kill their closest male rivals without hesitation.

      RBD (Really Bad Analogy).

  • tj.nelson

    Deacon jim, in the words of Cardinal Dolan, “Bravo!” This is excellent – I will be linking here. You know your theology and have made it very understandable. Thank you!

  • Pingback: New Confirmation Program Targeting Catholic Youth - BigPulpit.com()

  • John Uebersax

    This is *by no means* meant as a personal criticism, but the idea that having 11 children is relevant to the credentials of a writer on Catholic moral theology begs the very question at issue. It as much as says, “We all know that Catholic teaching is to make as many babies as possible; having established that let’s talk about homosexuality.”

    I do not grant the premise, or see how this is any greater or truer a calling than to be a celibate gay person — or, for that matter, a non-celibate gay person.

    • Thanks for the comment, John–but I think you ought to consider that info as merely “bio” info rather than “credential”, at least in my case. To avoid projecting the “premise” you perceive, though, how would you suggest I mention the kids–I suppose I could just say I’m father of “at least 2.5 children”? 🙂

  • The Catechism says that homosexuality is objectively disordered.

    • ForChristAlone

      Yeah, but there are those with too thick skulls to get it. Perhaps, the Church in the next iteration of the Catechism ought to devote a few hundred pages to this issue. But all it need do is repeat 900,000 times, “homosexuality is objectively disordered.”

    • Mark

      Well, but how does it define “homosexuality”? It says, “Homosexuality refers to relations between men or
      between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual
      attraction toward persons of the same sex.”

      Now, what on earth does it mean by “relations”? I think it is at least within the realm of clearly admissible interpretations to see “relations” as being a euphemism for “sexual relations” as in genital activity.

      Combine that with the fact that what is called objectively disordered are homosexual “inclinations” (not “attractions”). “Objective disorder” implies a disordered OBJECT. What is the “object” being referred to as disordered? The “Deacon Jim” crowd seems to think its is “the same sex,” but the much more obvious interpretation is that the disordered object that defines the inclinations as “object-ively” disordered…is the object of homo-genital activity, which has just been called in the same section “intrinsically disordered.”

      The most obvious interpretation, applying Occam’s Razor, is that the “inclinations” referred to as “objectively” disordered…are only those inclinations that take the “intrinsically disordered” act in question as their “object.”

      I see little evidence that the Catechism even imagines the “broader” homosexual orientation apart from lust for homosexual sex acts.

      • Guest

        Uhm, if you excise that all you have is friendship. No need for new or old homophiles.

        • Mark

          Anyone with any lived experience of human emotions and attractions knows that’s not true. Feelings aren’t some syllogism. Trust me, gay affections may be entirely lust-free and still very much gay.

          • Guest

            I do not trust your assertions at all. What you offer is a form of relativism based on emotions.

            • Invincible Hope

              Guest, I suppose your another “anyone” who disagrees with Mark yet that he counts in agreement with him to muddle the waters.

              • Guest

                Well, I am trying to pin him down and wanting to grasp his position. So far, all I get is subjective revelations.

                • TheAbaum

                  Not subjective. Disjointed.

          • If they’re lust free, then by definition they’re not gay.

            • Mark

              It’s not up to you to define “gay” Theodore. The understanding of what “gay” means in our culture certainly admits of a breadth of feeling beyond lust.

              • I completely disagree with the attempt to call friendship gay.

                • Mark

                  Not all friendships, Theodore. Only those that are, in fact, magnetized to some degree by gay attraction either from one direction or mutually.

                  • That’s a choice, not an inborn trait.

                    Attraction is very easy to ignore.

                    • Mark

                      Depends what you mean by ignore! If you mean “choose to not express generally,” yes that’s very easy indeed. Beyond that, though, it really becomes an impossible feat of scrupulosity and hyper-vigilance to expect people to dissect or parse out their interest in their “friend” and decide “how much of this zeal in affection is coming from gay attraction??” and expect him to cauterize that. For most people, the only workable solution to such a precept would be isolating oneself from any sort of affection or friendship with attractive members of the same sex period.

                    • Mark

                      *express genitally

                    • Guest

                      The fundamental issue is to recognize the attraction is not ordered toward God. It is to be avoided. Being friends is one thing. Characterizing one’s friendship in such a way that it is eroticized is not from God regardless of the genital activity.

                    • Choose not to express at all. I can be friends with a woman without expressing or even acknowledging the attraction.

                      If you can’t willfully eliminate the attraction, then yes, it’s better to not be friends with that *individual*.

                    • Mark

                      All friendships are based on human attraction to people, otherwise we wouldn’t be their friends if nothing drew us to them.

                      It’s not all sexual attraction, true. How much of that is intellectual attraction, or attraction to their personality, or to a shared sense of humor, or to complementary interests…gets really hard to “dissect out” since we tend to be attracted to friends as a gestalt.

                      You say it should be possible to “not express at all” but even just your motivation to spend time with them could be, in part, from an enjoyment that comes from their maleness or femaleness. How much? Who can say. Your logic leads to absurd conclusions like “20% of my laughter at her jokes is from sexual attraction, therefore I need to excise that precise 20% and laugh only 80% as much” or “if I spend one hour with her it’s just because we’re friends and we click mentally. But if I spend TWO hours with her then that’s the sexual attraction so I need to leave.”

                      Your asking something emotionally impossible.

                    • Emotions should mean nothing to Philia, Storge, or Agape. The choice to love isn’t about emotions, it’s about wanting what is best for the other person.

                    • Mark

                      Yet as Newman says in his essay on friendship, we don’t in fact love people in some vague abstract universalizing way. We love individual people. And usually we love them for a reason. We don’t just choose friends arbitrarily as some act of charity (not usually). We choose our friends because we get along with them, meaning we “click” in some way or for some reason, meaning that the particular chemistry of the interactions are satisfying to us and enjoyable for whatever reason. One contributing factor to that enjoyment could be because they, AS a male or AS a female, make us happy. It’s really that simple. There’s nothing insidious to it.

                    • TheAbaum

                      You might be the least coherent and persuasive of the vast logorhheic conspiracy that jams this board.

                    • If you don’t have charity for your friends- then you don’t have even friendship. All you have is selfish using to satisfy particular chemistry.

                      And that’s absolutely the WRONG reason to be friends with somebody.

                    • Mark

                      I never said anything about “not having charity,” Theodore. See Aquinas on the Passions. Catholics are absolutely opposed to something like Anders Nygren’s idea of arbitrary passionless choice being the basis of virtue.

                      http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=9586

                    • “We don’t just choose friends arbitrarily as some act of charity (not usually). ” was what I was reacting to. If you don’t have charity for your friends, if you don’t have caritas, then you don’t have passion ether, at least, not rightly ordered passion.

                      I choose friends as an act of caritas, of charity. Otherwise, my standard would be to have no friends at all. I’ve often told my wife that she’ll be my last friend on this earth, and that’s my purpose in marriage.

              • TheAbaum

                But it’s up to you, right?

                • Mark

                  Nope. I’m just using the definition of the vast majority of mainstream culture. It’s up to the majority of speakers of the English language to define it, and define it they already have, and not as you and Theodore do, apparently.

                  • Guest

                    Words should be based in reality not political agendas.

                  • TheAbaum

                    Who the hell made you the tally counter?

                    The whole world knows the word “gay” means homosexual, either acts or inclinination.

                    If you called me gay because I have male friends in person, I think I might disabuse you of that notion.

                    • TomD

                      I suspect that the deliberate substitution, first by activists and then almost immediately adopted by allies in the culture and media, of the term “gay” for homosexual was, in no small measure, precisely meant to obfuscate and confuse the issue, in order to disingenuously sway many toward tolerance and acceptance.

                      Once you remove the direct reference to sex and implant the notion of just another alternate “lifestyle” that should be embraced, you’re most of the way to winning the debate. Mission accomplished, it seems.

            • Invincible Hope

              wow, he just nailed it: “If they’re lust free, then by definition they’re not gay”.
              It recalls my favorite line of the above article: “when one is predominantly attracted to the sexual values of a person of the same sex” and that is spot on PREDOMINANTLY ATTRACTED to the SEXUAL VALUES of a person of the same sex. How often people seem to over look or disregard that very true and important statement. Lust does not equal Love, the two are not needed for the other to exist, or even needed to enhance the other, perfect love Exists eternally in heaven, Lust or “attraction to others sexual values” does not exist in the afterlife at all.. Hence MATTHEW 22:30 and MARK 12:25.

          • Invincible Hope

            I’m someone (so take me as your “anyone”) who has lived to experience human emotions and attractions and I know that that IS TRUE. If I have a platonic attraction to my mother I have a sexual or lust free attraction, if I (as a Man) have a HETEROSEXUAL BASED attraction to her it is not free as I would be basing it on a from of SEXUAL attraction. If a homosexuals attractions are lust free call them platonic attractions NOT gay or homosexual Attractions.

            • Guest

              Yes, it seems they want a new category of human understanding. One that has never existed or affirmed by the Church.

              • Invincible Hope

                A new category that by its nature is based on willing a “sexual desire” and yet at the same time somehow claim it has nothing to do with sexual desire but rather some sort of nobler impulse.
                There is nothing wrong with willing a sexual desire when ordered towards its proper end (procreation) within the confines of, or leading to, it’s proper place (marriage). God feels so strongly about this he made a Sacrament out of it and it is quite good.
                But it is disordered for me, as a married man, to will a sexual desire to another’s wife, or for a priest to “will” it towards a parishioner, or a grown man to will it towards a child, etc… not all “sexual desires” are good (especially sexual desire towards children and someone might be born with that and thereby not culpable but it does not make the desire good) if it comes on it’s own in any of these cases one should recognize the intrinsic disorder to ones current state in life and AVOID temptation through grace, and if that means I should not have that young married lady as a friend, then I so be it. It would be better for her eternal soul and mine for me to do so until I can have a Christ like platonic love of her and not play with an intimate friendship that may put our eternal souls in jeopardy, because to do otherwise which would be showing no true care/affection/or love towards her at all.

            • Mark

              Why should you get to define “gay”?? It was a word that was invented for exactly that reason: to emphasize that sexual orientation isn’t all about sex acts or desire for sex acts.

              • Invincible Hope

                Neither of us get to, I’m just going off the dictionary as that is an agreeable source of terminology for the English language.

                Just what is it you think a homosexual (or in your terms “gay”) desire is a desire to? What does is homosexual or heterosexual’s “desire” oriented towards? Lets take the 2014 Oxford and Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definitions:

                Oxford= homosexual -1(Of a person) sexually attracted to people of one’s own sex. ; gay -1(Of a person, especially a man) homosexual.

                MW=homosexual- sexually attracted to people of the same sex. ; gay-sexually attracted to someone who is the same sex.

                MW=Lust- a strong feeling of sexual desire.

                so again: If I have a platonic attraction to my mother I have a sexual or lust free attraction, if I (as a Man) have a HETEROSEXUAL BASED attraction to her it is not “lust” free as I would be basing it on a from of SEXUAL attraction. If a homosexuals attractions are lust free call them “platonic attractions” NOT gay or homosexual Attractions.

                the homosexual female is not attracted to humans who are “effeminate men” but rather certain humans having female genitalia.
                If that attraction is to the just person itself, it would not have the lust element, it would be to men as well as women and the English language already has a term for it called Platonic attractions and relationships. AND these relationships can be stronger than sexual based/enhanced ones (take Jesus and his deep platonic love and affection for his mother or better yet the platonic love and affection between Him and his Father).
                When you are attracted to someone based largely on their genitalia over another category of persons genitalia you have a element of “lust” which cannot be excluded b/c it is in the definition. Both Gay and Homosexual involve SEXUAL attraction/desire and that feeling defines LUST (again it is a “sexual desire” under 2014 websters & note it is not a vice in the dictionary, nor should it be unless it is lusting in a disordered way [for another spouse] or in an inordinate way [lusting to the degree that it occupies an inordinate position in ones life] , this may not include every theological definition but lets stick with modern culture dictionary that we can both agree upon since it is not up to us to “define” words.
                In reference to your earlier post – you do not (hopefully) have a crush on your mother, or give her “second glances”, the way you refer, on the subway.. why? because their is NO lust involved there… it is platonic attraction and love. As a heterosexual I love male friends of mine very much but I do not give them “glances in the subway” or have crushes on them because they are platonic relationships, come sense shows this and it also shows that the opposite, the attractive glances and crushes which are not platonic are sexual and thus have an element, however small, of lust (under the dictionary definition).

                You mentioned several times to various people posting here to as anyone, yet you fail to address the fact that all these “anyones” replying to you, myself included, do not agree with you. So who are you, my friend, to attempt all these redefinitions and yet question everyone else like this?
                Even the all our standard dictionaries do not agree with you, and they are the closest thing we have to mass agreed upon reflection of current cultural constructs,, hence , perhaps sadly, the first definition of the word gay now refers to desiring one with the same genital function rather than being happy or joyous.

              • TheAbaum

                Why should you?

                • Mark

                  As I said above: I don’t. I’m using the operative definition used by most of society, where gay means “liking” and having an interest in maleness (in other men) more than in femaleness. “Liking” meant in the broadest possible sense, not necessarily “wanting to have sex acts with.”

                  • Invincible Hope

                    LOL that is a RE-definition and certainly not used by most of society. As a heterosexual, I like maleness in other men, I do not think men should be effeminate, so under that nearly all men and women are gay.. and oddly the homosexual community (which often espouses maleness in women and effeminate men) is not “gay” at all.
                    Your definition is completely made up, Mark, it is not held by people on the street nor by the homosexual community at large, nor supported in any English language dictionary because it is not proper use of the English language.

                    • Invincible Hope

                      Below I am quoting another poster who said it beautifully and thus it bears repeating:
                      ObiJuan Mark • 4 hours ago

                      Appreciating the good of someone’s maleness isn’t gay. I appreciate my father, who is only a father because he’s a man. I’m not gay for appreciating my father.

                      See how ridiculous (and dangerous) this game is?

                    • Mark

                      Appreciation of fatherhood is not direct appreciation of maleness as such. It’s just that fathers happen to be necessarily male. Appreciating a father is like appreciating a priest’s priesthood; yes, priests can only be male, but appreciating someone’s “priesthood” is not at all conceptually or emotionally the same as appreciating their maleness in itself as such.

                    • Guest

                      What on earth does “appreciating one’s maleness” actually mean?

                    • ObiJuan

                      I have no idea what you’re talking about.

                    • Mark

                      Well it’s only gay if you are. The attractions would have to be predominant and constitute an overarching orientation. Otherwise you’re just a straight guy with some disavowed homoerotic appreciations (“no homo!”) like most straight guys. Maybe someday the fundamentally bicurious reality of most human beings will be acknowledged, but until then “orientation” is what we’ve got.

                    • Guest

                      With all due respect that is what is called pathology.

      • Well hello, Mark! Go back and read what the Canadian bishops say above. It may help you understand that, yes, same-sex attractions including those without sexual relations are considered objectively disordered….

        • Mark

          Well no, that seems to be the opposite of what they say. They say that it’s objectively disordered specifically “when oriented towards genital activity.” Implying that it’s not disordered when not so oriented.

          • No, they don’t. Let me quote myself from above:
            The bishops say:To the extent that a same-sex attraction [previously defined to include “erotic and emotional attraction”] is not freely chosen, there is no personal culpability in having such an inclination. Thus it’s not sinful to experience such an attraction as long as the attraction is not willed. But if Selmys is right, then the commission is asserting that such attractions are properly “ordered” as long as they aren’t oriented toward “genital activity,” which raises an all-important question: If such “non-genital-activity-oriented” same-sex attractions are in themselves properly “ordered,” why can’t they be willed without incurring moral guilt?

            • Mark

              They never said “Willing them is culpable”

              As I explained in another comment, all they said is “Inasmuch as they are not freely chosen, they’re not culpable.” In other words, “Inasmuch as they are not even freely chosen, they can’t possibly be culpable.”

              You can’t assume the statement intends the contrapositive. The statement is simply presenting the mainstream line in our culture: speaking of homosexual as “a sin” is silly, because homosexual orientation isn’t a choice. But it does not follow from admitting this that homosexuality WOULD be a sin IF it WERE a choice. Such a construction doesn’t address that hypothetical one way or the other.

              • Tim

                Yes that’s how I understood it: the very question of culpability is moot, because not being freely chosen makes that whole category irrelevant. It doesn’t answer the “but what if” either way.

              • All sexual orientation is a choice. For instance, my sexual orientation is named Shannon.

              • TheAbaum

                Inasmuch as they are not freely chosen, they’re not culpable.” In other
                words, “Inasmuch as they are not even freely chosen, they can’t possibly
                be culpable.”

                Luther would be proud. “Sin must be commited.”, “Sin Boldly”.

          • Guest

            How on earth could any person come to such a conclusion? There is no evidence for this unusual and conjured up notion.

      • Objectivetruth

        It’s when you fellas do the back door boom-boom with each other that you’re putting your soul in a state of mortal sin. So stop it, repent, and sin no more. See Catechism entry number 2357 below.

        ” Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.” They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

        • Mark

          No one is talking about that in this conversation. This conversation assumes an absence of genital activity.

          • Then that’s called Friendship. Join the Knights of Columbus and enjoy a lot of it.

            • Mark

              See my comment below re: qualitative differences in, for example, friendships between straight men and women and friendship between two straight men.

          • Invincible Hope

            But we are talking about this: WILLING the desire to genital/sexual activity, as opposed to taking the unwilled impulse as disordered and rejecting it through Grace (just as all non-married good Catholics do with the impulse towards sexual attractions that cannot END with the END of marriage [ie an unsought attraction to an already married person which would be a disordered lust based attraction AND one would freely chose it if one seeks it rather than rejecting it when it presents itself or the devil tempts us towards it]).

          • TheAbaum

            At this point, I’m not sure what you are talking about, and I’m not sure you do either.

      • Guest

        If there is no erotic component to the desire then all you have is friendship.

    • James

      The Church condemns homosexual acts, not inclinations. CCC 2357. An inclination is not a sin. A temptation is not a sin. In fact, CCC 2358 is quite compassionate to those who have homosexual inclination.

      Acts are sinful. Lust (desire for homosexual acts) is disordered. The Church is clear on these points. Beyond that, the Church speaks not on the more complex issues of non-sexual same sex attraction.

      Ironically, Deacon Jim and the anti-homophiles tend to make the same theological mistake as many dissidents by equating internal feelings and motivations with actions. Feelings may be positive or negative, helpful or unhelpful, but feelings are not moral or immoral. Morality is about what we do and how we act toward God and neighbor.

      • Hi, James–thanks for the comment. CCC 2358 makes clear that the homosexual *inclination*–not the act, but the inclination–is objectively disordered, just as I indicate in my post above.
        The homosexual inclination is simply *not* defined as mere lust for homosexual acts, but constitutes the full spectrum of sexual attraction toward a person of the same sex (see the Canadian bishops’ definition above). This, too, is *not* merely about “feelings” but about sexual attraction and a properly ordered “eros” (neither of which is merely a feeling).
        Am I an “anti-homophile”? Hardly. Like the Church teaches, I agree that *unwilled* same-sex attraction is neither sinful nor evil in itself. It’s *disordered*–not capable of being ordered to the good. Experiencing a disordered but unwilled desire means that we are called to say “no” to that desire, not because it is sinful or evil itself, but because it is “ordered” away from the good and toward what is not good.

        • Mark

          But inclination TO what, Jim? One is “inclined to” acts presumably. Acts of “homosexuality”. But what constitutes an act of homosexuality in the Catechism’s definitions? Well the catechism is a bit vague. Genital acts certainly. But anything else? It’s hard to know, given that the catechism defines “homosexuality” not as attractions but as “relations.” A homosexual inclination is therefore, presumably, an inclination to these “relations.”

          So the debate here is over whether “relations” is meant in some very general way as you seem to be saying, or whether it is simply the usual euphemism for sexual activity.

          • There is no debate, Mark–rather, there is either a willingness to understand the English language in its simplicity, or not.

            Two English words combine to create a particular *meaning* arising from both words.

            1. Homosexual

            2. Inclination

            “Inclination” means: a particular disposition, liking, preference, or tendency.

            “Homosexual” means, as an adjective: of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex.
            A “homosexual inclination,” therefore, means a particular tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex.
            This is why the Canadian bishops, for example, do *not* limit their definition of “same-sex attraction” (equivalent to homosexual inclination) to *genital* sex.
            The Catholic view, even from the Catechism directly, is clear: the inclination to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex is objectively disordered.

            • Mark

              Your equivocation is mendacious, Jim. How the Canadian bishops define “same sex attraction” is irrelevant, because “same sex attraction” may not be the same concept as the catechism’s “homosexual inclinations, the latter may be only a subset of the former.

              Second, phrases like “sexual desire” (and the idea of “directing” it) is equivocal on your part in this conversation. You’re deliberately taking advantage of the vagueness of the term or broadness of its semantic field to try to close gaps in your system that narrower more precise concepts wouldn’t fill.

              Finally, why are you bringing in a new definition of “homosexual”? Surely the Catechism should be interpreted with reference to its OWN definitions. And the catechism’s definition of “homosexuality” starts with “homosexuality refers to relations” etc etc. You want to ignore the question of what “relations” means (it means sex acts) so that you can read “homosexual inclinations” as referring to more than an inclination to said relations. But the text doesn’t bear it. Indeed, the definition says “homosexuality refers to relations between people experiencing and exclusive or predominant attraction to the same sex.” Even leaving aside the question of what “sexual attraction” covers, it’s clear the catechism doesn’t use “homosexuality” to describe the “predominant attractions” but rather to “relations between” people who experience such attractions. If it meant it to apply to the attractions themselves, why not just say “homosexuality means experiencing a predominant attraction to the same sex,” why add the “relations between people who” clause? That clause implies a distance between the “relations” which constitute the catechism’s notion of “homosexuality,” and the class of people who experience “predominant attraction to members of the same sex” (which, you will note, is not itself defined as “homosexuality”; rather, the “relations” of such people are).

              (And the catechism wasn’t written in English.)

  • Carol Leeda Crawford

    Well written article using excellent reason and presented in a direct yet charitable way. I must say though the likes of the position of Selmy to want to hold her same sex attraction as not objectively disordered is the reason I do not support the New Homophobes. As Christians we are called to strive daily to have God remove temptation and the desires that lead to falling into sin. In our thoughts, words and deeds. Personally I believe she is sinning in her thoughts and words and if not careful will fall into the behaviour before long.
    We are not our desires, feelings or wants. NO ONE IS A HOMOSEXUAL/LESBIAN! We are children of God made in His image and likeness. God will remove temptation in the moment, if we totally surrender to His Will.
    The fruit in the garden was pleasant to the eye and the idea of being like God was A temptation for Eve. She CHOSE to ignored what God had told her and listened to the serpent. I encourage Selmy to embrace the fullness of truth regarding same-sex attraction and choose to draw closer to God and His truth.

  • ObiJuan

    Excellent article. Cuts through the linguistic quagmire of the New Homophiles and brings clarity to a critical issue. Sins that cry out to heaven are not morally equivalent to sins of ordinary lust. Neither are persons defined by their temptations. Men tempted to have intercourse with women to whom they are not married are not “adulterals.” Persons tempted to speak badly about others behind their backs are not “detractuals.”

    Locking men and women under the “gay amber” is ontological nonsense and psychologically damaging.

    • Mark

      Being gay, however, is not defined as “tempted to have sex with members of the same sex.” One can be gay without any “temptations” whatsoever.

      • ObiJuan

        False. Being a homosexual is being sexually attracted to a member of the same sex. This is disordered. Period.

        Mark’s comment is a great example of the linguistic circus perpetuated by the New Homophiles. Being gay is not necessarily being a homosexual and definitely not being a sodomite but also definitely not being straight and definitely being queer. Being gay is being “oriented” toward the same-sex in a more-than-friends but less-than-erotic way and only sometimes, but not always, “inclined” to sodomitical activity. This is not a straw man argument. This is the message peddled by Spiritual Friendship and the New Homophiles. And it’s total nonsense. What’s worse, it encourages our youth to embrace a ready-made identity, to “come out” and embrace their “queerness,” locking them under the “gay amber” forever. This harms our youth.

        Avoid the linguistic tar pit of the New Homophiles. Listen instead to the clear advice of men like Fr. Paul Scalia, men who say “You are not your sexual inclinations. You are not ‘gay.’ What you are is a man and a Son of God.”

        • John200

          You have hit the point which our New Homophiles are slow to admit. They are PostModernists, which fills in all the blanks.

          Just when you despair of making any sense whatsoever of these goofy-sounding and verbose folk, they reveal that it’s all PoMo — and I got it! You’ll get it, too. If you haven’t yet, it will come soon.

          This Melinda Selmys-thing will self-immolate in your presence. They always do. You need only to wait a little, and keep trying to make sense of her.

          The deacon refutes her in comprehensive fashion. Others have done the same in other fora. I dunno why the deacon tortures her so, her ideas are already fully cooked, self-sealed, and packaged for sale.

          Perhaps he can turn her around? I’m not sure, that’s just a guess. It would be a loving thing to do.

          • TheAbaum

            PoMo? POMO means “permanent open market operations” (Fed currency debasement) in my line of work, but I gather that’s not how you are using it.

            • John200

              Correct. I used it to mean Post Modern. The weak departments in the universities are infected with it. It is a substitute for thinking, but a poor one.

              • TheAbaum

                Thanks for the clarification. It should have been obvious.

        • Mark

          You may find it complicated but this isn’t some new concept invented by the NH to weasel. What you’ve described is THE current operating definition of “gay” in our culture. If you ask anyone, they’ll tell you orientation is about “attraction.” If you ask them what “attraction” means, they’ll likely tell you that it is a multivalenced concept that can include lust, sure, but which doesn’t have to, and which also includes falling in love and crushes and giving a second glance on the subway.

          • ObiJuan

            You make my point. Whether they admit it or not, the NH are part of the broader gay lobby, perpetuating the same linguistic and philosophical errors.

            • Guest

              Thank you. You cut through the propaganda like a surgeon. Can anyone really follow the logic of their argument? It is an inchoate and ever changing notion that cannot be pinned down.

            • Mark

              There’s no way to call it an error. Social constructs and subjective interpretations of experience simply are.

              The construct of gay is operative in our culture. The paradigm of “attraction” is operative in our culture. There is no sticking ones head in the sand and pretending they’re not or unilaterally opting out. One can negotiate and critique them “from within,” but this is simply the language we have for describing emotional experience in our culture.

              • Guest

                And this is the moral relativism and post modernism that we are talking about. That something is a construct and subjective does not mean it is not in error.

                This entire issue is about subjective feelings and mis-perception without any grounding in truth.

              • ObiJuan

                Behold the dictatorship of relativism!

                • ObiJuan

                  Plenty of errors operate in our culture, no argument there. But I choose to opt out of this linguistic game.. It is one thing to coin a term (like “queer”). It is something else to redefine same-sex attraction into any chaste appreciation of another’s goods (clothing, talents, wit, intellect, etc). Clear moral reasoning requires clear moral language, not ambivalent, subjective wordplay.

                  • Guest

                    Indeed. This entire New Homophile business is simply a misguided ideology. It is not theology.

                  • Mark

                    It’s not just any chaste appreciation, it’s an appreciation of the good of another’s sex (maleness or femaleness). It’s not that difficult.

                    • ObiJuan

                      Appreciating the good of someone’s maleness isn’t gay. I appreciate my father, who is only a father because he’s a husband, and only a husband because he’s a man. I’m not gay for appreciating my father.

                      See how dangerous this game is?

                    • Mark

                      I’ve answered this above. But I’d also add, much more facetiously: Freud might beg to differ.

                    • ObiJuan

                      New Homophilia at its best! We’re all gay because we appreciate the goods of our friends, to include their masculine or feminine virtues. I’m satisfied we’ve reached the inevitable conclusion of this reductio ad absurdum.

                      And facetious or not, invoking a father of the Sexual Revolution undermines your appeals to Christian virtue (nevermind the offensive subtext).

                    • Mark

                      Obviously you don’t know what “facetious” means!

                      Seriously, though, I never said everyone is gay “because we appreciate the goods of our friends, to include their masculine or feminine virtues.” People are only gay whose predominating predilection is to those of the same sex.

                      There’s certainly homoerotic “overtones and undercurrents” in much of the heterosexual world, the disavowal of which makes it all the more fraught, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t straight because it’s about overarching preference.

                    • ObiJuan

                      Mark, stop redefining a genuine pathology into something good in of itself. This does a disservice to those who struggle with same-sex attraction. Men like Daniel Mattson, who see the folly of your linguistic circus. Mattson writes:

                      “[W]ords matter, for they convey reality in matters of revelation and reason…I take no umbrage at the phrase ‘objectively disordered’ and feel no shame that it truthfully describes my sexual desires. I view my same-sex attraction as a disability, in some ways similar to blindness, or deafness, and I view it with the same hope communicated by Jesus about the man born blind: It has been allowed in my life, so that God’s work would be made manifest in me (cf. John 9:3)…I think it is a mistake to view homosexuality as a gift, in and of itself. Those who identify as gay speak of the great gifts that supposedly flow from their homosexuality. But of course, any goods that are supposedly unique to homosexuality are common to man, and all that is good in man is the result of being made in the image and likeness of God.”(First Things, “Why I Don’t Call Myself a Gay Christian”)

                    • Mark

                      Except that without begging the question, one cannot say why being gay in itself should be considered pathological. What evil does it cause if we exclude lust (which both gay and straight people struggle against with grace). What dysfunction or suffering or loss or lack? It’s not like cancer where I can say “this is gonna kill you,” or like paranoia where I can say “this isn’t true,” or like being blind where I can say “the eye has functionality you’re missing,” or OCD where I can say “your pressured obsessions are causing you stress unnecessarily and connected to no external cause, while the compulsions waste time and achieve nothing.” Homoeroticism only limits or causes suffering if you think there is some sort of necessity to a straight orientation. Maybe if we were Protestants and marriage was mandatory for salvation one could see how lacking one (not the only, but a major) emotional motivation for it would be a disadvantage. But since were not, it’s unclear what sort of disadvantage you believe gayness to be for personal health and flourishing.

                    • ObiJuan

                      By equivocating temptations to sodomy with temptations to fornication, you redefine sins that cry out to heaven into sins closer to virtue. The fornicator does something which by its nature is blessed, but wicked in his case because of circumstances. The sodomite does something wicked, period.

                      No sin is beyond the mercy of God, but Catholics who think they can come to a modus vivendi with sodomy are not thinking clearly at all.

                    • Mark

                      Almost all fornicators are contraceptors, and therefore also guilty of “unnatural vice.” Heterosexuals do lots of sodomitical acts too.

                    • ObiJuan

                      A non-response. Two men cannot fornicate. Two men cannot engage in adultery. Two men cannot “contracept” in the sense they can opt to close the wellsprings of life.Sins that cry out to heaven are NOT the same thing as sins closer to virtue, sins of incontinence (adultery/fornication). Sodomy is a different kind of evil. But don’t take my word for it:

                      “Therefore are those foul offences which be against nature, to be every where and at all times detested and punished; such as were those of the men of Sodom: which should all nations commit, they should all stand guilty of the same crime, by the law of God, which hath not so made men that they should so abuse one another.”
                      – St. Augustine, Confessions, Book III.

                      “The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are “sins that cry to heaven”: the blood of Abel, *the sin of the Sodomites*, the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt, the cry of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan, injustice to the wage earner.” – CCC 1867

                    • Mark

                      My point, Obi, was that Aquinas et al., put heterosexual contraception under the header of sodomy too.

                    • ObiJuan

                      False. Aquinas and Augustine are quite clear about what they mean by sodomy (i.e. male on male sexual activity). What you probably meant to say was that Aquinas includes sodomy under the category of “unnatural vice” (which includes Onanism, bestiality, and sodomy). Do not conflate unnatural vices broadly speaking with one particular instantiation. You got this right earlier, don’t know why you’re conflating now.

                      And it’s the Catechism, not the Summa, that singles out sodomy as an unnatural vice which “cries out to heaven.”

                • TheAbaum

                  Bingo. It’s also the tyranny of words.

                  • michael susce

                    but, but why be consistent and reasonable? Cant you just be nice..

              • michael susce

                “There’s no way to call it an error”. You clearly imply that those on this site are in error? But they cant be because, this is their social construct and subjective interpretations of experience that simply are! Don’t you want them to be haaaaaaapy???!!!! snif, snif

          • Guest

            Then you are talking about a shallow understanding and one not based in logic but facile emotion. The examples of attraction you mention are disordered. They are nor ordered toward the good. This is a philosophical concept not a mere post modern relativistic feel-good rationalization.

            • Mark

              This is false. The burden of proof is on you to show that they are ordered towards an evil. What evil? If we exclude lust/homogenital activity, there is no evil any of this is ordered towards unless you beg the question circularly.

              • Guest

                It is not ordered toward God. God did not ordain same sex attraction. It is disordered by logic, reason, Scripture, Tradition, history, common sense, and pretty much is self evident.

                • Mark

                  Your argument is a circle. The burden of proof is on you to show that it is condemned apart from sodomy or lust.

                  • Mark–do you agree that the Church teaches the “spousal meaning of the body”?

                    • Mark

                      I affirm everything the Catechism teaches and any authoritative documents of dogma.

                      I’m not sure if the phrase “spousal meaning of the body” is in there. It’s from TOTB if I’m not mistaken, which I have no particular problem with, understood correctly, but which is also not some sort of super-dogma or totalizing paradigm within the Church’s whole tradition of teaching about chastity.

                      I certainly believe that venereal pleasure is meant only for the open-to-life one-flesh union of husband and wife and that this is why male and female exist in the first place.

                    • Try this “paradigm” on for size, Mark:
                      It’s from Veritatis Splendor 15 (magisterially speaking, way more authoritative than the Catechism), in the section in which JPII speaks of how Jesus brings the Commandments to fulfillment:

                      “The precept prohibiting adultery becomes an invitation to a pure way of looking at others, capable of respecting the spousal meaning of the body…”
                      Describe for me, please, how a man “looking to desire” another man can be seen as “an invitation to a pure way of looking at others, capable of respecting the spousal meaning of the body.”

                    • Of course, if that text seems weak to you, think instead of Evangelium Vitae #97:

                      ***There can be no avoiding the duty to offer, especially to adolescents and young adults, an authentic education in sexuality and in love, an education which involves training in chastity as a virtue which fosters personal maturity and makes one capable of respecting the “spousal” meaning of the body.***

                    • Mark

                      “Looking to desire” is an odd phrase. It depends what desire you’re talking about. If a man is looking to share with another man that gift (of venereal pleasure and union and genital intimacy) only meant for a spouse, I’d say that certainly disrespects the spousal meaning of the body.

                    • Mark–let’s just say it simply then. How does *any* form of sexual attraction between persons of the same sex “respect” the “spousal meaning of the body”?

                    • Mark

                      Because in creating male and female, God was making something good. “Maleness” is a real good, and “femaleness” is a real good. It’s not as if other men’s maleness, a part of their created nature, is an evil for males. It’s a real good, because God in making the body (with the attribute of sex and its spousal meaning), made something Good. Maleness and Femaleness are real objective goods created by God. Loving them, in ourselves and in others, and letting their beauty as creations of God contribute to our love for others in whom they are found…why, I can’t think of anything that respects the spousal meaning of the body or God’s plan for sexuality more than that! As long as you’re enjoyment does not seek after a possession it cannot have (ie, seeking genital union with this or that sex), I see no reason why other forms of appreciation are controversial.

                    • Guest

                      Because you are minimizing the significance of God’s gift and re-manufacturing it to fit your desires.

                    • Mark

                      No, it is Jim’s theory which amounts to saying that there are Goods which certain people cannot love or enjoy as goods. Not merely which we cannot possess in a certain way or enjoy according to certain modes or methods, but Good creations whose goodness is nevertheless not (morally) loveable at all or in any sense. Jack can love the good creation of Jill’s femaleness, but Tammy cannot love the created good which is the beauty of Jill’s femaleness in any way. To me that borders on a blasphemy, to say that a created Good can be off limits to any sort of Love. The proper object of love is the goodness in things period!

                    • Guest

                      Admiration is not the issue. Sexual attraction is the issue.

                    • Mark

                      Sexually attraction, essentially, need not mean anything more than “admiration of another person specifically in the aspect of their maleness or femaleness, specifically AS a male or AS a female, not just as a generic human.”

                      Methinks that part of the reason that some conservatives here are very concerned with hewing to a strict definition of sexual attraction as “wanting to have sex with” would require admitting that many heterosexuals have some degree of sexual attraction in this minimal sense too.

                    • Guest

                      I think experience shows us the homosexual agitators very much want everything sexualized. It is a tool they use to spread their propaganda. It is a type of psychological warfare. It may actually be part of their “gay” syndrome. That is the need to see “gay” everywhere. If they can prove this it allows them to keep affirming their ideology even in the face of clear truth that it is absolutely wrong.

                    • Mark

                      I don’t know what you mean by “sexualized.” If it involves sex (male and/or female) then it already is sexualized.

                    • ObiJuan

                      “Loving the good creation of Jill’s femaleness.” Sounds like a teenager’s excuse for buying the Swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated…

                    • Yes! There’s the fatal flaw in this thinking–we’re *not* supposed to “enjoy” persons as *goods*. Persons are not created to be objectified or to have their sexual attributes reductively “enjoyed” by others….

                    • ObiJuan

                      Amen. Deacon Jim, please keep writing. Your perspective is very much appreciated. Don’t stop telling the truth!

                    • Mark

                      Sex is an inseparable aspect of someone’s personhood. I have said (and so has Aaron) several times on this thread that someone’s sex is enjoyed only as a factor in the whole gestalt which is their personhood. It’s you who seem to imagine that we can dissect our liking someone and decide to base it only on, say, their sense of humor but then NOT their male beauty.

                  • Guest

                    No, you have it backward. You have the burden to show God ordained this inclination. There is no evidence it is in accord with nature or Scripture. Where is this new teaching found that you spread?

                    • Mark

                      No. The burden of proof is and always has been on proving “God condemns,” not “God approves.” It’s innocent until proven guilty.

                    • Guest

                      What? We have abundant evidence God condemns same sex acts. We have no evidence He ordained same sex attraction. In fact, the evidence is clear He did not. He made male and female and ordained “heterosexual” attraction.

                      We have proof homosexual desires are disordered. As I stated early we know this from right reason, Tradition, biology, Scripture, history, and it is self evident.

                      Now what evidence do you have He ordained such a thing?

                    • Mark

                      Yes we have evidence He condemns same-sex sex acts. It is you who is making the leap from that to “attraction” which is much broader and more multivalenced experience/concept.

                    • Guest

                      No, no leap at all. It is simply common sense. You are asserting a novel and unseen teaching. Where can we find it?

                    • Invincible Hope

                      great answer guest!

                    • TheAbaum

                      He’s not even talking about a sexual attraction. Based on the ridiculously expansive and nebulous definition he wants to jam us with here, every filial affection to another person of the same sex is “gay”.

                    • Mark

                      Well, no, it has to be an attraction or affection for them AS a member of the same sex particularly. We’re not talking about generic attraction to “a person who just happens to accidentally be a member of the same sex.” We’re talking about an attraction to which the goodness of their maleness or femaleness specifically contributes AS maleness or AS femaleness.

                • TheAbaum

                  And biology. When we divorced sex from procreation, we forgot that it had any connection to procreation and that-not making your naughty parts tingly-is its purpose.

                  How ironic that people whose sexual activities are sterile, refer to those who relationships aren’t as “breeders”- as derision, with apparently, no sense of irony.

                  • Guest

                    Yes, thanks for the obvious that I forgot to mention. I always find it amazing that today we have to defend the most obvious and fundamental truths.

              • Using the terms homosexual and gay and queer beg the question circularly in and of themselves.

                • Mark

                  How?

                  • Because those terms implicitly contain lust, and taint the love with lust.

                    • Mark

                      It’s you who insist they implicitly must contain lust. If you cannot understand the difference between an attraction to someone AS a male or AS a female (as opposed to just “as a human with their sex irrelevant”) and “wanting to get it on with them”…then I feel sorry for you. Most people would think that a person who can’t make such a distinction emotionally…is a pervert.

                    • Guest

                      The “heterosexual” married male who senses attraction to a woman not his wife identifies that attraction and seeks ways to avoid it. That is called living in Christ. He does not call it a “gift” He does not celebrate it. He does not tell everyone he has this attraction and demand acceptance simply because he experiences such attraction.

                    • And yet you yourself claimed that those relationships were based in Eros- Lust.

                      Unless you can eliminate the lust, you are a pervert.

                    • Mark

                      Lust is a vice, meaning a habit of entertaining impure thoughts or acts. One cannot have a habit of thoughts or acts one doesn’t entertain.

                    • And yet, you claim you can’t eliminate the habit. Else the relationship would be based on Philia, not Eros.

                    • Mark

                      Well it’s you and Jim who are seeking to define “Eros” a particular question-begging way that defines it as lustful from the start, not me or the New Homophiles.

                      Being gay is NOT a “habit” in that sense. It’s you who are insisting on giving it that definition or putting into that framework, even though that’s NOT what people mean by it. A habit of gay sex or of impure thoughts or pornography is a habit and a vice. “Attraction” or orientation are not a habit because they don’t imply the practice of any particular moral acts or choices AT ALL.

                  • They imply eros/lust, directly. Otherwise, just choose to be straight instead of queer, like I choose to act neurotypical instead of autistic.

              • Invincible Hope

                ROTFL wow just wow Mark, just what is it you think a homosexual (or in your terms “gay”) desire is a desire to? What does is homosexual or heterosexual’s “desire” oriented towards? If you want to look at “social constructs” and not what you and making up in your own mind, which in all charity appears deluded towards properly and fairly representing this issue. Lets take the 2014 Oxford and Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definitions:

                Oxford= homosexual -1(Of a person) sexually attracted to people of one’s own sex. ; gay -1(Of a person, especially a man) homosexual.

                MW=homosexual- sexually attracted to people of the same sex. ; gay-sexually attracted to someone who is the same sex.

                MW=Lust- a strong feeling of sexual desire.

                the homosexual female is not attracted to “effeminate men” but rather humans having female genitalia. If that attraction is to the person itself it would not have the lust element. When you are attracted to someone based largely on their genitalia over another persons genitalia you have a element of “lust” which cannot be excluded b/c it is in the definition. Both Gay and Homosexual involve sexual attraction/desire and that feeling defines lust. In reference to your earlier post – you do not (hopefully) have a crush on your mother, or give her “second glances”, the way you refer, on the subway.. why? because their is NO lust involved there… attractive glances and crushes, have an element, however small, of lust.
                You mentioned asking anyone earlier, I took that as an invite to ask me (I’m as good an anyone as anyone lol), and I disagree with you, so now where is your point… Are we to just go around asking people till be reach the small minority that agree with your position? Even the all our standard dictionaries do not – and they are the agreed upon reflection of current cultural constructs,, hence , perhaps sadly, the first definition of the word gay now refers to desiring one with the same genital function rather than being happy or joyous.

                • Mark

                  “Attraction” is not a desire to do anything, necessarily. It’s a pleasant emotion in the face of a particular category of stimuli.

                  Kids like candy. You can use this reward to train a kid to be excellent at homework and studying, or you can use it to train him to pickpocket.

                  Enjoyment from seeing or talking to certain men AS such isn’t bad in itself, nor is it ordered towards any particular action. The emotional reward, the release of endorphins, just is, a bare fact of experience. What you use that to motivate is up to your free choice.

                  • Guest

                    It is a disorder of nature for same sex persons to feel pleasure in the way you describe. They may not be culpable but it is unnatural.

                    Are you saying that feeling pleasure do to any experience or stimuli is ordered as designed by nature/God’s will simply because it happens to occur?

                    • Mark

                      No, obviously not pleasure taken in something that is objectively evil or a sin.

                      But when we’re talking about pleasure from something objectively morally neutral (the mere presence or appearance of another person of the same sex, seeing them or talking to them)…then yes, there is nothing controversial about it in solid Catholic moral theology.

                    • Guest

                      But that has nothing to do with homosexuality.

                    • Mark

                      Except yes it does. MOST of society would define homosexual orientation as meaning that a man has a predominant pattern of enjoyment from maleness much moreso than from femaleness. Not in “sex acts with a male” specifically. Just in maleness, period, in general, including most of the time enjoying this preference in a variety of totally morally neutral ways such as looking or talking or merely having them be present.

                    • Guest

                      Sounds like a personal problem or fetish not a matter of theology.

                    • Mark

                      It’s the Crisis crowd who made this into a theological problem. As Melinda described below, the SF crowds writings are mainly personal/experiential.

                    • Guest

                      Great, then they are merely describing some odd personal issues.

                    • ObiJuan

                      What about adult men who experience endorphin rushes when they talk to little boys? Is it disordered for them to take pleasure in such an “appreciation” of their maleness?

                    • Mark

                      I’d assume that the fantasies would have to be much more limited. There’s a lot of romantic imagery that a gay person can legitimately appropriate from the straight narrative of love and apply to adults of the same sex…the just would not be appropriate for children. But assuming the person uses their love to motivate only good and positive things, sublimates or channels it into good desires and acts and not perverse or inappropriate ones, who are you to judge or try to dissect the exact psychological structure of his internal motivations?

                    • ObiJuan

                      Hold the phone. So now a predominant inclination by an adult man for the “maleness” of a young boy is ok so long as such “fantasies” are “limited”? Why? “Maleness” is a good, remember? And appreciating “maleness” has nothing to do with erotic desire, remember? Or perhaps you believe some some predominant inclinations are perversions? Perhaps even disorders?

                    • ObiJuan

                      Mark, your homophilic arguments undermine the moral structure of pedophilia. Your condemnation of adult men “appreciating” the “maleness” of young boys as inappropriate appears to rest on sentiment, not moral reasoning.

                      I’ve said it multiple times in this thread, but it bears repeating. Redefining the moral lexicon is dangerous. Your misunderstanding of pedophilia is simply the most egregious instantiation of your linguistic errors.

                    • Mark

                      Obi I never said that. Sex (maleness or femaleness) if appreciated is, by definition a sexual appreciation.

                      But as I understand the definition of pedophilia, it involves sexually appreciating an age (or, at most, some sort of age/sex complex), which doesn’t make sense.

                      Sex is appreciated sexually, age is appreciated “age-ly.” Mixing the two seems problematic. But unlike pedophilia, homosexual orientation doesn’t mix the two. It doesn’t sexualized a non-sexual category.

                    • ObiJuan

                      This is going nowhere. Your chronic revisionism of the moral lexicon violates the rules of reasonable public discourse. Excising eros from sexual attraction is simply impossible.

                    • Mark

                      But Obi, age and sex are two different axes.

                      “Young maleness” is not a sex. Maleness is a sex, but if it’s appreciated that would in itself be separate from age. An appreciation of childhood, on the other hand, should be independent of sex. Because they’re two different traits.

                      “Childhood” cannot be a valid object of sexual appreciation (because it is not a sex), just like “maleness” cannot be an object of age appreciation (because it’s not an age!)

                      Pedophilia and other fetishes are distinct from orientation inasmuch as they limit sexual attraction based on a category that is not sex (in this case, age).

                    • ObiJuan

                      False. The majority of pederast priests acted on same-sex attraction. Females wouldn’t do. They wanted males. If only vocations directors had rejected the seminary applications of these sick individuals, and been blunt about same-sex attraction as a disorder, how many children could’ve been spared?

                    • Mark

                      Obi, I never said pedophiles don’t have a gender preference. What I said is that that isn’t the problem, the problem is with their fetishization of youth or childhood. It is also a well known fact that true pedophiles (those who abuse the pre-pubescent)…have been shown to have an adult orientation largely separate from whatever preference they might have in child victims.

                    • But Mark, according to your claims, the Church should have *no* problem at all with the pedophilic *attraction* itself–rather, the Church just has a problem with the *acts* arising from this attraction. Right? The attraction itself is harmless and good–after all, the innocence of childhood is a *good*, right? Nothing wrong with an adult being attracted to this…right?
                      Besides, you can’t point to a *single* teaching of the Magisterium that specifically condemns the pedophilic *attraction* as always being disordered. The condemnation is of the sexual *act*, not the attraction….or am I wrong?

                    • ObiJuan

                      The priest scandal involved homosexual priests preying on little boys. This is the cold, disgusting truth.

                      There is a reason Pope Benedict, in responding to the scandals, tasked inspectors to visit seminaries and ask “Is there evidence of homosexuality in the seminary?”

                      There is a reason Pope Benedict approved the following Instruction:

                      In the light of such teaching, this Dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture.”

                      Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women. One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.

                      Different, however, would be the case in which one were dealing with homosexual tendencies that were only the expression of a transitory problem – for example, that of an adolescence not yet superseded. Nevertheless, such tendencies must be clearly overcome at least three years before ordination to the diaconate.”

                      -Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies
                      in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders, Congregation of Catholic Education, 4 November 2005.

                    • ObiJuan

                      Mark, still waiting on your explanation of why the Supreme Pontiff would order an Instruction banning homosexuals from seminaries in the aftermath of the priest child abuse scandal. The context, like the teaching itself, couldn’t be clearer.

              • Guest

                Sexual attraction is ordered only between male/female. Even then it is to be fulfilled only in marriage. Under what circumstance can same sex attraction be rightly ordered?

              • michael susce

                There you go again. It is not false… It just is….a social construct etc. etc. oh wait…. I understand, we have to justify our beliefs to some objective standard but you do not because of their subjectivity??!!!
                (banging head against wall)

      • TheAbaum

        Obviously, that word had been so abused and deformed it has been rendered FUBAR.

  • Mark (and anyone else struggling to understand this), here is another expression of what the Church teaches:
    CCC2360: Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman…
    CCC2361: “Sexuality, by means of which man and woman give themselves to one another through the acts which are proper and exclusive to spouses, is not something simply biological, but concerns the innermost being of the human person as such. It is realized in a truly human way only if it is an integral part of the love by which a man and woman commit themselves totally to one another until death.” (Familiaris Consortio 11)
    Notice: *Sexuality*–not “heterosexuality”, not sex acts. What is it “ordered” to? The conjugal love of man and woman.
    Notice: *Sexuality*–not “heterosexuality”, not sex acts. It is realized in a truly human way ONLY if it is an integral part of the love by *which* a man and woman become *spouses*.
    Sexuality that’s not “ordered” to the conjugal love of man and woman would be called…wild guess here….*dis*-ordered? I know, I know, it sounds crazy don’t it! 🙂

    • Mark

      You’re leaping here.

      Saying that human sexuality in general is ordered towards the conjugal union does not translate into a “reductionist” interpretation of human sexuality to that.

      As the Catechism also says: “Sexuality affects all aspects of the human
      person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns
      affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more
      general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.”

      Others. Plural. Not “with the One Beloved Other.” Others. Plural.

      Language is ordered towards communication. Your interpretation would take this to mean that poetry is excluded. Clothing is ordered towards protecting us from the elements and covering our nudity. Your interpretation would take this to mean that ornamental fashion is excluded. You don’t seem to see the “overflowing” of sexuality into “all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul” and into his affectivity and bonds of communion with others. Yet this “overflowing” of sexuality from its order (but not contrary to it!) is, I think, the whole point of TOTB and yet you seem to be reading it as the exact opposite!

      • Guest

        Do you really think the Church understands same sex attraction as correctly ordered as in ordered toward the good? Seriously?

        • Mark

          I think it would depend on how the passion was “used.”

          The Church’s position on the passions, from the Catechism, is this:

          1767 In themselves passions are neither good nor evil. They are morally qualified only to the extent that they effectively engage reason and will. Passions are said to be voluntary, “either because they are commanded by the will or because the will does not place obstacles in their way.”44 It belongs to the perfection of the moral or human good that the passions be governed by reason.45

          1768 Strong feelings are not decisive for the morality or the holiness of persons; they are simply the inexhaustible reservoir of images and affections in which the moral life is expressed. Passions are morally good when they contribute to a good action, evil in the opposite case. The upright will orders the movements of the senses it appropriates to the good and to beatitude; an evil will succumbs to disordered passions and exacerbates them. Emotions and feelings can be taken up into the virtues or perverted by the vices.

          Gay love/attraction would therefore be seen by the Church as bad to the extent it contributes to or motivates bad acts, and good to the extent that it contributes to or motivates good or selfless acts. If a guy is having sex with another guy, it’s bad, the passion has been taken up into vice. If a guy does for his male beloved on account of being in love with him, it’s good, it has been taken up into virtue.

          • Mark

            *dies for

          • ***Gay love/attraction would therefore be seen by the Church as bad to the extent it contributes to or motivates bad acts, and good to the extent that it contributes to or motivates good or selfless acts. ****
            No, Mark–“gay love” isn’t one of the passions. The concupiscible passions are: Love, Hatred, Desire, Aversion, Joy, and Sadness.
            “Gay love”, based as it is on a disordered sexual attraction, would count as a *disordered* passion.

            • Mark

              Just so, Jim: the passion is love.

              And the catechism makes it quite clear: what determines the order or disorder of a passion is the object it contributes to when “used” by the will to choose to motivate an act.

              Love for sodomy is a disordered passion on account of its disordered object. Other gay loves would be disordered or not based on whether their specific objects were good or evil.

              You’re acting as if there can be some disorder in a passion PRIOR to or separate from any independent disorder in its object. But that’s not how it works. Gay lust is “objectively” disordered because it’s object, gay sex, is intrinsically disordered on account of being closed to life and union.

              You’re speaking as if there is some independent a priori axiomatic disorder in any passions stirred up by the same sex specifically, that render any possible object coming from these passions “disordered” even if the objects in themselves are morally neutral.

              But that’s a total reversal of how it works. Passions are objectively disorders only inauch as their object is a disordered act.

              • No, Mark–“gay lust” is objectively disordered because it’s a sexual attraction between two persons of the same sex. Its “object” is the sexual value(s) of someone who lacks the *complementarity* essential to a properly ordered sexual attraction.

                • Mark

                  Yes that’s obviously the impression you’re under, but that’s not how the catechism uses or intends the concept of “object” of passions.

                  • Then quote the CCC paragraph that contradicts my claim.

                    (again) Mark–do you agree that the Church teaches the “spousal meaning of the body”?

                  • Guest

                    “In the discussion which followed the publication of the
                    Declaration, however, an overly benign interpretation was given to the
                    homosexual condition itself, some going so far as to call it neutral, or even
                    good. Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin,
                    it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and
                    thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.

                    Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be
                    directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that
                    the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally
                    acceptable option. It is not.

                    Nevertheless, increasing numbers of people today, even within
                    the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Church to accept the
                    homosexual condition as though it were not disordered and to condone homosexual
                    activity. Those within the Church who argue in this fashion often have close
                    ties with those with similar views outside it. These latter groups are guided by
                    a vision opposed to the truth about the human person, which is fully disclosed
                    in the mystery of Christ. They reflect, even if not entirely consciously, a
                    materialistic ideology which denies the transcendent nature of the human person
                    as well as the supernatural vocation of every individual.”

                    CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH

                    • Mark

                      It’s unclear the CDF had any notion of “homosexual condition” as meaning anything other than “tempted to have sex with members of the same sex.”

                    • Guest

                      It is only unclear to those who refuse to see the obvious.

                      Can you show us one example where the magisterium says same sex attraction without genital activity is ordered toward God?

                    • Mark

                      It doesn’t need to single it out specifically for approbation if it’s already covered by more general principles. If the passion is motivating a good act, it’s good. That’s what the catechism says. I know lots of selflessness and compassion motivated by the gay love gay men have for their partners.

                    • Guest

                      You are confusing things here. I hope unintentionally. That people with SSA can perform good acts in no way justifies approving of the inclination as ordered toward the good.

                      I think you know well the Church does not teach what you claim She teaches. Sexual attraction was ordained between male and female only. It was not ordained between same sex persons or any other deviation from the norm.

                    • Mark

                      I didn’t just say that “people with SSA can preform good acts”…I’m claiming that people with SSA can preform good acts BECAUSE of their SSA, motivated BY their SSA.

                    • Guest

                      That is your private misunderstanding. That is not Catholic teaching or reasonable.

                • Objectivetruth

                  Cut to the chase, Deacon……for crying out loud…..

                  The gay lifestyle including homosexual acts of sodomy is a mortal sin!

                  The people glrorifying the gay lifestyle that are posting here souls are in jeopardy of eternal damnation.

                  Don’t “softball” it! It’s sin! Charity sometimes needs to be delivered straight, bluntly and right between the eyes. Christ didn’t knock down Saul of Tarsus with a feather duster!

                  As we all do when we are living in sin, they need to repent and stop sinning!

                  • Hi, thanks for the comment–I understand the “cut to the chase” thinking here. But, I picked up Mark’s use of “gay lust” probably ill-advisedly because it’s so utterly ambiguous. I seem to have misunderstood him to be referring to “pre-willed” same-sex attraction rather than “post-willed” (and therefore sinful as you rightly point out) lust.
                    Sorry for any confusion–indeed, if it’s willed, it’s sinful.

                    • Guest

                      I do not how many, or few, are following all these comments but they illustrate the societal pathology that effects us all. The hazy and confusing use of words, the inchoate ideas that slip through our fingers, and the defense that is portrayed as intolerance.

                      It takes some stamina and curiosity to follow it all. I thank you for your efforts. They are truly appreciated by more than you probably realize. I am sorry it does not get more coverage.

                    • Mark

                      If you insist that, you once again run into the contradiction about heterosexual “dating.” That surely involves “willed” sexual attraction. Yet it takes place outside of marriage! We’ve asked and asked you to find some traditional source regarding non-marital heterosexuality (that clearly excludes non-marital homosexuality) but you can’t do anymore than keep trotting out vague passages of TOTB. You need to find something, Jim, that condemns gay choices even when they’re the same as non-marital straight choices.

                    • Remember? We’ve been down this rabbit-hole before. It’s the one in which you end up conceding that there’s really nothing at all preventing me, a married man, from “dating” as many people of either sex that I may wish to *while* I’m married….Right? All that “dating” stuff takes place outside marriage, and there’s no clear “traditional source” regarding either non-marital heterosexuality *or* homosexuality according to your view.
                      Such “friendships” based on this vague notion of attraction that you are insisting on, good as they are, should be *entirely* compatible for the *married* as well, correct? One married man should be able to “date” *another* woman–or *man*–married to someone else, right?

                    • Mark

                      It is you and our modern culture who have created (or assented to) the problematic construct of “dating,” Jim, not me. It is you who want to create a species of non- or pre-marital heterosexuality apart from friendships, and so as a result wind up by the same logic problematizing post-marital heterosexual friendship.

                    • So, it’s as I indicated–if a married man feels “gay love” toward his next-door neighbor, and as long as both their wives don’t mind, they should be able to spend quality time together (“date” each other) as an expression of “gay love,” right? This seems to coincide perfectly with your reasoning…

                    • Mark

                      I wouldn’t use the term “date,” Jim. But I do know plenty of “heroic” male partnerships were between married men.

                    • If you’re willing to use the term “gay love”, why *not* use the term “date,” Mark? If I can form a “gay-love” friendship with the husband next door–if I can, say, go out to dinner, walk down the street with him holding hands, go dancing after dinner (*all* “non-homo-genital” acts, as you put it), and them come back home to my wife and kids, why not call that a “date”? Nothing to worry about, right? It’s not like it’s out of “synch” with the “spousal meaning of the body,” right?

                    • Mark

                      Jim I’m not certain any of that would be ok for a married person, or a consecrated religious. My point is that the sex of the “friend” isn’t what matters. If it’s wrong with a man, it would be wrong with a woman too. You probably shouldn’t “date” a woman if you’re already married either, yet if you’re not married, that’s not a problem. My question has always been about the false distinction you’ve been making between premarital heterosexuality and premarital homosexuality. No one here is denying a distinction between married and unmarried. But the Church knows no institution of “premarital heterosexuality” that is allowed some sort of limited expression that would for some reason be “lust” if homosexual. If something is moral outside of marriage, it’s moral period, for everyone.

                    • Dig deeper, Mark–*why* would this be “not okay” for a married person or consecrated religious?
                      If something moral “outside marriage” is moral period, for everyone, how can you say it would *not* be okay for a consecrated religious??

                    • Mark

                      Well not to sound hoakey or corny, but the consecrated religious is already “dating Jesus” and you can’t date two people at once. But this would be problematic whether the consecrated religious person was proposing to date a man OR a woman. It has nothing to do with the sex of the partner, it has to do with partnerships, in general, being exclusive inasmuch as they involve a commitment to pre-eminence of concern (and plurality of time, energy, etc) that you can only give ONE person at a time.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Exactly. Many of those who style themselves as great defenders of the Church’s teaching are — whether intentionally or not — engaging in a process of subtly replacing the immemorial Christian tradition of seeing sexuality as ordered toward marriage with a newfangled notion of sexuality as ordered toward some vaguely defined “heterosexual” union.

                    • Aaron–no, actually, that’s not what’s going on. To illustrate that it is not, let me “punt” my question to Mark over to you: *why* would this (the above two husbands “dating” scenario) be “not okay” for a married person or consecrated religious?
                      If something moral “outside marriage” is moral period, for everyone, how can you say it would *not* be okay for a consecrated religious??

                    • Mark

                      As I explained above, Jim: people AREN’T allowed to have TWO romantic relationships at a time, even outside of marriage, and so a man who already was putatively having one with his wife would not be allowed to have one with another man (or with another woman).

                      The problem isn’t that dating a woman is wrong, or having a “special friendship” based on eros is wrong, it’s that no one (within marriage or without!) is supposed to have two at once, and a married person already has one going on (ie, their marriage).

                      But the same would be true for a man dating a woman: he couldn’t have a SECOND girlfriend, or a boyfriend. The same would be true for a man dating another man: he couldn’t have a girlfriend on the side, or a second boyfriend.

                      Come on, it’s not that hard. The issue for a married person isn’t the sex of the other person one way or the other, it’s the question of having two romantic relationships at the same time.

                    • Guest

                      The attraction between male and female is not the result of the fall but is ordained by our Lord. Where do you think same sex attraction comes from? God’s ordaining will or is it the result of the fall?

                    • Here’s my answer to the question–Mark and Aaron, if your answer differs, let me know:
                      In my view, the reason Mark can’t quite go all the way to admit that it would be “okay” for a married person or consecrated religious to form the kind of “gay-love” friendships that he is promoting is because he intuitively understands (but has yet to admit) that the married and consecrated have already achieved the essential *end* of both “eros” and the social construct called “dating” which is based on “eros”–finding “the one” (marriage) or finding “The One” (continence for the sake of the Kingdom).
                      Admitting this would shatter the proposal that same-sex friendships that include “eros” ought to be permitted *apart* from the natural end of “eros”. But you can’t have it both ways: you cannot *restrict* such eros-based friendships for the married/consecrated while affirming them for others without tacitly admitting what the essential end of such a relationship really is!
                      Any form of friendship that is permissible for two men or two women *must* also be permissible for the married or consecrated person.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      I’ve never promoted homosexual “dating,” Jim, so your question is not appropriately addressed to me. The fact that I think you are wrong doesn’t mean I affirm the contrary.

                      And it seems very naive to me to assume that the social construct of “dating” is based on Christian ideas of eros. As a Catholic at (Catholic) university I see plenty of dating relationships between young (Catholic) men and women, and there’s definitely not much “continence for the Kingdom” going on! Nor does there seem to be much interest in marriage.

                      Of course, you might say, “well dating was different when I grew up,” but we don’t live in those times anymore, and I think its questionable whether “dating” was *ever* really based on Christian eros. If that was true, then why did pastors and priests used to warn Christian parents against allowing their children to “date”?

                    • Would you agree, then, that any form of friendship permissible for two men or two women must also be permissible for a married person or “consecrated” person (to use Mark’s term)?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      No. It’s more complex than that, because when you are married you covenant to share your *life* with someone, not just exchange contracts for mutual sexual “rights.”

                      Let’s say I want to go traveling in South America for 6 months with a bunch of straight male friends. If I wanted to do that now, I could just take off and go (at least if I weren’t tied to my university … ). However, obviously if I were married it would be a betrayal of my wife to just take off and go like that. That doesn’t mean, however, that getting a plane to Argentina with a bunch of male friends is some form of “gay love.”

                    • You’ve cast the question into the realm of “doing” rather than “being.” What I am asking is really about “being.”
                      An example: Say I am a husband and father who happens to experience “same-sex eros” for a single male neighbor who is experiencing same-sex eros for me as well. Is it morally permissible, in your view, for me and my neighbor to pursue a friendship based on this mutual attraction?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Well “doing” is important because that’s what morals are about, Jim!

                      And I’ve never advocated that people should pursue friendships based solely on mutual attraction. It’s an insufficient basis for *any* friendship.

                    • Fair enough–I should have phrased my thinking accordingly. Thus my point is that the moral “object” you responded to was not the moral object I proposed for consideration. The question is whether it is in some cases moral for the same-sex attracted husband and single neighbor to pursue a friendship that is based at least *partly* on the mutual same-sex attraction?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      If you are asking is it wrong for a homosexual to be friends with a person he or she is attracted to, the answer is “No.”

                    • Here, again, is what I’m asking:
                      Is it in some cases morally acceptable for the same-sex-attracted married man to pursue a friendship that is based at least *partly* on a mutually held same-sex attraction (what you have previously referred to as “same-sex eros”) with a single neighbor?
                      A similarly simple “yes” or “no” answer to *this* question would be quite welcome…

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Firstly, what I referred to as “same-sex eros” is *not* the same thing you seem to be referring to as “same-sex attraction.”

                      Secondly, behind your question is the naive assumption that this “same-sex attraction” is a discrete part of the personality that can somehow be hermetically sealed off from the rest of the personality.

                      The reality is, it doesn’t work like that, as anyone who lives in the real world instead of the head-world of scholastic distinctions knows very well.

                      Your theory leads to the conclusion, as I have pointed out before, that gay people simply aren’t allowed to form any friendships at all. You claim a gay man is *never* allowed to form *any* friendship with *any* man that is based even *partly* on what you call “same-sex attraction.” But how could he ever be sure which friendships were safe? Eros reaches deep into the subconscious, so I don’t think one could ever be absolutely morally certain that there was not some sort of latent attraction to the male sexual values in amongst other motives, however deeply buried and subconscious, and however marginal it was compared to other motives for forming the friendship.

                      Given that humans are fundamentally social, if your theory leads to the denial of any real same-sex friendships to gay people (and I think it does), it seems to me that it’s an even worse assault on the dignity of gays than the anti-gay blowhards who want to throw gays in jail and deny them civil rights. To strike at someone’s right to form meaningful human connections with other people is to strike at something much more fundamental to human dignity even than freedom, or access to employment and housing, etc. I’m not doubting your sincere good will, but the material content of the ideas you are putting forward, once they are unpacked, amount to some of the most extreme theological justifications for anti-gay ideology that I’ve ever come across.

                    • Wow–well, yeah, Aaron, maybe I’m fomenting an “extreme” “anti-gay ideology” by posing this question…OR…
                      …maybe I’m just trying to get a handle on just how “spiritual friendship” based on “same-sex eros” is supposed to apply to someone who self-identifies as *bisexual* and is married….

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      I’ve been at paints to stress throughout this conversation that I accept your genuine good will. I didn’t say you were “formenting” anti-gay ideology. I said that’s where the distinctions you are trying to introduce into Catholic thought would end up leading us, whether you yourself like it or not.

                      Again, this goes back to the problem of trying to hermetically seal off things that are inherently related. One can’t give an answer to the question you are raising about the case of a bisexual married-man’s same-sex friendship without that answer having implications for *all* same-sex friendship.

                    • There are two possible answers to the question–and, yes–both answers have implications for *all* same-sex friendship.
                      Answer #1: same-sex attraction (same-sex eros) is always objectively disordered and therefore, when experienced and *willed*, is always a sinful impediment to the good of “disinterested” friendship.
                      Answer #2: same-sex attraction (same-sex eros) is *not* always objectively disordered and therefore, when experienced and *willed*, is *not* always a sinful impediment to the good of “disinterested” friendship.
                      I believe Answer #1 is correct. I *think* you accept Answer #2, right? If so, it makes me curious how one addresses *bisexual* attraction as described in my case above….

                    • Mark

                      But Jim, the problem is that the married (and, symbolically speaking, the consecrated person) are ALREADY “dating” someone: presumably, their “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”…is their spouse!

                      So the problem with a married person having a boyfriend or girlfriend isn’t that such a relationship is intrinsically problematic, whether with a man or with a woman, it’s that if they are already married…then they’d be having TWO at the same time. And THAT is problematic.

                      As that sort of relationship (whether in marriage or without) is generally understood to involve a commitment of plurality of your time/energy etc…that you can’t give to more than one person.

                      There is nothing wrong with “partnership” with men or with women, for anyone. But a married person’s spouse is (usually) ALREADY their rightful partner, so they can’t have ANOTHER “on the side.”

                      But if a person isn’t married, then they can have a partner. This takes several forms. One form is heterosexual dating (which may or may not evolve into a marriage). Another is two single men, probably gay, who are partners.

                      And another form is even in the civilly divorced living “as brother and sister” with a third party. In this case, though they are still sacramentally married to the original spouse (and the claim of genital exclusivity is irrevocable)…they are separated and therefore their “domestic partnership” has ended, they’re no longer “dating” their spouse, we might say. And so, although there is not supposed to be any sex going on, the Church concedes a new partnership (even without conceding a new marriage).

                      It’s a perfectly consistent vision, Jim. “Partnership” is obviously allowed apart from marriage, or else pre-marital heterosexual dating wouldn’t be allowed, nor would the “brother and sister” situation. But while marriage is supposed to ALSO be a partnership (unless there is a separation), and while marriage itself is intrinsically heterosexual…there is nothing essentially heterosexual about the idea of partnership in itself.

                      But just because it’s not a sexual-genital institution doesn’t mean that it isn’t practically speaking exclusive. And as such, incompatible with more than one at the same time (and thus incompatible with marriage unless we’re talking about a separation situation where the partnership aspect has ended, in which case the Church accommodates a new partnership, though not a new marriage).

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Warped. Disordered. Perverted.

                    • Guest

                      Yes, it is the worst type of post modernism.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      And it is you who is promoting mortal sin.

                • Mark

                  That absolutely depends on the “intentio” of the love, Jim. Yes, if someone is looking for “complementarity,” they aren’t going to find it in the maleness of another male. But that’s not the only good one can perceive in the maleness of someone. I’m going on Aquinas’s analysis of how passions work here, but for example…a knife may be the object of my appetite. But WHICH passion, and our analysis of this absolutely depends on how (ie, under which aspect/intentio) I’m perceiving the knife. As a weapon directed against me, it may be an object of fear. As a weapon for me to use to murder someone, it may be an object of disordered love. As a useful tool for me to cut the cake with, it may be an object of perfectly ordered love.

                  You seem to be trying to take a mere thing (maleness or femaleness) and anathemize any and all positive passions resulting from it, but it absolutely depends on how it is perceived. If it is perceived as “a potential sexual complement” (an absurd illusion) or as “a stimulus for my sexual arousal” then of course such love is disordered. But not all same-sex attraction is loving someone’s maleness or femaleness under THOSE aspects (and neither is all opposite-sex attraction).

              • Guest

                This is not Catholic theology or moral theology. This is your private teaching.

          • Guest

            No, you quote the CCC and then inverted it to fit your narrative. The Church does not teach “gay love” is ordered correctly. It is impossible. Authentic love never contradicts the moral law. Genital activity is not the sole metric to judge this issue.

            Two men, as one example, cannot will love for each other as a married man and woman regardless of genital acts. It would be as if a father an d son “loved” each other as a celibate husband and wife. It is a serious category error.

            • Mark

              I never said that two men could love each other “like a husband and wife” because there is a good (namely the one flesh union, procreation, etc) that is exchanged between them (in potentiality, if not actuality) that two men can never exchange. But that’s already getting into concrete determinate objects of the will. Emotions in themselves come from a cause and are indeterminate as to act or object until one is freely chosen. It’s not about correct or incorrect emotions prior to any object determination.

              • Guest

                Emotions are to be ruled by intellect. So, if your emotions tell a man he “loves” another man he needs to evaluate that emotion and align it with reason.

      • It *especially* concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate. Right on–this is *eros*.
        In a *more general way* it concerns the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.
        Right on–this is *philia*–friendship.

        • Mark

          So “Philia” is also a manifestation of “sexuality,” Jim??

          • Manifestation? No. It’s *associated* with eros *especially*.
            It’s *associated* with philia in a more *general* way.

            • Mark

              Well not just associated with it, it “concerns” it.

              1 a : to relate to : be about b : to bear on 2 : to have an influence on : involve ; also : to be the business or affair of

              So sexuality “is about” what you’re calling philia, “in a more general way.” Philia “is the business of” sexuality. Not just “sometimes” or in a narrow way (say, just the marital friendship), but in a general way! Philia in general is within the concern or purview of “sexuality”

              How exactly do you understand this if earlier you’ve said that sexuality is about the conjugal union only and narrowly?

  • I deeply appreciate the clear yet charitable words spoken here. As a Catholic man with SSA (same-sex attraction), it took me years to pull back from identifying as a “celibate gay or LGBT” person. But the problem with that terminology is simple–it confuses us with the issue, and while Melinda Selmys and others choose to use terms such as “queer Catholic” I find myself squirming because that is the very life I left behind, not the life I wish to live now. As to the emotional part of SSA being disordered, I think it is a fine line in that we all need authentic friendships of all genders and backgrounds, and they need us too. That is not at issue here. Without speaking for anyone else I can say that I sense a lack of that at times, even within our beloved Catholic Church. For example I have had more than one person be “inspired” by my story but less inspired to walk the path with me towards wholeness when I needed their support. By the same token, though, creating artificial categories such as “queer but celibate but still liking my own gender best” types of understandings of Catholic teaching to be faulty, as that very view can unwittingly lead to emotional affairs which can be nearly as damaging as physical ones at times. In other words it can become an occasion of sin to those of us who have SSA. I think that is the main danger here with over-identifying with the actively LGBT community for those of us who left it behind or are in the daily process of doing so. I am simply a Catholic Christian man. What I was, or even what I currently deal with, does not ever define me. Nor should it.

    • Invincible Hope

      Beautifully said.

    • TheAbaum

      Hang in there, and hang around here.

    • And that ALL Catholics should support.

      • Thanks so much to each of you for your comments. There is certainly room to disagree on the details and discuss this whole topic, but the bottom line always ends up to be “what does the Church teach?” It begins and ends there.

        • Roma Locuta est, causa finita est?

          • I don’t know Italian, but I think we agree…in any case the only parts we can and should discuss would be ways to reach out to those from my background while at the same time not compromising our Faith. Rome has spoken on it. It won’t change.

            • It’s more Latin, from a dialogue that St. Augustine had with the Donatists, but yes. When Rome speaks, the Cause is finished.

  • ObiJuan
    • Ignatius Press. And once again the Jesuits leap out of the frying pan of Orthodoxy and into the fire.

  • Erik

    Well, good to see Crisis has found new lows.

    Also, per “the commission clearly indicates that “erotic and emotional
    attraction” … falls under its definition of same-sex attraction,” should I be informing my best friend, father, and mentors that, because they are of the same sex as me, I can no longer have emotional attraction to them, since that would make me a homosexual?

    Whoops… what we’ve got here is called a logical fallacy, friends, and any theologian worth his salt would be justly ashamed of this article’s lack of wise distinctions and pastoral sensibility. This is the sort of nonsense that drives those suffering with same sex attraction out of the Church. You, good sirs, are the problem, and this is certainly not the solution. Good day.

    • Just like in The Wizard of Oz, this is becoming the straw man that won’t stop dancing…

      Readers, if you plan to comment on the absurdity of calling father-son relationships “homosexual” because they are “emotional,” please be advised that neither I nor the Canadian bishops are making such a blatantly ridiculous claim.

      Instead read again–go ahead, re-read it–what they say counts as “same-sex attraction”: ***2. In this document the expression “person with same-sex attraction” refers to one who feels an erotic and emotional attraction, which is predominant and not merely episodic, towards persons of the same sex, whether with or without sexual relations. “:***
      Note the syntax: “AN” erotic and emotional attraction–AN attraction. What kind of AN attraction? One that is *both* erotic and emotional. Both, not “either/or”.
      Clear enough?

    • Guest

      Right out of the Gay Lobby handbook.

    • ForChristAlone

      It would be in your best interest to stay away from homosexuals if they are occasions of sin for you and tempt you in ways that you do not wish.

  • Greg

    It seems to me that both houses in this debate have something meaningful to contribute, as well as deficiencies to overcome. I’m reminded of two elements in the life of John Henry Newman. The first is his deep and unashamed love and friendship for fellow Oratorian Ambrose St-John, such that he desired to be buried with him. There can be a true and deep friendship among members of the same sex, and such is a great occasion of grace for all. It is worth remembering, though, that Newman ever sought to fulfil the injunction to be holy as God is holy. Thus he displayed orthopraxis and orthodoxy both in theology and in morality.

    The other element in Newman’s life is his controversy with Charles Kingsley, the Queen’s Almoner who had libelled him and the whole Catholic priesthood. In his Apologia, Newman diagnoses Kingsley’s failure to understand Newman: “He appears to be so constituted as to have no notion of what goes on in
    minds very different from his own, and moreover to be stone blind to
    his ignorance.” It seems to me that Dn. Russell is rightly warning against justification of disorder. In the nature of the case, such justification is impossible, and its attempt is gravely dangerous. The flip side has people finding themselves living lives in which they recognise not only the action of grace but their active cooperation with grace in the midst of experienced affection and attraction which has been anathematized in the popular (sub)culture. Their search for a meaningful resolution has proposed a possible solution: what would in former times be called (deep) friendship which would almost automatically and necessarily be among members of the same sex, while understanding themselves to experience affection differently from the descriptions of others.

    My own thought would be perfectly at ease applying the term concupiscence to same sex attraction, simply because it is disordered. At the same time, all sexual attraction, even when so degraded as to be at the furthest extreme of wickedness and perversity, is fundamentally ordered to establishing, maintaining, and furthering personal relationships. In a healthy context, parents love their children, not as potential sexual consumer items but as persons with whom they hope to share life. These children are the fruit of sexual intimacy. In heaven, as in well-ordered religious communities, there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage, yet there are deeply meaningful personal relationships. My point is kind of a cart and horse, or horse and barn door thought: sex, large as it is, including same sex attraction as well as sexual activity, is a subset of relationships, not vice-versa. If we can put things in context and give each its due, both honour and limits, we provide the space by which deficiencies can be supplied, wounds can be healed, errors can be corrected, and grace can abound for the multitude.

  • mertontomas

    Why is it that so many of the men who so proudly show their photos within this sexually smoldering Crisis blog and so zealously oppose the facts so conclusively observable in nature look and seem so darn, um, gay? Jesus himself seemed so very gay and many are increasingly okay with it.

    • John200

      Because so many of the “men” who so proudly show their bums and so zealously
      sodomize themselves with facts look and seem so darn, um, stupid?
      Jesus himself decided what homo”sex”ual activity means for the unfortunate homo”sex”ual. In fact, Jesus is hopeful that you homo”sex”uals dump the krappe and act like men, that is, like human males. He does not want you to endure the eternally increasing temperature, let alone the flames and the landlord with the eternally nasty attitude, that goes with your misfortune.

      Do it while it matters, while you are alive and can earn your way to sainthood. Before you are eternally fixed as a perverted character.

      He isn’t OK with homo”sex”ual activity, not one bit OK with it.

      Best to you as you begin to figure things out.

  • JP

    This piece reminds me of an old tactic used by the Soviet Union during World War II. Attack Everywhere; Attack in Depth; Attack Always. The goal was to find one small crack in the opponent’s defensive line. It didn’t have to be large; the crack didn’t have to be even noticeable by the high command. It just had to be. Once the crack (or gap in the defensive line) was recognized, the process called for an immediate focus on the area using all forces available.

    This tactic is used by enemies of the Church. This persistent attack upon Church teachings is intended to go and on until someone high up in the Curia gives them an inch.Then watch the enemies of the Church ponce. This obsession with gay life styles, gay marriage, gay sex will go on. The magazine First Things cannot go a week without posting an essay such as “Is homosexual sodomy a sin if the partners care for each other?” – or something along the lines. Pseudo intellectuals will quote (or mis-quote) the Gospels, Saint Augustine, Heidegger, Merton, and various theologians; they will write humbly. They will argue that the RCC doesn’t have to reform its entire moral theology; it only needs to update a tiny little sliver. Just re-arrange a few phrases, insert one word and remove another.

    But, in truth what they’re waiting for is a sign of pastoral weakness, theological confusion, or just plain fatigue. Again, it doesn’t have to be the Pope. A highly placed Cardinal would do. And when that happens the flood gates open and Pandora is loosened upon the world.

    Their target is not homosexuals and pastoral concern about their well being. Their target is heterosexuals and the entire institution of Holy Matrimony.

    Crisis would be wise to not post these kinds of “thoughtful essays.”

    • Guest

      They should post more of these essays. There are not enough of them. The average Catholic needs such essays to help properly form their conscience. It is a good antidote to the usual garbage like pop culture, movies, tv, websites, and such that most use to deform their hearts and minds. God Bless the good Deacon for standing up. Thank You Deacon!!!

      • JP

        One cannot go to a Catholic blog or read a Catholic Magazine without being exposed to some apologia from the “Gay Catholic Community”. Anyone who defines their personality, their soul, or their human type by whom they wish to have sex with does not have the best interests of the Church in mind. The same goes for any other pathology which separates us from God. One would think that half the population suffers from homoerotic wet dreams there is so much “debate” about homosexuality and Sin.

        During the time of Christ, the Roman Empire ruled from the Iberian Peninsula to Asia Minor and all points in between. The Roman culture was very gay and bisexual “friendly”. Ancient Judea was the only province in the Empire that practiced heterosexual, magnanimous marriages. They were an oddity, and the Roman Elites considered Jews to be uncultured for their unique institution of marriage. Over half the Roman Elite were either bi-sexual or openly homosexual. Intercourse with a woman was considered a sign of weakness – necessary for the continuance of the family line, but any sex act with a woman was considered inferior. But, Roman sexuality was the sexuality of the State Penitentiary. It was brutal, cruel, and aggressive. That helps explain their practice of infanticide, matricide, torture, slavery, incest, and crucifixions. From that perspective one could see why the Jews felt so humiliated. Just the presence of Roman soldiers on their lands was to them an affront to God. At least they saw it that way.

        The West traveled a long and painful journey (about 1500 years) to confect the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. It was by no means perfect, and failure occurred more often then historians wish to admit. But, Christian Marriage made the West, and set it apart from all other cultures. The teachings of the Church concerning sex and marriage date back to Christ. Most of the Church Fathers died because of those teachings. Yet, we are about to scrap it all.

        If the Church condones homosexuality in any way shape or form it is only asking for trouble in a very big way.

        • “Anyone who defines their personality, their soul, or their human type by whom they wish to have sex with does not have the best interests of the Church in mind.”

          Forget the Church. Anyone who defines their personality, their soul, or their human type by whom they wish to have sex with does not have the best interests of themselves or their partner in mind.

    • ForChristAlone

      The deacon and Crisis ought to do more stories like this – clearly enunciating Church teaching on homosexuality. Although it’s been nuanced to death by the pro-homosexual crowd, there’s only one conclusion that can be drawn: homosexuality in its acts and carnal desires is disordered.

  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

    Just popped over to Spiritual Friendship and browsed their recent postings. Think they (or, at least the Catholics among them) are about to sever their taproot in the Church. They are importing a postmodernism, taking the very language of the Church (let alone, the vocabulary of reality) making it captive to an alien ideology (or faith).

    All for what: the New Evangelism, their felt needs, the subversive drive to liberate existence from all flesh for a greater transcendence (that is, power)? Towards that goal the first step was the inversion of the boundaries, the norms, and the language of sex.

    At least, that is what they taught at the Abbey of Thelema.

    • Tim

      Very poetic!

  • Morrie Chamberlain

    Mark wants the Church to approve of “sex charged” friendships. It won’t. Sorry.

    • Mark

      It already has. The catechism says sexuality “charges” all aspects of our affective lives, including our whole ability to form bonds of communion with others in general. Man is a social animal because man is a sexual animal, period.

      The truth is, all friendships are sexually charged in this sense, they all involve a chemistry in which the sex of the participants is a factor. Gays are at the end of the day different only in degree, not nature, emotionally speaking. The difference between gay men and straight men isn’t that straight men’s friendships aren’t “sexually charged” (they are), or that gay men’s friendships with women aren’t sexually charged (they are), it’s that for gay men the same sex charge is the preference whereas straight men have the greater or more intense charge with women. But it’s all there in all cases.

      • ObiJuan

        False. Men who are sexually attracted to other men experience a disordered inclination and struggle with a darker temptation. Acting on those inclinations is violence against Nature. Read your Dante, he doesn’t locates the sodomites with the incontinent (Circle 2), he locates them with the violent (Circle 7).

        Sodomy claws into the soul much deeper than fornication and adultery. To all “old-school” men and women combating the lies of the New Homophiles, take a lesson from Saruman and avoid gazing too long into the palantir. This is real evil we’re dealing with.

        • Mark

          But we’re not talking about sodomy or temptation-to-sodomy, Obi…

          • ObiJuan

            Yes. We are.

  • ObiJuan

    “Therefore are those foul offences which be against nature, to be every
    where and at all times detested and punished; such as were those of the
    men of Sodom: which should all nations commit, they should all stand
    guilty of the same crime, by the law of God, which hath not so made men
    that they should so abuse one another.”
    – Some Church Father

  • Just wanted to add this comment to the top of the heap, for
    the sake of any who may still struggle to understand the “mind of the Church”
    on the question raised by my article above. Can any same-sex attractions that
    comprise homosexual “orientation” be considered “not disordered”?

    No, according to the July 23, 1992, Letter from the
    Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, “Responding to Legislative Proposals
    on Discrimination Against Homosexuals,” which says (#10):

    ***“Sexual orientation” does not constitute a quality
    comparable to race, ethnic background, etc., in respect to nondiscrimination.
    Unlike these, homosexual orientation is an objective disorder (cf. Letter, no.
    3) and evokes moral concern.***

    Succinct enough—if the “orientation” is an “objective
    disorder” evoking moral concern, the only reasonable interpretation is that
    every same-sex *attraction* comprising that homosexual orientation must likewise be
    objectively disordered.

    • Mark

      Not at all, Jim. This passage references simply the old statement re: objective disorder. It isn’t adding or intending to add anything new there. So the debate remains whether the Vatican’s notion of sexual orientation includes anything other than an inclination to sex acts. The whole point of “my side’s” position is that they do not seem to understand homosexuality as anything more than an inclination to homosexual sex acts. But Francis seems to be more on the pulse in this regard.

    • Aaron Taylor

      You are really scraping the bottom of the barrel now, Jim. The Vatican even said when they released that document that it wasn’t a “teaching” and was “not intended to be an official and public instruction” but simply a “background resource” for bishops to consult in formulating responses to anti-discrimination laws. The attempt to claim that such obscure documents represent the “mind of the Church” when even the Holy See says they do not smacks somewhat of desperation.

      • Wow! Who knew that a CDF letter to bishops was the “bottom of the barrel”! I certainly didn’t. Obscure? Hardly. One would certainly hope that any communication from the CDF to the bishops is reflective of the “mind of the Church,” right?
        So, are you suggesting a bishop *shouldn’t* rely on the language found in this resource, a resource deliberately written to aid him?

        • Aaron Taylor

          I didn’t say a bishop shouldn’t rely on it. I didn’t even say I disagreed with it. I said that its misleading for you to attempt to ground a doctrinal argument in a document written by the CDF which the *CDF itself* says it not a doctrinal instruction. It suggests that it is you who are really failing to pay attention to “the mind of the Church.”

          • Aaron–either the letter is correct in its assertion, or it’s not. Something that is supposed to aid the bishops ought not be viewed as doctrinally *incorrect*, should it?

            • Aaron Taylor

              I didn’t say it was “doctrinally incorrect,” I pointed out that the *Church* itself says its not a doctrinal instruction. You seem not to want to accept this fact, which is fine. I just thought it needed to be pointed out that it is you who are going against the “mind of the Church” while claiming to uphold it.

              • And I never said it was a doctrinal instruction–I said it reflected the mind of the Church.
                So, Aaron, is the statement doctrinally correct?

                • Guest

                  Aaron, the 2005 Instruction makes the same point. It’s pretty clear what the mind of the Church is. Is the 2005 Instruction correct, or is Pope Benedict promulgating error?

                • Aaron Taylor

                  Its not a *doctrinal* statement, so how can I answer whether its “doctrinally correct” or not?

                  If you didn’t know before, statements about things reflecting the “mind of the Church” usually refer to her *teachings* on matters of faith and morals, not to private letters that are later leaked to the press and then published by the Vatican, with a note specifically disclaiming the idea that the letter was intended to *teach* about doctrine. So claiming that its not a doctrinal instruction but that its somehow reflective of the “mens ecclesia” is a contradiction in terms.

                  • ObiJuan

                    What about the 2005 Instruction? Is citing an Instruction approved by Pope Benedict “scraping from the bottom of the barrel” too?

                  • No, it’s not a contradiction in the least.
                    It’s actually pretty amazing that you won’t clarify whether you think the statement is “doctrinally correct”. Either a bishop reads the text from the letter and says, “this is in accord with what the Church teaches,” or not. Either *we* read the text and concur, or not.
                    You seem to have answered your own dilemma by pointing out that this was a “private letter” to *bishops*. That’s why it’s not a public “doctrinal” document. But that by no means suggests that there’s no “doctrine” expressed in the private letter….

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      I don’t have a “dilemma” Jim because I don’t disagree with the doctrine that is in the letter.

                    • ObiJuan

                      Still waiting Aaron. The 2005 Instruction from Pope Benedict is a doctrinal statement. Your thoughts on this public teaching regarding the Catholic priesthood (faith) and homosexual tendencies (morals)?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Yeah I didn’t answer your original question because it doesn’t make sense. The 2005 Instruction wasn’t a “doctrinal statement.” It was, as it says it on the tin, an instruction about who can and can’t enter seminaries.

                      It certainly contains doctrine, insofar as it references statements which actually are doctrinal.

                    • ObiJuan

                      So you agree with Pope Benedict’s Instruction that persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies cannot enter the Catholic priesthood because homosexual tendencies, like homosexual acts, are “also objectively disordered”?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Again, your question doesn’t make a lot of sense here.

                      I accept and believe the teaching that 1) homosexual acts are disordered, and 2) the tendencies to those acts are (obviously) also disordered.

                      In addition to these teachings, there is a disciplinary law that says people with deep-seated homosexual tendencies shouldn’t be ordained. I think that law should be obeyed. That’s what laws are for!

                      Whether that answers your query I don’t know.

                    • ObiJuan

                      It does in part. The Church clearly teaches homosexuality is distinguished in the following manner: a) acts which are objectively disordered and b) tendencies which are objectively disordered. So what aspect of homosexuality is NOT objectively disordered?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Well any tendencies which are not “ordered” toward (a). Basically, I agree with Melinda Selmys. Feel free to peruse the comments below where Jim and I discuss this in great detail. Feel free to disagree with me and agree with Jim. Whatever. Either way, I’m not going to repeat the argument all over again.

                    • ObiJuan

                      If you align yourself with Selmys, then you make distinctions the Church does not make. At least we’ve cleared that up.

                    • Guest

                      It is confusion.

                    • Then it would seem you agree with the CDF’s assertion to our bishops that the homosexual orientation is objectively disordered.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Why should you even need to ask the question? You’ve read and commented on so many things that I’ve written you’ve surely seen me quote and explain that teaching before …

                    • ObiJuan

                      You could just say “Yes, I do.”

                    • Not sure that I *have* seen your specific address of this text before…

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Again, you commented voluminously on something I wrote very recently, the first part of which dealt exactly with what the Church does and doesn’t mean by homosexual orientation.

                    • Guest

                      Are you referring to the authentic definition of homosexual attraction or the contrived one the gay apologists offer?

                    • You wrote: “The teaching of the Church against homosexuality…’extends only to same-sex genital acts and does not refer to the sexuality as a whole.'”
                      But this contradicts what the CDF said to the bishops, doesn’t it?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      No it doesn’t, and we’ve already been through this multiple times. I’ve already pointed out that the theory you are positing is a rupture with 2,000 years of Church teaching on the sinfulness of sodomy. You yourself even admitted below that you are “not sure” about some pretty basic points. You are introducing new distinctions into Catholic moral theology which conveniently downplay the sinfulness of a whole lot of very bad stuff, as I pointed out.

                      I think we’ve gone through this enough times now to know we’re not going to agree. That’s fine. We can charitably agree to disagree.

                      I commented solely to point out that your claim that the 1992 Letter constitutes public theological teaching is false, because the Church itself claimed that it did not. I have pointed that out, so there is little point dragging this on.

                    • Aaron–when the CDF plainly says to our bishops that the “homosexual orientation” is objectively disordered, and then it *repeats* this statement as part of an officially publicly released version of the *same* text it sent privately to our bishops, I’d say it’s worth paying attention to. Especially since it’s counted among the CDF’s public “doctrinal documents” on the Vatican web site…
                      You are agreeing to disagree with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. That’s your prerogative.

                    • A final thought that I hope you might reflect on a bit: you consistently have to go to great lengths to explain just why statement after statement from the teaching Church simply *can’t* mean that all same-sex attraction is disordered. It’s a daunting task. Yet you have not *once* offered any statement from any magisterial source that affirms your basic premise–namely that *some* same-sex attractions are actually ordered toward the *good* and are a positive phenomenon.
                      Doesn’t that absence of any positive affirmation of your position give you pause?

                  • Btw, Aaron–now I’m confused. Can you cite for me the passage in which the CDF claims that it’s not “doctrinal”???

                    I’m curious because, on the Vatican web site, one finds this document under the subhead…wait for it…

                    “Doctrinal Documents”…..

                    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/doc_dottrinali_index.htm

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Read the press statement that Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the then-Vatican spokesperson, issued when the document was released.

                    • Can you provide the link?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      I provided it a Catholic news item above in an edit but you may not have seen it, here: http://archive.thetablet.co.uk/article/1st-august-1992/23/the-church-in-the-world

                      I will also repeat what I said above that Christian doctrine is by definition “public” teaching. To claim otherwise is gnosticism pure and simple.

                    • Your source states:

                      ***Meanwhile in Rome the document (of which an official version, differing slightly in wording, has now been released) has been glossed by the Vatican press spokesman, Dr Joaquin Navarro Valls, who said that anti-bias legislation was a particularly pressing question in certain parts of the United States. The doctrinal congregation had drawn up a “set of observations” which were passed to the papal pro-nuncio in the United States, Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan. The observations “were not intended to be an official and public instruction on the matter from the congregation but a background resource offering discreet assistance” to those dealing with issues raised by such legislation. Nor, Navarro Valls added, were the observations intended to pass judgment on any responses already made by local bishops or conferences to legislation of that kind.***
                      Doesn’t this refer to the first version rather than the “official version” subsequently released and now listed among the “doctrinal documents” of the CDF?

                    • Guest

                      Is the Tablet noted for orthodoxy or liberal dissent?

                    • The way I see it, the dissenting group “New Ways Ministry” made this private letter public in 1992, after which the CDF opted to publish an official version of the letter, tweaked slightly, that now counts as a *public* “doctrinal document.”..

      • Guest

        Nonsense

    • ObiJuan

      No, also according to the August 31, 2005, Instruction approved by Pope Benedict regarding seminary reforms, which says:

      [T]he present Instruction…contains norms concerning a specific question, made more urgent by *the current situation*, and that is: whether to admit to the seminary and to holy orders candidates who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies…

      Deep-seated homosexual tendencies, which are found in a number of men and women, are *also objectively disordered* and, for those same people, often constitute a trial. Such persons must be accepted with respect and sensitivity.

      In the light of such teaching, this Dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary *to state clearly* that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise
      homosexuality, *present deep-seated homosexual tendencies* or support the so-called “gay culture”.

      Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from *relating correctly* to men and women. One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.

  • GHM_52

    What an excellently educational article! And very charitable to boot! Thank-you!

  • Conniption Fitz

    Same sex attraction is a set of conditioned emotional/mental/physical responses created by events, experience, deficits, relational dynamics, traumas, etc. in one’s life that creates emotional/psychological dissonance, arrested development, distortion, disorientation of one’s identity.

    Acting on these response/urges is a powerful temptation under these painful circumstances. Sex, drugs, materialism, food, obsessive/compulsive behaviors, relationships, everything are frequently used to medicate the pain.

    However, these means of medication create more pain and sickness and problems.

    The evidence in Science, Statistics and Scripture is unified and stacked against the propaganda/posits of the homo/bi/pansexual activists. Their lifestyle is neither healthy, happy or holy.

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