I’ve Never Met a Heterosexual

I am 58 and have lived in small towns, big cities, our nation’s capital, New York City, and university campuses. I have traveled all over the country and a few dozen foreign countries. I have worked in big companies and tiny NGOs. For the life of me, I have never come across what First Things writer Michael Hannon calls a “heterosexual.”

I have known more than a few “homosexuals,” however. There was Joe, the head cook in the cafeteria at Lindenwood College where I worked when I was in high school. My friends and I used to ride through the industrial dishwasher and drink beers over at Joe’s house. He never let us forget his sexual orientation.

I lived with two homosexuals when I first moved to New York in 1981. They had the best furniture, just like Mom’s, and they were not a couple. Both of them pledged never to bring anyone home and they never did. They sure talked about it a lot.

I shared office space in those days with a “homosexual,” too. He was trying to get a cable TV show off the ground. He certainly identified openly with being homosexual.

So how is it that I have known “homosexuals” who, according to the Centers for Disease Control, make up only a miniscule 1.6 percent of the population but I have never ever met a “heterosexual” who would represent 97+ percent of the country? It’s all about identity, which Michael Hannon has written about several times in First Things.

I have simply never met an opposite-sex attracted person who self-identified as “heterosexual.” There has never been an analogous chant to “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it” that we used to hear on the streets of New York during the late 1980s and early ’90s.

Hannon wrote quite a good piece some months ago fetchingly called “Against Heterosexuality.” And he really meant it.

He argued that sexual identity is a serious problem, something many of us have argued for a good long while. Hannon is a brilliant young man. At one point, I have heard, he was working on a law degree and an advanced degree in philosophy at the same time at Columbia, or something like that. But now he’s off to join a religious order, the Norbertines in Southern California.

Given as smart as he is and how well educated, Hannon has done as good a job as anyone in making the case against sexual identity.

He says that sexual orientation was invented in the nineteenth century as a way to replace natural law-based Christian sexual ethics with psychiatry and heteronormativity and that this change got us in the horrid mess all of us are in today.

But where he gets slightly lost is in some of his premises. One of his key premises is that heterosexuals are no different than homosexuals in that—like them—heterosexuals define themselves by their sexual desires.

It certainly sounds plausible. There seems to be a rutting and roiling sea of boys and girls on college campuses and beyond. Except, unless something has dramatically changed on college campuses, the boys and girls are not self-identifying as heterosexuals. Certainly, not like the LGBTs who rally to it. The boys and girls may be cavorting that way but they’re not marching and chanting, “We’re here, we’re straight, we’re looking for that rhyme.”

Hannon wrote a handful of pieces. I will be addressing two of them. “Against Heterosexuality” was published in First Things in March 2014. The second was his answer to his critics, titled “Against Obsessive Sexuality,” also in First Things in early August.

Hannon says, “Young people, for instance, now regularly find themselves agonizing over their sexual identity, navel-gazing in an attempt to discern their place in this allegedly natural Venn diagram of orientations.”

He offers no evidence for this. Anecdotes seem to abound though.

I recently visited my alma mater and was shocked at how ingrained the LGBT movement has become. At the new and massively expensive state-of-the-art student center there are offices for various student activities. As a measure of how far the LGBTs have traveled at this land-grant college, on the ground floor, occupying message-sending prime real-estate are the student newspaper, the student radio station and between them in plush offices is the LGBT welcome center. Summer-time guides for parents and prospective students tell me they are required to parrot some verbiage about how welcoming the University of Missouri is to LGBT students.

So, given how it washes over the unsuspecting freshman, it makes sense there may be sexual hustlers—professors, admin types, counselors and older students—encouraging the boys and girls to navel gaze, hoping against hope that the one time they admired the neighborhood boy’s physique while he mowed the lawn, it was really the nascence of something gay and beautiful. This is a reference to a scene played out in one of Hannon’s pieces. He says there’s nothing wrong with admiring another boy’s physique as long as you know how to channel it.

One of the odd things about Hannon’s response to his critics, published a few weeks ago online, is his apparent disdain for the opposite-sex attracted. He doesn’t call us “breeders”—a favorite slur of the LGBTs—but he comes darned close.

In a long passage extolling the superiority of apostolic celibacy to marriage he uses strange words to describe marriage and those called to it. He says marriage is for the “sexually incontinent.” Incontinent. Like an old man who wears Depends because he cannot control his bowels. Hannon is a smart and careful writer. He chose this word. If it was the only one, maybe consider it a clever phrase and no more, but there were others.

In the beginning of “Against Heterosexuality” Hannon writes, “With secular society rendering classical religious beliefs publically illegitimate, pseudoscience stepped in and replaced religion as the moral foundation for venereal norms.” (Emphasis added.) Now, “venereal” can refer to sexual intercourse, but that is hardly the common usage and understanding. Isn’t it most commonly coupled with the word “disease”? Like incontinent, venereal seems in this instance like a pejorative.

He also refers to the act of marital intercourse as “dis-integration” from the integration intended by God, that it takes our eye off the ball, which is not her or him but Him.

Sexually incontinent. Venereal norms. Dis-integration. Is Hannon trying to tell us something?

Well, yes. He is trying to tell us that those who get married so they won’t burn (from St. Paul), are something less than he who is called to a life of apostolic celibacy and “spiritual friendship.” And rather than dooming the boy admiring the shirtless lawn-mowing boy next door to a life of either sodomy or white-knuckled virginity, the boy has this path that is far superior to one the sexual incontinent are left to. Make no mistake, Hannon does not see marriage as wicked: “It isn’t,” he assures us. He also wants us to know “There is nothing evil in it.” It’s just that its goodness is less pure than the celibate life. It is merely an “alloy compared with pure gold.”

He mocks the notion that the marital embrace is a foretaste of the beatific vision. He, and St. Thomas, apparently, compare it to sleep, something that does little more than just get in the way.

Hannon seems not to know that the Church has come a long way from marriage being an avoidance for damnation. Maybe the celebrity chastity speakers Hannon disdains do exaggerate the glimpse of Heaven that is the marital embrace, but I suspect there is something very much like that in Pope St. John Paul’s Theology of the Body.

Just like the laity, which after centuries before Vatican II now has a positive definition, the Church views marriage as a positive vocation. St. Paul says as much in the passage about marriage being a safeguard for the “sexual incontinent.” Marriage is universally the most common way that people find the beatific vision and that is what God intended. God did not intend most of us to be ordained religious. That’s not how He set up His Church. And you can be sure He therefore does not consider marriage to be second-class, or that the salvation of married couples is no more than crumbs from the table of the ordained.

Hannon does say married couples can participate in celibate friendship with one another but when their friendship rises Hannon-like, they get there no longer as spouses but as friends.

Hannon recommends this for the same-sex attracted and I have written about this before. The problem as I see it is Hannon is recommending playing with fire, and not just sexual fire, but the danger of losing your heart. Hannon says, for instance, that I can have an intense spiritual relationship with a woman other than my wife. This is simply absurd and quite dangerous.

Anyone with any experience knows there is greater truth in this exchange between Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan.

Harry is talking to Sally about their relationship:

Sally: We are just going to be friends, ok?

Harry: Great! Friends! It’s the best thing.

Harry: You realize of course that we can never be friends.

Sally: Why not?

Harry: What I’m saying is … and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form, is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.

Sally: That’s not true, I have a number of men friends and there’s is no sex involved.

Harry: No you don’t.

Sally: Yes I do.

Harry: No you don’t.

Sally: Yes I do.

Harry: You only think you do.

Sally: You’re saying I’m having sex with these men without my knowledge?

Harry: No, what I’m saying is they all want to have sex with you.

Sally: They do not.

Harry: Do too.

Sally: They do not.

Harry: Do too.

Sally: How do you know?

Harry: Because no man can be friends with a woman he finds attractive, he always wants to have sex with her.

Sally: So you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive.

Harry: Nuh, you pretty much wanna nail’ em too.

Sally: What if they don’t want to have sex with you?

Harry: Doesn’t matter, because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.

When I made this point a few columns ago, the New Homophiles insisted I was obsessed with sex, both a Calvinist and a Freudian. A proper fear of infidelity is my point but also a proper guarding of the heart is more the point. One thing Hannon will learn in the Norbertines is the regular, perhaps constant, discerning of spirits, determining where each comes from. This is neither Calvinist nor Freudian. It is Catholic. We are all called to guard our hearts.

Hannon is a romantic not unlike those women who expect a knight in shining armor. He is gone, for now, from the public hustings so we won’t hear from him again for a while. Perhaps he will find an intense spiritual friendship at St. Michael’s Abbey in Southern California. But, he may find something else. In the movie Round Midnight, jazz trumpeter Dexter Gordon is going to the airport to find a better life in Paris, where they really love black jazz players. His friend says, “You know who’s going to be there at the airport in Paris when you get off that plane? You.”

I don’t say that Hannon is joining the Norbertines to escape anything including himself, but what I suggest is he may be disappointed. When I was exploring the Trappists, I asked one of the brothers about the “mystical union with God,” something Merton wrote a lot about. He said, “We just want guys who know how to make the coffee and on time.” I was sure then and now that there’s more to that vocation than things so ordinary, but I have also found that it is usually in such ordinariness where we find Jesus. And that is how God set things up.

Let us pray that Michael Hannon will find a Jonathan to his David, a St. Basil to his St Gregory, but more importantly that he will become a saint there. He will almost certainly find that religious life is not unlike ours out here. There will be minor—even petty—annoyances, plenty of them, but also great joy and a true path to Heaven brushing up against the lovely and the unlovely, just like for us poor breeders out here.

Editor’s note: The scene above from the Sistine Chapel is titled “The Creation of Eve” painted by Michelangelo.

Austin Ruse

By

Austin Ruse is president of C-FAM (Center for Family & Human Rights), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute focusing on international legal and social policy. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of C-FAM.

  • antigon

    chapeau Ruse

    • Nick_from_Detroit

      I’m sorry, Antigon, but I can’t address your comment, in the “torture” report thread, because Mr. Shea has blocked me. I’m trying to find out why, but Mr. Shea only answered my first e-mail.
      It wouldn’t be appropriate to answer on someone else’s blog.

  • Objectivetruth

    Great article, Austin.

    “Hannon is a brilliant young man.”

    There’s the problem: he’s young. He’s smart, but wisdom comes with age. I have multiple grad degrees, but as I advance closer and closer to my own dirt nap, I realize being “wise” is more important than being “smart.” Kempis touches on this nicely in “The Imitation of Christ.” Let’s check back with young Mr. Hannon in 10-15 years.

    • ForChristAlone

      There are some consolations with getting older. I find wisdom also can carry with it an inner peace because, with age, comes a more removed and wider perspective.

      • Objectivetruth

        Agreed, FCA. Don’t you also find as we “mature”, the teachings and tenants of our Catholic faith make more sense, and bring greater clarity and peace? The sacraments have become like oxygen to me, I can’t survive without either.

        • ForChristAlone

          I said to some people over this past weekend with reference to Catholic Latinos in Central and South America being evangelized out of the Church by protestants that, if you took the Eucharist away from me…well, you might as well kill me.

      • DE-173

        “There are some consolations with getting older. ”

        At 21, I thought I had all the answers, now I know I don’t even know all the questions.

        • Ford Oxaal

          The question is, “what is the question?”

          • DE-173

            We do not know what we do not know.

  • ForChristAlone

    #1 “He says that sexual orientation was invented in the nineteenth century as a way to replace natural law-based Christian sexual ethics with psychiatry and heteronormativity and that this change got us in the horrid mess all of us are in today.”

    I am in the midst of reading Brad Gregory’s “The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society.” Hannon might want to go back a bit farther to trace the origin of today’s “horrid mess.”

    #2 “He mocks the notion that the marital embrace is a foretaste of the beatific vision. He, and St. Thomas, apparently, compare it to sleep, something that does little more than just get in the way.”

    He needs to be careful here because so much of the theology of the sacrament of Matrimony is bound up in the theology of the Eucharist. To denigrate one might indeed risk denigrating the other.

    #3 I’d caution the Norbertines to diligently scrutinize their candidates.

    #4 Very often marriage is, as the wise Trapppist monk indicated, knowing how to make coffee and making it on time – something Therese of Lisieux probably understood well (but then again, she was well-keyed in on the ways of love).

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      “sexual orientation was invented in the nineteenth century”

      There is a measure of truth in that. Michel Foucault has, rather drolly described the change that took place in the public perception: “Sodomy, that of the old civil or canon laws, was a category of forbidden acts. Their perpetrator was nothing more than the juridical subject of them. The nineteenth-century homosexual became a personage: a past, a case history, and a childhood, in addition to being a character, a life-style and a morphology, with an over-inquisitive anatomy and, possibly, a mysterious physiology. Nothing that he was, escaped his sexuality… It was consubstantial with him, less as a habitual sin than as a singular nature…. The sodomite had been a lapse; the homosexual was now a species.” [« Le Volonté de Savoir » (Gallimard 1976 p 59)]

      • Guest_august

        Thanks for the quote. Any online links?

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          Here is a link to the passage in the original French (Footnote 10 on page 4)

          http://tinyurl.com/mbt6xsq

          The translation was mine.

          It is very much of a piece with his Madness and Civilisation, in which he traces the “medicalisation” of madness, through medicine and psychiatry from the Renaissance onwards and the rôle of medicine as a means of social control. The “medicalisation” of homosexuality fits in very well with this thesis.

  • elarga

    We have forgotten the law of chastity. It covers everything, and everybody — homos and heteros, men and women, young and old, single and married.

    • Daniel P

      Virtue, not law. But yes, chastity is the balm for our wounds.

    • CadaveraVeroInnumero

      Yet, as we ALL practice chastity we must still confess the truth, the lawfulness, the forever norm of the Story of Eden.

      The homosexual, as he practices chastity – if the practice truly participates in truth – must permit the practice to convert his mind, heart, and affections. He must set the affections of his heart upon the Mind of God. That Mind is a lawful one as expressed in Eden’s Story. The chaste (converting) homosexual must confess – however distant on this day of his, or next – that the man & woman thing is the forever norm. That he falls short of that is his suffering – the word to him that he is a sinner; his homosexuality, falling short of heterosexuality, is not a well-water of spirituality. Homosexuality is a state of our humanity that a good dose of chastity makes whole. Chastity is the working (and fruit) of conversion and a proper confession.

    • bonaventure

      There is no chastity when identifying with a sexual perversion. And that is the first thing we’re all forgetting these days: that homosexuality — as opposed to nomral sexuality (in which homosexuality does not share) — is a perversion.

      Anyway, the first step towards chastity is NOT to identify with a perversion. To admit one’s temptations, yes. To confess and repent if falling into sin, yes. But to identify with it, no.

  • Blah Blaah

    “I am 58 and have lived in small towns, big cities, our nation’s capitol, New York City, and university campuses.”

    I didn’t know they rented out rooms in the capitol. Neat digs.

    • Augustus

      Hey, Smarty Pants. He means Washington, D.C.

      • elarga

        Austin meant “capital” not “capitol.”

        • Blah Blaah

          And is – I think – educated enough to know the difference. Fix the mistake and delete the remark. There’s no way to comment privately about such blunders, unfortunately, in this forum.

          • elarga

            As I’ve said before in this space, Crisis needs a copyeditor. Far too many articles are littered with errors of this kind — writers get a pass on this (we all make them, usually just out of haste) but not the publisher.

  • JP

    I stopped reading First Things regularly about a year ago. The biggest reason is their obsession with homosexuality. Not a week goes by when there isn’t some piece devoted to homosexuality (Can gays be Christians?, What gay Christians can teach other Christians, the joys of homosexual platonic friendships, etc… blah, blah, blah).

    The dirty little secret is that there is an obsession with sex in general, and homosexuality in particular when it comes to our credentialed Christian intellectuals (especially in the Catholic blogesphere). When Father Neuhaus and Nuechterlin ran First Things the magazine had a more serious and broad appeal. Now it appears that Protestant and Catholic metrosexuals run things, and it shows.

    • GG

      Unlike Crisis, other “orthodox” Catholic sites frequently walk close to the line on this topic. They claim to accept Church teaching and then go one to nuance it and re-explain it in such a way that the truth is barley recognizable. This is particularly true of writers that have family members who identify as “Gay” or have such inclination themselves.

      • CadaveraVeroInnumero

        Outing Patheos – right? While doing so don’t fear mother bears

        • GG

          Not the only one I had in mind.

        • DE-173

          I sometimes think Patheos is a misspelling of Pathos.

          • John200

            or of “pathetic”

    • MarcAlcan

      Could it be due to the fact that our faces are being rubbed into homosexuality.
      You can’t flip a page, turn a TV channel or read newspaper without some homosexual yelling “homophobe” or some advocating for the goodness of this perversion.
      The truth of the matter is, this is just the next progression in the battle lines that have been drawn around sexual immorality.
      If there is a lot being written, it is only to combat the assault that the homosexual lobby has unleashed on the population.
      When I see these articles in the MSM appearing regularly, then maybe that is a sign that we now have an even playing field.

    • R. Doyle

      Your point is well made but…. have you ever thought that First things commentary about homosexuality is simply a Response to continued challenges from that group? If the LGBT community had stopped with civil unions as promised then the dialog would or should have stopped. Since they continue to ADvance their agenda toward eradication of traditional forms of about everything family, someone has to RESPOND. IMO… War is War. Heterosexuals did not start this battle as evidenced by 2000+ years of continued practices.

  • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

    We mustn’t TALK about sex so much, even if you are a homosexual, it is unmanly and being manly is what we crave. God incarnate seems to have savored the RICHNESS of humanity among us, this from Digby:

    Catholicism would have each person do that which he can do best, which he will find out if left to himself. There is nothing in the central principles from which such institutions emanate to stop the current of human life around them, to strip their neighbourhood, if they are in towns, of shopboys or bankers’ clerks, of milliners and their patronesses, and of marriageable maidens of a high degree, all of whom may be surrounded with an atmosphere of humour, gaiety, spirit, enterprise, or even of romance that London itself might envy. The tide would flow under the arches of Waterloo-bridge, ay, and with the exception of what it derives from misery and despair, the other stream would pass above them all the same, though the Black Friars were still living in a street near it. The individual who chooses for himself a life in monastic retreat, who would feel miserable behind a counter or on a promenade, is not always thinking of himself and trying to show that he is the wisest, happiest, and most virtuous person in the world ; for he knows that in life ” you will find good and evil, folly and discretion more mingled, and the shades of character running more into each other than they do in the ethical charts,” and that the palm of goodness may often be reserved for some obscure, self-devoted, generous, disinterested creature, working with a pen or a needle, along with others, or left alone in some garret in one of the courts or alleys near his own privileged enclosure. Catholicism, we are told, so far from wishing to impos its monastic life on all persons, absolutelye condemns, as savouring of heresy, the absurd zeal of those fanatics who, from time to time,make their appearance, seeking to level distinctions, and transfer to the common society of mankind the rules and manners of the cloister. But then, on the other hand, it understands the variety of human character and of human wants, and with a wise and truly universal solicitude it provides, by means of different institutions, and by sanctioning different modes of life, equally for all….Men of a different character would be wretched in such seclusion; and religion, we are assured, never consists in making persons wretched.

    -Digby, COMPITUM. 7/117

    • CadaveraVeroInnumero

      We Catholics (or, just plain Christians) are not the ones doing all this “sex talking”. Unless it is Cardinal Dolan exquisitely sensitive to all sex talk in the City of New York, and, as it appears, his chancery office.

      Yes, we should do a lot less talking about sex. When they came petitioning at St, Patrick’s Cathedral door – like the citizens of Sodom demanding the flesh of the Messengers of God – we (that is, he) should have cracked open the door and told them to bugger off.

      Instead, we flung the doors wide open (with a jolly face) and paraded their petition across the nave, down the aisle, and near to the tabernacle.

      Looks like St Patrick didn’t chase all the snakes from the Irish Isle.

  • Rusty

    Very interesting, both this article and the thesis being criticized.

    One point where I agree with the criticism is the idea that marriage is a second-class or lesser manifestation of the love that Our Lord has asked us to live. One of the great strengths of the Christian marriage is the sense that it is not simply between two people, it is essentially a tripartite pact between spouses and God. We see the practical value in this idea when comparing divorce rates amongst those with or without a fundamental identification as Christian.

    It is easy to conflate the Pauline ideal (i.e. chastity and full commitment to God through religious life, which is also a feature of Augustinian thought) with confusion over the place of human sexuality and natural law. One must simply accept that God gives us all different gifts and vocations, and through those vocations we provide a witness to our love of God. Discerning the path we are meant to follow as individual souls is our life mission.

    One idea I would like to see discussed further is the degree to which appreciation of beauty and attraction to that beauty flirts with the concupiscence towards lust. Can one appreciate the physical form, recognize the erotic impulse that engenders, and yet channel or control the erotic impulse without being guilty of the sin of committing adultery in our own heart?

    • Daniel P

      “Can one appreciate the physical form, recognize the erotic impulse that engenders, and yet channel or control the erotic impulse without being guilty of the sin of committing adultery in our own heart?”

      I would argue that the mere external beauty of a human being does not properly engender the erotic impulse. When it does, something is (at least slightly) wrong. Sexuality proceeds, properly, from an encounter with a person, not an image. But once you put it in the context of relationship, it doesn’t carry the same eroticism (unless the attraction may genuinely be headed toward one-flesh union).

      In modern culture, we are perpetually surrounded by strangers. This is bad, I think, for the sexual impulse — because our observations of beauty have no context. When a beautiful woman is part of my peer group, I have very little trouble relating to her chastely. When another beautiful stranger walks down the street, she presents a greater challenge to chastity. Context is everything, and the modern man needs to learn to PUT a context to his longings — to humanize the object of attraction, to pray for her (or him). Love kills lust.

      • Rusty

        I’m not so sure. If you read Plato’s Symposium, it is clear that Eros speaks to different loves in different people. For Socrates, Eros most properly orients one towards Wisdom.

        I confess to struggling with the difference (if any) between appreciating the beauty of a woman and being attracted to a woman. I may not be imagining her as a sexual object, but her sexuality is clearly part of her attractiveness.

        This may not involve carnal thoughts per se, but there is always an aspect of sexuality about her that is both attractive and undeniable. There are undoubtedly women who may not be the most classically beautiful, yet who have an attractiveness about them outshines greater beauty.

        I tend to agree with Harry that it is always there, and that it is always on the table. What I am not clear on is when appreciating the attractiveness of a woman becomes lust.

        • Daniel P

          There is a difference between recognize someone’s attractiveness and looking on them in lust. You can tell the difference this way: if you find yourself dwelling on a person’s sexual attractiveness — presuming you have absolutely no expectation of marital union with that person — you are either lusting or being tempted to lust.

          The sex part is always there, sure. But it’s not always sinful. Thus I know many priests and celibates who have wonderfully open friendships with attractive young women.

  • sybarite123

    We ‘Religious’ are the protected ones IMO. The real heroes are those ‘in the world’ who have to struggle each day to earn a living, pay the bills, and otherwise agonize about their situation. We religious have the easy road; they the rough! We in the convents and the rectories are really called to help the ‘seculars’ in any way we can, if only by our prayers. And our admiration for these heroic people should know no limits. God bless the factory workers, those earning the minimum wage, the construction laborers, the poor…and all those exploited by our society, and all those who have undertaken marriage with all its joys and disappointments. It is they who are on the ‘front lines’ in this struggle; we are the ‘support troupes’; they the heroes; we their helpers. God help them everyone!

  • Daniel P

    Austin, you’re right to moderate Hannon’s zealous attack against the deification of sex. But he certainly is at least on the right team. Too many theologians have gotten swept away into the cult of sex — instead of merely teaching about the goodness of marriage, they are teaching about how sex is God’s greatest gift to mankind, and how all good things in life are tasted in the nuptial union of man and woman. That sort of theology is pure nonsense, and it’s a fruit of the sexual revolution. Among its many casualties are same-sex attracted people, who feel forever “on the outside” of this greatest of gifts.

    But the truth is, sex is a good and beautiful thing, among many good and beautiful things. Prayer, for instance, is much more beautiful. But we don’t see married folks feeling deeply defrauded by the lack of time they have for prayer. Maybe we should.

    Guess we’ll have to have a “prayer revolution” first. Now THAT version of Woodstock would be a sight for sore eyes!

    • Martha Renner

      “But we don’t see married folks feeling deeply defrauded by the lack of time they have for prayer. Maybe we should.”

      I do see many married people feeling just that way; not in the sense that they are upset with their vocations, but find it frustrating to feel they’re being as prayerful as they should with such busy and noisy lives. Of course, prayer doesn’t have to manifest itself in the traditional, quiet way! 🙂

      I agree with you, Daniel. Good insights.

    • DE-173

      “Too many theologians have gotten swept away into the cult of sex — instead of merely teaching about the goodness of marriage, they are teaching about how sex is God’s greatest gift to mankind, and how all good things in life are tasted in the nuptial union of man and woman. ”

      “But the truth is, sex is a good and beautiful thing, among many good and beautiful things.”
      It is the ne plus ultra of gifts, the sui generis of continuity. It is unique, not to be counted among thhings like a beautiful sunny day or even such carnal gifts as the ability to taste a freshly picked orange.

      • Daniel P

        DE,

        I am married. Surprise! 🙂

        And trust me, I know how wonderful marital love is. But it’s not the greatest gift granted man. As the band Caedmon’s Call sings to God, “You created nothing that gives me more pleasure than You.” Prayer is a greater pleasure than sex — it is intimacy with a greater Person than one’s wife.

        There is a reason the glories of sex have been sung the loudest, in the Christian tradition, after the sexual revolution. It’s because we no longer put sex “in its place”. Sex is surely wonderful and it is by no means (as some bad theology has asserted) purely utilitarian. But it is not the pinnacle of human experience.

        • ForChristAlone

          It is however a sharing in the Divine act of creating. And, besides, the primordial commandment is to be fruitful and multiply for which sexual intercourse is so elegantly designed.

          • Daniel P

            Yes, I agree that it’s status as co-creation is a profound and awesome thing. I just deny that sex is in any way theologically central — it is one of many human actions that has a theological significance.

            • Marc L

              I can see where you’re trying to go, but you’re hitting into the weeds–that is, you’re getting caught up in a false premise.

              In fact, there is no other carnal action that is its equal in either its necessary (reproductive) or social (joining the two halves of the human race that were created in complementarity) functions. Fittingly, the theological significance thereby also rises above every other. To see this one need look no further than our primary source: to start, see the Song of Songs, and Paul’s parallels between the relationships in the family and those within and with the Trinity.

              What other primary animal function of man is so elevated, on its own terms?

              • Daniel P

                Eating.

                • Marc L

                  That would require some elaboration for me to even think about responding. But look, I really don’t have the time to be drawn into a whole “someone is wrong on the internet” thing, so I’ll just agree to disagree with you on this one.

                • DE-173

                  There is no necessary jointure in eating. It can be solitary and efficacious.

                  • Daniel P

                    The theological significance of “eating together” permeates the whole Scriptures, especially the New Testament. See Alexander Schmemman’s book “For the Life of the World”.

                    • DE-173

                      If you are going to be argumentative, you need to follow your own words. You said “eating”, not “eating together”.
                      However, one can eat alone, one cannot be open to life alone.

                    • Daniel P

                      I meant eating together, but you’re right, I just said “eating”.

        • DE-173

          . Surprise! 🙂

          Indeed. You would think a married man would have more varied interest.

          Your comparison between prayer and sex is specious. Properly understood, the marital act is prayer, the only one that involves two people making themselves open to God.

          It was Luther who insisted that God averted his eyes from that embrace.

          • Daniel P

            Straw man. I’m not saying that lovemaking isn’t awesome, or mysterious, or prayerful, or profound. It is all those things. But it isn’t central. Augustine, Aquinas, and pretty much all the Fathers of the Church denied its centrality. I’m not promoting a strange new view — much less a Protestant view.

            • DE-173

              “But it isn’t central. ”

              Logomachy. How about unique and essential? Unless you don’t care about the next generation, it’s central.

              • Daniel P

                Of course, it’s essential to life, and unparalleled in human experience. That doesn’t make it *theologically* central.

                • DE-173

                  Really? What part of be fruitful and multiply isn’t theological?
                  Are you trying to make a point or are you merely suffering from hypergraphia?

                  • Daniel P

                    Whatever. I didn’t say sex wasn’t theologically significant. I said it wasn’t theologically *central*. It’s theologically significant, and biologically central. Sheesh.

  • pja

    Austin – this was terrific, thank you. “crumbs from the table of the ordained” – great line. Also, I frequently (when I was single) cited the above exchange from “When Sally Met Harry”. As you noted, lots of truth there.

  • Fred

    Wisdom comes with age for some, but not for all. There were recent readings from the liturgy which dealt with God’s feelings toward those who have overly inflated thoughts about their own self worth and value to society. I am thankful for having a loving relationship with Christ, and am humble for it. There is no doubt in my mind about Satan’s influence in this world.

  • Martha Renner

    Strange, too, that when I meet someone who identifies as ‘homosexual,’ the image of what that may mean can’t help but pop into my head, and I’m left thinking ‘eeewwww’ the whole time. When I meet straight people, their orientation does not come to mind. So the theory that one has never met heterosexuals, only homosexuals rings true to me. Just in the sense of normality vs. disorder.

    My other thought is that, after spending yet another intense morning (soon to be day and evening) trying to wrangle a household of 8 kids (including a malcontent infant, none of whom leave for school), for anyone to claim that marriage is for the sexually incontinent makes me want to scream. I try to follow God’s plan for humanity explicitly. If my vocation is not sanctifying, I don’t know what is. No offense, but many of the quietly contemplative sisters and brothers out there have no idea.

    • Daniel P

      Martha,

      Just so you know, the activities gay people engage in are just as common among straight people. So the “ewwwww” reaction really should apply to the whole of the perverse way that we moderns — gay or straight — approach sexuality. Of course (thank God!) there are exceptions, people who appropriate sexuality in a holy and life-giving way.

      When a person tells you they are gay, interpret as charitably as possible (unless forced to do otherwise): they’re attracted to people of the same sex. Don’t assume they’re not chaste. “Be cunning as serpents, innocent as doves.”

      • CadaveraVeroInnumero

        Come one, Daniel. Asking folks to see the issue of homosexuality only (primarily) through the lens of the chaste Catholic “gay” – whose acting out of such is rare or never – is disingenuous. The difficult work of understanding the issue will not come through such rose-tinted glasses (however much one wishes that all who suffer the affliction lead such lives).

        There comes the time (as with the anti-abortion movement holding up photos of aborted babies) when it is helpful (and even charitable) to “talk dirty”. .

        • Daniel P

          Cadavera,

          The Catechism reads, “To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way: Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.”

          This seems reasonably clear to me. If someone describes themselves as gay, one should not assume that they are sexually active. If one finds oneself unable to make such an assumption, one should ask the person (if appropriate) what they mean by saying they are “gay”.

          I know dozens of people who describe themselves as gay, but are also chaste. Such people would not always qualify such a statement by saying they are “gay and celibate”. Maybe they should, but they don’t. Regardless, we have a duty to “give a favorable interpretation.”

          This does not mean ignoring the elephant in the room. If we are genuinely friends with a gay person, it will usually be clear whether they are chaste, and we have the opportunity to confront them directly about sin. If we are not friends with the person, it isn’t really our role to correct them — though we might be able to share the gospel with them.

          • ForChristAlone

            This dilemma is easily resolvable by the “gay celibate” (if compelled to declaring such things publicly) referring to himself as having same sex attraction since that’s all it is. That way, one who states they are “gay” or “homosexual” can feel comforted that the hearer will understand that they are living and endorse an active homosexual lifestyle. But, again, someone who is attracted to those of their own sex and who are celibate need say nothing at all since no one is asking and few are concerned with the attractions anyone else struggles with (save spouses, confessors, therapists).

            • Daniel P

              Sure, but we can’t control how other people describe themselves. We are only told to interpret it charitably. Now, while there is no way to interpret “I am a sodomite” charitably, there IS a way to interpret “I am gay” charitably. That’s the only point I’m making.

              If that means we sometimes look naive, fine. The desire not to look like a fool proceeds from vanity — doesn’t it?

              • kmk

                I’ve never had a conversation with someone who said they were celibate.

              • ForChristAlone

                Can you honestly state that you’ve met someone who has identified himself to you as “gay” and “celibate”? I am sure they exist but here I am referring to a person’s self identification as such.

                • Daniel P

                  Yes. A friend scheduled to meet with me recently to tell me he is “gay”. He’s celibate. I’ve met multiple people online who describe themselves as gay and celibate. If it’s less common in person, that’s because people are so likely to be misunderstood or criticized if they describe themselves that way, I’m guessing.

                  I also have a celibate friend who doesn’t describe himself as gay, but says he has a “gay orientation”.

                  • ForChristAlone

                    Daniel, I am sorry but a person IS NOT his attractions. Man is not defined by his passions. Of course, your response can be that people can and will define themselves as they will. My reply would be that, when and if they do, it’s meaningless. I am not my sexual attraction to females. Passions are fleeting. But then again, most people these days describe the activities of their pre-frontal lobes as “feelings” – an activity that rightfully belongs to the amygdala.

                    • Daniel P

                      Well, people won’t consider calling themselves “gay” defining themselves any more than they say calling themselves “left-handed” is defining themselves. But whatever, that’s not the point.

                      We’re talking about how to deal with what other people say about themselves. Maybe people shouldn’t call themselves “goth”, for example, but they do. We’re talking about what assumptions to make about people. All I’m saying is: assume the best.

                      But sure, I 100% agree that a man is not defined by his pass-ions, but his act-ions. Passion/passivity is a pathetic way to approach the world or the self.

                    • ForChristAlone

                      agree

                    • R. Doyle

                      This conversation is about more than “listening charitably” to those with sexual opinions, this is also a Legal Constitutional Issue across many fronts. Wish it were only about personal interpretation…

                    • claire

                      You are so right and this is the very essence of the debate (a person is not his attractions and man is not defined by his passions). It seems that this very childish view of who and what we are is the norm in the gay viewpoint. Probably why these discussions go nowhere

              • MarcAlcan

                I think once one “outs” one’ self with a “gay” label, they are very, very likely actively homosexual.
                I think the term gay precisely means actively homosexual.

          • GG

            We are called to prudence and authentic charity, not to be pedantic or disingenuous.

            • Daniel P

              How is it pedantic or disingenuous to assume the best of people? I don’t suggest telling them what we assume. When someone says they’re gay, we should speak with the knowledge that they might disagree with Catholic teaching, and not presume they agree with us. (That is certainly prudent). But it’s fine for us to assume (in our thoughts) that their actions and beliefs are in keeping with Church teaching. Indeed, that is the Catechism’s instruction.

              It’s the difference between presuming and assuming, which is a big difference.

              • Rusty

                Daniel P, your advice echoes that of my wife, who boils it down to the following two words: be kind.

                If we treat people respectfully, it in no way endorses the sinfulness about which we can only speculate; even if we know the person is sexually active, being kind does not imply blessing or affirming the sin.

                I am also mindful of my own sinfulness, and not wanting to throw stones from my own glass house.

                • DE-173

                  “If we treat people respectfully, it in no way endorses the sinfulness about which we can only speculate:
                  Meet Gunther, a neo-Nazi.. now be nice to him. I

                  • Rusty

                    Yes, a Nazi, or a Visigoth, or even a Viking. What about the Son of Sam? Sheesh!

                    • ForChristAlone

                      Now, DE-173, where have I seen that response “sheesh” before????????? I knew he’d show up before long.

                    • DE-173

                      Sheesh, an expression of visceral indignation used when one cannot dispute the matter at hand.

                      Familiar, isn’t it?.

                    • Objectivetruth

                      Hellllooooo EricMN!!!! Where ya been?!

                    • Rusty

                      Must be a case of mistaken identity. My “sheesh” was an attempt to dismiss the sophistry of drawing an extreme hypothetical example to undermine a general principle. Clearly, in the face of clear and present evil, a Christian’s responsibility is to be vigilant and to oppose that evil. That said, we are not called to judge, lest we be judged – Christ Himself ate with tax collectors and sinners. One bears witness to Christ through actions, not just words, and I doubt haranguing or criticizing those whom we meet has much positive impact on them or their souls.

                      This brings to mind another aphorism: Softly, softly, catchee monkey…

                    • DE-173

                      You should learn to distinguish the rhetorical device of “reductio ad absutdam” from sophistry.

                      Once again:

                      It’s your principle, I just want to see if it’s an absolute.

                    • Rusty

                      The use of such rhetorical devices is, by definition, sophistry. By suggesting I am unlearned, you are now making this an ad hominem argument as well.

                    • DE-173

                      So your error arises from a misbelief that rhetorical devices are sophistry, which is of course a more serious deficit than I asserted.
                      Having elaborated that error is more serious and inferring a general deficit from a specific one, I see no need to make any impeachments that you are quite willing and able to provide. Thank you.

                    • DE-173

                      So your error arises from a misbelief that rhetorical devices are sophistry, which is of course a more serious deficit than I asserted.

                      Having elaborated on an error that error is more serious than was initially apparent and inferring a general deficit from a specific one, I see no need to make any impeachments that you are quite willing and able to provide. Thank you.

                    • Rusty

                      Sheesh!

                  • GG

                    Gay-ism always gets a special pass.

                • michael susce

                  Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act. Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

                  • DE-173

                    “The world is rotten because of silence.”

                    Catherine of Siena

              • MarcAlcan

                I don’t know the statistics but I would hazard a guess that the chaste gay is a tiny fraction of the gay community.
                So if we react with ‘eewwwe” then it would not be without reason.

          • Guest_august

            Can a Catholic call himself or herself “gay”?
            Can a Catholic call himself or herself “homosexual”?
            Can a Catholic identify himself or herself as “gay” or “homosexual”?
            Can a Catholic say, “I am gay, but chaste, so I am okay”?
            Can a Catholic say, “I am gay, but I don’t engage in homosexual sex acts, so I am okay”?
            We say an emphatic NO to these propositions.
            ….
            God does not create anybody to be tempted to have sex with someone of the same gender.
            read more: http://www.popeleo13.com/pope/2014/08/19/category-archive-message-board-100-st-augustine-on-sex-3/

            • Daniel P

              This is not what we’re discussing here, though. The question is about the principle of charity, in conversation.

              So, for example, if a person says to you they are an “Islamist”, you should not immediately assume they support ISIS. You should ask what they mean by saying they are an “Islamist”. The same applied to the word “gay”.

              And if a Christian you hardly know calls themselves gay, and says they are chaste, I don’t think it’s your place to chastise them. There are people with that role, but it’s not the place of strangers. As Rusty’s wife says below, it’s simply a matter of being kind.

              • Guest_august

                A catholic should not, and must not call himself/herself gay. To do so is to become part of the “Global Sodomy Agenda.”
                That is not a good place for a Catholic to be.

                • Daniel P

                  No one here has said that a Catholic should call himself gay.

            • I’m confused by your blog. Is your blog quoting someone with authority or is it just your personal opinion based on your interpretation of Augustine?

          • CadaveraVeroInnumero

            The percentage of chaste homosexuals in the general population is ________?

            The percentage of chaste homosexuals among Catholics (who have bought into the notion that there is no call for some level of conversion is __________?

            Maybe we need to define chaste. Suppose we can agree that includes no having anal intercourse and oral genital sex. Throw in deep french kissing. But I would also toss in those behaviors and commitments which the likes of Hannon tend to dismiss: such as, not sneaking over to X-Tube and the like on a dull evening, keeping one’s sheets free of stains after mediating on the godly physique of the neighborhood boy mowing the lawn, and, above all, not gushing and slathering, in one’s ungoverned heart, over the objects of ones “spiritual friendships”. Heck, being willing *not* to have any spiritual friendships, just plain the old-fashion ones. And, another above all, the refusal to disparage, diminish, and second rate the opposite sex (which, in spite of all the happy camp in the gay sub-culture, runs rampant).

            Just can’t see how this discussion can go forward without some talk about conversion. What is spiritual life without it.

            • Daniel P

              “Those behaviors … the likes of Hannon tend to dismiss…”

              You seem to be saying that Hannon thinks pornography and masturbation are not sinful. That is slander. Moreover, you have absolutely no evidence for it.

              • CadaveraVeroInnumero

                Daniel, as I said elsewhere you cannot isolate (cuddle, cradle) the homosexual attraction from the homosexual act, thinking that by doing so you can hold onto the attraction and husband some redeeming good from it. There must come the time in which the attraction itself is repulsive – even the sexualized admiration of the neighborhood boy’s physique as he knows the lawn. Mr Hannon seems to allow for the redeeming factor – which in the case of homosexuality there is none, for by its very nature it is an all-consuming, totalitarian sexual experience. It allows for no boundaries, no limitations, and, above all, no mystery.

      • DE-173

        “Just so you know, the activities gay people engage in are just as common among straight people.”

        The character of the act is defined by the participants, even irrespective of of their sex. I kiss my Wife differently than my Mother. An open mouth kiss to Mom or Dad would be ieeeww…

        • Daniel P

          I’m talking about sodomitical acts. These acts are just as perverse irrespective of the sexes involved, so far as I know.

          • bonaventure

            Liar. That’s not what you were talking about.

          • DE-173

            “These acts are just as perverse irrespective of the sexes involved, so far as I know.”
            Agreed, but that’s a diversion from your assertion quoted above.

            • Daniel P

              All I asserted was that sodomy properly elicits disgust regardless of the gender of the participants.

              • DE-173

                You wrote:

                “Just so you know, the activities gay people engage in are just as common among straight people.”

                You asserted a commonality and/or uniformity of sexual practices between individuals engaging in homosexual acts and individuals engaging in hetetrrosexual acts.

                • Daniel P

                  No, I didn’t. I was just saying that — in our sad modern society — anal and oral sex are just as commonly practiced by heterosexuals. The marital act, of course, is only possible for a man and a woman. So there’s no “uniformity” there between gay and straight.

                  • DE-173

                    You have no idea what the prevalance of those acts are among opposite sex couples. The very fact that normal intercourse is possible and desireable between heterosexuals, whereas it’s impossible between two persons of the same sex, leads me to be skeptical of your claim.

                    Additionally, at least publicly, I’ve never met a woman who didn’t find the idea of the “back door”, repellant. My marriage would be permanently injured if I even suggested that.

                    The use of contraceptives tells me that most men and women are engaged in conventional activities-so even if they deviate, it’s occasional.

      • Austin Ruse

        SAdly, because of pornography and the influence of same-sex behavior, opposite sex couples have resorted to homosexualizing their sexual behavior. But, it is not the norm for them while it is for the same-sex attracted. In fact, there is virtually nothing that same-sex attracted people do that would not illicit the yuck factor.

        • Daniel P

          “There is virtually nothing that same-sex attracted people do that would not illicit the yuck factor.”

          I’m same-sex attracted. Does your statement mean that when I kiss my wife, it’s yucky? What about when I play Monopoly with my kids?

          Just teasing, I’m not offended. I think you meant “there’s no romantic/sexual action between same-sex attracted people that wouldn’t elicit the yuck factor”.

          • Austin Ruse

            Especially monopoly! Yuck!

          • CadaveraVeroInnumero

            You’re being silly Daniel.

            So-called same sex attraction includes within its very nature it’s defining ends – which is the homosexual act. To cuddle and cradle the attraction, believing it is severed from its ends, is a moral and practical impossibility.

            • Daniel P

              Sinful impulses do not have proper or defining ends. They are diffuse, and they will twist themselves to whatever ends their infernal father chooses. There is no singular homosexual act, but an assembly of actions that are all reprehensible.

              The attraction involved in homosexuality, insofar as it is directed at these sorts of actions, is directed at intrinsic evil. There is a sense, though, in which it is directed at persons, not actions. Thus the theory that gay men wrongly sexualize a good desire for intimacy with males — an intimacy that was wrongly denied them in childhood. To say this is not to “coddle” the attraction, but rather to recognize that every sinful attraction is a desire for some good thing that has been perverted and misdirected.

              • CadaveraVeroInnumero

                Who said homosexual desire had proper ends? Not this fellow. How “defining” depends on how Thomist one wants to take the argument. And who denies that the homosexual desire is not a disordered response (or, an attempt at one) to enter (and secure) a good and proper relation with an other: in short, a boy’s ordered affection for a father is thwarted (the classical casual explanation of the condition). That being so, the homosexual desire is (whatever the swine feeding) is stirred into the good (however, without being a perfect sweet/savory mixture). Not this fellow.

                But, there has been a push to toy, santifiy & spiritualize the homosexual desire (condition) all the way up to a predetermiend (wobbily) line-in-the-sand. Even within the Church – maybe especially in the Church; which is the motivating point of the New Homophile Movement.

                That being so, there seems to be a need for some spade-calling, for the “coddling” of that sweet – albeit, misdirected – desire has become our tar-baby. Because we so desperately wish to locate some (any) good in the desire we (and our culture) have opened our moral code to call every aspect, the whole diversity of the homosexual experience good.

                There must come the time when the slightest twinge of homosexual desire (once more) becomes shameful and repulsive to us (and our culture). A time when we no longer boast about admiring the bare chested physique of the neighborhood boy mowing the the lawn – which is the wont of the New Catholic Homophiles.

                It is this shameless boasting which is hugely morally tasteless, and corrupting – even of the very language we are permitted to discuss the issue of homosexuality. Our elders and betters are sending this conversation to an re-education camp where our talk can be whipped into shape. The next time the site Spiritual Friendship post that photo of those Oxfordshire young men in their tweeds piled on top of each other, I’ll puck. One can go to Folsom Street in San Francisco and find the same (contra the tweed), where’s the difference.

                It is past time to take that spade and dig ourselves out of the analytical pit, for we have allowed the (Christian/Catholic) advocates of Queer Theory to shovel, on top of us, the barnyard muck of a distorted, twisted, and disordered language. It is high time to, once more, shoot and speak straight. If I had a beloved son who was sexualizing his admiration for the neighborhood boy’s bare physique, I would lovingly take him out to a steak dinner and tell him how shameful such admiration is, and teach him how to squash and spear the slightest inkling of such desires.

                Guarantee they’ll disappear. It is often that simple!

                I know, I know. If he had such a father, then that dinner conversation would not even be necessary. They would just talk over the steak (sans mom) as they did the week before.

                Close off: The Catholic New Homophiles are in control of this conversation. They are standing on the banks of the Tiber ready to wade in and cross over to Rome in October – their hot pink banners slyly tucked in the midst of the bright blazing ones about communion and the divorced (and, now I hear, the polygamists). It is time for all godly fathers & sons to man the boats and drive the grappling horde back onto the opposite shore. Chsae them all the way past the River Po. They can lick their wounds there; Mother Bear will bring the salve.

                • Daniel P

                  You see everything in black and white. But the grain grows up together with the chaff. If there are simple and easy ways of removing same-sex attraction (as you imply), they certainly are well-kept secrets. I recommend you start a ministry, and help as many people as you can.

                  I agree, of course, that nothing is going to be gained from boasting or defensiveness on the part of people with same-sex attraction. A proclivity toward sin is not an object of boasting, except insofar as God has been glorified through one’s abstinence from sin. But I think you might want to ask the question, “Why are the New Homophiles (as you call them) so defensive? Why are they sometimes willing to compromise theology for the sake of self-esteem?”

                  The answer, I suspect, is that the very people who speak the truth about their condition (whether or not they believe that truth) also express disgust toward them. That’s not God’s work; it’s Satan’s work. If Satan finds that a person rightly judges the lepers to have leprosy, he immediately encourages that person to react with disgust toward the leper.

                  So what about me? I come before you, Cadavera, as a leper. I agree that my leprosy is a bad thing, and I hate it. It is all well and good for you to say that there are simple ways to cure my leprosy. But I think it’s far more important that you embrace me as a leper, as a fellow soul in need of redemption. I hope you will respond with compassion. But one of the biggest reasons we are where we are today, as a Church, is that people in such situations before you did not respond with compassion. And so — wrongly, but understandably — the lepers created a mythology about the wonders of leprosy.

                  • DE-173

                    “Why are the New Homophiles (as you call them) so defensive? Why are they sometimes willing to compromise theology for the sake of self-esteem?”
                    Oh please. There is no such thing as a “pride” parade or corporate or government brainwashing for anything other that LGBT (or is it LGBTQ now), for any other sort of sin.
                    The entire premise of the New Homophiles is not only that they are defined by an innate, and immutable attraction (whether or not it is innate and immutable; durable is not immutable) but that it is normal, or some cases “special”.
                    We all have innate and durable impulses. You think I don’t see a woman in lycra at my gym and not have to check my impulses? Or worse, the attractive and ebulliant woman at some desk, who seems more talkative than I should expect?
                    People who have impulses (to steal, to lust) are human. People who can’t control those impulses (kleptomaniacs, nymphomaniacs) have a disorder. Until forty years ago, we understood that.
                    Shame and disgust are remarkable absent from our culture and have been for some time. The only sinners who seem to elicit shame or disgust are male pedophles and perhaps wife-beaters. They are the “designated deviants”. The smog of indifference was suffocating us a long time ago, now the “love that dare not speak its name” is finding safe harbor and won’t shut the hell up.
                    I’m really tired of the homosexual victimology and this constant insistence on the misdirected libido as the heaviest cross. You have no idea what others deal with on a daily basis.

                    • Daniel P

                      (1) You have never heard me say the sufferings of gay people are worse than the sufferings of other people.

                      (2) If someone says that are “gay and chaste”, why would you assume that they “can’t control their impulses”? I think everyone in this conversation agrees that people need to control their impulses. The dispute is about whether (and in what contexts) it’s helpful to talk about one’s impulses. Some people surely err on the side of too much disclosure — a form of exhibitionism and (yes) pride.

                      (3) I agree that anyone who claims that same-sex attraction makes them special or important in some way is nuts.

                  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

                    The vulnerability of your reply deserve another. Sick today. Please look here in a few days, I’ll reply.

                    If I remember correctly, you are married and with children, yet still find yourself in a *leperous* place. Correct me if I’m mistaken. How or whatever, it forever seems to be a lifetime place of abiding.

                    From one leper to another, prayers,

                    • Daniel P

                      Thank you for you beautiful response. Yes, I’m married with children. I’m committed to chastity, and I’ve found great blessing in it. I speak out about these issues online because I spent years and years hiding from them, and I want the Christian world to learn to minister to same-sex attracted people in a healthier way. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I have found, in my own life, that repression and shame is not the answer.

                  • R. Doyle

                    Great retort. I think this is Francis’s core message. you should send to him. I get it.

          • DE-173

            I you are married and attracted to your wife, you are not “same sex attracted”, but attracted regardless of sex.

            • Daniel P

              Well, not exactly. I’m attracted to many women because of their female qualities, and many men because of their male qualities. I say “same-sex attracted” because it’s true that I’m attracted to men. But that doesn’t mean that I’m *only* attracted to men. “Same-sex attracted” is not a synonym for “gay”.

      • bonaventure

        When she thinks “ewww,” Martha probably refers to the sexual activity of the sodomites, which is the very subject of Austin Ruse’s article.

        You must have missed the sentence where he writes: “My friends and I used to ride through the industrial dishwasher and drink beers over at Joe’s house. He never let us forget his sexual orientation.”

        Surely, “Joe” did not let anyone forget about his homosexuality by simply cooking them meals. Not to be vulgar, but it’s not meals that he wanted to serve them, but rather his genitals. And that is ALL that homosexuality is all about. So yeah, “ewww” indeed.

        But what can anyone expect from Daniel P. on the discussion threads of Crisis Magazine, where he is the resident Trojan Horse for the cause of homosexuality?

        • Daniel P

          I highly doubt that gay men mention that they are gay to Martha as a come on. That would be … odd.

          Aside from that, you’re free to think whatever you like about me. You have my prayers, and I would appreciate your prayers as well.

          • bonaventure

            (1) To begin with, there is nothing gay (i.e., joyous) about homosexuality. You can remove your sheep’s clothing, Daniel P. Anyone who has been long enough on Crisis Magazine knows you for the pro-homosexual ideologue that you are.

            (2) Homosexuals, especially those who identify as “gay” to make believe that their chosen sinful actions must be celebrated by all and everywhere, are always in people’s faces about their homosexuality — whether it be Martha or anyone else. Homosexuality is no less a perversion than the perversion of those whose sole and only objective in life in to have sex without anything that moves, and heck, why not, even that which does not move.

            (3) I do not need, and I certainly do not want, your prayers. For all I know, you may be praying to a god that does not exist — prayers which ultimately are caught in Satan’s nest of false promises and answered with lies.

            (4) Do not ask strangers to pray for you. Because you do not know what their prayer for you might be.

            • Daniel P

              You apparently know how to underline things in a post on Crisis. That’s a pretty neat trick!

              (Replies like this are part of my master plan to infiltrate Crisis and convince everyone here to dress in drag and love Judy Garland. Mwuhahahahaha!)

        • Austin Ruse

          Joe always made his desires known. One of our buddies, named Neal, stayed at Joe’s a tad too long and too late drinking too many beers….from them on he was called “Neal the Meal”…

      • CadaveraVeroInnumero

        Dear Daniel,

        Are we now going to have a conversation that anal sex is now an expected norm within the married state.

        Anal sex is a disruption of the law upon which sex was created in Eden. It, in fact, gives birth to a counter-mystery to the norm given to Adam and Eve. Anal sex establishes a real, actual ripping tear in the fabric wrapped around our First Parents. What pours through that rip? What gains entry? The very identity of homosexuality includes the telecoms of that act e e. If it’s not even acted upon.

        It so would be helpful if we would rid this conversation of the word “attraction “, with its equivocating insistence to muddle up muddling the issue. The homosexual attraction is, bottom line (no pun), a desire for its fullest expression. (There is no point to the desire without its disordered ends.) Which is why I made the point elsewhere that , regarding this issue, we endanger the rule of truth by excluding the crucial (as in life-changing) element of conversion from this conversation.

      • claire

        So tired of reading this dishonest rhetoric. If heterosexual couples were doing the same as homosexual couples all the time then there would also be a line of women at the doctor getting that end sorted out as with homosexual men. So when I read these lies I know that all they are is justification-seeking words.

        • Daniel P

          Look at the rates of oral STDs among women compared with men. There’s more than one kind of sodomy.

      • R. Doyle

        Lets keep this real… your position is only an opinion. Cite the data to maintain a common denominator please.

        No one mentioned chastity in this thread. It doesnt play. The conversation is about gender attraction and the response to it.

        Gripes me when someone uses the “we all do it” trick, therefore I can do as i please. Not the truth because you dont know everybody unless your Kreskin.

    • mitch64

      How odd that you would imagine anyone having sex, gay or straight.

      • Martha Renner

        But that’s just my point! I would never, until they mention that they’re homosexual. Then that becomes kind of how they’re defined in my mind. It’s like telling someone you’re a cannibal. I don’t ordinarily think about people eating, but when I learn they’re cannibals, well, the mind will wander. It’s abnormal, and so it disturbs.

  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

    Hannon is simply too precious. The worst of it, he creates confusion by his fashionable turn of phrases. He may, on the surface, be read as raking Post-Modernity over the coals. But, what coals? They are certainly not the burning embers of the Natural Law & the dogmatic and ethical traditions of the Church. The he uses is his own cleverness.

    It is that last which glows in both articles. It stokes and scorches because the man (pardon the use of this “constructed” word yanked from its intertextuality); once more, Mr. Hannon, at day’s end, still adheres to that slithery notion of the “sexual continuum”, Post-Modernism crown jewel.

    Hannon just can’t exorcise it from this wordsmith(ry). It is the venal virus of sexual continuumism which has diseased the conclusion of his thoughts. Of course, he will say no to both: about adhering to the notion, or about his conclusion being venereal infected Post-Modernism.

    Does Hannon understand, that in adhering to the sexual continuum (however wordsmith(ed), he is yielding a small, but telling, “yes” to Alister Crowley? All notions, especially the fashionable ones, have history and forefathers. As for the sexual continuum Crowley is its mother/father. One only needs to listen to Black Metal Rock to see the hand of that Dark Lord Servant caressing every fold and joint of the body politic – especially our notions of sexuality.

    Will close with my own little “anecdote”:

    Adam, at his creation, wandered about Eden with a longing w2hich neither the beasts nor God could satisfy; with the latter, no matter how perfect the fellowship. God understood for he placed it there: this gift of a longing for one not himself.

    Adam was at a loss, of being in a place of not *knowing*. It took a deep sleep, and broken-in rib cage, to find it. From it Adam woke to the And, according to some Jewish & Christian tradition, the Man, then and there, took the Woman down onto the Garden floor,

    Unless, this Eden story, is simply one about Eve the Breeder. As in Islam, so in the future the likes of Hannon can gaze (sexlessly!!) at the physique of the neighborhood boy as he mows the lawn..

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      “according to some Jewish & Christian tradition”

      The Christian tradition is all the other way

      But St. Justin Martyr (A.D. 120-165) says, “For Eve, being a Virgin and undefiled, conceiving the word that was from the serpent, brought forth disobedience and death…” —Tryph. 100

      And Tertullian (160-240), ” For into Eve, as yet a virgin, had crept the word which was the framer of death…”

      And St. Irenæus (120-200), “as by a virgin the human race had been bound to death, by a virgin it is saved, the balance being preserved, a virgin’s disobedience by a Virgin’s obedience.”— Adv. Hær. v. 19

      • CadaveraVeroInnumero

        Clarification: The question was – did Adam & Eve consummate their pairing in Eden before their Fall. Was sex had in the Garden before the descent of sin upon Mankind? It was once a lively question that had worldview consequences.

        • Michael Paterson-Seymour

          Well, here are three very early Christian writers who clearly say no and who say that Eve was a virgin at the time of the Fall.
          In fact all three repeat, in more or less the same words, “As the virgin Eve by her disobedience brought death into the world, so the Virgin Mary by her obedience brought new life.”

          The fact that writers from Syria (Justin), North Africa and Rome (Tertullian) and Asia Minor and Gaul (Irenaeus) all say the same thing suggests they are following some very early source indeed. Perhaps, it is part of the original Apostolic preaching. Justin was born ten years or so, after St John’s death and Ireanaeus has conversed with those who had known him “and others who had seen the Lord.”

          • CadaveraVeroInnumero

            First, what does the text say (both Hebrew & LXX)? How does it read in a “faith” culture in which the consummation of the married pair (and the issue of children) was expected and duty bound to do? The act and the bearing of children was a religious obligation. One did not truly worship G-d without doing so. Begin there.

            Side note: what was Augustine’s contribution to the debate3? The man did not care much for John Cassian.

            • Michael Paterson-Seymour

              As for the text, after the expulsion from the Eden, Genesis 4 begins “And Adam knew Eve his wife: who conceived and brought forth Cain, saying: I have gotten a man through God.”

  • Thomas Van

    Good points, Austin – I knew Michael briefly before he entered the Norbertines and I more or less agree with your take on his piece. However, I want to offer one small correction – Dexter Gordon played saxophone!

    • Austin Ruse

      Argh. I knew that!

  • Thomas Van

    BTW, I think there are examples of men and women saints who were not married and had intense spiritual friendships. So I would have to disagree with that particular point.

    • Austin Ruse

      I suppose that would include Clare and Francis? Did they spend time together? or write letters?

  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

    “He also refers to the act of marital intercourse as “dis-integration”
    from the integration intended by God, that it takes our eye off the
    ball, which is not her or him but Him.”

    This concept of “dis-integration” has had a long (if disruptive) genealogy in Christian theology and spirituality. Its root-ball tightly winds multiple sources: neon-platoism , Manicheanism, 2nd/3d Century Gnosticism, the ever eruption of Egyptian mythology into Western esotericism. Even the Desert Fathers, especially Johan Cassian (just as Augustine). Renaissance Florence. Goes on and on.

    The thoughts of Hannon – however much a clever young man – is nothing new. In our time, as it seems I never tire of pointing out, the “theology of dis-integration” received its most eloquent exposition via Alister Crowley. Without the Theology of Dis-integration – whose sexual end is the melding of All of in the One – is the progenitor of our current dogma of the Sexual Continuum, in which sex difference is melded into the Fluid, Flexible One in which all segments of the continuum are equal.

    Talk about your French philosophers and German Frankfurt Schools as you wish, the Theology of Dis-integration as a spirituality – as an motivating factor (organizing principle) was instituted by Crowley, and his many followers. Without Crowley there would be no Sargent Pepper album, no Black Metal Rock, no standing ovations at the Toronto Film Festival – no LGBT-IQQ”BDS&M” offices in student union buildings.

    “Dis-integration” has a Christian way of looking at sex is a near-heresy that Mr. Hannon needs to confess.

    But, then, I must confess for being weak and yellow-liveried. These days it takes courage to cross out the modifier “near”!

  • Daniel P

    Looking back through Hannon’s second article, I think Mr. Ruse is subtly misreading him. Hannon responds to a critic (John Corvino) who described feeling funny while watching a neighbor kid mow the lawn, when he was eight. Ruse portrays Hannon as saying that “there’s nothing wrong with admiring another boy’s physique as long as you know how to channel it.”

    But Hannon didn’t say that. He said that the boy could be “recognizing the beauty of the [neighbor] boy and desiring to delight in it. Second, he could be recognizing the goodness of the boy and desiring to move towards it. Both of these are totally appropriate reactions, because it’s true that the boy is both beautiful and good.”

    Notice that Hannon said nothing here about the boy’s physique, nor did Corvino mention anything about that. The desire that an eight year old experiences is not sexual, and no one except Ruse (apparently) portrays it as sexual.

    Is Hannon right to say that it’s appropriate to feel desire for the neighbor boy, and that the proper object of that desire is chaste friendship? I don’t know. But I do know that Hannon mentions absolutely nothing in that passage about channeling sexual desire.

    • Austin Ruse

      I think he actually said it should be channeled int eh right way. One way would be the gay way, which hannon objects to. The other way would be the way of truth and beauty and spiritual friendship. I think I got Hannon right on that…

      • Daniel P

        I checked again, and he never said that. He does say that Corvino says (paraphrasing), “the orientation narrative is the answer, since eventually it helps channel this adolescent ‘amorphous excitement’ into sexual-romantic relationships with members of the same sex.” But then Hannon responds to Corvino, “He couldn’t be more wrong.”

        So Hannon rejects the notion that we’re channeling anything. (So does Plato, by the way). The proper and natural end of same-sex desire, for Hannon, is friendship. And there is nothing intrinsically sexual about the sort of desire Hannon is discussing. Physical? Sure. Sexual? No.

        I just want you to be clear on what Hannon’s saying. I’m not defending his view, but his view does not involve channeling sexual energy.

        • Austin Ruse

          But I didn’t say sexual! I git Gannon exactly right. He didn’t say sexual and neither did I. The boy admires the physical beauty if the boy next door. What does this become? That is the question. I hold I got this exactly the way Hannon intended.

          • Daniel P

            Your phrasing strongly suggested a sort of Freudian sublimation of sexual desire: “admiring another boy’s physique as long as you know how to channel it.” (Hannon never mentioned physique, just personal attraction). But perhaps you just meant by “channel” “direct non-sexual energy toward the proper end”. If that’s what you meant, then we’re on the same page about what Hannon’s saying.

  • Michael Wallis

    Thanks Mr. Ruse for articulating why I always pass by and left Hannon’s articles unread in First Things.

  • A Young Catholic

    Why do you guys continue to publish this jackass?

    • ForChristAlone

      which jackass are you referring to?

  • tj.nelson

    “I don’t say that Hannon is joining the Norbertines to escape anything including himself, but what I suggest is he may be disappointed. ”

    I doubt Hannon will be there long.

    Great article, as usual, Mr. Ruse.

  • Ruth Rocker

    Another great article. I’ve never understood why the homomafia refers to normal people as “breeders” as a pejorative term. Were it not for us “breeders” the species would go extinct because they are certainly not going to extend the population by their actions. It’s just another way to make their sinful, immoral behavior and lifestyle seem normal and what is normal seem grotesque.

    • ForChristAlone

      Exactly correct and, moreover, where do the homosexuals get their very lives if not from the mutual love of us “breeders.”

    • MarcAlcan

      Which is just so utterly stupid when one thinks of it.
      Their parents must have been “breeders” for after all they would not be here.

  • Alexander

    St. Michael Abbey is in Southern California. Orange County.

  • John200

    One wants to encourage Mr. Hannon, but I would not declare him brilliant just yet. I do not see much more than word play in his arguments.

    You may see it differently.

    His arguments, as I read them, are derivative, although we must live with that condition. After all, we have had the full revelation of truth for 2000+ years.

  • Álvaro Gutiérrez Valladares

    As one with a vocation to becoming what Ruse, but not Hannon, calls a “breeder” I must say that I agree with Hannon. Marriage is a holy vocation, but we must not be so engulfed with spiritual pride as to say that our vocation is equal, say, to that of Padre Pio. No amount of patronizing “when I was your age I thought like you did” rhetoric is going to change the words of St. Paul and the fact that a perfect imitation of Christ includes an imitation of His celibacy. Marriage is, I repeat, a holy vocation, and it is right that John Paul II explore the meaning of the vocation and exhort us to find Christ in it, but let’s not get carried away.

    • ForChristAlone

      visions of the Cathars and the Shakers…

      Since Christ told us to be “perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” should we all aspire to celibacy?

      We need to be careful that celibacy is not construed as an expression of Manicheanism.

    • Austin Ruse

      We are all called to be sanctifiable saints…from either the married or the ordained state. That is our vocation. And, they are all equal. Mine is equal to Padre Pio’s and so is yours.

      to think otherwise is to commit clericalism.

      • Ford Oxaal

        But there must be a hierarchy in Heaven, no? I thought Mary was at the top, then all the old ladies who are the only ones at Mass, then the priests and religious….

      • ForChristAlone

        Austin, I must correct you. Some share a dual vocation: ordained AND married.

  • Guest_august

    Mr. Michael Hannon is “playing with fire” if he continues to identify himself with abominable sin without recognizing the real sources of the desire and inclinations towards grave sins.
    And what are these sources? Namely:
    1) Fallen human nature
    2)Fallen world
    3) persistent and constant harassment by fallen angels
    .

    To self-identify as “Gay” is to condone same-sex sex acts. That is the point many dont seem to realize

    • Daniel P

      He doesn’t identify as gay. Indeed, his article is about why no one should identify as “gay” or “straight”.

    • Austin Ruse

      Yes, Hannon has never identified himself as gay or homosexual or anything like that. was worried that some may take that away from my piece. I am not aware that he struggles or has ever struggle in that way. he is an apologist for the New Homophiles, however, and could be included in that school, however….

  • publiusnj

    The great thing about the marriage of a man and a woman is that they get the chances to love one another, to become one flesh, to beget children and thereby to create. How god-like is that? My own thought is that God uses reproduction as a way to bring our selfish souls into new relationships with the flesh of our flesh that transform us into altruistic loving beings in a way we would find almost impossible to accomplish without the begetting of our own flesh. But as next week’s Old Testament reading notes: I can ne ver fully understand God’s mind for His ways are NOT my ways. Indeed, His thoughts are as high above mine as the Heavens are above the Earth. So, the fruits of marital creativity are probably even more glorious than I could ever conceive.

  • redfish

    I’ve met people who embrace a kind of “heterosexual identity.”

    Guys who are obsessed with looking macho and are so insecure they’re afraid if they hug another guy they’ll look gay, and are exactly that way because they think of themselves through their sexual identity and define their sexuality in how attractive they think they are to women. Or women who are obsessed with looking femme and think if they dress practical they’ll be too butch and utilitarian, and are exactly that way for the same reasons as those men, but in terms of attractiveness to men. These sort of individuals also tend to be virulently against any expression of sexual conservativism, and even if they’re homophobic, they might hate religious people even more.

    Not a large number of straights, but I know at least as many of those type as I know out-and-loud gays, if not more.

    • ForChristAlone

      When you are in accord with nature, you don’t have to give it much thought at all. It’s those who are in cognitive (to say nothing about moral) dissonance who need to constantly bring up the issue of attraction.

  • Dub

    We don’t need to be known, we don’t need a chant we are the majority. Minorities do need to be heard so they can earn the rights they deserve. They estimate homosexuals make up 3-4% of the world population. Even if it is 10% there’s 7 billion people. You can do the math.

    • ForChristAlone

      There are no rights that accrue to being homosexuals qua homosexual. There are rights that accrue to being human persons that alone should be protected.

  • Matt

    Austin…
    I’d say you almost completely missed the basic point of Hannon’s first article.
    If you self-identify and
    classify yourself according to your sexuality (in any fashion), the Church is
    not able to affirm you in that self-identification. Any person who argues for
    her “right” to use contraceptives, or to have recourse to abortion is
    classifying herself according to her sexuality. Any person who strongly defends
    his right to no-fault divorce, or to his right to fornicate, is classifying
    himself according to his sexuality. He is putting himself in a box. This is the
    very simple point Hannon is making. The sad reality of our broken world is that
    the vast majority of us — Christian or not — have absorbed the central
    premises of the ideology of sexual liberation. It is usually only a question of
    whether we have implicitly or explicitly absorbed these premises. … This
    over-identification with one’s own sexual desires is precisely what St. John
    Paul II critiques so masterfully in the Theology
    of the Body. JP2 calls it is exactly what it is: Dualism. The worldview of
    the Culture of Death conceives of the human person dualistically as a conscious
    subject distinct from and other than his body.

  • People who are Straight (i.e. heterosexual) don’t HAVE to self-identify as heterosexual, because the assumption is simply made. But I wouldn’t really expect you to understand this. There is absolutely nothing in Straight experience that is analogous to “coming out” or being “out.” But I would like you to consider a few things:

    If you were a Gay man, would you live your life openly and honestly, or would you prefer to hide yourself away in a closet, content for people to assume that you were Straight? If you had a husband or boyfriend, would you have a framed photo of him on your desk at work, or would you take great pains not to be seen in public together, and do everything you could to hide your relationship from friends and family members?

    As someone who is ostensibly heterosexual, how would you feel if you heard that there were rumors going around that you were Gay? Would you just ignore the rumors, or would you go out of your way to make sure that everyone knew you were Straight? You wouldn’t want people ASSUMING that you were Gay, would you? If not, why do you think Gay people would want anyone ASSUMING that they are Straight?

    In my 54 years as a Gay man, there have been many times that people have asked me if I’m married or if I have a girlfriend. Such questions are perfectly innocent chit-chat, especially considering that there is absolutely NOTHING about the way that I dress, talk, or act that make you think I was anything but Straight. Nevertheless, as a proud Gay man who has done lots of work to overcome social injustices against the LGBT community, I simply don’t people ASSUMING that I’m Straight.

    Do you have a wife and/or kids? Have you ever shown photos of them to other people? It would be perfectly innocuous for you to do so, as a Straight man. Yet you seem to think that Gay people doing exactly the same thing is a militant, subversive act.

    As I said, Straight people will never truly understand what “coming out” means. There’s nothing they can compare it to. And it’s a different experience for each and every Gay person. Sometimes it goes well, other times not so much. Coming out means possibly losing friends, being rejected by one’s own family, risking one’s employment and safety.

    I hope you will mull over some of these things before getting so judgmental toward people who are OPENLY Gay. No one is forcing you to “accept” anything, but the fact remains that there is no reason why Gay and Straight people shouldn’t be treated with dignity and without discrimination for who they are.

    • DE-173

      “Do you have a wife and/or kids? Have you ever shown photos of them to other people? It would be perfectly innocuous for you to do so, as a Straight man. Yet you seem to think that Gay people doing exactly the same thing is a militant, subversive act.”

      Your consorts are not the same as my wife, no matter how often or stridently you assert otherwise. The male and female bodies were exquisitely designed to be accepting of each other, to create a bond between the two and most importantly, to bring forth new life, something forgotten when children are something to be planned and avoided, rather than welcomed and cherished.

      If a person place a picture of a twelve year old girl on their desk, and I identified her as as their wife, partner or girlfriend, shouldn’t they be treated with respect, and not as a militant and subversive? Child brides are routinely accepted in many cultures, and have been since antiquity, they aren’t a contemporary novelty. I’m sure I can find some Muslim or Mormon apologist that will argue incessantly about the rectitude of the practice, it won’t make it any less morally deficient in my mind. Norr will I accept the assertions of love offered by the woman who “married” the roller coaster.

      “As I said, Straight people will never truly understand what “coming out” means. There’s nothing they can compare it to.”

      You want to portray surrender as heroism. It’s not.

      What I have noticed here is that there is no issue that draws single-issue, hit and run trolls like homosexuality, none. As much as the the direction of the homosexuality is disordered, its magnitude is even more disordered. You and the rest of the homosexual activists that sit in wait for something on here have no chance of persuading us of the normalcy of your actions, yet you insist on defacing this board with the same tired rhetoric. You identify yourself as a gay male. I have no doubt about the veracity of your adjective, but the stammering insistence that your desires are paramount to be satisfied by any and all means is profoundly childish, and utterly devoid of manhood.

      Don’t worry, though. If you succeed in reordering society, there will be a search for an antithesis. Islam is ready and willing to extend it’s tender mercies to you. At 54, you’ll be dead before the Sharia Curtain descends upon us, but God have mercy on anybody that is afflicted with same sex attraction when the Imams are issuing fatwas.

    • Tony

      Excuse me, but every single one of us has this sort of experience all the time.

      It is called “temptation.” It is to be fought. It is never to be celebrated. It is also not to be foisted upon other people who might be harmed by the revelation. You can speak about your temptations with a spiritual counselor, but most of the time our temptations, especially if they involve other people, should be kept charitably to ourselves.

      You also do not treat us honestly here. You are pretending, with that picture on the desk, that you are “just like” anybody else, but that is not so, and you yourself know it best of all. You use porn, right? You have had sex in front of other people, or you know (and smile at) people who have done that. You know people who have had sex with teenage boys, even if they had to go to Thailand or Burma to do it. You have had sex with people whose names you don’t know, and you know people who do that all the time. Your sexual aberration is like an acid that eats away at any social or moral container. You think, maybe, that none of us has ever heard stories from a gay man? That we never read what you yourselves say among yourselves, when you’re not pretending?

      The sin you are committing is, in its own nature, odious. What you are in your heart is another matter, and only God can judge. I note with some irony that concern for the employment of sinners whose sin has become publicly known is by no means universal or even widespread in this country. It’s just that your particular sin, at this juncture, is a cause celebre — probably because it cinches the whole miserable sexual revolution, which has compromised almost everybody.

      • Matt Jones

        Holy cow, Tony, that was a pretty uncalled for slew of assumptions and caricatures. Not only is there nothing of the gospel in your post, but there is nothing that could contribute to a positive argument for the traditional sexual ethic. Even if all your accusations of PolishBear are true – and I highly doubt it – there are tons of gay men and women who don’t fit any of those categories, who advocate for monogamy and chastity until marriage (regardless of whether you think they can be “married” is beside the point at the moment) and live in line with high personal standards for sexual continence.

        If you want to “defend” the traditional sexual ethic, then you must do so while actually interacting with those who disagree as living-breathing humans who don’t fit your rather caustic mold. If you keep spouting off those increasingly untrue stereotypes, then in the end the one who will be the caricature is only you.

        Also, Mr. Ruse, if your posts are being read as validating opinions and vitriolic comments like these, then perhaps some self-examination is in order.

        • Tony

          Matt — that is absolute nonsense. The homosexual actions are radically and violently unnatural. There is no gay man, absolutely none, who has not had to overcome the revulsion of the unnatural in order to teach himself to do the things — things that regularly involve the ingestion of fecal matter, for one example. To ask for a man to keep to himself before he “marries” another man is plainly absurd; it has no meaning; gay men know this quite well. Lesbians are somewhat different, but only somewhat.

          I am calling them out, because they are not being honest. Gay men tell me that they ALL use pornography. Not some, but all, and regularly. They produce a lot of it themselves, far out of proportion to their numbers. I did not say that they all have had anonymous sex. Most of them may have, but all of them know men who have had it, and they do not condemn it. Haven’t you ever seen them on the prowl at a rest stop or a secluded state park? Come off it. They are beset with a deep moral and psychological disorder. It doesn’t do anybody any good to put icing on it and pretend that it is just like what is normal and ordinary in the sexes. It isn’t. You are expecting me to believe that Dan Savage is not representative of the gay world — and you are expecting me to forget what they say openly in their own conferences. I’m not going to do that.

          The shoe pinches, right? You are going to tell me, if you are a gay man, that you don’t know ANYBODY who has had sex with teenage boys, and who has sought it out by going to places where he could get away with it? Where are all these gay men condemning the hot tourist business sending their fellows to child-cruising jaunts to the far east? Name one single gay man who says that homosexuals should keep their pants on before “marriage.” One, just one. You can’t. THEY are the ones waltzing naked in their parades, with signs full of sleazy puns; so where are the gay men condemning that exhibitionism? Crickets.

          • Matt Jones

            Matthew Vines, one of the main affirming figures, is on the books as supporting chastity before marriage. Most of my affirming-but-still-religious friends that I can think of are the same. (Here’s someone explicitly saying it [in the intro part] if you need to read the words: http://sacredtension.com/2014/07/10/guest-post-when-i-suck-at-celibacy/)

            Perhaps it’s because the gay people I know are almost exclusively religious (I’ve never been to a seedy gay bar, for instance, so I wouldn’t know what they talk about there, but that’s irrelevant for this comment anyway), but not a single one of my (100+) gay friends fits your description as far as I know. Even if this is a small minority in the overall gay population, it is immensely significant because they are the population with whom the church is primarily engaging (so we should probably be aware of them).

            Here’s a gay author critiquing pride. You can find tons more if you google it. http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2013-06-27/news/bs-ed-pride-doma-20130627_1_gay-pride-pride-parade-pride-events

            and another: http://www.theroot.com/articles/politics/2009/06/gay_pride_month_wheres_the_pride_in_pride_parades.html

            So anyway. That’s more than one. Really confusing how you included *crickets* in your post before anything could have possibly been said.

            Here is what I’m saying: you are doing no one any service by universalizing a tired and verifiably not-universal caricature of gay people. As a person who is same-sex attracted and living in accord with a traditional sexual ethic, I am finding it increasingly difficult to navigate the social sphere as more and more people equate traditional church teaching with homophobic comments and harmful communities. Honestly, posts like yours are some of the best material anti-Christian advocates can find to support their arguments.

            In addition, as someone who receives emails from young people who have been seriously wounded by the church due to unfounded assumptions about their sexuality and who are wondering if a conservative sexual ethic can be sustainable and good, I’ve found rhetoric like yours makes it harder to encourage them. When I say that the church can become a community that will surround them and empower them in life-giving ministry and comfort them as they process through the loneliness that can come, they often say “that’s not what I see Christians doing… have you read the comboxes?”

            For those and so many other reasons I am asking you to please reconsider how you speak about sexual minorities.

            • ForChristAlone

              “but not a single one of my (100+) gay friends fits your description as far as I know. ”

              This is a boldface lie and you know it.

        • ForChristAlone

          There can be no dialogue with sin (note I did not say “sinner”). Once you dialogue with sin, you have succumb to perdition. Tony spoke the truth and the reason why it caused such a reaction in you is because you know he spoke the truth. We all know it is the truth. But the great deceiver – the Father of Lies – tries to make us think otherwise.

          • Matt Jones

            That’s such a tired cliche – that I’m upset just because “the truth hurts.” Hardly. I’m upset because Tony was shockingly out of place with his accusations and I receive too many emails from too many hurting SSA youth to see graceless and vitriolic words like that go unchecked. I know far too well the pain comments like that can cause to vulnerable people wondering if there will be support for them as they wrestle through questions about their sexuality. It is literally unfathomable to me that people who claim to follow Jesus could so consistently eschew any hint of the Spirit.

            As to your claim that I lied: no. As I said I am pretty much only friends with gay (or SSA, whatever language provokes less outrage) people who are practicing Christians, or were but left the faith. Certainly none of them are fine with child abuse or support sex with minors (I’m sure there are some, but even Dan Savage doesn’t – do you actually think gay people are all card-carrying NAMBLA members? Actually, don’t answer that. I don’t know any). Most that I can think of support chastity before marriage, even if they support gay marriage. Many of my friends are pursuing celibacy, as I am, so most of the accusations don’t fit at all (except having at some point looked at pornography – I only know a few people gay or straight who haven’t at least been through a period of struggle). The whole point is that blanket accusations simply make the accuser, and the church, look ridiculous against people’s lived experiences and friendships.

            Honestly, I’m not sure why I’m bothering to interact with obviously untrue claims. I imagine it won’t matter.

            Anyway, I’m finished here. Good night.

    • ForChristAlone

      “If you were a Gay man”

      Your fundamental premise is wrong and, hence, you have been held captive to an erroneous view of life itself. There is no such thing as a “gay man.” If you understood better who man is as created by God, you would understand this more clearly. You can begin by reading Pope John Paul’s Theology of the Body. It would give you an adequate Christian anthropology.

  • Maria J.

    Hope that the subject in the article , Mr..Hannon , would turn out to be a vocal promoter for the preventive and cure for the Father love deprived ( FLD could be a good trem that
    The Church can use in compassion , to focus on where the remedy need to come from );
    Visualising or even seeing oneself in the comapny of Bl.Mother and the Apostles at the Pentecost Novena , seeing how her prayers from the grace of forgivenss she was given , all through The Passion and even beforehand , with every Hail Mary , the joy and power she has been blessed with at the Incarnation- Assumption, and allowing us to be filled with all that love, for all moments of our lives from our own conceptions and for others in our lives, even those who have gone ahead of us , thus to be freed from ancestral bondages from pride with its related traits of being controlling , envious , greedy , angry and set on desroying the father identity and dignity in each other – the remedy is already here ; we have to have more persons promoting same , as part of ways to freedom, and deliverance from the fallen tendencies and its varied expressions , in all FLDs !

  • steye

    Mr. Ruse, I think you’re wrong on this one.

    I read both of the articles by Mr. Hannon, and his point is, I think, very much in line with the mind of the Church, esp. as it is expressed in her formal documents. Hannon’s argument basically comes down to how using words like “heterosexual” and “homosexual” establishes a kind of equality between them, as if they are both perfectly legitimate options (it’s just that one is more common than the other).

    These are new words, coined by people who had an interest in such equivocations, and they have come into common parlance, and even well-meaning folk who have no interest in the equivocation find themselves using these simple terms to distinguish one ‘kind’ of person from another.

    The danger here is that by doing so, even by speaking of ‘heterosexuality’ as the norm and the ‘right’ orientation, we unintentionally imply (concede?) that orientation is an objectively determined part of a person’s identity.

    Note that the Church does not do this. She speaks of subjective “attractions” and distinguishes further about their being “ordered” or “disordered”. I think we all need to be much more careful in our language, and Hannon is onto this! It is the sexual revolutionaries and the homosexualists who have tried to take over our language to their advantage, to euphemize every perversion, and insofar as we adopt their language, they win.

    Hannon calls them out and alerts us to this.

  • Jimmy Wiggins

    If people have no control over their sexual desires (that is, you can’t choose what you are sexually attracted to), then why should pedophiles and zoophiles not be allowed to proudly display their inherent sexual attractions? I’ve never met anyone who made it quite aware to me that they were a pedophile (I’m sure I’ve met a few in my life, but specifics are unknown). Those people don’t wear their sexuality on their sleeve, they certainly don’t shove it in your face. But why can’t they if that’s “who they are” ? Obviously I’m not seriously arguing for these things, but you get the idea. Basing your whole identity as to what in essence “turns you on” is not only extremely shallow, it’s a bit hypocritical (unless of course you are a fierce pedophilia or zoophilia activist).

  • JohnE_o

    Hannon seems a bit twee.

    Also, this from Hannon:

    That is why chaste friendship is even better than sexual union: because
    it is totally ordered to the best things without diversions from below.

    Suggests to me that he is doing sexual union incorrectly…

  • truthseeker

    Thanks Austin, great article. You should be offering Hannon this advice. I think he is a perfect example of many young, very religious men and women these days. There is a confusion there between romance and love, and it’s all mixed up. Let’s pray for him, and, maybe more importantly, for the Order he has entered in the hopes that they truly test his vocation.

  • Jake1966

    ….guides for parents and prospective students tell me they are required to parrot some verbiage about how welcoming the University of Missouri is to LGBT students.’ This demonstrates the demise of our values. I liked it much better when we could make fun of or beat up people we perceived as queer. In my day, only white heterosexuals were on the TV or in major magazines and those were the days Jesus would prefer. How dare queers want the right to not be fired from their jobs, denied housing or have the legal rights of marriage we heterosexuals enjoy. White, straight, christian and free, that’s me!

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