The New Homophiles: An Incomplete Apologia

Gay Christian graphic

Choosing how to respond to the recent articles by Austin Ruse on what he calls the “New Homophiles,” and about the reader responses, feels like weaving the rope I am to be hanged with: however far I get, I always wish I could make it a little longer. However, since there is only so much that can be said in a single article, I will focus on a few indispensible points. I can only speak for myself—but all of the New Homophiles have expressed their ideas on the Internet where nothing is said in secret.

1. I am not seeking a change in Catholic doctrine.
Insofar as I am a New Homophile, my loyalty to the Church and espousal of her doctrine is one of my defining traits; the other being, speaking loosely, that I happen to be gay. I am no heretic: a sinner, yes, but Catholic. Everything I write, even if it were to suggest a development of doctrine, starts from the premise that the Church’s teaching is true because she has the infallible authority to teach it. If something more than publicly professed fidelity to the Catholic Church and explicit affirmation of her teaching is to be demanded of me to be considered orthodox, I’d like to be told why.

Now, Catholic doctrine must admittedly be distinguished from Catholic custom. That is not infallible, and may be questioned, not least on pragmatic and evangelical grounds: spiritual practice and our means of reaching the world with the gospel may legitimately change to some extent. And working out the full implications of a doctrine, i.e. development, is something else again. But honestly, I’m not certain that the things I’m seeking are developments of doctrine at all; I admit that they might be, I’m simply not sure. They seem to me to be simply applications of doctrine, together with differences in emphasis and style from the van of the Catholic culture warriors. (For those interested in a fuller statement of what things I want, my blog is of course available, and my e-mail is posted there as well.)

Hence, when I read assertions that we are seeking a change in Catholic teaching, I am tempted (adapting a phrase of Monsignor Knox) to reply that that is a cowardly libel. Libel, because it’s both untrue and damaging; cowardly, because it is directed at a group who cannot sue for libel. But on reflection, my conscience suggested that that did not seem like a loving interpretation. I maintain the hope that the charge is simply based on misunderstanding. I mention my reaction at all not to be passive-aggressive, but as an example of how seriously I take orthodoxy.

2. Truth is meaningless outside of a relational context.
Homosexuality does not exist in the abstract; it only exists in people. The Church’s doctrine of sexuality is precisely a doctrine about people, and about proper modes of relationship among them. And that relational character is woven into the nature of existence. I think it was Pope Benedict XVI who said that the doctrine of the Trinity is a declaration that God Himself subsists in relationship and as relationship. The same truth is exhibited in the Incarnation: God chose to draw us up into Himself by entering into relationship, not with humanity as a concept, but with an individual Woman.

If our sole mode of engagement with self-identified gay people is in the spheres of the culture wars, and not as people that we know, I believe that we have already failed the task of evangelism. For in that case, the truth we speak has no connection to the people it is about. A truth that costs us nothing will always feel like a counterfeit to the people who have to pay for it.

And that is assuming we even succeed in getting the idea across, without knowing the people we are talking about and talking to. Take, for instance, the controversial word gay. I use it to describe myself, because I know from experience that if I use same-sex attracted instead, it puts up the hackles on my gay friends, for whom the phrase has the baggage of ugly psychiatric experiments and denial. I also know from experience that virtually none of them assume I take any specific view of the origin of homosexuality, or assume anything about my sex life or lack thereof, just because I use the word gay. The odds of misunderstanding, then, are so low (in my circles at any rate), and the risk of scandalizing people—that is, moving them away from God—with a PC-for-Catholics term is sufficiently high, that I find gay preferable. Not that there is nothing to be said for PC-for-Catholics terminology; but in this case it is a bad evangelistic tool, because it is ignorant of—or deliberately ignores—its actual effects upon the audience.

It is easy to say that we are right and so they should learn to speak our language. Maybe they should, but they aren’t going to. We have to go to them; they will not come to us. Sitting in our Catholic citadel and arguing that they should is not evangelism, and love does not keep accounts that way. St. Paul, particularly in the sermon on the Areopagus, is a shining example of love’s willingness to put the work of bridging the gap first, and to ignore the question of who is to blame for the gap.

Am I saying that those who engage with gay people only through a monitor or a microphone are more concerned with their own rightness and superiority than with love? Not necessarily; perhaps a man can love his brother whom he hath not seen as he loves God whom he hath not seen. I am quite sure that that love will have no effect at all until it is put into a personal, and not solely an ideological, context. And I’d add that no one is so holy that they need be offended by an invitation to examine their conscience.

3. The idea that gayness can be a gift is profoundly Catholic.
A lot of people have voiced concerns (and rather sterner sentiments than mere concerns) about the idea that a homosexual disposition could be in any sense a gift. After all, the Church teaches that it is an objective disorder—how could that be a gift? Yet to me, such an approach to homosexuality seems as obvious as the Crucifix. What kind of piety hoists a sculpture of murder by torture in a chapel and wears it on a golden chain? What kind of devotion asks the Pope to bless facsimiles of the horror of Deicide?

Put crudely, this is Catholicism 101. O certe necessarium Adae peccatum! O felix culpa! Every evil, however great or however trivial, willed or unwilled, is an occasion for Divine grace to operate. Without confusing evil with good, God wastes nothing, not even evils, in His eternal act of creation. The supreme Artist is not put off by flaws in the medium, but displays the excellence of His skill by incorporating them into the work itself. This seems to me the natural, the inevitable Catholic approach to the problem of evil, at whatever level and in whatever context it is encountered, from stubbed toes to homosexuality to the Cross. It is also one among a number of reasons to be patient and compassionate, rather than vociferously disgusted and angry, when those outside and indeed our fellow Catholics do not live up to the moral law so finely as ourselves.

There is a great deal more to be said, about our ideas as a group and about the interchange between Catholics and the gay world in general. But I think that these three things are among the essentials for conducting any conversation at all on the subject.

(Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.)

Gabriel Blanchard

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Gabriel Blanchard blogs at Mudblood Catholic. He is a member of the Anglican Ordinariate and a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park where he earned a degree in classics.

  • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

    3. The idea that gayness can be a gift is profoundly Catholic.
    Gabriel–there remains a vast chasm between the Catholic understanding of “gift” and the claim that either sin or the objective disorder that tempts to sin ought to be called “gift.”
    The Exsultet’s “O happy fault! O necessary sin of Adam!” is not a proclamation of original sin as *gift*. Read it again: It’s not saying “O happy *gift*!”
    Rather, it unabashedly acknowledges what is *fault* and what is “gift” The “gift” is God’s response to the fault, not the fault itself.
    So saying it’s “profoundly Catholic” to call an objective disorder a “gift” is an error.

    • FernieV

      I agree with you that sin cannot be a gift. That is an abominable thought. But I understand Gabriel is saying that the same-sex attraction is a gift (not the sins of indulging in this tendency), just like an illness could be a gift that by accepting it one can be united the the sufferings of Christ and cooperate in the Redemption.

      • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

        If “sin cannot be a gift”, then please explain how an objective disorder that *tempts* one to sin–homosexuality–*can* be a gift?
        Illness-regardless of whether it tempts one to sin–also cannot be called a “gift”. *Acceptance* of an illness *as* an illness is the “gift”…

        • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

          “If “sin cannot be a gift”, then please explain how an objective disorder that *tempts* one to sin–homosexuality–*can* be a gift?”

          While my objective disorder (Asperger’s) isn’t a sin, I do consider it a gift. Learning to overcome it led me to bring a Knights of Columbus council to a parish where it had never been before; the sheer bloody minded focus allowed me to persevere through 8 years of gathering 30 men together to get my charter.

          But yes, I agree, acceptance of the illness as an illness must come first. If you don’t think you have anything to overcome, you will not overcome it.

          • CadaveraVeroInnumero

            We need some guidelines on what and how we should and can compare homosexuality with. No analogy explains all. Any comparison, by the very nature of analgeous thinking, will have limitations when applied.

            I know Aspergers well. To compare a developmental disability, which has its etiology in the physicality of the human person, to homosexuality, whose etiology we are politically prevented from even discussing, is erroneous; let along unfair to the disabled for dragging them into this conversation.

            If you are not willing to talk about the origin and causes of homosexuality then you are being disengenious in using analgeous thinking. It should be an analytical tool bracketed from this discussion until you are willing to broaden the perimeters of the conversation.

            Homophiles, Old and New, need to rethink their reasons and fears for refusing to come to terms with the fundamental issue of causes and origins. You are asking so much from us. We are hesitant to give you a full heating until you are willing to discuss one of the most basic points of understanding any subject – that of origins.

            Discussed this and more in my other posts – especially those addressed to Melinda. Click on my moniker, it’s public.

            • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

              I, for one, am perfectly willing to try to talk about the origin and causes of homosexuality. I fail to see how the origin and causes would change an objective disorder into not being an objective disorder.

              I fully agree that unless we’re willing to discuss origins and causes, we’re just spinning wheels and ALL homosexual groups are just saying “give us special rights because we say so”.

            • Mary Grace Weir

              Maybe homosexuality IS a developmental disorder like Autism! I personally tend to think so. There is a moment in the developing child when he makes the realization of his ” otherness” from the opposite sex parent. Perhaps during this phase something does not develop properly? We do not know yet exactly what happens in the homosexual’s biological development. It very well could be a developmental disorder. at any rate, we need to be empathetic compassionate and understanding. We “normals” have evil sexual tendencies which many of us fall into almost daily. We really must humble ourselves.

              • michael susce

                If you follow your logic to completion then your second to last sentence should say that our sexual tendencies ARE a developmental disorder and not evil!! Sin is not evil, but disordered. Autism is not evil because one cannot choose to exit it. Therefore, sin is not evil because one cannot choose to exit it. Sorry Jesus and Paul, we cant be perfect, we cant be free from slavery to sin!! Cool, I am heading to the pornography sites and having sex with my girlfriend. I feel so much better for the compassion and understanding. snif, snif!! Oh, and one thing more; for those who have the developmental disorder of rape or pedophilia……..

                • Mary Grace Weir

                  I think you misunderstand what I was saying Michael. Let me try again. Homosexual feelings are a disordered desire, right? What is causing the “disorder “really is immaterial, there is “disorder” caused by original sin and then there is “disorder” caused by either a physical illness, or mental or emotional illnesses. All of the disorders of the mind and body exist because we live in a disordered state caused by the original sin.

                  The homosexual person might a developmental disorder (my theory), that causes him disordered feelings toward the same sex. But that doesn’t give him an excuse to have sex with a man….OR a woman for that matter, unless he is married to her of course. So, using your example, the hetero male might be tempted to watch pornography …..where men have lust with women….and go have lustful unloving sex with his girlfriend. The homosexual man, unfortunatly has a twofold disorder, because He MIGHT watch pornography too, but it will be only men on the screen) …and go have lust with his boyfriend. Both acts are on the SAME level of sin. I am NOT condoning homosexual sins as ok, the SAME as I would not condone heterosexual sins as ok. But in the end GOD is our Judge, so we should be humble and keep ourselves in order and help those whom God sends to us, with love and understanding. That is all.

              • Art Deco

                Well, of course it is a developmental disorder. You realize, however, that that assessment incorporates an implicit notion of what people should live and strive for. The thing is, we live in a time where much of the population is willing to subcontract the determination of that to the mental health trade. See Thomas Szasz’ remarks on this subject: neither the antique judgment against homosexuality or the more recent judgment in favor of it was rooted in anything more substantial than fashionable opinion in certain occupational subcultures.

                • Mary Grace Weir

                  Art Deco, I agree! Where was it in my comment that I led anyone to think I was condoning homosexual acts as ok?? I wish people would not read into things! It is so frustrating! Read my reply to Michael Susce for my clarification. I would also like to know how YOU think homosexuals should be “judged”by today’s followers of Christ in The Catholic Church?

              • CadaveraVeroInnumero

                We have all Learned not to take convincing personally. If one has read my comments in these several article one maybe can detect a lack of humility. That’s an easy stone to sling – it costs little!

                That apparent lack is made to order – to draw attention to my main point. Which is, that the CONDITION of homosexuality is a result of The Fall, the disobedience of Adam. A point which you just substantiated with your recognition that homosexuality is a disabled and disabling sexual disorder. As such, it cannot be a witness to the “creation mandate” of sex. Not processing that Grace it cannot be thought of as a gift.

                Regarding the fallacy of comparing homosexuality with other developmental disabilities see my prior posts. No need to repeat. Though, would like to add this: when speaking of a disordered sexuality you are inviting an additional, overarching category which does not apply when speaking of other disabilities. That is, the ethical, the moral – in short, sex!

                I know the World does not see it thus, but Jews and Christians must never isolate any issue regarding sex from the ethics of Eden, from the ontological genesis story of Creation. Coming to terms with that one can never call homosexuality a gift, or discover within it unique “spiritual fruits”.

                We must not shy away from mapping out the consequential fallout of Adam’s disobedience. All of our moral confusions stem from that. Something even as benign as death -something we all participate in – is a consequence!!!

                The point is, as a Christian, when the subject is sex the conversation enters a totally other plane or level of discourse. That affirms the utter seriousness of the matter, and the seriousness on God’s part in gifting us with this ponderous fabric of our being – sex.

                Regarding the equally yet different subject of culpability, again, see my prior comments. When seven, someone has instilled, infused h ok homosexuality into my life. I am not culpable for that act or its psyche and moral dislocation, dissociations, and disabilities, but I am responsible, with God’s Grace, to place a sentinel at the gates to thwart its campaign to reign within my heart – to give homage to its idolatry, to idolize its identity.

                One more time, to haul disabilities such as autism into this debate is an error and an insult to the truly disabled.

                I know the truly disabled like the back of hand.

                • Mary Grace Weir

                  I feel bowed over by your articulate intensity, Cadaver. i need to gather my self before I respond to you. I too have Aspergers! My Aspergers tends to make me very self focused and rigid in my thinking. This weakness causes me commit sins against charity , so my condition is a blessing because with the sacraments of confession and holy communion I have the strength to fight against my self focus and begin to love others and forget my self. My condition is a gift, when I use it as a springboard into holiness. I will always struggle, but it is with Jesus that in my weakness I am strong. Even though I have this disability I CAN overcome the weaknesses it causes me.

                  I know such things like the back AND FRONTof my hand, because someone very close to me whom I love like God loves me, has SSA. This beloved has taught me that his desires are not something he just decided to have out of lustful twisted and depraved desires. It is emotional, not sexual. I know him so well, that I know for a fact he does not have these feelings just because he wants to! If you read some of the material from COURAGE and the writings of Fr John Harvey the founder, (and there many other Catholic writings on the subject), you would learn that homosexuality is not about sex at all.

                  It is because of me knowing both disorders so closely, that I feel that my thoughts on the matter are very valid. You seem to exhibit a great fear of homosexuality, like so many people I know…I was one of them. Be careful because fear gets in the way of Love. I know that you cant help taking everything personally because of your disability, but please do not take offence at this. I assure you I am not being flippant.

                  One aspect of Aspergers can be helped by therapy, training and by practicing at being social. There are many people with SSA who have learned through therapy how to overcome their disability. Just like people with Aspergers who learn to function emotionally and socially (and even sexually, as people with Aspergers tend to have sexual problems as well….just sayin.) The Person with SSA can learn to function emotionally and sexually through therapy. As long as their are people around him or her who UNDERSTAND them, who are NOT AFRAID of their condition. Love has no fear! Take Courage, Cadaver! Love without fear.

                  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

                    Mary Grace,

                    What a glorious name!

                    I do not have Aspergers but I know it well. These past three years – every day – a young man whose Aspergers was acute. Yet none of that shoved aside his even more active intelligence. The Lord gave me a special understanding for him, and of his struggles with Aspergers,

                    Every statement you made I witnessed in my dear friend. Yes, with Aspergers being self-centered is more than a temptation, it seems, at times, to be a way of life. But self-centeredness is not the same as selfishness. Understanding the difference is important, a certain wisdom comes with it. Understand that and you will gain a better grip on your struggles.

                    I have found that those with acute Aspergers almost never lie – in fact, it is almost impossible for them to so. Likewise, they cannot be truly selfish, for selfishness is a kind of lie.

                    Regarding my young friend, a violent, disruptive disordered sexuality forced itself upon him and mixed its confusion into his already painful struggles in living with his Aspergers. Due to that intrusion he made some poor decisions. The mixing of the sexual lie into this disability broke him. He so much wanted the normality of what Eden had, the godward gift of it. It sadly eluded him due to that gift’s brutal theft by sexual thieves who were truly selfish. To my young friend that theft was the worst of lies. He knew it was a life, he understood the brutality of it. For lying was the one thing he had little patience for, or the capability to grasp why “normals” so easily let it slip into their lives. That was the gift of his Aspergers.

                    He is now in a mental facility. I love and miss him dearly.

                    Take care.

                    • Mary Grace Weir

                      I am sorry for your beloved and will pray for him! And for you too. Even though your response was at times very cryptic, I think I understand. I am deeply sadened…..they say Aspies do not have empathy, but that is not true at all.

                      I think there are many homosexuals that struggle too. We just do not get to see them….it is a “media blackout”.

                      Peace to you CadaveraVerolnnumero

                  • Paul Sho

                    With due respect Mary Grace, Homosexuality is all about sex. If “homosexuality is not about sex at all”, we won’t be having this conversation.
                    I insist that for a Catholic to call himself or herself gay is to celebrate temptations that the Lord’s Prayer urges us to abhor and reject.

            • Rivka

              I have Aspergers and know it as well, or better, than you. It is not unfair to us Aspies to drag us into the conversation. And as Seeber is an Aspie, there is no reason to refer to the “disabled” Aspies in the third person as if they are some separate group that he had no connection to.

              • CadaveraVeroInnumero

                That is just my point. People with Aspergers, or any other disability, should not be “dragged into this conversation”. The New Homophiles should not, cannot, use any mental disability as an example or metaphor to prop us their cause. It diminishes the hard-earned skills of the disabled in learning to perceive and live in this world with their challenges. See my last post to Mary Grace.

                Though homosexuality, or any off its ilk, can be called a disability, or sort, it is uniquely a sexual identity disorder. As such, it is not remotely related to developmental disabilities, such as Aspergers. Unlike developmental disabilities, homosexuality is caused by trauma (even that caused within the uterus). Trauma is not the root of developmental disabilities, unless you wish to consider alcohol/drug syndrome births a type of trauma.

                Still, sexual identity disorder is an issue of traumatic, attachment issues generating psyche and emotional displacement and dissociation. I know that position is not fashionable, at present – but, so what!

                I will always fight vigorously against any thieving of developmental disability as canon fodder in someone elses war. Besides truth, reality is at stake. Autism, Aspergers, and all other related states, are not about sex. The obsession of the New Homophiles is just that – all about sex. Sexual radicals cannot claim philosophical, ethical, and theological sexual normalcy, so they are always on the hunt to attach themselves to another cause – especially one that has great public concern, such as developmental disabilities.

                The New Homo[philes should be the recipient of your message – “Leave us alone”.

        • Guest

          You do well here. The problem is the homophiles seem to want to hijack traditional Catholic moral theology. If all they were saying is that God may bring good out of evil there would be no discussion. But, they want a “development” which contradicts the doctrine. It is a no go from the start.

          • Mark

            I don’t think anyone is asking for any doctrine to change, so much as asking for doctrine to address something which simply hasn’t been addressed yet. For example, there could be no doctrine addressing “racism” until the construct of Race was constructed in history; once it was, then more general principles about Charity could be applied to the particular case.

            The New Homophiles are asking for “sexual orientation” (still a rather recent sociological phenomenon in history) to be treated similarly. It seems clear that teaching addressing homosexual acts or homosexual “inclinations”…are no longer enough to cover everything that sexual orientation is or all the new scenarios it presents to society. It’s not that those teachings would need to be changed, but they would need to be expanded or supplemented to cover notions they apparently did not anticipate.

        • Alty

          Well, to a degree, heterosexuality can very much be a temptation as well. To be a (straight) man and struggle to not look at a pretty woman in a bad way is part of what it means to follow Christ. A similar mandate is placed on gay people -though understandably more is asked of them to obey the same statutes.

          If any form of sexuality -gay, straight, or otherwise- is seen purely as sexual temptation, than I suppose I’d agree with you. But then, if heterosexuality is far deeper than its sexual nature, I presume the same works for other conditions of the human psyche, distorted as they may be. Are there other aspects of being gay besides how they relate to other people sexually? Are there some very specific allowances that God creates for people who are gay -allowances that would indeed edify the church? It’s hard to imagine that Auden or GM Hopkins would have made half the work they did without this thorn in their sides. Neither would’ve Nouwen, or a host of other ultimately chaste, towering figures of Christian thought. And if these unique allowances aren’t gifts, what should we call them?

          It’s nothing I’d put down in stone, and I’d hate to reduce this to a Gays-make-nice-art argument. But I think that homosexuality as an inclination is very distinct from its sexual act. It’s a complex issue -and not a sin in itself until consummated. So no, as you said, Sin cannot be a gift. But the source of temptation can also be a source of redemption and beauty.

          • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

            Well, actually, no, a “source of temptation” is never a “source of redemption and beauty.” Rather, the *destruction* of a “source of temptation” can be a “source of redemption and beauty.”
            That is, the grace to be *liberated* from the domination of the temptation is what is redemptive and beautiful.

            • Alty

              I suppose that’d be true -though that depends on what we consider the source. For example, heterosexual attraction can lead, to, well, heterosexual lust. But very few would say heterosexuality in itself is never a source of redemption and beauty -nor would we suggest overcome heterosexual inclinations just because it can lead to sin -if we let it. Similarly, if homosexuality is ultimately an inclination, and not necessarily an action, it in itself’s no more a source of temptation than is heterosexuality. Meanwhile, conquering, say, the habit of lust, would be indeed a source of beauty and redemption -and that works whichever team anyone bats for. It seems strange that homosexual inclinations (as opposed to lust or consummation) are singled out as a source of sin and not of redemption. Basically, if heterosexual attraction and pathos can be a source of both sin and beauty, I don’t see why homosexual attraction can’t be.

              On a side note, it’s been a pleasure to speak quite civilly on this with you, Jim Russell. I hope I’m not coming across as belligerent in writing this -if I have, I hope you know I have much respect for your understanding of Scripture, though we may not agree.

              Peace be with you,
              Alty

              • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                And with your spirit, Alty.
                But here’s the simple reason why we disagree on this, I think: I would never say that “heterosexual attraction”–which is in itself *not* a form of concupiscence–is in itself a source of sin.
                Rather, I would say that disordered sexual desires–whether “heterosexual” or “homosexual”–are a source of sin. But being opposite-sex-attracted is not in itself a result of concupiscence, while being same-sex-attracted actually is.

                • Mark

                  This is a double standard. Homosexuality and heterosexuality are both orientations. They both have lusts, but neither is a lust in itself.

                  • Adam__Baum

                    Nonsense. Sex as a biological function that has reproduction as it’s principal purpose. No offspring can emerge from homosexuality, so it’s a disordered orientation. It’s sexual pica.

                    • Mark

                      What you say would make sense if “homosexuality” meant “a desire to have sex with members of the same sex.”

                      But it doesn’t. Someone is gay even when they don’t want to have sex AT ALL. The orientation tells you is that IF they had a sexual desire it would probably involve a member of the same sex instead of the opposite, but that’s not ALL it tells, and it doesn’t say that the desire is going to occur at all.

                      Lust can be oriented both homosexually and heterosexually. A man wanting to have a sex act with a woman involving extra-vaginal ejaculation…is likewise desiring “sexual pica.” But that doesn’t mean he isn’t heterosexual.

                      And obviously lust is not the only thing sexual orientation “orients.” (In straights it can also orient legitimate marital sexual desire, and in both gays and straights it orients emotional longings that have little to do with sex acts).

                    • Adam__Baum

                      Lust can be oriented both homosexually and heterosexually.

                      And? Nice strawman, but I never posited anything to the contrary.

                    • Mark

                      The point is just that, in such a case, homosexuality is NOT the “lust” in itself. It is a description of which “direction” the lust is oriented, but in itself it is not the lust, anymore than “I like gin rather than beer” is a statement that I’m a drunkard; it tells me that IF I were to get drunk, it would probably be off gin rather than beer. But in itself such a preference is not drunkenness nor an inclination to drunkenness in itself. It’s just an expression of a preference.

                    • Adam__Baum

                      No.

                  • Michael

                    What do intersexuals “lust” for?

                    • Mark

                      An intersexual is a somatoform category describing someone with ambiguous genitalia. I’d suppose that intersexuals can be androphilic, gynephilic, bisexual, asexual, etc like anyone else.

                  • Alty

                    Agreed. :) Thanks for your earlier comment. Peace be upon you too!

                    Alty

                • Alty

                  Ah, I suppose we part ways respectfully here. I suppose I would be hesitant to be so sure that homosexual attraction is inherently concupiscent -largely because most of us have experience little (if any) of that inclination. I have heard a number of chaste gay, and Christian people explain other elements of their feelings besides, say, the sex-drive. I find it hard to see things with you eyes, but I appreciate your entertaining (and giving valid feedback) to my comments.

                  Alty

          • Mark

            I would be disinclined to view either homosexuality or heterosexuality as “a temptation.” Sexual orientation is just a description of “which way the compass needle is going to point” on a variety of fronts. I think sexual temptation is separate from (even “prior to”) orientation, and orientation just tells you whether that temptation is going to be a temptation with women or a temptation with men. But in itself it is not the phenomenon of “temptation.” It just tells you who temptations (and a variety of other non-temptations, mind you) will be “with.”

        • Guest

          Uh, God made them male, female, and “homosexual”? No, does not sound right.

        • Mark

          Which sin does homosexuality tempt one to, Jim?

          I don’t think you’re thinking of orientation the right way at all. The way you speak it’s like identifying a preference for sweet over salty as “gluttony.”

          Well, no. All the preference tells you is that IF you’re tempted to gluttony, it will probably be with candy rather than crackers. But knowledge of the preference doesn’t say that you ARE or WILL be tempted to gluttony.

          • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

            Put one way, the homosexual inclination tempts one to sin against the spousal meaning of the body by actively choosing in the will to indulge in a sexual attraction to someone of the same sex, instead of “crucifying” the disordered temptation and not acting upon it.
            Obviously the initial inclination is a *disorder*, not a sin itself. But it becomes sin when the one experiencing it chooses to say “yes” to the disordered inclination by acting in accord with it.

            • Mark

              In other words…you can find no traditional category or species of sin to call it, so you’re inventing a new one.

              It’s like you know that you can’t really call gay romantic love “lust” because that would be a huge stretch unless actual willful entertainment of sexual arousal is involved, so you’re positing this new nebulous sin (never found in any moral manual!) of “sinning against the spousal meaning of the body.”

              As I describe below, I think you are massively misreading Theology of the Body. John Paul’s goal in TOTB was not to create a new and very abstract category of sin, nor to apotheosize heterosexual subjectivity as a virtue in itself (which is essentially what your reading does; if homosexual orientation “entertained” is a vice, heterosexuality is thereby made a virtue. Which is just nonsense).

              • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                No, Mark–I’m *more* than willing to call “gay romantic love” lust–for that is precisely what it is. It is concupiscent sexual desire.

                • Aaron Taylor

                  Cute theory, Jim (that romance=sexual desire). The only problem with it (a rather big one) is that romance has multiple definitions, most of which are not specifically genital-sexual. E.g.,

                  “Love, esp romantic love idealized for its purity or beauty

                  “Ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people; love.”

                  “A strong, sometimes short-lived attachment, fascination, or enthusiasm for something”

                  “A mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous, heroic, or strangely beautiful”

                  Could you explain to me *any* of those definitions could be reduced to “concupiscent sexual desire.” Romantic love seen as love “idealized for its purity,” for example, seems the precise opposite of concupiscence.

                  • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                    Thanks, Aaron; after all, who wants “ugly” theories? :-)
                    As for evidence that romance and sexual desire are intrinsically linked–and *often* involve disordered sexual desires readily acted upon–you might consider checking this against the opinion of the major book publishers specializing in…romance novels.
                    Maybe I’m naive, but follow the money… :-)

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Romance novels?! I’m used to seeing you quoting Church authorities (admittedly only post-VII). Is that the best you can come up with?

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      Sometimes playing the wild card is pretty fun. Honestly, it just seems like a practical way to demonstrate a massively popular–and therefore financially lucrative–way in which human nature links the concepts of romance and sexual desire.
                      But, I may go searching for something magisterial (or even patristic or Thomistic) so as not to change my MO too much…

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      As Mark said, no-one is denying they are *linked*. You are asserting that they are intrinsically connected.

                      As for Magisterial authorities, in this case, they would be unhelpful. Even if you could find an “authority” that conflated “romance” with “sexual desire,” all that would prove is that said authority wasn’t talking about “romance” in the sense I’ve outlined here (as a form of love idealized for its purity, incl. emotional attachment, & c.). So you’d *still* be left with the question of what to do with THAT. It seems to me your only solution is just to erase this form of love from the human horizon and to reduce “love” to mere pelvic urges.

                    • Mark

                      Well no, he could also, I suppose, construct an extremely abstract and subjective moral paradigm requiring hyper-scrupulosity and hyper-vigilance psychologically that would teach that you can love people “too much” or with the wrong mix of emotional motives.

                      It seems to be that this would lead to bizarre internal compartmentalization and delusion in the psyche, but hey, it’s one model that could be pursued consistently for him.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      If you mean “subjective” in the sense of not actually grounded in the reality of how things are in the external world, then I agree :-)

                    • Mark

                      Subjective as in entirely internalistic and based on nebulous distinctions in emotional states and interrogating ones own motives and whether one is operating from the “correct” dynamics of subjectivity, rather than just asking “Is my will being moved by a real good here? Is the act engaged in a real good?”

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Exactly.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      Mark and Aaron–Here’s an idea re “romance.” Let’s get practical. You say it’s okay to have “romance” between a man and a man but *not* okay for them to engage in same-sex sexual behavior. Then let’s try to draw an approximate line, at least, between what counts as right and what counts as wrong.
                      When I think of “romance,” I think of things like certain displays of affection. Which of these would you say is permissible and which would you say is morally wrong?
                      1. Holding hands.
                      2. Cuddling.
                      3. Looking dreamily into each others’ eyes.
                      4. Mutual kissing on the cheek.
                      5. Mutual kissing on the lips.
                      6. Writing/reading love poetry to one another.
                      7. Celebrating Valentine’s Day as a couple.
                      8. Close dancing as a couple.
                      9, Walking together arm in arm.
                      Your thoughts? Are all these permissible for a same-sex couple? Are any *not* permissible.?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      I think you are looking at the question back-to-front, Jim. The Catechism says that “homosexuality refers to relations between men or
                      between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual
                      attraction toward persons of the same sex” (2357). It is, moreover, clear that what the Catechism means when it condemns “relations” are specifically *sexual* relations. That’s why it goes on to state that such relations “close the sexual act to the gift of life,” and why it quotes a bunch of Scriptures which are clearly condemning same-sex *genital* actions, not “holding hands” or “cuddling” (viz., Gen 191-29; Rom 124-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10).

                      Now, having established what Divine Revelation teaches, we’re in a position to examine your question the right way up. Are any of the acts you mentioned “sexual” acts in the sense that Scripture and Catechism is talking about, i.e., genital? No. Might some of the acts you mentioned be proximate occasions of sin likely to lead two people of the same sex into prohibited sexual acts? Yes. Which ones? Well that depends on the individuals in question. For some people who are very sexually attracted to each other and not well-schooled in the virtue of chastity, “looking dreamily into each others’ eyes” might well be an occasion of sin. Does this mean that it is an intrinsically evil act for one man to look another man in the eye, and that the act of looking at another man’s eyes would have to be confessed to a priest under the species of sin of homosexual relations? Clearly not. The artificial “lines” you are trying to draw here actually have the effect of making a complete mockery of the Church’s doctrine.

                      Politely, I also think it worth pointing out how hopelessly American and contemporary the questions you are asking are. In plenty of other times and cultures many of the things you mentioned would be seen as normal ways for two members of the same sex to relate and not even signs of “romance” per se. Go to Arab countries, for example, and you will see men holding hands. There is nothing that is even “gay” about it, much less evil in the sense that homosexual sex is evil.

                      Of course, holding hands might look or sound or feel “gay” to a modern American, but that’s hardly a Catholic problem. The Church’s job when it comes to homosexuality is to uphold a timeless moral doctrine, not the mores and customs of particular societies like modern America.

                    • Guest

                      What is this attraction between two men you speak that is not sexual? Is it the same as two brothers?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      That depends. Some brothers absolutely hate each other (Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob). Other brothers have an extremely close emotional and physical bond, almost symbiotic (twins, for example).

                      I guess you could say it is similar. “Comradeship” is a word some writers have used to try and capture what we’re talking about but unfortunately the meaning of comradeship has become so eviscerated in modern culture it doesn’t really capture it anymore.

                    • Guest

                      If you speak as two brothers then there is no new understanding needed. Why then is there any talk about “new homophiles”?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Lol. That’s a very cute question. You are aware that the “New Homophiles” don’t call themselves New Homophiles? That’s a term Austin Ruse invented. The New Homophiles blog is called “Spiritual Friendship.”

                    • Guest

                      That did not answer my question.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Well if you are asking me why Austin Ruse chose to call us “New Homophiles,” obviously I can’t answer that because I’m not Austin Ruse. If that’s not the question you’re asking, please be a little clearer and I’ll try and answer as best I can.

                    • Guest

                      I am asking the difference between two non homosexual men who are brothers to each other versus two men who are homoseuxal and do not engage in homosexual acts?

                      If it is the same thing why is there any discussion?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Your question doesn’t make any sense (at least not to me, sorry). The “difference” between the two groups of people you mention is that one group are brothers and the other group aren’t.

                    • Guest

                      Not brothers as in related through blood. Two are heterosexual men who are friends and think of each other as brothers. The two homosexual men are friends and think of each other as brothers. What is the difference?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Well the difference is that one set are “heterosexual” and the other are “homosexual,” at least as you’ve framed the question. I don’t get where you are going with this …

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      So, *none* of the nine examples that came to mind as examples of “romance” are absolutely prohibited (objectively), in your view, when it comes to same-sex “romance”, correct?
                      They “might” be occasions of sin for some, but not for all, so therefore they are all permissible expression of “romantic” love for same-sex couples, right? This is what I infer from your reply.
                      Btw, of *course* these are examples that are “hopelessly American and contemporary”–I certainly wouldn’t be asking about things no longer in vogue or not pertaining to my lived experience. That’s why I said these are things that come to mind when *I* think of “romance.”
                      So, if my list is somehow “off”, then why don’t you give me *your* list–what other kinds of things do you consider examples of “romance” that same-sex couples should be permitted to do (while maintaining the assumption that you believe the nine I mention are all objectively permissible)?
                      Keep in mind, please, that with you and Mark proposing the category “same-sex romance” as morally permissible, then it should be incumbent upon you to give some definition and form to the category…

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      I’ve already given you four separate definitions of romance (see above). You are the one insisting on zeroing in on *physical* acts here, Jim, not me. I’ve never claimed that same-sex romance *must* be expressed physically at all.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      Then how is it expressed *non-physically*? Some examples?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      OK. Let me ask you a question. Do you ever make your wife a cup of tea or coffee?

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      Well, concretely, no. But yes, I do things to “please” my beloved.
                      We also (ahem) express our affection by passionately kissing…should same-sex attracted people express affection in this way?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Lol. What is it with you and zeroing in on the sex stuff, Jim? It’s like talking to a teenager.

                      Now, back to coffee … if you *did* ever make a cup of coffee to “please your beloved,” this would be a qualitatively different kind of thing than if you were you were making a cup of coffee for a customer as a barista working in Starbucks, no?

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      Yup. But the teenager in me wants to get back to the “sex stuff” for just a minute. :-) Am I correct to infer then that you consider the “passionate kiss” to be “sex stuff” and therefore off limits for the same-sex “couple”?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      It depends what you mean by “passionate.” Let’s put it this way. In the 17th century (yep, the Church wrote stuff before Vatican II, by the way), Pope Alexander VII condemned the idea that the kind referring to is only a venial sin for unmarried people. Since gay people can’t get married to each other, the answer to your question is, I suspect, “yes.” The same principle applies to ALL unmarried “couples,” however.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      Wait–there actually was a Church *before* the 1960s? :-) (Please understand that I’m well aware of that…)
                      But, wow, if only I had a time machine and could go back to ask Pope Alexander VII whether this prohibition was only “venially” sinful for the unmarried man and woman AND only “venially” sinful for the unmarried man and man (or woman and woman)….

                    • Guest

                      Honestly, that is the point. You cannot pin down these so called new homophiles because to actually pin them down would be to show what the want is not Catholic.

                      I want to know the moral difference between two heterosexual men acting as brothers and two men who are homosexual and acting as brothers?

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      Yes!–a *very* clarifying way to consider the issue!

                    • Guest

                      If you love another as a brother you do not love that one as you love your wife. Why is this so hard to grasp? All this pseudo-academic parsing is not about theology. It is about misdirection and attempting to appease a political force in our society.

                    • Mark

                      You seem to misunderstand, Jim. I think Aaron is saying that Alexander VII claimed that these acts were mortal sins for anyone who was unmarried; so they’re as excluded for “boyfriends and girlfriends” as they would be for two men.

                      There is NO justification in Catholic teaching, in other words, for a class of act that UNmarried “boyfriend/girlfriend” pairs (a concept NOT found in the deposit of faith, mind you) could licitly engage in but that two men could not. The line of distinction could only ever be “Okay for a married couple, not okay for anyone else.” If you are drawing a conceptual line “Okay for an opposite-sex couple, even if they aren’t married, but not okay for a same-sex pair”…you are doing something with no precedence in Catholic tradition where the bright red line has always been “marriage,” not the sexual composition of an UNmarried couple.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      No, I think I understood, but I don’t think you understand my understanding… ;-)
                      Pope: an unmarried couple venially sins (objectively) via “passionate kissing”.
                      Me: He obviously has in mind that the unmarried couple comprises one man and one woman. I bet his answer as to the severity of the culpability of the sin would be different if he were asked about the gravity of the sinfulness of “passionate kissing” between one man and one man.

                    • Mark

                      Right. There is no evidence for the Church ever making distinctions between unmarried opposite-sex couples versus [unmarried, obviously] same-sex couples. The bright line has always been marriage, period.

                      “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” sure. But the way people like you talk, it’s almost like you’d have us also believe “And God made Adam and his prom date Crystal”…in order to defend the Sacred Institution of premarital adolescent heterosexual socialization into adult-aping coupling roles…

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      The “distinction” between “unmarried opposite-sex couples” versus “same-sex couples” is that one is “natural” and the other is not, in much the same manner as genital sex acts associated with each. The *orientations* fall into the same categories of “natural” and “not”.

                      Have you seen this quote before (my emphasis added)?

                      ***[7] Both Marxism and structuralism have contributed to a different extent to the consolidation of this ideology of “gender” which has undergone various influences, such as the “sexual revolution”, with postulates such as those put forth by W. Reich (1897-1957) regarding the call to a “liberation” from all sexual discipline, or Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) and his invitation to experience all kinds of sexual situations (in the sense of a sexual polymorphism or indifferently “heterosexual” orientation – i.e., the natural sexual orientation—or homosexual), detached from the family and from any natural end of differentiation between the sexes, as well as from any obstacle derived from procreational responsibility. A certain radical and extreme feminism, represented by the contributions of Margaret Sanger (1879-1966) and Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986), cannot be put on the margin of this historical process of consolidation of an ideology. In this way, “heterosexuality” and monogamy no longer seem to be considered anything but one of the possible cases of sexual practice.****[footnote 7, PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY–FAMILY, MARRIAGE AND “DE FACTO” UNIONS]

                    • Mark

                      The quote is unrelated, actually, to what we’re talking about. But absurd is the notion that the “institution of boyfriend/girlfriend” is a “natural” category. Marriage is a natural category, in the Church’s teachings. The deposit of faith has no know particular knowledge of non-marital or pre-marital companionate unions. In some cultures, the bride gets an arranged marriage with the man and does not meet him until the wedding ceremony; such cultures would find your idea that “boyfriend/girlfriend couplehood” is a “natural” relationship, institution, or category…to be baffling and possibly repugnant.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      I tried to “boldface” two parts of the quote above but it didn’t work:

                      1. (in the sense of a sexual polymorphism or indifferently “heterosexual” orientation – i.e., the natural sexual orientation—or homosexual)

                      2. In this way, “heterosexuality” and monogamy no longer seem to be considered anything but one of the possible cases of sexual practice.
                      It’s a more contemporary example of a reference to *natural* sexual orientation being “heterosexual” and not “homosexual”. And not sex acts or inclinations, but the *orientation*.
                      “Natural” here means of course “according to *nature*.” From the Thomistic perspective, there would be a *vast* difference between boyfriend/girlfriend couplehood and boyfriend/boyfriend couplehood, because one is in accord with nature and the other is not. One is based on “the natural sexual orientation” (as mentioned in the text above) and the other is not. Right?

                    • Mark

                      What I focused more on in the quote was its problematization of “indifferently heterosexual” orientation.

                    • Mark

                      Which is to say, “heterosexuality” doesn’t appear to justify anything. Contraceptive sex, straight-sodomy, masturbation and pornography…all might be “based on” or an expression of heterosexual orientation. So what? The “heterosexual” motivation or subjectivity isn’t what justifies or renders moral a given act. What renders it is moral or not, in this sphere, is an objective evaluation of the acts, not a subjective evaluation on whether they flow from the “corrective” subjective state. Genital acts which are not procreative are excluded. It doesn’t matter if they’re homosexual or heterosexual, or a gay act being committed by a straight person, or a straight act committed by a gay person for that matter. A boyfriend/girlfriend union is not justified by its heterosexuality anymore than straight-sodomy is; if the boyfriend/girlfriendship is valid, it’s because there is no particular sin it constitutes (implying that your “list of nine romantic things” do NOT constitute “sexual desire,” because if they did they would be forbidden for the unmarried, period.) But if what boyfriend/girlfriends do is valid before marriage, it’s valid for anyone. There is no moral category in catholic tradition of “limited premarital heterosexuality” singled out for approbation.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      ***It doesn’t matter if they’re homosexual or heterosexual, or a gay act being committed by a straight person, or a straight act committed by a gay person for that matter. ***
                      St. Thomas Aquinas disagrees with you–hat-tip to Aquinas on his feast day….

                    • DD

                      True, and often denied.

                      Have you figured out what exactly the position is these people claim to want?

                    • Mark

                      I’m not sure to what you’re referring. Aquinas groups all such things as “unnatural vice” under the parts of lust. In the Summa II-II, Q. 154, Art. 12 he discusses in Reply to Objection 4 the relative ranking of deviations WITHIN the species, and says bestiality is the worst, followed by homosexual sodomy, heterosexual contraceptive acts, and finally mere solo masturbation.

                      I don’t think anyone here has denied this (though it’s also hardly “dogma”). Homosexual acts are a “step up” from heterosexual contraceptive acts (albeit all as sub-titles under the title of “the sin against nature.”) Aquinas treats this very briefly, almost in passing, and other systems (such as the Irish penitential manuals) have seemed to give different relative weight to different things, but I don’t question Aquinas’s logic here as deviation in sex seems a greater deviation than deviation in manner (though not as great as a deviation in species).

                      Nevertheless, this has nothing to do with my point which is that the reason an act is sinful or not in the first place (way prior to any question of how it will be relatively ranked among other sins) is not determined by “homosexuality.” The thing that makes something “unnatural vice” is the genital act without being open to life. HOW it is not open to life is then a SUBSEQUENT differentiating distinction, but such a distinction only matters AFTER the first criterion is met.

                      For example, masturbation, as Aquinas explains, “Wherefore among sins against nature, the lowest place belongs to the sin of uncleanness, which consists in the mere omission of copulation with another.” Note: this speciating difference of “omission of a partner” ONLY makes sense if we ALREADY assume you are engaging in a genital act. “Omission of a partner” is not a quality condemned “in general,” indeed one assumes that lovers engage in many activities without their partners, and as long as they aren’t genital activities, that’s fine.

                      I think likewise “homosexuality.” Homosexuality distinguishes a class of “unnatural vice” (worse than contraceptive acts or straight-sodomy, but not as bad as bestiality or necrophilia). However, it only is condemned as a feature of genital acts, if what we’re talking about is a genital act. If we’re talking about something non-genital, the activity being “same sex” may be fine, obviously (say, playing a sport…)

                      No, your argument rests on this, and this alone: your idea that “romance” (much harder to define than “sex acts”) is subject to restrictions similar in logic to the moral restrictions on sex acts. Except it starts to unravel when you want to lift one of the main restrictions (namely: that it has to take place within marriage!) for romance but not for sex acts. At that point, you wind up, as I said above, inventing a new category of sin (or trying to extend “lust” in a manner very untraditional) that I can’t find in any traditional moral manual (the traditional “bright red line” in Catholic thought has always been marriage and marriage alone), all because you are STARTING from a premise that gay subjectivity and anything flowing from it are bad, even though “gayness” in itself is not something with an essence, but rather just a sort of difference of degree in preference for this rather than that “style” of human beauty or attractiveness.

                      Aquinas, following Aristotle, admits of three increasingly noble forms of friendship: those of utility, those of pleasure, and those of virtue. The last category is what we should aspire to, of course, but that does not mean a friendship should not be useful or pleasurable. You seem to be opposed to a friendship that causes “too much” pleasure (again: emotional budgeting without a clear line) or else to imagine that our friendships are supposed to be with “bare humans” and that none of the pleasure can come, specifically, from our appreciation of their “sexual values” (ie, beauty or attractiveness AS a specimen of man or woman), or that they can but that there is some point beyond which that appreciation constitutes “too great a proportion”. But in truth I don’t think most people are going to scrupulize their emotions that much to engage in the sort of “budgetting” you propose (which hypervigilance is really the only way, as a practical emotional matter, I could see your principles being lived out without ENTIRE emotional cauterization).

                      I get the greatest pleasure (I’m not talking about genital pleasure) from a friend who is a male, of a certain physical type, but who also has to be smart, share values, probably be an introvert, have a similar sense of humor, etc etc. And who wouldn’t want to share life with the sort of friend who brings them the most pleasure? There’s nothing wrong with that given that marriage to someone of the opposite sex is not obligatory.

                    • Guest

                      The Church has always held some mortal sins are more grave than others including homoseuxla acts.

                    • guest

                      Actually, the orthodox position (as related in the Beverly Hills Talmud) is that Adam’s prom date was named Amber. He was going to go with Crystal, yes, but she broke up with him right before prom because Monique told her that Tiffany heard that Kathy saw Adam making out with Lilith at Renee’s 17th birthday bash. So Adam actually had to substitute Amber at the last minute…

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      Oh–*now* I caught it–I *did* misunderstand!
                      The Pope *condemned* the passionate kiss as *more* than “venial”–mea culpa!

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Sorry, that should read “the kind of kissing I think you are referring to … ” (typing too fast).

                    • Guest

                      Making coffee for my brother is different than making it as a server in a restaurant. So?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      So what?

                    • Guest

                      Exactly. So what. Your parsing really is of no value.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Excuse me, but I’m not the one “parsing” here. You are the one doing that by demanding that I tell you what the “difference” is between these two things.

                    • Paul Sho

                      Mr Russell thank you for this list. They help solidify what is instinctively, intuitively and reflectively obvious to all true Catholics (and Christians) that Same-Sex-Attractions are ipso facto (of themselves) occasions of sin in all circumstances and in all situations.
                      In contrast Opposite-Sex-Attractions can on one hand be occasions of sin in certain circumstances and certain situations; on the other hand they (Opposite-Sex-Attractions) can in certain circumstances and certain situations be occasions for the glorification of God and fulfillment of His will.

                    • Guest

                      To be blunt God ordained male/female attraction. He did not ordain same sex attraction.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      True. But the assumption people are making here is that the above acts when they occur between members of the same-sex cannot have any other motive other than sexual attraction (e.g. love).

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      Well that’s kind of an odd statement, since the whole reason we seem to be having this conversation is because you have asserted that the things that comprise “romance” are precisely the things you say are permissible to do with a *specific* someone with whom you are so attracted to as to want to be “partnered” with…

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Could you point out to me where I have ever asserted such a thing? I don’t think you can.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      Point conceded. I’ve conflated what *Mark* said with your comments. Sorry.
                      But on the bright side, then, I’m relieved to learn that you would then appear to disagree with Mark’s assertions then that “romance” ought to be part of the “gay” couplehood he had in mind…right?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      I never said I had a problem with anything Mark said. I just said I never said that myself. I *tend* to agree with most of what Mark says, at least the things I read, but I’d have to read through all of Mark’s comments on this thread to see what you’re talking about and I’m not going to do that.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      You won’t have to. Mark “asserted that the things that comprise “romance” as opposed to “sexual behavior” are precisely the things that are permissible to do with a *specific* someone with whom you are so attracted to as to want to be “partnered” with.” Do you agree or disagree then?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      I am dubious as to whether Mark actually said what you claim he said. Firstly, because you’ve merely repeated what you said above instead of quoting him. Secondly, because the assertion doesn’t make any sense (and Mark generally makes sense).

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      And here I thought this would be pretty easy to just “get practical” and find at least a fuzzy “line” between “romance” and “sex” since the Church teaches that same-sex-attracted persons can’t have “sex” and you’re saying they *can* have “romance”…

                    • Guest

                      Yes, and that is not Church teaching.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      I’m happy to get *practical* if by practical you mean dealing with the matter in hand. You are trying to define romance as something simply physical and then asking me to enter into a definition game with you on those terms. The problem is I refuse the terms with which you are framing the discussion. Romance can’t be defined merely by a litany of physical acts.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      I was just under the impression that “romance” involved outward expressions of affection that could be interpreted as “romantic” by the recipient…

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      It does. Just like if you made your wife a cup of coffee she would likely know you are doing it because you love are.

                      The problem is you are trying to define a discrete category of expressions of “romance” that don’t overlap with any other category of acts. You are trying to look at same-sex romance as if it were analogous to marriage which has a defining “act” (the conjugal act). Personally, I think this attempt is ill-conceived.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      So “same-sex romance” actually has no “discrete category of expressions”?
                      If, for example, I were to see two men “close dancing” on a dance floor, I shouldn’t presume to think of it as something “romantic”?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      I think you could legitimately *assume* that it is an expression of romance, but you may or may not be correct in your assumption. It might be a dance instructor giving dance lessons. Also, I don’t think you could legitimately assume those two men were homosexual. I’ve never asserted that same-sex romance can’t exist between straight men (though maybe you’re too old to have heard the phrase “bromance,” I don’t know. If so you can look it up).

                      The fact that particular types of relationship don’t have defining “acts” doesn’t make them real or unimportant. Friendship, fatherhood, brotherhood, etc. All of these are important relationships in people’s lives that don’t have defining “acts,” and in fact all we’re talking about is a type of intense friendship so I fail to see what is so controversial.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      An “intense friendship” that you seem to have no way of describing in concrete terms… particularly terms that would contrast it *both* against anything “spousal” *and* against anything “non-intense”…
                      But I do disagree–there are *certainly* acts that can either be an expression of friendship or an expression contrary to friendship…

                    • Guest

                      That is what I mean. You cannot pin them down on anything.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      I have described it in concrete terms (by appealing to the concept of “bromance’), I just haven’t given you a neat little scholastic definition, that’s all.

                      But now you are playing fast and loose with my words, in any case. Sure, there are some acts contrary to the virtue of friendship. Sex between same-sex friends would obviously be one of those acts contrary to that virtue. But that doesn’t mean you can define friendship by one particular act in the way you can define marriage by the conjugal act.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      But you can’t “define marriage” by the conjugal act. Rather you can say a marriage *includes* conjugal relations, but marriage does not *require* the continuing use of conjugal relations nor cease to exist when conjugal relations cease…

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Marriage requires consummation via an act per se apt for the generation of offspring. *That* is it’s distinguishing feature as opposed to other types of relationships.

                      The frequency with which this act occurs is irrelevant. My point here is merely that there *is* a particular type of act which is *proper* to the marriage relationship alone, but that this principle doesn’t apply to most of the relationships in which humans involv themselves. You seem to want me to pin down a certain act or acts which are *proper* (i.e., “proprium” in the strict sense) to same-sex romantic friendships and which are appropriate to no other type of human relationship. I simply can’t do that because that is not how the vast majority of human relationships work. That doesn’t mean, however, that the only real relationship in the world is the marital relationship.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      ****That* is it’s distinguishing feature as opposed to other types of relationships.****
                      According to the Church, there are *other* “distinguishing” features–in particular the features found in the valid exchange of marital *consent* that must always precede the “consummation” to which you refer.
                      The couple exchanges consent to the *whole* of the married life–not merely to the consummation of the marriage.
                      Their “yes” is to living a common life that is exclusive, permanent, faithful, and fruitful. It’s a *covenant*–an exchange of “persons.” Its essential properties are unity and indissolubility.
                      So when we compare same-sex “partnership” to *marriage*, it’s by no means sufficient to conclude the same-sex “partnership” is not “pseudo-spousal” merely because sexual relations can’t happen.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      There’s no “we” about it. *You* are the one insisting on the marital comparison.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      And the exchange of consent is not a distinguishing feature of marriage per se it’s a feature of any contract (of which marriage is one form). Marriage is distinguished solely by it’s *conjugality*

                    • Guest

                      Apparently these people want “gay marriage” without “gay” sex. They will not call it marriage, but it apes it. It cannot be compared to heterosexual friendships, or familial relationships, or marriage. or pretty much anything else. What is it? Apparently it is whatever they say it is at any one point in time especially when it is vague and inchoate.

                    • Mark

                      Anything can be, in some manner, analogized to any other thing. That’s how Being works, that’s how Meaning works. This is why Analogy plays a huge role in Aquinas’s thought. But to “analogize” two things is not to say they are “exactly the same thing” at all.

                      For example “common law marriage” is called “marriage” (usually without controversy) even though it is, in fact, NOT a marriage at all in the more precise sense, for lack of life-long commitment.

                      If your objection is that “these relationships could, in some ways, be compared to a marriage!” then I don’t really know even how to deal with you on a philosophical level. A chicken can be compared “in some ways” to a rocket ship.

                    • Mark

                      The very inner-logic of the term “aping” here betrays the ridiculousness of the concept. As what you are saying is similar to the claim that an ape is “an attempt to be a human without a spiritual soul!” and therefore somehow objectionable.

                    • Guest

                      It is a rapacious desire for something that can never be. If were simple friendship that would be fine, but it seems you want some other relationship that is basically marriage but called something else to attempt to satisfy Catholic teaching. At least for now.

                    • Mark

                      It isn’t “basically marriage” if it excludes the defining feature that makes marriage marriage.

                    • Guest

                      That is why it apes marriage. It can never be a true marriage but it can still be damaging to marriage and to those involved.

                    • Mark

                      Not exactly, Jim. These features may ALSO go along with marriage, but that doesn’t mean they ONLY go along with it. The conjugal act remains the proper distinguishing feature of marriage that separates it from other relationships. Other traits, while they certainly might be necessary for a marriage, are shared potentially with other human relationships more generally. The “limiting trait” in marriage is the conjugal act. It is a unique exchange of persons, but mainly just because our generative potential (to generate new persons) is a unique locus of our personhood.

                    • Guest

                      Here is some help. They live as brothers. They are not romantic in any logical understanding of romance. They do not live as husband and wife regardless of genital contact. It is called friendship. Nothing new.

                    • Mark

                      Wanting a “concrete definition” is silly, Jim, but as I said above, the “I know it when I see it” principle is likely based off a cognitive heuristic something like “Any 3 traits from column A, plus at least one trait from column B, all occurring with a total combined frequency level meeting a certain threshhold, etc” (yet it becomes rather hard to condemn a “combination” like this, morally, if all the individual elements making it up are, by themselves, non-controversial.)

                      But thank god, in real life, we don’t generally have to make judgments based on such quantitative empirical criteria like that unless we are conducting a sociological or psychological scientific study that requires operating definitions. Luckily in real life we have intuition and practical prudence.

                    • Mark

                      When I say “it becomes rather hard to condemn a ‘combination’ like this, morally, if
                      all the individual elements making it up are, by themselves,
                      non-controversial”…I would remind you of the “emotional budgeting” objection of your paradigm that I raised earlier, as this is exactly what I meant by that.

                    • Guest

                      Perhaps it is that “new romance” like the “new homophiles”. Something contrived and novel with no basis in Church teaching or right reason?

                    • Mark

                      I think it’s entirely contextual, Jim.

                      For example, straight male and female friends/relatives often slow-dance together without it implying any “special” friendship. I went to prom with my best gal-pal in high school. We “close danced”…it wasn’t an expression of the degree of friendship I’d call “romance.” And we all traded off and danced with other friends too. This happens all the time at school dances, weddings, etc.

                      Now, two men dancing in a predominantly heterosexual context…yeah, I’d probably assume (PROBABLY, mind you; this sort of judgment in life is all a matter of probabilistic interpretations) that they were some sort of couple if only because they are choosing to stand out. Generally, gay men still choose to bring (and dance with) female friends to weddings as their date UNLESS they have an actual boyfriend/companion/partner to bring.

                      But, for example, in college there was a “gay prom,” where most people were gay, where that was the “default” assumption (though straight allies came too). And in THAT context, guys dancing with each other (including “adventurous” straight guys) was just like male and female friends dancing with each other and trading off at the high school prom: not necessarily a “special” signifier, in context.

                      Aaron is correct: you are trying to define some sort of Scholastic metaphysical Form of “romance” speciated by some distinguishing essential trait for the category. But social constructs just don’t work that way. At best we could say something like, “When 5 out of 9 characteristics occur on at least a weekly basis” or something like that (ie, a “cumulative” definition) but even that is artificial and likely to admit of exceptions.

                    • Guest

                      What? Are you claiming that “romance” is now part of some other category aside from marriage?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Ugh. I’ve already outlined what I take romance to be above, based on common usage as outlined in dictionaries, but for your convenience, I’ll re-post it here:

                      1) “Love, esp romantic love idealized for its purity or beauty.”

                      2) “Ardent emotional attachment or involvement between people; love.”

                      3) “A strong, sometimes short-lived attachment, fascination, or enthusiasm for something.”

                      4) “A mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous, heroic, or strangely beautiful.”

                      Marriage may include some or all of those things but clearly they can also exist outside of marriage without devaluing the importance of matrimony. If someone is going to tell me that something like “emotional attachment” can *only* legitimately exist in a marriage between a man and a woman, my reply would be that that is just an absurd suggestion, borne of brainwashing by hopelessly over-romanticized 19th century ideas of marriage and ignorance of 2,000 years of Christian doctrine.

                    • Guest

                      Dictionaries have what is popular not necessarily what is accurate. As Catholics we look to the Church and reason to form our conscience, not pop culture.

                      If you want to define romance as some plastic concept that can apply to pretty much anything then we have no way to communicate.

                      I ask again, what is the difference between two heterosexual males acting as brothers and two homosexual males acting as brothers? Both sets care about their friends.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Simply an absurd question. *I* am not the one asserting that there is a difference or trying to “parse” the difference between heterosexual and homosexual friendships. *I* am not the one attempting to outline a list of forbidden acts (such as looking at someone else’s eyes!) and then apply that list of forbidden acts *only* to friendships between homosexual people.

                    • Guest

                      How is it absurd. Your group is the one claiming some new Church understanding about “gay” desire not I. Can a father and son have a romance like to “gay” men?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      I’ve already answered that question above. No.

                    • Guest

                      No? Why? I did not see your answer. Using your criteria there is no reason a father and son cannot be romantic.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      If you can’t be bothered to read the answer I already gave to your question above, I’m not going to repeat myself. I suggest you use the scroll function and look up.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Also I’ve never claimed to be pioneering a “new understanding” in the sense of an innovation, so much as in recovering lost *traditions* about same-sex friendship. It’s “new” in the sense it goes against the grain of contemporary culturally conservative Christianity, but that form of Christianity is as much a product of the sexual revolution as the radical secular gay Left, and attempts to canonize the same hetero/homo binaries, etc.

                    • Guest

                      There is no tradition of romantic same sex relationships in the Church. That is post modern “gay” propaganda. Nothing but revisionist history and ideology pretending to be scholarship.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Nonsense. Even some of the staunch opponents of gay identity and of the “New Homophile” ideas are honest enough to admit that such traditions have existed. For example, see the comments about
                      the old Slavic Christian rites of adelphopoiesisthe old Slavic Christian rites of adelphopoiesis here: http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/2013/08/01/do-homosexuals-exist-or-where-do-we-go-from-here/

                      If you insist on just labeling all the parts of ecclesiastical history and tradition that make you feel uncomfortable as “post-modern gay propaganda” then it’s clear we can’t have a rational discussion because no matter what facts people prove you’ll just claim they are propaganda. So … I think I’ll call time on this discussion as otherwise we’ll just be going round the merry-go-round forever with me proving a fact and then you denying it.

                    • Guest

                      The spiritual friendship ceremonies are not what you want them to be. They were not about “romance”. This is a modern construct and propaganda.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      No in the sense that the secular gay activists talk about “romance,” no. But I’m not the one asserting that romance can *only* exist within marriage, a proposition that is shared between many of the people on this thread and the proponents of gay so-called “marriage” who cannot distinguish between marriage and intense friendship. So, who is really pushing the “post-modern gay propaganda” here? What reason do I have to believe that those here who claim to be Catholic but push the same conflation between friendship, romance, and marriage, are not simply trolls working for HRC? …

                    • Guest

                      You are the one conflating ideas and terms. Homosexual persons may have the same type of friendships as every other person on earth. What they are not entitled to is faux marriage called “spiritual friendship” or dressed up as some other item.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Well this is exactly what I’ve been saying, viz. homosexual persons may have the same type of friendships that any other person can have. It is others who are attempting to claim that homosexuals *cannot* have the same types of friendships everyone else can have by insisting that homosexuals must abstain from intensely close same-sex friendships under the specious pretext that what would be fine for a heterosexual person would for homosexuals always and everywhere be an occasion of sin. Hence the attempt by others on this thread to draw up a list of forbidden actions for homosexual friendships that no-one would ever think of applying to heterosexual relationships (e.g. that it’s forbidden for people to look at one another in the eye).

                      But of course, you already know I am not the one attempting to make the separation because I’ve already I explained this above, to you. If you want to ask me a question because you haven’t understood, fine, but I’m not going to continue repeating myself over and over just for your amusement. So this is going to be my last response to you. God bless.

                    • Guest

                      Again, this entire issue has all these posts because of the stance the so called New Homophiles are taking. If you do not agree with them then we have no debate.

                      What people like Jim have been responding to is not the idea of friendship as commonly understood. It is this notion that homosexual attraction is not disordered as long as no genital activity takes place. Further, the argument goes on to say that homosexual persons may be “romantic” in some inchoate way that cannot be pinned down. Additionally, it claims that such “new” relationships are not mimicking marriage because there is no “sex” and because other relationships supposedly have these same characteristics even though these characteristics are unique to heterosexual courting and marriage.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      I’m not saying I disagree with them. I am one of them! I am saying a) we are not a political party with some kind of platform that everyone shares, we have different ideas, and b) insofar as we have any unified ideas we are NOT saying the things you claim that we are saying. Go over to the Spiritual Friendship blog and I do not think you will be able to find people arguing that gays should have relationships which appropriate the characteristics of “heterosexual courting and marriage.” Nor was the idea mentioned in this article on which we are commenting! Doesn’t all of that tell you that you might simply be wrong here?!?!

                    • Guest

                      Gay Marriage: Reimagining Church History
                      http://catholiceducation.org/articles/sexuality/ho0069.html

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Except I’m *against* gay marriage, and I’ve written articles in opposition to it in several different places. It is those of you are pushing the same confusion between marriage, friendship, and romance all into the same melting-pot who have walked right into the traps of the secular gay propaganda.

                    • Guest

                      The article describes a woman who participated in a ceremony. She explains the history quite well. No romance about it historically at all.

                    • Guest

                      Can a father and son have a romance using your definitions?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      No. People who are blood related can’t have a “romantic” relationship because they already have a natural bond which is a different kind of thing. One excludes the other.

                    • Guest

                      Why? Why this arbitrary exclusion?

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      It’s not an “arbitrary exclusion,” it’s my honing the definition I’ve given with further precision in response to your question. Romantic-relatedness is obviously in a different category than blood-relatedness. That’s why a man can have a “romantic” relationship with his wife but not with his mother, or why two heterosexual brothers can have an intense relationship but we wouldn’t call this a “bromance,” would we?

                      In other words, I’m not making up “arbitrary” definitions here, I’m just drawing out common sense meanings of how the word “romance” functions in everyday discourse to denote *an intense emotional bond which is NOT already a natural blood-bond*. But, of course, given that this is common sense, you could have figured it out for yourself by engaging your brain. There’s nothing remotely “new” about it.

                    • Guest

                      It is arbitrary as you see no problem with two men having a relationship. You exclude a father and son but for some reason two men are ok to act like male and female? Why?

                      You very much want to make some artificial category were homosexual persons can have this inchoate relationship that mimics marriage without the marital act.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      It’s not arbitrary for the reasons I’ve outlined. And I don’t think it’s OK for two men to “act like male and female.” I have never said this. Nor am I claiming that it would be legitimate for such persons to have a
                      relationship (“inchoate” or otherwise) that “mimics the marriage act.” Nor do I want to make a “category” that applies only to homosexual persons. I’ve pointed out here repeatedly that everything I’m saying about *same-sex* friendships can also apply, ceteris paribus, to heterosexual friendships between people of the *same-sex* Yet you keep repeating these baseless allegations which seem more like riff on hot air than a criticism of anything I’ve actually said.

                    • Guest

                      Look, this makes no sense. If you are asserting that friendship is the basis for these non married relationships then why is there any debate? There is nothing to defend if you are simply reiterating what everyone already knows.

                    • Aaron Taylor

                      Are you the same “guest” who is asking me pretty much exactly the same questions on a different thread at the same time, and whom I said we had finished our conversation since you keep repeating the same things?

                      In case not, let me try and explain this as simply as possible:

                      1) The NH (or some of them at least, it seems) are saying that gay people have a particular aptitude (call it “gift” if you will) for same-sex friendship. They are not (at least most of them aren’t as far as I can tell, I’m truncating here) asserting that there is some kind of special category of “gay friendship” as you and others seem to think they are. It is rather a specific gay *experience* of a universal category of same-sex friendship which is itself neither “homo” nor “hetero” sexual.

                      2) Some “conservatives” (for want of a better word) seem to want to police the friendships of gay people and apply special sorts of strict standards that aren’t applied to other friendships. Obviously, the NH are likely to object to this. It is absurd, for example, that we’ve even had to discuss on this thread whether it can be legitimate for two men to look at one another’s face or give one another hug. No-one would think about applying this level of restriction to friendships between hererosexual guys.

                      These two things seem to me to be the crux of the debate, at least on this particular thread. Obviously I agree with you that it “makes no sense” that this is so controversial, since what the NH are saying isn’t particularly radical or innovative, just the manner in which they are saying it. Nevertheless, it seems to be difficult for many people to grasp, and that is certainly something the NH can take into account into presenting ideas better.

                      I hope this explains the matter. I have work to do.

                      God bless you.

                    • Mark

                      Short answer (Aaron gives the longer answer): because at the end of the day social constructs ARE arbitrary. They’re not airtight syllogistic forms. They’re organic semantic realities, and the semantic field covered by “romance” just evolved in such a way as to exclude natural blood relations (and yet the related word “romanticized” might find more applicability)

                    • Guest

                      So, it is arbitrary then. At least by your reasoning.

                    • Mark

                      “romance” certainly doesn’t have any sort of strict internally-airtight definition, if that’s what you’re looking for. Define the boundaries of “nerd” for me (or, even more basic, of biological “life”) for me in such a way that would include everything that DOES go into the category but which excludes anything which does not. It’s harder than you’d think: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life#Definitions

                    • Guest

                      I think it is common knowledge. We do not need to be pedantic unless we are trying to obfuscate. Romance is not associated with same sex relationships unless we ignore Catholic teaching and right reason. Or, if we define romance to mean pretty much anything which means it means pretty much nothing.

                    • Mark

                      I seriously would challenge you to find anything in Catholic teaching (and, please, a reference from before 1970?) that talks about “romance” as a category at all, given that it is a contingent thing. But give a read to this sermon by Newman:

                      “What is Christian high-mindedness, generous self-denial,
                      contempt of wealth, endurance of suffering, and earnest striving after
                      perfection, but an improvement and transformation, under the influence
                      of the Holy Spirit, of that natural character of mind which we call
                      romantic? ”

                      http://www.newmanreader.org/works/parochial/volume2/sermon5.html

                    • Guest

                      What we call romance is associated with heterosexual acts and inclination and if correctly ordered certainly is consistent with Catholic theology. There is absolutely no reason to think it is ever associated with homosexual identity or activity and still be considered licit. None.

                    • Mark

                      As Aaron says, the semantic field covered by “romance” would exclude such a formulation. However, I remember a quote from a Frasier episode once that parents I know have said is very true: “Roz, I’m going to tell you something that I didn’t learn until I became a father. You don’t just love your children. You fall in love with them.”

                    • Guest

                      Not sure what that means but it “romance” cannot be part of a father son situation it cannot be male/male or female/female either.

                    • Mark

                      Jim, you are misrepresenting my ideas here. I’ve said that “romance” is a particular cultural script that brings together a set of (ultimately arbitrary and historically contingent) imagery and behavioral scripts that we tend to associate with infatuation and “partnership” (in the 20th century, sadly, bootstrapped too strictly with marriage itself).

                      But I never said the various elements that come together to form that script of romance would ONLY be permissible with a “romantic partner.” Indeed, the various elements are themselves generally non-controversial when you think about it for even a little bit, and could theoretically be done with any friend.

                      It’s just that the romantic script between partners tends to express them with a pre-eminence of degree (ie, I’ve done most of those things, by themselves, with various friends of both sexes whom I was not “in love with”…but never all of them concentrated or focused together on a single friend)…but that’s not really a difference in nature, except of the socially constructed sort.

                    • Mark

                      This article is interesting, to bring a psychological-scientific perspective to things:

                      http://www.psych.utah.edu/people/people/diamond/Publications/What%20does%20Sexual%20Orientation%20Orient.pdf

                      In short, Jim, even in the brain and evolutionary biology…the attachment system that causes passionate attachment (“being love,” limerence, infatuation) is functionally independent of the circuits of sexual arousal specifically. The former, in fact, evolved from as a generalization of infant-caregiver bonds.

                      I’m not saying I accept everything in her article, and indeed her usage of terminology is not mine (she does indeed seem to be speaking of ‘sexual desire’ as arousal specifically). But it’s an interesting place to start in terms of theoretical discussion, though I think that social construction tends to put these things together in “orientation” in a manner whose direction-of-causation is not entirely understood yet.

                    • Guest

                      The acts are all for married persons or those intending for marriage. Would a brother and sister cuddle and kiss?

                    • Mark

                      “Intending marriage” seems too high a standard here given that boyfriends and girlfriends who haven’t even CONSIDERED marriage yet (and who, often, never do wind up marrying) do these things without controversy in our culture.

                      Little boys and little girls hold hands on the playground. No one accuses them of “intending marriage.”

                      Authors in the past as diverse as Shakespeare wrote romantic poetry for males.

                      Fathers traditionally share a slow-dance with their daughters at their wedding.

                      Europeans kiss and walk arm-in-arm with friends all the time.

                      The American-1950s narrowness of this analysis is just too shallow to be credible at all.

                    • Paul Sho

                      Quite right. That is why we see the example of God sending his angel (St. Raphael the Archangel) to help the young Tobias to find a heterosexual partner. But we don’t see Him sending anybody to help anybody find a homosexual partner.

                      Unless the New Homophiles have an example to share with us.

                    • Paul Sho

                      In other words none of the 9 acts enumerated on the list is permissible to two Christians struggling with same-sex-attractions and who have romantic interest in one another..

                    • Mark

                      I think what constitutes appropriate boundaries of intimacy for people is something they need to navigate on their own through trial and error regarding what constitutes, for them, an occasion of temptation.

                      Obviously, if they get to a place where the “horizons” of possible “trajectories” from a given expression of affection narrow to the point that genital activity becomes the only logical conclusion, where unambiguous sexual arousal is the only credible interpretation…they’ve gone too far.

                      Personally, to me it seems that in our culture today, open-mouthed kissing seems to be the real start of foreplay, although obviously there are cultures where this isn’t the case and where that’s just a common greeting between friends.

                      But for most of the things you mention, you’re just describing the utterly culturally and historically contingent construct of the script of “romance” and then acting like it’s some sort of Eternal Essence (and one reserved only for married couples). Historically, this is extremely myopic:

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romantic_friendship

                      And, besides, no one limits those things to JUST spouses either. It’s relatively non-controversial that “boyfriends and girlfriends” (who may be temporary companions never married) are allowed to do these things too.

                      Again, instead of making the traditional distinctions, you’re trying to set-up a new set of distinctions based on modern heterosexual socialization. Well, forgive me for being a little less historically restricted than that.

                    • Mark

                      No one would deny that romance and sexual desire (in the sense of sex acts) are linked. But not “intrinsically” so, and indeed the “absolute bootstrapping” is the product of the last 150 years. Before that there were “romantic friendships” (Newman even speaks of the category).

                • Mark

                  In addition to Aaron’s point about “romance,” it is also true here that you are equivocating about the term “sexual” here. When most people hear “sexual desire” they assume you mean “a desire for sex acts,” and indeed this is the definition that seems to be operative in traditional definitions of “lust.” You are equivocating on “sexual” here to put gay attractions in the category of “sexual desire” even though “sexual” in this case is more “evaluated in terms of male/female” rather than “sexual intercourse or sex acts.”

                  Male beauty is a real thing (just ask Michelangelo). It is not just some vague subjective quality that exists only relative to female subjectivity. No, the male body is a Form and different examples in the world can be more or less ideal geometrically, etc. And just as some people prefer this or that style of art, or have this or that “type” that they prefer WITHIN their preferred sex…people tend to prefer the beauty of this or that “style” (ie, male or female) when it comes to the beauty of human bodies, which is an objective good.

      • CadaveraVeroInnumero

        How often must this be repeated?

        Outside of of being the victim of rape, one does not indulge in homosexual ACTS apart from the CONDITION (tendency) of homosexuality. The CONDITION is the instigator of the ACT, that which gives the ACT potency – its mother/father, if you wish. The CONDITION (nature, tendency) of homosexuality is the breeder of homosexual temptation.

        Homosexual temptation is not properly confronted, struggled against, deactivated and devitalized, without deadening the homosexual CONDITION (nature) of its potency, of draining it of its skills to cause mischief.

        Homosexuality is no gift. The Eden genesis of Mankind is both the package and content of Man’s “gift of his self” to others. It is the self-giving of God’s Image within, not the manhandling of his own making.

        Stuffing this conversation within the category of “human relationality”, with its strained and overripe premises, is bursting this discussion at its seams into incoherence and irrationality. It is infusing that category with totalitarian idolatry. Shod with clay feet words crumbled, pulverized when overburdened and over-weighted..

        • Tony

          “Outside of of being the victim of rape, one does not indulge in homosexual ACTS apart from the CONDITION (tendency) of homosexuality. The CONDITION is the instigator of the ACT, that which gives the ACT potency – its mother/father, if you wish. The CONDITION (nature, tendency) of homosexuality is the breeder of homosexual temptation.”

          Hmmm, not entirely sure this is true. This seems to be a recent view of sexuality that didn’t really exist for the first 1800 years or so of Christianity. Sexual orientation as it is now commonly understood is a rather recent concept: I think it is a useful concept, but it is recent. This is why the Church’s teachings generally speaking addresses only acts, not orientation, clearly and without any confusion. The teaching on orientation itself is still developing, because an institution that thinks in centuries takes time to process new sociological categories.

          All that being said: until the 19th century sexuality wasn’t really viewed this way. People committed the sin of homosexual acts, but it wasn’t even thought that there might be some underlying orientation. Biology is pretty simple: men who we today consider heterosexual can also feel pleasure from having sex with other men. When explaining his sexuality to me, one of my chaste gay Catholic friends put it like this: “Anyone can experience pleasure having sex with another man, homosexuality is more than just that.” This sentiment has been expressed to me by multiple individuals who identify as LGBTQ, and it also seems to make sense biologically as well.

          The reason why Church doctrine NEEDS to develop is that we have not yet addressed this new reality that exists. Doctrine can never change, but it does develop to speak to particular problems of particular ages, and right now, this is one of the most pressing problems facing the Church in the modern world.

          • Mark

            Yay! Thanks, Tony, for being a straight person who GETS this.

            Sexual orientation is a relatively recent construct. 150 years old, maybe, and much evolved over that time. The idea that the Deposit of Faith has some concept of “sexual orientation” is absurd. It has a concept of sex acts, and the Church is cautious about orientation inasmuch as (but ONLY inasmuch as) it includes an “inclination” to those acts. Not anything beyond that.

            However, people here seem to have it exactly the other way around: gay subjectivity in itself is being considered problematic and wrong, and acts are seen mainly just as the expression of a “disordered” disposition.

            • Michael

              “gay subjectivity in itself is being considered problematic and wrong, and acts are seen mainly just as the expression of a “disordered” disposition.”

              Indeed, but they have every RIGHT to believe that, given both the writings of the saints, the Church Fathers and heck even the Apostles themselves in Sacred Scripture! What you are asking is for ordinary believing Catholics to upend their entire faith structure to accomodate a “new” definition of “gay” and that is culturally Marxist, even though the majority of the proletariat do not view “homosexuality” in the same way that you do.

              • Mark

                The writings addressed the “sodomite” construct of homosexuality, not the “gay” construct. The “new” definition of gay is only the transition from having it mean happy to having it describe an orientation.

                I really don’t care how the common straight person “views ” homosexuality. It’s not up to other people to say what the experience is or define it, it’s up to self-identified gays to do that.

                • Michael

                  “I really don’t care how the common straight person “views ” homosexuality.”

                  First of all, you immediately resort to the black and white straight/gay dichotomy and ignore the subtleties in between. Of course you wouldn’t care about others’ definitions because you have a culturally-Marxist mindset regarding homosexuality in general, instilled in you by those who absorbed and manipulated the thoughts of the Frankfurt School to create a “gay agenda” in the 1960’s and 70’s. You really are just a product of your time and country – and one can thus pose the question: if you do not care about what the majority of believing Catholics believe about the issue then are you really are all that “Catholic” yourself and not just a “waterless cloud” (to use the Scriptural analogy) making a fuss about everything without actually committing to the difficult “narrow way” lifestyle?

                  • Mark

                    I’m all for considering people’s opinions ABOUT something. But I’m not at all concerned with people who don’t even seem to know what that something is.

                    • St. Benedict’s Thistle

                      No. It seems you do not accept what they know about it, therefore you seek to suppress it.

                      The ancients were quite knowledgeable about homosexuals, their proclivities, and so forth. It was just that they had clarity about it being objectively disordered and did not feel the need for a construct to support and promote it.

                    • Mark

                      When a gay person tells you what they mean when they say that they identify as gay, and people turn around and tell them “Nope, that’s not what gayness means” you are simply ignoring the person, setting up a straw man, and knocking that down instead of actually addressing what they’ve told you they are.

                      It’s like if I told a pagan that I was a Catholic, explained that Catholic means I believe in the Trinity, and Christ, and His Church, and then (in spite of my denial) they told me, “No, ‘Catholic’ means you believe in torturing small animals and doing drugs” and then went into all sorts of arguments against animal torture and drug-taking (which I’d actually agree with…I’d just disagree that these things were what I intended by identifying as “Catholic” to the person).

                    • Art Deco

                      you are simply ignoring the person, setting up a straw man, and knocking
                      that down instead of actually addressing what they’ve told you they
                      are.

                      I maintain some critical distance from the what people tell themselves about themselves and what they tell me. Sue me.

                    • St. Benedict’s Thistle

                      There is such a thing as lying to oneself.

                    • Michael

                      That’s an interesting concept. What do you mean by that exactly? Do you mean that some gays lie to themselves, I suppose against their very nature, by claiming a “gay” identity? If so, then that is an excellent insight – and how true – since we all have God’s law written in our hearts and we are all made in the image of God, who is in no way “gay”.

                    • Mark

                      It’s obvious to everyone else that St. Benedict’s Thistle is a sock-puppet for Michael, yeah?

                    • Michael

                      I also have this to add to this discussion: If I am not mistaken, it is YOUR “WE” group that is seeking to change the perspectives of ordinary Christians. No one is going “out of their way” to tell gay people what they are doing is wrong. We all have personal freedom but if you start trying to impose a definition onto a group, DO EXPECT an equitably fair REACTION from them.

                    • Mark

                      This is a bizarre framing. No one is trying to impose a definition onto others. Rather, we’re trying to claim a definition for ourselves. People have the right to self-define, at least. Imagine if people came along and told Catholics “No Catholicism means worship Mary as a goddess” in spite if Catholics correcting this misconception, this misunderstanding definition. Would you say making this correction was “imposing our definition” of Catholics on anti-Catholic Protestants? It’s absurd.

                    • Michael

                      “Rather, we’re trying to claim a definition for ourselves.”

                      Then go do that somewhere else, in the world perhaps, where you will loved and embraced by the Children of the World for being worldly and leave us regular Christians alone.

                    • Mark

                      I think your Straw Men have become Idols

                    • Michael

                      I know that Schopenhauer spoke of a generalized “dissatisfied Will” that dominated everything about the world, but I never knew that I would actually MEET an actual “dissatisfied Will” in person…

                    • Michael

                      “Imagine if people came along and told Catholics “No Catholicism means worship Mary as a goddess” in spite if Catholics correcting this misconception, this misunderstanding definition.”

                      But people DO THAT ANYWAY regardless if you try and correct them or not. It is simply the REALITY.

                    • redfish

                      If the assumption we have is that same-sex attraction is as male-female attraction, then its pretty easy for a straight person to say what gayness means, by analogy.

                      The point here is I’ve often seen the objection that homosexuality shouldn’t be reduced to sex, and is about love; but as a straight person, I consider heterosexuality as defining a sexual inclination, so its just an analogy from that, and, I should have every right to make that judgment by analogy.

                      There’s also an assumption in saying that because a concept of ‘sexual orientation’ didn’t exist until the 19th century that it means people didn’t understand the nature of same-sex attraction. Could it be, instead, because people understood everyone to innately have the potential to be bisexual, that sexuality was fluid, but heterosexuality was the most natural, and that sectioning people off into orientations simply felt misleading? A lot of straight people, who don’t identify as bisexual, have had at least one experience in their youth where they were briefly attracted to the same sex… and this just never caught on with them as a sustained attraction.

                      Its another avenue by which straight people often will analyze sexual orientation.

                    • Mark

                      Yes, “by analogy to heterosexuality” should work. Except I don’t think most heterosexuals view their orientation as “all about sex” either. Certainly when I talk to my straight friends, they understand what I mean about gay right away: that “attraction” or “liking” is a broad and rather vague category in which sex acts are one expression that suggests themselves sometimes, but certainly not the only or the essence. So maybe this is revealing that there is a sex-focused construction of sexuality among conservatives that mainstream society isn’t aware of, and maybe this helps to explain some things.

                      Or maybe not. Maybe you’ve just never really had to think about it and therefore are giving a simplistic answer. Given that kids have crushes and socialize heterosexually well before they even know what sex IS…I’m pretty sure heterosexuality, like homosexuality, is not “all about sex.” It’s about a mode of relating to people, based on their gender, yes, but sex acts are not the be-all and end-all of it. All my straight friends if asked what their heterosexuality means would say, “Well, I fall for members of the opposite sex” or something. “Fall for.” I don’t think any of them would frame it in terms of the sex acts which can be an expression of that intimacy or chemistry (but don’t have to be and most days of the week aren’t).

                    • redfish

                      No, I have thought about it, and I agree with you that sexual attraction occurs before kids have an idea of what sex is, and that the attraction isn’t primarily about “wanting to have sex.” But it also has nothing to do with love, or even literally with “like”, even though that’s the colloquial way of putting it. Just being attracted to something doesn’t mean you like it, it just means you’re attracted to it. Think about it; just because boys say they like girls, doesn’t mean they don’t like boys. You can also be attracted to things you don’t like. Liking, when its strictly meant, is a conscious thing.

                      And it really doesn’t have much to do with love either; love is more than just a feeling. I think people mistake lust for love, because they imagine lust to be something seedy; and they don’t imagine their attractions to be seedy. Lust is just a yearning, an attraction.

                      Its also not as complex as a “mode of relating to people.” Its just an attraction. How you relate to people is still up to you, and its your choice. Attraction doesn’t take your choice away. A lot of conservatives think that if you put a man and a woman together who are attracted, its impossible to keep them from having intimate relations, but I find that to be false. It all depends on the maturity of the man and the woman.

                    • Mark

                      Right, “attraction.” But attraction is an emotional experience that has no particular expression mandated; at it’s most basic, it means that someone gives you a particular rush of neurological chemicals or activates particular reward circuits in the brain. It is defined by “where it comes from” not “where it’s going.”

                      If you ask most of my friends, gay and straight, what it means to be “attracted” to a person (even, let’s specify, “physically attracted”) they say things like “It means i like to look at them,” or “I get a buzz being around them,” or “It gives me butterflies to talk to them,” or (more in the personality end of things) “It means we really click.”

                      Unless they are horny adolescents, they’re unlikely to say, “It means I get sexually aroused and start undressing them with my mind!” Which is not to say that they never wind up wanting to have sex (or actually having it) or that they aren’t aroused or excited when they do. It’s just that when that does eventually occur (ideally within marriage of course; “jumping to conclusions” prematurely is lust) it is as an expression (though not the only or inevitable or absolutely necessary one) of the depth of intimacy that has been built up through that attraction, that interpersonal chemistry, that drew them into relationship into the first place.

                    • redfish

                      Yea, but a primarily physical attraction, not a particularly abstract or spiritual one, and that’s why it leads people to become aroused, and eventually desire sex. Its hard to say that the arousal and inclination towards sex is an expression of the depth of intimacy of a relationship, or anything spiritual at all, even if the decision to actually have sex might be. In fact, it often has nothing spiritual in it at all, which is why people who have sex often aren’t in love. In fact, they may consciously know they aren’t, and the whole relationship becomes about the thrill of the sexual relationship. Its an intimacy, but it shouldn’t be dressed up as something its not.

                      The major point here is that sexual attraction and love aren’t the same thing, and people confuse them all the time.

                    • Mark

                      Of course, redfish, but that’s lust. That’s the whole problem with unchaste sex acts is that they “overreach their grasp.” For example, an attempt at sex that can never really be the one flesh union, or sex between two people who do not have the corresponding commitment, or an intense physical intimacy between two people who lack the corresponding emotional intimacy.

                      Even the “thrill” of anonymous sex is “about” intimacy, because the whole point is that a “boundary” is being crossed that signifies intense intimacy (yet without having to put in the work of actually developing that intimacy in a holistic fashion).

                    • redfish

                      Its lust, but its also a natural extension of sexual attraction, as both are inherently physical; its not as separated as you’re making it sound. Its true, attraction isn’t directly about sex, but its what leads to it, through lust.

                      I’d say any sharing of feelings or physicality between two people is intimacy. Intimacy can be the foundation for love, if the intimacy is based on a meaningful, spiritual connection between the two people.

                    • Mark

                      As I said somewhere else, I never said they “had nothing to do with” each other. Rather, I said their relationship was like that of anger to violence. Anger isn’t directly about violence, but it is what leads to it, through wrath. (Or, occasionally, when force is legitimately called for; in such cases calling violence “wrath” or sex “lust” doesn’t seem called for, as in self-defense or marriage). But anger is not “ordered towards” violence in such a way that we’d have to conclude that being angry is illegitimate in all cases where violence is inappropriate, and likewise “attraction” is not “ordered towards” sex in such a way that we’d have to conclude that being “attracted” is illegitimate in all cases where sex is inappropriate.

                    • redfish

                      Well, I don’t know by how much we disagree with each other.

                      My point was that I define sexuality as primarily about sexual inclination, although it doesn’t have to result in sex, or even always involve lust… and I don’t think its wrong to say homosexuality and heterosexuality are primarily describing sexual inclination, and not love. But a lot of people will say that way of defining ‘doesn’t understand’ gay people. I understand gay couples can be in love. I just don’t think that the love that comes in a sexual relationship is greater than the love outside of one.

                      re: anger. It starts out first as frustration, and frustration builds to anger. Anger always has a hint of violence, even if its just internal, and emotional, and not displayed outwardly.

                    • Mark

                      Well I don’t know what “hint of” means. As I see it, anger is an emotional experience (defined as “the sting of injustice” or something like that). Emotional experiences all “activate” a spectrum of behavioral scripts which define the horizons of a panoply of POSSIBLE responses. Yes, with anger, violence is ONE (but not the only) possible script in the “toolbox” of potential expressions that anger suggests in response to injustice. Reason has to choose which of the the options, which of the potential behavioral pathways, is appropriate in a given situation.

                      As for gays and gayness, it simply remains true that the right “chemistry” between people makes bonding more or less easy, provides better or worse motivation for being self-giving, allows for more or less seamless intimacy. For gays, friendship with another man is satisfying enough that once they’ve found it, it is “enough.” For straights presumably, even a similarly intense or important friendship with a member of the same sex would be prioritized (in terms of desire or reality) LOWER than a relationship with a spouse (current or imagined future) whom they still desire to have or find and take priority over that friendship.

                    • redfish

                      One usually starts out as frustrated with something, and the frustration becomes anger when the frustration boils up and reaches a breaking point. The frustration then becomes focused into anger, which is stronger. The anger, then, can be repeated and recalled later. Even if only internally expressed, it will be forceful and unstable if not controlled by the person. In order not to be violent, it needs to be controlled, and people have limited ability of control.

                      For straights, presumably — but what people presume isn’t reality. Often, straight men remain closer to their friends or brothers than their wives, and straight women remain closer to their friends or sisters than their husbands. Or if not closer, equally as close. And this doesn’t necessarily constitute a problem and shouldn’t necessarily be seen as one. One of the problems in our culture for men, for instance, is that close bonds between men are automatically suspect as “gay”, so men train themselves not to show affection with other men. The fact that we link sex and love so strongly is a cultural problem, and shouldn’t be accepted.

                    • Mark

                      Yeah, life is complicated and not easily reducible to strict categories. Take the Greeks. They all had wives for breeding, yet it’s clear their primary emotional and intellectual bonds were with male friends/lovers (sexually expressed or not; Plato and Socrates supported the relationships but were against the genital expression, yet the language used either way is clearly “romantic”). One wonders how this model would all parse out under the conservative Catholic model.

                    • redfish

                      Well, I think its an important area to explore, and think its one of the reasons our cultural debate is so focused on sexuality is because we can’t conceptually separate the issues of love and sex, while people could do that in previous eras. Even in the Victorian era, where love between romantic partners was given a high ideal in society, there was a lot more bonding between people of the same sex. People of the same sex would sleep together, bathe together, kiss each other on the cheeks. To some degree this still happens in Europe, but the more Americanized things are the more its seen as a problem. Its really the result of a mix of popular commercial culture and modern psychological theory.

                      And agreed on Greece; often its not clear whether all romantic expressions are sexual expressions.

                    • Mark

                      Well Plato and Socrates clearly knew that the love for youths COULD express itself that way…they just advised against it, sublimating instead up the “ladder of beauty.”

                    • redfish

                      Right, but which is why I have a difficult time analyzing Greek culture.. but maybe I haven’t read enough.. is it true that every case of “pederasty” involved sex, or was it sometimes chaste romantic relationships?

                    • Mark

                      Sometimes chaste if The Symposium is to be believed.

                    • Paul Sho

                      “it means i like to look at them” – meaning the lust of the eyes. “I get a buzz around them” – meaning the lust of the flesh. “it means we really click” – meaning the pride of life.
                      .
                      “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If any one loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16 For
                      all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the
                      eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world passes away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides for ever”. (1 John 2 v 15-17)

                    • Mark

                      Well if that’s how you interpret it, that’s how you interpret it. It’s hard to see how any love, gay or straight, friendship or more-than-friendship, would be possible for you at that point if you are THAT afraid of intimacy and emotional vulnerability and organic connections of personalities. But if that’s the impasse, there it is.

                    • Michael

                      Amen!

                    • Michael

                      And you clearly aren’t able to distinguish what that “something” is, so you resort to an ad hominem insult.

                  • Tony

                    The issue is that the straight/gay dichotomy didn’t exist before the 19th century, which is when Church teaching on homosexual actions existed.

                    You yourself are using that dichotomy in interpreting the Church’s teaching on the subject, which is what the “new homophiles” are pointing out is problematic. If a new societal way of viewing sexuality has developed– as I don’t think anyone contests– and it is so universally accepted that even those arguing against it have to buy into it in order to object to it (as is the case. I have yet to find anyone who actually does not believe sexual orientation exists), it is neccesary for the Church to develop her doctrine to address the new understanding. The Church can condemn certain aspects of it– such as Cardinal Ratzinger did when he said it was wrong to completely form one’s identity by sexual orientation– but as of yet, the Church herself is working within the new model, as is seen by the usage of the term “homosexual persons” in Church documents.

                    Since it seems that sexual orientation is indeed something that is sticking with us, the Church needs to address an issue that did not exist for the first 1800 years, and this is what the “new homophiles” are proposing, nothing more.

                    • Michael

                      Meh, I say let’s stop focusing on SEX and start focusing on living the GOSPEL. There is nothing that the Church “has” to do. It’s all of these self-identifying gay people who have a problem with the traditional way of doing things. If so, by all means feel free to leave. There is no reason to keep trying to “change” everyone by force to accept your own myopic perspectives on the issue.

                    • Mark

                      Jesus said love one another. At the end of the day, Gay is about love, and is a mode of relating to others and a means of communion. It’s you who need to stop thinking in terms of sex.

                    • Michael

                      “Gay is about love”

                      “Gay” is about erotic love. Christianity is about agapeic love. You are fudging things. And I wouldn’t even call “gayety” erotic love, since that is exclusively for members of the opposite sex. I would, like the Church Fathers, consider it a disorder. So go treat your rectal prolapse and leave us Christians alone.

                    • Mark

                      Well I know lots of gay people who are very self giving in their relationships. I don’t really think they’re interested in boxing their care and concern and love into this or that category. Love is love, care is care. You can object to this or that expression, but you can’t object to love.

                    • Michael

                      By that, I bid you adieu Mr. Mark. Keep trying to convince everyone that you are a “faithful” Catholic following all the teachings of the Church. Have fun with all of the worldly respect you receive from supporting gay people, which Scripture condemns (the support of as well as the gay lifestyle). We shall see each other on Judgement day, hopefully with me not looking down.

                    • John200

                      Nor can homo”sex”uals claim the practice of homo”sex”ual activity is love. To harm yourself, your partner, others who would have benefited if you had acted better, and society as a whole is not at all loving.

                      It is the opposite.

                      If you were a faithful Catholic and a psychiatrist, ….

                      oh, well,…

                    • Mark

                      Huh? I’m not a psychiatrist. As for love, I’m not talking about sexual activity (which I’d admit is a morally problematic expression) so your statement is a non-sequitur. When gays talk about love, this isn’t some sort of code-word for sex. We really do mean love.

                    • John200

                      Oops, you’re right, that’s a typo. I was writing a comment to another advancer of the homo”sex”ual cause who claimed he was a psychiatrist. I’ll edit, hope I haven’t convinced anyone that you are a psychiatrist.

                      As for the rest, promoting the orientation as if it were love is right down there with homo”sex”ual activity as a truly terrible idea.

                    • Mark

                      Well that’s an odd way to phrase it. The orientation isn’t love in itself. The orientation is a description of, as it were, which way (towards men or towards women) the needle of the compass of love is going to point. The orientation in itself is not love, but love is what the orientation “orients” (with reference to gender). The love between gay couples is real love, even if these relationships sometimes contain sin or sinful expressions OF that love.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      It would seem more correct to state that the “love between gay couples” is fundamentally flawed because of an utterly unattainable attempt at authentic “eros” being part of the mix, even when there is also “philia” or even “agape” present.

                    • Mark

                      Unless they’re trying to somehow generate a child together (conceptually impossible and most gays know it)…it’s unclear why you would accuse what they’re doing of being an “unattainable attempt at eros.”

                      I’d also suggest that treating these “types” of love as air-tight totally separate and distinguishable metaphysical categories in the abstract is part of the problem. Human emotions do not work that way, they are not some sort of autistic Scholastic syllogism, they’re messy scripts of feelings and behavior that constitute every spectrum under the sun.

                    • Tony

                      I would recommend reading “Deus Caritas Est” and then reconsider this post.

                    • Michael

                      I have read that document. It says that charity is perfected in the Truth.

                    • Tony

                      I was referencing Pope Benedict’s commentary that reconciles eros with agapae.

                    • Michael

                      How odd that a “traditional” Catholic should be citing the “new” Magisterium.

                    • Tony

                      1) I never claimed to be a traditionalist. I claimed to be orthodox.
                      2) “Deus Caritas Est” is a part of the Magisterium, and should be respected as such. I do not see any discontinuity in the Magisterium.

                    • Michael

                      2) Caritas in Veritatis is also part of the Magisterium as is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s document “On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons” which everyone here seems to be overlooking.

                    • Tony

                      I am fully aware of both documents. We can quibble over the magisterial status of documents issued on pastoral care by curial offices, but that really serves no purpose because I accept the 1986 letter in its entirety, and have not contradicted it, nor have I contradicted the “Caritas in Veritatis”.

                    • Michael

                      You mean that you “fully” accept the following quote from said document:

                      “The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation. Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well. Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a “heterosexual” or a “homosexual” and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life.”

                      ???

                    • Tony

                      Yes. Completely. You will also note that the entire document continues to refer to “homosexual persons”. The Latin reads:

                      “Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person *only* as a “heterosexual” or a “homosexual”…” Adding that one word in for context is lovely, because it allows us to see that Ratzinger does not contradict himself by continuing to discuss “homosexual persons” throughout the entire article.

                      Anyone who reads the document as a whole will note how silly reading that paragraph out of context is. Ratzinger was condemning people who define themselves *solely* on who they like to sleep with. This is not that controversial of a claim, even within the gay community. If Ratzinger was condemning the idea of sexual orientation, then it would be rather odd for him to write such a beautiful letter that both affirms the teaching of the Church while trying to work towards a pastoral solution for the issue of homosexual persons.

                    • Michael

                      I believe that your interpretation is slightly skewed. And that is to be expected. Everyone interprets things differently. You use it as a justification for accepting that gay people somehow have to “embrace” a “gay identity.” I read it seeing that any kind of identity other than the one Christ gives us falls short of our Godly identity.

                      I will simply emphasize the first sentence of that “paragraph” to make my point: “”The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation.”

                      But then again, like you said, we can debate whether or not this document is truly “Magisterial”…

                    • Tony

                      My “interpretation” is actually what the official Latin document says.

                      Yes, that sentence is correct. Man cannot be reduced to his sexual orientation. That would be against the personalistic ethic that since “Veritatis Splendor” is the norm within Catholic moral thought,

                    • Michael

                      Like I said, why don’t we just phone Old Benny and ask him directly what he himself thinks about this. Do you have his number?

                    • Mark

                      The document is rather tautological there, no? When is ANYTHING ever ‘adequately described’ by a ‘reductionist’ reference??

                    • Michael

                      I suppose the phrase: “all conservatives are bad”?

                    • Michael

                      Here’s a nice quote from Bededict XVI’s “On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons”

                      “4. An essential dimension of authentic pastoral care is the identification of causes of confusion regarding the Church’s teaching. One is a new exegesis of Sacred Scripture which claims variously that Scripture has nothing to say on the subject of homosexuality, or that it somehow tacitly approves of it, or that all of its moral injunctions are so culture-bound that they are no longer applicable to contemporary life. These views are gravely erroneous and call for particular attention here.”

                      As well as this one:

                      “The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation. Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well. Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a “heterosexual” or a “homosexual” and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life.”

                      I have only been APPLYNG Benedict’s thoughts in all of my arguments.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      You mean the part where Benedict establishes with crystal clarity that in the dimension of human love, “eros” is the gift of love between a man and a woman–not between a man and a man or a woman and a woman?

                    • Tony

                      I was referencing DCE 5 and 7, which also condemn the idea that eros can simply be reduced to sex. Benedict defines eros as an ascending love, and agapae as a descending love and says that the two can never be truly separated. If he were only referring to the marital act or even to romantic love, then it would be impossible for celibates of any sort to live within this context.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      I agree, but you’ve got to maintain both the difference and the unity of eros and agape *and* maintain the two dimensions of eros Pope Benedict is treating: Divine Eros and human eros. And importantly, eros in human love can properly be expressed either “vertically” (meeting the Divine Eros which calls to us as the “beloved”) or “horizontally” (in the God-given “sign” of the vertical dimension–the gift of love between a man and a woman).
                      This also adequately expresses the place of eros-as-love in the context of love of God and love of neighbor.
                      You’ll notice that nowhere in the encyclical does Benedict *ever* suggest that human expression of “eros” could properly involve two persons of the same sex. This is because “eros” requires complementarity.

                    • Tony

                      This seems like a rather odd reading of him to me. He of course speaks of eros as leading to marital love and as this being its natural end, but at the same time, if this were the only function of eros, it seems that the wonderful synthesis that he accomplishes would be rather useless to a significant class of people: celibates.
                      Additionally, DCE 17 and 18 draw on his earlier synthesis of eros and agapae while discussing friendship, which seems to indicate that he does not understand eros as being purely about romantic love between men and women. Anyway, my initial citation of DCE was to point out to Michael, whom at this point does not seem to want to engage in actual conversation, that to the Christian, eros and agapae cannot be separated as easily as he wanted to do.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      On the contrary, celibates “skip” the human “sign” of Divine Eros–the gift of love between a man and a woman–and have the opportunity to focus squarely upon *actual* Divine Eros (mystical union with God). Directing *all* our human “eros” toward God is the ultimate call of all people–union with Him forever in Heaven.

                    • Mark

                      The citation of DCE 17 and 18 is a good one, though, as Benedict makes clear that our eros with God is not separate from our love of neighbor. Our love of all people must be loving God IN them (which is an eros), not just loving them AS God would (which is agape). We love everyone as the Bride loves the Bridegroom and as the Bridegroom loves the Bride.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      Wow–it just seems that you are pretty relentlessly determined to make it appear that Benedict somehow someway says we can express “eros” man to man or woman to woman! But he just doesn’t. Period. In DCE 17 and 18 he mentions “eros” once only: “Earlier we spoke of the process of purification and maturation by which eros comes fully into its own, becomes love in the full meaning of the word.”
                      How does eros become “love” in the full meaning of the word? Through its unity with *agape*.
                      He *never* says that it’s “an eros” to love God “in” our neighbor.
                      In fact, in the entire second section devoted to “caritas” as love of neighbor, he *never* uses the term “eros.” Rather, he uses the term “caritas-agape” to make quite clear of the link between charity and *selfless* love of neighbor–not *possessive* love (eros) of neighbor (which makes little sense).
                      Rather, our response of human “eros” to the Divine Eros is *necessarily* (again) both *person-al* (requiring a Person–God) and *complementary* (Creator to creature, or Bridegroom to Bride).
                      Nowhere in the encyclical does Benedict say two *persons* of the same sex can properly experience “eros” one to another.

                    • Mark

                      Jim, it isn’t just my reading. Take for example this article by D.C. Schindler:

                      http://www.communio-icr.com/files/schindlerdc33-3.pdf

                      Please please please read it, Jim. It is in the journal Communio, which we all know was founded by Ratzinger himself and remains thoroughly “Ratzingerian,” and Dr. Schindler himself is a professor of metaphysics and anthropology at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family at CUA, so I doubt you can dismiss him as some fringe dissenting source when it comes to these questions.

                      And yet if you read his article, it is clearly that the “broad” interpretation of “eros” (in which it is a part of all loves, including friendship, to more or less a degree) in ‘Deus Caritas Est,’ which I favor, is the correct one.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      To be sure, Mark, I’m grateful for the link and will read the Schindler piece with great interest.
                      I remain relatively confident at the outset, however, that he does *not* give a green light to any form of “same-sex romantic love.” Something tells me I would have heard of such a development if that had happened…

                    • DD

                      No kidding.

                    • Mark

                      The article doesn’t even touch on THAT question, directly. What it does do, however, is vindicate a much “broader” reading of “eros” in Deus Caritas Est.

                      Now, a “narrow” reading of “eros” has been a linchpin of your arguments against that concept. One assumes that if the broader reading of eros is proven the correct and orthodox one, that this would have reverberating implications for the logical structure of all your arguments which are built on the foundation of the “narrow” reading.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      Okay, Mark–finished my first read of the Schindler piece. Look forward to reading it again as he really does seem to “get” Benedict’s approach even though, as you say, he approaches the subject more “broadly.” So we actually agree on that aspect.
                      But here is the problem.
                      Let’s follow the “logic” of love. For love to be love it must be a mutual exchange of “persons”. Love is for persons, not objects. Right?
                      So, for Benedict to approach “eros” as *love*, we move immediately away from the nebulous category of “desire” and into the “narrow” category of what “persons” are indeed giving and receiving the love that is “eros.”
                      This is where the “platonic” approach to eros–the “broad” dimension–in which “desire” is manifested for what is “true-good-beautiful” falls short in itself. Rather, if it’s a *love*–if it’s eros-love, the “desire” ultimately must be for a “person” and not a thing.
                      The “broad” dimension of this kind of “eros-love” *does* have a “person” in mind–the Author of all that is true-good-beautiful: God Himself. What you are referring to as this “broad” dimension is what *I’ve* been referring to as our human response to God’s Divine Eros for us.
                      But you have attempted to cast “same-sex eros” into this *broad* dimension rather than the “narrow” dimension of the “gift of love between a man and a woman.” The dissonance arises when you assert that the *attraction* to what is “true-good-beautiful” in the sexual values of a same-sex “partner” is not a distortion or disorder of eros.
                      Yet it is, and here is why: you end up “using” reductively or objectifying the same-sex partner as a “thing”–a means through which you seek to fulfill your desire for what is “true-good-beautiful” which should be pointing to an entirely different person–God the Author of true-good-beautiful.
                      Eros-love as “broad” desire so-called is an exchange of persons between you and *God*, not between you and another person of the same sex used as a “means” to fulfill the “broad” desire.
                      Eros-love as a “narrow” desire so-called is an exchange of persons that is *only* possible between two persons capable of *fully* human reciprocity and complementarity–man and woman.
                      I’ve tried to adapt some of these categories to how I perceive you are thinking of them, so I hope the language isn’t too awkward.
                      But the bottom line is that Schindler adds really little to the conversation because, in context, he matches what I’ve been trying to say quite well. Same-sex “eros” is a distortion of *both* levels of “eros”–the human dimension because of lack of complementarity and the *divine* dimension because of reductive use of a human person as an object through which one seeks to realize an experience of Divine Eros but misdirects “eros” to the wrong person–to the human person and not God.

                    • Mark

                      Yes, Jim, I think we’re getting somewhere now. “Platonic” eros does fall short for exactly the reason you say: because the person is reduced to an object of Beauty, just a rung on the Ladder up to to Beauty Itself. However, this is exactly what Benedict shows that Christianity remedies: by being combined with Agape, this deficit is remedied, as the “three terms” (you, them, and God) are reconciled, loving God in them, and them in God.

                      That combination with Agape, however, does NOT require for any particular reason limiting the category of lovers in whom human beauty (in a male of female form, physically or mentally/personality-wise) is found. Indeed, a separation in ANY love has the same problem. Yes, if my love for someone is purely eros, if I am just loving God (the Good, the Beautiful, etc) IN them, then they are nothing but a sort of vessel for that rather than an end in themselves as a person. But the converse is also problematic: if I love someone purely “in God” (ie, only agape), then there is (as Schindler points out), the problem that “the act of loving agapically in the first place not only fails to recognize value but in fact cannot even bestow value on that which it loves. It is meaningless to bestow a value that cannot subsequently be recognized, because a good that categorically ought not to be desired—even, for example, by the person himself on whom the good is bestowed—is in fact not a good at all. In this regard, agape would not be generous because it would not in fact succeed in bestowing the goodness it intends.”

                      If your abstract affirmation of God’s plan in the world allows you to will the value of male beauty and male “sexual values,” but does not allow you to “subsequently recognize” them…then you are not in fact willing these values to exist in the world at all, because “a good that categorically ought not to be desired,” by the person bestowing the value, “is in fact not a good at all.”

                    • Michael

                      Jesus “said” whoever loves me follows my commandments and “be perfect like your heavenly Father is perfect.” Homosexuality is an imperfection that you will be purged from in purgatory. It is not something even to be mentioned among the elect.

                    • Tony

                      The point is that homosexuality is about far more than gay sex, and yes, the Church has a pastoral obligation to the souls entrusted to her care to aid them in becoming saints by teaching about new concepts as they arise.

                    • Michael

                      “The point is that homosexuality is about far more than gay sex”

                      But that is exactly what I am opposing — a paradigm that wishes to change the reality into something more than it actually is. It is a lie to try to give “homosexuality” any more worth than it actually has, and it really has none. True divine personhood, the kind given to us by Christ, has nothing to do with “homosexuality.” Yes, the term is useful in describing a particular phenomenon, but it is really only ONE kind of phenomenon in the midst a multiplicity of other strange phenomena associated with the the fetishization of our being.

                    • Mark

                      “Homosexuality” is just a word. It MEANS what people intend it to mean. And the people who would really seem to have a right to decide the scope of what it refers to…are homosexuals ourselves.

                      If I self-identify as Gay, and tell you that by this I intend to mean something that is NOT to be reduced to “I seek sex with other men”…I don’t really see how it is possible to not engage me “at my word” or “at face value” and grapple with the concept as defined when clarifying the terms.

                      I don’t see what’s at stake with maintaining an artificial straw-man definition of the term “gay” or “homosexual” other than to deny linguistic expressability to the broader concept we intend to express, like this is 1984 Newspeak or something seeking to limit the expressive power of our language.

                      I might say, “Fine, if you find those words problematic, then forget all those words or any association with them. I’m talking about being ‘Yetrarian’ which is something different.” Except that denies me the ability to connect and associate with all those people in the world who ARE operating under the “older” signifier, and I also suspect that, inevitably, people like you would preform the equivocation yet again, make “Yetrarian” equivalent to the controversial terms, and then attack it through reduction to the straw man yet again.

                    • Michael

                      Following a hermeneutic of official Church pronouncements on the matter, the sayings of the saints and Church Fathers themselves, I will simply ignore what you have to say. It’s odd to demand that one “must” first be “gay” in order to define what that word means. All people are different and one “gay” person will not be the same as another. To collectivize the entire group and then say “we know better!” is simply cultural Marxism. I see no “straw” man. You reduce “conservatives” in the same way that I reduce “gays” and the “gay attraction” or experience or whatever you decide to call is simply “lust,” a lust which, like it or not, you will eventually have to conquer, if not now then in the purging fires of purgatory before entering Heaven.

                    • Mark

                      Except you’re making authentic communication impossible by simply refusing to allow us to even refer, by ANY signifier, to a certain reality/concept, because any time we try to, you “divert the pointer” onto another concept (ie, the straw man) which you then attack even though it was not the intended reference in the first place.

                    • Michael

                      Communication is impossible because you operate from a different point in Euclidean space that I do. I am arguing from the perspective of the Church Fathers and hold that a conversion to that perspective is necessary. You operate from a perspective of contemporary society and expect me to yield to that perspective. We are each entrenched in our own positions, and following the Law of the Infinite Cornucupia, we will each be able to develop and infinite amount of arguments to support our positions. At the “end of the day” the person who will “win” will be the one who convinces the other to yeild to their perspective.

                    • Mark

                      Even two different opinions need to be able to discuss the matter with common terms. The EVALUATIONS of the concepts so discussed can then be different, but there needs to be a mutual calibration of terms. Just like discussing in two different languages. It can be done, but someone needs to make sure that the intent is “translated” correctly from one to the other. So I don’t think we need to agree on perspective, but we do need to make sure that we are each referring to the same thing as the other, even if it must be “translated into the terms of” the other person’s paradigm.

                    • Michael

                      We each have a “private language” that no one else will understand. We cannot read minds and will will always misunderstand each other even if we think that we agree.

                    • John200

                      You are communicating loud and clear with Mr. Mark. He is playing the spoiled child, doing the homo”sex”ual PoMo dance with you.

                      My points:
                      1. Never doubt that the PoMo homo”sex”ual is trying to win.
                      2. Never doubt that he thinks he is winning.
                      3. It is all just a game with these “worthy” interlocutors.
                      4. The reader, presuming fluency in the English language, can see who wants to engage and who does not.

                    • Michael

                      Lol! I never thought of this! Thank you for clarifying the reality for me. It dispels the despair that the commenter was beginning to sow in my heart.

                    • John200

                      This is what it’s like to deal with these people. As soon as you go to their meaning, they act like you are forcing English on them.

                      To this they react like Dracula reacted to the cross. Always and everywhere. That’s your PoMo homo”sex”ual.

                      Nice to meet you on CrisisMag.

                    • Michael

                      I like how you expect every ordinary Christian to be a saint, lecturing them on “charity” and what not, but then desire to have all of these special exceptions for “gay” people.

                    • Tony

                      So you are opposing any usage of sexual orientations and referencing only the acts? I can work with that paradigm. The acts are wrong. Period. End of story. Done analyzing gay sex.

                      Now let’s discuss the various phenomena that tend to accompany people who primarily feel a sexual attraction to people of the same sex that go far beyond mere sexual attraction. Other than basic things in reference to charity, does the Church provide much pastoral guidance to deal with these people (notice we aren’t even talking about sex)? It might be useful if we have a category that allows us to address them as a whole without loosing sight of their humanity or struggles, and if we can develop our doctrine to teach to their specifics… hmm… sounds like what is being called for in this article…

                    • Michael

                      “So you are opposing any usage of sexual orientations and referencing only the acts?”

                      I am opposing any usage of sexual orientation because they go against the “being” or divine personhood that God has given us through Christ, a reference to the following quote from Benedict XVI’s “On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons,” specifically the last sentence:

                      “The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation. Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well. Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a “heterosexual” or a “homosexual” and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life.”

                    • Tony

                      As I explained below, the English paragraph is missing a word from the Latin, and even when read in full English can fairly easily be interpreted to mean what it means in the Latin: don’t claim as your fundamental identity “gay” or “straight” or whatever.

                      If Ratzinger were to condemn the idea of sexual orientation, he would be condemning the very document he wrote the condemnation in, since he clearly is working from a place that assumes sexual orientation exists, and continues to use language throughout the document that makes this more than apparent. Reading quotes in context instead of proof texting helps.

                    • Michael

                      I stand by my claim.

                    • Michael

                      We could always phone old Benny and just ask him what he meant exactly. Do you have his personal phone number?

                    • Tony

                      Or we could use what the document actually says and read it in the context of itself, and assume that one of the greatest theological minds of the 20th and 21st centuries would not name the document after language that he condemns to not be used, nor that he would continue to use such language in the document after the condemnation, and continue to use it both as a cardinal and as Pope. That seems like both the charitable and logical thing to do.

                    • Michael

                      “Or we could use what the document actually says”

                      The document is not a “person” nor does it have a mouth or a voice box so it’s really not “saying” anything. I have tried listening but I only heard paper resting.

                    • Tony

                      Well, now that we have gotten to the level of attacking idiomatic English, I’m not going to engage with you anymore. Like I said, I stand 100% behind what the Church teaches, and I have demonstrated that even with your proof texting. Thank you for engaging somewhat in the conversation!

                    • Michael

                      Have a great day!

                    • Michael

                      “That seems like both the charitable and logical thing to do.”

                      Ah-ah-ah! The “charitable” and “logical” thing to do would be to sodomize the ex-Pope as an expression of our “love” for him.

                    • Tony

                      How crude and uncharitable of you. I was not going to engage, but this is truly beyond the pale.

                    • Michael

                      Now, now, don’t be a humorless liberal. I was just pointing out the more absurd conclusions of your kind of reasoning here, nothing more. But you are free to act out on those desires if you wish…

                    • Tony

                      Reading a document within the context of itself, and assuming that Pope Benedict would not contradict himself is quite charitable and logical.

                    • Michael

                      Agreed, but it falls short of gay love.

                    • Mark

                      It would also be logical to interpret the statement as not a special singling-out of sexual orientation for “special” caution in usage, but to assume that the same principles are to be used when considering a variety of axes of identity.

                      Doesn’t it make just as little sense to say, “Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person a ‘male’ or a ‘female’ and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life.”

                      But just as MUCH sense to say “Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as ONLY a ‘male’ or a ‘female’ and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life.”

                      The first would just be idiocy (as OF COURSE people are males and females) but the second is very sensible (as OF COURSE that’s not ALL they are). A reductionist reference to a person by sex/gender is not an “adequate description” either, as no one is just that.

                      There is no reason to believe that the CDF document had in mind a “special” warning that applies only to sexual orientation, as opposed to merely applying to sexual orientation principles that apply to any axis of identity (namely, that they’re part of a person, but not the whole).

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      Here’s what I’d like to ask about the “unice” argument (the “untranslated” Latin word in the text): Let’s agree that the text says that the Church refuses to consider the person *solely* as a “heterosexual” or a “homosexual”. Okay. Why does the Church refuse this? Because “The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation.”
                      Right? So, here’s my question: What makes anyone think that the Church is then somehow *okay* with referring to a person according to what I’ll call “orientation + 1″??? That is, that it’s okay to make a “reductionist reference to sexual orientation” *as long as* we put it alongside some *other* term (the +1)???
                      Why would “Gay Christian” (orientation +1) be okay to use, for example, when it’s clear that “Gay” (orientation + 0) is *not* okay to use by itself?

                    • Mark

                      Jim, I think you misunderstand the “unice” argument entirely.

                      The document isn’t talking about “referring” to. It talks about “considering.”

                      The question is not whether you can, in a given sentence, describe someone as “a homosexual.” The Church is not in the habit of legislating language like this outside of precise theological contexts.

                      The “unice” argument, then, does NOT admit that the document says that references to “homosexuals” are wrong but that references to “homosexual Christians” is okay. Because the document isn’t talking about “references,” it’s talking about “considering,” overall.

                      When SPEAKING, we often describe people by a subset of the traits that describe them. This might be only one trait (“An American,” “A Podiatrist,” “An Asian,” “A Priest.”) It might be two (“An Asian Podiatrist,” “An American Priest.”) It might be three (“A Black American Pastor”).

                      I don’t think ANYONE making the “unice” argument would concede that the document forbids referring to people, in spoken or written contexts, as “gays” or “homosexuals” (but that it suddenly becomes okay if that’s combined with something else). Rather, the document talks about “reductionist” considerations. A person is not to be “considered” as only a homosexual. Of course they might be a homosexual, but that’s not all they are, and the Church always needs to keep all “axes” of a person’s identity in mind.

                      The difference between the “unice” reading and not is not, then, the difference between forbidding an “alone reference” but allowing a “+1″ reference (indeed, I don’t think any of us believe that an “alone reference” IS, in fact, forbidden by the document). Rather, it’s the difference between saying “The Church does not believe anyone is a homosexual or heterosexual” versus “The Church does not believe anyone is ONLY a homosexual or heterosexual.” But then, I’m not sure who else believes that either (though the warning is clearly to radical gay activists who focus on sexual orientation AT THE EXPENSE OF every other “axis” of identity that the person also has).

                      But, Jim, if you insist on reading that part of the document as about linguistic references as opposed to about just how we “consider” people, and are looking for a justification for “+1″ references…I’d simply put forth the document itself as evidence! As it consistently refers to “homosexual persons” so that’s a major “+1″ reference right there….

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      I have seen the “unice” argument applied to the issue of self-identification. That the “effect” of the “consideration” language is that one shouldn’t (or *may* if the “unice” term is added in as “solely”) self-identify according to a reductionist term like “heterosexual” or “homosexual”. In this light, my argument stands, I think. Thus a distinction is drawn between objective terminology that generically refers to “homosexual persons” and *subjective* (or specific/self-referential) terminology such as I’m a “gay” or “straight” Christian…
                      Though a larger point remains relative to the “considering” aspect, too. In context, the paragraph seems to refer to the Church’s own *pastoral* approach to persons and that *all* people need multi-dimensional pastoral care, such that the *care* offered to the homosexual person is not “reductionist” based purely on orientation but instead on one’s fundamental identity as a child of God.

                    • Mark

                      Well you’re reading a lot more into the document than is there, as it makes no distinction between abstract references and personal references, nor does it discuss “gay” versus “SSA” at all.

                      Your second paragraph I agree with, though it shouldn’t be taken to exclude ministries or interest groups that focus on this or that axis of identity.

                • Michael

                  “The writings addressed the “sodomite” construct of homosexuality, not the “gay” construct. The “new” definition of gay is only the transition from having it mean happy to having it describe an orientation.”

                  I see. Then you probably don’t like this quote from Benedict XVI’s document “On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons”:

                  “4. An essential dimension of authentic pastoral care is the identification of causes of confusion regarding the Church’s teaching. One is a new exegesis of Sacred Scripture which claims variously that Scripture has nothing to say on the subject of homosexuality, or that it somehow tacitly approves of it, or that all of its moral injunctions are so culture-bound that they are no longer applicable to contemporary life. These views are gravely erroneous and call for particular attention here.”

          • Paul Sho

            If anyone removes the sexual acts from homosexuality why would any Catholic have issues with homosexuality? Of course this removal is impossible.
            It is like a serial rapist saying, ” the tendencies to serial rapes are not about rapes actually; the inclination to serial rapes are much more than the act of raping. Therefore we should embrace the tendency but condemn the act”.
            No, we condemn both the tendencies (inclinations) as well as the acts. Period.

            • Mark

              The removal is not impossible because homosexual orientation is not defined as “an inclination or tendency to engage in gay sex acts.”

              As has been pointed out many times, the orientation is simply described by most people as “I like” or “I’m attracted to” or “I fall for” members of one sex. These are not code-words for “I wanna bed” even if sexual orientation has its lusts. They really are descriptions of the breadth of sexual orientation, its nature as a mode of relating, and it follows quite clearly that sex is not the only possible expression, nor the essential, nor the most common certainly.

              • Paul Sho

                If as you claim homosexual acts can be removed from homosexuality (gay) and if as the New Homophiles claim they are gay and chaste. Why would you or any New Homophile want to have an appellation or label that is the same for all intents and purposes as the appellation and label of those who indulge in homosexual acts? Why would you want to be of the same set and subset with people with a wanton promiscuous Gay Agenda?

                • Mark

                  Because it’s just true. It’s the same reason I accept the label “American” even though that puts me “in the same category” with all the people whose nationalism or liberty-fetishism makes them war-mongers and abortionists and consumerist hedonists and redneck trash and criminals and usurers and filth-peddlers and jingoistic idiots.

                  • Paul Sho

                    No Christian should willfully aspire to be in the same category with those practicing abominations in the sight of the Most High.
                    .
                    Still those who will be saved will be saved; those who will not be saved will not be saved. (cf Revelation 13)

                    • Mark

                      Well then why would I aspire to be a “Catholic”??

            • Tony

              Except this is contrary to the experience of both Catholic homosexuals and non-Catholic homosexuals, and the condemnation of the tendencies runs 100% against the clear teaching of the Church.

              • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                Where does the Church teach that we ought not “condemn” homosexual *tendencies*??? Obviously we don’t condemn homosexual *persons*, but usually when the magisterium says a particular “tendency” is objectively disordered, I’d say that’s grounds for condemnation.

                • Tony

                  Condemnation implies sinfulness if held. Ratzinger clearly states that homosexual tendencies are not sins in themselves.

                  How can one condemn something that is not freely chosen/isn’t an action that requires consent (such as holding a heresy).

                  • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                    A disordered inclination–a *temptation* to sin–is itself an *effect* of sin even though it is not sin itself. In this sense it is rightly condemned insofar as it is not itself a “good” but is a disorder of the good.

                  • Mark

                    The better path here, Tony, might be to admit that the “tendencies” are “objectively disordered” but to point out that the orientation cannot be reduced to “tendencies” or “inclinations” to this or that act.

          • CadaveraVeroInnumero

            The Doctrine is – there is NO “new reality”, sociological, biological;, or otherwise.

            It is a great confusion of thought, an insult to clear thinking, to say that there will be no changes to Doctrine, but Doctrine must yield to on-going, progressing “realities”. To assume that the “human sexual continuum” is an established cultural fact – to be with us forever, so Doctrine better buckle under – is self-deceiving and self-serving. You will be surprised how quickly that “cultural fact” will change once the conditions are right. The ideology of Progressiveism carries no promise of its inevitable survival. Which is unfortunate for this campaign of the New Homophiles. For Queer Theory – which New Homophilism is, in some form, related – is greatly (disastrously) dependent upon Progressiveism’s wherewithal to sustain its reign over the minds and societies of men. Yet, who gave Progressiveism the promise of longevity? Certainly not the God of Jews and Christians. Certainly not the received Tradition of the Church. To say that somehow Modern Man has a greater understanding of sexuality, due to its belated discovery of the “human sexual continuum” is a fallacy. There is nothing that new under the sun regarding sex. Nor, that Progressiveism, the mother/father of all sexual dissonance, the promise of the future.

            NOTE: It is a complete misuse of history to say that, before the 20th Century (or, is the French Revolution and the Romantic Movement) men only rutted about in the barnyard or in bed without any concept of psychology, let alone a philosophical understanding of the nature of human sexuality. Just read the Greeks or the Desert Fathers of Egypt. The understanding, and wisdom of the Egyptian Fathers lays waste to much of our modern sophistication, with its pretentious political sentimentality. While you’re at it, read the Valaam Fathers of Russia. (Russia’s current Anti-Gay Propaganda Law has deep roots.)

            • Mark

              Yes social constructs change. I think many people even HOPE, for example, that in a few hundred years “Race” will be a quaint relic of the past and no longer significant at all or operative on our planet. But that doesn’t mean that doctrine shouldn’t be applied to the social phenomenon TODAY in order to address it in the pastoral sphere.

              Indeed, the gay thing could be an opportunity for doctrine to address, not just one particular social construct, but to analyze the fact of social constructs in general.

              • CadaveraVeroInnumero

                Just take a look at the words, the phrasing, the language you are using. You are assuming they arrive with full authority to convey. They don’t. They do not (cannot) represent, point to UN-CONSTRUCTED realities. They do not give voice to “things as they are in themselves”.

    • Clive Staples

      Mr. Russell,

      It very well may be precisely, as Mr. Blanchard writes and FernieV posts, that the same-sex attraction is a gift, precisely as the fully human nature of Christ makes him completely vulnerable to sin as every man is. It is precisely in the denial of sin, the denial of that evil toward which you tend, the carrying of the cross, that we men, like Christ, are redeemed.

      Or, to put it differently, if the tendency toward homosexual acts cannot be a gift, then how does Christ’s human conception remain a gift to humankind?

      CS

      • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

        I intend to stand with the Catholic Church on this, namely, that the disordering of our appetites–concupiscence (which includes disorders of the sexual appetite, such as homosexuality)–is *not* something to be called a “gift”.

        • Clive Staples

          If you would, point to where it is stated by our Church that using the word concupiscence- put simply the tendency to sin- is not a “gift”. I daresay you won’t find it, and if you do, I will happily cede my argument.

          Logically, I stand to argue that it should not appear, because of its participatory nature in free will; however, my understanding is meager at best, and I would not be surprised by some confusion in my own understanding of the terms.

          Clive

          • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

            I suggest you concede the argument on this point based on a common-sense understanding of what the Church teaches. What is concupiscence according to Church teaching? It is precisely the *loss* of a “gift” and not the “giving” of one.
            Concupiscence is the result of Adam and Eve’s *loss* of the “preternatural gifts” that God gave them that enabled them to coordinate their appetites wholly in accord with right reason.
            It’s a *loss* of a gift from God.

            • Clive Staples

              Thank you for your suggestion, however, I will let logic trump common sense, and reposte with CCC 1264 (which should align with both good logic and a well formed common sense, if all of this is true), which states:

              “Yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death, and such frailties inherent in life as weaknesses of character, and so on, as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence, or metaphorically, ‘the tinder for sin’ (fomes peccati); since concupiscence ‘is left for us to wrestle with, it cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ.’ Indeed, ‘an athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.’”

              Or CCC 2515: “Concupiscence stems from the disobedience of the first sin. It unsettles man’s moral faculties and, without being in itself an offense, inclines man to commit sins.”

              There are a number of other references, but in them, concupiscence is never referred to as a loss of a gift, only as the tendency to sin. Please pardon me for doing so, I will dismiss your common-sense argument until it can be defended by something more than common sense.

              I also will say that the CCC does denote that concupiscence is something to be struggled against, but I do believe that that can in fact be a gift; the perfection of a Rubik’s cube is to be solved, that is the act of solving it (a permanently solved cube is useless); it is only in the active work of solving it that perfection is reached, and without the creation of a Rubik’s cube that can be solved and unsolved, there would be no game in it at all. Likewise the perfection of man is only possible through the attempt to be perfect, which is in turn only made possible by the ability to choose the good- the undisputed gift of God- which necessarily creates the void across which we must jump: concupiscence.

              • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                Looks like your argument is with the late Fr. John Hardon and not with me. Fr. Hardon wrote this definition of “preternatural gifts”:

                ****Favors granted by God above and beyond the powers or capacities of the nature that receives them but not beyond those of all created nature. Such gifts perfect nature but do not carry it beyond the limits of created nature. They include three great privileges to which human beings have no title–infused knowledge, absence of concupiscence, and bodily immortality. Adam and Eve possessed these gifts before the Fall.**** (Fr. John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary)

            • Guest

              Up is down and down is up. This is not a development of doctrine. It is an inversion of doctrine.

            • Melinda Selmys

              Concupiscence is the withdrawal of a gift in order to set the stage for the giving of a greater gift. Without concupiscence we would be like Satan: unable to experience the folly of our pride. It is the experience of weakness, lack of self-control, and the absurd consequences of following our own will over and against God’s plan, that leads us to repentance. Bitter medicine, sure, but if we look at it with an attitude of trust in providence and gratitude for God’s wisdom then it becomes clear that concupiscence is a gift indeed — it is a gift which reveals to us the truth about sin, and about our need for Christ’s redemptive love.

              • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                Melinda–glad we can continue conversation here (as I’ve been prevented from responding to questions addressed to me over at SF).
                As it is, I find your take on concupiscence to be baffling.
                You’re *really* asserting that the interior disorder of the human person that is a direct result of original sin (concupiscence) is a *gift*?
                I remain pretty sure that, when I receive a “gift,” the proper response is, “thank you.”
                I’m not terribly inclined to say “thank you” for having *lost* the human capacity to bring interior order to my appetites and passions.
                Rather, it would seem I’d be much more inclined to say a *huge* thank you for the preternatural gift Adam and Eve once had.

              • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                One also probably should ask: If concupiscence is a “gift”, then why was it that both Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary were “deprived” of it?
                Seems to me that, instead of being “like Satan,” if we did not have concupiscence we would be more like Jesus and Mary….

                • Christina

                  This discussion brings to mind one of my favorite sections of scripture, 1 Corinthians 1:27-31:

                  27 but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption; 31 therefore, as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord.”

                  I don’t know if I’d use the word “gift” but I am aware that somehow it is through my weaknesses that God shines His light and love. Those are the areas where I have nothing to put in His way. I’m not sure He could do much with me otherwise, as He is such a respecter of free will.

                  • Michael

                    “I don’t know if I’d use the word “gift” but I am aware that somehow it is through my weaknesses that God shines His light and love.”

                    Aww. How precious. But “weakness” is not the same thing as “sin”, nor is “imperfection” the same thing as “sin” – and homosexuality is not an imperfection, it is a sin.

                    • Mark

                      You’re absolutely equivocating on “homosexuality” here…

                      http://gcnjustin.tumblr.com/post/21504173822/the-problem-with-homosexuality

                      The basic opinion of many here seems to boil down to the something like “We must have an unambiguously negative attitude towards the whole semantic field covered by ‘homosexuality'” as if our religion is built on stigmatizing whole clusters of concepts or charging them with the “correct” negative instead of positive emotions as if spiritual health is some sort of aversion therapy…

                    • Michael

                      I am openly for stigmatizing homosexuality since it falls short of perfection. We were not baptized to live in our sins. I make no excuses about my desire to stigmatize.

                • Mary Grace Weir

                  It can be made a gift by the one who suffers with it, if they offer it up with Christ’s suffering on the cross! In this way, even prostitutes of either sexual orientation , are going to heaven maybe even before you! You are not exempt from these types of gifts, Jim, so be of great joy and love one another!

              • Michael

                “Gay” Catholic bloggers have to answer these two questions for me first before I consider them seriously: (1) How am I to trust that you are not merely using and manipulating the language of the Church in order to change a 2000-year-old tradition, as old as the Apostles themselves, of speaking out against homosexuality – both as a dishonorable passion and something that is unnatural regardless or not if it is “disordered.” (2) Related to question one, what reasons can you give me for me to believe that you are not merely cultural Marxists (or simply ignorant megaphones of culturally-Marxist ideas)?

                • Melinda Selmys

                  Michael,
                  1) You could take our word for it. “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.” (CCC 2478) Start with the assumption that we’re acting with good will in good faith, and that we are telling the truth when we declare our fidelity to Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium. From there, try to interpret our statements as favorably as possible.
                  2) I don’t know what this means. Can you define “cultural Marxism”?

                  • Michael

                    I like the way that you reason so I will accept that you are acting in goodwill, though I may not necessarily agree that the “good” you are trying to persuade traditional Catholics of is necessarily a good in itself. There is value to scorn and social disapproval, especially of homosexuality, both as a passion and as an “act.” The Church Fathers seemed content to write about homosexuality in a way that, today, we would consider “homophobic.” My judgement overall is based on my own attempt to realize the Good. After considerable reflection, I have found that attempts to redefine the definition of “gay” to suit contemporary desires is evil and an offshoot of the cultural Marxism that began in the 1960s. Cultural Marxism, stemming from the Frankfurt School of social thought, conceives of “culture” as being a legitimate form of “oppression.” As such, I view all such enterprises devoted to “changing” culture to be more accepting or what not to be evil, not to mention seriously misguided. As somewhat of an old-school Marxist myself, I don’t understand how wishing to make a minority exert power over the majority is in any way an empowerment of the proletariat. On the contrary, it seems almost bourgeois in its attitude, a kind of offshoot of Western decadence more than a devotion to the central moral and social goals of Marxism itself. And that is why cultural marxism for me, as a whole, is also a pernicious “lie” – in that it is merely an attempt to put power into the hands of a minority who do not really deserve that power.

                    • Mark

                      I don’t even know what you mean by “redefinition of gay.” The concept of gayness and sexual orientation are basically 20th century constructs of sexual subjectivity, so it is unclear how they are being “redefined.” Have you considered that maybe we’re just talking about a NEW concept that is not coextensive or essentially identifiable with what the Fathers or theologians of the past were talking about when they addressed manifestations of homosexualities?

                    • Michael

                      No. I have no intention of rationalizing away my beliefs.

                    • Melinda Selmys

                      Michael,
                      I appreciate that you acknowledge my good will :) Language use changes over time. Using contemporary language doesn’t demand that we “rationalize away” our beliefs. If you go back and look at older Catholic documents, and consider the language that is used to talk about the Jewish people, or the Muslims, or people who engage in pre-marital sex, you’ll notice that there’s been a tremendous shift in the way that we talk about people. We’re not “rationalizing away” our beliefs when we talk about other religions in respectful terms rather than calling them “perfidious” or “infidels.” Cultural change is also just a reality. I don’t have to be a cultural Marxist to acknowledge that reality. I often think of St. Paul’s ministry: when he’s talking to the Jews, he quotes a lot of scripture and he leans on Jewish ideas; but when he’s talking to the Athenians he quotes Greek poets and refers to the Athenian cult of the “unknown god.” He’s preaching the same gospel in two different cultural contexts, and in each context he uses an approach that is relevant and accessible to his audience.

                    • Michael

                      “Cultural change is also just a reality. I don’t have to be a cultural Marxist to acknowledge that reality.”

                      I would argue that you do. It’s dishonest to hold that you like and support cultural change but then disguise your language with pseudo-Catholic ideas in order to support that change. Furthermore, if we are to be honest intellectuals, we have to answer the question of WHY exactly we want said cultural change. If it is to empower gay people, fine. Just be open about those intentions. Pretending to be “Catholic” while rejecting an entire history of traditional discourse on the topic is simply dishonest.

                    • Mark

                      Yes, we want some degree of cultural change (both within and without the Church) to empower gay people. But there is nothing wrong or unCatholic about that anymore than the recent cultural empowerment of women (in spite of possible excesses).

                    • Michael

                      Really? So you wouldn’t get all flaringly mad if I said that my mission in life is to empower regular, believing Catholics that their views about homosexuality in no way err with Church tradition? That they do not, by virtue of their belief in natural law, have to listen to the cultural Marxists?

                    • Mark

                      They’re free to have informed opinions about homosexuality. But “informed opinions” means actually finding out what gay or sexual orientation MEAN, and not basing their opinions on a misunderstanding or caricature about the “what” of what they’re even talking about.

                      For example, I would not be inclined to see as valid someone’s opinions about Catholics or the Mass who thought (like the ancient Roman libel) that the Mass was a cannibalistic orgy. People can have opinions on the Mass, but I can’t validate false beliefs about WHAT a Mass even is, about what actually goes on at one.

                      Your “common man” is free to have opinions about gayness. But it isn’t up to him to say WHAT gayness even “is” because if we’re talking about two different things then he’s just setting up a straw-man while we talk past each other.

                    • Michael

                      Um, excuse me? Who made you Emperor and gave you power to decide what people “can” and “cannot” think? Go home. I like Tertullian’s words best:

                      “All other frenzies of lusts which exceed the laws of nature and are impious toward both bodies and the sexes we banish … from all shelter of the Church, for they are not sins so much as monstrosities.” (Tertullian, De pudicitia, IV, in J. McNeil, op. cit., p. 89)

                      So consider yourself banished.

                      And stop having a persecution mentality against ordinary Christian’s. Is your rectal prolapse making you excessively agitated or something?

                    • Mark

                      When the NH keep telling you this isn’t about sex, and you keep bringing it back to sex…well, you “can” think whatever you want, but you cannot be credible or judged a honest engager while in such blatantly bad faith and such willful ignorance.

                    • Melinda Selmys

                      I like and support some aspects of cultural change (the fact, for example, that we no longer consider it acceptable for homosexuals to be bullied or subjected to weird psychological experiments in an attempt to “cure” them), I dislike and do not support other aspects of cultural change (I think the loss of the concept of marriage as a permanent union between a man and a woman that is oriented towards the procreation of new life is a major cultural tragedy.) Both of those positions are completely in line with authentic Catholic teaching. I’m not sure which of my ideas you consider to be “pseudo-Catholic,” but I do take my faith quite seriously. I don’t reject or ignore the entire history of traditional discourse on this topic. I think it’s important to ask which aspects of that discourse are essential (the evaluation of homosexual acts as immoral, for example, would seem to be essential as would the notion of sexual complementarity as necessary for marriage), and which are inessential (using the term “SSA” instead of the term “gay” would be an example of something that isn’t Church doctrine and which can legitimately be questioned.)

                    • Michael

                      So when Tertullian writes: “All other frenzies of lusts which exceed the laws of nature and are impious toward both bodies and the sexes we banish … from all shelter of the Church, for they are not sins so much as monstrosities.” (Tertullian, De pudicitia, IV, in J. McNeil, op. cit., p. 89) then you agree with him?

                    • Michael

                      “so it is unclear how they are being “redefined.””

                      Is it really that “unclear.” Are you perhaps being selectively hypocritical with that statement?

                    • Mark

                      If “gay” didn’t exist in Patristic times, it is unclear how it could be “redefined” since then.

                    • Paul Sho

                      When a Catholic calls himself gay, he is saying, “lead me into the temptation of wanting to have sex with another man”. After all there is nothing wrong with the temptation. The temptation is not a sin. In fact the temptation is a gift from the divine to be accepted and fully embraced. Indeed, we should be out and about celebrating our temptations.
                      WHAT A DIABOLICAL IDEA.
                      .
                      LORD JESUS HELP US!

                    • Mark

                      I know of no gay person who would primarily define “gay ” as meaning “tempted to have sex with other men.”

                    • Michael

                      But do you know any conservatives who believe that? Maybe expand your horizons a little before you go on trying to shove lies down into the throats of ordinary believing Catholics!

                    • Mark

                      Well, again, this isn’t even logical. It’s like Republicans saying “The Democrats support throwing everyone in prison camps!” and then when the Democrats try to say “We don’t support that!” the Republicans turning around and saying “Stop dismissing the beliefs of regular Americans!” Well…but if the Democrats DON’T in fact support what they’re being accused of, what else are they supposed to say except that it isn’t true??

                    • Michael

                      One can justify anything if one’s brain is large enough. But the better question to ask is if one has reflected on the issue deeply in one’s heart. Are you aware of the evil you are spreading by being a megaphone for cultural Marxism or are you simply ignorant of the life of grace?

                    • Mark

                      Some things in the culture need to change. The toxic comments here are enough to prove it.

                    • Michael

                      “I know of no gay person who would primarily define “gay ” as meaning “tempted to have sex with other men.””

                      But how many openly gay people do you know who are or became saints?

                    • Michael

                      More power to you Paul! Don’t listen to these servants of the Father of Lies! Stay pure and pray for God’s help.

                    • Michael

                      You make no sense. Were there not “gay” (happy?) people in Patristic times? The Church Fathers described those who lusted after members of their own gender as not being very happy. They prescribed harsh penances for those with this passion.

                    • Michael

                      I can keep making absurd and superflous “linguistic” arguments if you want me to. It has no implication on the reality of the situation. There were “gay” people in Patristic times (as there are now) which the Church Fathers were not at all that “kind” in accepting.

                    • Michael

                      “Have you considered that maybe we’re just talking about a NEW concept that is not coextensive or essentially identifiable with what the Fathers or theologians of the past were talking about when they addressed manifestations of homosexualities?”

                      Yes, but I simply wonder how you can be so arrogant in thinking that you somehow know “better” than the Church Fathers?

                    • Mark

                      It’s not a question of knowing better. They just didn’t have the construct available to form an opinion on one way or the other.

                    • Michael

                      That’s a nice way of revising history to suit one’s needs. I like St. Catherine of Sienna’s phrasing of the issue:

                      “For Me, this sin against nature is so abominable that, for it alone, five cities were submersed, by virtue of the judgment of My Divine Justice, which could no longer bear them…. It is disagreeable to the demons, not because evil displeases them and they find pleasure in good, but because their nature is angelic and thus is repulsed upon seeing such an enormous sin being committed. It is true that it is the demon who hits the sinner with the poisoned arrow of lust, but when a man carries out such a sinful act, the demon leaves.” (St. Catherine of Siena, El diálogo, in Obras de Santa Catarina de Siena (Madrid: BAC, 1991), p. 292)

                      Or St. John Chrysostom:

                      “So I say to you that these are even worse than murderers, and that it would be better to die than to live in such dishonor. A murderer only separates the soul from the body, whereas these destroy the soul inside the body….. There is nothing, absolutely nothing more mad or damaging than this perversity.” (St. John Chrysostom, In Epistulam ad Romanos IV,in J. McNeill, op. cit., pp. 89-90)

                    • Mark

                      Once again, you’re just engaged in a bait and switch and setting up a straw man.

                      These people are talking about sodomy and sodomites. They are not talking about the modern concept of “Gay” one way or the other

                    • Michael

                      Those are all nice devices to use in informal reasoning. It does nothing to undermine the force or power of the Father’s words themselves, which you seem to consistently ignore.

                    • Michael

                      “I don’t even know what you mean by “redefinition of gay.””

                      Perhaps it is because you are gay yourself and cannot reason like a conservative Christian?

                  • Michael

                    I take my notions to be pursuing goodwill as much as Gabriel and the “gay” bloggers do theirs, but my criticism lies with the notion that trying to morph Catholic thinking and theology to adapt to the language of sociology and perhaps psychology is destructive to theology itself. Unfortunately my other comment that I posted here was deleted. I wonder why?

                • Jacob Wayne Torbeck

                  (1) Why would you assume they were? Simply because your narrow views are challenged? Egad! Get to know an orthodox, gay Christian. Take time to understand what they mean and why they use words carefully, as they do. Suppress the urge to be dogmatic about your vocabulary and understand that not every person hears or speaks words in the same way.

                  (2) cultural Wittgensteinians, maybe, but not Marxists. the “NH” camp hardly sees culture as inherently oppressive.

                  Your statement below that. “As such, I view all enterprises devoted to “changing” culture to be more “accepting” or what not of a “persecuted class” to be evil, not to mention seriously misguided.” is deeply disturbing. I wonder what you think, then, of efforts of Catholics to evangelize majority secular cultures, or the efforts of civil rights activists in the 50s and 60s to end beatings and lynchings and segregation.

                  • Michael

                    Your last point is a non-sequitur. Of course I accept that there is injustice and that such injustice manifests itself in various ways. But I am not about to “change” my theology because a small group mal-developed thinkers have a persecution complex against ordinary Christians due to their particular understanding of what it means to be “gay.”

                    • Jacob Wayne Torbeck

                      On the contrary, it follows directly from your own statement that you “view all enterprises devoted to “changing” culture to be more “accepting” or what not of a “persecuted class” to be evil, not to mention seriously misguided.”

                      The civil rights movement was one of these. As are apologists, in some areas.

                      It’s good that you’ve confessed that you’re merely reticent to change your mind, and that you think threats of physical violence and obscene slurs are not in the least constitutive of persecution.

                    • Mark

                      This is bizarre, because it’s almost like you believe that “gay” is a theological category we’re questioning, as if “homosexuality” is an essence defined by the deposit of faith that can never be constructed in more than one way. But words are words, and if we tell you that were talking about a different thing than what you’re describing there is no reason not to take us at our word.

                  • Michael

                    I would assume that because I have had the unfortunate occassion of having known a “gay Catholic cultural Marxist” intent on changing everything about Church teaching because it disagreed with his desire to live a worldly lifestyle without committing to any of the more difficult Church teachings. Perhaps some in this group are different, nevertheless, I have had EXTENSIVE experience in arguing with people on this issue and for some reason it always boils down to a kind of hatred for the Natural Law and what God has inspired in our hearts. If Christians were as evil as the gay cultural Marxists claim, they would not be Christians. But alas, it’s all just an attempt to justify and rationalize a disordered thought process and lifestyle and a desire to force that kind of thinking down the throats of ordinary believing Christians.

                    • Jacob Wayne Torbeck

                      “I would assume that because I have had the unfortunate occassion of having known a “gay Catholic cultural Marxist” intent on…”

                      I presume you see the flaw in making assumptions about many people because of your experience having known one, yes?

                      “If Christians were as evil as the gay cultural Marxists claim, they would not be Christians. But alas, it’s all just an attempt to justify and rationalize a disordered thought process and lifestyle and a desire to force that kind of thinking down the throats of ordinary believing Christians.”

                      See, now, the NHers are not Novatians or Donatists. It’s fairly easy for many non-heretics to see evil in other Christians and yet still be one, and even believe that the others are Christians too (just in need of grace and forgiveness).

                      …that you would presume to know the motivations of a group that you can’t even charitably characterize is worrisome.

        • Jacob Wayne Torbeck

          This is actually a narrow view of concupiscence. The wider, Thomistic understanding is that concupiscence is any yearning of the soul for the good. Indeed, concupiscence in Aquinas includes even the longing for God, and it is the result of the damage done by original sin that our desires are disordered.

          In saying that “gayness” may be a gift, I presume GIM Blanchard means this in the sense that our inclinations point us to our vocations and have something to offer us in the way of receptivity toward grace. For the “New Homophiles,” as Ruse has dubbed them, “gayness” does not equal merely temptation to sin, but also, because of their devotion to orthodoxy and living their faith, a call to celibacy (for most of them), and a deeper felt need to cultivate meaningful Christian friendships.

          Similarly, were I to say that my “straightness” were a gift, I would not mean predominantly my sexual attraction to women qua lust, which I presume to be almost universal in its grasp of heterosexual men, but that it has directed me to my vocation as husband and father, roles that have been media for grace in my life.

          • Alex

            Well, and even specifically AS attraction…there are many good and self-giving things that love and attraction motivate beyond sex. This hasn’t really been breached in this conversation yet, as it is probably the most “conversial” and scandalous idea to conservatives…but some gay people are actually living “as brother and brother” with each other in relationships that are sexually abstinent and yet to deny that it was gayness or gay attraction in the broader sense that brought them together would be silly. Yet there is much of value in these relationships, much humanizing, many of the same (though not all the same, obviously) values that occur in other forms of family or domestic life or friendship. Human relationships that involve mutual care and service are never wrong in themselves. They may CONTAIN sin (I don’t know a relationship that doesn’t), but it would be wrong to “throw the baby out with the bath-water” and condemn all the love in gay relationships when really only the sex and/or lust is morally problematic.

    • Michael

      Amen Jim! Gabriel is merely a megaphone for cultural Marxism. I honestly think he’s just not aware of the falsehoods which are dominating his thought process.

    • Michael Rzeppa

      I believe “cross” is the correct word.

  • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

    Gabriel–one more thought as to why the Exsultet text might not be an ideal support for your assertion that “gayness can be a gift is profoundly Catholic”–look at what the text says happens to the “happy fault” (current translation):
    “O truly necessary sin of Adam, destroyed completely by the Death of Christ! O happy fault that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!”
    So the Catholic view is that the Death of Christ completely destroyed the “felix culpa”….
    …completely destroyed the “gift”???

    • Clive Staples

      Once more, to respond to you, Mr. Russell, this time raising the point that the object of the destruction wrought by Redemption is “the necessary sin”- the sin itself- not the tendency to sin, which itself made possible the denial of sin, which is the key to human redemption through Christ. Although, from your later post on concupiscence, I presume you have abandoned this tenet of your rebuttal.

      CS

      • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

        No–I assert that both temptation to sin and sin itself are disordered and not gifts. The author of the column above uses the “happy fault” as evidence of the homosexual inclination as being “gift.” It’s not.

        • Ty

          I really think the issue here is semantics. Homosexuality is bad insofar as it leads to sexual immorality. In that sense, it is most certainly not a gift *in and of itself*. There are two things to add. First, the author elsewhere makes the point that you can take “gay sex” (and everything related to it) out of “gay” and still have something left. Second, I’m curious to how you interpret
          “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this
          reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in
          the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me– to keep me from exalting
          myself!” (2.Cor 12:7) Is it proper to consider Paul’s thorn a gift?

          • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

            Paul’s “thorn” apparently taught him humility and to refrain from self-exaltation–but since no one knows exactly what the “thorn” really was, we have no way of assessing whether it qualifies in itself as “gift”. What we *do* know is that Paul himself begged God “that it might leave me” and did not thank God for the “gift” of the “thorn”. Rather, Paul recognized that God’s *grace* was the real “gift” at work in him, not the thorn.

            • Gabriel Blanchard

              Yet he says that he will “gladly boast of [his] weaknesses.” I don’t see the substantial difference between that approach and this.

              • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                Meaning that you acknowledge that same-sex attraction is a *weakness*…?
                ….or is it a “strength”?

                • Gabriel Blanchard

                  Well certainly it’s a weakness. What has that got to do with it? St. Paul’s words stand, surely.

                • Mark

                  Well, it means someone has “a weakness for” cute members of the same sex. Just like heterosexuality means the same for the opposite sex ;)

                  In itself homosexuality implies no lack of virtue or greater likelihood of sinning, it is not a softness of will except inasmuch as it is a softening of the heart.

            • Guest

              100 amens.

    • Gabriel Blanchard

      Well, it wasn’t my intention to “proof text” from the Exsultet, as it were. What I was aiming for was to illustrate the paradoxical attitude toward potential and even realized evils that does characterize Catholicism. My point is that this same ironical delight can be taken in the cross of homosexuality, and indeed in any cross.

      • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

        As a Catholic, I’ve always found the “delight” to be–as the Exsultet indicates–in the *Redeemer* rather than the instrument of execution. Yet another reason why the Catholic approach is the crucifix rather than merely the cross….
        As Catholics, in any case, we *venerate* the Cross rather than “delight” in it…

  • FernieV

    Fully agree with you. God, by the gift of homosexuality to some people, is calling them to be holy by sanctifying their condition, that is, by abstaining from sins of the flesh just as much as the “straight” people ought to. Avoiding sin is doable using the means the Church teaches us: having recourse to the sacraments (Penance and Eucharist), and prayer, as well as avoiding the occasions of sin. Thank you for your article, which could help many people understand the meaning of charity.

    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

      Let’s put it more simply: the same-sex attraction that is “homosexuality” is objectively disordered because it is a form of *concupiscence*.
      And concupiscence is *not* a gift.

      • Clive Staples

        I disagree here, with Mr. Russell. Concupiscence is a gift. It must be, because it is either a derivative of free will, which is (fairly agreeably) a gift from God (and by the all-knowing and outside-of-time nature of God, a predictable and known consequence), or at the very least necessary for the existence of free will, thus participating in the gift of free will.

        • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

          Well, no, concupiscence has nothing whatever to do with being a derivative of free will–it has everything to do with the effect of original sin on our souls–our disordered temptations to sin result from the lack of coordination between our various appetites/passions and *reason*. Thus we more readily allow our *wills* to choose to give in to temptation to sin.
          Same-sex attraction is a disordered appetite/inclination/desire–it’s concupiscence writ large.

          • Clive Staples

            If it has everything to do with original sin, then it must also have everything to do with free will; they are indelibly intertwined. You are, thus, passively contributing to what I am saying elsewhere: that concupiscence is the void across which we jump, the game which we play (from the CCC metaphor), the not-Truth which we may choose.

            I have no interest in arguing that same-sex attraction is not a form of concupiscence, as I concur with that it is.

            CS

            • Mark

              Unfortunately, in its “objectively disordered” language, the Catechism implies that homosexuality is something much worse that concupiscence: a form ot total depravity unknown in any other manifestation in the Catholic Faith.

              Concupiscence in the Catholic tradition is this: that the “lower appetite” is naturally attracted to good objects, but that it is up to Reason to make sure that these various good appetites are properly “prioritized” and occur arranged in their proper contexts.

              Hence, for example, why Dan Mattson distinguishes heterosexual sexual sins from homosexual. Heterosexual sexual temptation is seen, under this analysis, to be “merely concupiscent.” It’s object is ultimately good, it’s just that the lower appetite (good in itself) is “out of context” or “misprioritized,” but the drive and its object are seen as ultimately good (just like a drive for eating is good, Reason just has to limit it to a prudent amount, etc)

              Homosexuality, on the other hand, is seen as being “ordered towards” an intrinsically evil “object.” It is constructed as an appetite that is not merely seeking good objects “in the wrong order” or “in the wrong context,” but rather as seeking an object bad in itself.

              This sort of Total Depravity was not supposed to have any place in Catholic notions of original sin (where the Will was still ordered towards the Good as its object, albeit in a “fragmented” way). Instead, this interpretation proposes an intrinsically depraved appetite that seeks an intrinsic evil and not merely “a good out of context” or “a good misprioritized.”

              I, of course, am of the other opinion: homosexual LUST is concupiscence just like heterosexual lust. But that’s only true and possible because the basic orientation itself is ordered towards the good (its merely that that good can be sought “in the wrong way,” ie, through sexual acts).

      • Matt

        Well written piece. Unfortunately, the comments here at Crisis are about as far from Christian in either doctrine or compassion as it is possible to be. It is really weird watching the whole debate over there about homosexuality being “disordered.” By definition ALL temptation is disordered, even the temptations Christ Himself faced, as ALL temptation draws one toward fulfilling a desire in a way or by a means that God did not intend. Yet James 1 is very specific, though God Himself does not tempt anyone, He allows and uses it for a very good purpose, the strengthening of faith. So it is really weird to watch the people over there howl and stamp their feet like little babies over the word “gift.” Have we really raised a generation of such immature Christians as that?

        • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

          Matt–words like “gift” actually *mean* something. It’s no sign of “immaturity” to focus on what is true and what is not about what is being said about homosexuality.
          If you really think it doesn’t matter whether we see our experience of lust, disordered desire, or sexual temptation as “gifts” or not, then maybe you could answer this:
          Is temptation to *murder* a “gift”?
          If no, then why would we want to conclude that specific temptations to lust are somehow gifts?

  • Steven Jonathan

    Gabriel, this issue is not about changing minds it is about changing hearts. And weaving a web of sophistry to justify sin best characterizes your words, not twining the rope with which you intend to hang yourself, for you would catch flies not truth. You defy Catholic truth and contradict yourself when you say “I am gay.” Gay is not something you are, it is a misuse of speech with an ulterior motive, it is a sign pointing towards proclivities, not being, it is an ontological misnomer.

    There is something more required of you to be considered orthodox. Abandon the quixotic quest to “develop doctrine” to consider “gayness” a gift, it is no gift, it is a cross, a cross we are all called to carry which takes many different forms.

    Your words are very troubling because in one sentence you say you are not sure if you are trying to change doctrine and then if a person points out that you would like to change doctrine or “see it developed” you accuse them of cowardly libel, and then proceed with the victim narrative from a class who cannot sue for libel. You would rather “not raise the hackles of your gay friends” than to speak accurately- that sounds like “human respect” and honestly an affront to Catholic teaching. There is nothing to be said for PC for Catholics, we deal in the language of the Logos, Truth incarnate- It is an act of charity to speak the truth. And if one speaks the truth in charity, the effects upon the audience are irrelevant- nearly everyone abandoned Christ at the end- He wasn’t calculating his words for the audience.

    Gabriel, the conversation doesn’t take place on the terms of the “homosexual” community, it takes place on the terms of the Body of Christ. I am not “disgusted” by you, but your words are misleading, and sophistical and will cause much more soul harm than good.

    “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.”
    You can’t widen the gate.

    • jacobhalo

      Homosexuality can be a gift, because Jesus said pick up your cross and follow me. God has given him a cross, a gift, to carry for his salvation. Jesus carried his cross which was a gift, a gift which took away our sins.

      • Steve Frank

        Back in my college days, a friend of mine (and fellow student) did an internship at a local prison for sex offenders. When the internship was over, he was told that the prisoner he had worked with was a necropheliac. The prisoner’s “sexual orientation” was such that he preferred sex with corpses. This prisoner had murdered several women to satisfy his lusts. During his time in prison he became a born again Christian and begged forgiveness from the families of his victims. So my question to you is this….was his necrophelia a “gift” from God? There’s no doubt that the awful guilt this man had over what he had done is what drove him to seek forgiveness in Christianity. So something good came out of the evil. There’s also no doubt that the awful impulses this man lived with (and perhaps still struggles with in his mind) are “crosses” to bear. Does that make it a gift?

        I’m really wondering if the problem here is one of semantics. God can take anything, no matter how evil, and make something good come out of it. But if all we need to do is point out some good that can come out of something to call it a “gift”, then everything is a gift and the word loses all meaning.

        • jacobhalo

          Necrophila isn’t the gift. The gift is the power given to him by God to see his faults, asked forgiveness, and pick up his cross. The cross that he carries is weighted down by his attraction to sex with the dead. He must carry that cross for the rest of his life. Once he drops the cross he is back to where he started.

          • Steve Frank

            Ok, let me repeat your last post verbatim and replace the word necrophelia with homosexuality:

            “Homosexuality isn’t the gift. The gift is the power given to him by God to see his faults, asked forgiveness, and pick up his cross. The cross that he carries is weighted down by his attraction to sex with the same gender. He must carry that cross for the rest of his life. Once he drops the cross he is back to where he started”.

            Is this statement also true? If so, then we both agree, although it would seem to contradict your first statement that “homosexuality can be a gift”. If it’s not true, then you need to explain why one disorder (homosexuality) is a gift and the other (necrophelia) isn’t.

            • jacobhalo

              I was wrong in my first post.

              • Steve Frank

                That’s cool. I honestly wasn’t trying to trap you in your words, just trying to find out where exactly you were coming from. I guess what this illustrates is that perhaps there is not as much disagreement on this issue as we might think. That’s why I said before that a lot of the disagreement on this issue might really come down to semantics, not substance.

    • Gabriel Blanchard

      On the contrary, I said in so many words that I am not at all trying to change doctrine. I have allowed for the possibility that what I’m talking about is a development of doctrine, within the bounds laid down by the Church on the subject of development — that is, among other things, that development is not change (at any rate not in the sense of mere alteration, but rather growth, which retains what had been there before).

      I’ve found it quite impossible to not raise somebody’s hackles in these sorts of conversations. If I have to take that sort of risk, I would rather take the risk with fellow Catholics, because they already have the Sacraments, the Scriptures, and the rest of it. The risk of so alienating the non-Christian gay people I know that they will move still further from the Church is therefore the more burning concern to me. I do not agree at all that we may ignore the probable effects of the truth upon the audience; for the truth does not exist in a vacuum: we are responsible for how we speak it. That is part of the task of evangelization. It’s quite true that we may not alter the substance to please people, but we do have to consider, not just the ways we are accustomed to speaking, but the things that are actually likely to convey the truth to an audience that isn’t familiar with, or is prejudiced against, the language we use. I don’t propose to widen the gate, but I do propose to remove what I take to be an unnecessary roadblock in front of it.

      I don’t mean anything ontological by the use of the word “gay”; I use it with the same detachment that I use the adjective “blonde” of myself. It’s just something that happens to be true about me, not a constitutive part of me. And in my experience, as I said, nobody in the gay world assumes that I’m giving “gay” an ontological significance, so their chances of being scandalized by my using it border on nonexistent.

      I will very readily admit to being a bad example — indeed, easily the very worst example among the “New Homophiles.” However, I’m rather put off by the charge of sophistry and attempting to justify sin. If my evaluation of the problem is wrong, then it seems to me sufficient to argue on those grounds, without taking away my character. (For that matter, my character being wonderful wouldn’t matter if I were wrong, either, or at any rate wouldn’t be relevant.)

      • Steven Jonathan

        Dear Gabriel, There is no doubt in my mind that you have the best of intentions. I believe you to be sincere and kind. I don’t mean to disparage your character, but I find your words and reasoning sophistical- my charge is against what I understand you to be saying, not against your character. Refute the argument not the fantasy that I am attacking you. I respect the fact that you responded, this is a sign of character. I fully respect your personhood and I admire your courage in speaking publically for what you believe- do you begrudge me the same right? Surely one of us is wrong, and if it is me, I can only learn through a dialogue.

        I agree with you that we are responsible for how we speak the truth, but we are not responsible for the outcome, or the response of the audience. It is surely something to consider, but far below the considerations of Truth in principle. When Christ spoke, nearly every left, not because of his delivery, but because it is the natural response of the afflicted to recoil at Truth. I am merely saying it is out of order to consider the response about the Truth. What is disordered in me is also repelled by the truth, and I was driven away from the Church for decades, not because of the truth, but because of my sin. It is better to hear the truth and be driven away, because one will have something to come back to. If you sugarcoat it, it will be a lie, and not only will it not repel the audience, they will have no truth to come back to.

        Your “blond” and “gay” do not match up. Being blond is an accident of birth, unless you dye your hair. Being “gay” is not an accident of birth, but speaks to other things.

        You said:

        “But honestly, I’m not certain that the things I’m seeking are developments of doctrine at all; I admit that they might be, I’m simply not sure.” The doctrine has been developed through JPII’s wonderful work in Love and Responsibility and TOB, and by many others. The Doctrine will not develop into celebrating “gay” it can’t.
        Gabriel, thank you for responding, it is a pleasant surprise. It would be nice someday to have a sit down conversation. Your brother in Christ, Steven

        • Clive Staples

          Steven,

          I ask that you cite Magisterial sources to defend the following claims, as I do not currently hold them within my understanding of the world as a Catholic, and- if true- they radically change my understanding of a number of things:

          -“Being ‘gay’ is not an accident of birth, but speaks to other things.” And, moving from this, do alcoholism
          (predisposition to imbibe) or beauty (predisposition to pride) or other worldly things “speak to other things” as well; should they be denied?
          -When you say the following, where exactly are we told that the cross is not a gift, as I always saw it as one: “Abandon the quixotic quest to “develop doctrine” to consider ‘gayness’ a gift, it is no gift, it is a cross, a cross we are all called to carry which takes many different forms.”

          Much thanks,
          Clive

          • Steven Jonathan

            Dear Clive,
            I hope I did not give the impression that all my statements are Magisterial, that would be absurd- as far as being born that way, there is no scientific evidence to corroborate it, and I leaned from Fr. Paul Scalia that there is overwhelming anecdotal evidence to support that idea that most of these disorders spring from disordered familial relationships, and certainly exacerbated by a licentious and disordered society. Personal experience has also born this out. If you know better, please do tell me, but I make no claim to Magisterial truth on this.

            Predispositions, proclivities, disordered desires, it really doesn’t matter where exactly they come from, for surely they are from the Father of Lies, but our response to them ought to be the same, there is no special exception for disorder even if we hold the opinion that we were born that way.

            Also not a Magisterial statement, the cross is not a gift, cancer is not a gift, a curse cannot be a gift, the gift is the grace from God to be sanctified through redemptive suffering. To be glad of affliction is folly, to be grateful for God’s grace, boundless mercy and forgiveness is appropriate.

            Though I am no theologian, and this is a combox, I am expressing my personal opinion, but I would assert with confidence that there cannot come a day when there is a Magisterial pronouncement that “gayness” is a gift. Not Magisterial, but I don’t state it thoughtlessly.

            I hope I have answered what you are asking me, if you have something to teach me about these things, please do.
            Yours in Christ, Steven

            • Clive Staples

              I don’t have much more to add, other than that I believe you may overstep in questioning Mr. Blanchard’s orthodoxy, and a quote from one G. K. Chesterton, which holds a truth I think Mr. Blanchard is trying to push forward:

              “The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes being corrected.”

              Let us make sure to hold fast to the truth, but always remain vigilant of the lies that love to ride alongside it.

              • Gabriel Blanchard

                I realize this isn’t directly relevant, but that’s one of my favorite Chesterton quotes!

              • St. Benedict’s Thistel

                Assuming the respective definitions of Conservative and Progressive mean what we think they mean…

        • Gabriel Blanchard

          I certainly agree that the response of others to the truth cannot be valued at the expense of the truth itself. If we were to do that, there would be no point in evangelizing at all.

          What I’m asserting, though, is that we can make use of terminology, and even (to a more limited and qualified extent) concepts, borrowed from the LGBT world, in order to make our meaning plain, in the same way that St. Paul borrowed the language and ideas of Greek philosophers and poets, or the way St. Thomas adapted Aristotle to Christianity, or the ways in which Thomas Merton employed Existential borrowings in an authentically Catholic paradigm. These things must certainly be tested against the deposit of faith, but it seems to me that a lot of people are ready to throw them out before they have even been tested.

          I am grateful for your respect. I didn’t really see how to take the mention of sophistry and justifying sin and so forth except as an attack, but if you say it was not then certainly I believe you. I often find myself misunderstanding people.

          As to the comparison of gayness and being blonde, my concern wasn’t so much to argue for this or that origin of homosexuality (a topic that is in the last resort irrelevant to the moral question anyway), as to establish that I regard gayness as, in philosophical terms, an accidental property, not a substance. That is, I’m not arguing that gay men and lesbians are a different kind of thing from straight men and women; I am using “gay” as an adjective, not a noun — hence the comparison.

          I do happen to think there are good reasons for thinking that being gay is often inborn, but that is a separate question, and the fact that I think so is a coincidence; even supposing I’m right about that, I tend to think that not much hangs on it. I mean, gay sex is wrong, regardless of whether the tendency to be interested in it is inborn or environmentally acquired.

          I have read “Love and Responsibility,” and liked it, though it was quite a demanding read! I have tried to read TOB, but so far it has defeated me (though I have to say, even though I find great difficulty following Bl. John Paul’s argument, it kind of makes you feel better in a general way after reading it). I think I’d say that what I am trying to do is figure out exactly how to apply the theology of the body in the context of a same-sex attracted celibate life.

  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    One cannot battle sin while still immersing onself in sin. I would suggest that for a same sex attracted person trying to be Orthodox, having gay friends is problematic in and of itself. You are not the best example to evangelize that community, you have too much chance of backsliding yoursself.

    • Hiro Protagonist

      I don’t buy this argument. If I were a straight male Catholic trying to evangelize to my straight friends, then having any female friends would be just as “problematic,” because I might be tempted to “backslide” by having extra-marital sex with them. So should I then only associate with males? Must one become a priest or a monk, and presumed to be above all temptations to sin, in order to speak out on matters of faith?

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        I struggle with the mortal sin of gluttony. It is NOT in my best interests to go to all you can eat buffets and enter into eating contests, and it is not evangelizing for me to hang out with people who do.

        I’m from the old school that you should only date a woman you can see yourself marrying. Friendship is nice, but without the boundaries of chastity, friendship with the object of your attraction is just objectifying the person.

    • Clive Staples

      Mr. Seeber, are you implying I should withdraw my friendships with non-Catholic people as well? This of course extrapolates from the original meaning of backsliding, which I’m sure is incorporated in your generalized colloquialism of it. I have a tendency to be skeptical, and that only gets harder when I’m with people who aren’t Catholic. This might be a good idea. The only thing is, my friend keeps telling me about this “New Evangelization” thing. Maybe I should stop listening to him, even though he is Catholic; I’ve only been friends with Jorge for a few months now.

      Clive

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        I keep non-Catholic people at an arm’s length for a reason. I certainly don’t go to their churches to worship and I am reluctant even to go for funerals and marriages.

        The “New Evangelization” should start with evangelizing Catholics to be more Catholic.

        • Melinda Selmys

          That’s an interesting point of view, but not the point of view that is espoused by the Vatican. JPII told us to engage with the aereopagi of the world, Benedict spoke of the need to engage in interfaith dialogue without being afraid for our Catholic identities, and Francis speaks of going out to “the existential peripheries.” I understand that you have Aspergers — a lot of people in my family are on the spectrum, so I totally relate to that. There are good reasons why that condition might mean that evangelization, especially of non-Catholics, would not be your charism. And that’s good — the Church needs many different gifts, as St. Paul says. But if we are as, as a Church, going to follow the teaching of the Magisterium then those of us who are able to do so really do need to evangelize people who are outside of the Catholic fold.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Fully agreed that there are those who *should* be evangelizing. But I would argue- and my original point was- that it is hard to keep a Catholic Identity until you first HAVE a Catholic Identity. Far too many Catholics today, simply don’t. 40 years of incredibly bad catechisis and large amounts of secular influence in the clergy have destroyed Catholic identity.

            And if you don’t first have a Catholic identity, you can’t very well evangelize Catholicism. Especially NOT to a group that shares your LACK of Catholic Identity.

            • Mary

              Awesome common sense argument Mr. Seeber. After you go to confession; is not part of the Act of Contrition to say “avoid the near occasions of sin”? I agree with you Mr. Seeber

          • Michael

            “if we are as, as a Church, going to follow the teaching of the Magisterium then those of us who are able to do so really do need to evangelize people who are outside of the Catholic fold.”

            I would say let us focus on the internal doctrinal problems of the Church first and evangelizing the evangelizers who don’t even know basic Catholic principles, namely priests.

            • Melinda Selmys

              I’m a convert. I (mostly) got over the disappointment :) Seriously, though, the Church has always been extremely dysfunctional from within. On the night that the only begotten Son of God ordained 12 hand-picked men to guide His Church, one of them betrayed him, one of them denied him, three of them fell asleep when they were supposed to be keeping vigil, most of them ran away. Only one out of the 12 actually stayed at the side of his Lord. It’s always been that way, it’s always going to be that way. Yes, we work to improve it, but the perfection of the Church is not separable from Her apostolic mission, and if we wait until conditions within the Church are perfect before we go out and preach the good news then we will never go out and preach. Also, why would we resent being told to evangelize? We’re part of the universal priesthood. We are given the gifts of the Holy Spirit at confirmation. I think it’s a wonderful honour, and a tremendous dignity, to be invited to participate in bringing souls to Christ.

              • Michael

                I have no professional demands forcing me to stay within the boundaries of “defending” the dysfunctionality of the Church, thus I will feel content in openly criticizing what I perceive to be that dysfunctionality. Despite all of it’s “good intentions” the majority of Western Catholicism in my opinion is lost and is stuck in a circle of self-justifying its own ineffectiveness which prevents it from being truly “evangelizing” and Christ-centered. I am not Orthodox, though I am an old-school Catholic. It is time that the Church shook off it’s delirium and intoxication with barren, progressive ideas and started doing what it was founded to do: distributing the sacraments efficiently and being faithful to the faith and liturgy handed to it by the Apostles, thus “saving souls.”

    • em

      I’m not gay, but it seems to make perfect sense that gay celibate Catholics would need the support of others who struggle just as they do. That is exactly what groups like Courage do to help and support gay celibate Catholics. These men and women carry a difficult cross and often only other individuals with same-sex attraction trying to live a celibate life can understand their particular struggles. Maybe this is where they can play a “special” role in the Church. They are a unique voice fighting against a cultural current that views all relationships as necessarily sexual and tosses out the possibilities of true friendship.

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        But he’s not talking about same sex attracted celibate Catholics, he’s talking about gays still active outside of the Church, so immersed in the culture that the phrase “same sex attracted” that ” it puts up the hackles on my gay friends, for whom the phrase has the baggage of ugly psychiatric experiments and denial.”

        These are not people who are in Courage. These are people who are fundamentally opposed to Catholic teachings on the purpose of human sexuality.

        • Melinda Selmys

          Theodore,
          I’ve never had the least inclination to “backslide” when associating with lesbian friends. Just because someone is a lesbian that doesn’t mean that a) I am attracted to them, b) that they are attracted to me, or c) that either of us is willing to cheat on our respective partners.

          Obviously a person should exercise prudence, but there’s a big difference between having gay friends and going with those friends to the local cruising grounds.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            I have problems (which I’ve expressed elsewhere on economic issues) with relying on “prudence” to keep on the side of the righteous. Far too often, when I see somebody disagreeing with Church teaching claiming “prudence” what they really mean is “I can’t figure out how to have my cake and eat it too”.

            • John200

              Good point, Mr. Seeber. The claim to prudence is ALWAYS suspect. Such suspicion is especially proper when the “prudent” one confidently steps forward into temptations well known to himself.

              Not so prudent, that.

            • Daniel P

              Some people have particular problems using prudence as an excuse for rationalizing. These people should have pastor-type people in their lives to help them realize this about themselves.

              In general, however, you can’t tell someone is doing this from afar. And prudence is, according to the Church, a cardinal virtue.

              We were told to be like Jesus. Jesus associated with sinners. The logical conclusion is that — at least sometimes — we associate with sinners. But we must exercise prudence, lest we put ourselves at the risk of our souls. It’s a balancing act. If you want something that’s not a balancing act, feel free — but it’s not authentic Christianity.

  • http://romishgraffiti.wordpress.com/ Scott W.

    A few years ago, I read a review of a book defending the all-male priesthood. Someone commented on it saying that yes, he accepted all-male priesthood and Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, but guess what? The Church hasn’t formally defined what maleness is, so perhaps there was a “development of doctrine” waiting in the wings and we’d see women priests some day. In other words, for the obstinate with an axe to grind, the Church is always one infallible declaration short of settling any issue, and one can cry, “I not trying to change doctrine!” all day because it is ultimately meaningless. I don’t think New Homophiles intend to obscure doctrine, but that is the material effects and we can see that in the so-called homosexual ministries at places like St. Francis Xavier in New York. Unless it has cleaned up its act recently, it featured “married” homosexuals in their parish profiles among other things. Imagine a ministry to Mafiosi that neglected to teach that contract-killing is immoral.

    The Church’s teaching on this subject is quite simple: Homosexuals must be treated with compassion, AND Homosexual acts are always and everywhere wrong. Any ministry claiming to minister to homosexuals must have BOTH of these teachings as clear as a bell in their mission statement or it’s a bogus ministry. We don’t lure people in with the first teaching and then try to sneak in the second and hope they get it (with the understanding that their conscience can veto it if it is too much trouble). We are not Mormons. Our teachings are not esoteric. Proclaim both of these teachings loudly and without shame and let the seed fall where it may.

    • Aaron Taylor

      You claim that the pro-gay ministry in St. Francis Xavier’s New York is one of the “effects” of the New Homophiles’ ideas.

      I’d like to hear you explain how the New Homophiles caused the problems at St. Francis Xavier’s. Or were you just trying to smear them by association?

      • http://romishgraffiti.wordpress.com/ Scott W.

        I didn’t say they directly caused the problem, but all these attempts to “nuance” straight-forward teachings are nothing but breeding grounds for all manner of mischief.

        • Mark

          Well how about this, Scott: a pre-pubescent boy develops a crush or “puppy love” on said pre-pubescent girl and they have a “playground marriage” and have a play date and hold hands and at the end he kisses her on the cheek.

          Are you opposed to this pre-pubescent heterosexuality?? This heterosexualization of children?!

    • Joe

      Interesting case, the mafia. Clearly their “family” is very loyal and sometimes physically brave and certainly they are cunning and have an entrepreneurial spirit, have traditions they respect, etc. All of these things are good traits in themselves that could be used towards some enterprise that is constructive and pro-social, but instead the mafia chooses to turn it towards crime and violence and greed and self-gain.

  • Greg Fazzari

    These articles have been fascinating.
    There are three aspects of the gay discussion that I believe really cloud the issue.
    1. It seems that “gays” think they are the only ones dealing with lust. In fact, we all do.
    2. Generally, those that “act out on their lust”, are consumed by it and fixated on it.
    3. Most gays that “speak out” on their condition, seem fixated on it.
    Most of us (who are trying to deal with our own lusts), are not that interested in the topic of lust and how others are losing their battle with it. But…maybe we should be?

    • Mark

      No, the whole point of the New Homophiles position, I think, is that gayness is not reducible to “a lust.”

      There is gay lust, of course, just like there is straight lust. But when there is, it is a perversion of the person’s orientation, not its essence.

      • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

        The Catholic Church teaches that the homosexual inclination is objectively disordered.
        That’s because the experience of same-sex attraction is a form of concupiscence.

        • Michael

          Agreed, St. John Chrysostom further points out that homosexuality in itself is a dishonorable passion, following the tradition of St. Paul. The passion is something to be conquered and something which ought to be punished with penances (at least for monks) and not something that is a “gift.”

        • Mark

          Jim, the whole point of much of these discussions is that it is not clear that “homosexual tendencies” or “inclination” is referring to the construct we now refer to as “sexual orientation.” The terms “tendency” and “inclination” imply a tendency or inclination to a specific act. And given the language of “objectively disordered,” it is implied that the “object” which makes the “inclinations” disordered is the “intrinsically disordered” object of homosexual sex acts. The logic of the Catechism is quite clear: homosexual sex acts are intrinsically disordered, therefore “inclinations” having those acts as their object…are “objectively” disordered.

          You are trying to engage in shifty extrapolations from this logic to argue that gay orientation AS A WHOLE is “objectively disordered” too, even though it is unclear what disordered object you imagine it to be ordered towards OTHER than homosexual sex acts. In order for a “tendency” to be “objective” disordered, it has to have a disordered OBJECT which it is (by definition) a tendency to commit or engage in. But aside from gay sex acts, what other disordered object has been defined?

          • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

            The “shifty extrapolation” belongs to those whose primary agenda is to truncate the “disorder” of same-sex sex acts from the originating disorder of same-sex attraction.
            You are butchering the “logic of the Catechism” if you think it’s merely concerned with physical sex acts and not also with the purity of heart of the person with same-sex attraction.
            And, seriously, you ask “what other disordered object has been defined”??? Well, I’ll tell you–same-sex attraction’s object is disordered. When some men are attracted to other men in the same way that most men are attracted to other *women*, that is by definition *disordered*.

            • Mark

              No, Jim, you are reversing the causation and even the 1986 document makes this clear.

              You seem to be saying that homosexual sex acts are disordered primarily because homosexual subjectivity is disordered and they are an expression of it.

              But this is the exact opposite. The Vatican’s order is the reverse: homosexual “inclinations” are disordered inasmuch as (and ONLY inasmuch as) they tend towards homosexual sex acts, which are disordered on their face for extrinsic reasons and not merely because of their connection to homosexual subjectivity.

              The analysis starts with homosexual acts as disordered. It then concludes that “inclinations” are disordered inasmuch as they result in these acts (but, that also implies, ONLY inasmuch as).

            • Topher

              It is unclear what you mean by “in the same way.” Obviously, if (as I’ve seen in other places in these threads) you are defining Eros as specifically “the love of a man for a woman”…then when gay men love or are attracted to men, it couldn’t possibly be “in the same way”…

      • Michael

        You are in contradiction with the teaching of the Church Fathers. Almost all of them consider homosexuality to be a dishonorable passion.

        • Mark

          I’m not “contradicting” anyone. The Fathers had no notion of “sexual orientation” (nor of “gay”) so when they speak of “homosexuality” as a dishonorable passion they are presumably speaking of some other model or construct (probably, like the catechism, one that understands “homosexual inclinations” as meaning inclinations to certain acts).

          • Michael

            Hey, whatever makes you “feel better.” Just don’t go rewriting Church history with your own dysfunctional feeling to appease that feeling.

            • Mark

              The Fathers had no notion of sexual orientation. They only imagined the homosexualities of their time and place in terms of lusting for unnatural sex acts. While that is certainly one (disordered) expression of homosexuality, the Orientation construct has made/revealed it to be much broader.

              • Michael

                Like I said, you can choose to believe that, but it is by no means a “dogma” of the Church. Just don’t go around shoving that notion down the throats of ordinary believing Catholics.

                • Mark

                  Well of course it’s not a dogma of the Church, just like the Battle of Waterloo is not a dogma of the Church. They’re both just historical facts: the Fathers, when they addressed an aspect of homosexuality, were on its face not addressing the concept of Orientation that exists in recent times.

        • Thomas R

          LVIII. The adulterer will be excluded from the sacrament for fifteen years. During four he will be a weeper, and during five a hearer, during four a kneeler, and for two a slander without communion.

          LXII. He who is guilty of unseemliness with males will be under discipline for the same time as adulterers.

          St. Basil of Caesaria

          I don’t think we still exclude adulterers for fifteen years, but point is even some you quote I think are similarly hostile to adultery and homosexuality or masturbation and homosexuality.

          Some seem to take the position the aggressor is worse. Although I’ve seen others say the more “passive” or seduced party, with males, is worse as more effeminate. Biblically I think it might make more since to say the man who seduces another man, or woman who seduces woman, is worse if they truly are more active and intentional in causing the sin to occur.

          • Michael

            I propose that we return to the paradigm introduced by ancient Council of Ancyra (A.D. 314), which dealt with
            homosexuality in two canons. In canon 16 the Church Fathers declared that laymen who had committed sodomy before the age of 20 were not to receive communion for 20 years; and those who had committed it after the age of 20, for 30 years.

            In canon 17 of the same Council, the Fathers ordered those
            who had committed this sin to pray among the “demoniacs.”

            St. Peter Damian also writes
            “When a male rushes to a male to commit impurity, this is not the natural impulse of the flesh, but only the goad of diabolical impulse. This is why the holy fathers carefully established that sodomists pray together with the deranged since they did not doubt that the sodomists were possessed.”

    • Thomas R

      I think right now “the world” is fixated on it. If it weren’t I might have never felt the need to say it anywhere. But the world is quite willing to say that people with those attractions must “come out” or that if you have those attractions you should act on them. The world is going to talk about them whether I want them to or not and though not “of the world” Catholics sometimes have to live “in the world.”

  • niko

    I’ve noticed most of the commentators who disagree with the article don’t really have contentions with the substance of the article but the terminology. While the terminology is certainly worth discussion, I think the substance of the article is the far more interesting point here.
    And I have to say that I tacitly agree with the primary premise of the article; that while same-sex attractions do not find their natural end in sexual relationships, (same-sex acts are clearly off the table for anyone, whatever their attractions may be) they might find their end in something else, possibly other relationships. It seems to me in fact that this is the strongest position since it is hard to conceive of God allowing something that can cause pain and difficulty without a glorious goal in mind. In God’s plan, he does not allow for superfluous suffering.

    • Michael

      I have a contention: prove to me that these so-called “gay Catholic bloggers” are not merely cultural Marxists disguising themselves as Catholics (or merely acting as ignorant megaphones for culturally-Marxist-inspired ideas)? Are they truly as orthodox as they claim to be? It’s pretty hard to have a degree in Classics and simply be ignorant of the 2000-year-old tradition in the Church, dating back to the Apostles and the Church Fathers themselves, of speaking out against homosexuality, both as a dishonorable passion and unnatural lifestyle that it is? I can quote HUNDREDS of saints. Dozens of Church Fathers before I reach the actual “clobber verses” of the Bible. Is that not a substantial (rather than superficial) contention?

      If the Church Fathers felt it was sympathetic enough to use the language they used in denouncing homosexuality in their times, and the saints throughout our Catholic history felt comfortable speaking loudly and even obnoxiously about sin and our need to repent, why on earth should we change our strategy now?

      Well?

      • Jacob Wayne Torbeck

        (1) That claim is absurd… the burden of proof rests on you. Or, you know, you could stop making absurd assumptions.

        (2) There are certain saints whose written words always ring of charity, and others that are likely canonized for other reasons. It is not best to always imitate every aspect of a saint’s life or language, but to seek earnestly the path of holiness to which we are individually called. Also, why seek to “clobber” those who have chosen chaste and/or celibate lives?

        (3) Gang-rape, I’m sure, is just as damnable when it’s heterosexual.

        (4) Since joy is a spiritual emotion based upon encountering the good, it is impossible to enjoy sin. Demons are no exception. See Augustine’s De Doctrina Christiana for his section on enjoyment.

        (5) Niko’s answered this already; pay attention. It is not the temptation to sin in itself that is the gift but the intended end of the concupiscence (understood Thomistically) that leads the “gay” Christian to rely upon grace and understand his or her unique vocation.

        (6) You keep accusing them of cultural Marxism… again, more like Wittgensteinians. There is no assertion here that culture is inherently oppressive. See my comment re: this below.

        • Michael

          (1) That claim is absurd… the burden of proof rests on you

          Oh really? It is not I who am trying to change Christian perspectives on things to suit my own dysfunction.

          • Jacob Wayne Torbeck

            …Given your posts on this article, I believe that to be debatable.

            • Michael

              Well, by that statement “Jacob”, you have proven to me that you are a cultural Marxist, for only someone with that perspective considers following the Natural Law to be a dysfunction.

              • Jacob Wayne Torbeck

                A claim I have not made, but again, I have no reason to believe you follow the Natural Law.

                • Michael

                  *Yawn* I’m a bit tired. I think it’s time to go to bed. Keep making personal attacks against me and my ideas while I am away, though….It’s helps your position SO much.

                  • Jacob Wayne Torbeck

                    But you see, I knew a commenter once who didn’t follow natural law. Now you have to prove to me that you follow it. See what I did there?

                    Also, my last three or four replies have been to a large degree facetious. I thought you’d catch on when I started talking about pedigree and inbreeding. GG, mate, I wish you the best, but our discourse seems to have reached its end.

                    • Michael

                      If you were being facetious in this one instance then I have every reason to believe that you are not a liar and manipulator in other instances as well and thus have no reason to listen at all to what you have to say. Sarcasm, cynicism and schadenfreude are not from the Spirit of God but from the worldly spirit, the Spirit of Lies. Have a good day! And good luck.

            • PsychDoc

              I’m on the conservative side of this question, but as a psychiatrist I must agree: Michael’s ramblings and strange semantic obsessions and talking past people and pressured writing are highly suggestive of some level of paranoid schizophrenia.

              • Michael

                Well thank you for the ad-hoc psychological evaluation “Dr.Mark.” You are quite mistaken, though. I have been psychotic in the past and suicidal and been treated for depression, which I have recently recovered from. But thank you SO MUCH for your “professional” evaluation.

              • Michael

                I’m well aware of the “smear campaigns” employed by psycopaths in order to destroy people they don’t like, however. Have you ever been tested for that “Dr. Mark”?

        • Michael

          (6) I said that they could be EITHER cultural Marxists or MEGAPHONES for cultural Marxism. Considering that most of these commenters are ignorant of what cultural Marxism even is, I would presume the latter.

          Saying that they are “Wittgensteinians” is such a vague word and concept. Do you mean that they are logical positivists or simply mind readers? Either claim is simply odd.

          • Jacob Wayne Torbeck

            Cf. the linguistic philosophy of Wittgenstein.

            It was meant to be odd, given your odd claim about Marxists.

            • Michael

              It’s only odd to you since you are a child of the cultural Marxist revolutionaries in the 60’s and 70’s. If you think about this a bit more globally, you will see where you fit in history.

              • Jacob Wayne Torbeck

                Actually my parents are conservatives who repudiated the liberal affiliations of their parents, and they were born in the 1950’s. My grandparents were born in the 1920’s and 30’s. Beyond that, there starts to be a wide variance and only marginal inbreeding on the Welsh side, but that wasn’t all that uncommon in 16th century minor nobility.

                • Michael

                  I’m sure that your blue-bloodedness will help you a lot in getting into Heaven…

                • Michael

                  I meant to say “spiritual child” of the cultural Marxists. I apologize for the confusion.

            • Michael

              I have thought about this rebuttal of yours. If they are “Wittgensteinians” they sure as hell have a difficult time reaching a common understanding with the “minds” of ordinary Christians or in using a language that is commonly understood by all…

        • Michael

          “(2) There are certain saints whose written words always ring of charity, and others that are likely canonized for other reasons.”

          Reasons such as? Defending their faith? Dying as martyrs? Fighting heresy? Considering that today is the feast day of St. John Chrysostom in the traditional calendar, a Father and Doctor of the Church, I wonder how “agreeable” you would find these words of his:

          “All passions are dishonorable, for the soul is even more prejudiced and degraded by sin than is the body by disease; but the worst of all passions is lust between men…. The sins against nature are more difficult and less rewarding, since true pleasure is only the one according to nature. But when God abandons a man, everything is turned upside down! Therefore, not only are their passions [of the homosexuals] satanic, but their lives are diabolic….. So I say to you that these are even worse than murderers, and that it would be better to die than to live in such dishonor. A murderer only separates the soul from the body, whereas these destroy the soul inside the body….. There is nothing, absolutely nothing more mad or damaging than this perversity.” (St. John Chrysostom, In Epistulam ad Romanos IV,in J. McNeill, op. cit., pp. 89-90)

          I’m sorry if that *stings.* You have no reason to seek the protection of the Church if you don’t like those words, though. You are free to become a Unitarian Universalist and openly admit that. The other option, is, of course, a deeper conversion.

          Also, another contention: given your claim about saints being canonized for “other reasons” which you don’t specify exactly I can’t understand how what you claim is nothing other than a particularized “cherry-picking” of saints and doctrines in order simply to “tickle one’s ears” in order to appease a guilty conscience.

        • CadaveraVeroInnumero

          Is St. Damien to be exiled and excommunicated from this conversation?

          https://www.newoxfordreview.org/reviews.jsp?did=1113-gardiner

          If the answer is yes, or, at least he must be seen as a product of his time, by what authority, then, do the New Homophiles “clobber together” its list of saints and writings?

          The stand of the New Homophiles is certainly a product of its time – Queer Theory incorporating into current Catholic thought and governing institutions; homosexuality emptied of all meaning for the totally invented concept of Queerism. So, what in the near or far future will prevent the position of the New Homophiles, itself, from being vacated and turned aside?

          Which is why the New Homophiles desperately need the language of the Catechism to change, rewritten to accommodate (incorporate) the new sociological/anthropological realities. That way the New Homophiles can claim that they are always in lockstep with Church teaching – as us non-New Homophiles are not.

          If the New Homophiles should loose the evangelization of the Queer Community is stunted. The revelers at San Francisco’s Folsom St. Fair would be lost – unless their salvation is hidden as gifts within their exceptionalsim. Folsom St. is,, to say the least, as exception. Though, we can count on St. Damien to be there,, but he wouldn’t be Queering the language of the Gospel!

          The notion that the timeline before us is always ongoing and progressing is the most self-deluding and self-defeating of mental idolatries.

          St. Damien pray for us – and the New Homophiles.

          NOTE: One cannot be Queer and not be homosexual. If the exceptional gifts come by homosexuality – in that homosexuality (SSA) defines the form and content of said gifts – they cannot be held or practiced without the stain.

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  • Love in the Ruins

    I have become deeply interested in this conversation over the past several years. One conclusion I have drawn is that we would benefit tremendously from trying to lay out the different senses of the term gay and what we mean by it. I can think of at least a handful (by no means an exhaustive list) of distinct ways it is being used:
    1) gay as a secular community united not only by a certain set of sexual preferences/inclinations, but by a political and social agenda
    2) gay as an identity linked in some way to the above community, and (perhaps or perhaps not) to its political and social agenda
    3) gay as a description specifically of a set of sexual inclinations
    4) gay as a community of people who share a set of sexual inclinations, and a set of social challenges that ensue from them
    5) gay as an identity linked to the community described in 4 and the inclinations described in 3.

    I don’t see any solid ground on which to object to the senses of gay implied by 3, 4, and 5 as at least a possibility for Catholics (whether or not it is prudent is another question, but I don’t believe it’s excluded prima facie as a possibility). It seems to me that the New Homophiles movement is interested in using the term primarily in these senses (and with the clear qualification that this is a Catholic-ly gay perspective, and all that faithfulness implies in terms of moral commitments), and secondarily to represent a tenuous and highly qualified relationship to the senses implied by 1 and 2. The secondary sense seems important for the purposes of a general sense of support against bigotry and other social ills historically associated with homosexuality (similar to the way the New Feminism adopted the term feminism), but also as a connection that enables the NH movement to be leaven to the rest of the gay community — to have a modeling relationship somewhat like what Christian married people strive to have to non-Christian married people.

    One further note on the discussion of a celebration of Catholic gay identity (and this is only in reference to one portion of that discussion). I believe what Gabriel is getting at in reference to the felix culpa might be helpfully linked to the practice of the veneration of the Cross on Good Friday. We kiss the cross not because of its expression of order but precisely because of the revelation of love put into action by its disorder. There is in Chesterton’s simple formulation, a ‘happy paradox’ at the heart of the Cross, and likewise, the crosses we are asked to bear and that will transform us by the love they demand of us. We see communities arise out of the desire to embrace the cross as cross, while also celebrating the love and strength that are revealed by it (I think of AA, for example). I think the New Homophiles are searching for a way of articulating this aspect of being gay and Catholic: the discovery of the paradox in their cross, that it is both a moral and spiritual challenge and an opportunity to glorify God in a way uniquely shaped by that specific cross.

    • Gabriel Blanchard

      Thank you. :)

    • Mary

      Does not the word “gay” literally mean happy/joyful? Seems to me the word itself has been hy-jacked and if so remember words are symbolical and one centimeter off from the true meaning is the diabolical; the lie of the word. hmmm.

      • ME

        Mary, that is one of my concerns. Look at the word Marriage that is currently being re-defined…. Its one thing to take language from a culture that uses it, but when that culture is corrupting the language for their own intents and purposes, that is problematic to work from.

        • Michael

          All of these efforts to “redefine” traditional meanings are merely the efforts and operations of cultural Marxists wishing to impose a “new” morality upon the common man. As long as a majority of the people are (I suppose) heterosexual, then let the proletariat have their freedom to define the words however they wish! The “sufferings” of “gay” people, whatever you call them, are over-exaggerated. It is merely an attempt to gain power in the workplace, in academia and anywhere else there is power to be gained so that a minority can rule the majority. And that’s ironic, since this “cultural” Marxism kind of contradicts what real Marxism is really about.

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  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

    When these Homophile articles began Crisis posted a delightful essay (a story, really) about the tested friendship between two men from Australia. As the battle within these Homophile articles commenced I have kept that story in mind. It helped.

    http://www.crisismagazine.com/2013/the-burden-of-friendship

    With sincere apologies to the Australians, I asked myself: Would their friendship been enhanced if it was sexualized? (By that I do not mean sexually active; it is meant in the way the New Homophiles define the uniqueness of their same-sex attraction, or, as we have now been scolded to now say, the state of “queerness”.) Put another way, did their friendship miss out in not possessing those unique “gifts” of being queerly gay?

    Discussed this and more in my other posts – especially those addressed to Melinda. Click on my moniker, it’s public.

    • Mark

      Well, while their friendship is very admirable, I doubt they would have been able to stand each other’s constant presence. Only chemistry of the “romantic” sort can usually make that sort of plurality-of-your-time bond possible.

      • CadaveraVeroInnumero

        Are child/parent relationships “romantic”? A while back you mentioned something about the widening an expansion of male to male and child to parents, in these past 40 years. Boundaries that need to be renegotiated.

        The craving for boundary expansion is a kind of lust that will cannibalize the New Homophiles movement: in the end, make it fodder food for old-fashion sodomy.

        My God, how far have we fallen. So now incest is to be renegotiated along the lines that the New Homophiles have done with homosexuality. Why not? It may uncover some hidden gifts!

        NOTE: The gross claim that only homosexuals understand and experience the fullness of certain emotions and relations -as if anal intercourse, and the orientation nonsense that goes with it, becomes the fleshing out of the best of mankind – is a revolting rebellion against the Spirit of God who breathed his breathe into Adam.

        This obsessive wish to enter utterly into another man’s body, to lay down with another man’s flesh, to shatter and scatter one’s very being into another man’s psyche and soul, to scoop up that man’s shattered sexual self into one’s own pulverized self – is a sickness unto death.

  • JoseProvi

    I think what the good orthodox Catholics that read Crisis want from gays is that even if they accept, and live, Church teaching they must always understand themselves as broken and their homosexual tendencies as evil. It’s very hard to accept oneself and try to follow Church teaching when you view your inclination as something evil. The “New Homophile” approach has been very helpful in my own life. I’m very traditional but unfortunately the approach of my fellow tradition-minded Catholics towards homosexuality is very hostile. I’m sure many of you here want to keep it that way. You’d like to pretend that we don’t exist and that we are making a big deal out of nothing. I’d rather see my homosexuality as something that can help me empathize with others and grow closer to God. I often wonder if I would be so close to God if I were straight. Maybe God is using this to bring me closer to him. I can never know for sure, but it’s a lot healthier to put some positive light into it instead of treating it as a sickness with no cure. The comments below show little empathy for those that carry this Cross. This is part of why we have lost this culture war.

    • Guest

      It is the exact opposite. What people want is for the “new” homosexuals to accept their cross like everyone else does. See it for what it is and stop the nuancing.

      • Michael

        Agreed. There is nothing new under the sun. These “new” homophiles, or whatever they call themselves, are just like the cultural Marxists of the 60’s and 70’s. They wish to change the Church more than they wish to change themselves.

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      “It’s very hard to accept oneself and try to follow Church teaching when you view your inclination as something evil.”

      I do it all the time. But maybe, I don’t entirely accept myself.

    • Michael

      “You’d like to pretend that we don’t exist and that we are making a big deal out of nothing. I’d rather see my homosexuality as something that can help me empathize with others and grow closer to God.”

      No one’s pretending that you don’t exist. They’re just trying to get you to abandon unecessary titles like “gay” and “homosexual” and live a new life in Christ. Yes, you exist as a person, but personhood in its purest form has nothing to do with “homosexuality.”

      • Mark

        You can’t ask people to abandon an axis of their subjectivity without diminishing their personhood. To do so is to ask people to compartmentalize their capacity for communion with others.

        • Michael

          Yes I can, and I just did.

          • St. Benedict’s Thistle

            Just a thank you, Michael, for keeping it real here. I have followed each comment on this thread and appreciate your willingness to hang in there and ‘fight the good fight’. Being a sinner myself, I am very aware of the subtleties and nuances one uses to avoid admitting ‘sinnerhood’, especially in the realm of sexual sins, which so often are habitual and do lasting harm to our souls. Perhaps, the desire to change or obfuscate Church teaching has its genesis in the suppression of the Natural Law written on our hearts. Cutting ourselves off of what is divinely written on our hearts may, perhaps, lead to embracing a false or incomplete identity, one that would feel threatened if challenged to consider more than an earthy, sensual selfhood.

        • Michael

          Yes, I can, and I just did. I clearly define personhood differently than you, taking the beatific vision into account rather than simply remaining deep down in the pragmatic dregs of what a “person” is thought to be.

      • Thomas R

        Why can’t the term be like the titles “alcoholic” or “bipolar” or “glutton” or whatever?

        Meaning it doesn’t define who you are, but might explain some things about you. And how you deal with it might be relevant to who you are and what you have to avoid. It might be nice if I could admit I have some same-sex attractions so I could more easily avoid some situations. Like say films where attractive men are dressed and act very sexually. I’ve sort-of been in a situation where I watched a movie like that with a female relative and it’s not like I can say “My attraction to him is making me uncomfortable” or whatever. But if I express embarrassment at a sexy dancing woman, I have those attractions too, I can sheepishly say “this is making me uncomfortable, can I leave?”

        But the message I get from posts citing the early writers is that my response to the situation should be to just really hate myself. To know that finding XYZ man “sexy” is a sign I am evil. And I can just tell you even if that’s orthodox, it’s not helpful. Obsessing on how evil I am is just going to be obsessing on the sin even more. (Granted there can at times be something cathartic in it, but I think the periods where I was like “I know you are right to hate me God and just in sending me to Hell” feels theologically off to me now. I guess I could go back to that if it truly is “right”, but being assured of your own damnation I’m pretty certain is not right but is instead the sin of despair)

        If the goal is for gays to realize they are evil, so they will lock themselves up in mental institutions or commit suicide, than “Your thoughts put you in league with Satan” is a sensible thing to do. If the goal is for the SSA to obey the rules of the Church it isn’t ideal, I don’t think.

        • Michael

          I propose that we return to the paradigm introduced by ancient Council of Ancyra (A.D. 314), which dealt with
          homosexuality in two canons. In canon 16 the Church Fathers declared that laymen who had committed sodomy before the age of 20 were not to receive communion for 20 years; and those who had committed it after the age of 20, for 30 years.

          In canon 17 of the same Council, the Fathers ordered those
          who had committed this sin to pray among the “demoniacs.”

          St. Peter Damian also writes
          “When a male rushes to a male to commit impurity, this is not the natural impulse of the flesh, but only the goad of diabolical impulse. This is why the holy fathers carefully established that sodomists pray together with the deranged since they did not doubt that the sodomists were possessed.”

          Given this position of the Church, I don’t doubt they are possessed either. And neither does it seem does Bishop Paprocki of Springfield, IL who is himself a leader in reviving the practice of exorcism in the United States.

  • Stephen Krogh

    John Hull, a theologian whose sight left him in the middle of his academic career, much to his initial distress, enjoyed a spiritual experience he believes he would otherwise have missed but for his blindness. Sitting in a church he was moved by the music he heard in way he’d never been before. He writes,

    “the thought keeps coming back to me…. Could there be a strange way in which blindness is a dark, paradoxical gift? Does it offer a way of life, a purification, an economy? Is it really like a kind of painful purging through a death? …. If blindness is a gift, it is not one that I would wish on anybody…. [But in the midst of music in church] as the whole place and my mind were filled with that wonderful music, I found myself saying, ‘I accept the gift. I accept the gift.’ I was filled with a profound sense of worship. I felt that I was in the very presence of God, that the giver of the gift had drawn near to me to inspect his handiwork…. If I hardly dared approach him, he hardly dared approach me… He had, as it were, thrown his cloak of darkness around me from a distance, but had now drawn near to seek a kind of reassurance from me that everything was all right, that he had not misjudged the situation, that he did not have to stay. ‘It’s all right,’ I was saying to him, ‘There’s no need to wait. Go on, you can go now; everything’s fine.”

    Perhaps Gabriel and his fellow writers have something like this in mind when considering his homosexuality a gift. Of course it wouldn’t be wanted all things considered, but here it is, and it is for them by God’s grace to do with it as they will to glorify him and bring others to him. Hull believes that he wouldn’t have been able to have the experience with his sight; perhaps others could have, but he couldn’t, and it was only by virtue of his blindness, a defect in the power of sight, that he grew closer to God in this way. That doesn’t sound like a celebration of blindness as such, but rather a celebration of God’s unwillingness to give up on us, and his ability to use us as we are to the furthering of his kingdom. Prima facie, there doesn’t seem to be anything about homosexuality as such that implying that God either couldn’t or wouldn’t bless homosexuals with a similar grace, nor does it seem that this admission is tantamount to accepting the sins that often fall out from homosexual attraction, nor to a call for reversing doctrine, nor anything of the sort.

    • Guest

      Is pedophilia a gift?

      • Stephen Krogh

        Rather than attempting a reductio with an obviously load question, would you be interested instead in a conversation regarding Hull’s belief that his blindness is a gift and the relation that attitude might have to our present discussion?

        • Guest

          But, your group likes the “gift” language when it is some item like blindness but not when it is pedophilia, Why?

          • Stephen Krogh

            Another question? Should I accept that you’re not going to engage what I’ve written with discussion, but rather with probing questions? If so, then I must admit that it’s a tack I’m not particularly interested in taking.

            • Guest

              You do not like my analogy. I used it to show that the “gift” language is used to obfuscate what is going on. May God bring evil out of good? Yes. Does that mean all disordered desires should be called gifts? No.

              • Stephen Krogh

                I haven’t commented on your analogy one way or the other, except to suggest, as you make plain here, that it is an attempt at a reductio. Whether I like it is something I’ve yet to express.

                Regarding the inference from my analogy to the claim that all disordered desires should be called gifts, I’m not sure it follows. At least, I know I didn’t intend for that inference to be drawn, and think there are good reasons to avoid drawing it. Thus, if you see it in the analogy, I can only assure you that I wasn’t drawing it, and recommend you not either. And, if your concern for pedophilia rests upon it, then it should be clear how I think you should respond.

                • http://europa-antiqua-arca.blogspot.com/ arcadius

                  Reductio ad absurdum is a valid form of disproving something. I think Guest here makes a valid point. You may “think there are good reasons to avoid drawing it” but I don’t see what those reasons are, particularly when we compare pedophilia to homosexuality rather than blindness (which has no moral implications). The author of the article suggests that although homosexuality leads to temptations to sexual perversion, it can somehow be considered a gift. Why then couldn’t pedophilia also? After all, the ancient Greeks didn’t have a problem with it.

                  • Stephen Krogh

                    I didn’t mean to imply that my concern with the reductio was formal, i.e., my concern regarding the question wasn’t that reductiones ad absurdum are problematic in principle, but rather that I was more interested in a direct engagement with my position rather than an oblique one.

                    You say you don’t know why the inference from 1. blindness and homosexuality are relevantly similar qua disorders, and could be considered gifts to 2. therefore, all disorders could be gifts is problematic. Frankly, I’m not sure how it could be seen as anything other than manifestly illicit (I don’t mean that to sound as snarky as I think it is going to, but the inference is so clearly facile to me that I’m having a hard time seeing a justification for it). Perhaps, however, you’d like to defend it. I would be interested in seeing a defense (I mean that). As a silly counter-example, however, we can consider someone suffering from a disorder resulting in solipcism whereby she’s convinced that she is the only agent who exists. Here her disorder rules out in principle any attempt to credit God with anything, and seems to be by definition something that shouldn’t be considered a gift.

                    Perhaps I’ve misunderstood your point here, but you point out (rightly, I think) that homosexuality and pedophilia can have moral implications when acted upon whereas blindness generally doesn’t, but I’m not sure why that’s relevant. My analogy concerned blindness and homosexuality qua disorders, a broad distinction to be sure, and one perhaps in need of winnowing, but I don’t see any clear reason why we ought to consider homosexuality in light of pedophilia simply because the two have moral connotation. Perhaps there is an argument there, and I’d be happy to hear it, but I don’t see any reason to do so apart from a argument.

                    • http://europa-antiqua-arca.blogspot.com/ arcadius

                      Since blindness has no moral component, it is easier for me to accept that God might give it to someone in order to sharpen their spiritual sight and draw them closer to Him. You might even say that blindness blocks many temptations, particularly sexual ones.

                      It’s more difficult for me to accept that homosexuality is similarly a gift. We pray for God to “lead us not into temptation,” which is what same-sex attraction would appear to do.

                      And then if you accept homosexuality as a gift, it’s unclear to me how, logically, one couldn’t also do so with pedophilia. Why is it acceptable in the one case but not the other? After all, despite their very different statuses in present-day society, they are not all that different. Both are sexual attractions to a class of people one should not be attracted to.

                    • Stephen Krogh

                      I think I see your position more clearly now.

                      You suggest that homosexuality might lead one to temptation. I’m not a homosexual, so I can’t speak to that. I am, however, a heterosexual, and though I am sometimes tempted to sexual immorality of one stripe or another, I’m not sure it is on account of my heterosexuality that I am, but something else extrinsic to my sexuality at all. Of course, the salient difference is that as a heterosexual I am capable of licitly engaging in sexual acts, which, as a married man and father, it is clear enough that I’ve done before, whereas a homosexual couldn’t Fine, but, as Gabriel has said elsewhere, it seems that one can remove any consideration at all for sex and still be a homosexual, i.e., homosexuality isn’t defined by gay sex as such, but rather a disposition or attraction. In this case, gay sex is not to homosexuality as sex is to heterosexuality, but rather as otherwise illicit heterosexual sex is to heterosexuality. And, the temptation for heterosexual sexual sin doesn’t seem to be any different in kind that for homosexual sexual sin, and thus I don’t see how being homosexual implies a greater temptation as such than, say, a celibate heterosexual.

                      Regarding the similarity between homosexuality and pedophilia qua disorders of attraction, it seems that the similarity essentially stops there. For, though homosexual attraction is disordered attraction, as is pedophilic attraction, the latter goes much further, it seems, necessarily including an element of predation, i.e., an important power dynamic whereby one partner in the couple necessarily exercises an inequitable level of control upon the other, to say nothing of the clear fact that children can’t exercise their sexuality in a mature and otherwise safe way out right, homosexual or heterosexual. This is obviously not the case with homosexuality, and is, I take it, an important distinction between the two, important enough, in fact, that the two only seem to be relevantly similar, given they are related to attraction, but are, in fact, not.

                      Regarding blindness, perhaps it is relevantly dissimilar to homosexuality that the analogy falls apart, but I don’t think it is for the reasons you intimate here. You say, for instance, that blindness could block temptations, but as I say above, I don’t think that homosexuality necessarily leads one to temptation, so, given that they don’t seem to be working against each other, i.e., one possibly preventing temptation, while the other possibly inviting it, I’m not sure that the two couldn’t be considered together as disorders. Again, perhaps there is a reason to suspect that the analogy falls apart, but the only point I mean to draw from it is that God uses disorders to bring glory to his name and to save souls, and I don’t yet see any reason to suspect that homosexuality isn’t counted among them, whereas I think there is reason to suspect that a global misanthropy, solipsism, and likely pedophilia more clearly than not wouldn’t be.

                    • Michael

                      I don’t understand why you use language like “heterosexual” and “homosexual” in the first place. That is too limiting. Sexuality is a “spectrum,” at least for the “pan-sexualists” and some bisexuals.

                      Perhaps we should stop focusing on all of the “gay oppression” and having a persecution mentality against people who hold traditional Catholic beliefs and “come out” for the true cultural Marxists that we really are? We aren’t concerned about God or attaining Heaven in the beatific vision. We simply wish to change cultural conceptions and we will arrive at that in any way possible: exalting our intellect over less qualified foes, manipulation of the Church’s moral language, attempts to redefine words and limit conception to very narrowly-defined meanings, but only in specific contexts.

                      Gabriel has still not responded to my contention that he is a cultural Marxist. Sure he “claims” to not want to “change” church teaching, but we all know that one can “say one thing, but do another.”

                    • Stephen Krogh

                      Well, I use the language because it is the received language for this discussion. Perhaps you think it is too exclusive, but somehow I doubt that.

                      Regarding oppression, I’m not sure where I’ve mentioned oppression at all. Indeed, a cursory reading of my comments above shows that I haven’t employed that language, so I’m not sure why you’ve brought it up here. Perhaps, however, I’ve overlooked the implications of something I’ve said. If so, then I’d be happy to address those implications if you could direct me towards them.

                      Finally, I cannot speak for Gabriel, but I can assure that I am not a cultural Marxist. I’m not sure what that assurance is worth to you, but here it is. I would caution you, however, to work under a hermeneutic of suspicion as you seem to be doing. Though you’re right to point out that people sometimes say one thing while meaning another, a basic principle of charity in a discussion is that one should expect the best in his interlocutor, i.e., not assuming that he is being disingenuous. Thus, it seems that the better position is to trust Gabriel on his claim that he doesn’t actually want to change church teaching, and work to reconcile that fact with the apparent contradiction you see in it. It’s the road less traveled and all that.

                      The same goes, I think, for inherently suspicious language like “manipulation” of moral teaching, and “exalting” intellects over “less qualified foes.” I don’t see any “foes” here, nor do I see any exaltation of one’s intellect over another’s, and, as I suggest above, a hermeneutic of charity encourages me to look for explanations of positions, arguments, and so on that help me to see something other than manipulation.

                    • Michael

                      “it is the received language for this discussion”

                      By whom exactly? The bandwagon majority?

                    • Stephen Krogh

                      You’re free to use whatever terminology you please, Michael. I won’t stop you. But language’s primary purpose is communication, often arising in spontaneous and imprecise ways. That we’re communicating using these terms, however, and that we’re comprehending each other seems to make pretty clear that this is the received language; seeking out whose decision that was, or what field of study determined it, is a fool’s errand given the spontaneous nature of language. But, you’re free to undertake it. I won’t stop you there either.

                      But, to be honest I’m not particularly interested in discussing semantics with you, unless you could do so in a way that would further the conversation we’ve been having regarding the nature of disorders and whether they can be efficacious as a means of grace, i.e., a gift.

                    • Michael

                      I know that you are not interested because you have culturally-Marxist purposes of “changing” Catholic conservatives who have every legal right to believe what they wish. Only an ideologue would end the conversation here, saying that it is not being “productive.” Like I said, just be open about your cultural Marxism and your desire to “change” Catholics who really have no need to change as they follow the natural law. There is no need to “hide” it under a pseudo-Catholic guise. It’s okay to admit that you hate Catholics and Catholic conservatives. They hate you too. Let’s just all be honest.

                    • Mark

                      No one is changing a definition of anything! Indeed, the term “gay” was probably used as a NEW term for sexual orientation in order to emphasize how it was a concept different than previous constructions of homosexuality.

                      There is no way to “redefine” the “Patristic notion of Gay” because there was no “Patristic notion of Gay.” They were addressing a particular historically contingent construct of homosexuality and inasmuch as things (like the condemntation of homosexual sex acts) are universally valid, they remain true. But we simply have a new paradigm of sexual orientation operative today that wasn’t operative then. It’s not redefining anything, it’s just addressing the new de facto social reality we find ourselves in.

                    • Michael

                      Keep saying to yourself that there is a “new social reality.” As Ecclesiastes points out, there is nothing new under the sun. Homosexuality has been with us since ancient times. Need I simply open a history book and show you examples from Greek pottery or the mosaics in Pompei? There would not be a story of “Sodom and Gomorrah” if there was not such a thing as sodomy and “men sleeping with men” or “women with women.” Have fun redefining history. It only intensifies the lie you are trying to sow.

                    • Mark

                      But that’s not what people are talking about when they say gay orientation. If we meant sex, we’d say sex.

                    • Michael

                      “Regarding oppression, I’m not sure where I’ve mentioned oppression at all. Indeed, a cursory reading of my comments above shows that I haven’t employed that language, so I’m not sure why you’ve brought it up here.”

                      I find it funny and somewhat hypocritical that someone who presses so much “stress” upon what kind of “language” we Catholics should use in our discussion of homosexuality – at times cricizing that excessive emphasis, even though the same person is actually the “cause” of said emphasis – also takes a literalistic, almost Pharisaical issue with a substantial argument presented against the very thesis of what they so-called “new” homophiles are trying to achieve, that is cultural “change.”

                      I also find it funny how you “caution” me regarding “charity” and all that. Is it really a “mortal sin” to be homophobic. Surely the Church Fathers didn’t consider their “language” to be too “offensive” in their own times. I would add to my criticism this, you have a very over-inflated ego. Consider that maybe you aren’t “better” than everyone else before lecturing them on “charity.”

                    • Alex

                      The Church Fathers had no notion of “sexual orientation” because it is a 20th century construct! So this is a non-sequitur.

                    • Michael

                      Um, really? You mean that when they refer to the “dishonorable and unnatural passion” of men lusting for men, they are not addressing “homosexuality”? That the word “homosexuality” is a 20th Century construct I readily and have always acknowledged but I also consider it a synonym for the reality, whatever “language” you choose. That the “passion” of homosexuality is wrong and something to be condemned and punished with harsh penances is not a non-sequitur. Brush up on your Patristics.

                    • Mark

                      Michael, when they address the dishonorable and unnatural passion of “men lusting for men” they are addressing one manifestation of or expression of homosexuality in history (a bad and sinful or at least objectively disordered one).

                      But the whole point of what many in these comments have been trying to get across is that “men lusting for men” is not the definition of “gay orientation” anymore than “murderous wrath” is the definition of “anger.” Yes, murder (or, at least, wishing death on someone) is ONE expression of anger (and an evil one, of course) but that doesn’t make all anger bad.

                      What you’re doing is almost like looking at the Fathers, seeing them condemn “Wrath” or “Rage”…and then using that to condemn people for being “Type A”…even though Type A Personality is not reducible to wrath/rage or bloodlust or any particular inclination towards violent passion.

                    • Michael

                      *Yawn* Well as I have argued elsewhere, specifically on my own blog, the majority of Catholics don’t “see” the word “gay” as meaning what you would like it to mean. For them, especially in less “developed” countries, being “gay” or “homosexual” or whatever word you choose is the same thing as saying that you are a prostitute. Now I don’t understand why someone would choose to self-identify as a prostitute if they have never slept with anyone, and then be “upset” for the social disapproval and “negativity” that they are given, wishing to change everyone else’s conception of what it “means” to be prostitute. I hope that draws a good enough parallel for you to reflect on regarding the notion of “homosexuality.”

                    • Mark

                      But this is silly. If someone is using a word, the people listening should make an effort to figure out what the intent is. Gays define “gay.” It’s not up to conservative straights to say, “When you say Gay, I hear ‘man whore'” when the gays insist “Um, that’s not really what we mean or how it’s defined.”

                    • Michael

                      Aha, but here we arrive at the crux of the problem. All of this merely an effort for the “liberal” gays to redefine what the “conservative” Catholics should think. And if that is so, please be open and come out of the closet about being culturally Marxist. Don’t be shy. Just be open about it.

                    • Patrick

                      It’s not an attempt for them to redefine what you think. It’s an attempt to correct a redefinition of what they meant by others.

                      Intentionally interpreting a word via a definition that you know is not the one intended by the speaker is to intentionally distort the speaker’s meaning.

                      What is received is received in the mode of the receiver, yes. But what is sent is sent in the mode of the sender, as well.

                    • Stephen Krogh

                      I’m not sure what stress I’ve placed upon language at all. Indeed, it seems that you’ve been the one more concerned in this regard, as it was your objection to terms such as “homosexual” and “heterosexual” that brought language into this at all. I’m also not sure where I’ve been Pharisaical, but would be willing to see where I have been.

                      Regarding mortal sin, I’m not sure whether homophobia is a mortal sin, but I haven’t pronounced on that one way or another—nor would I; I’m not a theologian, nor do I have a proper office in the church to make the claim—so I’m not sure I see the connection here. My caution regarding charity still stands, however, regardless of the fact that the fathers used language that would be considered uncharitable today. We live in different times, and what counts as charitable is different now that it was then. This fact doesn’t introduce rank relativism, of course, because the charity has to do with the presentation of one’s message, as well as his assumptions and approach to his interlocutor, and not necessarily the message he’s presenting. Thus, you could speak very differently than the fathers while still maintaining fidelity with their message. Pointing this out has nothing to do with ego, because it has nothing to do with me, nor with how I regard myself vis-a-vis the father—for what it’s worth, I don’t regard myself as much when compared to them—but rather with how to conduct a discussion in a way that is most edifying not only to the interlocutors, but, hopefully, to God himself.

                      Surely, someone can offer advice without assuming he is better than the person he’s giving the advice to. I take this as obvious, and am sure you will upon further reflection.

                    • Michael

                      I have a deep wariness of anyone who claims to be doing “good” by trying to change the beliefs of ordinary Christians. Before you lecture me on charity, consider an Ignatian discernment of spirits on this matter yourself, whether you are following the Spirit of God or a false spirit whose goal is to spread confusion and despair.

                    • Stephen Krogh

                      I don’t think I’m trying to change anyone’s position. Not all conversations, nor even debates, imply that each side is trying to convince the other, even in issues like this. Sometimes it is just helpful to discuss issues to see where one stands on a position, what the strengths and weaknesses of that position and others are, and how to respond to them. That is more of what I’m doing here.

                      Also, I’m not lecturing anyone. As I said before, I am offering a recommendation. I trust you can see that difference.

                      And, I believe very strongly that despite my manifest sin and unworthiness, God continues to offer himself through the Eucharist, and his grace through the sacraments, and make himself known to me in my life. In prayer and sacrament I often search my soul, and ask the Holy Spirit for direction, Mary for her prayers, Jesus for his mediation, and the Father for his compassion. I may stumble, and may find myself heading down the wrong path from time to time, but I follow Christ as best I can through the media he’s given his followers and church.

                    • Paul Sho

                      The question that follows from your last paragraph is this: if you met a Christian on Main street or Broad street who says he is gay and homosexually active what would you tell him?

                    • Michael

                      I would probably pay lip service to his philosophy, rendering unto Ceasar what is due to Ceasar, while going about my day with no additional stress.

                    • Stephen Krogh

                      I have no idea what I’d say to him, but I’m confident that any conversation regarding faith and sexuality wouldn’t occur upon initially meeting someone. Though I certainly accept that homosexual sex is immoral, a sin, and all that, my evangelism doesn’t typically consist in pointing out people’s sins to them, at least not immediately, unless, of course, gratuitous.

                      I suppose in this way, if I met a Christian man at a bar who confessed to me after a few hours that he is cheating on his wife, I am not sure my initial reaction would be to remind him of his vows, or that his philandering is sinful. I certainly wouldn’t condone it, but I would take a different tack, I think. Precisely what that would look like, however, is difficult for me to say.

                    • Paul Sho

                      As you rightly say homosexual sex is immoral, but the Christian you met on Broad street sees himself as in the same boat as you and the other Homophiles. You are all gay according to your definitions. So why would the Christian on Broad street want to desist from homosexual acts? As far as he is concerned the New Homophiles are merely having issues with scrupulous consciences.

                    • Mark

                      Hopefully he’d see, through the fullness of our lives and spirit, that this wasn’t true. Hopefully one of the big things that would be attractive about our attitude would be our authenticity, first and foremost, and our broad-minded tolerance, and finally our discreet but firm conviction in spite of that/

                    • Mark

                      The problem here isn’t that you are wary of people trying to change other people’s beliefs. We probably should be “wary” of that.

                      Except in this case, the main belief I’m trying to change is your belief ABOUT MY BELIEFS. I’m not trying to change your beliefs “in themselves,” merely to correct your beliefs about WHAT I/WE BELIEVE.

                      And if you refuse to have that correct, it just seems awfully like bad faith. Like the Radical Baptist who, even when told otherwise by a Catholic, insists that “I believe that Catholics worship Mary and the Pope and won’t be told otherwise, because that’s just my beliefs.” Well not exactly, it’s your beliefs ABOUT OUR BELIEFS. And that’s a little different, because it’s only us who has a right to define our beliefs. You can disagree with those beliefs, then, but it’s just odd and wrong to insist that what I “really” believe is something different from what I believe and say I believe.

                    • Michael

                      You make no sense. Until you can speak to me like an ordinary human being so that we can understand each other, I will just consider the words you posted above as jibber-jabber.

                      Perhaps you are speaking in your own “private” language?

                    • Michael

                      “I don’t see any “foes” here, nor do I see any exaltation of one’s intellect over another’s, and, as I suggest above, a hermeneutic of charity encourages me to look for explanations of positions, arguments, and so on that help me to see something other than manipulation.”

                      Maybe that’s a result of your own narrow-minded myopia?

                    • Stephen Krogh

                      Your criticisms couldn’t be missed, Michael, but I fail to see how their existence makes us foes, nor how they point to intellects being exalted over inferiors. I see, instead, people having a conversation over important and deeply held positions. If Peter and Paul can share their disagreements without considering each his enemy, then I’m sure we can as well.

                    • Michael

                      Well I’m glad that my criticisms were at least seriously considered! I sincerely thank you all for that. I have been involved in debating this issue for quite some time and have tried to develop my own original views on the matter. I am glad that the people are listening. By all means, please don’t consider me ignorant of what you have to say, merely that I have reflected on what is being said and have tried to reduce it and provide an original response. Thank you again for the consideration of my views!

                    • Stephen Krogh

                      I’m always willing to have a discussion, and am glad that you are too.

                      I don’t consider you ignorant, Michael, and am happy to hear any position on this and many other matters. Iron sharpens iron, and the mind is no different.

                    • Michael

                      Awesome! Thank you again for the consideration of my views.

                      From an old school Marxist perspective, cultural Marxism is erroneous since it seeks to give power to a small minority to rule over the majority. That is, the majority of the proletariat is heterosexual, thus it seems somewhat contradictory why we would want to put a minority into positions of influence and power if not merely to control the majority. I would thus consider cultural Marxism to be a degenerate form of Marxism, like Stalinism, in that it seeks only to reward a small “in group.” Like all of Marxism, however, there is no escaping this effect. Thus I would like for us to return to a vision of personal ethical responsibility towards ourselves and our neighbors as well as our work rather than try to “change” society by force and the manipulation of power structures. The structures themselves are irrelevant so long as just, honest, disciplined, virtuous and exemplary people fill those positions of power.

            • Michael

              “Another question?”

              How about you actually answer it!

  • Jordan Friedman

    I tremble at the depth and extent of the evil and untruth I behold in the comments stream. The question of whether homosexual behavior is moral or permissible is a question on which there can be disagreement in philosophical and religious circles. It is a moral claim, and anyone can, at least from a logical perspective, have any opinion on it. If the Catholic Church declares homosexual behavior to be objectively wrong and you accept the trajectory of epistemology and authority associated with the Magisterium, then it makes perfect sense to believe homosexual behavior to be impermissible.

    The question of whether homosexuality as an orientation is an objective disorder is a different sort of question. That question has been answered by the disciplines of psychology, neurology, biology, chemistry, genetics, sociology, and even zoology. To oppose those findings is simply intellectually dishonest and objectively, factually wrong.

    In order to be a respectable, informed, intellectual individual and simultaneously be a faithful Catholic, one must hold that homosexuality (the orientation) is not in any way an objective disorder, but that its expression through homosexual acts is nevertheless objectively wrong, sinful, impermissible, etc. I know many who believe that, including prominent theologians on faculty at my Jesuit university. However, even then, it remains a question whether homosexual expression is a subjective sin in addition to being an objective sin. I suspect many would put it on the same level as masturbation, though it seems to me that the Church is more likely to “develop” on that in the near future than it is on homosexuality.

    If I were Catholic, I would not be able to hold that tension. I would have to either conclude that science was wrong and become an anti-scientist fundamentalist, or conclude that for some reason, the system of development of Church Tradition had become broken, and failed to remain in consonance with growing knowledge about ontological reality. I would then be forced either to silently wish, hope, and pray for a development of official teaching (for which there is substantial precedent) or leave the Church altogether, realizing that no soterio-eschatological harm could come to me for following Truth.

    Thank God, I am neither Catholic nor homosexual, and thus don’t have to deal with this theological headache.

    • kmk

      What brought you to this article?

    • Austin Ruse

      Please provide the chemistry cite.

    • Michael

      “I suspect many would put it on the same level as masturbation, though it seems to me that the Church is more likely to “develop” on that in the near future than it is on homosexuality.”

      That is unlikely and it’s a false hope. Moral theology doesn’t “develop” it merely clarifies. Regarding both homosexual sin and masterbation, both are considered mortally sinful. There have been numerous attempts to “reinterpret” the Church’s teaching on sexual issues dating back to as far back as the 1940’s, when it was suddenly popular for Christians to use contraceptives, even though it hadn’t been at all popular a few decades earlier – but all of these “Catholic” objections provided by laity and scholars during that time have in a large part been clarified and rejected in the most recent Magisterial document “Veritatis Splendor” by Pope John Paul II. Catholic moral theology is largely Thomistic, and even if the logic is flawless, if the intention is considered evil, or contrary to traditional belief, the innovations will be rejected.

    • Michael

      “If I were Catholic, I would not be able to hold that tension. I would have to either conclude that science was wrong and become an anti-scientist fundamentalist, or conclude that for some reason, the system of development of Church Tradition had become broken, and failed to remain in consonance with growing knowledge about ontological reality. I would then be forced either to silently wish, hope, and pray for a development of official teaching (for which there is substantial precedent) or leave the Church altogether, realizing that no soterio-eschatological harm could come to me for following Truth.”

      I don’t understand why you perceive that there is a tension between science and faith. God and moral truths are matters of the heart. I don’t know what you define “science” to be exactly, as I presume you are aware there is much debate on that matter and a whole discipline devoted to that debate. Is your “trouble” here in any way related perhaps, to an extreme epistemological naturalism? If so, then maybe that is your own problem to resolve. Perhaps you put too much faith in “science,” whatever that is, and do not have a clear picture of what the purpose of “science” is. Perhaps your adherence to science is more a fundamentalist religious adherence than an intellectual one?

    • Objectivetruth

      Reading your post carefully, it seems the problem is you don’t have a very good understanding of Catholicism. You see that a lot with non Catholics posting on this site. They make anti Catholic judgements and claims, and as you scratch the surface, you find their knowledge of Catholicism consists of what they learned from anti Catholic diatribes from CNN and MSNBC. Regardless of your claims of “at my Jesuit University.”

    • Thomas R

      ” To oppose those findings is simply intellectually dishonest and objectively, factually wrong.”

      There is no headache, not for me anyway, or dishonesty or whatever. My opinion as to why is likely going to be unpopular here though.

      The evidence you know of likely shows that homosexuality is not dysfunctional. In a secular society a person’s homosexuality won’t, in itself, make themselves a danger to themselves or others. Unlike many, maybe most, others here I’m willing to grant that.

      But this is often a statement about how society works or material philosophy. You don’t need to be “anti-science” in order to not base your view of morals or religion purely on science or economic and political systems. The notion that Psychology is some kind of totality might not leave room for religion anyway.

      Religion has a great deal to do with purpose and meaning, not mere functionality. The desire to have sex with your own sex is disordered because it goes against the purpose of sex. The union of male and female as well as the production of new life. There are species that manage with specimens who desire to “mount” an animals head or even, grossly, dead bodies. And to “mount” their own sex. This is an abnormality or disorder in Catholic thinking. It is “unnatural”, that it happens in nature makes no difference, because it’s going against purpose. It is using sex in ways that are abnormal, unnecessary, etc.

      Science is the study of phenomenon, generally only the repeatable phenomena, of nature. That science may describe homosexuality or see no purely material harm in it, if that’s the case, is not a contradiction of the idea it’s a disorder. Because, to me, it’s not so much about whether it’s a disorder in terms of material or biochemical actions. (And this is about as arch-conservative as I get on it, but sadly I know this will be called lenient cultural Marxism or something anyway.)

      • Guest

        The basic problem is one of philosophy and how one really grasps reality. For science to determine what is health and what is pathology presupposes a philosophical foundation not a scientific one. To even ask if something is pathology means one is using philosophy not simple “science”.

        So, when so-called science tells us that “gay” desire and actions are “healthy” that assumes the person asserting that knows what pathology is and is not some reductionist that claims as long as one can put on pants and not burn down houses one is healthy.

  • cestusdei

    I am sorry, but same sex attraction is no more a gift then muscular dystrophy. That is only an analogy, but it gives the idea. It may not be your choice, but it is not a good thing in and of itself. It is a result of the twisting of sexuality that occurred at the Fall. The gift is the grace that helps you bear it and triumph over it.

    • John200

      Admire your concise distillation of the truth. It is perfectly clear; it clears the cobwebs of deceit that surround this whole topic.

      Well done.

    • Michael

      Amen! As Catholics we should be empowered by the long tradition in the Church dating back from the saints, to the Church Fathers, to the Apostles and even Jesus himself of speaking out loudly against sin and homosexuality and hence, of whatever goes against the Divine personhood we are all called to – and the beatific vision. It will be a life of virtue that merits eternal beatitude, not a life of vice and saying “meh” to tempation, concupiscence and all of the other things which are not truly human but arising from a good, but fallen nature. Didn’t we conquer our fallen nature through our Baptism. Doesn’t the sacrament of Confession restore our Baptismal purity?

      If we follow Christ, there should be not spot or stain in our life. Everything will be “purged” by fire in purgatory, including one’s “gayness”. One contention I will make to this article is that it is pretty myopic about what is truly “human” as well as how that will play out in our eternal destiny.

    • Gabriel Blanchard

      That is a very good parallel, which illustrates something of what we mean by distinguishing between gayness and same-sex attraction. When we talk about being gay, we’re talking about something broader than same-sex sexual desires; we’re talking about the more general experience of life, and especially of relating to people, that is inevitably influenced by that condition. And that broader category is not simply bad.

      That being said, I’d be prepared to call something like muscular dystrophy a gift (or, to take an example that is more personal for me, Down Syndrome, which affects the second-youngest of my nephews). That has to be qualified, of course, because these aren’t things to be desired for their own sake. But they do, as you point out, provide an opportunity for grace to operate. That grace is the essential gift; I am willing to refer to the occasions as gifts by extension, in the same way that the Exsultet refers to sin and guilt as “happy” and “necessary,” not in themselves, but in relation to the Cross.

      • Michael

        “we’re talking about the more general experience of life, and especially of relating to people, that is inevitably influenced by that condition. And that broader category is not simply bad.”

        You mean the experience of agoraphobia, depression, mental illness, despair, contracting and suffering from AIDS and the whole slew of negative things easily correlated to the “gay” experience?

      • Michael

        Furthermore, why all of this “gay exceptionalism”? Why don’t we, um, focus on the suffering of bisexuals, pedophiles, necrophiles, criminals, murderers, intersex children and give THEM special places in the “Inclusion” ministries of most parishes?

      • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

        So you want to call something a “gift” that is not a thing “to be desired for [its] own sake”??? Some gift, right?
        “Hey, God–thanks for this thing I don’t really desire!”
        Rather, as you say above, isn’t it “Hey, God–thanks for your *grace* which helps me cope with this thing I don’t really desire!” ?
        But can’t we agree to leave the “Exsultet” out of it? The “fault” there, again, was *destroyed*, not celebrated as a “gift”….
        Lastly, picking up again the question of 2 Cor: is same-sex attraction a “weakness” or a “strength,” using Paul’s language in 2 Cor?

        • Gabriel Blanchard

          Well, at the very worst, we might say of this cross, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away: blessed be the name of the Lord.” I don’t consider “Some gift” to be a good way of responding to God; since I believed He has, perhaps not positively willed, but any any rate permitted, that I be same-sex attracted through no choice of my own, I assume that this is “so the works of God might be manifest” and accept it. Certainly there is a distinction between thanking God for graces and thanking God for the conditions that make the graces necessary; but my point about the Exsultet (which we can leave aside if it’s important to you) and about St. Paul in II Corinthians was that such things illustrate a willingness to thank God for the conditions even so.

          I am reminded of a passage in “The Hiding Place,” by Corrie ten Boom, a member of the Dutch Resistance. She and her sister Betsy were sent to a concentration camp after being caught hiding Jews, and when they were sent to the prisoners’ quarters after arriving, Betsy said they should look around and thank God for everything they had there. They noticed that there were fleas infesting the place, and Betsy prayed in thanksgiving for them, which Corrie thought was crazy. As time wore on, they began holding a Bible study in secret for the other prisoners, and were puzzled that the guards never came in — relieved, too, since that would have put a stop to the Bible study, but puzzled. It then emerged later, in a conversation with one of the guards, that none of them would enter that particular room because it was crawling with fleas.

          I don’t like fleas, but I’m prepared to give thanks for them. God knows what He’s doing.

          • Gabriel Blanchard

            Oops, that should’ve been “believe” in the first paragraph, not “believed.”

          • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

            God definitely does not “positively will” that a person, for largely unexplained psychological reasons, continually experiences a disordered temptation to be sexually attracted to someone of the same sex. And *yes* I totally agree that it’s a great *opportunity* to manifest the works of God in *response* to the temptation by *crucifying* it just as Paul says in Galatians: “Those who belong to Christ have *crucified* their flesh with its passions and desires.” (Gal 5:24).
            We are called to crucify these temptations and *then* thank God for the “gift” of His grace in doing so.
            Particularly regarding what is “gay,” this is vitally important to properly articulate in our time because for secular culture “gay” is the “new normal”–witness the celebration of gay “marriage” last night at the Grammys. If we simply conflate the idea of “gift” with the “temptation” when speaking *in* the Church, we’ll be virtually indistinguishable from the language of secular culture’s description of “gay”, which would be foolish.

            • Mark

              “a disordered temptation”

              A temptation has to be a temptation to a particular sin. What sin is being gay a “temptation” towards?

  • Michael

    “The idea that gayness can be a gift is profoundly Catholic.”

    *Ahem* St. John Chrysotom, St. Peter Damian and all of the Church Fathers speaking against both “gayness” and homosexuality being unnatural and a dishonorable passion doesn’t ring any bells from a Church history class for you? *ahem*, *ahem*. “Gayness” is a gift for the cultural Marxists, definitely, but it is surely nothing “Catholic.” Sorry to burst your bubble.

    • Thomas R

      The idea that there is a value in overcoming temptations, sometimes described as truly disgusting ones, is pretty common though too. The Desert Fathers indicated people will be tested in many ways. I think one might have even said a man might be tested by desire for a man, but I’m not sure.

      You do do a good job in citing Medieval Church fathers, and it does make me reflect, but many of the people you cite also believed prostitution was necessary to keep men from going after virgins and that Jews should not be allowed to live among Christians.

      Even if you believe in that too, that’s not the world we live in. We’re not going to segregate Jews away from everyone else. We’re not going to be able to cure all gays and it’s at least understandable to see the “disorder” the way we see other disorders that lead to sin. (Drug addiction, alcoholism, etc)

      If one feels it’s necessary for gays to not just be chaste, but get cured or consider themselves to be possessed by a demon, then you really are ultimately just going to lose about every Catholic under 40. Not just in the US, but in much of Latin America and the Philippines too. (Going by what I know) And maybe there is a value in a very small “pure” church that “stands for things” but the SSPX is around.

      • Michael

        Well, I propose that we return to the paradigm introduced by ancient Council of Ancyra (A.D. 314), which dealt with
        homosexuality in two canons. In canon 16 the Church Fathers declared that laymen who had committed sodomy before the age of 20 were not to receive communion for 20 years; and those who had committed it after the age of 20, for 30 years.

        In canon 17 of the same Council, the Fathers ordered those
        who had committed this sin to pray among the “demoniacs.”

        St. Peter Damian also writes
        “When a male rushes to a male to commit impurity, this is not the natural impulse of the flesh, but only the goad of diabolical impulse. This is why the holy fathers carefully established that sodomists pray together with the deranged since they did not doubt that the sodomists were possessed.”

        Given this position of the Church, I don’t doubt they are possessed either. And neither does it seem does Bishop Paprocki of Springfield, IL who is himself a leader in reviving the practice of exorcism in the United States.

        • Thomas R

          First some of you are talking about people who simply had the attraction, not those who actually committed sodomy.

          Second the Council of Ancyra was not one of the Ecumenical Councils.

          Third, punishments that severe I’m not sure were done very often even before Vatican II.

          Fourth my understanding is that Doctors of the Church do not, necessarily, have binding authority on all doctrine or dogma. Augustine, as I recall, believed unbaptized babies go to Hell where they suffer if only mildly so. Some other teachings of Augustine are not binding.

          Fifth, You may choose to not doubt whatever you wish to not doubt. But I’m not sure you have an definitive statement from an Ecumenical Council or Papal ruling on the matter. The Catechism does put the “Sin of Sodom” among four that “cry out to Heaven” but whether that sin is homosexuality alone or predatory homosexual behavior or societies that preference homosexuality (like some in New Guinea) is debated. (That it has something to do with homosexuality I’m not even denying)

  • Michael

    “my loyalty to the Church and espousal of her doctrine is one of my defining traits”

    That’s a very grandiose thing to say about oneself.

    • Gabriel Blanchard

      I didn’t say I was more loyal to the Magisterium than other people; only that I do, in fact, confess what she teaches. Why should that be taken as a comparison of myself to others?

      Of course it is something hypocrites also say — though I should have thought that the dangerously two-sided nature of that charge would discourage anyone from putting it forward. Regardless, it seems to me both unwarranted and uncharitable to operate on the assumption that I am a liar.

      As to the loaded question with which you closed, I am at a loss as to why you have decided that I’m a cultural Marxist, since, so far as I know, there is literally nothing that I have ever written, here or elsewhere, that would suggest that I am a Marxist either culturally or in any other way. However, since you seem to be deciding what I think irrespective of what I say in my own defense, there is probably little point in arguing over it.

      • Michael

        “only that I do, in fact, confess what she teaches.”

        Aha. Do you only confess that selectively or the do you confess the whole shebang?

        • Gabriel Blanchard

          I confess everything that the Church infallibly teaches. That includes the teaching stated in the Catechism paragraphs 2357-2359 (though obviously the Church does teach plenty of other things infallibly as well).

          • Michael

            That’s nice. How are we to believe that you are not simply a “Catholic” under a Unitarian Universalist paradigm with respect to the other more “uncomfortable” teachings which are not infallible but nevertheless somewhat authoritative (and perhaps “Magisterial”? Such as, well, the position of Benedict XVI when he wrote “On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons”:

            “4. An essential dimension of authentic pastoral care is the identification of causes of confusion regarding the Church’s teaching. One is a new exegesis of Sacred Scripture which claims variously that Scripture has nothing to say on the subject of homosexuality, or that it somehow tacitly approves of it, or that all of its moral injunctions are so culture-bound that they are no longer applicable to contemporary life. These views are gravely erroneous and call for particular attention here.”

            “Thus, in Genesis 19:1-11, the deterioration due to sin continues in the story of the men of Sodom. There can be no doubt of the moral judgement made there against homosexual relations. In Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, in the course of describing the conditions necessary for belonging to the Chosen People, the author excludes from the People of God those who behave in a homosexual fashion.”

            Or:

            “This does not mean that homosexual persons are not often generous and giving of themselves; but when they engage in homosexual activity they confirm within themselves a disordered sexual inclination which is essentially self-indulgent.”

            Or:

            “As in every moral disorder, homosexual activity prevents one’s own fulfillment and happiness by acting contrary to the creative wisdom of God. The Church, in rejecting erroneous opinions regarding homosexuality, does not limit but rather defends personal freedom and dignity realistically and authentically understood.”

            Or, perhaps most apt to this discussion:

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

            • Mark

              “Catholic under a Unitarian Universalist paradigm”?? What is this nonsense?

              • Michael

                Oh, well, you know. It’s the kind of thinking similar to: “I’m a Catholic, dogmatically, sure but I’m on a journey where I cherry-pick what I do and don’t like about Catholicism when it comes to issues like contraception, abortion and homosexuality. I’m essentially forging my own Catholic experience with no real regard for how people in the past have done things in the past. It’s MY journey and “I” own it. And no one can tell me otherwise – not even the Pope – as clerics are douchebags sometimes…”

                • Mark

                  I don’t think I’m cherry-picking on anything. We all must accept the Law and negotiate our own “separate peace.”

                  • Michael

                    No, no no, we each just all have our own separate JOURNEYS and no one Catholic Christian conservative can tell the other gay Catholic Christian Universalist that they “journey” is somehow wrong. Both of our journeys are RIGHT.

                    • Mark

                      Hm, that’s a fascinating way to look at it. Everyone is seeking, everyone is “learning” through their own mistakes, everyone is growing according to their own fits and starts, everyone is internalizing meaning according to their own story. Interesting.

                    • Michael

                      I’m telling you. Unitarian Universalism is the way to go for you.

                    • Mark

                      I admire them very much. The problem, as I see it, is exactly that they lack “the scandal of particularity.” Their universalizing tendencies leave them too abstract and “generic.” There is no content, only process. I believe Catholicism is the perfect synthesis of content and process, because our content is the process and that’s the beauty of it. As Von Balthasar says, “She enters into the
                      world and becomes for the world one religion among others, one
                      community among others, one doctrine and truth among others- just as
                      Christ became one man among others, outwardly indistinguishable from
                      them.”

                    • Michael

                      “The problem, as I see it, is exactly that they lack “the scandal of particularity.””

                      That can easily be remedied. Just find yourselves some priests with valid orders who would be able to celebrate Mass for you and such as well as to ordain new priests so that the movement lives on. Then you can enjoy all of the glories of the Catholic sacraments (except perhaps, Confession – you would probably need to go a regular priest in good standing for that) and live peacefully in the Church without wanting to bother all of these “conservative” Christians who know nothing about your gay experience. You can, you know, twist the rules a bit and make it work…You could even claim to be creating your own sui generis Church, which perhaps, could also one day contribute to the rich social and liturgical traditional of the Church if you happen to develop gay rites where liturgical dancing is allowed…kind of like what the Anglicans did when they were granted and Anglican ordinariate….

              • Michael

                Here’s a quote from uua.org website:

                “I like to call Unitarian Universalism a religion that is beyond belief. We won’t ask you to try to believe what you find unbelievable. We do challenge ourselves to be faithful to our highest aspirations and to our most deeply held convictions.

                We will ask you to love what you love and to be faithful to what you love. We commit ourselves to walk together, to heal what is broken, to support each other in life’s journey, to make a difference in our lives and in the world.”

            • Gabriel Blanchard

              I have stated, repeatedly and explicitly, that I confess what the Church infallibly teaches and reject what she infallibly condemns. So far as I can tell, your question amounts to asking how you can know that I’m not lying. Technically, I suppose you can’t, but if you choose to believe that I am lying then there is no point in conducting a conversation in the first place.

              • Michael

                Fine. Whatever. I accept you for who you are.

          • Michael

            .

  • Michael

    How about we get over both the excessive “homophilia” as well as the exaggerated sense of “homophobia” and simply look at reality as it really is? If you make poor choices, that’s your own problem in your life. Don’t expect everyone else to suddenly become your Mother and constantly stroke your ego for fear of being rejected or not knowing what to do.

  • hombre111

    Extraordinary piece of work. Gabriel, you are one of those who will bring peace and wholeness to this discussion.

  • hombre111

    Gabriel, don’t let the “all or nothing” guys who post below cause you discouragement. They labor with great effort to maintain a black and white world that has this annoying way of slipping into shades of gray. Think of their superhuman effort of avoid thought or compassion, and feel sorry for them, because as any artist knows, the world lives in a grey scale, and that is what makes it so interesting.

    • Guest

      When one is unprincipled everything is gray.

  • Michael

    I’m feeling a bit preachy, so I thought I would include some quotes here:

    ST. AUGUSTINE, BISHOP OF HIPPO:
    “Sins against nature, therefore, like the sin of Sodom, are abominable and deserve punishment whenever and wherever they are committed. If all nations committed them, all alike would be held guilty of the same charge in God’s law, for our Maker did not prescribe that we should use each other in this way. In fact, the relationship that we ought to have with God is itself violated when our nature, of which He is Author, is desecrated by perverted lust.”

    Furthermore, “Your punishments are for sins which men commit against themselves, because, although they sin against You, they do wrong in their own souls and their malice is self-betrayed. They corrupt and pervert their own nature, which You made and for which You shaped the rules, either by making wrong use of the things which You allow, or by becoming inflamed with passion to make unnatural use of things which You do not allow” (Rom. 1:26). (St. Augustine, Confessions, Book III, chap. 8)

    ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM:
    “All passions are dishonorable, for the soul is even more prejudiced and degraded by sin than is the body by disease; but the worst of all passions is lust between men…. The sins against nature are more difficult and less rewarding, since true pleasure is only the one according to nature. But when God abandons a man, everything is turned upside down! Therefore, not only are their passions [of the homosexuals] satanic, but their lives are diabolic….. So I say to you that these are even worse than murderers, and that it would be better to die than to live in such dishonor. A murderer only separates the soul from the body, whereas these destroy the soul inside the body….. There is nothing, absolutely nothing more mad or damaging than this perversity.” (St. John Chrysostom, In Epistulam ad Romanos IV,in J. McNeill, op. cit., pp. 89-90)

    ST. GREGORY THE GREAT:
    “Brimstone calls to mind the foul odors of the flesh, as Sacred Scripture itself confirms when it speaks of the rain of fire and brimstone poured by the Lord upon Sodom. He had decided to punish in it the crimes of the flesh, and the very type of punishment emphasized the shame of that crime, since brimstone exhales stench and fire burns. It was, therefore, just that the sodomites, burning with perverse desires that originated from the foul odor of flesh, should perish at the same time by fire and brimstone so that through this just chastisement they might realize the evil perpetrated under the impulse of a perverse desire.” (St. Gregory the Great, Commento morale a Giobbe, XIV, 23, vol. II, p. 371, Ibid., p. 7)

    ST. PETER DAMIAN:
    “Just as Saint Basil establishes that those who incur sins [against nature] … should be subjected not only to a hard penance but a public one, and Pope Siricius prohibits penitents from entering clerical orders, one can clearly deduce that he who corrupts himself with a man through the ignominious squalor of a filthy union does not deserve to exercise ecclesiastical functions, since those who were formerly given to vices … become unfit to administer the Sacraments.” (St. Peter Damian, op. cit., cols. 174f)

    “This vice strives to destroy the walls of one’s heavenly motherland and rebuild those of devastated Sodom. Indeed, it violates temperance, kills purity, stifles chastity and annihilates virginity … with the sword of a most infamous union. It infects, stains and pollutes everything; it leaves nothing pure, there is nothing but filth … This vice expels one from the choir of the ecclesiastical host and obliges one to join the energumens and those who work in league with the devil; it separates the soul from God and links it with the demons. This most pestiferous queen of the Sodomites [which is homosexuality] makes those who obey her tyrannical laws repugnant to men and hateful to God … It humiliates at church, condemns at court, defiles in secret, dishonors in public, gnaws at the person’s conscience like a worm and burns his flesh like fire…

    “The miserable flesh burns with the fire of lust, the cold intelligence trembles under the rancor of suspicion, and the unfortunate man’s heart is possessed by hellish chaos, and his pains of conscience are as great as the tortures in punishment he will suffer … Indeed, this scourge destroys the foundations of faith, weakens the force of hope, dissipates the bonds of charity, annihilates justice, undermines fortitude, … and dulls the edge of prudence.

    “What else shall I say? It expels all the forces of virtue from the temple of the human heart and, pulling the door from its hinges, introduces into it all the barbarity of vice … In effect, the one whom … this atrocious beast [of homosexuality] has swallowed down its bloody throat is prevented, by the weight of his chains, from practicing all good works and is precipitated into the very abysses of its uttermost wickedness. Thus, as soon as someone has fallen into this chasm of extreme perdition, he is exiled from the heavenly motherland, separated from the Body of Christ, confounded by the authority of the whole Church, condemned by the judgment of all the Holy Fathers, despised by men on earth, and reproved by the society of heavenly citizens. He creates for himself an earth of iron and a sky of bronze … He cannot be happy while he lives nor have hope when he dies, because in life he is obliged to suffer the ignominy of men’s derision and later, the torment of eternal condemnation” (Liber Gomorrhianus, in PL 145, col. 159-178).

    ST. ALBERT THE GREAT:
    gives four reasons why he considers homosexual acts as the most detestable ones: They are born from an ardent frenzy; they are disgustingly foul; those who become addicted to them are seldom freed from that vice; they are as contagious as disease, passing quickly from one person to another. (St. Albert the Great, In Evangelium Lucae XVII, 29, in J. McNeill, op. cit., p. 95)

    ST. THOMAS AQUINAS:
    writing about sins against nature, explains: “However, they are called passions of ignominy because they are not worthy of being named, according to that passage in Ephesians (5:12): ‘For the things that are done by them in secret, it is a shame even to speak of.’ For if the sins of the flesh are commonly censurable because they lead man to that which is bestial in him, much more so is the sin against nature, by which man debases himself lower than even his animal nature.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Super Epistulas Sancti Pauli Ad Romanum I, 26, pp. 27f)

    Saint Bonaventure, speaking in a sermon at the church of Saint Mary of Portiuncula about the miracles that took place simultaneously with the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, narrates this: “Seventh prodigy: All sodomites—men and women—died all over the earth, as Saint Jerome said in his commentary on the psalm ‘The light was born for the just.’ This made it clear that He was born to reform nature and promote chastity.” (St. Bonaventure, Sermon XXI—In Nativitate Domini, in Catolicismo (Campos/Sao Paulo), December 1987, p. 3; F. Bernardei, op. cit., p. 11)

    SAINT CATHERINE OF SIENNA:
    a religious mystic of the 14th century, relays words of Our Lord Jesus Christ about the vice against nature, which contaminated part of the clergy in her time. Referring to sacred ministers, she says: “They not only fail from resisting this frailty [of fallen human nature] … but do even worse as they commit the cursed sin against nature. Like the blind and stupid, having dimmed the light of their understanding, they do not recognize the disease and misery in which they find themselves. For this not only causes Me nausea, but displeases even the demons themselves, whom these miserable creatures have chosen as their lords. For Me, this sin against nature is so abominable that, for it alone, five cities were submersed, by virtue of the judgment of My Divine Justice, which could no longer bear them…. It is disagreeable to the demons, not because evil displeases them and they find pleasure in good, but because their nature is angelic and thus is repulsed upon seeing such an enormous sin being committed. It is true that it is the demon who hits the sinner with the poisoned arrow of lust, but when a man carries out such a sinful act, the demon leaves.” (St. Catherine of Siena, El diálogo, in Obras de Santa Catarina de Siena (Madrid: BAC, 1991), p. 292)

    SAINT BERNARDINE OF SIENNA:
    a preacher of the fifteenth century, makes an accurate psychological analysis of the consequences of the homosexual vice. The illustrious Franciscan writes: “No sin has greater power over the soul than the one of cursed sodomy, which was always detested by all those who lived according to God….. Such passion for undue forms borders on madness. This vice disturbs the intellect, breaks an elevated and generous state of soul, drags great thoughts to petty ones, makes [men] pusillanimous and irascible, obstinate and hardened, servilely soft and incapable of anything. Furthermore, the will, being agitated by the insatiable drive for pleasure, no longer follows reason, but furor…. Someone who lived practicing the vice of sodomy will suffer more pains in Hell than any one else, because this is the worst sin that there is.” (St. Bernardine of Siena, Predica XXXIX, in Le prediche volgari (Milan: Rizzoli, 1936), pp. 869ff., 915, in F. Bernadei, op. cit., pp. 11f)

  • Cindy Swanson

    Calm down everyone, get off the computer and go outside and breathe some fresh air….. go spend time with your families and friends and enjoy your life. ha ha.

    Gabriel, Awesome article, clearly very thought provoking, very well thought out and articulated. You definitely opened my eyes to the subject. Please write more!

  • Topsy

    Sexual orientation does not equal sexual temptation. It might tell you, if you were tempted, whether it would be blue or pink…but identifying orientation with temptation, in itself, is like saying speaking French and being a liar are the same thing. No; when a Frenchman lies it will probably be in French, but that doesn’t mean lying and speaking French are the same thing.

    • Michael

      The only correct “orientation” is that towards God.

      • Mark

        Strictly speaking, sure. But that’s just the thing about Catholic teaching: the Will is not intrinsically depraved. Even in concupiscence, this is merely a “reordering” or “misprioritization” of what is, at the end of the day, still an attraction towards the Good. Therefore, constructions of homosexuality that seek to understand or portray it as some sort of appetite for a bad object in itself…cannot make sense in Catholic theology. Homosexuality orients the heart towards one particular manifestation of the Good (the good of people of this or that sex).

        • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

          No. Homosexuality *disorients* the heart *away* from the one particular manifestation of the “good” that was ordered by God…

          • Mark

            This only makes sense, Jim, if marriage was obligatory on everyone.

            • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

              Well, no–it only makes sense if we accept “the
              basic anthropological fact that man is meant to be definitively united to one woman and vice versa.”
              Do you accept this fact?

              • Mark

                In context. However, that context obviously includes the whole Catholic tradition that marriage is not obligatory on anyone and that singleness is okay. And if singleness is okay, various models of living out that singleness instead of marriage are okay as long as they do not involve any expressions that are reserved for marriage specifically

                • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                  Mark–singleness is more than okay–it’s great. The problem is you want *more* than singleness–you want the right to a “pseudo-spouse.”

                  • Mark

                    Well that’s been disputed elsewhere. I think the only possible difference in nature is that of the one-flesh union, which I certainly don’t want with a man (I don’t even think it’s conceptually possible).

                    Your notion of a “pseudo-spouse” then seems to boil down to a difference of degree, not nature, “loving someone too much” or “putting too much energy or emotional investment into someone” even when there is no other relationship competing or claiming that rightful priority.

                    I actually think a lot of problems in our culture with marriage are caused by “putting all our emotional eggs in the spousal basket.” When intimacy of any real significance is restricted to the nuclear family instead of being allowed to flow freely and organically, this tends to set up unreasonable and unmeetable expectations for people of romance.

                    • Guest

                      “I actually think a lot of problems in our culture with marriage are caused by “putting all our emotional eggs in the spousal basket.””

                      That’s the contraceptive mentality. If children are not the product of loving spouses, why not just create children factories and pop them out, eugenically, based on desired height, weight, appearance, skin, eye and hair color and let them be raised in public schools or on the streets without any direct parental intervention or relationship? It’s a logical thing to think. That’s why the natural spousal union is so important.

                    • Mark

                      Huh?? I wasn’t talking about anything remotely like that. Merely cautioning against the notion of expecting too much from spouses in terms of emotional support or intimacy without supplemental friendship. No one but God can “be your everything.”

                • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                  Mark–I am willing to ponder and “process” these longish threads of dialogue and re-examine things to give you every benefit of the doubt. And I think that one other significant area of interest that will help in that regard–which we haven’t yet discussed–is the place of *children* within the context of “gay couplehood” lived out as you have so far described.
                  If the same-sex “partners” comprising the continent couple you’ve described thus far should desire to raise *children* via adoption, do you think they should be permitted to do so?

                  • Mark

                    I’ve given less thought to that, Jim.

                    It would help my thinking if you could address some things about the place of children, however:

                    1) in the past, Catholic adoption agencies were not absolutely opposed to SINGLES adopting, as singles, and indeed I know there were a few cases of bishops giving secular priests permission to adopt as such. Were these individuals investigated as to their sexual orientation to ensure that they wouldn’t later, after the adoption, shack up with a same-sex partner and designate them guardian? How did they know they weren’t lying?

                    2) I’ve heard the Church leaders talk about a “right” to a mother and a father. Sounds good. But some children are being raised by single mothers or widower fathers. Should these children be confiscated by the state and put with two parent families? Or perhaps should men be drafted by the state and forced into marriages with single mothers to give the children the ideal “whole” household?

                    3) Many children being raised by gay couples are the product of some sort of previous opposite-sex union or encounter. Then one parent enters a new, gay, relationship. Should these children be confiscated and put in good normal heterosexual households? Because I’ve heard it said that being raised by a gay couple constitutes child abuse. What if the two women raising them are two spinster sisters (their aunts, perhaps, if the parents have gone) rather than “friends”?

                    4) Many children are being raised in orphanages run by the Sisters of Charity because there are no families for them. Is this environment of being raised by multiple people of the same sex harmful, and if so should good straight families be coerced into taking these poor children? On the whole, do you think it’s more abusuve to be raised by twenty women (nuns) with 30 other children, or two be raised by two women with three other children?

        • Michael

          What is “good” is friendship, both spiritual and emotionally-inspired, but there is nothing good about “sexualizing” that friendship, nor does it necessarily and logically follow that the attraction of friendship is automatically “homosexual” in nature.

          • Mark

            The term “sexualizing” has come from our opponents, not from us.

            An intense friendship between people of the same sex who still imagine an “even better” friendship someday in the form of marriage to a member of the opposite sex (which would of course take their priority and the plurality of their time and effort)…of course is not gay.

            But the exact same friendship with the exact same intensity might well be so if the two people were “satisfied” with it to the point of not being interested in any other relationship having any priority over it.

            The difference is purely relative and contextual in this way.

            • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

              No, the difference is that one involves a distorted and disordered eros, and the other doesn’t.

              • Mark

                Jim, you’ve failed after many attempts to establish how you know this or how you are defining it in any way that is not circular. I have described what gay people experience in their love and relationships. Unless you’ve been gay and experienced that from the inside out, it makes little sense for you to posit what the essence of OUR experience is to be considered as or how the phenomenology of it operates. You may be creating a straw man that could be objectionable in itself and yet doesn’t refer to what’s actually being discussed at all

                • Michael

                  Mr. Mark, you have succeeded in showing everyone that you are in fact a waterless cloud.

                  “These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.…” (Jude 1:12-13)

                • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                  How do I “know” that “homo-eros” is a disorder and a distortion of authentic “eros” defined as “the gift of love between a man and a woman”?
                  Because I *listened* to the authoritative voice of the Bride of Christ–the Magisterium.
                  But, in addition, I’d be a bit careful about suggesting that I need the lived *experience* of being “gay” to discuss its nature. If I infer from this statement that you self-identify as “gay,” then I might have to ask you both how and why you could possibly be trying to tell *me* what opposite-sex attraction is really like and what marriage really is….
                  And if you *don’t* identify as “gay,” then you’ve just disqualified yourself from speaking about the “essence” of the experience of homosexuality…

                  • Mark

                    That’s not what I asked Jim. You’ve concluded that “homo-Eros” (defined how?) is bad based on your interpretation of church teaching. Fine, I won’t question that here (though I could). Rather, my question is how do you know that the phenomenon you object to in NH though is in fact the controversial “homo-Eros”? What feature or criterion of the experience distinguishes it as such?

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      It is sexual attraction that is self-interested and is a desire that is only quenched when one discovers a person of the same sex who is perceived to be “THE one” (THE one with whom to experience a bond that is exclusive, permanent and faithful) that can complete what is lacking in the subjectivity of the person experiencing the desire (to “complete” the person).
                      The above long sentence rather vividly describes what you suggest should be a permissible and ideal relationship between two same-sex-attracted people.
                      it is also a vivid description of a disordered and distorted “eros” because authentic “eros” *requires* authentic body-soul complementarity (a respect for the spousal meaning of the body) to fulfill its meaning as an authentic form of human love.
                      So, your turn. Why not show me where in magisterial teaching, such as JPII’s Theology of the Body or Benedict’s writings, any Pope or bishop teaching that “eros” can be properly expressed between two people of the same sex?

                    • Mark

                      Well now at least we’re getting somewhere in terms of defining exactly what you think are the essential features of eros.

                      “It is sexual attraction that is self-interested”

                      We’ve already discussed “sexual attraction” and established that it doesn’t necessarily mean “desire to have sex with” but rather “attraction based on male/female,” something that is not exclusive to romance, however, but which is also operative in people’s “platonic” friendships.

                      As for “self-interest” I’d like you to extrapolate more there. As I said in my answer to your “disinterested” question…I’m not sure what sort of “self-interest” would be good in marriage but only only in marriage. If “self-interested” has selfish connotations, then I wouldn’t think it would be good in marriage either, but if it just means “becomes emotionally invested” I don’t think that’s a bad thing in regular friendships either, of any sort.

                      “and is a desire that is
                      only quenched when one discovers a person of the same sex who is
                      perceived to be ‘THE one’ (THE one with whom to experience a bond that
                      is exclusive, permanent and faithful) that can complete what is lacking
                      in the subjectivity of the person experiencing the desire (to ‘complete’
                      the person).”

                      This is more a “vivid description” of CODEPENDENCY than anything else…

                      Poetic language aside, I’d be extremely wary of any notions of being “completed” by someone else.

                      Heterosexual couples complete each other in the physical sense inasmuch as the one-flesh union lets them form a complete organic reproductive unit from the “halves” that each of them possess. Gay couples obviously aren’t (can’t) be trying to do this (especially when chastity/abstinence are the ideal for them).

                      But on the psychological level, I think healthy relationships occur between two psychologically WHOLE adults. Relationships built on trying to “complete” each other…are codepedent and often unhealthy. This idea seems to be coming from a strange age of history when gender roles were much more strictly separated and women really did enter into social and psychological codependency with a man with each having “specialized” roles both emotionally and socio-economically as part of a unity. Modern relationships work a lot less like this, and certainly gay men tend (not always, but usually) to construct their relationships on an “egalitarian” model where, if there is any complementing it is purely on the level of personality constructed individualistically, rather than as members of two separate classes, so it seems strange to me to accuse them of trying to mimic a complementarian model they aren’t even TRYING to achieve.

                      As for “the one”…I think the poetic language obfuscate and mystifies what is really just a very pragmatic reality. At a certain age, as people get deeper into their careers and heterosexuals start pairing off and having kids, people start looking for a partner. They’re not necessarily constructing it like a spouse (except inasmuch as our society has reduced marriage to just a domestic partnership). It’s just that people need someone they can count on, to be there, to be responsible for them, to be stable and consistent in terms of the bond persisting over time and “storing the same memories” and be comfortable with and not constantly having to “start at square one” with new people, and yeah, like I said, it just makes more sense, practically, for that to be with “one” person because of the practical difficulties of trying to “spread out” those duties over several people. And yeah, you want to find someone whom you are so enthusiastic about, whom you are so excited about, whom you so “click with,” whom gives you such joy or such a “buzz” that you can actually imagine giving them that much energy and time and being around them that much and doing all the tedious things necessary to sustain a relationship and fulfill the expected responsibilities for each other. (There are lots of friends who are nice to talk to every so often, see a couple times a month, but whom I’d start to hate if I saw them too often, or would feel uncomfortable if they started getting “too close.”)

                      This isn’t that difficult, and I don’t think there is anything controversial about it. It really does sound like you believe that the problem is some idea that you can “love someone too much” or that the Church lays out a specific “budget” for our emotional investments/energies and that we are never supposed to give any amount beyond [say, “20%”] to anyone outside our nuclear families. But I think that’s needlessly limiting of love and organic human bonds.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      ***We’ve already discussed “sexual attraction” and
                      established that it doesn’t necessarily mean “desire to have sex with” but rather “attraction based on male/female,” something that is not exclusive to romance, however, but which is also operative in people’s “platonic” friendships.***

                      No. Rather you continue trying to *conflate* “philia” and
                      “eros”. Sexual attraction is *supposed* to, according to God’s plan, align entirely with the gift of love between a man and a woman. Read JPII’s “Love and Responsibility.” An attraction founded on the *sexual* values of a human person is about “eros,” not “platonic” friendship.

                      ***As for “self-interest” I’d like you to extrapolate more there. As I said in my answer to your “disinterested” question…I’m not sure what sort of “self-interest” would be good in marriage but only only in marriage. ***

                      “Eros” is possessive, seeking, desiring the “other” in
                      order to possess what one does not already have (complementary). It’s self-interested, which is precisely *why* Benedict says that “eros” really requires “agape” to attain to the full perfection of “love”—eros needs agape for its purification precisely *because* it is self-interested.

                      ***This is more a “vivid description” of CODEPENDENCY than anything else…Poetic language aside, I’d be extremely wary of any notions of being “completed” by someone else.***

                      Then you must reject the teaching of the Magisterium and
                      the teaching of Scripture regarding who the “suitable partner” is for the man—woman. Reciprocity and complementarity are at the *heart* of human nature.

                      ***Heterosexual couples complete each other in the physical
                      sense inasmuch as the one-flesh union lets them form a complete organic reproductive unit from the “halves” that each of them possess. Gay couples obviously aren’t (can’t) be trying to do this (especially when chastity/abstinence are the ideal for them).***

                      “Organic reproductive unit”??? How about: The spousal
                      meaning of the body reflects in “the world” the authentic intersubjectivity and reciprocity God planned for man and woman. It’s not some reductively biological principle—it’s a monumental and visible *hint* to “gay couples” as to why they
                      can’t actually *BE* couples….

                      ***But on the psychological level, I think healthy
                      relationships occur between two psychologically WHOLE adults. Relationships built on trying to “complete” each other…are codepedent and often unhealthy.***

                      Pyschological “wholeness” is not the same as “complementarity.” But Mark, be careful here. You’re tacitly admitting that those who are not “psychologically WHOLE” often struggle with “healthy relationships.” Last time I checked, the hurch still taught that homosexuality involved a psychological disorder of identity whose genesis remains largely unexplained….Pot? Kettle?

                      ***As for “the one”…I think the poetic language obfuscate and mystifies what is really just a very pragmatic reality.***

                      Oh really? I assert that the “poetic language” of Genesis
                      disagrees with you. It’s not good that the man should be alone—and there is *the* one suitable partner God provides.

                      ***This isn’t that difficult, and I don’t think there is anything controversial about it. It really does sound like you believe that the problem is some idea that you can “love someone too much” or that the Church lays out a specific “budget” for our emotional investments/energies and that we are never supposed to give any amount beyond [say, “20%”] to anyone outside our nuclear families. But I think that’s needlessly limiting of love and organic human bonds.***

                      Really? Do you want to assert that it’s impossible to “love” the wrong person in the wrong way? Should the polyamorous adulterer be praised as someone who doesn’t “limit love”?
                      Should the 60-year-old who “loves” the 12-year-old girl?? You can’t love someone too much, right? Can I love someone who is not my spouse “too much”?

                      No, the problem and controversy is that two men or two
                      women *can* love each other in the wrong way…

                    • Mark

                      I think I understand where you’re coming from. If I’m right, you’re a member of that school of thought which interprets Theology of the Body of, essentially, making heterosexual subjectivity a virtue in itself for all the mystical revelation about Trinitarian-otherness-kenosis-communion that it contains.

                      If so, I’m afraid we must simply disagree. However, I think you need to at least admit that this school of thought is NOT necessary for orthodoxy. Again, please read the Schindler article.

                      I’d also recommend this article by an Anglican. You might dismiss him for not being Catholic, but it’s clear at the end of the article that what he is actually doing is working to argue AGAINST a redefinition of marriage to include gay couples, exactly by arguing that marriage is about more than eros and intimacy: http://www.anglican.ca/primate/files/2010/11/9-thorne.pdf

                      Reciprocity and complementarity are indeed at the heart of human nature. But I’m afraid you are stuck on the “literal” aspect of the metaphor. I have never denied that marriage between a man and a woman is the icon and sacrament of love and, as it were, the “paradigmatic” symbol. But that reciprocity and complementarity exist on levels other than the physical/genital. Two minds can be fruitful together, for example, and it doesn’t matter what bodies those minds are in. Two souls. There does not need to be a “strict consistency” across all the “levels of metaphor.” Indeed, this is why the soul of male can still be “Bride” relative to God without anyone accusing this of some bizarre transexualism or spiritual sodomy. The marital symbolism is based on the complementarity of male and female bodies. But on other “levels”…it is not bootstrapped to them.

                      I am not of the school of thought (nor is it necessary for orthodoxy) that male and female represent “totalizing” subjectivities. I think that is a reductionist reading of TOTB. The two sexes’ complementary other-completed bodies symbolize how human nature is in communion. But it does not follow from that that this other-communion is meant only for men with women on levels other than the genital too. As Florensky says, “marriage is ‘two in one flesh,’ while friendship is two in one soul. Marriage is unity of flesh, homosarchia, while friendship is unity of souls, homopsuchia.”

                      “Last time I checked, the Church still taught that homosexuality involved a psychological disorder of identity whose genesis remains largely unexplained….Pot? Kettle?”

                      Not true, Jim. There is a difference between saying inclinations to gay sex acts are disordered (as all lust is) and saying that homosexual orientation is a “psychological disorder.” Psychological disorder and spiritual disorder are two different things, and besides any spiritual disorder is not in the orientation, but in the lustful inclinations (but that’s true of heterosexuals who desire contraceptive sex, masturbation, heterosexual-sodomy, etc, too)

                      You can’t love someone too much. You can only express your love in the wrong the way (or desire to express it in the wrong way.) In the cases you give, it is not the love which is a problem, it is the disordered expression.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      So, your turn. Why not show me where in magisterial teaching, such as JPII’s Theology of the Body or Benedict’s writings, any Pope or bishop teaching that “eros” can be properly expressed between two people of the same sex?
                      Got anything? Anything at all?

                    • Guest

                      nope

                    • Mark

                      I’m not sure why it’s relevant given, as I laid out here, that I’m not even sure what is being proposed IS even “Eros” according to your (or “their”) definitions. It’s the New HomoPHILES, after all, not the new homoerotics…

                      Then again, show me where they lay out an “emotional budget” forbidding giving more than whatever amount of ones time/emotional investment to a given person other than a spouse. The burden of proof is on showing a prohibition.

                    • Guest

                      This topic is quite simple. Living as brothers is fine. Living as brothers who think being sexually attracted to each other is normal is not.

                    • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                      Not the “new homoerotics”? Is that what Melinda Selmys seeks to convey in her recent SF blog post titled “Friendship and Erotophobia”? After reading it, I was pretty sure my views were cast into the role of “erotophobic”…
                      As to seeking to shift the “burden of proof”? Usually a sign of coming up empty regarding proof of your own. As it is, re-read the comboxes and start tallying up the numerous *magisterial* citations I’ve offered as evidence of just how the Church teaches regarding “eros”. We’re not merely discussing “emotional budget”–we’re talking about your assertion that seeking to build relationship with a person of the same sex as a *response* to the person’s sexual values and in *substitution* for building a relationship with a person of the *opposite* sex as a response to that person’s sexual values is somehow a good thing.
                      The Church’s magisterium disagrees with you.

                    • Guest

                      Apparently, it is such a complex topic you cannot grasp it. Or, at least that is the propaganda point that keeps getting played here. Or, it is so complicated only the “homophiles” get it.

                    • Mark

                      It’s not in substitution for anything. Gay people without a companion wouldn’t be married to a member of the opposite sex, merely totally single, alone, and celibate with a variety of friends. There’s nothing wrong with one of those friends being pre-eminent. Everyone, gay and straight, chooses friends based on their values AS male or female (we do not interact with “bare humans”) it’s just that gays ultimately “prefer the company of” the same sex, so if they’re picking someone to be their stable companion, it’s likely to be a member of the same sex they’re really drawn to and enthusiastic about. If Eros refers specifically to male/female one-flesh-union complementary love…this isn’t that. I think you’ve confused Eros with “romance”, which is a category that was only bootstrapped to marriage in the past 100 years.

                    • Mark

                      Jim, please read the Communio article I cited. Your “narrow” reading of the meaning of eros is incorrect, unCatholic, and spiritually unhealthy and disastrous.

                      (I also think it’s rather arbitrary to limit me to JPII and BXVI, given that we have a whole 2000 year tradition of Fathers, Saints, Popes, Bishops, and Theologians to draw from…)

                      Eros, as Schindler makes clear, is nothing other than “attraction” in the broadest sense, a love that desires something for its desirability, its promise of fulfillment, its beauty. All love must have a component of eros so as to not become bloodless or incoherent deontological nonsense.

                      Having a love for a partner’s beauty, even their beauty AS a fine speciment of maleness or femaleness…is no more wrong than appreciating a building for being a fine example of either gothic architecture or baroque architecture. In itself there is nothing wrong with preferring one or the other sort of beauty, as both are real goods and real beauties (the beauty of the male form is not only true for women, nor is the beauty of the female form only true for men).

                    • Michael

                      “That’s not what I asked Jim.”

                      You’re such a spoiled brat! I don’t even know why Jim bothers talking to you. It’s not like he’s given you the benefit of the doubt all this time and you only kept on selfishly telling him that he’s wrong. Go to your pweshious Mommy and ask her for some miwk and evwything will be better, Little Mark. Jeeze. Don’t bother with these types Jim, they just live off of the conversation. I say cut off the ambilical chord and let them fend for themselves. Separate the wheat from the chaff…

              • Christopher Nguyen

                Supposing two (or three or four) men lived in friendship and shared life together such that they intended for that relationship to be the primary human relationship in their lives does not strike me as containing anything disordered at all, though the prevailing American and Western cultures would certainly find it very odd.

                Just as an example of what this looks like, a man forsakes a more lucrative job position in a distant city because it would hamper his friendship(s) with other men he loves intensely and who are not at liberty to go to this new place. What would be amiss here, according to Catholic theology? Earthly marriage is not the vocation of all people, and religious vows are not the only context in which the celibate vocation can be lived joyfully. Neither is marriage the only human relationship in which profound sacrifice and self-gift are possible.

                Whether in the monastery or not, what is amiss about people treating a friendship as their prime human relationship – in which the daily sacrifices and devotion are on the same level as that of a marriage?

                • Mark

                  Because apparently, Christopher, one can love “too much.” You’re apparently only supposed to have passionate feelings and emotional investment in a spouse (and maybe parents for children) and everything else is just supposed to be a sort of “disinterested,” detached Vulcan-like concern in the context of the common good. No warm fuzzies, no infatuation, no giddiness, no being-drawn-to. Basically, outside marriage, love is to be a bloodless abstraction. (I’m being sarcastic)

                  • Michael

                    Sarcasm and schadenfreude is not of the Lord – it is a device of the Evil One. Even the atheist Schopenhauer recognized and realized that.

                  • Christopher Nguyen

                    Mark:

                    Email me at cnguyen258@gmail.com. If you have a Facebook, I have a good group of people to invite you to.

                • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

                  Christopher–friendship (and even friendship in community) is fine, true, good, and beautiful. What is *not* true, good, or beautiful is the pseudo-spousal notion of gay “partnership” or “couplehood” in which each becomes for the other the object of same-sex attraction.

                  • Mark

                    If I might speculate on what is going on here psycho-socially:

                    The truth (as is obvious to all gay men, and admitted frankly by all mature adults of any stripe) is that the lines you are trying to try are rather artificial. Male friendship is always “so close” to homosexuality, and in fact is laden with homoerotic significance. To stop it from “slipping into” explicit overt homosexuality, strong barriers and taboos and stigmas (of a vaguely homophobic sort; “no homo”) get erected in order to prevent the blurring of scripts, but the fact is they are “next door neighbors” who can easily bleed into each other.

                    Mature adult heterosexual men tend to, as time goes by and they are confident and solidified in their straight identity…allow these walls to come down as unnecessary, no longer concerned with whether this or that crosses the emotional line, no longer concerned with maintaining strictly separate categories of love or “types” of relationships, admitting it’s all on a sort of fuzzy spectrum of organic bonds.

                    But other people still seem very concerned with “defining” human relationships, boxing them into categories, putting labels on them, making sure they all remain within neat and tidy distinctions. Life and love don’t work that way, though…

                    • Michael

                      For the record, I think it would be appropriate for the commenter “Mark” to identify himself with respect to his religious views here. That is, does he self-identify as a Catholic, but under a Unitarian Universalist paradigm, or does he accept, love and defend all of the teachings of holy Mother Church as a baptized and believing Catholic in good standing? I think that this disclosure is necessary so that Catholics of good will seeking the Lord do not get confused. Sometimes these false teachers crop up all over the place and sometimes it is simply not worth the debate.

                    • Mark

                      For goodness sake I am a Catholic and confident the CDF could not charge me with any heresy against any essential Catholic dogma.

                    • Michael

                      You are only confident of that because the CDF is currently disorganized and an orginizational mess. Had they the power of a previous age, you wouldn’t see the light of day.

                    • Michael

                      Also, “essential Catholic dogma”? How about respect for and intellectual submission to the Magisterial office as well as its lawful authority in other “non-essential” matters? That you accept “essential” dogma does not really help your cause. “Renewal” movements within the Church also have to be inspired by a deep love and reverence for the minutiae of Catholic teaching, out of respect for the practicing faithful. Putting myself in the position of an examiner, I would seriously call into question the authenticity of your group given it’s unstable flip-flopping on all of these small and “non-essential” teachings. Renewal is always accompanied by devotion, and increase in spiritual and religious zeal and things like that. Self-serving causes are easy to discern.

                    • Mark

                      I don’t speak for the Church, nor do I have a “movement” or “group.” Inasmuch as I consider myself an ally of the New Homophiles, it’s nothing formal, and I’m certainly not in any sort of leadership position.

                    • Michael

                      Well, I think that all of you should adopt the title “Gay Catholic Christian Unitarian Universalists” and go set up a separate Church where you will all feel comfortable.

                    • Michael

                      UPDATE:

                      So here is the quote from Benedict the XVI, while he was still HEAD of the CDF, regarding his view on homosexual groups and, which, as an examiner, I would use to support my evaluation:

                      “9. The movement within the Church, which takes the form of pressure groups of various names and sizes, attempts to give the impression that it represents all homosexual persons who are Catholics. As a matter of fact, its membership is by and large restricted to those who either ignore the teaching of the Church or seek somehow to undermine it. It brings together under the aegis of Catholicism homosexual persons who have no intention of abandoning their homosexual behaviour. One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination.

                      There is an effort in some countries to manipulate the Church by gaining the often well-intentioned support of her pastors with a view to changing civil-statutes and laws. This is done in order to conform to these pressure groups’ concept that homosexuality is at least a completely harmless, if not an entirely good, thing. Even when the practice of homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people, its advocates remain undeterred and refuse to consider the magnitude of the risks involved.

                      The Church can never be so callous. It is true that her clear position cannot be revised by pressure from civil legislation or the trend of the moment. But she is really concerned about the many who are not represented by the pro-homosexual movement and about those who may have been tempted to believe its deceitful propaganda. She is also aware that the view that homosexual activity is equivalent to, or as acceptable as, the sexual expression of conjugal love has a direct impact on society’s understanding of the nature and rights of the family and puts them in jeopardy.”

                    • Michael

                      “Male friendship is always “so close” to homosexuality, and in fact is laden with homoerotic significance.”

                      Not really. This is only so for those who wish to perceive it that way. A pretty face or a warm “bromance” in no way begets homoeroticism! It is eroticized by the viewer, not the person in the friendship himself/herself. And that’s the problem of fetishizing being into such small categories in the first place.

                    • Mark

                      I don’t know what you mean by “homoeroticism” here. Admitting that a face is pretty, or describing a relationship with a word derived from “romance”…is already admitting the admixture of eros in the friendship (which is not a bad thing! All our loves admix eros; there is nothing wrong with the love of beauty, as Plato describes, it leads us up the ladder to Beauty Itself).

                    • Michael

                      Right…so a beautiful or pretty boy or girl are merely “Beauty Itself” for us to worship amire and love, like in Thomas Mann’s “Death in Venice”

                • Michael

                  “Supposing two (or three or four) men lived in friendship and shared life together such that they intended for that relationship to be the primary human relationship in their lives does not strike me as containing anything disordered at all, though the prevailing American and Western cultures would certainly find it very odd.”

                  I don’t see why you would consider that odd, nor do I think that Jim finds it odd. It gets odd, however, if those same men started to have unnatural affections for each other, being tempted by lust for each other and what not. Then they have the option of 1) yeilding to that lust or 2) renouncing their lust and their homosexuality and attempting to live chaste lives away from where they could be tempted. Those with the homosexual disorder or desire simply cannot form healthy relationships with other men, which is why it is considered disorded. Until they overcome that passion, they will always be tempted. No one says this has to be done immediately or that there will not be some who cannot get rid of that temptation despite an entire life of struggle – but it is not something that one will have once we assume our glorified bodies – considering that we have, indeed, merited heaven.

                  • Mark

                    Trust me, gay men have plenty of friends, gay and straight, men and women, whom are no “more” than that. People they care for and talk to and like seeing every so often, but whom they’re not interested in committing to giving a plurality of their energy to.

                    • Michael

                      Fair enough, but then why even use the term “gay” at all?

                    • Mark

                      Because my orientation is towards men. If you don’t understand that, as a friend, you really won’t understand my personality or experiences at all, they just won’t make sense.

                    • Michael

                      I’m sorry, but I am not your friend. We are merely online acquaintances and I now as much about you as you about me, and that is almost nothing.

                    • Mark

                      Huh? I’m sure I don’t know you in real life. I was speaking generally, the “you” was idiomatic. What I meant was “If someone doesn’t understand that, as a friend, they really won’t understand my personality or experiences at all, the just won’t make sense.”

                    • Michael

                      Nice one. So much that one word can communicate, no?

            • Michael

              There’s a lie underruning your reasoning here, namely this: that a close and intense friendship must “necessarily” and without exception beget a gay relationship. Consider, perhaps, developing a little more about how you yourself form friendships and downplay the homosexual/gay aspect. One of the key points of “curing” homosexuality in recoverative therapy is in learning how to form good, healthy and lasting relationships with people of the same gender – to learn that one is accepted by one’s peers and not forever closed off from them – or, perhaps, learning to love one’s Mother or Father without necessarily making that love incestual. Krzysztof Kieslowski had an excellent film about this “incestual” aspect of love for one’s parents in his “Dekalog” series which dealt with the commandment “Love thy Father and Mother.” Like all of his films, it lends itself to variety of fascinating psychological and spiritual interpretations and forces one to question how one perceives the world that we live in.

              • Mark

                I never said all same-sex friendships necessarily beget a gay relationship. What I say about mature adult heterosexuals also applies to gays: we stop worrying about what this or that relationship or feeling “means” and just roll with it organically rather than worrying about labels and strict barriers.

                But what you say about incest is also interesting, as the same principle applies to parent/child relationships: they are closer-for-comfort to incest than we’d like to admit, which is why (and it’s a good thing, in this case!) STRONG taboos and stigmas and barriers to incest exist psychologically. Otherwise things could easily bleed into that territory and it wouldn’t be healthy, in that case.

                • Michael

                  Interesting points!

                  I find it curious though why you recommend “rolling organically” with homosexuality while holding “strict taboos” against incest. To me, it is all one and the same. The taboos help to reinforce the Divine Life within us. If we did not have society to repeatedly tell us that we are doing something wrong then we would not know how to act appropriately. Now, for me at least, I desire that all men and women discover their Divine Life within regardless if they are murders, homosexual, incestual, necrophiles, or whatever. But part of that interior and “organic” discovery is abandoning the life that one has led, the structures and “near occasions” that lead one to sin as a way of OVERCOMING sin. No one is bound to be sinful forever. At a certain point we merit sanctifying grace and, yes, we can sustain that grace without spot or stain. And we are all called to this conversion as we are all fundamentally “oriented” towards Heaven, even if we try to deny that by our actions. Moreover, in our glofied bodies, once we merit them, all of our disordered “philias” will be nowhere in sight.

                  • Mark

                    People with very Scholastic “computer-brains” likes everything having neat little categories and distinctions. And in their 1950s world with clear boundaries romance is a script that goes with a man and woman and there is another friendship script that goes with your chums. But the fact is in the modern world all such scripts are out the window. Every relationship is a sui generis cobbling together of whatever, negotiated on a very individualistic level. This is scary and leaves some people feeling unmoored, but it also is really a good thing in the end.

                    Gay relationships still need to have boundaries. Specifically, they need to properly negotiate the boundaries around physical intimacy.

                    I don’t think I’m treating incest one way and sodomy another. The truth is that BOTH parent/child relationships AND male/male relationships have become “more informal” in the past 40 years. This has its dangers, yes, in terms of sex, but also the potential for more authenticity and genuine interpersonal vulnerability and true communion, true “knowing the other” rather than the very formal scripts of the past where people rarely penetrated past a very shallow level with each other.

                    • Michael

                      It’s find it odd that you to view all of these social “developments” in such a narrow, “progressively”-inspired way.

                      I come from an immigrant background so very few of these categories apply to me. Polish men socialize with each other very openly and candidly, as do, I presume Frenchmen, but like with everything in life, it largely depends on the person. Women were considered “bread-winners” in Polish society all the way back in Medieval times up through the 1940s and well into the 1980’s. Homosexuality was and still is largely treated like a mental disorder that one goes to the doctor for. There were a lot of Catholic moral scholars in Poland who were very open about being homosexual, like Jerzy Andrzejewski. But I don’t think any of this has anything to do with anything! Everyone is different and the way that we socialize with others is largely dependent upon us, unless we undergo some strict “breeding” process, like the British Royal Family.

                    • Mark

                      Right, everyone is different and the way that we socialize with others is largely dependent on us, so if someone wants to “spend their life with” a male “bosom companion” instead of a female, this shouldn’t be controversial or considered morally incoherent unless sex gets involved.

                    • Michael

                      And it largely isn’t, because people pay lip-service to authority. But when it comes down to morals and values, every is free to think as they wish: the Catholics as they want to and the gay cultural Marxists as they want to.

                    • Mark

                      No one here, at least, is advocating for an “all-encompassing” identity. Just an honest identity that admits authentically what is an important part of oneself. If I share my life with a male “companionate partner” someday, that’s an important part of myself, and I shouldn’t feel the need to hide it or downplay the subjective personal significance of each other to each other in each other’s lives (say, for fear of getting fired or ostracized or whatever). Gay identity even BEFORE there is a concrete relationship, however, though I’ll admit I treat that more discreetly (because an abstract identity is not quite as socially important as a concrete relational reality) is only really an extension of this point, inasmuch as it is directed towards “preparing” people, in terms of their expectations, for that future possible reality, or at least for letting people know that I’m not interested in being set up with “that nice Catholic girl” they know.

                      Justin Lee explains a variety of reasons why disclosure is important, that are eminently pragmatic, and have nothing to do with some sort of exhibitionist desire to make you think about me in bed or my hypothetical sexual fantasies or whatever:

                      “Because I can’t participate in looking at ‘those pretty girls’ without lying to you.

                      Because I don’t want you to try to set me up with that great Christian woman you know.

                      Because if I didn’t tell you, you’d guess, and I don’t want to be the subject of rumors.

                      Because, my female friends, I don’t want you to think I’m flirting just because I enjoy your company.

                      Because you need to know that those jokes and comments are about me, not just some other group out there.

                      Because I will never fall in love with a woman.

                      Because I might, someday, fall in love with a man, and I wouldn’t want to have to hide that from you.

                      Because my brain works differently from many guys’ brains in a hundred different ways, and if you don’t know this about me, then you don’t know me.

                      Because I need you to know that gay people aren’t like the
                      stereotypes you’ve imagined. They’re like me, the guy you like to hang out and joke with.

                      I want you to know me. I don’t want you to know the details of
                      when or if I choose to have sex. The latter is TMI. The former is love.”

                      I’d add that, in addition, this fact being known about me among my friends helps ME make jokes and humor about myself that are dependent on the fact of my being gay.

                      Additionally, it also helps explain stories that involve (as a subjective, and usually humorous, though sometimes serious and emotionally intense, element) gay feelings or attractions or crushes or infatuations on my part. For example, I could never explain to you the story of how my best gal-pal and i became friends without revealing the fact of my homosexuality, given that it was a crush on a guy in high school that wound up (in a quirky and circuitous way) bring us together.

                      In addition, if someone IS an incorrigible homophobe, then announcing my sexuality at least keeps them far away from me rather than being put in the uncomfortable position of having to laugh uncomfortably and keep my mouth shut and not correct them when they’re being boorish and mean about “the gays.”

                      I’m actually not willy-nilly about it at this point in my life. I tend to see disclosure as a tool I can use to ramp up intimacy with straight people. Which is to say, I’m usually out if I meet another gay (if I know they are, of course)…but with a straight person, a disclosure after knowing me for some amount of time often makes them feel like a confidante and like I’ve “let them in on” something that often creates a sense of a new level of intimacy and like they’re honored that I entrusted them with that invisible part of myself.

                      So there is so much that is important about disclosure, about “coming out.” But it’s always an ongoing process, not some sort of “one moment” or “event.”

                    • Michael

                      Well I don’t understand why you “have to” suffer. No one is bound to suffer for being “gay,” because in the inmost core of one’s being no one really is “gay”! We are all children of God and that brings with it a deep loving joy. If it doesn’t for you, then I don’t know what to say. Maybe seek spiritual direction?

                    • Michael

                      “In addition, if someone IS an incorrigible homophobe”

                      Why do you seek to “change” “homophobes.” Why not let them be who they want to be?

                      I have met many Polonophobes and Europhobes in my life, but by letting them know that I am of Polish descent doesn’t decrease the chance of Polonophobia or Europhobia being perpetrated against me as an inexusable evil, it only increases its likelihood! So I would question your approach with regards to the point of “self-identification drives the oogy-boogies away”

                      Similarly, since we are made in the image of God, saying that we are “gay” when in fact we are not is a lie — and THAT is far more inauthentic than the experience that you describe. And being a lie, it is also extremely dishonest.

                    • Michael

                      I can’t see how this attitude is even Christian. It seems more concerned with worldly respect and acceptance than being a follower of Jesus and living the Gospel.

                    • Paul Sho

                      Of course it is totally unchristian. Some of these people may be sincerely misguided but a large number of them have a hidden agenda that has nothing to do with Christianity

                    • Michael

                      Agreed. And I have argued that all along calling them out for their cultural Marxism openly and in their face, despite their not wanting to admit it. There is a benefit in keeping things hidden and concealed, however, as there is a secret hope that they will succeed in changing Christianity to suit their own dysfunctionality. If they want to be “accepted” as a group within the Church, the burden of proof is on THEM to prove that they are not simply going to start changing everything about what the Church believes. They have to stop lying to themselves about the image of God that is in their hearts and HUMBLE themselves before God, like all of us repentant sinners do.

                      Oh, and being manipulative and dishonest in the combox does not help their cause very much either. It is a rare thing to meet a gay person of good will (or one who supports them) who is not also manipulative and dishonest.

                    • Michael

                      “No one here, at least, is advocating for an “all-encompassing” identity.”

                      Um, really? That’s something of a lie insofar as you were “all for” letting gay people decide what “gay” means for themselves in another combox conversation. If you cannot be consistent in the details, why should we even trust you? Are you simply one of those people who simply want to change the Church that Benedict XVI warned us about?

                      “9. The movement within the Church, which takes the form of pressure groups of various names and sizes, attempts to give the impression that it represents all homosexual persons who are Catholics. As a matter of fact, its membership is by and large restricted to those who either ignore the teaching of the Church or seek somehow to undermine it. It brings together under the aegis of Catholicism homosexual persons who have no intention of abandoning their homosexual behaviour. One tactic used is to protest that any and all criticism of or reservations about homosexual people, their activity and lifestyle, are simply diverse forms of unjust discrimination.”

                      (From the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s document “On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons).

                    • Mark

                      Letting gay people decide what “gay” means doesn’t mean it’s an “all-encompassing” identity .

                    • Michael

                      But what about those “gay” people who choose not to identify as gay. That is, they consider their attraction undesirable and go to therapy for it? If we are to be intellectually honest, even as psychologists, we cannot ignore that there are hundreds if not thousands of happy people who reject the title “gay” despite claiming to have at a certain point been sexually attracted to those of the same sex. And like Pope Benedict said in that document I quoted, these people should be and are supported by the Church for their struggles. Trying to “impose” upon them the idea that they “have” to be gay is harmful. They clearly don’t want such a label.

                      To say that they aren’t “happy” is simply not the reality. The reality is that others who despise them are not happy and they seek to impose their unhappiness upon everyone else precisely because they are unhappy.

  • http://thebodyguardtob.wordpress.com/ Jim Russell

    A few questions for commenter “Mark” and anyone who, like Mark, continues to press (as he does over at SF) for this kind of friendship:
    “…two gay men who recognize each other as attractive being best friends And roommates and the most important people in each other’s lives, spending the plurality of their time together, sharing a bank account, spending holidays at each other’s families, and having an understanding that they’ll always be there for each other, pre-eminent in priority.”
    1. Does this describe the “disinterested friendship” called for in the CCC as support for homosexual persons?
    2. If this kind of friendship is morally good for homosexual persons, such persons should be permitted to have *multiple* such friendships at the same time, correct?
    3. If this kind of friendship is morally good for homosexual persons, it should also be good for *heterosexual* persons, correct?
    4. If this kind of friendship is morally good for both homosexual and heterosexual persons, it should also be good for heterosexual *married* persons, correct?
    5. If this kind of friendship is morally good for homosexual, heterosexual, and married persons, then it should also be good for anyone who has made a vow of *celibacy* or continence for the sake of the Kingdom, correct (priests, nuns, etc.)?
    6. In all cases, such persons should also be permitted to have *multiple* such friendships at the same time, correct?
    If the answers to any of these questions is “no,” please explain why it is no.

    • Michael

      Also, a spiritual question for the commenter: St. Ignatius of Loyola warns us to always be on the guard for false spirits whose goal is to spread confusion and doubt. Applying a discernment of spirits to this question, by continuing to trying to “change” ordinary Christians, are you in fact following the Spirit of God, that is, the Holy Spirit? Considering that the fruit of such argumentation usually just creates confusion and doubt among the laity, I would judge such actions as coming from a false spirit. But I will let you do the reflecting and prayer for yourself.

    • Mark

      I believe my answer was given in the other thread (the one on the article “Some Concerns”) Everyone should see the response there for reference instead of having the same convo twice in two places.

  • Paul Sho

    Finally, to Gabriel Blanchard please stop using the Rainbow as a banner for LBGT issues and events.
    It is insulting to the memory of the covenant God made with the Patriarch Noah (cf Genesis 9 v 8-17)
    This is an appeal from the bottom of my heart.

    • Michael

      They should use a skull and crossbones of the Pirate’s flag for the spiritual fear and death which they are spreading through their culturally-Marxist gay propaganda. Catholic art used to depict very nicely the spiritual death that Europe underwent as a result of the Protestant Reformation. We need a similar artistic depiction with the “New” Homophiles. There is nothing “new” under the sun. Those who practiced homosexuality and supported it were condemned in Scripture and described as “waterless clouds” by St. Jude, who simply go around debating everyone else, but nevertheless being blemishes on our Christian love-feasts.

      • Paul Sho

        They can use what ever theu wish as long as it is not the Rainbow, because I fear for them. What will happen when the Mighty Angel with the Rainbow over his head plants one foot on the land and one foot on the sea. ( Revelation 10)

        • Michael

          Well according to them, probably nothing, since they have all lived “just” life serving God.

    • Christopher Nguyen

      Gabriel Blanchard had no control over the banner graphic. The rainbow was the choice of Crisis Magazine.

      • Paul Sho

        No the Rainbow is the choice of the LGBT crowd. The Crisis Magazine is merely doing journalism i.e reporting what is happening.
        But really the LGBT people should drop the Rainbow; that is my sincere advice.

    • Gabriel Blanchard

      What Mr Nguyen says is quite true; I have no control over the banner graphics (nor was I consulted about them). I have even less control over the LGBT movement in general. Appeal from the bottom of your heart to them, if you like, but I have no more power to keep them from using rainbows than I do to flood the earth.

  • Michael

    From Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Scripture

    1:8-16 False teachers are dreamers; they greatly defile and grievously wound the soul. These teachers are of a disturbed mind and a seditious spirit; forgetting that the powers that be, are ordained of God, Ro 13:1. As to the contest about the body of Moses, it appears that Satan wished to make the place of his burial known to the Israelites, in order to tempt them to worship him, but he was prevented, and vented his rage in desperate blasphemy. This should remind all who dispute never to bring railing charges. Also learn hence, that we ought to defend those whom God owns. It is hard, if not impossible, to find any enemies to the Christian religion, who did not, and do not, live in open or secret contradiction to the principles of natural religion. Such are here compared to brute beasts, though they often boast of themselves as the wisest of mankind. They corrupt themselves in the things most open and plain. The fault lies, not in their understandings, but in their depraved wills, and their disordered appetites and affections. It is a great reproach, though unjust to religion, when those who profess it are opposed to it in heart and life. The Lord will remedy this in his time and way; not in men’s blind way of plucking up the wheat with the tares. It is sad when men begin in the Spirit, and end in the flesh. Twice dead; they had been once dead in their natural, fallen state; but now they are dead again by the evident proofs of their hypocrisy. Dead trees, why cumber they the ground! Away with them to the fire. Raging waves are a terror to sailing passengers; but when they get into port, the noise and terror are ended. False teachers are to expect the worst punishments in this world and in that to come.

  • Michael

    It would be better for the Church to declared Mary Co-redemptrix and Mediatrix of all graces as on official dogma of the Church before “developing” any of theology regarding homosexuality. It is in Mary that we have our triumph against sin and wickedness. Perhaps we need to “rediscover” that teaching about Mary and “rediscover” our own spiritual childhood before arguing for the universal acceptance of sodomy and those who defend it?

  • Michael

    Given the conversations that I have had in the combox, I would like to revise my comments about this article. I do not consider Gabriel or a few of the other “New Homophiles” to be necessarily acting out of ill-will for the Church and the people of God, but I do find their position rather unstable, due to the thoughts of a specific commenter in the comments section here by the name of “Mark”. In one instance he will be saying things like “shake off” the labels of “gay” or “homosexual” or whatever and just “go with flow, and at other times he will be arguing for a near-total embrace of gay “identity,” using the label “gay” to describe the “fundamentally” different identity. I have argued repeatedly here that I don’t care about labels either, since we are all made in the image of God, but that does not stop me from commenting about the phenomenon of homosexuality as it occurs in the world. I thus stand by my claim of calling these “New Homophiles” cultural Marxists, not because they are all that way, but because many of them are, as shown here in the comments and elsewhere. These cultural Marxists, with an ill-will, seek to change the very definition of homosexuality used by the Church itself in order to justify a dysfunction. While we cannot hold all of the “New Homophiles” for being this way, if they want to be taken together as a group, they have to logically answer for their own crazies.

    • Daniel P

      Perhaps the reason why you find “their opinion” unstable is that there are many different “New Homophiles”, and there is very little “they” agree upon except a commitment to not respond to homosexual tendencies with shame.

      At any rate, it makes no sense to take Mark’s comments as somehow representative or authoritative. I’m sure Mark would agree.

      • Michael

        He would only “agree” because he is in deep need of a spiritual exorcism himself. Like the early Church, I think that anyone who has every acted out on their sodomy should be banished from the Church for 20 to 30 years depending on when they committed it, as well as to be considered possessed by evil in need of prayers of exorcism.

        • Daniel P

          This comment puzzles me for a couple reasons. The primary reason is simple: the early Church would have considered sodomy between a man and a woman just about as reprehensible as sodomy between two men. And in the modern day, using a strict and clear definition of sodomy as ejaculation with a partner apart from coitus, about 90-95% of married couples are guilty of sodomy. So, if you’re consistent, I think you’re going to find that you’ll have to banish the greater portion of Church for 20 to 30 years. Not pastorally wise.

          The other thing that puzzles me is that you feel so comfortable judging Mark’s soul — in his presence, no less.

          At any rate, I think the core issue here is an issue about SODOMY, not homosexuality. In our culture, sodomy is morally acceptable. It became morally acceptable among heterosexuals first; indeed, that’s why homosexuality became acceptable today, because straight people felt like hypocrites. I know that you want to close up the Pandora’s Box, Michael, but it’s not going to happen. Right now, what we can do is join together to understand the sin of sodomy and fight against that sin. Fighting against homosexuality is, at best, fighting against a temporal consequence of the relevant sin.

          • Michael

            I feel comfortable “judging” Mark’s soul because as Pope Francis implied with his “do not judge” comment, we are not to judge gay people who seek the Lord of a GOOD will, but we sure as hell CAN judge those who seek to change the Church out of an evil will! And I have known “Mark” for some time now, several years now, and this debate is nothing new. We have been having it in email conversations for two to three years.

            Isn’t Scripture pretty clear about where those who committ sodomy and those who DEFEND sodomy go? If that is not an indication of the spiritual malaise of the United States and other countries for you, then I don’t know what else to tell you. You have a seriously skewed view of what it means to be “pastoral.” Given the diabolical violence with which sodomists of all kind push for their evil in the world, twenty to thirty years of penance and exile from the sacred Communion of the Church does not seem very harsh to me. To not do so would be a scandal to all of those holy people who are NOT sodomists who have had to suffer under the oppression of this evil for so long…

            So prayers of exorcism would be very “pastoral” indeed.

            • Daniel P

              I don’t know Mark, and I’m not interested in getting into a debate about his immortal soul. Moving on…

              So to be clear, you think that a straight married couple who has, only once, engaged in oral sex to the point of copulation, should be banished from the Church for 20-30 years?

              Or do you have some special definition of sodomy that I should know about?

              As for me, I’m not defending sodomy in the slightest. I don’t understand how you could read my post above and I think I was defending sodomy.

              • Michael

                “So to be clear, you think that a straight married couple who has, only once, engaged in oral sex to the point of copulation, should be banished from the Church for 20-30 years?”

                I would reject your either/or formulation using the word “straight”, but essentially, yes. Was I not clear about that?

                I am all about returning us to the “early Church”, just like the progressive theologians, except that I want all of the rules too. Given the ungratefulness of the “sexual revolutionaries” and their desire to make society more pagan – it’s been now, what 40 years will all of the “free love” — why not simply return to how the ancients dealt with pagan society themselves??

                • Daniel P

                  First, I’m glad you’re consistent. But your view is not in keeping with the New Testament. Paul’s response to the sinful activities of a sinful society was not to forbid people from coming to church, but to tell them in no uncertain terms to stop sinning.

                  But supposing it were good to institute these rules you suggest, it still would not be good to institute them right away, or at least retroactively. One key function of a rule is to deter a person from acting in a certain way. If you make the rule retroactive — or imply, as you have, that the rule should be retroactive — then you are being (in human terms) unjust. In divine terms, of course, we ALL deserve damnation, which lasts a lot longer than 30 years!

                  • Michael

                    Well, thank you for seriously considering my views!

                    Here are my responses:

                    “But your view is not in keeping with the New Testament.”

                    That is simply a non-sequitur. I’m not a Bible-thumping Christian. I believe in the apostolic succession of bishops. Whatever a bishop decides is what makes an action pastoral, and the early bishops and Church Fathers, great commentators on the Scriptures themselves, clearly felt it was in line with Sacred Scripture to institute prayer and fasting for long years as a penance. Sure, one can show “mercy” in a shorter period, but the penance itself serves a just punishment, and one has to have the correct disposition of heart before such hastening “mercy” is even shown. That is the whole point of the punishment. If someone so loved the Eucharist and the Church, I would feel their penance should be shorter, but often times I think that what just happens in the Confessional is that there is a tacit approval of the sinful lifestyle per se and no real and lasting resolve is made to abandon sin. Our Baroque tendencies gave us the Englightenment probably because of all of the “tender” and “merciful” compassion that was given to all of the enlightened thinkers. Like I said, if we are more pagan now and think that Baroque rules are silly, perhaps a more ancient approach is necessary.

                    • Daniel P

                      The ancient bishops imposed those recommendations out of their pastoral wisdom relating to their culture. It was not set down as dogma. And the bishops could have been wrong — after all, I think you’re committed to saying that current bishop policies are wrong, so either way bishops aren’t always right.

                      And as for the New Testament, I think your suggestion that looking to the New Testament for pastoral wisdom is “bible-thumping” is, frankly, laughable. We follow Scripture and Tradition. Not just Tradition.

                    • Michael

                      I will simply emphasize the first sentence of your paragraph, before you distort some things:

                      “The ancient bishops imposed those recommendations out of their pastoral wisdom relating to their culture.”

                      Yes, clearly. And as I have said many times, we are regressing as a culture and becoming more pagan. Thus it would be “becoming” for us to treat these issues as the ancient Fathers did to their own pagan cultures.

                    • Daniel P

                      I agree that we need to learn to operate as a leaner, more agile Church. The experiment of a Christian society is over, and it’s not coming back anytime soon.

                      I don’t know what you mean about Marxism. It seems like this might apply to the gay marriage issue, but we’re not talking about gay marriage. (At least I’m not!)

                      What puzzles me about the early Church bishops, vis a vis the apostle Paul, is that Paul’s society was rabidly pagan, too. If these extreme penances are wise for any rabidly pagan society, why didn’t Paul recommend them?

                    • Michael

                      “The experiment of a Christian society is over, and it’s not coming back anytime soon.”

                      Wow, what a thing to say as a Christian commentator on this blog. Have you ever read the encyclicals Quas Primas and Immortale Dei? Your line of thought here is in serious contradiction with the Church’s position, even if you are not a cultural Marxist. We have every obligation to favor Christ’s church in society as it is the vehicle of salvation for all!

                      Wow, just wow.

                    • Daniel P

                      My claim was descriptive, not normative. There is no “line of thought” here. I was observing that our society is not Christian, and is not likely to become Christian anytime soon.

                    • Michael

                      Describe “our”: “Contemporary” American Society? Not Christian? That seems to go against the facts. The majority of Americans believe in God and an even larger number of them celebrate Christmas. So there is much to work with there from an evangelizing perspective. The roots of Christianity are still deeper in America than even Europe. But considering that the Latin American Church and African Church are growing, perhaps this discussion about accepting gays in the “American” church, a weak and diminishing Church, is as meaningless as the Catholic faith itself is here to most? Oh, that and that the majority of Catholics in the states are Hispanic and Latino immigrants or the immediate descendants of European or African immigrants and the like. Christian society flourishes there abundantly. It is only in the “upper echelons” of society, such as liberal cities, government bodies and the media where the faith is non-existent or attacked.

                      Try preaching this “acceptance of gays” to the non-white Hispanic majority. It will not work there and is a worthless effort. The same thing with the African church. So why are we focusing so much on such a miniscule group? Why do they even get press-time?

                    • Daniel P

                      “So why are we focusing so much on such a miniscule group?”

                      I don’t know, Michael. Why are you?

                    • Michael

                      That’s a good question. Perhaps because I am a “closeted” homosexual myself who is unwilling to admit this and move on with his life while the “real” Christians sit here debating the inconsequential?

                    • Michael

                      “If these extreme penances are wise for any rabidly pagan society, why didn’t Paul recommend them?”

                      I will ask another question: How do you know that he didn’t? Are we to base our Catholic belief in the Eucharist and the sacraments merely on the Scripture as Luther would have us in order for us to have Holy Sacraments and Mysteries at all?

                • Thomas R

                  This is what’s odd for someone like me. I’m against the sexual revolution. I always have been. I think fornication, adultery, contraception, remarriage after divorce, etc are all sins. The value of repentance. That our society devalues many things about the family and marriage.

                  But I’d like to think you can grant all these things, but still show mercy. A twenty-year-long denial of the Eucharist, or fifteen in the case of straight adultery, I think could be excessively severe. After twenty years the person is likely to just leave.

                  • Michael

                    “After twenty years the person is likely to just leave.”

                    Then what good is it in bringing them into the Church anyway if they can’t keep the faith for that long?

                    • Thomas R

                      What I meant is being denied the sacraments for twenty years they’re likely to feel they’re not in the Church or unwelcome.

                      Can you cite anything, after the Council of Trent, of the penances being that long?

                    • Michael

                      I don’t like the Council of Trent so I will not bother with it. 15 years of penance for sodomy does not seem unjust nor unwelcoming. Why have a church full of sodomites who don’t believe in God and just want to worship themselves when we can actually have a Church composed of actual CHRISTIANS??

                    • Thomas R

                      Um when did I say I want a church full of Godless sodomites?

                      And are you saying you don’t recognize the Council of Trent either? Okay can you think of penances this long after the Council of Florence? Or is that still too recent?

                    • Michael

                      Like I said, I’m entirely FOR making the Church more ancient in its approach. One, such an action will bring us back closer to the Eastern Orthodox. And two, it will teach everyone to be more grateful for what they already have or HAD and abused.

            • Mark

              Uhhhh….this is bizarre. I deny ever having debated this by email with “Michael.” Given the other “projections” on this thread, I wonder if he has me confused with someone else.

              • Michael

                Well, this can easily be clarified if you simply reveal your last name to us.

                If you feel uncomfortable revealing your full name, then perhaps just the first letter then? Simply to see if it is a possible coincidence that it is not the person with the same style, arguments, first name and first letter of the last name that I know.

                I’m open to meeting new people, though hopefully not multiple personalities in the same head.

              • Michael

                How odd that you think you do not know me without me even disclosing my last name…

      • Michael

        “At any rate, it makes no sense to take Mark’s comments as somehow representative or authoritative. I’m sure Mark would agree.”

        Well, it’s hard to say exactly what he would do. In one instance he would collectivize the group as a whole and refer to it as a “we” and in another instance, such as here, he might agree with you that he doesn’t represent the group at all, or question if they even are a “group” in order to simply pump the intuition pump in his favor.

        If I may draw a parallel to Hindu mythology, he’s like Kartikeya, the six-headed Son of Shiva. When you’re done talking to one head, you will be yelled at by another.

    • Aaron Taylor

      That’s a bit like saying I consider Austin Ruse or Daniel Mattson’s critiques unstable because I don’t like some of the comments underneath. If you’re going to critique a position, do it based on the articles which people have thought about and written carefully, not comments in com-boxes. I hardly think that we have to prove that we are not “cultural Marxists” but I do accept that your are right that the burden of proving ourselves and our ideas lies on us and that some things can be formulated better.

      • Michael

        I will feel free to do and think as I wish, thank you very much. If you would like to see a consistent presentation of my thoughts and beliefs, by all means, feel free to click on my name on the left and it will open a new profile window for you to see the history of all the comments I have made, either in the positive or in the negative critiquing various points of views. I could just as easily critique your critique of my critiques as being simply because “I don’t like them” on the underside. But why even bother pointing that out?

        • Aaron Taylor

          I’m not saying you’re not free to do as your wish. I’m just saying that when you critique a whole group of writers based not on what they have said, but based on what someone else has said in a com-box on an article about them, you can’t expect to be taken seriously as a critic.

          • Michael

            I humbly accept that fate as my profession is not in high-brow, egotistical academia but simply accounting. Though I understand that writers do struggle financially sometimes so it is ethically in my best interest to generate as much dust around their articles so that they feel a bit better about themselves.

  • Michael

    A nice quote from Cardinal Ratzinger in the document “On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons” still as Prefect of the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith:

    “10. It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.

    But the proper reaction to crimes committed against homosexual persons should not be to claim that the homosexual condition is not disordered. When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase.”

    I put my own emphasis on the the last sentence: “When such a claim is made…or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground and irrational and violent reactions increase.”

    Yes, we should not be surprised that an unjust law regarding the redefinition of marriages increases the violent and irrational reactions. So why tacitly support such laws?

  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

    Hey, New Homophiles, read this link and comment:

    https://www.newoxfordreview.org/reviews.jsp?did=1113-gardiner

    • Michael

      Thank you! This represents an authentic teaching in line with Church thought. If only we modeled ourselves after what the saints have written!

  • Michael

    Oh my God, everyone! I just had a Vision from the Blessed Mary, Mother of God, telling me that she and Her Son want us Catholics to set up an new Church for the New Homophiles. In the vision Mary told me that she and her Son wants the group to operate under the Unitarian Universalist paradigm while nevertheless receiving valid sacraments from Catholic priests with valid orders. Like the women-priests groups, they can keep the name “Catholic” as it is an “authentic” part of their experience in what they call themselves, but they can nevertheless be separated from all of the “conservatives” that they hate so much. It is a win-win situation.

    Heck, they can even set up their own liturgical rites where the “bond of brotherhood” is allowed as a blessing for chaste gay relationships and maybe even some authentic Ethiopian liturgical dancing to boot. Like the Anglicans, they can call themselves something different, such as the “Gay Church of Christ” — use the Queen James Bible as their official Scriptural translation, which I am sure Pope Francis would readily grant approval to in a televised off-the-cuff airplane interview, and everything would be settled! No more contentious in-fighting and linguistic analysis. The gay Catholic “New Homophiles” will have the Church that they desire, we will have the Church that we desire and everyone will be happy!

    What a glorious vision! Only the Blessed Mother could think of something like this. God bless everyone and the Pope. They are opening so many new doors for Catholicism. We will soon be so all-embracing! It’s a wonderful sight to behold!

    • Aaron Taylor

      Unfortunately, God doesn’t give out free passes on taking his name in vain just because you’re doing so in jest.

      • Michael

        Oh, but Aaron…I was being entirely SINCERE. Just like when a demon speaks through a possessed person is being entirely sincere too…

  • Michael

    “3. The idea that gayness can be a gift is profoundly Catholic.”

    Like the early Church and St. Peter Damian, I hold that what “gayness” is in need of is an exorcism and 20 to 30 years of penances.

  • Michael

    “3. The idea that gayness can be a gift is profoundly Catholic.”

    Like the early Church, I propose that we return to the paradigm introduced by ancient Council of Ancyra (A.D. 314), which dealt with

    homosexuality in two canons. In canon 16 the Church Fathers declared that laymen who had committed sodomy before the age of 20 were not to receive communion for 20 years; and those who had committed it after the age of 20, for 30 years.

    In canon 17 of the same Council, the Fathers ordered those
    who had committed this sin to pray among the “demoniacs.”

    St. Peter Damian also writes
    “When a male rushes to a male to commit impurity, this is not the natural impulse of the flesh, but only the goad of diabolical impulse. This is why the holy fathers carefully established that sodomists pray together with the deranged since they did not doubt that the sodomists were possessed.”

    Given this position of the Church, I don’t doubt they are possessed either. And neither does it seem does Bishop Paprocki of Springfield, IL who is himself a leader in reviving the practice of exorcism in the United States.

  • Michael

    I find it a bit odd that avocational materialists would suddenly jump on that phrase “It’s Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve!” on historical grounds. Weren’t they just against the historicity of the events in the Bible?

  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

    Since the subject of disabilities has been much discussed in this comment thread, thought this book review from JETS (Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society) would be of interest:

    Disability in the Hebrew Bible: Interpreting Mental and Physical Differences
    . By SaulM. Olyan. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008, xii + 188 pp.,

    Saul Olyan reconstructs the Hebrew Bible’s ideas of disability and its potential social
    ramifications (p. 1) and the way biblical and Qumran literature formulate hierarchical
    structure privileging some groups over others. In particular, Olyan notes that the Bible
    does not provide a term for “disability,” but tends to categorize people on the basis of
    physical or mental conditions, appearance, vulnerability, and the presence or absence
    of disease. Such conditions result in exclusion from social, economic, and religious life
    (p. 1) through the deployment of strategies such as denigrating comparisons with nega-
    tive character types (p. 6), affirming their weakness and vulnerability (p. 7), and the
    association of idols with disability language (p. 8).

    Chapter 1 examines biblical notions of beauty and ugliness and their function as
    antitypes, identifying “particular physical and nonphysical qualities and charac-
    teristics” esteemed by biblical writers and the vocabulary used to express their con-
    curring or dissenting concepts of physical appearance (p. 15). Olyan concludes that
    notions of beauty and ugliness are culturally specific. He notes the indirect association
    of “terms for good and bad with a specialized meaning of beautiful and ugly” (p. 25).
    Olyan then investigates in chapter 2 why only some physical disabilities are clas-
    sified as defect in biblical literature while others are socially and ritually enabling.
    Acknowledging the significance of defect toward social stigmatization, Olyan’s purpose
    in this chapter is “to identify the rationale behind what constitutes a ‘defect’ ” (p. 26).
    However, Olyan is unable to identify a rationale for categories of defect except for their
    being visible and permanent. Notwithstanding, Olyan concludes that “defect” in bib-
    lical discourse was devaluing and stigmatizing.

    Chapter 3 further explores somatic conditions not classified as defects and their
    differing but lesser social ramifications (such as cult restriction). According to Olyan,
    these non-defective conditions were also subject to marginalizing strategies such as the
    ascription of uncleanness, imprecatory discourse, and association with marginal social
    groups (pp. 47, 60). He concludes that limited stigmatization of non-defective persons
    took place “through the discourse of severe pollution alone” and was “based on a sense
    of a common somatic dysfunction” and shared adjectival morphology rather than through
    an affiliation with devalued classes of persons (pp. 62–63).

    Mental disability is the subject of chapter 4. Olyan recognizes that terminology
    in biblical texts is both technical and poorly understood, but he observes that biblical
    authors grouped various mental disabilities under common classification (that being a
    book review sreal or apparent perception of loss of self-control) and deployed similar strategies of
    stigmatization and marginalization as those deployed toward other classes of disabled
    persons (p. 62). He concludes that although mental disability is not classified as “defect”
    in biblical texts, it is, nevertheless, associated with others of devalued physical qualities
    through their common weakness, vulnerability, and poverty.

    Chapter 5 addresses disability language in prophetic utopian vision and the central
    role disability plays in the prophets’ model of “a world of ideal relations . . . characterized
    both by the restoration of things lost and by the creation of a novel reality never seen
    before” (p. 78). These texts share a common interest in “promoting Yahweh as an incom-
    parable deity who is able to change the order of things, accomplishing profound, trans-
    formative deeds” and function to display Yahweh’s power and preeminence (pp. 78–79).
    Chapter 6 evaluates non-somatic parallels between bodily wholeness and defect.

    Specifically, Olyan looks at prohibitions regarding altar and temple building materials
    (Exod 20:25; Deut 27:5–6; Josh 8:30–31; 1 Kgs 6:7). He also looks into the analogies
    used with reference to these non-somatic representations, noting that although the tech-
    nical vocabulary is different, these terms carry the same meaning as those used toward
    the disabled.

    Chapter 7 explores Second Temple literature from Qumran and how it perpetuated,
    elaborated, or reconfigured biblical notions and classifications of disability for their own
    contexts and purposes (p. 101). Olyan notes that the Dead Sea Scrolls “include the
    notion that at least some ‘defects’ and other disabilities are generally incompatible
    with the holy,” increasing the stigmatization and marginalization of disabled persons
    (pp. 117–18). His final chapter is a synopsis of his research data and conclusions and
    their application to contemporary issues.

    Olyan generally accepts Mary Douglas’s thesis regarding the paradigmatic func-
    tion of wholeness and the association of holiness with wholeness in biblical thought.
    This forms the basis for his assessment of non-somatic representations of wholeness in
    chapter 6. This discussion indicates an awareness of parallels existing between positive
    and negative representations that has been noticeably lacking in the area of disabilities
    studies. Perhaps this will generate further studies regarding somatic representations
    of bodily wholeness. An equally important contribution to disabilities studies is Olyan’s
    examination of Qumran literature. Of concern, however, is that he perpetuates the
    automatic assumption that biblical literature ascribes stigmatization and shame on
    weakness and physical flaw. Although Olyan recognizes that biblical texts (Lev 19:14;
    Deut 27:18; 1 Sam 2:8; Ps 72:4,12–14; 146:8; Isa 56:3–7 [esp.]) challenge the charac-
    terization that the disabled were stigmatized and marginalized and express Yahweh’s
    concern for them, he does not address these texts thoroughly.

    Michael D. Fiorello
    Columbia International University, Columbia, SC

  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

    AN INQUISITIVE QUIZ

    “Raising a doubt without resolving it is the same as conceding to it.” (Thomas Aquinas)

    Dear Daniel,

    How does the New Homophile theology & Christianized Queerism get addressed in the article below (it’s second half may not pertain)?

    Will Cardinal Maradiaga be riding your steed into the upcoming Synod on the Family this fall? Think, much, much, expectation is riding on that affair, to say the least. Seems that the great expectation is for the much vaunted teaching of “The Pastoral Approach” to be awarded infallible status as dogma (or, near so) as it manhandles all other doctrines – especially the sexy ones!

    Don’t. Think. I. Have. This. One. Wrong.

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/01/ratzinger-is-true-target-of-new.html

    (Sitting a bit downcast in the BANKRUPT Diocese of Stockton. Boy, are we mess!)

  • Michael

    I have found a nice image of Our Crucified Lord for the homoheretics to reflect on before they go on and continue spreading their homo-heretical doctrines:

    You can find the link here: http://communio.stblogs.org/Crucified%20Lord%20Meister%20Francke.jpg

  • Michael

    Gabriel, Bravo on your most recent blog post! I am sincerely glad that you have chosen to approach the question of gay identity philosophically. It is really a nice change and excellent reading. Though I disagree with your conclusions about the relative importance of the gay aspect of one’s identity in relation to the importance of the whole or totality of all aspects, I have really enjoyed reading your discussion of the issue. Again, Bravo!

  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

    Gabriel,

    If you can, tear apart the argument within the link below:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/02/why_gays_have_so_much_influence_on_our_culture.html

    It all comes down – in defining the theology of Homophilism – about the sex acts, doesn’t it? Which leaves this question: Is the Homophile Movement a “staged act” in the gay propaganda drama; in this case, within the Catholic Church?

    Pray for the courageous bishops of suffering Nigeria, as the gay cabal hounds them.

    [Disheartened and discouraged from the BANKRUPT Stockton Diocese]

  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

    Gabriel,

    And the reason why the boys over at Spiritual Friendship are the sworn enemies of the truth claim that one rid or severely decrease his or her same-sex attraction is what? Why the hostility – or, is it fear?

    In addition, will Spiritual Friendship folks ever be guilty of thwarting the prayers of minors afflicted with SSA? Of leaving them in a double bind because – at least, now in California and NJ – it is illegal for a 13 year-old to send up a cry heavenward, “I don’t want this. Get me out of this gay thing”?

    At the least, Gabriel, tear apart the following article – if you can:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/02/hope_and_change_not_for_gays.html

    [Disheartened and discouraged in the BANKRUPT Diocese of Stockton]

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