The Moral Exploitation of Penguins

Of all God’s creatures, those most amiable must include koalas, pandas, dolphins and penguins, only the last two of which are aquatic. If one goes with most evolutionists, penguins used to fly and flying would have made it easier to escape their chief enemy the leopard seal, but their ability to swim made flying too much of an effort and gradually their wings became attenuated. Perhaps the closest we have today to the last of the flying penguins is the pelagic cormorants (Phalacrocoras pelagicus) and they seem to have retained their soaring ability only by swimming with their feet.  Emperor penguins can quickly dive to 1,500 feet using their former wings that had become flippers, and isotope analysis of how they burn energy indicates that such consumption exhausted the biomechanical energy for flying.  This is true of all penguins. Of the 17 species of penguins, just four breed on the Antarctic continent:  the Adelie, the Emperor, and the Chinstrap among them.  The largest species is the Macaroni penguin, which Australian ornithologists tend to lump together with the Royal Penguin, reducing the number of species to sixteen.  One respected study numbers the Macaronis at 11,654,000 pairs, and the amateur can only wonder at how this was calculated, and at what cost to the social lives of those who counted them.

It is the Chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarctica) on which we are focused. Wherever you find them:  Antarctica, South Shetland, South Georgia, Bouvet Island, Deception Island or the sunnier South Sandwich Islands, their distinctive black band around the necks cannot be missed, and hence their name. Depending on their breeding cycle, their weight can drop from more than thirteen pounds to between six and seven pounds, and breeding is the issue here. While my contempt for the unfitting things that The New York Times prints is not effortlessly concealed, I was especially exercised by the way that declining journal has over the years used dolphins and other creatures, including the Chinstrap penguin, to promote an antinomian theory that unnatural sexual activity is okay.  Specifically, I allude to its article published on February 7, 2004 under the belabored title, “Love That Dare Not Squeak its Name.”  First of all, penguins do not “squeak.”  That is the sort of stereotyping that The New York Times general eschews, save in the instances of supply-side economists, black conservatives, and practicing Christians.  Penguins make various sounds: the African, Humboldt Galapagos and Magallanic penguins make a braying sound very much like donkeys, while the Yellow-eyed penguin trills, the King penguin sounds like a trumpet, and our immediate concern, the Chinstrap, has a shrill voice almost like a scream.  None of them, dear editors of The York Times, squeaks.  A simple trip to the Central Park Zoo would confirm this, and if those editors had made the trip, they would not have made their big mistake:  the announcement that some Chinstrap penguins are homosexual.

Polemicists exaggerate statistics as a matter of policy and The New York Times devotes its front page, “Style Section” and even obituaries to creating the illusion that there are far more, “non- heterosexuals,” than there really are.  Like the quest for the “gay gene” which, like the “missing link” is, as Chesterton pointed out, missing, a constant effort is afoot to find rampant unnatural activity in nature to justify it as a norm.  This is why “The Grey Lady” (or, “The Grey Person”) trumpeted like a King penguin a claim that two male Chinstrap penguins at the Central Park Zoo, were attracted to each other. They claimed that Roy and Silo had been inseparable for nearly six years and rubbed their necks in “ecstatic behavior.” More than that, they eschewed female companionship.  Their chief keeper, Rob Gramzay, claimed that they tried to incubate a rock.  When, as expected, this did not work, he gave them a fertile egg which hatched after Roy and Silo sat on it for thirty-four days.  The New York Times seems to have inferred from this a lesson in surrogate parenthood. Roy and Silo fed their chick named Tango until she could manage on her own.  As the paper of record noted, “Mr. Gramzay is full of praise for them.” There was an added comment that Mr. Gramzay “never saw the pair complete a sex act, though the two did engage in mating rituals like entwining their necks and vocalizing to one another.”

Call it coincidence, but homosexual penguins suddenly began to pop up all over the world.  Newspapers in Toronto reported the amorous activities of African penguins Buddy and Pedro in their local zoo although Buddy seems to have been bi-sexual as evidenced in his quick surrender to the affections of a female penguin named Farai.  Almost exactly one year after the startling announcement in The New York Times about Roy and Silo, the Bremerhaven Zoo disclosed that it had tried but failed to split up three homosexual pairs of penguins by introducing them to some females of the same species imported from Sweden.  Zoo director Heike Huecke declared this “aversion therapy” a disappointment and told a reporter that “All sorts of gay and lesbian associations have been e-mailing and calling in to protest.”  Penguins had become a symbol of their struggle for gender neutrality. Not to be outdone, scientists at Tokyo’s Rikkyo University listed about twenty same-sex pairs in sixteen zoos in Japan.  As the Netherlands have been more libertine in sexual taxonomy, it is no surprise that keepers in the Odense Zoo in Denmark disclosed that two homosexual male penguins had tried to steal eggs from mother penguins and even went to the extreme of attempting to incubate a dead herring.  London’s Daily Mail then ran an account of Inca and Rayas, two male penguins at Faunia Park in Madrid who had maintained a relationship exactly the same length of time as the prototypical Roy and Silo in New York.

As members of the animal kingdom share with man to some degree the consequences of a fallen world, their behavior should not be taken as a model of prelapsarian perfection.  If, pace Cole Porter, even educated fleas do it, doing it a different way does not make it a right way. Even poor little lambs go astray.  Either accept that to go astray is not right, or you have to say that no one strays.  A few years ago in the San Diego zoo, an orangutan was upset by a woman’s hat and threw his own excrement at it.  This does not make him an arbiter of fashion, nor should dissolute penguins be cited as evidence in moral discourse.

Within months after The New York Times scooped the tabloids on what was going on in the Central Park penguin pavilion, Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson wrote a book about Roy and Silo for children entitled And Tango Makes Three. According to one review, “The book follows the six years of their life when they formed a couple and were given an egg to raise.”  It received many awards from groups that apparently look to penguins as moral templates.  According to the American Library Association, And Tango Makes Three was the most “challenged” book of 2006, 2007, and 2008 and returned to the top rank in 2010.  In Shiloh, Illinois, a school superintendent rejected parents’ pleas that the book be put in a restricted area of the library. On October 2, 2009, The New York Times announced that, “as life imitates art,” Parnell and Richardson “have their own baby Tango. In February, the gay couple, who live in the West Village, had their first child. The baby, Gemma Parnell-Richardson, was born to a surrogate mother, the egg fertilized by sperm from one of the men. (Which one was left to chance.)”  Thus they were spared the indignity of trying to incubate a rock or a dead herring.

A history professor at Yale, John Boswell, was a convert to Roman Catholicism and died in 1994 from AIDS related complications at the age of 47, having spent much of his career arguing that the Church had sanctioned “adelphopoiesis” as a rite uniting two person of the same sex in a romantic and sexual bond.  His critics pointed out the many flaws in his thesis, most importantly his misinterpretation of the traditions of fraternity and “blood brotherhood.”  He used iconography, such as images of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, as evidence for his propaganda, rather the way journalists have used penguins.  All of them nimbly ignored the Fathers such as St. John Chrysostom, who probably had never seen a penguin, but who wrote in his fourth Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans that not even wild animals go beyond the boundaries of a male uniting with a female, or what the sixteenth canon of the Council of Ancyra in 314 called “doing the irrational” (alogeuesthai).

After its intrusion into the domestic manners of Roy and Silo, The New York Times printed a correction on February 23, 2004:  “A picture in Arts & Ideas on Feb. 7 with an article about homosexual behavior in animals, including bottlenose dolphins, was published in error. It showed killer whales.”  This does not increase our confidence in the newspaper, nor does it make the chaste swimmer eager to go far from the beach.

Fr. George W. Rutler


Fr. George W. Rutler is pastor of St. Michael's church in New York City. He is the author of many books including Principalities and Powers: Spiritual Combat 1942-1943 (South Bend, IN: St. Augustine’s Press) and Hints of Heaven (Sophia Institute Press). His latest books are He Spoke To Us (Ignatius, 2016) and The Stories of Hymns (EWTN Publishing, 2017).

  • publiusnj

    The author notes that the only way for a “gay couple” to have a child is for someone else to have it for them. He notes the couple in question: “have their own baby Tango. In February, the gay couple, who live in the West Village, had their first child. The baby, Gemma Parnell-Richardson, was born to a surrogate mother, the egg fertilized by sperm from one of the men. (Which one was left to chance.) ”
    In reality, though, the couple has not had a child together. Rather, some woman was impregnated by one or the other of them (and we are just taking her word for that) in a loveless way and the two people who bought the woman’s damming services are not sure which was the father. So, the child will be raised by two people with no necessary connection to the child who was conceived from their commercial transaction and the mother out of whom the child was born has no role in the family raising the child. What any of that curious interaction has to do with the State’s legitimate concerns in marriage (legitimating the child for support and intestate inheritance purposes) is extremely unclear. More importantly, the State should not be encouraging people to produce children with strangers so that the resulting child will be raised by a couple who will know that the child is not the issue of their love for one another and is not flesh of both their flesh.

  • Facile1

    I’ve always wondered. If indeed there exists a “gay gene” among humans, how did it reproduce?

    • TheodoreSeeber

      Actually, there’s been a study done in Italy that suggests a potential answer to that question: Through female siblings.

      Apparently, in at least a few cases, what causes homoseuxality in males, causes hyper heterosexuality in females- resulting in many homosexual uncle-homosexual nephew, well, I don’t want to call them relationships since that would suggest incest as well, and usually the partners are in other families. But you get the point.

      • Alecto

        Typical. If there is no scientific basis for a hypothesis, let’s blame women! For centuries, if some dumb brute wasn’t provided with a “male” heir, it was a woman’s fault (until of course, science demonstrated only men determine the sex of a child).

        • TheodoreSeeber

          I’m just repeating the results of the study. No blame involved.

          There is scientific basis for the hypothesis.

          Note, this explains male homosexuality. It doesn’t explain female (though I’ve always thought female homosexuality was the direct result of childhood sex abuse).

          • Alecto

            Did not intend that as a criticism of you, but of the Italians doing the study. And it comports with the machismo culture over there.

          • Proteios

            There is credibility for many hypotheses. That’s why they are examined further, to see if a working hypothesis holds up to scrutiny. So far a gay gene hasn’t held up to scientific scrutiny. A hypothesis is merely the statement of a question in terms of dependent and independent variables. Anyone can make one up. The trick is examining the hypothesis. Usually that’s where the media stops over these advocacy issues.

          • Facile1

            Please refer to my first commentary.

            Hypotheses need to be rational FIRST before one can gather the evidence and claim “science”. Evidence cannot exist for a statement couched in the negative because one cannot gather “an absence of evidence”. So, even if a ‘gay gene’ should exist, how does it reproduce?

            Of course, the Italian study may NOT be addressing this question at all (I have no intention of reading the study). Maybe the Italian study is merely saying that a statistical correlation exists between homosexual behavior and a gene they have identified. HOWEVER, the reproduction of this gene is still a function of heterosexual copulation.

            Then, raising the issue in this thread is merely an example of the “ignoratio elenchi fallacy”.

            Language — including Mathematics — is a human invention. The TRUTH is NOT.

            Sexual gratification is NOT love and does not merit any blessings.

            A “scientific study” (ie a human invention) cannot change the TRUTH (ie GOD).

            ONLY GOD is LOVE.

            LOVE GOD FIRST.

        • Adam__Baum

          Alecto, without regard to this assertion, there’s a lot of things (hemophilia) that are passed through women. The double X chromosome averts a negative phenotype in the female, who then can pass it on to a son whose XY chromosomes allow the defect to manifest.
          There are men who mimic Adam in Genesis and blame women for moral failings-it’s rather detestable-but acknowledging biology isn’t passing the moral buck.

          • Alecto

            The tired tactic of “acknowledging biology” has been used throughout history to prevent women from participating in any number of civic and social activities and opportunities than I can count.

            • Adam Baum

              Except I’m not advocating anything here, simply acknowledging that having a “backup” chromosome allows females to possess a genetic defect without suffering its effects in a number of circumstances.

              Of course, the reverse is true, the novel, but equally tired tactic of not acknowledging biology has deprived men and women from the opportunity of being men and women.

              As an aside, in a recent thread you decried the lack of men willing to step to the plate. I can tell you that when dating, I listened carefully to what women were saying. If you had said the words you had written here to me, I would have assumed that there was no point in continuing to court as I was looking for a complement, not a competitor.

              You see, when it comes right down to it, if, in the middle of the night, there’s a crashing of glass, I know who is responsible for dealing with it. I’m bigger, stronger, more aggressive and that’s biology. Perhaps you could give a little credit to the men like my Father who never did anything to prevent my Mother from participating in any civic or social activity, but who always made it clear that he would mimic Christ and surrender his life to preserve my Mother’s, if necessary.

      • Facile1


        1. The Italian study is suggesting female siblings copulated without the intervention of any male RELATION (ie must “prove a negative”).
        2. Something was lost in translation (like the word “reproduce”).

        Hope this helps.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          I’m sorry, I don’t understand. Are you saying a recessive gene on the X chromosome can’t be passed on by a female sibling who may well be a carrier of the same gene?

          • Facile1

            “Passing along” a gene (recessive or otherwise) of a homosexual partner by way of heterosexual copulation (or even with the use of IVF) will not reproduce homosexuals, heterosexuals, or celibates with any degree of certainty. However, heterosexual copulation (and IVF) will reproduce a human being (maybe even a carrier of the ‘gay’ gene, should it ever be isolated.) Regardless, homosexuality, heterosexuality, and celibacy remain choices. Our CHOICES are not determined by our genes.

            • TheodoreSeeber

              Nothing in genetics is certain, correct. The original question was “If the gay gene exists how is it reproduced”?

              I’ve always thought it was very interesting that logical fallacies, in and of themselves, are a special case of appeal to authority, which is often used against theists.

              • Facile1

                Why does responding to your commentaries always feel like I am rising to the bait?

                You say, “Nothing in genetics is certain, correct.”

                Nothing in LIFE is certain. But I prefer to use quantifiable terms such as “degree of certainty”, “statistical correlation”, function, etc. (due to training, I suppose.)

                You say, “I’ve always thought it was very interesting that logical fallacies, in and of themselves, are a special case of appeal to authority, which is often used against theists.”

                The entire discipline of “critical thinking” was invented at the time of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle — all of whom predated the advent of Jesus Christ, who appealed to God’s authority in all His teachings. Note: Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and Jesus Christ were all persecuted by the State. Among the four, only Jesus Christ can be properly described as a “theist”.

                An “appeal to authority” is NOT a logical fallacy in and of itself. One has first to undermine public confidence in the referential authority — preferably without the use of “ad hominem” fallacies. Note: My only appeal to authority in this thread is to the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching that “there are no homosexuals, just homosexual acts.”

                So, how can my “appeal to (the) authority (of the Roman Catholic Church)” be used “against” you (assuming you are the “theist” you are referring to in your sentence)?

                I am a practicing Catholic and this IS a Catholic Blog. If you failed to understand my original question because you are NOT Catholic, what are you doing in a Catholic blog? If you are Catholic, how did you fail to understand my original post? And why do you continue to post in a Catholic blog when you continue to fail to understand Catholic teaching?

                If this is merely your convoluted way of telling me that you are offended when I point out your “ignoratio elenchi” fallacies, keep in mind pointing out fallacies is within the rules of engagement in a blog (not only this one) and one does not deserve a draught of hemlock for merely engaging in argument.

                Now I AM truly sorry I rose to the bait. Let me offer you the last word.


                • Trumpet Player

                  The purported “Roman Catholic Church’s teaching that ‘there are no homosexuals, just homosexual acts'” is questionable.

                  Many members of the Church along with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other Church documents teach that there are, quote, “homosexual persons”, not just homosexual acts. We can perhaps understand “homosexual persons” to refer to persons, quote, “who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex”. But it might also be used to refer to persons who’ve engaged in homosexual acts, even if perhaps they don’t actually have such attractions.

                  The term “homosexuals” is often used as a shorthand for “homosexual persons” and persons “who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex”. However, some people object to “homosexuals” out of concern that it doesn’t explicitly remind that they’re persons, as if sexuality is their “identity”. Nevertheless, various Church documents and members of the Church continue to use the term “homosexuals” much as they also say “prostitutes”, “Americans”, “farmers”, “painters”, etc.

                  • Adam Baum

                    So the colloquial use of the word has many meanings. So what?

                    • Trumpet Player

                      You are engaging in colloquial use when saying “there are no homosexuals”.

            • Trumpet Player

              The words “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality” do not always refer to acts, as the suffix -ity may be “used to form abstract nouns expressing state or condition”. And even in reference to acts, not all acts involve “consent sufficiently deliberate to be a personal choice”. Even animals can engage in homosexuality and heterosexuality.

              • Facile1



                My only appeal to authority in this thread is to the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching that “there are no homosexuals, only homosexual acts.”

                I am a practicing Catholic and this IS a Catholic Blog. I can be excused for assuming the target audience of this blog is Catholic and understand the Roman Catholic Church’s teaching even if they disagree.

                My choice of words and use of the language are, therefore, appropriate for the audience and in keeping with the argument I am making.

                By your definition, penguins cannot engage in homosexual acts. I myself do not question the phenomenon that animals do engage in homosexual acts. HOWEVER, as a Catholic, I do not believe engaging in homosexual acts makes for a homosexual penguin (or a penguin homosexual) ANYMORE THAN engaging in homosexual acts makes for a homosexual human (or a human homosexual).

                There are no homosexuals (penguin or otherwise.)

                There are only homosexual acts (penguin and otherwise.)

                And sin only applies to humans (they should know better.)

                I hope I made my point clear.

                • Trumpet Player

                  Uhhhh… As I’ve already posted in the discussion under this article, the Church repeatedly teaches (the Catechism, words from bishops’ mouths, Vatican records, priests left and right, etc.) that there ARE “homosexual persons”, “homosexuals”, “homosexual tendencies”, “homosexual condition”, etc — not just homosexual acts.

                  And I do not have just one “definition of homosexuality”, nor does the English language, nor does the Catholic Church. Neither I nor Church teaching decrees that “penguins cannot engage in homosexual acts”.

                  There very well may be “homosexuals (penguins or otherwise)”, depending on what is meant by “homosexuals”. There are not just homosexual acts.

                  • Facile1

                    What is your point?

                    My point is the Church recognizes “homosexual acts” (and ONLY “homosexual acts”) as sin.

                    Whether the terms “homosexual persons”, “homosexuals”, “homosexual tendencies”, “homosexual condition”, etc. mean anything to me (or to anyone else) is NOT material to this Church teaching (or to this discussion).

                    One cannot bless sin. Forgive, yes; but one cannot bless.

                    So, WHAT IS YOUR POINT?

                    • Trumpet Player

                      Your unsubstantiated claim from your earlier post was that “there are no homosexuals, only homosexual acts”. Such claim does not say that “the Church recognizes ‘homosexual acts’ (and ONLY ‘homosexual acts’) as sin”. In addition, as the Church recognizes many acts other than homosexual acts as sin, it is not exactly true that the Church recognizes “only homosexual acts as sin”. Perhaps you are trying to say that the Church teaches that the homosexual condition itself is not a sin, but that homosexual acts are sins?

                    • Facile1

                      I know what my point is. No need to rephrase or put words in my mouth.

                      SO WHAT IS YOUR POINT?

  • James1

    If I read the article correctly, it would appear all these “homosexual” penguins are found in captivity. Has this behavior been found to the same degree in the wild? Has this behavior been compared to humans “in captivity” – ie prison? Or am I just making a faulty generalization?

    • Proteios

      Don’t know. Good question, though. If you need a thesis topic, you Amy have just found one.

    • Facile1

      Good catch!

    • Cha5678

      Man has many prisons in which we imprison ourselves. Shame, greed, vice are all environments ripe for the same activities (some reconciliations) witnessed in prisons.

  • Steven Jonathan

    Fr. Rutler,

    The modern tendency to equate all forms of life and even of claiming that certain animals are more equal and take precedence over human life is nauseating.

    The world now says in dismaying stupidity, “no one strays.”

    The plan in the public schools it to desensitize children starting in Kindergarten by having “homosexual” couples visit classrooms to normalize the same sex relationship. That children are willingly given to same sex couples is heart breaking for the children. It will end in being heartbreaking for the couple too eventually.

  • hombre111

    Father, maybe you should stick to articles about obscure moments in history.

    • Bono95

      Why should he do that?

      • hombre111

        He does a better job. This article was not worthy of his skill and insights.

    • thebigdog

      Do you support homosexuality Hombre?

      • hombre111

        Not really. But I think we spend entirely too much time and moral energy on homosexuals. We can be outraged and demand that they change. But we don’t seem to spend much time on moral areas where we need to change.

        • Adam Baum

          Indifference is consent.

          • Trumpet Player

            His posts expressed concern and suggestion for improvement. That’s not “indifference” or “consent”.

            • Adam Baum

              His posts expressed dismissal and derision to Fr. Rutler.

              Saying “we spend to much time” is indifference.

              • Trumpet Player

                That is YOUR interpretation of his posts that you describe.

          • Facile1

            Do not mistake indifference for consent.

            Restraint is the better part of LOVE.

        • thebigdog

          “Not really. ”

          — “So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.”

          • hombre111

            A few years ago, I was scanning the sky on a clear dark night with my 20×80’s. Suddenly, as clear as a bell above the cup of the Big Dipper, I saw two galaxies! I looked them up in my star chart and learned that they were both about the size of our own milky way, and 11.2 million light years away. That meant that, in a single glance, I was looking at the glow of a trillion stars! In the scale of the universe, they are among our close neighbors. This was an amazing spiritual experience for me. For the first time, I had a real sense of the God of the Universe. At about the same time, I made a trip to Death Valley, and stood on a rock that is a billion years old. I was also reading a book on particle physics. All this deepened my sense of the God of space and time.
            Against this background, here on our mote called the earth, I doubt if God is really furious about things like gay marriage. No, I take that back. Against the background of time beyond time and space beyond any understanding of space, God does seem interested in life’s infinite possibilities. So…I banish an impassioned discussion about the evils of gay marriage to those who want to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

            • thebigdog

              So you’ve transcended Christianity and have become a Buddhist — good to know.

              • hombre111

                Oh, no. With this sense of the God of a universe containing two hundred billion galaxies, the God of ages past beyond understanding, the God of infinite spaces and infinite smallness, I have a much more astonishing understanding of God the Father and God the Son. This is the God whose Word is made flesh in Jesus Christ. Here we are, motes on a mote whirling around a mote in a universe beyond comprehension, and Jesus is the Word who tells us by his death and resurrection that the God of this universe knows us, loves us, and calls us to be more than we can understand or imagine. It is a vision that makes me fall to my knees. It is in the face of that vision that squabbles about chant, lace albs, and gay marriage become laughable.

                • Bono95

                  Homosexual marriage would be nearly laughable if it weren’t for the fact that so many people attempt to treat it like it’s a real possibility, concept, and right. Because its advocates take it seriously, we must take it seriously too, and take it to be seriously impossible and disordered. If it wasn’t disordered, why has it never been (and is still not) as common as traditional marriage, and why did God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah by fire and brimstone?
                  There is indeed much great beauty and wonder in creation, but there is also much evil too. The beauty serves, as you pointed out, to give a glimpse of God’s majesty, and also to help us see that this world and its evils will not last forever and that the Next World will be unimaginably better.

                  • hombre111

                    Dear Bono, thanks for your post. Gays are a minority, only a fraction of the population, whose presence is feared and hated. They have tended to stay out of sight, simply to avoid persecution. Or don’t you remember the brutal treatment heaped on “feminine” boys beginning in junior high? It is only in our lifetime that they have dared move out of the closet and demand respect as human beings. Their quest for the rights and respect we take for granted has barely begun.
                    As for Sodom and Gomorrah? According to cultural anthropologists like John Pilch, who specializes in the culture of the people of the Bible, the reason Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed was because they violated one of the most ancient codes of the ancient world: they violated the law of hospitality. In our culture, hospitality is an invitation to a cocktail party. But in their culture, it was a matter of life and death. When a stranger traveled and came to a new village, he was viewed with fear and hostility. His very life was in danger. It was the task of a prominent man in the village to offer hospitality, to tell his neighbors to treat the stranger as if he were a member of his own family. Lot did this, and the neighbors violated hospitality. It wasn’t just homosexuality. It was homosexual rape. This was such a horror that Lot offered an exchange, they could rape his own daughters.

                  • Trumpet Player

                    Bono, a “marriage” between a man and a woman is not a possibility without a man and a woman, but the word “marriage” is a man-made invention, circa 13th century, and it can be given any number of meanings, to include the meaning that you call “traditional marriage” as well as meanings that do not require a man and a woman, or sexual acts, or even human beings, and on and on. Perhaps you’re “married” to a particular definition that you prefer, but it’s “traditional” that the word “marriage” is often qualified with adjectives such as “traditional”, “civil”, “open”, “second”, “polygamous”, “same-sex”, “faithful”, etc. so as to help clarify which of the many kinds of marriage one means, as, for example, you yourself have done in your own post.

                    You ask, “If it wasn’t disordered, why has it never been (and is still not) as common as traditional marriage”, but when did accept popularity as the standard for what is right? Same-sex attracted people are in the minority, and so are redheads and people who are taller than average. So too, perhaps faithful, valid Catholic marriages are in the minority. That doesn’t make it disordered.

                    I’ve read the story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis describing the power play and inhospitable treatment toward the “resident alien” Lot and his genderless angel guests. But as Hombre pointed out, there was an attempted rape, not a “homosexual marriage”.

                    It’s not even established to have been an attempted “homosexual” rape in the sense of the Church’s teaching that “Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex”. The “who” phrase qualifies that not all sexual relations between persons of the same sex are homosexuality, not even if the persons exclusively have sex with other persons of the same sex. The persons must also “experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex”, and this condition requiring a subjective experience of same-sex attraction is not established in the story of Sodom. We should not confuse rape or even same-sex rape with homosexuality.

                    Rape does not require sexual attraction, and it isn’t consensual. As the Church teaches, “Rape is the forcible violation of the sexual intimacy of another person […that] does injury to justice and charity.” When we read the story we see that the attacker(s) told Lot, “Stand back! This man came here as a resident alien, and now he dares to give orders! We will treat you worse than them!” It doesn’t look like a marriage proposal to me, but perhaps you’ve “redefined marriage” so that it looks like one to you.

                    The Book of Jude also describes Sodom as indulging in unspecific sexual immorality (ekporneuo) and going after “alien” (heteros) flesh, not “homo” flesh.

                    I don’t believe God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because some people made a legal commitment to care for someone of the same sex in sickness and health for richer and poorer, or because they called it by a man-made word that didn’t even exist at the time of Sodom, or because they get a tax deduction. And I also don’t believe these couples get licenses so they can start having sex.

                    • Bono95

                      Yes, “marriage”, and all other words in all other languages are human inventions, but true, traditional, heterosexual marriage isn’t. True, faithfully Catholic marriages are not the majority, but my point was that valid, traditional marriages are not exclusive to Catholic cultures (though only faithfully Catholic marriages are fully sacramental), and that every culture, even the few that also permitted sodomy, celebrated (and I mean CELEBRATED) traditional marriage between man and woman. Even in cultures that allow(ed) polygamy, it was always between 1 man and 2 or more women; I have (thankfully) yet to hear of 3 or more men or 3 or more women attempting to “marry”.

                      And even if Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for perversions other than those of a homosexual nature, it still goes to show graphically that all adulterous acts are gravely disordered and sinful. Homosexual activity in all forms, (hetero) pre-marital sex, (hetero) extra-marital affairs, divorce and subsequent remarriage, polygamy, polyandry, pornography, masturbation, rape, incest, contraception, and abortion are all grave sins against the 6th Commandment (the last 2 also violate the 5th Commandment)

                    • Trumpet Player

                      Bono, the words “true, traditional, heterosexual marriage” mean different things to different readers, and thus can indeed refer to human inventions. Your claim that “every culture celebrated traditional marriage between man and woman” is vague and unproven, and could be as pointless as claiming that every culture had couples that reproduced. It’s not a valid argument against same-sex marriage. And as “attempting to marry” can mean most anything, I’m quite sure it can be said that there have been many instances of 3 or more men or 3 or more women “attempting to marry”. I’ve seen quite a few same-sex threesomes that lasted as long as many other “marriages”.

                      Your statement about the Sodom and Gomorrah story is nonsensical. How does the story cover “all adulterous acts”? You listed a long list of acts that are not in the story.

                    • John Albertson

                      It is absurd to say that the meaning of marriage is malleable because the word itself is a 13th century neologism. The MIddle English word “marriage’ was very specific, and was directly sourced from the Old French word for Christian marriage, which in turn was rooted in the Latin. While rituals changed (as with the Hebrew “nissuin”) the institution of marriage was constantly that of a man and a woman. To say other, is like saying that the meaning of Easter can change because the word is only an Anglo-Saxon use.

                    • Trumpet Player

                      John, I did not say that the particular meaning of “marriage” to which you’re privately referring is malleable. I said that the word “marriage” can be given any number of different meanings in public use. For example, the words “the institution of marriage” may mean different things to different people, varying by context. While the particular meaning that you intended may correspond with “constantly that of a man and a woman”, that is not the case when others refer to the current civil institution of marriage that also recognizes same-sex marriage.

  • Alphonsus

    Is it too obvious to point out that what is NOT observed among non-human animals is the very thing the Church declares as morally reprehensible among humans – sodomy. The ridiculous homosexualizing of animal behavior withers under that fact.

    • awsome athiest

      haha, animals sodomize each other quite a bit, none of you are in tune with reality

  • Alecto

    I used to love rainbows, and the word “gay” until both were co-opted by The Movement. Please refrain from using such images as they only encourage perversion of these words and symbols. A rainbow was a symbol of God’s promise to Noah that he would never again destroy the earth by flood. I want my rainbow back….

  • Yeshua Vargas

    It’s very telling and sad that we are at a point in history where we actually have to explain to people that animals are not models of morality. That WE are NOT animals, but human beings endowed with an unfathomable dignity through Baptism and the Holy sacrifice of The Lord on the cross. We are children of God and heirs to all that HE is. Animals engage in numerous “natural” acts that are in no way morally good (or appetizing for that matter) for human beings to emulate: infanticide, slavery (slave-maker ants), incest, fratricide, filicide, forceful or coercive mating (which would be rape for us), cannibalism, necrophilia, mating with juveniles or infants as some species of moles do, even prostitution as observed in some chimpanzee and penguin species; where they exchange sexual favors for food or pebbles to build their nests, polygamy and promiscuity, the eating of their own vomit and feces, etc. Should we do any of these? After all it’s “natural”. I don’t think so.
    No animal is gay. None. Zero. Any scientist with a hint of integrity would say this. Many – so called – “homosexual behaviors” performed by animals are a consequence of confused senses – like when male dogs mount each other when a nearby female is in estrus, dominance displays, disease, etc. Or is a dog mounting your leg a profession of love? Homosexual acts are immoral. “Animals do it” is no excuse and is inaccurate. May the light of Christ shine on us in these dark times.

    • Proteios

      It’s the NYT, so lets not over think this or resort to facts. The NYT is advocating not reporting. It seems to be where journalism is now. Advocacy. If you want facts go somewhere else.

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  • doublehawk

    Ducks have forced copulation. Does that mean it’s okay to rape people?

  • Matthew C. Masotti

    While saving the penguins, Father reminds us that we must not allow ‘the birds and the bees’ to be placed on the endangered [reading] list.

  • Dave

    Also, read the book “Our Stolen Future.” The hormones of animals, especially estrogen, are getting screwed up by environmental toxins and chemicals which are hormone mimics. Though the book mentions all kinds of other sexual and reproductive problems which are caused by these hormone mimics, it does not mention homosexuality per se…however, it is clear that homosexuality could be easily caused by the same hormonal screwups. It is probably happening in humans as well.

    • Facile1

      One excellent argument why contraceptives should not be publicly funded.

  • Adam__Baum

    It occurs to me that a zoo is an unnatural and constrained environment, much like a penitentiary. There’s a lot of distorted sex roles there as well. You learn quickly how bad it is when you are informed that male prisons have to, among other things, “restrict” janitor’s mops, because they will be used as ersatz wigs on Saturday, which is generally considered “date night”.

  • thebigdog

    “..two homosexual male penguins had tried to steal eggs from mother
    penguins and even went to the extreme of attempting to incubate a dead

    Maybe they thought it was a rainbow trout.

  • Trumpet Player

    According to article’s author, “penguins do not ‘squeak’ […] the Chinstrap, has a SHRILL voice almost like a scream.” Perhaps penguins don’t “squeak” to him, but they do to me and to many other people. Having personally heard the “squeak” of penguins, including Chinstrap penguins, and not least, having also consulted multiple dictionaries of the English language, I find that the word “squeak” is sufficiently applicable to the sound in question, having such broad meanings as “a SHRILL CRY”, or “a sharp, SHRILL CRY, usually (but not always) of short duration”, or “a cry with an acute tone, as by an animal”, or “a sharp, disagreeable noise”. Indeed, even the author’s own description of the sound is in acceptable accord with many everyday definitions of the word “squeak”.

    The author further claimed, “the King penguin sounds like a trumpet […] None of them […] squeaks,” but he omitted the fact that the many and diverse sounds of a trumpet are not exclusive of “squeaks”.

    Even the Church “squeaks” and lovingly understands all the squeaking, as the Church “speaks all tongues, understands and accepts all tongues in her love, and so supersedes the divisiveness of Babel.” (Ad Gentes, 4) The Church also takes care to remind that “Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it.” (CCC#2478)

  • corinthiandrew

    Dear Rev. Rutler,

    Thank you for another elegantly written article on a fascinating, recondite, and yet apposite subject. I was confused by the implication that Denmark is in the Netherlands. Perhaps you are using the Netherlands in the archaic sense of the Low Countries?

    Most sincerely,

    Andrew Thompson-Briggs

  • Trumpet Player

    The author wrote, “Either accept that to go astray is not right, or you have to say that no one strays.” However, that is not sufficient, because even people who “accept that to go astray is not right” do not agree on what constitutes going “astray”. Some people look to the Bible, Church teachings and Church leaders for guidance, but still they do not agree or are uncertain. Everything people read, hear, see or are told, indeed perhaps their entire experience and understanding thereof, is open to fallible interpretation. Even the Church’s published definition of “homosexuality” as found in the published Catechism (CCC#2357) and other related teachings are subject to considerable interpretation, and reasonable people do not agree. To that end, the Church teaches that “A human being must always obey the certain
    judgment of his conscience.. If he were deliberately to act against it,
    he would condemn himself. Yet it can happen that moral conscience remains in
    ignorance and makes erroneous judgments about acts to be performed or
    already committed.” (CCC#1790) Indeed, some people might find that even Church teachings, homilies and the like can be misguiding.

    • athelstane

      Yet the Catechism also avers, in the same section, that it is necessary for that conscience to be properly formed. “A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator.” (CCC#1783)

      There is an extraordinary danger in citing CCC#1790 out of context. It is not meant to be a blank check for personal choice.

      • John200

        Excellent catch. It is right there in the Catechism and still, you would think nobody knows it. I wish I had a dollar for every time I have said the same, but it looks like I am going to live my time as a broken record. No richer for it.

        Good job, you made my day.

      • Trumpet Player

        CCC#1790 already reminds that conscience — whether “properly formed” or not, and whether one has read all or none of the Catechism — can “remain in ignorance and make erroneous judgments”. As to “there is an extraordinary danger”, there can be an “extraordinary danger” in anything, even in going to church or reading the Catechism in full. As to the claim that “it is necessary for conscience to be properly
        formed”, (1) the Church teaches that “education of the conscience is a lifelong task” (CCC#1784); and (2) even if/when/while one’s conscience is NOT “properly formed” and regardless of whoever would be the judge of such a thing, it nonetheless remains that “A human being MUST ALWAYS obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself.” (CCC#1790) MUST ALWAYS means must always.

        It is not “necessary” for salvation for one’s conscience to be “properly formed” before acting. However, it is necessary that “A human being MUST ALWAYS obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself.”

    • Facile1

      Language is a human invention. The TRUTH is NOT.

      If one loves the TRUTH, one will NOT escape GOD.


      • Trumpet Player

        Some people do say that the language of love, truth, faith, etc. are all “human inventions”. Others say that all human inventions are God’s creations and that nobody can “escape God” whether one loves the truth or not.

        ‘You are old, Father William,’ the young man said,
        ‘And your hair has become very white;
        And yet you incessantly stand on your head –
        Do you think, at your age, it is right?’

        ‘In my youth,’ Father William replied to his son,
        ‘I feared it might injure the brain;
        But, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,
        Why, I do it again and again.’

        • Facile1

          Language is a human invention (READ Genesis).

          The TRUTH is NOT.

          Dodgson (aka Lewis Caroll, the author of Jabberwocky; who was a professor of Mathematics; studied for the ministry, but was not ordained) KNEW THE DIFFERENCE. That is why he is funny and you are not even intelligible.

          • Trumpet Player

            Your reading comprehension needs work.

            • Facile1

              And you need to work on discernment.

              • Trumpet Player

                When you’ve improved your reading comprehension, you’ll find that my discernment has improved.

                • Facile1

                  It doesn’t work that way. MY reading comprehension IS NOT a function of YOUR discernment. HOWEVER, your choice of words is.

                  A course in “critical thinking” or the “rules of evidence” or “the design of experiments” (which requires advance mathematics) will help you in your problem with discernment. Otherwise, you would be dangerous in a court of law or in a laboratory.

                  • Trumpet Player

                    I didn’t say your (feeble) reading comprehension is a function of my discernment. But when you’ve improved your reading comprehension, you’ll find that my discernment has improved. Similarly, I’m not surprised that your interpretation of what I’ve said “doesn’t work”. Like I’ve said already, your reading comprehension needs work.

                    • Facile1

                      Apparently, even YOU don’t know what you mean. And your choice of words (like it or not) is a FACTOR in YOUR reader’s reading comprehension.

                      There is NO POINT in continuing a discussion with a person who is unintelligible even to herself (however grammatically correct the delivery).

                      So, good day to you.

                    • Trumpet Player

                      I just finished pointing out to you that “I didn’t say your (feeble) reading comprehension is a function of my discernment”, but you proceeded anyway to write a post about what I didn’t say. Likewise, for all your huffing about word choice, I didn’t say that “my discernment” is a function of your feeble reading comprehension. No, rather than simply “my discernment”, I spoke of what “YOU’LL FIND my discernment” to be. I spoke of your interpretation, your discernment, your reading comprehension. Those are functions of YOU. I didn’t write that they’re functions of me.

                      I enjoyed how one moment you claimed that your reading comprehension “CANNOT” be a function of my discernment, while another moment you’re claiming that my word choice is a factor of your reading comprehension and a function of my discernment.

                      You say you don’t read minds and that you don’t know what I mean, and yet you claim that I don’t know what I mean.

                      God always knows what I mean. And whether you think there’s “no point” or not, we know that in everything God works for good for those who love him.

                    • Facile1

                      Apparently, you do not know what I mean by functions and factors.

                      My speech is colored by my background in the sciences (I have a graduate degree in mathematics.) Try reading what I said again in that context. It might help your reading comprehension.

                      It would be nice if one’s “choice of words” is a function of one’s “discernment.” That would mean one’s speech is ALWAYS “truthful.” Unfortunately, one can obscure one’s “discernment” with one’s “choice of words”. It is, therefore, more correct to say an author’s “choice of words” (and NOT an author’s “discernment”) factors into a reader’s reading comprehension.

                      I use the word “factor” because there is more than one factor in a reader’s comprehension. Another factor is also the reader’s grasp of the language. And I can think of more factors, which I will not go into here. (I grew up in a multi-lingual family and tend to pay attention to comprehension — mine and other’s — by force of habit.) I use the word “function” only when there is one “factor” (that I know of) for the sake of simplicity and clarity.

                      Readers don’t read minds. We don’t read your mind or God’s. I also don’t believe God speaks English. English cannot encompass the TRUTH (ie GOD).

                      And whether you (or I) love God (or not) is debatable. The only one I know for sure WHO LOVES is GOD.

                      So, rejoice in GOD’s LOVE always and go in peace.

                      But this discussion is at end.

                    • Trumpet Player

                      I enjoyed your description of your response. And your non-sequiturs are always food for disjointed thought. Thank you for sharing.

                    • Facile1

                      It is difficult to be insulted by one who one pities.

  • Spudnik

    Some animals eat their young. Some kill for fun. Will we see a push to mandate acceptance of these behaviors?

    • Daren

      We already eat our young. It’s called contraception and abortion.

  • Guest

    The animal kingdom is very large and diverse and examples can be drawn of almost any type of behavior. Yet one would be hard pressed to prove that fixed, exclusively and truly homosexual behavior under ordinary conditions is found among higher
    animals. The rare cases reported often occur under the extreme circumstances of
    artificial stress, such as overcrowding of rats in laboratories, males
    with no female mates, or among zoo animals. Decades ago Ruth Barnhouse noted:
    “The few poorly authenticated reports about animals born and raised in
    captivity under artificial zoo conditions are worthless, since we now know that
    these conditions interfere with neonatal imprinting, programming, and the other
    natural learning processes by which animals in their normal habitat come to
    sexual maturity” (Homosexuality: A Symbolic Confusion, Seabury, 1977, p.
    37). “What observers of animals frequently mistake for homosexuality,”
    Barnhouse contends, “is actually part of a very elaborate dominant/submissive
    ritual behaviour” as when a wolf in a fight turns its head to expose the
    jugular vein as a way of conceding victory or when primates expose their
    buttocks or genitals as a signal of defeat. The notion that homosexuality
    is common in the animal kingdom was first popularized in a 1949 article by
    researcher Frank Beach. But by 1965, on the basis of further research, Beach
    specifically denied his earlier view. “I don’t know of any authentic
    instance,” he wrote, “of males or females in the animal world (in a non-captive
    state) preferring a homosexual partner” (cited Charles Socarides, Homosexuality,
    Aronson, 1978, p. 34). Yet it is probably legitimate to say that sexual
    behaviour among animals is not neat, it can be chaotic, as pleasure,
    aggression, social behaviour, and other powerful drives are intertwined with

    Yet, as commenter Yeshua Vargas points out, even if one day it could be proved that particular specimens in the wild state exclusively and fixedly engage in sexual acts with members of the same sex it still leaves such behaviour an aberration within the species rather than the norm. Further, it would give no indication as to whether such behaviour is appropriate among human beings. Animal behavior remains an inadequate guide for acceptable human behavior. In a number of higher mammal species only the dominant male mates with the female members of a group (e.g. lions). Mating can involve competitions between males that sometimes leave rivals dead or debilitated. In other cases numerous males will mate with the same female, forcing themselves on her nearly to the point of her death. Some animals are prone to killing and eating their
    young (e.g. male polar bears), mating with their offspring or siblings or other
    closely related members, rolling in excrement or eating it (e.g. dogs), and
    engaging in cannibalism (e.g. chimpanzees). Thousands of species abandon
    their young as soon as they are hatched or born. Can we conclude from such
    animal behaviours that it is morally acceptable for dominant men to take
    other men’s wives and keep them as a private harem? Should such
    behaviours among animals lead us to condone male violence, gang rape,
    infanticide, incest, fecal consumption, cannibalism, or child neglect?
    One cannot arbitrarily choose a particular behaviour in animals, or an
    aberration of behaviour by particular members of a species, to justify similar
    behaviour in humans. Human beings are more than mere animals. We
    have an intellect and free will. With these we can discern what is
    morally good and seek to act accordingly. Animals cannot. This is
    why we can hold humans legally responsible for their actions but not animals.
    To say of someone “he behaves like an animal” is not usually meant as a
    compliment. It commonly means his behaviour is more suited to beasts than
    men. Common language, let alone common sense, conveys the

    • Guest


      • Guest

        Bonobos regularly have anal sex in the wild, as do many other species. Young religious fundamentalists who believe vaginal sex to be sinful are indulging in oral and anal sex at higher rates. None of this speaks to the morality of any form of non-procreative sex, but it is factual.

        • mally el

          You are proving Guest’s point.

  • jack

    The day I see a group of penguins marching down the avenue in butt-less leather chaps to the strains of the Village People, I’ll buy that they are “exhibiting homosexual behavior”.

  • Guest

    Incredibly cute story!

  • Gabriella

    Why are we discussing this topic to such an extent? We know the truth, no need to disect it over and over…isn’t that what the homosexuality proponents want us to do?
    There must be other, more important topics, we can discuss on this site.

  • John Albertson

    That is an astonishing thing to say. In the light of threats to the very foundation of natural law morality and marriage, what are the “more important topics?” If “we know the truth” are we to be silent and just draw the curtains when those who oppose are dancing naked in the streets and co–opting the media and schools? Error prevails when the truth is silent. The first Spiritual Works of Mercy are: to instruct the ignorant, to encourage doubters and to correct sinners . “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. (1 Cor. 9:16)”

  • erudite_recondite_eremite

    By all means, let us base all our moral behavior on animals and thus begin our devolution into a Hobbesian state of nature where all our lives will be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

  • Marc L

    I’m trying decide whether I should hope that “doing the irrational” could become a euphemism for sodomy, or not.