Why Catholics Must Fight “Lost Causes”

Much has been said, maybe pretty much everything that needs to be said, about  former First Things editor Joseph Bottum throwing in the towel over the same-sex marriage fight. He believes that the legalization of this aberration is already a done deal and that Catholics should simply accept it henceforth as a civil matter. It’s a “lost cause.” Further public opposition to it by Catholics can only lead to further marginalization and hatred of the Catholic Church and perhaps even to active persecution.

My first reaction to this was to wonder how, even if what Joseph Bottum says is true, it would be a valid reason for the Catholic Church, of all entities, to cease her opposition to it on the grounds he cites, considering that it was her Founder, after all, who said, “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Mt 5:11). That’s “blessed.” That’s “rejoice.”

Yet it should perhaps not have been surprising, in the present climate, that an intellectual such as Bottum should have taken a position so in line with elite opinion. Many are restive in the face of the seemingly endless conflicts and bitterness of the contemporary culture war; it never seems to result in anything except continual defeats for traditional morality. Who could possibly want to be engaged in such a “fight”? The Catholic bishops themselves surely do not want to; they just understand, however reluctantly, that they have to; given the Church’s teaching on marriage, they have no choice but to oppose the pseudo-marriage that same-sex relations amount to.

But the same thing does not apply to members of the intelligentsia. They have no responsibility for any outcomes, and they are adept at finding reasons why they don’t have to do what they are disinclined to do or find distasteful or believe is counterproductive. Joseph Bottum has merely joined the ranks of Fatherless America author David Blankenhorn and his Institute for American Values (IAV), which in 2012 proposed what it called a “new conversation” in which defenders of traditional marriage were supposed to broaden their definition of the institution to include the same-sex unions being called marriages. “Instead of fighting gay marriage,” Blankenhorn said, “I’d like to help build new coalitions bringing together gays who want to strengthen their marriage with straight people who want to do the same.”

The signatories to Blankenhorn’s manifesto calling not merely for neutrality in the culture war but for surrender included a number of “conservatives” and even some “Christians.” There was, for example, former New York Times religion reporter Peter Steinfels, who with his wife has also for many years been associated with Commonweal magazine where Bottum’s white flag was raised. It was hardly the first time that Commonweal magazine presumed to let the world know what the Church should be doing instead of what the Church is doing.

But the IAV signatories also included some specific First Things types such as former FT board member Glenn Loury and such long-time favorites of the journal as the late sociologist Robert Bellah and the late political theorist Jean Bethke Elstain. Joseph Bottum published in the Weekly Standard an obituary tribute to the latter the same week that his own “Catholic Case for [Accepting] Same-sex Marriage” appeared in Commonweal; in it he praised her as a 2011 convert to the Catholic Church; she died, he said, in the “fullness” of the faith—which neither for him nor for her, apparently, any longer includes any obligation to uphold the fullness of the Catholic truth about marriage.

In his Commonweal article, Joseph Bottum mentions the Blankenhorn changeover on marriage but declares himself “unsatisfied” with it. Yet in spite of his own incessant philosophical and theological citations and name dropping, his account of what is involved does not appear to be any more substantive or satisfying than the Blankenhorn thesis. He really does just seem to have joined with today’s intellectuals who dislike the same-sex marriage fight, and, accustomed as they are by the nature of their intellectual status to making distinctions, do not consider themselves bound to recognize and accept such established common-sense positions as that marriage is necessarily a union between a man and woman. For such minds, marriage apparently can be redefined merely by taking thought—or at any rate a redefinition of it that others have made can be countenanced.

Objectively speaking, however, marriage remains what it is in reality, and even if in the United States and other parts of the world many people have for the moment come to believe erroneously that it can be redefined to include homosexual liaisons, this is not a notion that the Catholic Church can properly entertain. Even if for the time being it seems to be a “lost cause,” true marriage still has to be upheld by Catholics and so-called same-sex marriage still has to be opposed by them for at least three basic reasons—there are actually many more reasons, in fact; but the following three reasons suffice to make the point:

  • Attempts at sexual union between two persons of the same sex do not provide the basis for a real marriage. If I come upon a group knocking a ball over two goal posts and ask what they are playing and get the reply, “baseball,” I have to answer: “No, baseball has a specific identity and rules, and what you are doing is not how it is played. You are playing something else.” Similarly, marriage requires something other than two persons of the same sex attempting a physical union; it requires a man and a women with complementary reproductive organs which complete each other when joined and have the potential to produce a child. Traditional definitions of marriage, both in law and in practice, have always included and taken for granted this child-producing (and family-producing) potential of the man-woman relationship. Calling a same-sex union that lacks this element a marriage does not make it a marriage. Claiming it to be a marriage is thus not true; legalizing it as such means legalizing a lie. Catholics cannot in conscience accept a legal obligation to affirm what is in fact not true.
  • The physical acts involving the reproductive organs carried out in a same-sex relationships are, first of all, not true, natural acts; they are merely attempts at a false, unnatural physical union. As everybody knows, however, the Catholic Church firmly and unambiguously teaches that these homosexual acts are morally wrong; they are objectively evil. Nor is the Church ever going to change her teaching on this. She cannot, because this teaching, again, is true. Thus, to legalize as a marriage a physical union arising from and based on the performance of these same acts amounts to legalizing and normalizing evil. The Catholic Church obviously cannot agree with this, and neither can any Catholic with a properly formed conscience. It is true that not much is ever said about this moral dimension of the issue—what actually goes on between homosexuals. Nobody really wants to talk about this; yet it is what is at the back of practically everybody’s mind, and it is the main reason why, as Joseph Bottum recognizes and deplores, proponents of same-sex relationships almost inevitably come to hate the Catholic Church. But there is no help for this. The Catholic Church cannot formally acquiesce in the legalization of what is objectively evil.
  • A third reason why same-sex unions cannot be legalized and regularized as marriages lies in the distortions resulting from the contemporary practice of considering sex to be the basis of a human person’s identity. This is especially pernicious as it is encountered in the dubious contemporary emphasis placed on one’s so-called sexual orientation. Again, it is not true that a human person’s identity is based on that person’s sexuality. And all sorts of errors stem from this basic assumption, including most of the recent court decisions requiring the legalization of same-sex unions as marriages. Similarly, all the forced and elaborate distortions involved in today’s LGBT obsession stem from the mistaken belief that sexual orientation, or sexual impulses generally, establish human identity and rule human behavior. We now know, from our forty years’ experience with what has been correctly called the sexual revolution, that when this kind of thinking is accepted, nearly everything else becomes eroticized and corrupted as well. We saw this with sex education. We see it with today’s HHS birth prevention mandate. And one need take only one look at our so-called popular “culture” in order to gauge the harm that this error has done.

And it is a fundamental error, for when the focus is so rigidly and narrowly placed on only one aspect or dimension of the human person, what gets diminished is human dignity itself and what Blessed Pope John Paul II liked to call “the whole person,” body and soul. Human persons amount to more than their sexuality, a great deal more. And the whole person, we know from Scripture, is created by God, both “male and female…[and] in his own image,” and moreover, and not incidentally, the man and woman created thereby are commanded in the very same passage of Scripture to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth…” (Gen 1: 27-28). In other words, God’s original creation of human persons as either male or female precisely and necessarily entails the possibility of further progeny also created “in God’s image” as a consequence of the male-female union designed by God—just as the Church insists today (and as the civil law itself used to) that the same children-producing potential must always be an essential element of any union that can properly be called a marriage.

However, this fundamental truth is no longer universally understood. What has come about today is that in a very brief span of time there has been an almost complete reversal of what constitutes morality in certain areas, particularly with regard to sex and marriage. While not too long ago almost any kind of sexual activity outside of the bonds of marriage was understood to be contrary to society’s official moral code (regardless of whether or not it was actually observed in practice), today almost any kind of sexual activity, providing it is consensual and between adults, is not only to be allowed, it is not ever in any way to be morally judged. Today’s moral judgments are reserved instead for the supposed “bigotry” of wishing to deny the “right” of same-sex partners to “marry.” Already penalties and sanctions are being imposed on some who refuse to recognize this new “right.”

This reversal of morality has been reinforced by the widespread current (but erroneous) belief that denying two persons of the same sex to have their relationship legally recognized as a marriage is equivalent to the old Jim Crow laws that forbade whites to marry blacks and vice versa. That was discrimination, and as everybody knows, no greater sin nor crime exists than that. But it is not discrimination, in fact, to recognize that in the nature of things a man cannot marry another man, nor a woman another woman. This is a matter of empirical fact not of some supposed “right” to marry whomever one chooses. While racial difference is not an impediment to a true marriage between a man and woman, and thus the old laws forbidding interracial marriage were indeed unjust, the analogy does not hold in the case of the same-sex unions because they are not marriages. By legalizing these same-sex unions as marriages, however, society is demanding that all of us must henceforth affirm that what the law decrees is the case (whether or not it is the case), or be subject to various penalties. This is intolerable, and, for Catholics, impossible.

And so we do have to keep on fighting on the marriage front even if at the moment it seems to have become a “lost cause.” We have to keep on fighting because so-called gay marriage is both false and wrong, and it distorts reality and truth in ways that cannot be countenanced. When Whitaker Chambers decided he had to leave the Communist party, he actually believed that he was joining the losing side, but he rejected Communism anyway in fidelity to the truth. We cannot do any less. Joseph Bottum and his fellow members of the accommodating intellectual elite are just wrong.

Yes, the proponents of so-called same-sex marriage do seem to be winning at the moment. But what they are so successfully but mistakenly getting enshrined in the law doesn’t really square with the realities of our human existence and nature; it remains profoundly unnatural, in fact, and in the long run it is not going to work. Nobody knows how long it may take before its energies get played out and its errors and distortions exposed, but eventually the time for that will have to come. More than two thousand years ago the ancient Roman poet, Horace, astutely observed that natura expelles furca, tamen usque recurret: “You may throw nature out with a pitchfork, but she will keep coming back.” We have to count on nature “coming back,” and, meanwhile, work and pray and uphold what we know to be the truth to the best of our ability.

Kenneth D. Whitehead


Kenneth D. Whitehead is a former career diplomat who served in Rome and the Middle East and as the chief of the Arabic Service of the Voice of America. For eight years he served as executive vice president of Catholics United for the Faith. He also served as a United States Assistant Secretary of Education during the Reagan Administration. He is the author of The Renewed Church: The Second Vatican Council’s Enduring Teaching about the Church (Sapientia Press, 2009) and, most recently, Affirming Religious Freedom: How Vatican Council II Developed the Church’s Teaching to Meet Today’s Needs (St. Paul’s, 2010).

  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

    It is worth noting that attempts to create “marriage equality” for same-sex and opposite-sex couples are doomed to failure.

    Despite the recent efforts of the French National Assembly, a leading jurist has analysed the result as follows:

    “It is necessary, since the law of 19th May 2013 (2013-404) to distinguish two marriages

    1. The union, freely agreed to, of a man and a woman in order to found a family. Only this marriage between a man and a woman affects filiation (Title VII of Book I of the Civil Code)

    2. The union, freely agreed to, between two persons of the same sex, which permits them, within the limits of the appreciation of the interests of the child by the administration and then the judge, to adopt (Title VIII of Book I of the Civil Code) the child of one of them, or a ward of the State or, subject to what is permitted by conventions between states, a foreign child.”

    “Marriage equality,” even in the hands of its supporters, reveals itself to be an illusion.

    • tamsin

      What are the implications of the sentence, “ONLY this marriage between a man and a woman affects filiation”?

      Whereas “filiation” is left out of the same-sex union, which only “permits them, within… limits… to adopt”?

      A backdoor to reality is left open, through which we see that two women cannot have a child, nor two men?

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour


        Filiation has always been regarded as central to civil marriage, ever since the Roman jurist, Paulus wrote “.pater vero is est, quem nuptiae demonstrant.” (Marriage points out the father) [Dig. 2, 4, 5; 1]

        It is no coincidence that mandatory civil marriage was introduced on 9 November 1791, by the same assembly that turned 10 million landless peasants into heritable proprietors.

        The Civil Code contained no definition of marriage, but Article 312 “The child conceived or born in marriage has the husband for father” has been treated as a functional definition by jurists, including the three most authoritative commentators on the Civil Code, Demolombe (1804–1887), Guillouard (1845-1925) and Gaudemet (1908-2001), long before the question of same-sex marriage was agitated. Le doyen Jean Carbonnier (1908–2003) even went so far as to say that : « le cœur du mariage, ce n’est pas le couple, c’est la présomption de paternité » [“The heart of marriage is not the couple, but the presumption of paternity.”]

        In other words, “the heart of marriage” has no application to same-sex couples, law or no law.

        • tamsin

          Paulus wrote “pater vero is est, quem nuptiae demonstrant.” (Marriage points out the father)

          Very nice reply when the “marriage equality” advocates come to my door.

          Although, my main concern on behalf of babies and their mothers is less “who inherits from the man”, and more “which man helps the mother feed her baby”.

          With “gay marriage”, we enter a regime in which the State is practically the father of all babies. Each baby is thus born into the “federal family”, first.

          • Michael Paterson-Seymour

            Filiation is about much more than inheritance rights, It is central to the upbringing and welfare of the child and for protecting rights and enforcing obligations between family members.

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    Why is it so difficult for these “intellectuals” to understand that for one man to insert his organ of reproduction into the organ of elimination of another man is clearly NOT what the instructions that came with the packaging called for. Just read the instructions, stupid. Even two year olds get the idea of round pegs into square holes.

    • lifeknight

      To even THINK about what homosexuals DO to each other is nauseating. However, it is at the essence of why we must oppose their attempts to make perversions normalized. Maybe it is time to start telling toward what/where their passions are truly directed. As a former ER nurse I can attest to various heinous incidents. These are sick individuals.

    • tamsin

      … the revulsion that dare not speak its name. 😉

  • lifeknight

    Trite, but,”The truth will set you free.” I am wondering how long it will be before other bishops will “recognize” these perversions. The Mexican bishop, ?name?Tera, gave a television interview in support of “gay marriage” a couple of weeks ago. His idea was that Holy Mother Church has to get with the times.
    No wonder the sheeple are confused!

  • smokes

    Pope Francis has called for Roman Catholic street demonstrations for Peace against the Warmonger-in-Chief’s actions. Good news! Let’s do it!! When’s the NYC rally?

    • Deacon Ed Peitler

      Since I happened to be in the NYC area last weekend, I called the offices at the cathedral and perused their website to find out how the cardinal/archbishop/president of the USCCB was going to respond to the Holy Father’s call for peace in Syria at his cathedral. The Holy Father held a prayer vigil for 100,000 in his diocese.

      Needless to say, NOTHING was going on there – no prayer vigil, no Mass, nothing. I guess Obama would not have appreciated the unified distaste for war against Syria by Catholics.

  • Sygurd Jonfski

    An excellent list of reasons why the sodomitic pseudogamy can never be called “marriage” (or, better still, “holy matrimony”). As for myself, I will never accept it (or homosexuality) as normal, with or without the support of the Church, the so-called “intellectuals” and the rest of the society. In the defiant words commonly attributed to St. Augustine, “”The truth is the truth even if nobody believes it, and a lie is still a lie, even if everybody believes it.” .

  • publiusnj

    Let’s start calling Christians who go along with Gay Marriage (or Abortion or any of the other things being pushed right now) “Steppin Fetchit Christians.” If Obama can trot out some nuns from LWCR to take his side on those issues, he and David Axelrod (and Hillary and whomever else is the next standard bearer) can pretend they are not engaged in an all out assault on Christianity. But they are.
    One perfect example of a Steppin Fetchit Christian is NJ Governor Chris Christie. He wants to be all things to all people. So, he calls himself a conservative and makes loud noises in that direction, but then signs the new NJ Law prohibiting any psychotherapy designed to change the sexual orientation of gay minors. Supposedly, the “Science” establishes that sexual orientation cannot be changed. And yet, news reports indicate that the wife of Bill DeBlasio (the Democrat Candidate-Apparent for NYC Mayor) is an “ex-lesbian.” Curiouser and curiouser.

    • Deacon Ed Peitler

      Steppin Fetchit Christians…I like it!

      • catholicpat60

        And Planned Parenthoods as Gosnell Houses of Homicidal Maniacs Dressed in Labcoats

    • tamsin

      There’s a reason why the gay lobby flies a rainbow flag, albeit with fixed stripes of solid color; they desire a continuous spectrum of sexuality across which we would all move freely.

      • publiusnj

        According to Governor Christie, though, gays cannot move across the spectrum. That is now a matter of law in the State of New Jersey, even if NYC Democrat Mayoral Candidate DeBlasio has somehow convinced his wife she is no longer a lesbian.

        • Adam__Baum

          And in correctional facilities all across the country there is a concept known as “gay for the stay”.

          • tamsin

            No no! Permanent orientation! Biologically fixed and unchanging!

    • windjammer

      “Steppin Fetchit Christians”? Truly inspired tagline. Outstanding! Here comes the judge!

  • Pay

    Thank you for this wonderful essay. We need more of them.

  • Adam__Baum

    FT had been degenerating for a while. Now we know why.
    What else should we give up on? Abortion is far more ossified in civil law and enculturated, so, kick back and have a beer.

    • Pay

      The rationale used to defend such immorality is beyond absurd. Slavery should still be legal by their logic.

  • quisutDeusmpc

    I believe you wanted to say that:

    “A third reason why same-sex unions cannot be legalized and regularized as marriages lies in the distortions resulting from the contemporary practice of considering GENDER to be the basis of a human person’s identity.”

    Since the “sexual revolution” of the 1960’s, secularists have increasingly co-opted the traditional term “sex” and inserted (no pun intended) the term “gender”. Sex, in the traditional sense of that term, meant more than just sexual behavior. It included the sexual organs/genitalia by which we are either male or female, the sexual hormones (e. g. testosterone, estrogen, progesterone) and the attendant endocrine and neurological organs associated with them as well as the social and cultural norms, mores, and behaviors associated with being either male or female (generally referred to as masculinity and femininity) as a complement of each other. Gender primarily referred to the conjugation of nouns and pronouns (masculine, feminine, neuter) distinguished by the different inflections that they have or require by being associated with different words syntactically associated with them. Because “gender” is not directly associated with male/female -ness the way that sex IS directly related to male/female -ness it could be changed depending on the circumstances and this concept was quickly co-opted when secularists of the sexual revolution wanted to change the definition of “sex” to include this idea from gender that it is much more malleable than the physical organs we are given at birth. With this new idea infused into the term “sex”, my sex is whatever I choose it to be based on the circumstances of my life. I might variously choose to be heterosexual now, homosexual later, bisexual at still another point in my life or transgender depending on my changed circumstances, decisions, or what have you.

    I take issue, then, with the idea that sex, in the traditional sense of that term, is not somehow intrinsically related with one’s identity. To be sure, it is not the only faculty that is intrinsically related with one’s identity and should not be made to be the whole of one’s identity: mind, will, memory, understanding, etcetera are all part and parcel of one’s identity as well. However, Blessed Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” is quite clear that our identities are wrapped up in our sexuality (our male or femaleness by virtue of what organs we are when we are born) which is intrinsic to our identities. I am not a male because I have chosen that gender, but rather, I am a male because I was born that way (again, by virtue of being XY and not XX). Gender is more along the lines of what, I believe, you are saying the contemporary trend is in defining sexual orientation as gender. To be sure, they are trying, or perhaps some would argue have succeeded, to co-opt the term “sex” and infuse it with this understanding of gender/sexual orientation. However, DNA does not lie. Mr. Bradley Manning may succeed in securing a castration and breast implants at the expense of the U. S. taxpayer, but any and every cell in his body will stand as a living testimony that he is not “Brenda” Manning (XX), but was, is and ever shall be Bradley Manning (XY) despite hormone replacement therapy.

    • Deacon Ed Peitler

      What an excellent summation. “…male and female He created them.”

    • Paul McGuire

      I don’t understand why you are so threatened by the idea that someone could be transgender. From your post it sounds like you are cisgender* so I can see why the idea may be a little confusing at first. It took me a while to wrap my head around the concept as well but I can tell you from discussions with friends who are transgender that it is absolutely real.

      *a term that refers to someone whose gender is the same as their birth sex.

      Whether one is transgender or cisgender is completely separate from whether one is gay. straight or bisexual. A bisexual man does not become gay simply because he enters into a monogamous relationship with another man. He is still bisexual even though he is not having sex with any women. In the same way, a straight man is no less straight if he happens to spend a period of years without having sex with anyone. One’s identity does not rely on current sexual acts but simply on attractions. Someone who identifies as bisexual recognizes that they are attracted to both men and women but need not have had sex with either or both.

      • Adam__Baum

        Nobody is “threatened by the idea that someone could be transgender”. We recognize that there are a variety of mental disorders that cause a person to belief they are something they are not. There are those who believe they are reiincarnated figures of history and those that believe they are ANIMALS.

        The invention of a neologism and its use as group identifier doesn’t change the reality that your SEX (gender is a construction of language) is an invariant ojective reality with two possibilities, absent the physical disorder of hermaphroditism.

        If I insisted I was a sheep (whether I actually believed it or was attempting to draw attention to myself), people would rightly suspect that I had a mental disorder. Sheep are hooved quadrapeds with wool. We don’t tell people who think they are sheep that they are “transpecied” (at least yet) and attempt to employ surgical and chemical destruction to give them the outward appearance of a sheep.

        The reason that people appear confused is that you are at war with reality and using logomachy to defeat it. Disorder is inherently confusing, both to the author and the observer.

        • Paul McGuire

          I haven’t heard anything about people believing they are reincarnated figures of history or animals. Perhaps you could share some proof that these people actually exist. I love how you can’t even discuss the idea of transgender people without resorting to absurd examples that are no where related to the discussion.

          • Adam__Baum

            Do your own research. Google Dennis Avner and clinical lycanthropy.

            I love how little you know.

          • Deacon Ed Peitler

            Paul, sad to say you are possessed by the demon. There is a way out. His name is Jesus.

          • Steve Frank

            You’re right, Paul. Those examples are absurdities. And guess what, 30 years ago same sex marriage would have been filed under the “absurd examples” column too.

      • Pay

        Those who self identify as gay or trans or this or that are threatened by objective morality. They do not like the truth. That is the basic problem

        Wrapping one’s head around absurdities is difficult. That is the nature of logic . The problem is not identifying the absurd. The problem happens when some want everyone else to believe what is absurd.

      • quisutDeusmpc

        I don’t understand why you are projecting on to me or imputing to me, your inaccurate subjective reaction that you are subsequently reading into my comments. Furthermore, a distinction needs to be made between what we subjectively experience as an inclination, or tendency, or a personal reaction and what we ARE. In other words, our identities are not dependent upon any and every subjective whim which change with circumstances and maturity or devolution. Recently, for example, a low level litterati employee, a male, subjectively believed he was a female and began wearing dresses to work, complete with cosmetics, mannerisms, etc.. His family and colleagues were shocked, but not wanting to appear to be “politically incorrect” began referring to him with female pronouns etcetera so as not to offend or be accused of sexual callousness and open the company to a lawsuit or themselves to termination. This person, after a brief interlude as a pseudo-female, has NOW decided she wants to be a male again and has ceased wearing dresses, inhabiting the female lavatory, etc. and has decided to begin acting again like what his DNA (XY) says he always has been, a male. I am not, for the record, threatened by any of this. Perversion has always been and always will be a part of human behavior. It does not surprise me in the least, I am not afraid of it, nor am I threatened by it. That does not mean, that I have to agree with it, condone it, believe it is legitimate, normative, or to be lauded. I certainly don’t need a Clark Kent lesson in the difference between homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, or the pseudo-category of transgender.

      • Deacon Ed Peitler

        Do the homosexual occupying your brain pay rent? Paul,check out Courage and very possibly you might be able to extricate yourself from the swamp of homosexuality.

      • quisutDeusmpc

        By the way, Paul, or should I say btw so your generation will think I am just as hip and enlightened as you all imagine yourselves to be (they make one movie called “No Country For Old Men” and this generation considers themselves the progressive “Brights”), the term “cisgender” was coined by a transgender person named Carl Buijs of the Netherlands (little wonder that in a country where heroine has become decriminalized and clinics are set up to give away free, clean needles that people would become confused as to who they are) in 1995, to legitimize the very obfuscation I addressed in my post, to which you incorrectly attributed to me, your personal reaction to my point. I am one of these people who doesn’t believe that all things merely new represent enlightened progress. Give it fifty, one hundred, two hundred, five hundred years and see, after it has been tested by the vicissitudes of time and multiple cultures whether it remains after having been tried by fire. 1995 was only eighteen years ago, and if your picture is any indication of how old you are, it doesn’t surprise me that it is only the 16-35 crowd that is experiencing a crisis of conscience regarding the revolutionary overthrow of judiciaries foisting on people what they have consistently voted down in popular referendums. Adolescents and the immature always go through a puerile rebellion before they meet a mate and settle down into stability and raising of families. It doesn’t surprise me one bit that you rationalize that transgender and pseudo-marriage represent enlightened progress and caricature those who oppose it as frightened or malignant or whatever other pejorative you will think up in focus groups to sell this as the new norm.

  • cestusdei

    We must continue to fight no matter the cost. And it will be costly. The homosexual activists HATE and do so with fervor. Things will get worse before they get better.

  • HigherCalling

    A little parable on truth and falsehood, and why we must fight “lost causes”:

    “Suppose that a great commotion arises in the street about something, let us say a lamp-post, which many influential persons desire to pull down. A grey-clad monk, who is the spirit of the Middle Ages, is approached upon the matter, and begins to say, in the manner of the Schoolmen, “Let us first of all consider, my brethren, the value of Light. If Light be in itself good — ” At this point he is somewhat excusably knocked down. All the people make a rush for the lamp-post, the lamp-post is down in ten minutes, and they go about congratulating each other on their unmediaeval practicality. But as things go on they do not work out so easily. Some people have pulled the lamp-post down because they wanted the electric light; some because they wanted old iron; some because they wanted darkness, because their deeds were evil. Some thought it not enough of a lamp-post, some too much; some acted because they wanted to smash municipal machinery; some because they wanted to smash something. And there is war in the night, no man knowing whom he strikes. So, gradually and inevitably, to-day, to-morrow, or the next day, there comes back the conviction that the monk was right after all, and that all depends on what is the philosophy of Light. Only what we might have discussed under the gas-lamp, we now must discuss in the dark.”
    (– GKC, Heretics, 1905)

  • ColdStanding

    “Lost Cause”??? As in “The” Lost Cause? Like the nostalgia for the Confederacy? Yikes! Do we really have no other historical frame work to draw upon in attempting to fathom the current distemper other than civil war, specifically the War of Northern Aggression?

  • sibyl

    Thank you, Mr. Whitehead, for a very clear and helpful article. It really does boil down the argument nicely.

    One other, and I think extremely important, point for all Catholics to consider adding to these points above: Because homosexual acts are intrinsically immoral, they damage the persons who engage in them.

    Homosexuals have higher rates of depression, substance abuse and suicide than the straight population, and not only in places (are there any left?) where gay behavior is condemned. Gay couples split up at higher rates than heterosexual couples. And of course there are the spiritual harms that we often do see in actively gay people: hardness, anger, spite, rejection of God and holiness in general.

    If we are going to keep fighting, we must keep clear in our minds that this is not a political battle that we are primarily fighting. Indeed, politically, this battle is lost. Rather, we are fighting to protect people from the harm that normalized homosexual activity inflicts on its devotees as well as the culture at large.

  • < <<<<>>>>

    This is also displays the problem with “Burkean” Bourgeois Conservatism which only seeks to conserve shallow social conventions. To have success traditionalism must be based on right-religion (Catholicism) not anglo-Whiggism.

  • AcceptingReality

    I especially like point #3 because it is one that is rarely discussed. As for #2, let’s imagine for a moment that the Catholic Church could discard it’s long held truth. And let’s imagine the she did acquiesce and began regarding a union based in same sex acts as marriage. Does anyone think the culture would respect her more than it does now? And start liking her more? I don’t think so. The Church will stand it’s ground on this issue come what may. Of that I have no doubt. She can do nothing else.

  • Tony

    The whole sexual revolution is a disaster, and there can be no reconsideration of its folly so long as we wink and smile at sodomy, of all things. We have to keep fighting because we can’t sit idle in the face of so much loneliness, disorder, orphaned children, dead children, blasted communities …

  • catholicpat60

    It wasn’t so long ago that the correct terminology which the same sex marriage folks and Mr Bottoms seems to have given up fighting against was the criminal act of sodomy(there I dared to say the crime) and it was a criminal offense in most of the Continental States.May the Lord have Mercy on the cafeteria catholics who are erroneous in the errors!

    • Pay

      True and even mentioning that now will bring accusations that such laws were “persecution”. We are an inverted culture.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      Which “Continental States?”

      The new Penal Code, proposed by Louis Michel le Peletier, Marquis de Saint-Fargeau (promulgated September 26 – October 6, 1791) abolished, without a debate, the crimes of blasphemy, sodomy and witchcraft [le blasphème, la sodomie et la sorcellerie]

      During and after the Napoleonic Wars, the code became the law in most of Europe.

      • James_Kabala

        I think he means the United States. It was once illegal in all fifty states, including Alaska and Hawaii, so I’m not sure why “continental” was specified.

  • Vivianne

    We simply cannot say that red is black or black is white! To be forced to live, uphold, and cheer on a lie is simply not possible….not if we are logical human beings!

  • Jimbo

    No such thing as a lost cause when you live in a lost society.

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  • RaymondNicholas

    Words have the most meaning when they become personal, when you realize you are not what you thought you were. For example, a person may claim to persevere and have a backbone, but when the going gets though, they fail to endure, lack inner fortitude, and slink away.
    In my life I have found that intellectuals are the one group that most effectively rationalizes their weaknesses away in every conceivable manner in order to deceive or dissuade their audiences.
    My concern is that these elites do not know the meaning of the word “weakness.” I wonder if their denial is a result of pride or fear or willful ignorance. After all, if you do not know the meaning of sin, how can you sin?
    Even my dogs know the meaning of the word “sin.” All it takes is the threat of a spray from the water bottle and they run into hiding.

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  • Valentin

    It’s funny how some people blatantly claim that a man and a woman coming together in marriage and giving permission to let life into the world is no more significant than 2 guys jacking each other off (pardon my french but it had to be said).

  • Gail Finke

    I cannot tell you what a relief it is to read this essay, when so often conversations seem to go right down the White Rabbit’s hole. “If I come upon a group knocking a ball over two goal posts and ask what they are playing and get the reply, “baseball,” I have to answer: “No, baseball has a specific identity and rules, and what you are doing is not how it is played. You are playing something else.”” I have had that conversation, more than once. And each time the other person insists that things (not only the definition of marriage) are only what you want them to be — that nothing has any fixed meaning and what something “means to me” is all that matters. I remember particularly a conversation I had about a holiday, in which the other person insisted that holidays mean only what people think they mean. I told this person that he was mistaking building one’s own or one’s family traditions (eating a certain dish, having certain activities) with assigning a meaning to the holiday. If you have pizza or dim sum or corn dogs on Thanksgiving, but Thanksgiving is still a day of being thankful, that’s your personal Thanksgiving tradition. But if you go ice fishing every year and never give a thought to gratitude — even a vague “spiritual” gratitude to no one — then you’ve invented your own ice fishing holiday that you celebrate while everyone else celebrates Thanksgiving. This person refused to see the difference.