Gay & Catholic Lands at Life Teen: A “Yes” or a Mess?

“These days I go back and forth on how well I think I grasp the theology behind the Church’s sexual ethic.” —Eve Tushnet

Eve Tushnet, author of Gay & Catholic, gives this candid self-appraisal early in her recent post at the Life Teen youth-ministry apostolate blog. I’d like to hope that the following commentary, sincerely, will assist Tushnet by making clear that there are indeed some deep deficiencies in her understanding of Church teaching.

In fact, it seems pretty astonishing that Tushnet’s “God Delights in Me: What I’ve Learned as a Gay Catholic” was deemed appropriate for Catholic youth. In one short post, Tushnet echoed many of the most concerning elements found in her book Gay & Catholic, published by Ave Maria Press, apparently without imprimatur or nihil obstat. It seems safe to say that, had Tushnet or her publisher acted upon her uncertainty about Catholic theology and sought an imprimatur, her book might have been both very different and much more laudable, as would her recent post.

Others elsewhere have posted very credible and important general reviews critiquing Tushnet’s book, including Catholic World Report. But I’d like to focus on Tushnet’s message as presented in the context of Catholic youth ministry. Let’s assess her assertions and then ask some questions about what a more authentic Catholic view regarding homosexuality and youth would be like.

Tushnet’s primary general assertions are quite right: Chastity is more than abstinence; we all have a vocation to love; we’re all called to friendship and service; we have to care for one another. This is at least a little “yes” in the midst of a larger “mess.” What makes things messy is that Tushnet places some questionable content under these assertions.

I thought that my basic tasks as a gay Christian were: 1) Work hard to understand Catholic theology of homosexuality, and 2) Don’t have sex with girls. It turns out that you can’t build a spiritual life on those two things.

Actually, I think the more correct expression would be that you can only build a spiritual life on those two things if you are a woman experiencing same-sex attraction. You certainly couldn’t build a Christian spiritual life without sexual continence (as one unmarried) and without understanding “Catholic theology of homosexuality.” In making the correct point that the Christian spiritual life is more than these two things, the importance of these two things seems underplayed.

The Bible uses both the love between two men or two women, and the love between a man and a woman love (sic) to model the love between God and human beings, but those loves are structured differently: The opposite-sex love is typically expressed in marriage, whereas the love between two men or two women is simply expressed as friendship … or extended-family relationships….

Given that the post has to do with same-sex attraction, this description of Biblical “love” seems overly conflated, such that the clearly dominant “nuptial” relationship between God and us expressed in the Bible seems equivalent in importance to the merely “different” model of God’s love as same-sex “friendship.” For young persons who might have same-sex attractions, this is precisely the point at which it should be made clear that same-sex attraction is not a form of “love” or “friendship,” but is an inclination that’s not properly ordered toward the conjugal love of a man and woman.

[C]hastity is not the only virtue…. Understanding gay Christian life as only about chastity is a serious mistake, and one made often.

But chastity is at the center of one’s response to same-sex attraction, according to the Church. Tushnet seems to portray “gay Christian life” as something much “bigger” than same-sex attraction—young Catholics reading this will likely catch the implicit inference—being “gay” is (for Tushnet) not reducible to having same-sex attractions or to a chastity issue but is rather a guidepost of sorts to one’s “vocation”—not merely as a Christian but as a “gay” Christian. Yet this is not what the Church really teaches.

Friendship is one of the most theologically rich relationships in the Bible…. We might expect someone to say that the greatest love is to lay down your life for your child, or for your spouse, but Jesus—who was neither a husband nor a father, but was a son and a friend—instead uses friendship as a model of selfless devotion.

It seems straightforwardly wrong to woodenly claim that Jesus “was neither a husband nor a father,” particularly in order to amplify the Scriptural importance of “friendship.” Jesus was most assuredly the Bridegroom of His Bride, the Church, and was also father to the Twelve Apostles, the perfect image of God the Father, and father to the offspring of the Church, born in Baptism. This is Jesus as the perfect husband and father. Was he son and friend? Certainly. But the nuptial imagery once again trumps (in terms of theological richness) the image of friendship. With young Catholics facing a culture that has completely eroded the meaning of marriage and family, can we afford to downplay the dominance of nuptial imagery regarding Jesus in Scripture? But Tushnet is clearly opting to frame things this way as the foundation of a larger point.

In many Christian countries friendship could be a form of kinship: Friends would take vows to care for one another and one another’s children; they would share a household and finances. Sometimes friends would make these vows on the church steps, then go inside to Mass to exchange the Kiss of Peace and receive the Eucharist together.

Nobody wants every friendship to be this deep—and to carry this many obligations—but most of us, including married people, need at least one friendship which we can truly rely on.

I have friends in intentional communities of laypeople, and friends in celibate partnerships.

Thus we arrive at what Tushnet refers to as her “hobby horse”—advocating for “vowed friendships” solemnized in church and culminating in Eucharist. Despite the contentious claim that Church history featured such “celibate partnerships” in the past, the truth is that such vowed, cohabiting couplehood shared by two people with same-sex attraction is what the Church still usually refers to as a “same-sex union.” Regardless of whether it involves homogenital activity, if it’s based on same-sex attraction, this does not count as a healthy “friendship” between two people of the same sex. Indeed, nor is friendship equivalent to “kinship” in the mind of the Church, which anchors its teaching on the family (which is what Tushnet appears to mean by “kinship”) in natural law, with family arising exclusively from marital union.

And this is also where Tushnet reveals a deep misunderstanding of the nature of celibacy—at least celibacy for the sake of the kingdom. Celibacy is not merely sexual continence—not-having-sex. Celibacy is about forgoing any exclusive lifelong “partnership” with another person—marriage—so that the celibate person can enter into the exclusive lifelong “partnership” that marriage points to—intimate and eternal “nuptial” union with God.

Tushnet seems to perceive that there really is “room” in celibacy for exclusive and permanent vowed partnerships between two people with same-sex attraction. And this flawed perception certainly explains why she also recently went on record in the March issue of Christianity Today as recommending that people attend the so-called “marriages” of friends in same-sex unions:

This decision about attendance is easier for me, because I believe God calls some people to devoted, sacrificial love of another person of the same sex. Let me be clear: I don’t think that that love should be expressed sexually. But some people who marry a same-sex partner are doing so out of a call to love, even though they misinterpret the nature of that love. We should support as much as we can…. Some people may have already demonstrated enough love that their friends would understand a decision not to attend a same-sex wedding. But in most cases, I think it’s best to show up.

Tushnet does not seem to understand that authentic celibacy for the sake of the kingdom requires the renunciation of exclusive and permanent love relationships with other persons. Thus Tushnet is giving young Catholics more messy thinking instead of a clear message regarding authentic friendship between persons of the same sex and regarding the nature of celibacy itself.

One last point about the Life Teen post—Tushnet references friends “who were forced or pressured into damaging ‘reparative therapy’.” It’s the only mention of therapy in the post, which is unfortunate because, in fact, the US Bishops say in their 2006 statement, “Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care”:

Pastoral and psychological care for adolescents who struggle with sexual attraction issues is of particular importance. Adolescents with homosexual attractions can be at serious risk for personal difficulties, including suicidal tendencies and attempts as well as enticements to promiscuity and exploitation by adults. Every effort should be made to ensure that adolescents have access to age-appropriate professional counseling services that respect Church teaching in matters of human sexuality.

The US Bishops make clear that for young people with same-sex attraction, some form of therapeutic counseling should be a must. This points to a fact hardly referenced anymore (and clearly omitted in Tushnet’s post)—that in the Church’s view, same-sex attraction remains a psychological phenomenon as well as a moral and spiritual phenomenon, particularly for adolescents, who may well be experiencing forms of transitory same-sex attractions rather than something deep-seated. In such cases, both spiritual direction and psychological counseling and therapy that is in keeping with Church teaching can make a positive difference in a young person’s life.

To conclude, contrasting with Tushnet’s perspective, what might be of greater benefit to young Catholics in addressing same-sex attraction? Here’s my brief list of some important clarifications (all of which can be backed by official documents of the Church):

  1. Should young Catholics avoid publicly acknowledging their same-sex attractions, publicly identifying as “gay,” or embracing a “gay” subculture? Yes.
  1. Should every effort be made to encourage young Catholics with SSA to seek age-appropriate spiritual direction and psychological counseling? Yes.
  1. Does the Church view homosexuality as a condition associated with affective immaturity, which may be transitory in adolescents? Yes.
  1. Should the Church address same-sex attraction first and foremost via the virtue of chastity, particularly for young people? Yes.
  1. Should young Catholics be offered a balanced view of the integral and unbreakable relationship between sexuality and married love, which reveals same-sex attraction to be out of harmony with authentic sexuality? Yes.
  1. Should young Catholics come to understand that same-sex attraction is not a form of “friendship” or love? Yes.
  1. Should a clear and definitive distinction be maintained between authentically healthy and “disinterested” friendships on one hand and less-than-healthy relationships formed at least in part on the basis of same-sex attraction on the other? Yes.
  1. Should young people avoid thinking that “friendship” can make a claim to the “kinship” inherent in the family bond arising from marital union? Yes.
  1. Should Catholic youth be taught that celibacy for the sake of the kingdom is a vocation that requires renunciation of a permanent and exclusive love relationship with another person in favor of a total, permanent, and exclusive self-gift to God himself? Yes.
  1. Should Catholic youth be taught that attending a same-sex “wedding” is decidedly not the same thing as attending a Baptism, and that it’s not appropriate to attend an event that is utterly contrary to God’s plan for married love? Yes.

And that, dear readers, is a litany that is a whole lot more “yes” and a whole lot less “mess.”

Editor’s note: Due to the reservations outlined by Deacon Russell in his essay above, Life Teen has removed Eve Tushnet’s column, “God Delights in Me,” from their website. 

Deacon Jim Russell


Deacon Jim Russell serves the Archdiocese of St. Louis and writes on topics of marriage, family, and sexuality from a Catholic perspective. He can be reached via e-mail at

  • ForChristAlone

    Tushnet starts out with faulty premises. There is no such reality as a “Gay Catholic” or a “Gay Christian” – or a “Gay” anything for that matter. There are passions ordered and disordered. Those passions which are disordered are best kept between oneself and one’s confessor or, if need be, between oneself and one’s orthodox Catholic therapist (they’re around if you only but look).

    • Scott W.

      Indeed it seems much of the spate of the new homophiles is enshrining the secular homosexualist principle of over-sharing.

    • Mark

      Certainly. You’ve made a sharp point of clarity, ForChristAlone. Almighty God only created two distinct person-hoods and that would be His angelic person and His human person, as He remains from all eternity, the uncreated Trinitarian Personhood of the Almighty Father, Beloved Son, and Holy Spirit. Sexuality, whether properly ordered within God’s natural design or disordered within man’s fallen passion, as influenced principally by the diabolical, is simply an “accident”, metaphysically speaking. In other words, our sexuality is not about “who” we are, rather it is about “what” we are. Only our Creator, Almighty God, has power over the “who” and the “what”. We can no more change what our sexuality is than we can change the reality that we are human persons.

  • Daniel P

    Factual question: Does Tushnet ever say these friendships should be “exclusive”? I can’t imagine her saying that.

    • Jim Russell

      Hi, Daniel–if one were to enter into a “vowed friendship” solemnized at Church and resulting in a lifelong “partnership” in which two people live together, wouldn’t that be accurately referred to as something “exclusive”? Especially if they clearly identify as a “couple”? Such a relationship clearly remains both possible and endorsed in Tushnet’s work, particularly in the affirmation of attending same-sex “weddings”: ” I believe God calls some people to devoted, sacrificial love of another person of the same sex. ” The very concept of “celibate partnership” is driven by exclusivity–if it were non-exclusive, why the need to emphasize celibacy? Tushnet doesn’t refer to non-exclusive “intentional communities” as celibate because no one would think to question that fact among a group–but it’s the *first* question that needs to be addressed when dealing with “couples.”

      • Daniel P

        I think you’re right about the use of the term “couple”, if Tushnet uses it in the way you describe. However, I don’t think two people living together constitutes anything exclusive, so long as they are open to housing situations that include more than just the two of them.

        Housing situations for same-sex attracted people is a very important topic for Christian authors and ministers to address. I don’t agree with Eve’s position on the topic, but I do think that her position is at least a challenge to the problematic common view that “gay people can’t chastely live with people of the same sex”.

      • Jim the Scott

        >Hi, Daniel–if one were to enter into a “vowed friendship” solemnized at Church and resulting in a lifelong “partnership” in which two people live together, wouldn’t that be accurately referred to as something “exclusive”?

        That doesn’t logically follow. I find it interesting you are reading all these errors into Eve writings & taking the time to develop the false doctrines you attribute to her and draw inferences from them that she does not.

        If they are “exclusive” but they don’t have sex then how do they “cheat” on each other?

        “Hey I just made friends with a guy at work who is a Christian we pray during lunch”.

        “How could you do that to me?”

        Deacon I think Crisis & your energies are better spent attacking real homosexual subversives then these brothers and sisters.

        • Jim Russell

          I’m attacking no one and I count Tushnet and other Catholic writers on these subjects as my sisters and brothers in Christ.

          Of course it logically follows that exclusivity is part of one’s vowed, lifelong, cohabiting partnership with another person with SSA. Unless you want to suggest that the idea here is for such individuals to make *multiple* vowed, lifelong, cohabiting partnerships all at the same time? How would that work? One week cohabiting with vowed partner A, the next week with vowed partner X, week three with vowed partner Z?

          • Jim the Scott

            >I’m attacking no one and I count Tushnet and other Catholic writers on these subjects as my sisters and brothers in Christ.

            I respectfully disagree thought I might concede that is not your intent never the less that is what you are doing.

            >Of course it logically follows that exclusivity is part of one’s vowed, lifelong, cohabiting partnership with another person with SSA.

            That is not argument except in the John Cleese sense.

            Living with your friend doesn’t by nature exclude inviting other friends to live with you. Get enough of them it’s either a Nunnery or a Monastery which is how that whole thing got started in the 3rd century btw but I digress.

            >Unless you want to suggest that the idea here is for such individuals to make *multiple* vowed, lifelong, cohabiting partnerships all at the same time? How would that work? One week cohabiting with vowed partner A, the next week with vowed partner X, week three with vowed partner Z?

            Can you tell me where Eve says you may not invite other friends to live with you?

            The Eastern Christian “The Making of Brothers” ceremony that strange character John Boswell(God forgive and Rest his soul) falsely claimed was an ancient “gay wedding rite” to my knowledge can be performed for more than one person. I have two brother logically I can have more.

            • Jim Russell

              In Chapter 12 of “Gay and Catholic,” Tushnet expounds on her understanding of “coming first for someone” and the desire for exclusivity.

              Jim, can you tell me where Eve actually *excludes* couple exclusivity from her call for “vowed friendships”?

              • GG

                Can 40 year old man have a vowed friendship with a 14 year old boy? What about a married man and a single woman?

                • Jim the Scott

                  Should a Priest invite a 14 year old boy to live with him?

                  Ah No!!!! I don’t lknow what this has to do with anything?

                  *OTOH there was a black Priest who adopted a lad with permission from his

                  • GG

                    I am trying to ascertain the boundaries of this “vowed friendship” thingy. Why is it associated with “gays” only these days? Why must we assume the 14 y/o old with a priest is wrong but two homosexual persons living together is right?

                    • Jim the Scott

                      There should be boundaries always. Use reason & prudence.

                      It’s like letting SAA/gay men into the Priesthood. Before Benedict XVI it was in theory banned across the board (of course the Bishops ignored it and scandal came..).

                      But Pope Benedict XVI set up some guidelines so in some cases a SSA man could be ordained.

                    • GG

                      All that proves that is authority can act wisely, but it does not address my point at all. Common sense and constant Church teaching would lead any reasonable person to conclude Tushnet’s ideology is not Catholic.

                      There is no prudence in playing up homosexuality as some form of goodness to be accentuated and manipulated to make others believe only the acts associated with such a deviation are wrong.

                    • Jim the Scott

                      >Common sense and constant Church teaching would lead any reasonable person to conclude Tushnet’s ideology is not Catholic.

                      Common sense tells me her “ideology” is mostly a fiction created by her over-reacting critics.

                      >There is no prudence in playing up homosexuality as some form of goodness to be accentuated and manipulated to make others believe only the acts associated with such a deviation are wrong.

                      No doubt but I have no reason to believe so far that is what she is trying to do.

                    • GG

                      The point of the essay here is to point out the error in her reasoning. Which the deacon does very well.

                      If we are simply talking about friendship then there is no reason for her book at all.

                    • Jim the Scott

                      Well I will concede he has good intentions and real concern for her soul but….so far I find some of his criticisms wanting.

                      I think he is unconsciously reading into her what he wants to find.

                      Maybe I am no better but I put it out there…

                    • Daniel P

                      “If we are simply talking about friendship then there is no reason for her book at all.”

                      Of course there is. Same-sex attracted people, after all, have been told that they are not even fit for close friendships — indeed, this is sometimes the advice they receive from priests.

                    • GG

                      What makes you think the priests were wrong in such advice?

                    • Daniel P

                      Plenty of personal experience. Are you suggesting that Christians with SSA *aren’t* fit for close friendships? Are you suggesting that Daniel Mattson, for instance, should not cultivate any friendships that involve genuine openness and commitment? (Please understand that there is absolutely nothing remotely romantic in the type of friendship I’m talking about).

                    • GG

                      Does Mattson affirm Tushnet’s ideology?

                    • Daniel P

                      No. But I said, “Same-sex attracted people, after all, have been told that they are not even fit for close friendships”, and you implied that people were right to tell them that.

                      If your implication is true, then Dan Mattson — or anyone with SSA — isn’t suitable for close friendships. Which is a bit surprising, since I personally know what a decent fellow Dan is, and I know he would make for a great friend.

              • Jim the Scott

                >In Chapter 12 of “Gay and Catholic,” Tushnet expounds on her understanding of “coming first for someone” and the desire for exclusivity.

                Since my primary accusation against you Deacon is ” reading all these errors into Eve writings” & you are Eve’s accuser here then you are going to have to give me more that a vague reference to chapters in her book. An explicit unambiguous citation is required of you.

                I am afraid in the manner of the Apostle for which my Patron Saint Aquinas is named I need to put my hands in the wounds before I believe.

                Also I just came from the Geocentracism debates over at CWR. I was not impressed by Sungenis & his cohorts dismissing arguments with “this chapter in my book answers you”.

                >Jim, can you tell me where Eve actually *excludes* couple exclusivity from her call for “vowed friendships”?

                The Council of Nicea doesn’t exclude belief in pneumatomachianism (ie denial of the deity of the holy spirit) but then again it doesn’t address it as it’s purpose was to deal with the denial of the deity of the Son.

                OTOH shifting the burden of proof an old debating tactic. One which does not move me.

                You can do better.

              • Jim the Scott

                Well Deacon Russel I did some digging on the Net……

                >In Chapter 12 of “Gay and Catholic,” Tushnet expounds on her understanding of “coming first for someone” and the desire for exclusivity.

                I found this entry on her blog & it seems to say something else.


                “First, the whole ideal of “coming first” for someone all the time, and marriage as the institution which provides that to the spouses, would sound really weird to 99.99% of people who have ever lived. Going into marriage expecting that now you have found “your person,” who will always be there for you, who will always come first for you and for whom you will always come first, is a setup for intense disappointment and pain. Seriously, imagine describing marriage like this to a woman in any century before the twentieth; I doubt you could find even a handful who’d know what the heck you were talking about.”

                Maybe the book has something else I missed?

                >Jim, can you tell me where Eve actually *excludes* couple exclusivity from her call for “vowed friendships”?

                Well I read her blog.


                QUOTE”My understanding, which could be wrong!,
                is that celibate partnerships would be open to other people via communal decisionmaking. Either the partnership becomes a tiny community of celibates, or the partners together decide how to live out hospitality.
                To use a maybe weird metaphor, devoted friendship often works like a quilt, in which different patches are sewn together; celibate partnership, it seems to me, may work more like a whole
                piece of cloth, which stretches to cover more people.
                “END QUOTE

                Am I missing something or are you missing something?


          • fredx2

            The whole “vowed friendship” thing makes no sense whatsoever.

            • ForChristAlone

              If I were a single man, does that mean I could enter into a “vowed, lifelong, cohabiting partnership with a woman” who I would not consider myself married to? Would the Church sanction this?

              • Jim the Scott

                If you where already married to someone else. Then you civilly divorced & invalidly “married” this woman, had children & after a decade or two came too your senses.

                That might be something to do while you are living as brother and sister.

              • GG

                Yes, if you were immature, narcissistic, and seeking public approval to make you think your desire is normal and good.

      • The very concept of “celibate partnership” is driven by exclusivity–if it were non-exclusive, why the need to emphasize celibacy?

        If an opposite-sex couple were to present themselves to their Parish with the idea that they wanted a “vowed friendship” marriage that included an avowed intent to be celibate; would they not be rejected?

        This is a double attack on marriage, both disordering it and sterilizing it.

        • Jim the Scott

          A marriage by definition because of it’s essence requires you and your wife have married sexual relations.

          A chaste partnership or friend ship has no requirement because of it’s nature.

          • GG

            Are not all friendships to be chaste?

            • Jim the Scott

              >Are not all friendships to be chaste?

              Perhaps that is the point.

              • GG

                Then why the need for a priest or public approval? People already grasp friendship. What are we talking about then?

                • Jim the Scott

                  What does public approval have to do with anything? I am Catholic, a Thomist, an Ex-molinist , an American, a conservative….

                  I don’t need anyone’s permission.

                  Priests bless things that is their job.

                  • Things, not constructs of the mind.

                  • GG

                    What is this need to make friendship into something aping marriage? Why does a priest need to “bless” such an arrangement?

                    • Jim the Scott

                      I reject any claim what is being done here is being done to ape marriage.

                      If they wanted to ape marriage then they would have called it “Spiritual marriage” between two men or two women.

                      Which would be absurd(even if they are chaste) but they don’t call it that now do they?

                    • GG

                      You can change the name but it does not change what it is.

                    • Jim the Scott

                      Poisoning the well fallacy mixed with some special pleading.

                      So if Eve talks about spiritual friendships oshe really means celebrate spiritual marriage?

                      Doesn’t logically follow.

                    • GG

                      It follows well. Two people with homosexual desires live in a pairing like marriage except we call it something else. In more sane times people were friends. Now, we need theologians and philosophers to tell us what it is we are supposed to believe. Nuts.

                    • Jim the Scott

                      Two people of the same gender living together isn’t by nature any type of marriage. Regardless if there are mortally sinful shenanigans or not.

                      >Now, we need theologians and philosophers to tell us what it is we are supposed to believe. Nuts.

                      No we have the Church and the Faith for that. The rest we should discover by our own prudent judgement.

                • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

                  “Public approval” is what the LGBTSSAMSMBDQ movement is all about.

                  • RufusChoate

                    And the unlimited ability to suppress, repress and punish anyone who questions their behavior. They immediately assume an intolerant totalitarian position with every advance of rights and privileges. Look at the lies about Matt Shepherd that spawn so much legislation for the elevated protection of homosexuals as victims of hate crimes.

          • A marriage by definition because of it’s essence requires you and your wife have married sexual relations.

            Precisely. What she wants is something that disallows for the ordered and essential carnality of marriage. Marriage affects body, mind and soul.

  • lifeknight

    Thank you, Deacon Russell for clarity. I read this initially for the comments on Life Teen. I am not a fan! However, one priest involved in vocations has stated that Life Teen Masses seem to foster more vocations. (I would like stats on that if anyone has them.) Personally I get ill trying to get through a Life Teen Mass.

    The Church’s teaching on SSA is vague because MOST young priests are not well formed in that regard. (My own assessment.) The older ones are often ill prepared as well.

    The most recent comment I heard from the pulpit was that we are to “We must welcome those who have different lifestyles in our pews. The Church is finally recognizing the value of those individuals.” THIS tripe was given at a Church less than a mile from my house! (And some wonder why people resort to driving hours to avoid violation at holy Mass.)

    The larger question remains how does the Church teach about SSA and sodomite type relationships in the spirit of love? It must begin with the truth. How it has gotten so muddled up begins with taking the procreative aspects of heterosexual love and making them second stage to pleasure for pleasure’s sake.

    Of course this is history. Many of this generation have no concept of WHY contraception is evil. They have grown up with the norm of two kids or maybe three in their parishes. Seeing 7 to 12 kids in a family is now the exception, not the rule. When people are in the pews and stand from the pulpit violating one teaching the hypocrisy is noted by young minds and promotes the “cafeteria.”

    • ForChristAlone

      “The most recent comment I heard from the pulpit was that we are to “We must welcome those who have different lifestyles in our pews.”

      A little history lesson for those who insist on seeing people as “different lifestyles”: The Catholics church has been welcoming those with different lifestyles “in our pews” for over 2,000 years; they’re called sinners. Only thing we haven’t done which seems to be in vogue these days is to rope off certain quarters among the pews for each of the different kinds of sinners. This is an invention of Progressives who see the world as divided into power blocs that can be counted on for support during the next election cycle.

      No, we’re all sinners and, as Christians, Christ calls us to unity: “That they be be one Father, that they may be one in Us, as we are in each other.”

      • lifeknight

        Agreed. However a little truth from the pulpit is a nice touch. Call it like it is: sodomy. Your comment begs the question why even be identified? Of course, I realize this problem is vocalized by many groups in many ways. We are all sinners, I prefer to keep my sins to myself and sit there in silence not knowing if someone next to me has acquired HIV the night before..

  • Reasonable_Opinion

    Well-intentioned, Ms. Tushnet is leading people, especially younger, sexually confused people, away from Mother Church and into her own mystical (small “m”) world.

  • jpct50

    The “smoke of satan” for sure.

  • GaudeteMan

    “2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity.” This quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church demonstrates to what extreme the Homosexual agenda has penetrated into the sanctuary of the Church. Anyone versed in argumentation knows that rule #1 is to define your terms. If we grant people with sinful disorders the normalized title of “homosexual persons” the battle is half lost. Why? Because each soul is much more than the sum of their sexual acts, depraved or otherwise. Unfortunately, if one uses the term sodomy in any form or fashion it is considered heartless and judgmental. To make any headway in fighting the lies put forth by the colossal ogre that some call the Gay Rights Movement it may be beneficial to be more obstinate in what terms we allow in the discussion. Moreover, I have found that focusing on the scientific/ medical approach (such as the ailments which are incontestably linked to these depraved acts at an alarmingly higher rate than those who don’t engage in them) garners more receptivity and less ire from those who promote and defend this lifestyle than resorting to the ‘pastoral’ approach.

    • Guest_august

      It will be obvious on reflection and deep meditation that the definition of ‘Homosexual persons’ in this Catechism of the Catholic Church (second Edition) is at best problematic and quite capable of misleading the unwary Christian

    • Anthony Zarrella

      Be fair – this isn’t necessarily the fault of the Church conceding the point that people with SSA are defined by their sexual acts. Rather, it can be attributed to the fact that the Church *hasn’t* accepted the 20th Century fiction that by referring to someone as an “[adjective] person” you are reducing them to that adjective.

      That’s entirely a new idea – e.g. if you call someone a “handicapped person” rather than a “person with a handicap,” disability advocates will get all over your case for implying that the person is primarily defined by their handicap. The Church simply sticks to the old (more sound) idea that describing someone with an adjective means nothing more or less than saying that the adjective is a correct descriptor of the person.

      So, “homosexual persons” means “persons who have the status of being homosexual (i.e. having SSA)”. It no more defines their inmost soul than calling me a “disputatious person” reduces me to the sum of my argumentative acts.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    Great article. Now, queue the Christophobic gay Thought Police in 3… 2… 1….

    • Hi there. Haven’t been banned yet.

      • Jim Russell

        Hi, Chuck–I’ll be happy to consider your thoughts on the post. Thanks.

        • MHB

          Way to go, Deacon.

      • It isn’t always about you, Chuck.

      • Objectivetruth

        Here ya go, Chuckie. See below, an article on ISIS playing gravity games with gays from seven story buildings. Time for you to get over to those Muslim websites and defend your boys.

        Or do you really think Catholics who out of love don’t want you to lose eternal salvation are a far greater threat to your lifestyle than people that if they got their hands on you, would make you do a gainer from the seventh floor?

        Read the article, look at the horrific pictures carefully. You’re attacking the wrong religion, Chuck:

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          Well, they are treating Christians about the same way…

  • Cathy

    While Tushnet may think she is helping, she may be causing more confusion. She is already advising young people it is OK to attend same-sex weddings. As she continues to gain a following with youth, and pronounces on her understanding of Church theology, her current approach could end up turning many away from the truth, although she may not be fully aware of the consequences of her actions at this point. If she has humility she will heed the words of Deacon Russell. The Church has been around a long time and contrary to the ways of the world, Gospel truths are eternal. She should not be advising anyone to attend or witness a same-sex wedding which would be a form of public acceptance of behavior that is contrary to Church teaching. That does not mean she should not love these friends or make further attempts to evangelize them. Speaking the truth in charity can be a challenge, but is required of all of us.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    This is yet another area where I greatly appreciate how the moral theologians and guest speakers at Franciscan University handle the issue. The word “gay” is almost never heard on campus, at least not in any official pronouncement. The correct term – “those suffering with same-sex attraction” – is stated unambiguously.

  • GG

    Excellent as usual. Of the many problems with “gay” ideology one main one is this tendency to wash off the parts that directly contradict the CCC like genital activity, but dress up the rest of the disorder as something good and consistent with Truth.

    Try that phoney intellectualism with some other deviant desire like pedophilia or wife swapping. Then, show us how consistent it is with Catholic theology.

    The main problem is the homosexualists really do not think homosexual attraction is that wrong. It may not be a sin, but it is wrong in that it is not ordered as ordained by God.

    • Murray

      More concretely, how would we straight guys fare in a celibate “vowed friendship” with a woman? Even if the lady wasn’t your type, we are all familiar with the many ways by which a normally dormant sexual attraction can arise: tipsiness, loneliness, grief, joy–all situations a cohabiting couple would experience from time to time.

      Were I unmarried, I know that the only way I could remain free from the near occasion of sin in a “vowed friendship” would be if the other person was someone I could never, under any circumstances, be sexually attracted to. In other words, a guy, a family member, or a dependant. And we already have a name for that relationship: roomies.

      • GG

        All true and good points. Have you noticed that political homosexual persons seem to go way back into history to find some defense for their desires? It is either ancient Rome as some sort of proof or ancient Eastern Christianity and “vowed friendships”.

        Why must we go back centuries to some vague past we can reformulate to fit our present desires?

      • MHB

        I’m not convinced yet that a chaste coupled arrangement isn’t possible for those who are SSA. I’m not advocating it, but I am questioning whether it might be okay. For example, even in a marriage between a man and a woman, there are those situations, “tipsiness, loneliness, grief, joy” where temptations can arise. We all need to be aware of those occasions of temptation and resist them. So why would a chaste vowed friendship be morally wrong?

  • Elaine Steffek

    How does all this square with the Church’s Blessed John Cardinal Newman,
    who had a lifelong partnership and lived 30 years with Fr Ambrose St John? With the fact that he directed that upon death he be buried WITH, his friend? Not next to his friend, but in the same grave as his friend?

    • Guest_august

      This should clarify things a little:
      “And when the prophet who had brought him back from the way heard of it, he said, “It is the man of God, who disobeyed the word of the Lord; therefore the Lord has given him to the lion, which has torn him and slain him, according to the word which the Lord spoke to him.” 27 And he said to his sons, “Saddle the ass for me.” And they saddled it. 28 And he went and found his body thrown in the road, and the ass and the lion standing beside the body. The lion had not eaten the body or torn the ass. 29 And the prophet took up the body of the man of God and laid it upon the ass, and brought it back to the city,[b] to mourn and to bury him. 30 And he laid the body in his own grave; and they mourned over him, saying, “Alas, my brother!” 31 And after he had buried him, he said to his sons, “When*I*die, bury*me*in*the*grave*in*which*the*man*of God*is*buried; lay*my*bones*beside*his*bones.”
      (1 Kings 13)
      Does anybody see same-sex attraction here?

    • RufusChoate

      Surely you know and understand that most love that is not even Christian is not sexual unless you are completely morally corrupt?

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      Oh, here we go… the “famous dead person as queer” who is no longer around to defend himself against scurrilous accusations. Try actually reading Newman. The “gay ” community will have to try to find another patron saint. Newman was horrified by all sin.

      • Elaine Steffek

        What I have written are indeed the facts, why else would there be a movement to exhume the body and rebury it? He lived with Fr St John for 30 years and professed his love for him. My unanswered question remains: How does this square with what is written in the article?

        • Jim Russell

          Hi, Elaine–it seems to square just fine–Newman was not same-sex-attracted, his friendships were not arising from same-sex attraction. There is no reason to presume they did. It is not impossible for two non-familial members of the same sex to live together. The problem arises when relationships are built upon *willing* those attractions toward another and suggesting that those willed same-sex attractions can form the basis of authentic love or friendship.

          • Hypatia

            How do you know Newman was not same sex attracted?

            • GG

              What evidence do you have to even concoct such a charge?

          • Daniel P

            Deacon Jim, could you broadcast this point a little more loudly, at some point, and clarify that it is not necessarily wrong for two men (or two women) with SSA to live together, so long as they do not pretend a marriage and so long as they do not experience undue temptations to unchastity because of the living situation. People need to hear that! It is very depressing when people in the Church imply that people with SSA must live alone.

            I would point out a document from the USCCB in 1973, which read: “A homosexual can have an abiding relationship with another homosexual without genital sexual expression. Indeed, the deeper need of any human is for friendship rather than genital sexual expression … If a homosexual person has progressed under the direction of a confessor, but in the effort to develop a stable relationship with a given person has occasionally fallen into a sin of impurity, he should be absolved and instructed to take measures to avoid the elements which lead to sin without breaking off a friendship which has helped him grow as a person. If the relationship, however, has reached a stage where the homosexual person is not able to avoid overt actions, he should be admonished to break off the relationship.”

            If more people showed the sort of wisdom and sensitivity shown in that letter, reactionary responses like Eve’s would be less common.

            • Jim Russell

              I would actually disagree about the framework and phrasing of this now-defunct document of the US Bishops, which was addressed to priest-confessors regarding how they should approach such issues in the confessional.

              At root, it’s all about near occasions of sin and about purity of heart. If two people with same-sex attraction possess sufficient self-mastery to have a friendship that is free from same-sex attraction, such a disinterested friendship could prove very healthy for them. But it would seem there would be deep complications surrounding any situation in which there was a prior “relationship” that included SSA, especially regarding living under the same roof.

              We’d both agree that, with God, *all* things are possible, even achieving self-mastery such that two former same-sex “lovers” (in quotes) could live under the same roof merely as friends who have mastered not only the prohibition of homogenital acts but *also* mastered independence from the affective bond arising from SSA. Personally, I’d never recommend such cohabitation, but it is, with much spiritual maturity, possible.

              • Daniel P

                I think you’re reading the phrase “has occasionally fallen into a sin of impurity” very differently than I am. You see, I have SSA, and there are various ways I might fall into a sin of impurity with another man. I might talk immodestly with him, I might flirt, I might look at him the wrong way, etc. (I don’t commonly do these things, but I can see how they could happen). I don’t think that a friendship that has “helped me grow as a person” should be broken off because of such impurities. More to the point, I don’t think that “has occasionally fallen into impurity” implies active sexual behavior, much less pseudo-conjugal cohabitation.

                I agree that, in these latter cases, living together would be unwise except in exceptional cases.

        • GG

          Let us say, for a moment, that your implications are true. How would that change anything? It would not. It would simply reveal some weakness in some particular person. So what?

          • Elaine Steffek

            That would be great- then acknowledge the weakness. Is it not possible that he was gay and faithful to God and the Church? He lived with the same man for thirty years, he directed that he be buried in the SAME grave as his friend, and he wrote of his love for his friend as lovers do.
            I’m just sayin’, if it walks like a duck…….

            • GG

              It would not change the moral truth or how we must conduct our lives.

            • Augustus

              They did not live alone. They lived in an Oratory with other clergy. Just because they were close does not mean they were gay. You are imposing a modern interpretation on the actions of individuals who lived over a century ago in a different country. Family members are buried in the same mausoleum but it isn’t proof of incest.

            • Louis

              Newman expert, Fr Dermot Fenlon Cong. Orat., explains why the cardinal was buried in the same grave as Ambrose St John

              There’s nothing “gay” about it at all!

              • Elaine Steffek

                Why was the author Fr Fenlon banned from the Newman beatification ceremony?

                • Louis

                  Presumably because he spoke truth to power. I thought the note at the end of Fr Fenlon’s article by Ruth Dudley Edwards, a non-believer and university friend of Fr Fenlon, would have made that clear. I guess nobody outside the community knows for sure, but it certainly was not for any sexual misdemeanour – a public statement was made to emphasize that.

                  “For the last 20 years, Dermot Fenlon, who gave up a glittering academic career in Cambridge to be a priest, has lived at the Birmingham Oratory. He has devoted himself to the study of its founder, Cardinal Newman, and the tending of parishioners. In the September issue of Standpoint, I told how, in May, with two other Oratorians, he was suddenly ejected, banned from the Newman beatification ceremony conducted last month by the Pope, and gagged.

                  Officialdom continued the policy of silence and concealment even as the blogosphere came alive with speculation and protest: a spokesman spoke opaquely of disunity within the community. Yet Roman Catholic insiders suggest that it was the Birmingham Three’s defence of traditional teachings on sexual morality, and their belief that Church should challenge State, that posed an unwelcome intellectual challenge to the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, during his time as Archbishop of Birmingham. One Oratorian has been transported to South Africa for at least a year; another has been sent abroad for three years to study; Dermot Fenlon, who is 68 and in fragile health, is rumoured to have been banned from his home for five years.

                  Attempts have been made to turn Newman into a gay icon on the grounds that he chose to be buried with his friend Father Ambrose St John. Fr Fenlon’s essay looks at the burial from Newman’s point of view.

            • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

              He did not write as lovers do. That is a shameful statement and displays your cultural blinders. I would surmise that you have read very little of Newman. (And no, articles in Salon Magazine don’t count.)

            • Anthony Zarrella

              Elaine –

              I have several male friends whom I love very much, and if I (and they) were not married and living with a wife, I could see us living together out of friendship and convenience. I have no sexual attraction to any one of them – not the smallest shred. And not because I piously suppress any such thoughts, but because they never arise at all – SSA simply is not an affliction I struggle with.

              I’m not sure I’d ask to be buried in the same grave, but then, I’m not prone to extravagant gestures of my feelings in any circumstance. If my life turned out such that my male friend was the person with whom I had the closest earthly relationship, then perhaps I would want to be buried in the same plot (rather than with relatives with whom, in this hypothetical, I have no strong ties).

              The point being, your assertions about Cardinal Newman are completely unfounded. C.S. Lewis (not a Catholic, but a great Christian thinker) was already lamenting, back in the 40s, the loss of the societal understanding that deep, loving, abiding friendship could exist with no romantic or sexual implications.

        • fredx2

          You are way off base factually. But you have read the propaganda, I will give you that.

          Lincoln was gay too, right?

          • GG

            Apparently, everyone is gay.

            • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

              No, not everyone. Only those who vehemently deny being gay, or never talk about their gayness, or are never suspected of being gay until they are dead. They must surely all be gay!

        • It has been said that Saints are weird people, and although not yet a Saint, one must concede the possibility that Newman might have been weird.
          Newman liveds in a time when the language was more florid, because words like “love” still conveyed multiple meanings. Today, one could say all other meanings of love besides eros have been lost, but we are so craven that “love” doesn’t even mean an interior disposition, it means penetrating any available orifice.
          Elaine Steffek speaks ill of the dead by imputing contemporary homoerotic or homosexual meaning into the words and actions of somebody who lived long ago, absent other evidence.

    • JP

      A) Eve Tushnet advocates “gay soulmates” who are attracted to each other, but who live celibate lives to be given a quasi-sacramental recognition of their relationship.

      B) John Cardinal Newman and Fr Ambrose were not gay, gay oriented, or sexually attracted to men.

      C) Ergo, your question is totally without merit for it ignores what Tushnet advocates and. Your question also makes the scurrilous assumption that Cdl Newman was gay.

      • Hypatia

        Again how do you know they were not attracted to men? You imply the suggestion is scurrilous. Is being SSM in and of itself sinful? If not , why the horror that they might have been?i. SSM says nothing about their actions.

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          Maybe… JP has actually read Newman. Anyone who could read Newman’s writings and conclude the man had same sex attraction is in need of psychotherapy.

    • Neihan

      Once upon a time men could be friends without perverts assuming a sexual relationship. Now, due to the celebration of sodomy and obsession with sex, it is a sign of the times that it is incomprehensible to most people that two men could be intimate friends without there being sex.

      • Elaine Steffek

        They could have, and may very well have been celibate homosexuals who approached their handicap as people should do today. Being gay does not mean one must act on it sexually. But the living arrangement, written words of affection, and certainly a directive to be buried WITH his friend has gayness stamped all over it. Perhaps you could name some other male friends from that time period who lived likewise. Or link me to any recognized historian who can vouch that this was normal male behavior then.

        • Neihan

          Within Christianity it’s not exactly novel for individuals of the same sex to live with one another. I believe it’s been going on in an official capacity for something along the lines of seventeen hundred years.

          “Written words of affection?” “A directive to be buried WITH his friend has gayness stamped all over it?”

          You see things through a prism of sexual obsession. You’re mired in a culture which can, and usually does, reduce any and all human relationships and affections into sexual ones and humans themselves into sex objects.

          I have a friend who came back from the Middle East after a time of military service. I asked him what it was like. One of his complaints was about how “f-ggoty” men were there: always kissing each other, holding hands. Well, certainly a man kissing another man or holding another man’s hand “has gayness stamped all over it.”

          He’s like you. Projected his culture onto others. Views everything through a lens of hyper and obsessive sexuality. The difference is that he was self-aware enough to understand that he was projecting. You’re not.

          • Elaine Steffek

            I guess we will have to agree to disagree.
            Until someone can show me that was normal male behavior back then.

    • slainte

      It matters not a bit whether Blessed John Cardinal Newman suffered from same sex attraction or not. He demonstrated to the ages, by his generosity of spirt and actions, that he was a pious and intellectually brilliant man who was devoted to Our Lord and His Catholic Church.

      Blessed Newman freely answered God’s call to serve His people as priest and then spent a lifetime willingly sharing his intellectual gifts to help others to come to know Christ.

      We are privileged as Catholics to have had him among us on earth and now praying for us in heaven. He was a beacon of Christ’s mission in this world.

      May the souls of Blessed Newman and that of his friend and fellow priest Fr. Ambrose St. John rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon each of them and upon all the souls of the faithful departed. Amen.

      • Elaine Steffek

        Actually, it does matter. For to have a man as holy as Blessed Newman would be a great inspiration and leader to many gays who do not understand how the Church calls them to be as imperfect people (as we all are).

        • slainte

          Elaine, Blessed Newman is an inspiration to many people by reason of the exemplary life he lived. There is no need to draw distinctions between groups of people.

      • Daniel P

        “It matters not a bit whether Blessed John Cardinal Newman suffered from same sex attraction or not.”

        Exactly! This is why I wish that (a) people would stop acting as if he “obviously” didn’t, and (b) people would stop naively insisting that his actions prove that he did. Let’s just all be happy with ignorance on the matter.

  • RufusChoate

    I was going file this under the homosexual fatigue syndrome but decided to come out as a “Blaspheming, Adulterous, Lying, Murderous,Prideful, Covetous” Catholic or (BALM PC) because unlike the very hip and cool appellation of being a “Gay” Catholic who isn’t an active Homosexual. I am an inactive BALM PC Catholic.

    I don’t put any faith in LifeTeen given the sordid history of the Founder and my general observation of several groups of Life Teen I have observed that very effeminate young men and butch girls are usually the majority of the people involved along with the Priests and DRE’s involve with the group who are completely disinterested in catechizing younger children but wildly interested in young people especially males which I always found creepy and revealing.

  • For years, I thought the way to deal with a durable tendency to sin was to crawl sorrowfully into a dark box. Now I know better. You write books and make it a cottage industry.

    • RufusChoate

      Tedious isn’t it but seriously who buys this stuff?

      • GG

        Phoney intellectuals and other sophists. The sad part is we have so-called orthodox Catholics who defend this confusion. The only reason this gets the audience it does is because so many really see homosexual attraction as normal on some level. And they make the claim that because she opposes impure genital acts all else is ok and consistent with Catholic thinking.

        It is reductionist, small-minded, and inverted.

        • It’s elaborate and ornate nonsense.

          • Strife


            “Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.” ~ G.K.Chesterton

    • schmenz

      Thank you, DE-173. You have in two brief sentences answered completely all the nonsense that has been spewing out from many mouths for far, far too long. When the simple words “mortal sin” are removed from the discussions on this topic, confusion triumphs.

      Thanks again.

  • justanotherlittlesoul

    Deacon Russell, have you approached Lifeteen personally with your concerns? If you haven’t please do. They have great influence among orthodox Catholics and perhaps your clarifications will go a long way in preventing further confusion. Please consider contacting them!

  • elarga

    I’m getting worn out by this stuff. I am so sick of hearing “gay” this, “gay” that. I am even getting tired of the endless responses by good Catholics like Jim Russell. If we have to respond to this nonsense, let’s just quote the CCC and leave it at that.

  • Ruth Rocker

    Shakespeare told us “that which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet” but in this case it would still stink like 3 day old fish. This is just another example of the homomafia attempting to justify and celebrate their ongoing affair with sin. Period. That this was given to impressionable teens is at best irresponsible and at worst damaging.

    There is no such thing as “gay” but there are people who persist in the sin of homosexuality. No matter how you slice it, it’s sin. It’s disgusting that they attempt to color any close friendship with homosexual overtones to justify themselves, even going so far as to besmirch the names of several saints of the church with this nonsense.

    They simply need to no longer be given any airtime or written space to continue to spread their twisted ideology. It’s like feeding the trolls who frequent this forum (who will be, I’m sure, out in force on this one).

  • Tamsin

    I think Eve should take a break from professional writing, and spend a year working at a child care center in the infant room; or better yet, get a gig as a nanny for a large Catholic family. Just to experience both the physical and spiritual demands of biological kinship, and the needs of children. A lot of her theorizing is for the child-free, those embodied souls who have no little embodied souls dependent on them, and so it is untethered from the grounds for indissoluble marriage between one man and one woman. The future, sexually mature, “gay” Catholic adult, hoping for vowed friendship, was once a helpless baby dependent on the vow between her mother and her father.

    • What? What? Give up the sterile pleasures of sophistic philosophizing for that caucaphony?

    • mitch64

      Well, her theorizing is for “same sex, ” attracted so of course, most would be “child free.” I am not understanding your point.

    • Aaron Taylor

      She works at a crisis pregnancy center. I suspect she knows better than most.

      • Tamsin

        So do I. My suggestion stands.

    • Mrs_Snoopington

      Huh?? I’m sorry but working with infants would only serve as an inspiration to get artificially inseminated by a stranger. The freedom and license of any homosexual person in this age are limitless.

      • Mrs_Snoopington

        I know what I’m saying as my own beloved mother lived a tortured homosexual lifestyle following the death of my step-dad.

  • Martha

    ‘Vowed friendship,’ if I’m understanding it accurately, sounds to me like ‘near occasion of sin,’ and ‘scandal.’

    We need to be careful about novelties and trying to warp God’s will to fit our will.

    • JP

      The Near of Occasion of Sin doesn’t apply to homosexuals. Somehow, the Laws of Nature do not apply to them.

  • Carol Leeda Crawford

    I appreciated the recent article that referred to David Prosen’s article: I am not Gay I am David. I encourage those choosing to identify themselves as BEING their sexual desires and attractions to focus their thoughts, feelings and energy towards seeing themselves as daughters and sons of God, made in His image and likeness. Meditating on ways to best reflect this gift God gave me under the directive of why He made me – to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him in this life while I look forward to eternity together with Him in the next.

  • Dion F Kendrick

    There are no such things as gay, straight, liberal, conservative, new-age, modern, or traditional etc. Catholics. There are only two kinds of Catholics; the faithful and the disobedient.

  • Sassy

    I very much appreciate this, but as an answer with Church teaching (that I recognize as true), it would be better to cite the documents, especially when answering another Catholic writer’s blog in such a public way.

    I struggle with a lot of the comments. At the risk of sounding like a crazy liberal, I think we have to be cautious when publicly “shaming” a Catholic organization that is working in conjunction with Bishops to do the best they can to reach out to teens that don’t have the kind of family that catechizes, evangelizes, or even at the very least recognizes the weekend Mass obligation. YES, parents are the primary catechists. NO, most people that identify as Catholic do NOT understand that, nor what those words even remotely mean. YES, we do need to reach those parents first, but Life Teen is recognizing the need to not ignore the souls of the teens left in the dust in the mean time.

    • Jim Russell

      Hi, Sassy–I wanted you to know that I took to heart your suggestion about citations. Below you will find citations that I believe will support the ten questions I’ve asked in the main post. Hope this is helpful to you and others.

      1. (USCCB: Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care, 2006) –“For some persons, revealing their homosexual tendencies to certain close friends, family members, a spiritual director, confessor, or members of a Church support group may provide some spiritual and emotional help and aid them in their growth in the Christian life. In the context of parish life, however, general public self-disclosures are not helpful and should not be encouraged.”
      –“Young people, in particular, need special encouragement and guidance, since the best way of helping young people is to aid them in not getting involved in homosexual relations or in the subculture in the first place, since these experiences create further obstacles.”
      — “Persons with a homosexual inclination should not be encouraged to define themselves primarily in terms of their sexual inclination, however, or to participate in “gay subcultures,” which often tend to promote immoral lifestyles. Rather, they should be encouraged to form relationships with the wider community.”

      2. (USCCB: Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care, 2006) –“Pastoral and psychological care for adolescents who struggle with sexual attraction issues is of particular importance. Adolescents with
      homosexual attractions can be at serious risk for personal difficulties,
      including suicidal tendencies and attempts as well as enticements to
      promiscuity and exploitation by adults. Every effort should be made to ensure
      that adolescents have access to age-appropriate professional counseling
      services that respect Church teaching in matters of human sexuality.”

      3. (USCCB: Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care, 2006)– “There are particular temptations for those who experience homosexual attractions. For some, these attractions may be short-lived or situational, but for others, they may be part of a lifelong experience. Pastoral support and counseling services ought to be made readily available for persons who experience such attractions and for the families to which they belong.”

      4. (USCCB: Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care, 2006) –“Catechesis, especially for young people, should explain the true nature and purpose of human sexuality and should promote the virtue of
      chastity, which has been both little understood and little valued in contemporary society.”

      5. (USCCB: Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care, 2006) –“The phenomenon of homosexuality poses challenges that can only be met with the help of a clear understanding of the place of sexuality within God’s plan for humanity.”

      6. (USCCB: Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care, 2006) –“The homosexual inclination is objectively disordered, i.e., it is an inclination that predisposes one toward what is truly not good for the human person.”

      7. (USCCB: Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care, 2006) –“It would not be wise for persons with a homosexual inclination to seek friendship exclusively among persons with the same inclination.”
      –“True friendships are not opposed to chastity; nor does chastity inhibit friendship. In fact, the virtues of friendship and of chastity are ordered to each other.”

      8. (Pope St. John Paul II: Letter to Families, no. 7, 1994) –“The family originates in a marital communion described by the Second Vatican Council as a ‘covenant’, in which man and woman ‘give themselves to each other and accept each other’. The Book of Genesis helps us to see this truth when it states, in reference to the
      establishment of the family through marriage, that ‘a man leaves his father and
      his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh’ (Gen 2:24).”

      9. (Pope Pius XII, Sacra Virginitas, 1954) –“Moreover the Fathers of the Church considered this obligation of perfect chastity as a kind of spiritual marriage, in which the soul is wedded to Christ; so that some go so far as to compare breaking the vow with adultery. Thus, St. Athanasius writes that the Catholic Church has been accustomed to call those who have the virtue of virginity the spouses of Christ. And St. Ambrose, writing succinctly of the consecrated virgin, says, ‘She is a virgin who is married to God.’ In fact, as is clear from the writings of the same Doctor of Milan, as early as the fourth century the rite of
      consecration of a virgin was very like the rite the Church uses in our own day
      in the marriage blessing.”

      10. (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons,2003)–“In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this
      area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection.”

  • tj.nelson

    Thanks very much Deacon Jim – well stated. You’ve clarified Church teaching well and have helped me a great deal. God bless you – especially for speaking so clearly about the formation of our youth.

  • Billy

    “Should young Catholics avoid publicly acknowledging their same-sex attractions, publicly identifying as “gay,” or embracing a “gay” subculture? Yes.”

    I have some problems with the first statement (the last two are fine). What is the reasoning behind “avoiding publicly” the acknowledgment of one’s same-sex attractions? If one is willing to admit they suffer from SSA and are public about remaining celibate/remaining faithful to Church teaching, what exactly is the problem? It’s absolutely necessary that you have people like Tushnet who are admitted SSA’s who help other people with the same problem, partly because SSAs relate a lot better to them than someone who does not suffer from the same problem. Can a straight person talk compassionately to a SSA? Of course. Will they be willing to listen? Probably, hopefully. But there is a deeper connection and a more willingness to listen when a fellow SSA is speaking about the subject (someone who knows and understands *exactly* what they are going through). Especially in this rapidly changing culture that suddenly vilifies anyone who opposes homosexual activity, it is becoming so that people with SSA (like Tushnet, however flawed she may be, she’s still an same-sex-attracted person who is committed to Church teaching) are invaluable sources in the arguments and articulation on the side of the Church, seeing how most leftists find it much easier to dismiss heterosexuals who disagree with “gay marriage” or similar principles as “bigots”. It also adds unnecessary trauma to the SSA; they need support and encouragement, something they won’t receive if they are forced to kept their attractions secret. Just my thoughts.


    • Daniel P

      Yes, absolutely! I felt like I was the only Catholic with SSA in the universe until I came across Daniel Mattson’s writing. I needed someone to be open about their experience. I needed role models.

      • Billy

        You are the person Cardinal Dolan should be saying “Bravo!” about 🙂 Also, please remember SSA is not the worst thing…

        • Billy

          As in, could be worse. You could be a zoophile

      • You have a role model. Jesus Christ.

    • Jim Russell

      Billy–thanks for the comment–to be more clear, my first statement was made particularly in regard to Catholic *youth*, who, because some experiences of SSA do fall in a “transitory” category, ought not be, as adolescents, publicly acknowledging SSA such that it overcomplicates their attempt to address and discern what is really going on interiorly. Beyond adolescence, there may well be instances in which it would make sense to acknowledge SSA as a means of ministering to those who could find hope in positive examples.

  • SnowBlossoms

    Excellent article, it’s so wonderful to read truth in the midst of so much confusion. Thank you!!

  • CadaveraVeroInnumero

    OK Eve,

    Will address the central theme of your book – the christianizattion (catholicization) of Gender/Queer Theroy – by playing a game of pretend. Sitting here with my mobile on my favorite barstool at the Black Cat Bar (700 block Montgomery, S.F.) gives me a decent look-about upon the passing parade of humanity’s 50 shades of men and women, and all us inbetweeners. Think, now, I get your point.

    Let’s pretend here I’m a faithful B&D/S&M Catholic. That being male or female is not the centrality of my sexual identity; that, in truth, sex itself is not the point (the foundation) of sexuality. Can’t even remember thew last time I had – you know – sex; and, when the last time came about there was no physical contact, the art of it had advanced that far. Now, that I have entered the Church, I have come to see that what I had considered the art of being BDSM was, actually, the initial gropings of spirituality. That BDSM is more than whips & chains, caging & fine-tuning consent signals. All that, now, are instruments is the proficient hands of the Spirit molding, disci0plincing my soul more and more into Christlikeness.

    I am sure that gays and lesbians are of the same mind: that the tormented 3 a.m. longing for the “other (who by some mystery is the same as oneself)” is a gift of grace infusing God’s life into gays and lesbians – though prohibited (currently) by the Church: a prohibition that prevents one sexual core to be fully acted upon by the Spirit (that is to have God’s infusion of grace take full possession of both condition (“I am gay from birth”) and act. It seems so unlike God to split our identity asunder, saying, “I’ll make that godlike but not that”. I thought God was not into dualism.

    So you see – I know you do, Eve – how I sit the church a bit confused. Here I am with my sexual identity as a BDSM Catholic, gifted with the spirituality of it – which, frankly, is not had without the practice of it. Yet, I sit here obedient, faithful to the teaching of the Church, accepting the newfangledness of it all: that God accepts me fully, utterly as a BDSMer (as he does you as a lesbian – or should I say, as a Queer/Lesbian) yet binds my hands my activating the channels, the processes by which my BDSM self is expressed, ripped open to receive God fully. Yes, I have locked up the whips, chains and ropes; have over-painted the red walls of the bedroom, but the wrenching grief I feel being told that, on one hand, God wants my BDSM self, yet, on the other, discards and tramples upon it.

    My BDSM (like your Queer/Lesbianism) is a vessel made ready to receive God’s life, or it is not – which is it?

    Does Jesus love my BDSM self, or does he not.

    It is not (has never been) a mater of refusal, but I can’t disregard my BDSM identity and more than the gays can, or yourself. It is who I was when Christ found lost,, wandering about the desert of heterosexualism . Christ redeemed me as a BDSM, as he redeemed you *as* a lesbian, as he redeemed that fellow on that sofa with you as a gay guy. And being BDSM is who I was (and still am) whe I was baptized and entered the Church

    I did no9t hear Christ command me to toss my painfully learned lessons of Gender/Queer Theory onto some fiery pyre before I stepped into the baptizing waters. I rose from the blessed waters as a member of Christ’s Body – and when I said I rose into newness of life that means that I as a BDSMer left the waters putting on Christ. God mantled my BDSM with his beloved Son as He certainly cloaked your lesbianism with redeemed life.

    So, it comes down to this::

    Through much prayer and spiritual guidance – some of it secreted so to protect positions and places – I have settled for the (now) firm conviction that my BDSM is a gift from God. My BDSM is a special vessel in which the Holly Spirit molds my life more and more into God(Christ)likeness. There is no molding of me without my BDSM. My obedience to the Gospel and to the Church is worked out, as a salvation, through my BDSM – for my BDSM is coterminous with my soul. There is no soul about me (my identity as a person loved by God) apart from it: no less, than it has been for gays and lesbians in their heroic struggle to be gathered up in the welcoming arms of Christ – and through that, the Church. Thank you for pioneering the way for us BDSMers.

    And with a particular thanks to you, Eve . . . and the boys over at

    Here’s the task of the New Evangelization – the great call of our age – shepherding the truly marginalized (that is, gays and lesbians as yourself, and us BDSM folks) into the Church.

    But our work isn’t done. Much to do.

    Someday the emblems and tools of our BDSM identity must be pulled from the closet and brought to God’s Altar for his blessing. Oh, to give liberty to the caged potentialities of the BDSM life from which the Spirit can channel the fullness o9f God’s life. Seems to me that the fulness of God;s life, lived, requires the fullness (the complete openness) of human life in which to inhabit, to pour itself. Oh, the rapture of it: our BDSM bound and braced to God’s Spirit, as God himself had once bound and tied himself to our flesh in his Son Jesus. Our BDSM, as your lesbianism, is fully open to image that wondrous saving event of Christ.

    Yet, the sweet mystery here – as you and your gay brothers well know – our lives as gays, lesbians, and BDSMers are graced, in a unique way, to exhibit and image God’s life in ways that the run-of-mill straight cannot. It’s not pride but a humility earned by difficult struggle – though, it is a gnosis we hold to yourselves until the fullness of time. It’s no big deal,, really. The simple experience of knowing that God’s life is relived (Queerly) through our gayness, our lesbianism, our BDSMness, is sweet knowledge indeed. We know its holiness, its set-apartness..

    Yet prayers do wonder, knowing that the shed Blood of Christ soaks up a welcome mat carpeting the whole world. In Him no one is marginalized, no identity is too alien for his friendship. (Though, a times, I find it puzzling knowing, exactly, which sins Christ died for – outside, of course, the sins of intolerance & /homophobia.)

    Summing it up:

    Christ met me as a BDSM. His Spirit, at my baptism, found its domicle within my BDSM for that is my heart, the one God so loved and saved. God spread out His feast of spiritual gifts upon the table set up within the habitat of my identity. God has dined with me, made himself at home. Christ has tuned my sorrowing BDSM song into His hymn; Christ has bound himself to my BDSM as I (freely, utterly) bind my BDSM to Him.

    Does not all this touch upon the central doctrine of the Incarnation? I know it does. To rephrase a couple of Church Fathers: God became BDSM (as He became Gay & Lesbian) so being BDSM (as being Gay & Lesbian) can become Godlike. In short, God became Queer, so being Queer can take on God, to be like him.

    Forget the straights – they simply don’t have the Gnosis.

    NOTE: This note has focused on the BDSM faith community, as Catholics. But, let us not be blind to others standing on Calvary;s Bloody Welcome Mat. Elbowing your and me are the the Ploy folks in their various and multiple couplings. And off there, on the mat’s edgy edges is the CAD & ASC community. It is not our business to shove them off the mat’s edge – which, being the stomping ground of God’s universal love, has no edges to fall off from.

    Well, there it is.

    [From the BANKRUPT Diocese of Stockton, the Mother Lode]

  • Jacobi

    We must first clear up the terminology. Being “Gay” certainly in my part of the world,
    means being involved in a homosexual physical relationship. That is a mortal sin. End of story.

    Being attracted to the opposite sex is another matter. I understand circa 1.5% have such a problem – and I use that word, problem, deliberately since it is unnatural in the way of human nature. I believe that figure of 1.5% to be an exaggeration since my experience of being part of a random trawl of young men in the late 50s showed it to be much lower. I
    understand that the British boarding school system might encourage a higher than normal practise which disappears later.

    The important thing for us Catholics is that the Church has ruled clearly and definitively on
    this matter. Homosexual sex is a mortal sin and can have no part in Catholic life.

    The fact that it has been made into such an issue both secular and within the Church shows the extraordinary ability of the homosexually inclined to manoeuvre into positions in which they can influence opinion.

    The Church’s position is quite clear – and simple. Sex outside a valid Sacramental
    marriage, open to reproduction, is a mortal sin. So heterosexual young men , students or soldiers for instance who are as yet unmarried are as forbidden to indulge in sex on pain of mortal sinjust as are the homosexually inclined. And that can be tough if I
    remember correctly, but that is the way it is. No one has to be a Catholic after all.

    On the other hand we should all remember that while forbidden to receive Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin, the Church only requires us to receive once a
    year and that at Easter or thereabouts. That leave plenty of times to sort things out (hopefully)!

  • clintoncps

    “gay Christian life” — an oxymoron and, moreso, a blasphemy.

    I am saddened, and dismayed, that Eve will use any kind of spiritualized musing and self-speculation to torture out excuses for not rejecting her homosexualized persona. Attend a homosexual “marriage” to “support” two people who are tearing the nature of God’s creation of mankind apart? How will this glorify the Lord? “Vowed” friendships that culminates in the Holy Eucharist, as if in imitation of the Sacrament of Matrimony? How is this anything other than setting, by stealth and circuity, the groundwork for homosexual “union” and eventually “marriage” within the Catholic Church? Are we so blind as to not see the devil dangling the carrot and so-called “gay Catholics” being drawn in closer and closer by enchanting spirals and eddies?

    Dear friends, it is a vortex into which we are heading unless we repudiate this madness utterly and pray that Eve and those sympathetic to the “gay Catholic” vision will be set free from this seducing spirit. In love and truth I say this — not in hatred or even anger toward anyone. Don’t let the devil keep you spellbound any longer with bizarre inventions that contradict the word of God and replace the Holy Spirit with delusion.

  • Jim Russell

    Btw–I’m grateful that Life Teen seems to have disabled the link to the original post. It’s prudent and will minimize any potential confusion. Well done!

    • Pat M

      Agreed. While I do believe Ms Tushnet means well, what she and the other New Homophiles are attempting to do is still somewhat experimental, and so I wouldn’t like us to experiment on the young with this stuff. She seems like a good woman, and has admitted that theology is not her strong suit. So … maybe she should seek some better counsel? Maybe a more cautious approach to the goal, which appears to be to mainstream homosexuals in the Church, without at the same time mainstreaming homosexuality. It’s a tall order. And it may take a few generations to get it right. For us on the sidelines, I say keep the level-headed criticism coming because we do need that, but bear in mind the difficulty of the problem. Thank you Deacon Jim for taking this on. Well done and God help us all.

      • Jim the Scott

        The term “New Homophiles” is obnoxious and offensive.

        A “homophile” was a term used to refer to homosexual activists who
        as we know went around teaching the heresy that gay sex acts where not immoral.

        Calling the Spiritual Friendship people by this name implies they support this heresy. That is out of bounds and lacks basic Christian charity.

        I call for a moratorium on the term.

        PS. Pat this is not a rebuke of you. I just wanted to get this out there and your post seemed convenient. It should be obvious to all your attitude toward the Spiritual Friendship people is civil and charitable.


        • JP

          Tushnet is projecting her own obsessions on to others and calling it theology.

          • GG


          • Jim the Scott

            Or maybe Austin Ruse is just projecting his displeasure at the RELATIO & projecting it on Tushnet & the people at Crisis are giving him cover?


            I guess charity is out eh jp?

  • Joseph Sciambra

    Awhile back, last year, I wrote about Tushnet’s book:

  • AcceptingReality

    Sounds like Tushnet wants to have her cake and eat it, too. She doesn’t seem to be seeking Truth so much as seeking to advance an agenda. That she is given access to youth through a life teen blog is disturbing at best.

    • Daniel P

      Your use of the phrase “access to youth” suggests that Tushnet wishes to harm people. That is completely out of bounds. It’s fine to complain that LifeTeen would publish her work, but it’s not OK to portray her as some sort of predator (which is the context in which the phrase “access to youth” is normally used).

      • JP

        It isn’t her lesbianism that people worry about. It is what she teaches that should concern everyone.

  • Desert Sun Art

    Ms. Tushnet writes: “We might expect someone to say that the greatest love is to lay down your life for your child, or for your spouse, but Jesus—who was neither a husband nor a father, but was a son and a
    friend—instead uses friendship as a model of selfless devotion.”

    Actually it WAS Jesus who said that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for your friends. He died on the cross for us- how could she not get this??!!

    • Daniel P

      Huh? That’s exactly her point: that Jesus doesn’t say “to lay down your life for your child”, but instead “for your friend”.

      • Jim Russell

        Daniel–the problem here with Tushnet’s assertion is that it seems to conclude that Jesus is laying down his life *as* merely a “friend” *for* His friends out of “friendship”-love. That would be “philia”-love. But the “no greater love” is *agape*-love, not philia-love. No greater *agape* than this–to lay down one’s life for “friends.”

        Further, Jesus’ “agape” for His friends is inseparably united with His divine *Eros* for His Bride, the Church. The “friends” for whom He dies are those He calls to nuptial union with Himself in His Mystical Body. The Scriptural example is not “friendship” on one hand and “marriage” on another–it’s the unicity of divine Eros-Agape expressed in Jesus’ perfect love for us. The greatest love *is* the total self-gift expressed by the Bridegroom in His agapeic life-giving love for His “friends” who are also His *Bride*–this in fact is echoed pretty clearly even in the Old Testament “Song of Songs” in which the Lover refers to His Beloved as “my sister, my bride.”

        • Daniel P

          I don’t think you can distinguish the three loves so sharply, Jim — as is indicated by the fact that the word “friend” in Greek MEANS “the one who is loved by friendship-love (philia)”.

          Consider Jesus’s final discussion with Peter. He asks twice “Do you agape-love me?” Peter replies, “I philia-love you.” Then He asks, “Do you philia-love me?” And Peter responds identically “I philia-love you.”

          The love of friendship is no less dignified or central to Christian life than any other kind of love. It does not involve the same manifestations as the others, however.

          • Jim Russell

            I’m merely making clear that John 15:13 speaks of *agape* as the love of which there is none greater. There is no greater “agape” than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. The context in this passage makes clear that the love being referenced is not merely philia. I just think we should take the Greek at face value rather than infer that agape here really means philia, particularly when the Church has a specific understanding of “agape” as the kind of selfless love expressed in this passage….

            • Daniel P

              Perhaps the point is that true agape involves treating each other as friends, and being willing to do that “to the end”? In Greek, after all, “philia” is a much more tender word than “agape”. So the words are corrective of one another: “philia” emphasizes intimacy; “agape” emphasizes selflessness. Both are needed.

              • Jim Russell

                Pope Benedict has also mentioned: “As for the term philia, the love of friendship, it is used with added depth of meaning in Saint John’s Gospel in order to express the relationship between Jesus and his disciples. ”

                I don’t think we’re really at odds on how to understand “agape” and “philia” in John’s Gospel. My original point, though, is that Tushnet’s contrasting “friendship” love with spousal love by referencing the passage in question as *only* about friendship because Jesus was neither husband nor father is wrong.

            • Jim the Catholic

              Your doing the either/or fallacy Deacon.

              Having agape for one’s philia does not translate into the agape here is therefore philia.


              I hope you will forgive me taking on the role of the self appointed critic.

              It is done in love.


        • Jim the Scott

          Hello Deacon,

          Sorry to be a pest but….

          >Daniel–the problem here with Tushnet’s assertion is that it seems to conclude that Jesus is laying down his life *as* merely a “friend” *for* His friends out of “friendship”-love

          Don’t you think it is more than a little unseemly to keep reading errors into Miss Tushnet’s interpreting them in the worst possible light?

          Because that is what it seems like you are doing?

          What if I do it too you? For example:

          >it’s the unicity of divine Eros-Agape expressed in Jesus’ perfect love for us.

          This is at best ambiguous or erroneous at worst heresy,

          How can Christ literally have eros love? Jesus is God in his divine person and in his divine nature He is immutable and has no passions or emotions. Eros is a passion, a good passion obviously when done in human marriage but never the less a passion. God can’t have passions. The divine immutability is infallible dogma defined by the councils and the Popes. God’s love is a pure act of divine will not passion or emotion. In Christ’s human nature his divine person has complete domination over it & so he does not & cannot have inordinate passions. Thus he cannot feel lust because he is without sin & or mere sexual desire without willing to do so first. Since Christ has no human bride to which he would literally and lawfully wed then he would have no cause to ever will his human mind, emotions and body to ever experience eros even in the good way in human marriage.

          There is no mystery here. Eros imagery in Eph 5 & or between god and Israel in the Song of Songs is clearly metaphorical.

          Not making that clear misleads others & fosters idolatrous language.

          PS. Maybe you meant it metaphorically but you didn’t say it was metaphorical. If it was wrong of me to assume the worst then how is it right for you to seem to do the same to Eve.

          I trust my point is clear.

          Let me repeat there is not doubt in my mind you have Eve’s best interest and concern for her soul at heart.

          Trust I feel the same for you & I hope you do with me.

          God Bless you Deacon.

          • Jim the Scott

            edit:read errors into Miss Miss Tushnet’s words.

            Sorry about that.

            • Jim Russell

              Jim–you’re actually wrong about eros. God’s divine eros for us is beautifully expressed and taught clearly in Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclical “Deus Caritas Est.” I’m willing to stand with Benedict’s non-metaphorical “heresy”… 🙂

              • Jim the Scott

                Then you are misreading Benedict since he was a Thomist and he had Thomistic presuppositions.

                Maybe this isn’t the forum to debate this so I won’t hold it against you if you don’t defend your claim.


                • Daniel P

                  Your premise is that eros is a passion, but that’s actually not clear. Erotic love, in a marriage, is worthless if it is purely passive. What distinguishes it as a good is *activity*. So I don’t think there’s anything contradictory in saying that a purely active God might have Eros love — by which I just mean “the type of love that involves possessing and being possessed.”

                  In fact, that is the nature of heaven, isn’t it?

                  • Jim the Scott

                    Eros love is not mentioned in the Bible it is a term co-opted by Theology for human erotic love. Which as Aquinas said is good in itself but not to be confused with Lust.
                    It is clearly been understood by the Church Fathers as a Passion.

                    God cannot have passions that is Infallible Dogma.

                    • Jim Russell

                      Read Deus Caritas Est…

                    • Jim the Scott

                      Quote “We have seen that God’s eros for man is also totally agape.”

                      The Bible says Christ is the “door” but he isn’t literally a slab of wood that is used as an entrance.

                      Benedict isn’t saying God’s love for us is “Erotic”(your word).

                      It’s a metaphor like the door.

                    • Jim Russell

                      Not my word, at all. I never used the word “erotic” in reference to Divine Eros….

                    • Jim the Scott

                      Over at spiritual friendships you wrote.

                      “The unicity of eros-agape in marriage is the kind of unicity one finds in the example of Christ the Bridegroom, whose eros-agape for His Bride allows Him to make the greatest gift of love for Her–the Divinely erotic-agapeic self-emptying on the Cross.”

                      Hey I’m getting old too my memory fail.

                      Don’t fell bad I forgot the greek OT mentions eros twice and that Benedict was more of an Augustinian.

                    • Jim the Scott

                      also my spelling is terrible.

                    • Jim Russell

                      If God has “eros” for us along with agape, His love for us is most definitely divinely erotic-agapeic. Don’t know why we’re arguing this point with Benedict makes quite clear God’s love for us can be called *eros* as well as agape….

                    • Jim the Scott

                      It can only be called that metaphorically not literally.

                      This is all in the context of the marriage imagery which Benedict clearly and literally says is metaphorical.

                      It’s important because you didn’t make that distinction which could lead people to falsely ascribe emotion or passion to God which is against the defined dogma of the Church & quite worst then allegedly contradicting JP2 teaching on Christian anthropology.

                    • Jim Russell

                      That’s just nonsense, Jim–“eros” does not equal “marriage.” It’s completely wrong to claim that the “metaphor” of marriage mentioned by Benedict must also mean “eros” is metaphor.

                      It’s not. For Benedict, “eros” is a form of either divine or human *love*. In fact, “eros” is not even listed among the eleven passions, either concupiscible or irascible. *Love* is, however, among the concupiscible passions. That would include *eros*. Only when such an appetite is *disordered* would such eros become “lust.”

                    • Jim the Scott

                      You need eros for marriage. If the marriage is not literal but a metaphor than the use of eros here is a metaphor.

                      >That’s just nonsense, Jim–“eros” does not equal “marriage.” It’s completely wrong to claim that the “metaphor” of marriage mentioned by Benedict must also mean “eros” is metaphor.

                      You have provided zero evidence to date benedict is not saying it’s a metaphor.

                      >*Love* is, however, among the concupiscible passions.

                      But God’s love is not a consupiscible passion but an act of will since God is Pure Act.

                      God doesn’t will erotic love for us except in metaphor.

                    • Jim the Scott

                      Here is why I disagree and believe you to be wrong.

                      >That’s just nonsense, Jim–“eros” does not equal “marriage.” It’s completely wrong to claim that the “metaphor” of marriage mentioned by Benedict must also mean “eros” is metaphor.

                      But Benedict says in the very encyclical you recommend I read:
                      (thank you anyway for that)

                      “Two aspects of this are important. First, eros is somehow rooted in man’s very nature; Adam is a seeker, who “abandons his mother and father” in order to find woman; only together do the two represent complete humanity and become “one flesh”. The second aspect is equally important. From the standpoint of creation, eros directs man towards marriage, to a bond which is unique and definitive; thus, and only thus, does it fulfil its deepest purpose. Corresponding to the image of a monotheistic God is monogamous marriage. Marriage based on exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of the relationship between God and his people and vice versa. God’s way of loving becomes the measure of human love.This close connection between eros and marriage in the Bible has practically no equivalent in extra-biblical literature.”

                      If the marriage is a metaphor than the eros is a metaphor for the agape

                    • Jim the Scott

                      “We have seen that God’s eros for man is also totally agape.”

                      Thus this metaphorical eros is really agape in essence and not eros in essence. Thus the use of eros is metaphorical.

                  • Jim the Scott

                    minor correction it is only mentioned twice in the Greek OT but never in the NT.

                • Jim Russell

                  Did you read Deus Caritas Est? If not, please do.

                  • Jim the Scott

                    Did you read Summa Contra Gentiles? Or Summa Theologica?

                    Or Ludwig Von Ott?

                    If Benedict says God has eros love for us literally then produce a quote.

                    Logically given the truths of theology no such citation can exist anymore than a denial of the Trinity can be found in any of Benedict’s writings someone might not have read.

                    • Jim Russell

                      Jim–Yes, yes, and yes. Here are your Benedict quotes. They do exist, and you are quite incorrect to refuse belief in God’s “eros” for us….[From Deus Caritas Est]

                      “The one God in whom Israel believes, on the other hand, loves with a personal love. His love, moreover, is an elective love: among all the nations he chooses Israel and loves her—but he does so precisely with a view to healing the whole human race. God loves, and his love may certainly be called eros, yet it is also totally agape.”

                      “The philosophical dimension to be noted in this biblical vision, and its importance from the standpoint of the history of religions, lies in the fact that on the one hand we find ourselves before a strictly metaphysical image of God: God is the absolute and ultimate source of all being; but this universal principle of creation—the Logos, primordial reason—is at the same time a lover with all the passion of a true love. Eros is thus supremely ennobled, yet at the same time it is so purified as to become one with agape. We can thus see how the reception of the Song of Songs in the canon of sacred Scripture was soon explained by the idea that these love songs ultimately describe God’s relation to man and man’s relation to God. Thus the Song of Songs became, both in Christian and Jewish literature, a source of mystical knowledge and experience, an expression of the essence of biblical faith: that man can indeed enter into union with God—his primordial aspiration. But this union is no mere fusion, a sinking in the nameless ocean of the Divine; it is a unity which creates love, a unity in which both God and man remain themselves and yet become fully one. As Saint Paul says: “He who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him” (1 Cor 6:17).”

                    • Jim the Scott

                      You left out these quotes which provide some context.

                      Eros is not used in the NT and is only used twice in the Greek OT according to Benedict.

                      Some quotes from DEUS CARITAS EST

                      “In the religions, this attitude found expression in fertility cults, part of which was the “sacred” prostitution which flourished in many temples. Eros was thus celebrated as divine power, as fellowship with the Divine.

                      The Old Testament firmly opposed this form of religion, which represents a powerful temptation against monotheistic faith, combating it as a perversion of religiosity. But it in no way rejected eros as such; rather, it declared war on a warped and destructive form of it, because this counterfeit divinization of eros actually strips it of its dignity and dehumanizes it.”

                      “The Prophets, particularly Hosea and Ezekiel, described God’s passion for his people using boldly erotic images. God’s relationship with Israel is described using the metaphors of betrothal and marriage; idolatry is thus adultery and prostitution. Here we find a specific reference—as we have seen—to the fertility cults and their abuse of eros, but also a description of the relationship of fidelity between Israel and her God.”

                      “We have seen that God’s eros for man is also totally agape.”

                      I reply: So Benedict uses Eros metaphoricaly & not literally. He certainly doesn’t teach God has the passion of eros.

                      So I maintain my objection stands.

                    • Jim Russell

                      Wrong–the objection fails–the word “metaphor” is in reference to *marriage and betrothal*, not eros.

                      Eros is a *love*, not a passion, in Benedict’s usage.

                    • Jim the Scott

                      According to the Transitive principle of logic. If a=b & b=c therefore a=c.

                      If the marriage here is metaphorical then the loves natural to marriage are metaphorical which is eros.

                      Eros is the metaphor for the essence of love which is agape.

                      This is Thomism 101 how do you not see it?

                      Aquinas said only thing which are true perfections are ascribed to God literally and analogously the rest is metaphor.

                      eros can’t by nature be a perfection so it must be metaphor.

                      Also Sola Benedict isn’t a legitimate way to do theology.

                    • Daniel P

                      “Eros can’t by nature be a perfection”. Why not? You have to claim that eros is a passion. But Jim Russell and I dispute that point.

                      You appear to be arguing in a circle.

                • Jim the Scott

                  OTOH he was mostly more of an Augustinian still Aquinas and Augustine agreed on the Divine Immutability & God not having Emotions or passions.

              • Joseph Prever

                I don’t think Jim S. was actually accusing you of heresy, Deacon Russell. He was making the point that, if you go out of your way to do so, it’s pretty easy to read heresy into your words, just as you seem to go out of your way to read heresy into Eve’s.

                • Jim Russell

                  Hi, Joseph–can you show me where in my post I’m reading “heresy” into something Eve has asserted? I’m not aware of having done so. Thanks. But if you think I’ve misrepresented something she stated, please let me know.

                  • Joseph Prever

                    Sorry, Deacon Jim, I was unclear — I didn’t mean to say that you were accusing Eve of heresy — I was trying to clarify Jim S.’s comment.

                    I do think you’ve got the wrong take on Eve’s ideas, but it looks like you would consider her to be wrong in ways that are short of outright heresy.

                  • Jim the Scott

                    Heresy is too strong a word Deacon. In this case I would prefer the term “error”. Heresy involves a conscience act on the part of the heretic to set their will against the Church’s known judgment on matters of Faith and Morals.

                • Jim the Scott

                  >It’s pretty easy to read heresy into your words, just as you seem to go out of your way to read heresy into Eve’s.

                  You are correct sir. Thought we should say “error” not heresy. Morally heresy involves a conscience effort to set one’ s will against the judgement of the Church.

                • Jim Scott

                  Mind you I said “heresy” first so my bad.

              • Jim the Scott


                Joseph wrote:

                >. He was making the point that, if you go out of your way to do so, it’s pretty easy to read heresy into your words, just as you seem to go out of your way to read heresy into Eve’s.

                That is my point.

      • JP

        But, the Apostles were not Jesus’ friends; he was their Father. Friendship is a relationship of equals; their relationship was anything but one of equality – a meeting of equals. Tushnet wishes to redefine friendship along some neo-platonic lines. She wishes to elevate the “friendship” of 2 gays into some kind of sacramental union equal to that of married couples without the sex. This is about as absurd as expecting 2 heterosexuals living in very close proximity and expect them not to eventually sleep together. Nature eventually has the last laugh.

        Tushnet’s obsessing over sex distorts the Church’s teaching on the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. She attempts to take something sinful and turn it into a virtue.

        • Daniel P

          “I no longer call you servants; I call you friends.” Jesus’s words, not mine.

          Tushnet does not want to give gay friends a sacramental union, or anything of the kind. Please show me where she says that.

  • Strife

    What a refreshingly clear and concise article on the Church’s immutable wisdom on this watershed issue. Thank you Deacon – and keep up the good work.

    And a pox on all the “catholic” bloggers who lauded Tushnet’s faulty premise – like Mean Lizzie Scalia “The Anchoress” – the self-appointed ‘Mama Bear’ of the ‘new homophiles’. The damage these amateurish theologian-wannabes do to the faith is immeasurable.

    God have mercy on all of us.

  • Carolyn C

    Jesus Christ said: If you love Me, obey My commandments. I did not come to revoke the law of Moses, I came to fulfill it. Sadly, so many forget the first and primary commandment: Love God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength. Our primary focus should be on God, not ourselves. Our culture has made individuals think: “it’s about me.” Our faith in Christ is about loving Him and and obeying Him. Jesus said himself: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He came to die on the cross and to give us His Gospel. After saying that He came to save the world, Jesus said: He that despises me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. Jesus came first as our Savior, and when He returns, He will be the Judge. Jesus said: “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.” Think about that — you will have to give account for every empty word or action. It should put the Holy Fear of God in us. We’ve been given the truth by Jesus Christ himself, and we must ask Him for the grace to follow Him. We know our loving and good God would never give us a temptation that we could not overcome. It’s unfair to every Catholic to say that your struggle is unique and deserves a special status or name. Everyone faces temptation but we do not wear that on our sleeve and tell everyone about it. It is pride that compels people to say we have a “special struggle.” You do not deserve a special status in the Church because of your temptation. No one one is unique in being a sinner. We are all sinners, and we need the grace and forgiveness of Christ.

  • JAKE

    Ms Tushnet, the RCC has not and will not accept you, the complete God-created birth you, that is, in their folds. You are “defective” in their eyes.

    You need to decide to continue to fight for complete acceptance (a fight you will lose in your lifetime) or move on.

    Moving on will most likely result in emotional release and spiritual growth.

  • Guest09343

    What’s worse is that her book is published by “Ave Maria” press! That profanes the Holy Name of Mary!

  • Andre B

    But chastity is at the center of one’s response to same-sex attraction, according to the Church. Tushnet seems to portray “gay Christian life” as something much “bigger” than same-sex attraction—young Catholics reading this will likely catch the implicit inference—being “gay” is (for Tushnet) not reducible to having same-sex attractions or to a chastity issue but is rather a guidepost of sorts to one’s “vocation”—not merely as a Christian but as a “gay” Christian.

    Why shouldn’t she portray things this way? Being gay has some pretty far-reaching consequences as far as Christianity is concerned, let alone society. Why shouldn’t talking about gay Christian life take into account more than just chastity? Why shouldn’t it involve how to show kindness to peers that may despise you? Love for family that rejects you? How to use your faith to help with a society that discriminates against you?

    • GG

      Because it is false and reductionist. It makes a disordered desire central in one’s existence.

      • Andre B

        You’re probably right, if they didn’t focus on the fact that they were gay, the rest of the world would treat them equally.

        • GG

          They have equal treatment now. They want special treatment.

  • Joseph Prever

    “Does the Church view homosexuality as a condition associated with affective immaturity, which may be transitory in adolescents? Yes.”

    Deacon Jim is getting homosexuality confused with masturbation. The catechism does use the phrase “affective immaturity” in that context (2352), but not in the context of homosexuality.

    This bit was particularly troubling and irresponsible, because it encourages people to assume that homosexual people are necessarily more “affectively mature” than heterosexual people. That is a prejudice, and a demonstrably false one.

    • GG

      The deacon is quite right. The Church has said this didorder may be a transitory condition in adolescence. They did not say it was true in every instance.

      • Joseph Prever

        The “transitory condition” isn’t the part I objected to.

        • GG

          Adolescents are immature in many ways. The homosexual disorder is associated with immature development in more than one aspect. Why on earth deny the obvious?

          • Jim the Scott

            You post shows you see the “immaturity” here the Deacon is referring to as psychological not moral or primarily as psychological. Daniel P has said it is moral.

            It’s not being pedantic it’s important if only so these criticism can be better understood and time isn’t wasted talking past one another.

            • GG

              It is all those items. As I asked why deny the obvious?

    • Jim Russell

      Hi, Joseph–Is homosexuality “associated with affective immaturity”? I think the Church’s Congregation for Catholic Education has said so. Is this congregation guilty of a demonstrably false prejudice?


      6. Sexuality, oriented, elevated and integrated by love acquires truly human
      quality. Prepared by biological and psychological development, it grows
      harmoniously and is achieved in the full sense only with the realisation of
      affective maturity, which manifests itself in unselfish love and in the total
      gift of self.
      101. Homosexuality, which impedes the person’s acquisition of sexual maturity,
      whether from the individual point of view, or the inter-personal, is a problem
      which must be faced in all objectivity by the pupil and the educator when the
      case presents itself.


      10. It is possible that the candidate – notwithstanding his own commitment and the support of the psychologist, or psychotherapy – could continue to show himself unable to face realistically his areas of grave immaturity – even given the
      gradual nature of all human growth. Such areas of immaturity would include
      strong affective dependencies; notable lack of freedom in relations; excessive
      rigidity of character; lack of loyalty; uncertain sexual identity; deep-seated
      homosexual tendencies; etc. If this should be the case, the path of formation
      will have to be interrupted.

      • Joseph Prever

        Thanks for offering some context, Deacon.

        I see this quotation: “affective maturity…manifests itself in unselfish love and in the total gift of self.”

        But I don’t see anything in the quotation mentioning affective immaturity as characterizing homosexual people in general. Do you? It seems to me that you’ve misrepresented the Church’s position.

        • Jim Russell

          I see this: “101. Homosexuality, which impedes the person’s acquisition of sexual maturity,”–seems pretty general.

          Though, to be clear, I was being *specific* to the question of young Catholics, which is why I said homosexuality is “associated with affective maturity.” Transitory homosexuality in adolescents could clearly fall into this category.

          Even so, the documents I’m reading (what I cited aren’t the only ones to consider, but they are concise for the comboxes) seem to refer to affective immaturity as a generally presumed feature of homosexuality….

          • Joseph Prever

            Affective maturity and sexual maturity are distinct categories.

            Do you believe that heterosexual people are necessarily more “affectively mature” than homosexual people?

            • Jim Russell

              CCC 2332: “Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.”

              So, where you see two distinct categories, I see an especially strong connection between “maturity” in the sexual and affective spheres.

              To answer your question (sort of)–I first believe people are people. And I believe the Church’s official documents are associating homosexuality with affective immaturity.

              Personally, there are a gazillion ways one might be “affectively immature,” regardless of the nature of their sexual attractions. So I don’t really see the assertions in the Church’s documents as suggesting that *only* those with same-sex attractions have affective immaturity, or have it to a greater degree than those who don’t have SSA. Rather, the *context* of homosexuality points one away from the full maturity of sexuality as ordered toward the conjugal love of man and woman. Sexual maturity would involve an acknowledgment of that fact, regardless of whether one experiences SSA. To the extent that someone with SSA fails to embrace that fact, particularly in adolescence, I’d say a strong case can be made for affective immaturity in that situation.

              • Joseph Prever

                I agree — there is certainly a connection between the sexual and the affective.

                Still, they are not identical, and I call it irresponsible to conflate them, especially in a context where both of the documents we’ve cited have kept them distinct; and even *more* especially when one is claiming to represent what “the Church” does and does not say.

                The effect of conflating them is to imply that homosexuality implies affective immaturity. It does not.

                • Jim Russell

                  If you are accusing me of saying something that does *not* reflect what the Church says, please be specific and cite it. I have said, *with* the documentation of the Church to back me up, that homosexuality is associated with affective immaturity. This is not a conflation. It’s an association–a “connection” as you say.

                  • Joseph Prever

                    “Does the Church view homosexuality as a condition associated with affective immaturity?…Yes.”

                    This is the thing that you have said that does not reflect what the Church says. I’ve already shown that you are saying something slightly different — combining two categories (the affective and the sexual), when the authors of the documents go out of their way to keep those categories separate.

                    The Church phrases things very carefully in documents like the two you have cited. You have been less careful.

                    • Jim Russell

                      1. Homosexuality impedes acquisition of sexual maturity.
                      2. Sexuality especially concerns affectivity.
                      3. Sexual maturity especially concerns affective maturity.
                      4. Sexual immaturity especially concerns affective immaturity.
                      5. Homsexuality is associated with affective immaturity.

                      Can you *really* claim there is something wrong with the reasoning here, Joseph?

                    • Joseph Prever

                      Yes. Your reasoning creates a closer link between homosexuality and affective immaturity than what the documents claim.

                      In all frankness, though, I would not consider it a dealbreaker if I were found to be contradicting the Congregation for Catholic Education’s document, since the document is not binding.

                      It seems to me that you are claiming that, wherever homosexuality exists, affective immaturity must also exist. Is that correct?

                      Or perhaps you are claiming that, wherever homosexuality exists, there is a higher likelihood that affective immaturity exists. Would that be correct?

                    • Jim Russell

                      ****”The candidate to the ordained ministry, therefore, must reach affective maturity. Such maturity will allow him to relate correctly to both men and women, developing in him a true sense of spiritual fatherhood towards the Church community that will be entrusted to him.”**** [CCE: Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies
                      in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders]

                      I’ll stick with the Congregation for Catholic Education, which makes clear that affective maturity has to do with relating correctly to both men and women. Homosexuality *also* has to do with relating correctly to both men and women.

                      I stand by my claim and continue to assert that it accurately and adequately represents what the Church teaches on this issue.

                    • Joseph Prever

                      You’re welcome to stand by that claim — I’m just still not sure what that claim is. Just going to cut and paste from above:

                      It seems to me that you are claiming that, wherever homosexuality exists, affective immaturity must also exist. Is that correct?

                      Or perhaps you are claiming that, wherever homosexuality exists, there is a higher likelihood that affective immaturity exists. Would that be correct?

                    • Jim Russell

                      Wouldn’t it be better if you just accepted the claim I actually *made*, instead of attempting to turn it into another claim?

                      When I claim that homosexuality is *associated with* affective immaturity, I mean precisely that.

                      If you deny that there is an association between homosexuality and affective immaturity, I’ll continue to say you’re wrong about that and that the Church indicates that such an association really exists.

                    • Joseph Prever

                      It’s impossible for me to accept a claim without understanding what that claim is.

                      I can see that you are not interested in clarifying, though. Good day to you.

                    • Jim Russell

                      Do you take this stance when a scientist publishes a study suggesting some activity is “associated” with some health issue? Do you say, well, I see you’re not interested in “clarifying” your assertion–I can’t accept that you’re claiming an “association” between these two things?

                      Seriously, Joseph, there’s nothing to clarify–my claim is plain and simple–there’s an association. Just as you say there’s a “connection” between the sexual and affective, I say there’s a connection between homosexuality and affective immaturity.

                    • Joseph Prever

                      That’s fine! I no longer expect you to answer my question — it’s clear that you would rather keep your opinion hidden.

                    • Jim Russell

                      Please understand that my task here is not to promote my mere opinion on anything, but to assert what the Church teaches. If I go no further than saying “association,” it’s because I don’t see the Church’s documents going further than that, and my personal opinion should remain hidden because I don’t want it to appear that I would assert my opinion in place of what I see in Church teaching.

                    • GG

                      Your opponents are being pedantic to an extreme.

                    • Jim the Scott

                      Rather there is a lack of clarity here that is just as harmful if not more so then the alleged harm Eve Tushnet is doing.

                    • GG

                      What exactly is unclear? You are chasing down a rabbit hole.

                    • Jim the Scott

                      Deacon as Daniel P pointed out to me (effectively killing my who critique of your reading of these documents) I took you too be talking about maturity in the psychological sense.

                      You are in fact talking about maturity in the moral sense. Might i suggest Joseph is making the ams mistake I am?

                    • Daniel P

                      My own opinion here, actually, is that yes, every person with SSA is affectively immature — but this need not have anything to do with “relating correctly to men and women”. You see, a temptation is not a way of relating. I relate in a perfectly normal way toward men and women; I’m married; I am “one of the guys”; and so on. But I experience serious temptations toward sexual immorality pertaining to men.

                      Those temptations, in themselves, have little or nothing to do with maturity, just as the saints who had intense temptations were not thereby immature. If homosexual people are affectively immature *in a way that other people aren’t*, it is not because of the nature of their temptations.

                      Perhaps this idea could advance the conversation between the two of you?

                    • Jim Russell

                      I think that makes a lot of sense, Daniel–it’s similar to what I tried to allude to above. When one acknowledges that homosexuality involves inclinations that move us away from what sexuality is properly ordered toward, that acknowledgement is indicative of sexual maturity, regardless of whether one continues to experience SSA. What is both sexually and affectively immature, however, is a disposition that embraces those inclinations as somehow being positive manifestations of sexuality, when the inclinations are contrary to properly ordered sexuality.

                    • Daniel P

                      Looking back at this post, I want to clarify that I don’t think being married is a qualification for relating properly to men and women. Golly, no!

                • Daniel P

                  Wouldn’t any desire to sin in any way imply a lack of affective maturity? An “affect” is an emotional attachment, after all, and our temptations pretty much fall out from our emotional attachments. ALL our affections will, one day, be ordered to things that aren’t sinful.

              • Jim the Scott

                The are many problems with your reasoning here Deacon.

                Homosexuality is properly in terms of it’s internal mechanics subject to the science of psychology. The Church is more than competent to judge the metaphysical, spiritual and moral implications of homosexuality and or having a homosexual disposition or orientation. She also has full authority to implement any process she see fit in her prudent judgement for screening candidates for Priestly formation.

                But she no more enjoys competence to judge the psychological make up of homosexuality then she does to declare wither or not the Earth moves around the sun or the Sun moves around the Earth. It is a manner of scientific investigation not faith or morals. That metaphysically a homosexual disposition/orientation is objectively disordered there can be no question or debate.

                That homosexual sex acts are intrinsically disordered and therefore intrinsically evil there can be no question. That no rational moral being may willingly participate in these activities ever may never be questioned by anyone who values Christian Truth.

                But to treat these documents you cite as some sort of doctrinal or function of even merely the ordinary magestarium that Catholics must confess a link between immaturity and homosexuality across the board is a Category mistake and an abuse of these very same Church documents.

                At best what we have here are normative guidelines & or rules of Church discipline as to wither or not to admit certain persons to the Priesthood and what process are to be employed. But Science changes all the time especially in psychology. I know I was
                young enough to remember when the DSM III R was new. Now we are up to the DSM V? She or he who weds the Science of this age will be a widow or widower in the next. So I think you are misreading these documents and misapplying them.

                OTOH I will give props for this insight….

                >Transitory homosexuality in adolescents could clearly fall into this category.

                Psychologically homosexuality isn’t just one thing. Like a fixated Pedophile isn’t the same thing as a regressed offending pedophile (not that I am equating the two). The psychological study of it is important to learning how to help people cope with it.

                Finally If we are going to quote Church documents.

                “Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. ……”-CCC 2357

                • Daniel P

                  What on earth do you think Jim means by “affective immaturity”? By what you write, you appear to think it’s a psychological diagnosis. It’s not. Maturity is a MORAL quality, and affections are moral entities.

                  • Jim the Scott

                    And with that Daniel P you just killed my whole argument in one deadly blow.

                    Props to you.

                    Sorry about that.

                    • Daniel P

                      I am always tremendously impressed when someone is willing to be as humble as you’re being here, Jim. The props go to you.

                      As for affective maturity, looking around the net, it is commonly confused with a psychological diagnosis, but I don’t see the Church ever saying such a thing. The most disturbing thing I saw was a site discussing priestly formation, and suggesting that potential priests who had reservations about the priesthood were thereby displaying (misunderstood as psychological) affective immaturity. Yikes! So we think that every potential priest ought to become a priest, and they only have reservations because they’re psychologically stifled? Have we forgotten the very notion of discerning God’s will for someone?

                  • Jim the Scott

                    Of course is behoves me to save face by shifting the blame….as is one of my many weakness.;-)

                    Deacon Jim should have added that little adjective “moral”.

                    It’s his fault!;D

                    Just kidding but on a half serious note maybe Joseph Prever’s confusion bellow is rooted in mine? I majored in psychology. Homosexuality is a psychological condition. People who seek therapy to deal with it naturally seek out psychologists so it was a natural mistake.

              • Jim the Scott



                Daniel P just shot my whole argument down in one clean hit.

                So forget what i just said;

    • Steve Gethin

      Expressing a homosexual urge, at least in the case of a random sexual encounter, wouldn’t seem to be any more mature than masturbation, or heterosexual fornication for that matter, and is potentially considerably less mature than the former, due to the higher risk of (or the certainty of worse) physical and emotional damage to oneself, and the fact that one is also prepared to risk/damage another in the process. And there is evidence that homosexuals have a higher proclivity for random sexual encounters than straights. All three are simply an inappropriate expression of an urge for sexual gratification. Where a homosexual’s primary desire in committing a homosexual act is to express what he conceives of as love for someone for whom he feels a strong emotional bond , there might be an argument that a somewhat higher degree of maturity is involved. All sin, however, regardless of what it is, fits nicely with the psychological concept of immaturity. All sin involves seeking (what one wrongly perceives as) a short term benefit, at the expense of longer term, more serious harm. Doesn’t sound all that mature to me. (And yes, I do wish I could be more grown up myself too.)

  • DealWithIt

    Deal with it.

  • Christopher Nguyen

    Deal with it.

  • Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons

    Thank you Deacon for your excellent critique of the serious flaws in Tushnet’s thinking.
    The good news is that understanding and healing are possible for the major psychological conflicts in adolescents of weaknesses in male or female confidence, loneliness in same sex peer relationships or poor body image that drives most same sex attractions.

    Research on the Church’s merciful, international apostolate for those with SSA, Courage, demonstrates that chaste friendships and growth in a deeper friendship with Christ at every life stage leads to an increase rate of chastity that is positively correlated with happiness.

    Research studies on these important issues for teenagers are available at

    • Jim Russell

      And thank you, Dr. Fitzgibbons! Thanks much for your good work as well!

  • Steve Gethin

    Hey, I think they took it down, couldn’t find it by clicking on the link. If so, no doubt that is in part because of the good work of people like Deacon Jim for calling them out on it. In my 5 minutes of experience of Life Teen (which I have had since you brought it to my attention) apart from said article under discussion, they don’t generally seem to oppose the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. In fact they ran at least one article supporting it OK, so the author falls into the error of identifying himself in terms of his proclivity towards a certain sin, which would detract from his identity as a son of God, but he argues the case for celibacy by those with said proclivity very well, which is all too rare in the Church today.

  • NDaniels

    Our call to Holiness, has always been a call to be chaste in our thoughts, in our words, and in our deeds. We are called to develop healthy and Holy relationships and friendships, that are respectful of ourselves and others, in private, as well as in public. Never view or identify any human person as a means to an end, for to objectify the human person, is to deny our Dignity as a beloved son or daughter in Christ. Only The Truth of Love can set us free.

  • Paul

    Can anyone here provide a quotation from Jesus Christ that unambiguously condemns homosexuality?

    • Jim Russell

      “From the beginning it was not so.”

    • GG

      Can anyone provide one where He condemns arson or pedophilia?

    • James of Clan Scott

      Why would we need it? Catholics don’t believe in the Protestant heresy of Sola Scriptura.

  • John200

    Splendid piece of writing. Miss Tushnet will experience this as a spanking. Which it is.

    Problem is, she might enjoy it. A big problem, that.

    I have had about enough of promotion of homo”sex”ual activity among the young.

  • Mrs_Snoopington

    Video taken by gay activist at World Youth Day: Equally Blessed gay activist asks a question at catechesis session and Bishop Eugene Hurley of Australia answers. The bishop addresses gay activist – “I urge you, if you would, to talk
    compassionately and transparently and urgently to the leadership of the
    church where you are; so that we might have a better understanding of
    God’s plan for the Church — and all of us — how we work together to find
    holiness in the reality of our sexuality.” More… .

  • echarles1

    Late to the party but I do have a question. Where does the Church teach your point #9? Augustine advocated strongly for marital sex only for procreation as best I can remember. And when that was no longer necessary in a marriage argued it is best that the husband and wife refrain from sex. Yet, I do not remember him arguing that this meant the two renounce their permanent and exclusive love relationship. Their ultimate celibacy must have had value but would not have qualified by your definition as celibacy for the kingdom. If that is the case, then there is a valued celibacy even in relationships begun with some sexual attraction. I know Augustine is not infallible but does the Church object to him on this point?

    • Jim Russell

      The distinction to be made is between mere “continence”–not-having-marital-relations–and the authentic meaning of both celibacy–not *marrying*–and celibacy for the sake of the kingdom–not marrying so as to live out life here and now in accord with what we are all going to experience in Heaven, God willing–eternal exclusive union with God (no other gods, no marrying, obviously) in the beatific vision.

      • echarles1

        Thank you for the reply. Still I ask, and not rhetorically I really don’t know, does the Church authoritatively teach “celibacy for the sake of the kingdom is a vocation that requires renunciation of a permanent and exclusive love relationship with another person?”