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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Can someone be Catholic AND Gay?

It is both heartbreaking and troubling that I felt the need to post about this, but an otherwise orthodox Catholic blogger recently came out as Gay. He made it clear that he was proud to be 'out' and did not appreciate nor include any such qualifications as "struggling but chaste" or anything similar. Rather, he said we all understand what coming 'out' as Gay means. When I asked him if he was still Catholic, he responded somewhat offended that this question is so often on the minds of people when they hear the news. I simply asked him because I've know people who went down that path and ended up abandoning Christianity in favor of the Gay lifestyle. Unfortunately, it has become common to push the limits with identifying oneself as "Catholic AND Gay," but this trend is dangerous to the souls of all who are involved. 

The problem can most easily be recognized in the terminology used. When one identifies as "Gay," that is a public profession that they endorse homosexual culture. I use the term "culture" here because there is a very real homosexual lifestyle that is included when one identifies as Gay, and this lifestyle influences how a homosexual lives every aspect of their life. This is not to say all homosexuals are the same, but rather that there are patterns of living that are common to them all. For example, concepts such as chastity, marriage, procreation, and virtue are non-existent in that culture. This in turn undermines the whole moral order, both on the level of natural law as well as divine law. This is not to say all homosexuals want moral anarchy or that they're all criminals or evil, but rather that this philosophy naturally undermines the moral order as a whole and always leads to spiritual ruin and despair. It doesn't matter how strong of a Catholic one is, if they're spending regular time around people who are unashamedly homosexual, the Gay lifestyle will certainly overpower any resolve they have. One must be instructed to flee the near occasion of sin, not engulf oneself in it and act as if they can handle the temptation!

The traditional and proper view of homosexuality is that it is a physiological and spiritual disorder, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church is quite plain on this matter:
2357 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. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.  
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.  
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
These paragraphs are very plain that one cannot identify as Gay and a Christian, since the acts are gravely depraved (both physiologically and spiritually) and the mindset is one of a psychological disorder. This is very different from someone either publicly or privately affirming they struggle with this disorder, making it clear it is a disorder that they wish to fight and not succumb to. I believe the modern day homosexual epidemic arises from three societal problems, which I'll focus on next.  

First is the contraceptive mindset in which procreation is completely severed from sexual relations themselves. Where as nature shows us that marital relations are centered around bringing new life into the world in a stable environment, the passions arising from original sin have turned the sexual appetite into one of self-pleasuring. The contraceptive mentality has all but cemented the depraved idea that sexual relations are purely recreational, which leaves one with no principled basis to oppose homosexuality, masturbation, or fornication. In fact, it can be said that in essence masturbation and contraception are synonymous, which is why the Church has condemned masturbation as a grave sin as well. This means that the Church has just as much of a duty to council society against the error and dangers of masturbation as much as the error and dangers of homosexuality. In reality, both involve very hard struggles that cannot be trivialized without severe damage to souls and society at large.

Second, while many rush to downplay or deny the connection, a very large percentage of homosexuals came from broken homes or suffered child abuse. As a result, they were improperly formed and now seek love and acceptance in the wrong places. Clearly, the damage that divorce does to most children (causing them to spiral off into their own sins) is only compounded when it comes to suffering abuse or neglect (often resulting in the disordered homosexual passions). One example I've seen is when homosexual couples end up taking on the roles of 'husband and wife', despite the fact they're both the same gender. And the very reason why there is a 'low-class' end of society is because this is the area of society where people can come and exchange sex for acceptance, which in turn causes the enslavement and ruin of many poor souls.

Third, since so much of this epidemic is conditioned on society paving the way for it, this means that the last phase of the epidemic is to get it formally normalized. If we cannot say divorce and contraception and masturbation are wrong, then we certainly don't have any firm basis to say homosexuality is wrong. And if that's the case, then one should not be discriminated against for being Gay, meaning laws and textbooks can be put in place to grant homosexuals equal dignity rights. Once this happens, it will only lead to the confusing of more and more people, opening up to them the Gay lifestyle as one to be embraced or at least respected, which is why we're in the state we're in today. Think about it: how can the President be opposed to homosexual marriage when he looks and sees that it is just as contraceptive and divorce ridden as regular marriages today are?

Common sense and the Wisdom of the Church are clear that nobody can be happy living in sin, especially when engulfed in the homosexual lifestyle. Many can delude themselves into thinking they're happy, but the honest ones who have left will tell you they were never really happy and covered their sorrows with drugs and alcohol. Hope and Love only come through that long and difficult path of the Cross, which entails the battle to take control of our passions. And this requires some bold preaching by brave Bishops, Priests, and laymen, pointing out how engaging in contraception and masturbation are just as tragic epidemics today as homosexuality.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am a gay Catholic. I was once very involved in the gay lifestyle, and everything sinful about it. When I had my spiritual conversion, I gave up the title of being "gay", and everything else that comes with it (gay friends, etc.). For six years afterwards, I lived in self denial as to who I was. Yes, I was Catholic... but why am I pretending that I am not gay? When I finally accepted myself as being BOTH, I was able to be the real me and not what "those who have no idea what it's like to be gay" want me to be or identify myself as. For those who suffer from same-sex attraction, my advise to you is this: carry the cross of chastity, but never EVER be ashamed of who you are. People who are "straight" have NO IDEA what it is like; so therefore their opinion is, well, nothing. Be you.

A Sinner said...

"When one identifies as 'Gay,' that is a public profession that they endorse homosexual culture."

Sayest thou.

Really, most people (including most gays) don't understand it that way.

Most people in society today understand it simply as straightforwardly denominating [homo]sexual orientation, and not much more.

But thank you for presuming to declare "what Gay means" for everyone else (oddly the same sort of essentialism one would think the conservatives would be against; but they certainly engage in it enough!)

The semantics/identity-politics labelling game the conservatives play here is very very strange.

"there is a very real homosexual lifestyle that is included when one identifies as Gay, and this lifestyle influences how a homosexual lives every aspect of their life."

Psh. This is absurd. But even if it were true, most of those "aspects" would be entirely noncontroversial even from a traditional moral standpoint.

"For example, concepts such as chastity, marriage, procreation, and virtue are non-existent in that culture."

Right. Which is why there is such a push for marriage equality. That makes sense. (I'm being sarcastic).

"It doesn't matter how strong of a Catholic one is, if they're spending regular time around people who are unashamedly homosexual, the Gay lifestyle will certainly overpower any resolve they have."

So the solution to this unashamed homosexuality is being...ashamedly homosexual??

"These paragraphs are very plain that one cannot identify as Gay and a Christian"

?!?!? These paragraphs no where define or use the term "gay," nor do they discuss the question of identity or labels at all! Where are you getting this??

"This is very different from someone either publicly or privately affirming they struggle with this disorder, making it clear it is a disorder that they wish to fight and not succumb to."

Even under a traditional moral philosophy, homosexuals are not "guilty until proven innocent," and someone homosexual (using whatever identity-label) is under no more obligation than anyone else to "qualify" their identification with self-flagellation than anyone else.

Unfortunately, the conservatives in the modern church make the gays out to be lepers whom, at best, they wish to see crying "Unclean! Unclean!" outside the camp.

"The contraceptive mentality has all but cemented the depraved idea that sexual relations are purely recreational"

And yet people still marry and have children and, generally, admit that model as the fullest expression of sexual integration in the good life...

Aric said...

(1 of 2) A few things, Nick:

First, I understand (conceptually) your knee-jerk repulsion here, but you have to know that your repulsion is repulsing; it so works against the Gospel that it causes many who are gay (or not heterosexual) to run and seek commune with anyone other than a "conservative" type (another stereotype I'm not quite comfortable with, although this is a separate issue.)

You don't actually think, do you, that if one identifies as gay then such a person must be living a so-called "gay-lifestyle" that is "opposed to contraception" and chastity? Homosexuality is a sexual orientation; it simply means that one sexually favors the same sex rather than the opposite. This is, and has never been, a sin - nor does it necessarily entail some kind of "lifestyle".

Nick, listen. It is a terrible insult to insinuate the details of one's sexual, romantic, and personal life given their sexual orientation. Moreover, you are treading on some of the most delicate and intimate territory when discussing (or in your case judging) someone's sexual disposition.

You will never know (because we live in a hetero-normal society) what it is like to have to "confess" your own sexual orientation. It is like having to confess that you have brown hair, but knowing that you'll be stigmatized for such a confession. It is absurd. It is horrific! And terrifying! Though we have now created space in our society for a sense of "liberation" after "coming out", the space we have created resides predominately in the "liberal/secular" sphere... and this is precisely because a large majority of Christians - such as you have demonstrated here - do not engender the kind of safe, loving space for such honesty.

Please be more careful, and much more delicate, and for God's sake - please be more understanding (and wise!) in the future when discoursing on the subject of sexual orientation.

That being said, I want to get to the heart of the matter. I trust your intentions are good, and that you're trying to draw out the coming-out of a fellow Catholic to its ultimate conclusion: You believe that if one is "unashamedly gay" then one must also be having homosexual sex in a similar unashamed fashion. Knowing well the Church's teaching on the matter, you understand that a Catholic cannot be simultaneously "unashamed" after having homosexual sex and Catholic. To be a Catholic, by definition, means to feel guilt after committing a sin. Homosexual sex is a sin. etc. etc.

Your incorrect assumption here, of course, is that proudly proclaiming oneself as gay necessitates certain sexual behaviors. It does not! Being proud of one's homosexuality does not mean to be proud in the fact that one fancies having sex with men, no more than I taking pride in my heterosexuality means that I am proud that I fancy having sex with women. To be proud of one's orientation simply means to be at peace with oneself; it means that I know how God made me, and I am grateful and proud of that fact. Homosexuality is not a deformity, no more than having something like a tenor or alto voice is a deformity. Though a male alto is rare, it is not something to laugh at; on the contrary! It provides a certain beauty in the world of composition that would be impossible otherwise.

Aric said...

(2 of 2)
Think of how many of the Saints may have been homosexual! We simply do not know - but what we do know is that one's sexual orientation plays into a great multitude of decisions we make in our lives that have nothing to do with our sexual "acts." Realize, the blogger you have enjoyed these three years would not have written what he did if it were not for his sexual-orientation. Who knows? Perhaps we would have never heard of one Francis of Assisi if it were not for his queer sexual-orientation (or perhaps he was heterosexual?, no matter) - the point is that pride in one's sexual-orientation, as a Catholic, is pride in one's uniqueness, pride in one's unique calling from God, not pride in the biological fact that they get horny around the same sex...



I could say as much about pride in one's gender, sex, skin color, nose-shape etc. We are fearfully and wonderfully made.

The "trial" that the Catechism speaks of (re: homosexuals) is no more a trial than heterosexuals have. Imagine, Nick, if you took God's indictment to "flee from temptation" to its logical conclusion: You could have NO contact with women to whom you were attracted! No, to its ultimate conclusion, you would be required to sacrifice your own flesh - you would be required to castrate yourself as the ultimate token of your "fleeing" from temptation. How absurd a notion is this! So too is it absurd to conjecture that a homosexual must not live in the presence of other homosexuals, or live in close proximity with them - as if this constitutes some kind of "culture" any different than our own.

If you speak of a gay culture, then you must, if you are to be consistent, speak of a "straight culture" - and I fancy our "straight" culture is much worse off at this moment in history.

It is true: we should flee from temptation. But to assume that YOU know another man's threshold of temptation? To assume that you understand what constitutes an unhealthy environment for him, simply because he has made public his sexual orientation? Not only is that insulting, but it is painfully presumptuous!

Finally, this blogger you mention is no more required to tell you whether or not he is in a sexually active relationship than you are required to tell the world whether or not you have sex with your girlfriend outside of wedlock, or masturbate to porn every week! Imagine if I were to pry into your blog and ask you, "Hey, you're hetero, right? So - do you have sex? Ever contracepted?" God! Can you imagine how annoying that would be? Let us have the few close friends and spiritual fathers and mothers to hold us accountable... not some random strangers on a blog.

I take the time to write all of this because I believe there is a serious lack of understanding in a large portion of the conservative-Christian group - a group to which I would affiliate with doctrinally, but not quite socially. I believe in the family as a unit in which God works out our salvation, and society as a larger extension of that. Thus, I certainly uphold a lot of the same "family-values" that many conservatives have ... but there is such misunderstanding and pain that has been caused by a kind of ignorant stigmatism from with the conservative community harbors against homosexuals that I can barely stand it.

Nick, I appreciate your blog and your heart for truth. Please understand that this is a rebuttal in loving frustration.

Steve Dalton said...

I can't believe the denial going on here. Fifty years ago, this kind of talk would have been rejected as pure bs, and the person making them would have been laughed out of the room in utter disgrace. But thanks to certain people, like a certain West Coast blogger, we're being told that 'gays'(?) are saintly. Huh? Haven't these foolish people ever read or understood what the Scriptures and holy tradition has said about their kind of 'saintliness'? Sorry guys, if you self-identify as gay, you're proclaiming to the world you're a sex pervert. That word is old English slang for any type of sexually immoral behavior. So, there's no way you can be gay and Catholic at the same time.

Nick said...

Hopefully I can clear up a few things here:

(1) I am not Conservative. The philosophy of Conservatism is what makes normalization of errors and perversions possible in the first place since 'right' is only a function of 'conserving' a given culture/lifestyle/etc regardless of what it might be. The group that is technically Conservative is the Gay community.

(2) Reducing the term Gay to merely that of "attracted to people of the same gender" grossly oversimplifies the issue. In reality, the secular world (correctly) identifies being Gay as endorsing the acts that flow from that attraction, both of which the Catechism says are radically disordered. And what flows from endorsing those acts is an entire lifestyle and world-view.

To say one is attracted to those of the same gender is as disordered as someone coming out proudly as Pedophile or Beastial or a Player. By the very same logic, if someone feels they are attracted to children or animals or commitment-free sex, then they should be able to proudly announce it. And the same can be said of many disorders.

(3) I am not saying that any Catholic who identifies as Gay is not living chastely. And that's not my business anyway. What I'm saying is that Jesus is not present in the Homosexual community, except maybe on the fringes. And that's because the mainstream understanding of being Gay is that of denying it is a disorder, but rather something to be embraced. And once that point is affirmed, then naturally the acts must be seen as OK, rather than being contrary to Natural Law and Divine Revelation. So even if a Catholic is living chastely, wearing a badge that says one is Gay sends the message to others that being Gay is perfectly fine and normal as long as you don't act on it, and it's plain to see that logically this dualism cannot hold for long.

(4) I have made it very clear that the perversions within 'straight culture' paved the way for those in the Gay culture. That's precisely the strength of my post, the very foundation of it in fact. I've connected the dots quite plainly, showing that sex and marriage as it exists presently is so corrupted that there is no principled basis to say homosexual marriage or acts are wrong or disordered.

Aric said...

re: (1) - This seems fair.

re: (2) Look, what you've said is just plain wrong here. Identifying as gay doesn't mean anything except that your sexual attractions are disordered - but hey, guess what? I'm straight, and my attractions are disordered! Every time I look at a woman with lust in my eye, I'm committing adultery. That's pretty heavy. But the "disorder" that occurs is not in the specific sexual orientation - it is in the universal weakness of the flesh. Just as my sexual attraction to women can be redeemed through the pursuit of a sexual life via marriage, so homosexual attraction can be redeemed through the pursuit of a chaste life. Both avenues require chastity and sexual control.

The idea that one's attraction to the same gender (you should have said "sex" here) is as disordered as something like pedophilia gave me pause. It made me realize that you have either misunderstood me, or I was not clear enough. I tried to be clear in saying that, as a Catholic, the "pride" we develop over our sexual identity is not pride in our disordered lust, but rather pride in the fact that God has chosen that, despite (and indeed, in the face of!) our fleshly desires, he will use use all of us for His good purposes. It is pride in the fact that if I was indeed a pedophile, I was a pedophile who was being redeemed, a pedophile whom God had chosen to bring out of darkness and into light.

A pedophile does not take pride in being sexually attracted to children. A homosexual does not take pride in being sexually attracted to the same sex. A heterosexual does not take pride in lusting after the opposite sex. However, all three should be able to take pride (if society allowed it) in the fact that, after confessing this is who they are, they were accepted into the community of believers not as horrendous aberrations, but rather works in progress. When you label a homosexual as "disordered" you automatically ostracize them. If you do not label every heterosexual you meet in the future as equally "disordered", you are being morally inconsistent.

Aric said...

re: (3) You seem to have this idea that there is this amorphous "homosexual community" that exists and that you become apart of the moment you come out as gay. This is absurd. Where is this community? Who are they? Do they wear badges? Funny hats? Do I become apart of this community as soon as I declare that I have homosexual attractions? I could continue to give you a slew of logical arguments to point out the lunacy of this idea, but I'll just give you a real-life example. I have gay friends who hang out with other gay people and are in no way part of some gay "society". They understand, as Catholic, that homosexual sex acts are disordered. Sure, this makes them a minority. But not a minority in a gay-community, minorities in a global community. Most people don't think sex without the aim of procreation is wrong! Catholics are minorities, not just gay Catholics!

re: (4) We're in agreement, of course. But I find it staggering that you would admit to the depravity of heterosexual attraction and yet not realize that homosexual attraction resides within the very same paradigm, namely, that of lust.

I suppose the main issue here is that you think one identifying as "gay" automatically makes one think that having gay sex is a morally passable act. Nobody here has said this, and certainly not the blogger you mentioned.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Sinner said...

Unbelievable. Yes, I think the ridiculous backlash that Mark Shea
received was a perfect example of the conservative (or, fine, if you prefer: reactionary) homophobic
insanity, and I really gained a lot of admiration for him sticking to his guns.

Aric: thank you so much. You've made great responses that really hit all the issue so I don't have to; it gets tiring, I assure you.

Just a few minor points I can add:

1) I would be wary of reading the construct of "sexual orientation"
into the past without heavy qualification. I believe that, like Race, it's basically a social construct. That doesn't mean it isn't real, or that their arent "objective" features around which the category is constructed (though, in this case, they're pretty subjective "objective" features!) In fact, I think the analogy to Race is important for understanding just what embracing how one is socially constructed means, what it implies and what it doesn't. Suffice it to say, I think "persons struggling with same-sex attraction" who try to
deny that they are gay, who for example answer "No" when asked "Are
you gay?" by someone not privy to their linguistic obfuscation
games...are simply guilty of lying.

A Sinner said...

2) I'm glad for your third-to-last paragraph regarding how sexual activity, even that might be considered sinful, is nobody's business. I am much less inclined to give into demands of qualification" of my homosexuality, to demands to assuage conservative worries about my sex life or spiritual state. If they can't accept me as I am, no matter what, I really have no interest in appeasing them. I appreciated this about Mark Shea's approach too.

Most Catholics are sinning sexually in one way or another by the Church's standards, but there are huge double standards in terms of distinctions made between them, as well as jumping to conclusions versus giving the benefit of the doubt. The latter is problematic already, as if it's not your job
to judge (and it's not), then "benefit of the doubt" is already a
pointless concept; if you're not the judge, you have no "benefit" to
give, and shouldn't worry even if you know for sure someone is
breaking your rules, even unapologetically, even without guilt or shame.

The hypocritical distinctions are even worse, however. These distinctions can lead to some bizarre and unhealthy conclusions:

Christians can have a sort of double-standard when it comes to sinners that makes them look bigoted. I remember stories in the past few years of that lesbian woman denied communion, or children not let in school
because they were raised by a gay couple, etc. The word "scandal" is
used to justify discrimination between people, but to the congregation (which is aware that almost everyone is involved in some sort of funny business, especially marital contraception) it looks like winking at some but jumping to conclusions about others (as ALL the behavior is
"private" unless they're having sex in the streets!) the only real
distinction being homophobia in a manner that looks like attacking
people and relationships rather than merely being an abstract moral
proposition about certain behavior. The anger which the fundamentalist sort invests in their horrified imaginings regarding the (largely unseen) behavior of Others...belies something else going on sociologically and psychologically that does not seem healthy or
Christian at all; why not live and let live? The attempts to "enforce"
these "rules" (if only through verbal rather than physical violence) makes one wonder just what is the value they see in that approach. I understand a concern for internal doctrinal purity, I suppose, but the judgmentalism of "lifestyles" is really unchristian. We should embrace people unconditionally. I'm certainly not going give into any "conditions" placed on my identity or sense of being welcomed.

A Sinner said...

As an example, I've heard stories about how at some Courage groups (or ex-gay groups) the men who go out, hook-up, feel awful, repent (repeat cycle endlessly), even when they are cheating on wives...are sort of shrugged-off with an "at least you're trying, we're all sinners, at least you're struggling," whereas gays in committed (sexual) relationships are looked at as outside the pale because they're "living in sin" as opposed to just "slipping up" and sinning. The fact that some people in committed relationships may even be willing to admit that it's sinful or has brokenness or is unideal (they're just taking a "pastoral provision" or "tragic accommodation" for themselves) does not seem to matter often. So it's not even mainly a question of distinguishing the "unapologetic" based on incorrect belief. I've written about this double-standard before.

I remember a guy I knew in college would hook-up with men all the
time, but the thought of a boyfriend was something he expressed indignation at. His hookups were just "falls" he could enjoy and then renounce and swear off (until the next one). A boyfriend would mean "accepting" sin even in between sex acts, then it would be a "lifestyle." Of course, this seemed very hypocritical and compartmentalized. A system based on preferring THAT...has something seriously short-circuited about it.

As, just what is the distinction being made between the two groups? It's not their behavior objectively necessarily; both sin,
both have sex, perhaps even with the same frequency. It's also not
necessarily a question of orthodoxy; someone "living in sin" may well fully admit its not ideal or demonstrates sinfulness. They might even, in this sense be willing to repent (or confess, in their tradition) if it weren't for mistaken ideas about the nature of the "resolve" to stop.

But just what is the content of such a resolve? It seems to me that
for many people it is, in fact, a compartmentalizing delusion or state of denial. The man who hooks up Friday, repents/confesses Saturday, and goes to church or takes communion Sunday, week after week...in what sense do we understand his "resolve to stop" each week? On the one hand, I can't question his sincerity or say his resolve is false, as I've been there myself with certain sins; truly but entirely unrealistically "resolved." And yet, unrealistic is the key there;
every time was my "last time," "no more," "never again." But isn't it
delusion or denial to keep believing that after 300 iterations of the cycle?? Yet is this unrealism required for resolve? Can a person realistic about their own weakness not make a valid resolve? Can one not have sorrow over sin while also knowing that, for the time being, realistically speaking, it will continue? Is deluding oneself into a belief that it's over forever required to repent?

A Sinner said...

This is where I come back to that idea "struggling." The difference
that seems to be drawn between the person "accepting" sin's presence
in their life, and the person "struggling." But what is this
struggling, and is it healthy or valid to make a distinction between
sinners on this ground?

There are two slightly different connotations to "struggling." The
first conjures up images of a wrestling match, a valiant battle
against a dragon. It is a noble fight or battle. The second
connotation conjures up someone flailing helplessly in an undertow, or a shot or trapped animal writhing futiley, or a fat old man fumbling to put on a pair of pants. This second connotation of struggling is one that is pathetic, futile, and often implies that if you "struggle"
you'll just make it worse or dig yourself deeper ("if you fall in
quicksand, don't struggle!")

As just in what does this "trying" consist? The "struggler" and the
"accepter" may both recognize sin, have sorrow over it, and may both
commit it just as often. But, we're told, the struggler "resists"
first, and "resolves" to stop after, even if he's in a cycle. I've already given my deconstruction of "resolve" (it often seems to involve delusional compartmentalization), but just what does it mean to "resist"? It seems to mean that, though you may fail just as much, and your efforts may be futile flailing, you "at least" angst about it, you feel bad, throw up dissonance, worry over it, have associations of guilt or shame.

But is that healthy or spiritually better! If someone is having sex,
say, once a week either way, and knows it is broken or sinful or
unideal either way...I just don't know if the presence or absence of
neurosis surrounding the topic is morally relevant; as Robert said on
the post on my blog, that seems to be expecting a "double negative"
from people or, as i said, a leper to cry "unclean!"

If anything, the honesty and humility that come with "accepting" one's human weaknesses until grace sees fit to remove it seems spiritually healthier, and the attempt to integrate ones life and desires as best possible in light of that admission, and I respect many people who take that approach more than many of the "strugglers" who really do seen to be flailing in quicksand psychologically or struggling to get into a pair of spiritual pants which just don't fit.

The obfuscation caused by the compartmentalization and denial of the "struggler," which excludes sin from the "design" or overall "plan" on principle, but then leaves its occurrence as a landmine in the plan, a life-plan, that doesn't take it into account for that reason, which has no "space" for it as the plan is drawn up with a presumption of
self-righteousness.

This is like how conservative states have higher teen pregnancy rates: people aren't having so much less premarital sex, but they're much less prepared (in terms of, say, a condom) when they do "slip up," because they tell themselves, up to that point, that they "intend" to be abstinent, even if that's self-delusion, and so they aren't ready when it happens because to buy a condom "just in case" would be like
admitting they were going to sin in the future, which ruins the
"struggler's" concept of "resolve." They're not sinning less, but its much more compartmentalized because they deny any place for it in their integration. But is that really good??

My point being, basically, that the conservative or fundamentalist
approach here is a mess. It's unclear what they even want except to pretend things don't exist, and to only accept sinners if they
"bracket" certain features of their life or identity in such a way that "contains" them from disrupting their precisely ordered vision of the ideal world.

De Maria said...

All I can say is, "what in the world was he thinking?"

Where's the prudence in revealing to the world that you are a Catholic who is tempted with same sex attractions? Has he ever heard of the confessional? Have you guys on the pro full disclosure side ever heard of the seal of the confessional?

There are so many errors being articulated by the contra-Nick side that I have no time to list them all. So, I'll just pick a couple of the major ones.

First, this idea that having same sex temptations makes someone homosexual. You're wrong. It doesn't. How many people have considered killing their boss? If they don't act upon that temptation, they are not murderers.

Second, the idea that having had same sex relations makes one homosexual is also wrong. If one repents from that sinful activity, that person is no longer homosexual.

Although the old adage says, "Kill a dog once, always a dog killer". It isn't true. In the Christian world, there is such a thing as repentance.

Third, the idea that one must be homosexual to counsel against homosexuality or to counsel a homosexual to resist their temptations and hold their Christian faith is another error. One doesn't need to be married to counsel a married couple keep their vows. One doesn't need to be black to counsel a black person to keep the Commandments. One doesn't need to be a murderer to counsel a murderer to repent of his sins.

Nick is right on the money about any person who comes out and publicly proclaims his evil tendencies, temptations or sins. Whatever they may be. That person is simply bringing about confusion and scandal. The reason that the confessional is sealed is precisely to prevent this situation.

Nick is also right in that a person who has certain tendencies to sin should avoid putting himself in the situation where the temptation could be actuated. The Church herself has always taught the avoidance of every temptation to sin.

You pro full disclosure contra Nick guys have all kinds of serious errors in your logical paradigm. If you continue thinking along those lines, you will endanger your souls and the souls of those whom you counsel.

Sincerely,

De Maria

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A Sinner said...

I don't think I revealed that I'm "a Catholic who is tempted with same sex attractions." I revealed that I'm Gay. Deal with it. I don't appreciate the linguistic games that undermine my own self-identification.

As for the seal of the confessional...what you're saying makes no sense at all. The Seal binds the priest not to reveal anything. The penitent can share whatever he wants, not that I've ever confessed to "Being Gay."

Once again, the anti-disclosure side just seems to basically want to continue pretending like gays don't exist. They want a world where society tries to "bracket" fragmentation. But it doesn't work that way anymore.

"First, this idea that having same sex temptations makes someone homosexual. You're wrong. It doesn't."

Depends what you mean. Identification as gay or homosexual is a rather subjective thing. As you say, having "same sex temptations" may not in itself constitute one a homosexual. One may be bisexual. Or it may be that someone essentially heterosexual very rarely feels random attractions that are foreign to their own self-understanding or narrative, but with an infrequency that makes it unnecessary to integrate them into that narrative as anything other than a fluke. Or someone might be what we would construct as homosexual in our culture, but they live(d) in a culture or time wherein that construction was not present. However, when we're talking about Sexual Orientation, we're talking about a well-established construction that is real in our time and place, and attempts to deny it just sound, to anyone outside the world accessed by your strange shibboleths, like profound self-delusion.

"How many people have considered killing their boss? If they don't act upon that temptation, they are not murderers."

"Homosexual" is not the same type of designation as "murderer" however. Homosexual is a description of sexual orientation. A word like "sodomite" or something may imply that person has engaged in acts of a certain type, but most people (whether or not they have in fact done so) do not identify that way, and "Gay" certainly is not like that.

"Second, the idea that having had same sex relations makes one homosexual is also wrong. If one repents from that sinful activity, that person is no longer homosexual."

Simply no one uses the term that way, and why conservatives seem obsessed with playing these language-obfuscation games is fascinating.

"Nick is right on the money about any person who comes out and publicly proclaims his evil tendencies, temptations or sins. Whatever they may be. That person is simply bringing about confusion and scandal. The reason that the confessional is sealed is precisely to prevent this situation."

Once again, you seem to have a bizarre misunderstanding of the Seal of the Confessional and what it does or does not imply.

But it's actually a rather revealing misunderstanding for me, as it helps explain the fundamentalist world-view in terms of compartmentalization and the desire to "keep up appearances" in society.

Nick said...

Aric,

I think we're close to a breakthrough here given your latest responses.

You said: "Just as my sexual attraction to women can be redeemed through the pursuit of a sexual life via marriage, so homosexual attraction can be redeemed through the pursuit of a chaste life."

I agree with this as it demonstrates that there is no legitimate avenue to sexually act upon the homosexual attraction. This implicitly affirms the attraction is intrinsically disordered. But such ways of speaking are anathema to the Gay community at large.

You said: "It is pride in the fact that if I was indeed a pedophile, I was a pedophile who was being redeemed, a pedophile whom God had chosen to bring out of darkness and into light."

Again, I agree, and this just affirms that the "pride" cannot be taken in the positivist sense of "this is OK and normal since God made me this way". The pride you speak of here is rather more of a humility, that God gave the homosexual a unique Cross to bear that most could never understand.

You said: "after confessing this is who they are, they were accepted into the community of believers not as horrendous aberrations, but rather works in progress"

It is true that nobody should look down upon another believer. I'm just saying that this requires - as you seem to admit - that we cannot take pride in having disordered sexual attractions. So if everyone is struggling with their own *admittedly* disordered attractions that we should not take pride in, then there vanishes the whole Gay Pride ideology along with they other disorders.

You asked about where the Gay Community manifests itself. My response is that it manifests itself in various ways, but all under the same movement to normalize the aberrant sexual acts of sodomy. This agenda can be pushed and promoted in various ways, from being in a high post in a news outlet to an important legislative role to simply a grass roots campaign to sharing a beer with Gay friends acting as if everything is normal and thus causing Scandal. This movement will network formally and informally to squash any attempts at rational opposition, which is why there's such a strong push to get verbal and written opposition listed as a hate crimes on the books. And even those who identify as blissfully chaste Gay would likely back such legislation, which in turn would naturally make the Church and Catholicism an enemy of the State.

You concluded with saying: "I suppose the main issue here is that you think one identifying as "gay" automatically makes one think that having gay sex is a morally passable act."

What I'm saying is that there is an unhealthy standing-contradiction, a dualism, that is involved with the blissfully chaste Gay position. On one hand they affirm the act is gravely sinful and yet the urge to perform the act is perfectly normal. The irony is that Catholicism and Gays as a whole are united in seeing that position as unstable. This is precisely why any such notion of chaste living within the Gay community does not exist.

De Maria said...

A Sinner said...
I don't think I revealed that I'm "a Catholic who is tempted with same sex attractions." I revealed that I'm Gay.


You said,
Quote:Suffice it to say, I think "persons struggling with same-sex attraction" who try to
deny that they are gay, who for example answer "No" when asked "Are
you gay?" by someone not privy to their linguistic obfuscation
games...are simply guilty of lying.

That is wrong. A person who is struggling with same-sex attraction is not gay simply because you say so. A gay person is a practicing homosexual.

The temptation to sin does not make one a sinner.

Sincerely,

De Maria

Nick said...

Mark,

Your long posts about there being a double standard are important in so far as they (rightly) affirm there are double standards. But double standards neither affirm aberration nor excuse the Truth. On the level of moral theology, it doesn't matter if every single Catholic is a murderer, murder is still objectively wrong. Yes, it would be a sickening double standard to be all for unjust war while hammering abortion, but that doesn't somehow legitimize abortion at the end of the day.

And one problem with they way you've been denying any qualifications when you identify as Gay is that you automatically cut away the very qualifications that are needed to make or break your claims. If one is Gay without qualification, then it's equivalent to saying a Gay engaging in sodomy is the same as a chaste Gay. And this is why I bring up the sin of Scandal involved, because to the rest of the world saying one is proud to be Gay comes off as saying the actions naturally associated with that identification are acceptable. Words are important, titles are important, and if one is not careful they can lead others into dangerous errors. Paul makes it very clear he will avoid doing anything that can cause a weak brother in Christ to stumble (1 Cor 8).

A Sinner said...

De Maria:

You are insisting on a definition of "gay" that simply goes beyond what most people understand by the term, including most self-identified gays!

Though, the language of "practicing" is rather silly too, as if homosexuality is a religion or profession or something like that.

A Sinner said...

Nick: once again, I wouldn't claim to be blissfully chaste, but I do think one could still be meaningfully gay even if one had achieved perfect celibacy in their heart, just like other contented celibates are still meaningfully heterosexual. Some priests are presumably straight, but this does not mean they are constantly struggling with a temptation to break their vows as if to identify as straight is to make a claim about sexual activity or the desire for it contrary to their state in life.

Again also, your moral paradigm of "legitimate," "normal," "opposed," etc...is something that, in general, I find very strange, and I suppose that's a broader question than just this issue. I think it's bizarre you think having a beer with gay friends is "scandal" however, which makes me wonder just how you conceive of our relationship to the "ought" individually and socially, how it is to be engaged or appropriated.

In truth, I wonder how you understand sexual orientation in general. You seem to speak as if being gay or homosexual means nothing more or less than an inclination or desire for a certain type of sex act (it might be asked: which exactly?) I'd argue that this is an artificial and simplistically "teleological" understanding of how emotions work, and actually winds up betraying a belief in the same sort of essentialism you allegedly oppose among gays. I'd also think that heterosexuality is not treated with at all the same logic (ala what I pointed out about priests, etc)

As for qualification, as I've said, I refuse such a demand. A gay who is abstinent IS the same as a gay who is not, at least as far as gayness goes. I see no need to disidentify with one or the other, as if its legitimate to treat either differently.

De Maria said...

A Sinner said...
Deal with it.


I don't have to deal with it, you do.

I don't appreciate the linguistic games that undermine my own self-identification.

You are the one playing linguistic games. You can self identify anyway you want. But the world has a definition for "gay" and that definition is incompatible with Catholicism. If you want to consider yourself gay, then be prepared to deal with all the baggage that comes with it.



As for the seal of the confessional...what you're saying makes no sense at all.

It makes complete sense if you open your mind to understanding. By publicly proclaiming yourself a "gay Catholic", you are simply drawing attention to yourself in a pathetic attempt to gain some kind of pity response from those whom you expect to say, "O look at the heavy cross he has to bear." But the opposite has happened. In so doing you have caused confusion and scandal with all your family and friends. Because they all understand that the gay lifestyle is incompatible with Catholicism

The Seal binds the priest not to reveal anything. The penitent can share whatever he wants, not that I've ever confessed to "Being Gay."

That's exactly what you have done in proclaiming yourself a gay Catholic. You have misled the entire world into believing that you are Gay, homosexual, a fag. We live in a real world with real consequences. There is nothing altruistic and fine about being a Gay Catholic. It is simply a contradiction in terms that leads people to the wrong conclusions. It confuses some and brings scandal to others. Your labeling yourself such is a lack of prudence.



Once again, the anti-disclosure side just seems to basically want to continue pretending like gays don't exist.

Gays exist. They practice homosexuality. People struggling with same sex attraction are not gay. Those who publicly label themselves as such are seeking some sort of gain which is against the Teaching of Jesus Christ. Same sex attraction is not a sin. But dwelling upon it can become a sin. And the more you dwell upon it the more likelihood that you will surrender to it.

cont'd

De Maria said...

cont'd

They want a world where society tries to "bracket" fragmentation. But it doesn't work that way anymore.

You want a world without consequences for your actions. You want a world where you can say what you please and do what you please.



Depends what you mean. Identification as gay or homosexual is a rather subjective thing. ....However, when we're talking about Sexual Orientation, we're talking about a well-established construction that is real in our time and place, and attempts to deny it just sound, to anyone outside the world accessed by your strange shibboleths, like profound self-delusion.

It is you who are profoundly self deluded. The fact is that same sex attraction does not make one homosexual. That is a fact. From that paragraph, it is plain to see that the one who wants to "bracket fragmentation": is you. You want to fragment the world in your little brackets, "he's gay", "he's bi", he's this and he's that." But your little concept of the world is not the real world.



"Homosexual" is not the same type of designation as "murderer" however. Homosexual is a description of sexual orientation. A word like "sodomite" or something may imply that person has engaged in acts of a certain type, but most people (whether or not they have in fact done so) do not identify that way, and "Gay" certainly is not like that.

Yes, it is. Everyone has a choice. That choice being to unite themselves to God and do the righteous thing. Or to reject God and do what they prefer to do.



Simply no one uses the term that way, and why conservatives seem obsessed with playing these language-obfuscation games is fascinating.

It is you who are using language obfuscation. The term "gay" means homosexual. Look it up.



Once again, you seem to have a bizarre misunderstanding of the Seal of the Confessional and what it does or does not imply.

But it's actually a rather revealing misunderstanding for me, as it helps explain the fundamentalist world-view in terms of compartmentalization and the desire to "keep up appearances" in society.

What you call "keeping up appearances", I call "maintaining decorum", "having dignity" and "having respect for yourself and others". Concepts which are apparently lost upon you.

Sincerely,
De Maria

A Sinner said...

Yes, gay does mean homosexual. But homosexual is not a description of activity when applied to a person, anymore than heterosexual. Priests are still heterosexual, I assume.

De Maria said...

A Sinner said...
Yes, gay does mean homosexual.


Agreed.

But homosexual is not a description of activity when applied to a person,

Yes, it is. A person who actively lives the gay lifestyle is correctly labeled a homosexual.

anymore than heterosexual.

Priests are still heterosexual, I assume.


"I assume" is the key word. Homosexuality is the abherration. Heterosexuality the norm. Therefore, we correctly assume that cops, teachers, and anyone else, would practice heterosexual behavior unless proven otherwise.

The assumption is even stronger for priests than for any other class of people. Since they practice a religion which considers homosexual activity to be sinful. Therefore, although they are not practicing heterosexuals, we assume, given a change in situations, everything else remaining the same, they would do so.

Sincerely,

De Maria


Anonymous said...

This is just disgusting. Jesus's core message was spread love and instead you're upholding idiotic messages about "procreation" and the likes. Gay, transexual, transgender,polysexual and asexual people are all equal to heterosexuals in God's eye and we're all allowed to do what we please when it comes to marriage,love and sex. Get out of your narrow minded boxes and accept people for who they are. "Carrying the cross of Chastity just because you're gay is just a foolish thing to do. If you love someone , be with them as long as you're not harming anyone, its as simple as that! I'm proud to be Catholic and Gay and I hope one day I am able to have a family with my partner.

Anonymous said...

Excellent response. I'm not only impressed--I'm convinced. Thank you.

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aspendougy said...

I have some gay friends who say they are happier practicing abstinence, as opposed to being sexually active.

In the Bible it says, "With God, all things are possible", so it ought to be possible for gays to find spiritual happiness and fulfillment in an abstinent lifestyle.