I haven’t really followed the whole “new homophile” thing very carefully

but somehow I seem to have been drafted along with Lizzie Scalia into some kind of role in it.  Don’t know what that means, but since it’s Terry Nelson, I’ll take it as a compliment since I think the world of that guy.

I think it’s… weird to be seen as “homophilic” for thinking that homosexuals should be treated as we treat anybody else with a disordered appetite (which is to say, everybody else).  The vast majority of the human race struggle with disordered heterosexual appetites.  Such a disordered appetite is not  “gift” but neither is it the end of the world either.  A healthy Catholic says, “Yep I struggle with lust or porn or whatever” says he’s sorry when he caves to temptation, asks for grace, and moves on.  If a gay person does the same, they should be commended for repenting and trying to live in accord with the teaching of Christ.  If they live in accord with Christ’s teaching in an exemplary way (as I think Perry Lorenzo did) they should be encouraged.  And if they live their faith to the end and die in the grace and love of God they should no more be condemned for the temptation they resisted than St. Peter should be condemned for his failures.  I think it insane and unjust that homosexuals alone should be singled out for condemnation on the basis of what tempts them while everybody else gets cheers and accolades for overcoming their temptations.

That’s why I don’t get the “homophile” thing.  If I said that same sex attraction was a “gift” it might make sense.  But I think SSA, like gluttony, or a hot temper, or a tendency to envy, or a greedy personality, or various other manifestations of concupiscence are not “gifts” but relics of original sin.  Why?  Because that’s what the Church says.  Concupiscence is the weakened will, darkened intellect, and disordered appetites resulting from original sin.  You might as well call fetal alcohol syndrome, cystic fibrosis, or sickle cell anemia “gifts”.  They are not.  They are various manifestations of damage done to our psychophysical nature as the fall of man echoes down the corridors of history.  God can certainly *use* such afflictions to soul and body to join us to the sufferings of Jesus Christ and he does that everyday.  But they are no more “gifts” to our human nature than the hole is part of the donut.

That said, the other side of the coin is that concupiscence is not, in itself, sin but only the “tinder for sin” according to the Church.  And concupiscence resisted is, in fact, proof of virtue and the battlefield upon which the Christian life is fought.  So a person who resists temptation is right to be honored and encouraged, not told “So what if you did the right thing?  You were tempted and so you should burn with shame!”  This is why I think it’s a mistake to call me “homophilic”. I am virtuephilic.  I think any Catholic struggling with a temptation, who does the right thing, should be honored and encouraged, not torn down for having the temptation–homosexuals amongst all the rest.  And I’m not shy about saying so when a gay person lives chastely in a way that obviously honored Christ and his teaching–even when people (tellingly) think that this is somehow a peculiarly damning notion.

  • Thomas R

    When I was at Crisis there seemed to be a couple different complaints about what they called “homophiles.”

    One: That by “homophiles” what they meant is people who wanted to be
    celebrated or seen as gifted because they are same-sex attracted and
    obeying the rules of the Church. That this was prideful or treating a
    disordered appetite as a unique precious thing we should all
    acknowledge. (I could see that, though I was unclear anyone was actually
    doing this)

    Two: That homosexuality is “a sin that cries to the
    heavens for vengeance” so a chaste homosexual should feel deep and
    constant shame about the disorder. That it’s as bad, or worse, than
    being a “restrained homicidal person.” And that they/we should constantly try to cure our attractions or want to cure them. Living a chaste life per the teachings
    of Church is therefore insufficient if we don’t recognize the depth of
    our depraved and repugnant nature. (Also if we slip and commit a homosexual action we should be denied the sacraments for twenty years)

    • Rosemarie

      +J.M.J+

      Of course, homosexuality (meaning the fact that one is attracted to the same sex) is not itself a sin, so it’s not “a sin that cries to the heavens for vengeance.” That would be the “sin of Sodom,” so if a homosexual avoids that particular sin, then nothing is crying for vengeance.

      • HornOrSilk

        But if one looks to the Fathers, the sin of Sodom was not homosexuality, but the lack of hospitality and charity that came out of avarice. Funny where I see that the most in the world

        • Rosemarie

          +J.M.J+

          I’m going by Catholic moral theology which defines the sin of Sodom as rectal intercourse or bestiality. Practices which heterosexuals can engage in as much as homosexuals, BTW. So “straights” who commit such sins have them crying to heaven for vengeance, while gays who don’t, don’t.

          • HornOrSilk

            I’m going with the commentaries by Doctors of the Church as they discuss Sodom in Genesis. You will find what they discuss and what they don’t. They connect the greatness of Abraham and the salvation of Lot with their hospitality in relation to the sin of the city, which is the lack of charity — and this should make sense as being the great sin which cries up to heaven, since, God is love (charity — caritas).

            • Rosemarie

              +J.M.J+

              Okay, I’m not interested in arguing the point. Though I think either way we’re coming to the same conclusion: that homosexuality (meaning SSA) is not “the sin of Sodom” – not even a sin at all unless acted upon.

        • Andy, Bad Person

          How often does that nonsense need to be discredited? The Sin of Sodom was homosexual fornication. One of several sins that cry to heaven for vengeance (and yes, I am frustrated that the others get ignored).

          Homosex shouldn’t hold special place of hatred for Christians, but the denial that it is the sin of Sodom is stupid, too.

          • HornOrSilk

            So the writings of the Fathers who discuss Sodom, Doctors of the Church, are the source of nonsense? I would highly suggest you read Bede, John Chrysostom, et al,, with their commentaries on Genesis. They will surprise you at what is discussed and what is entirely not even discussed.

            • Irenist

              Your contribution here is intriguing, HornOrSilk. Do you have any more cites I could look up for further reading?

              • http://hjg.com.ar/ Hernán J. González

                For a moderately modern reading of the full Genesis, you can see Von Rad: http://goo.gl/adG8yV

              • HornOrSilk

                Offhand, I don’t have much. I would just recommend looking for Patristic commentaries on all references about Sodom in Scripture. Something many (like Origen) picked out was the discussion of how Sodom would one day be restored, and that the sin of Sodom was seen as less than the sin the prophets experienced with Jerusalem:

                “There are sins of Jerusalem, sins also of Sodom, but in comparison to the worse sins of Jerusalem, the sins of Sodom are righteousness. For Sodom, he said, was justified due to you. Thus as the sins of Sodom are not righteousness but injustice, and as there arises righteousness when compared to a greater injustice, so this is understood as knowledge seen from the opposite….” etc (Origen, Homily 8.7 on Jeremiah)

                But I will say I was wrong on one thing, Bede does go into the sexual issue (I didn’t have my books with me earlier), while, others like Chrysostom, clearly are engaging the issue of hospitality (first with Abraham, and then Lot, saying the righteousness of Lot which saved him was that). Sodom was seen as a den of vices, not just sexual ones, but, slowly it was moved to a purely sexual one (probably because of the desire to sexually attack the angels). Yet, the context, as many Fathers point out, is within the context of the angel visit to Abraham, the hospitality he gave which gave him a vision of the Trinity(!), the salvation of Lot due to his hospitality, and the lack of such hospitality by those of deprived minds.

                • HornOrSilk

                  And if you want to have an interesting read, this from the Summa also connects to our discussion, showing how gluttony was seen to be behind the text:

                  Objection: 1. It would seem that gluttony is the greatest of sins. For the grievousness of a sin is measured by the
                  grievousness of the punishment. Now the sin of gluttony is most grievously punished, for Chrysostom says [*Hom. xiii in Matth.]: “Gluttony turned Adam out of Paradise, gluttony it was that drew down the deluge at the time of Noah.” According to Ez 16,49, “This was the iniquity of Sodom, thy sister . . . fulness of bread,” etc. Therefore the sin of gluttony is the greatest of all.

                  2. Further, in every genus the cause is the most powerful. Now gluttony is apparently the cause of other sins, for a gloss on Ps 135,10, “Who smote Egypt with their first-born,” says: “Lust, concupiscence, pride are the first-born of gluttony.” Therefore gluttony is the greatest of sins.

                  3. Further, man should love himself in the first place after God, as stated above (Question [25], Article [4]). Now man, by the vice of gluttony, inflicts an injury on himself: for it is written (Si 37,34): “By surfeiting many have perished.” Therefore gluttony is the greatest of sins, at least excepting those that are against God.

                  On the contrary The sins of the flesh, among which gluttony is reckoned, are less culpable according to Gregory (Moral. xxxiii).

                  I answer that The gravity of a sin may be measured in three ways. First and foremost it depends on the matter in which the sin is committed: and in this way sins committed in connection with Divine things are the greatest. From this point of view gluttony is not the greatest sin, for it is about matters connected with the nourishment of the body. Secondly, the gravity of a sin depends on the person who sins, and from this point of view the sin of gluttony is diminished rather than aggravated, both on account of the necessity of taking food, and on account of the difficulty of proper discretion and moderation in such matters. Thirdly, from the point of view of the result that follows, and in this way gluttony has a certain gravity, inasmuch as certain sins are occasioned thereby.

                  Reply to Objection: 1. These punishments are to be
                  referred to the vices that resulted from gluttony, or to the root from which gluttony sprang, rather than to gluttony itself. For the first man was expelled from Paradise on account of pride, from which he went on to an act of gluttony: while the deluge and the punishment of the people of Sodom were inflicted for sins occasioned by gluttony. (Summa Th. II-II EN Qu.148 a.3)

                  • Rosemarie

                    +J.M.J+

                    Okay, I know I said I didn’t want to argue this point, but out of curiosity I did a little searching online and came up with some patristic quotes saying the sin of Sodom was sexual in nature:

                    “Again, the Sodomites were destroyed for no other cause than their unnatural appetites.” – St. John Chrysostom, Homily 5 on Titus
                    Source: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/23085.htm

                    “This also happened at Sodom. For when they burned in their lust one towards another, then too the very earth itself was burned up, being kindled by the fire from above. For He designed, that the vengeance of this sin should permanently remain.” – St. John Chrysostom, Homily 19 on the Statues, para. 7
                    Source: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/190119.htm

                    “But the wild and death-bearing vine is the devil, who drops down fury and poison and wrath, as Moses relates, writing concerning him, “For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrha: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter: their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.” The inhabitants of Sodom having gathered grapes from this, were goaded on to an unnatural and fruitless desire for males.” – St Methodius, Banquet of the Ten Virgins (Discourse 5), ch. 5
                    Source: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/062305.htm

                    “Therefore are those foul offences which be against nature, to be every where and at all times detested and punished: such as were those of the men of Sodom; which should all nations commit, they should all stand guilty of the same crime, by the law of God, which hath not so made men that they should so abuse one another.” – St Augustine, Confessions, Book III
                    Source: http://www.bartleby.com/7/1/3.html

                    “Now where indulgence is spoken of, a fault is implied; but one that is the more readily remitted in that it consists, not in doing what is unlawful, but in not keeping what is lawful under control. Which thing Lot expresses well in his own person, when he flies from burning Sodom, and yet, finding Zoar, does not still ascend the mountain heights. For to fly from burning Sodom is to avoid the unlawful fires of the flesh. But the height of the mountains is the purity of the continent.” – St. Gregory the Great, Pastoral Rule, Book III, Ch 27
                    Source: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/36013.htm

                    • HornOrSilk

                      Unnatural appetites= more than mere sexual sin, which is obvious when you read his commentary from Genesis. It’s even obvious if you read the passage and not just assume the meaning of the words. The passage is a quite powerful representation, when read as a whole, of what I pointed out. Hatred is the foundation, in this passage, for the great wickedness in which all the other forms of wickedness comes from. That is Chrysostom. Read it.

                      What is obvious is you take a few words, out of context, like a Protestant with a Bible, but ignoring the context and how the few words are being used.

                      The fires of the flesh are more than sexual sins — as per St. Thomas with gluttony, who made it the central sin associated with Sodom (and he is not doing it merely on his own).

                      It’s nice you are a google researcher, but it would be nice if you have actually read and studied the Fathers.

                    • Rosemarie

                      +J.M.J+

                      Notice I presented links to the full context of each quote, so you or anyone else can see that sexual sins are discussed. I did check the context of each quote. So your charge of prooftexting falls flat.

                      Meanwhile, you quoted Origen in a post above without the full context or a link, so one could turn the same argument back on you.

                      And yes, I have read and studied the Fathers. Why that somehow means I shouldn’t be using a search engine, I don’t know. Though ad hominems are part of your standard procedure in online debates, so I’m not surprised by your attack.

                      I’m not saying that Sodom’s *only* sin was sexual immorality. I agree that there were other sins such as inhospitality, and that the Fathers point that out as well. So I’m not trying to completely refute what you’re saying, just pointing out that the idea that the sin of Sodom involved sexual immorality can be found in patristic writings. It’s not a medieval Western invention. That’s all.

                    • Rosemarie

                      +J.M.J+

                      Additional: When Chrysostom says that the men of Sodom “burned in their lust one towards another,” how is that not describing something sexual? (He’s clearly citing St. Paul from Romans 1:27.) Or when Methodius says that they had “an unnatural and fruitless desire for males,” is he talking about gluttony? I hope not, that would be cannibalism.

                      Also, lest there be any doubt about the quote from St. Augustine, note that he says that God “hath not so made men that they should so abuse one another.” Men abusing one another… what does that sound like?

                      No, it’s clear that the Fathers recognized sexual immorality as being among the sins of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.

                      (Though that doesn’t mean the men of those cities were all homosexuals; heterosexuals can engage in that as well. The idea of “sexual orientation” is modern and the Bible is condemning actions, not an “orientation.”)

                    • HA

                      I’m not saying that Sodom’s *only* sin was sexual immorality.

                      Excellent point. In the same story, Lot (i.e. the “good guy”), tries to stay true to his duty to be hospitable to strangers by offering his virgin daughters to be sexually victimized instead. That moral calculus, even in the proper historical context, is obviously problematic. There are, however, numerous other more explicit condemnations of homosexual acts in the Bible (and in other Church writings), and they are therefore more relevant than the story of Sodom.

                      (I do realize that “sodomy”, like the word “gay”, has come to be syntactically bound to homosexual acts, and even though I find both words to be inapt descriptors, there’s little I’ll be able to do about that.)

                    • Rosemarie

                      +J.M.J+

                      True, I don’t mean to give the impression that homosexual acts are not sinful. The Church clearly teaches that they are.

                      The story of Sodom is often trotted out to condemn homosexuals, despite the fact that the men of Sodom were probably not homosexuals, at least by the modern understanding of that. Genesis informs us that “all” the men of the city went to Lot’s door and demanded to ravage the visitors. Were *all* the men of Sodom “gay,” then? Doubtful, since gays are not inclined to marry women and beget children, so how long could such a city survive with no children in it?

                      Like I’ve said, heterosexual men can commit sodomy. It often happens in places where women aren’t available, like prison, but it could occur outside such situations as well. So my guess is that Sodom had a general degeneracy going on there where that kind of thing took place. And of course, sodomy is just as sinful for heterosexuals as it is for homosexuals.

                    • Andy, Bad Person

                      HoS claims the Fathers deny that the Sin of Sodom is active homosex.

                      Rosemarie points out that the Fathers contradict his point.

                      HoS criticizes Rosemarie instead of actually supporting his own assertion.

                      Now, that said, I will concede to HoS that the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah went beyond active homosexuality, and that the sin train doesn’t end there today, either. It is not the Last Great Sin that needs attacking. Let’s not rewrite the Bible, either.

          • http://hjg.com.ar/ Hernán J. González

            “…the denial that it is the sin of Sodom is stupid” That view is affirmed by many respected (recent and old) catholic theologians – as well as the contrary view. I don’t know enough to take a position (I don’t even read Hebrew) but to call that opinion “nonsense” and “stupid” is… nonsense.

            • HornOrSilk

              Even other Scriptural text affirm my point: Eze. 16.49, 50 “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of thepoor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.”

              From what I understand, commentaries began to change after Alan of Lille’s Plaint of Nature, but even then, it is not as disassociated with tradition as later commentaries which assume only homosexuality.

        • Dave

          Sometimes I wonder why all the attention is given to figuring out what the “sin of Sodom” was. We can just look to the New Testament, and Romans 1, to see that homosexual acts are still treated as an extremely serious perversion.

          I don’t even look at the “lack of hospitality” and “homosexual acts” as opposing viewpoints. It is the same avarice, applied to different behaviors.

          • HornOrSilk

            There is no disagreement with the fact that sexual immorality is, in itself, a problem and a sin. However, some try to use this to ignore the graver sins, especially the sins of our modern society. We also forget how the Fathers saw lack of charity, pride, avarice and the like lead people to sexual immorality — they really saw the sex in Sodom (which was anything goes, not just homosexuality) was a symptom of the greater sin. However, it’s always nice to say “look at those evil sinners.” Always.

            • Dave

              Agreed. It is the same root of selfishness which leads to viewing others more as “what can I get out of them” whether that be wealth, sexual pleasure, power, or some other way of using people.

        • Thomas R

          I think it does look to at least involve homosexuality. They demanded the men come out so they could have sex with them. This was indicated to be worse than if they had demanded the woman come out to have sex.

          I might lean toward the idea this means either

          A) Aggressive homosexuality, like what allegedly happens in prison situations i.e. men demanding other men have sex with them without caring what they want. (The men of Sodom I don’t think really ask “Do you think your friends would be interested in knowing us that way?”)

          B) A society that prefers homosexuality to heterosexuality. Societies like the Etoro of New Guinea, that considered homosexuality better because men aren’t “weakened” by contact with women, are sick in my opinion. And are often going in a way that would destroy them.

          But I’d grant the traditional Fathers would seem to indicate any homosexuality fits it.

          • Heather

            It was worse than demanding the women to come out because the angels were guests in Lot’s home and therefore an offence against them was worse than an offence against his own family (which is why, presumably, when he offered his virgin daughters to the mob instead that was a righteous thing to do). They weren’t after Lot himself, after all, or any other male in his household, but only his guests.

            That’s my understanding of where the “hospitality” angle fits in, anyway.

    • Dave

      I think the “homophiles” feel that certain “gifts” tend to come along with being homosexual that make them superior in some way.

      • Heather

        The only thing that I find the folks at Spiritual Friendship etc. seem to consider themselves “superior in some way” at is their ability to describe and talk about their own experiences (which are often misunderstood by both sides as either bafflingly repressive on the one hand or an insidious front for the “gay agenda” on the other). And as it should be – they are the most qualified to talk about their own lives and how they are trying to live a life in accordance with Christian sexual ethics while affected by a disordered sense of sexual complementarity that affects more than just who they may be attracted to at a given moment. But people keep trying to tell them who they really are and what they really believe and stand for.

        No effect of the Fall is a gift in itself. Suffering itself isn’t a “gift.” Temptation itself isn’t a “gift.” But it is a totally non-controversial and non-innovative Christian teaching to say that our response to suffering and temptation can be an avenue of grace, and in that sense those who struggle with particular forms of suffering or temptation can have particular gifts to offer because of their experiences.

        Reclaiming close chaste friendship in a society that places little value on loving relationships that are neither biological nor sexual is a worthy endeavour and highly relevant to people whose deep seated “crossed complementarity wires” mean they may never end up married. As a non-consecrated single person approaching my mid-thirties, I find I have more in common with these “new homophiles” in some ways than I do with a lot of the married straight people my own age. My best friend with whom I share my life and I aren’t troubled by those particular temptations but we still find it problematic that non-vowed celibacy is largely dismissed as a sad and lonely life devoid of love (as if sexual love is the only kind of love out there). As a result, I find the thoughts of the Spiritual Friendship writers on friendship and celibacy to be one of the few places online where those topics are treated in a positive and insightful manner in a Christian context, and as such, yes, a great gift.

  • SteveP

    I too am not understanding this homophile appellation nor the Anchoress’ insistence that we must wonder about it; I’d rather wonder about RNA recombination as a step in gametogenesis than wonder about a person who is attracted to another of the same sex to the extent of desiring to or attempting to breed with them. People are interesting; what people want to do without their pants on is rather boring.
    .
    Having admitted my not understanding, I’d suggest the “new homophiles” are just a relabeling of an old concept; the concept is that although everyone is unique and precious in the eyes of God, gay folk are *more* unique and *more* precious.

  • kirthigdon

    I agree with Mark’s analysis and with most of the commentators. I also see no reason to share your temptations with others, whether or not you have given in to them. I long ago realized the unpleasant truth of Joseph de Maistre’s saying, “I know not what evil lies in the heart of a scoundrel, but I know what is in the heart of an honest man, and it is horrible.” What temptations I have avoided has been only by the grace of God or all too often mere lack of opportunity or social or legal constraints. Nothing to be at all proud of. Others’ temptations or sins may well be an occasion of sin for me if I know about them; the same applies to my temptations or sins if known by others. There is great danger here of scandal in the true meaning – bad example. There are probably some exceptions to this, such as AA and other anti-addiction groups, but for the most part it’s good practice not to ask about the weaknesses of others and not to broadcast your own.
    Kirt Higdon

  • tj.nelson

    Sorry I dragged you into the discussion – you are definitely virtuephilic – God bless you. You write well.

    Pray for me – I’m working out my salvation with fear and trembling after reading all the comments and discussions which resulted from the Crisis article(s). I’m totally serious. So please pray for me.

    Thanks.

    • chezami

      God love you, Terry. It’s the commenters on those articles who need to be experiencing a little fear and trembling. Will pray for you though.

  • Illinidiva

    Actually, I don’t see the whole “new homophile” movement as being an awful thing and I don’t see being gay as being similar to a truly destructive addiction like alcoholism. I think that people over at Spiritual Friendship, etc. are just pointing out that they can form close relationships, but just cannot express their love sexually. If they feel that they can form romantic relationships or close friendship with each other and remain true to Church teachings, I’m fine with it. The Catholic Church is fine with remarried divorcees remaining together as long as they don’t have sex, this wouldn’t be any different.
    American Conservative had some good pieces on the movement last week and one question that came up was what do opponents of gay marriage want gays to do. As a straight single person, there are nice things about being single and really lonely things about being single. Society still strongly favors nuclear families, so people without a spouse and children are left out of the mix. And it can be really difficult to not have the love and support of a traditional family. So it is sort obvious why gay people would want to form their own traditional nuclear families: they want the love and support that straight married people take for granted.

  • anna lisa

    I wish everyone would just lose the labels. I don’t understand the need to identify oneself as anything other than *human being* or *child of God* I think of myself as someone who was made by love and called to love everybody more,and better regardless of their gender or sinful addictions, I am *attracted* to God who is Love, and has shown us the perfections of male-ness and female-ness. I don’t think of myself as a heterosexual, I am a female, in love with one man and I don’t feel particularly proud of myself for not looking at other men in the wrong way. That would simply be unnatural. Love wouldn’t hear of it. This love is intimately connected with God himself. He is the source and gives meaning to it. Every single human being is called to that intimacy. Every other illicit attempt to experience intimacy rather than merge with *THE Love* would be a counterfeit, a lie–an idol, and a terrible injustice to one’s own soul. Why on earth, would anybody, want to identify with a label *other* than human being, child of God?

  • Gregory Peterson

    Way to condescendingly defame a minority group and sow minority stress. I have a genetic disease which before research that won two Nobel prizes, was a very horrible way to die. I also have a sexual orientation. They are not alike.

    Neither is my sexual orientation like gluttony. a hot temper, fetal alcohol syndrome or any other reprehensible comparison that your imagination can feverishly rationalize.

    I think that it is morally “disordered” to religiously coerce members of a worldwide minority community of several hundred millions, to forgo responsibly enjoying their sexual orientations, and to reject the possibility of finding a soul mate and creating their own families.

    • chezami

      I have an idea. You should go and talk to Fr. Peter West or Carol McKinley. They can denounce me counseling mercy to homosexual and you can denounce me for condescending. They you can all eat each other like spiders in a jar.

      • Michael

        Das mit “religiously coerce members of a worldwide minority community” hat natürlich fast kein Sinn; doch kann man in der Tat nicht gerade “sexual orientation like gluttony” vorstellen. Da sind tiefere Sachen, die zum Teil auch an der Kultur liegt…

    • Thomas R

      You’re seeing chastity or celibacy in a purely negative light. Which is understandable as many do, but it’s not inevitable. Many great people were chaste or celibate though. (Herman the Cripple, Gregor Mendel, Sara Salkahazi, Herman of Alaska, the Dalai Lama, etc)

      If you do not believe in Catholic teaching on homosexuality then don’t believe it. No one is coercing you into being Catholic. Eve Tushnet et alia were not forced to convert. People aren’t even forced to stay. My lesbian cousin became Episcopalian.

      But some of us believe in the value of a celibate life. Or we try to forgo certain pleasures and quest for something we hope is greater. Again you don’t want to believe in that? Well then don’t believe it.

      • Illinidiva

        Actually, suggesting that homosexuality is similar to alcoholism is putting celibacy in a negative light as is calling gay people disordered in the Catechism. Homosexuality is a genetic variation that is similar to having red hair. Homosexuality occurs about as often as red hair in the population. The red haired (gay people) don’t have any greater sexual attractions than brown haired (straight people). It is just that they are attracted to the same gender rather than a different gender. There are some gay and straight people that have unhealthy sexual addictions but being gay doesn’t mean that one has a sexual addiction.
        The problem is that there isn’t any “third way” in the Church for gay people to follow. You mentioned Gregor Mendel, who was a monk. However, openly gay men and women who truly want to live a consecrated life and openly gay men who want to be ordained cannot follow that path. (Of course, gay men shouldn’t just become priests because they cannot marry but as with straight men, that path should be open to those who feel the calling.) And there should be different vocations for the large majority of gay Catholics.

        • Dave

          Balderdash. There is no proof that homosexuality is a purely genetically determined feature like hair color. There is evidence suggesting that genetics has something to do with it, but there’s also evidence suggesting that a lot of other things have something to do with it.

          Anyway, even if it turns out that homosexuality is something like hair color, that has nothing to do with whether homosexual acts are good or bad. Our genetic code is and can be damaged (or restored in many cases) by other factors.

          The emerging field of epigenetics should be researched. Knowledge about genetics is “evolving.”

          • Illinidiva

            “There is evidence suggesting that genetics has something to do with it, but there’s also evidence suggesting that a lot of other things have something to do with it.”

            Yes, there is a nature and nuture component to it. However, a large part of it is that they were born this way. Also, relying heavily on nuture generally leads to unhelpful ideas such as “praying the gay away” and conversion therapy.

            “Our genetic code is and can be damaged (or restored in many cases) by other factors.”

            It is a neutral factor that is neither good or bad; it isn’t a disease. Most gay people I know don’t see themselves as diseased or addicted. They are just unique. Not everyone is called to be a cookie cutter married person with a house in a suburban subdivision and 2.5 kids.

            • Dave

              What I am saying is that there is nature (genetics) and there is nurture (upbringing), but there is also environmental effects on the expression of genes (epigenetics).

              There is very strong evidence in animals that exposure to environmental pollution (i.e. industrial chemicals, etc) greatly increases homosexuality and other sexual aberrations such as males acting like females or vice versa, asexuality, infertility, etc. Read the book “Our Stolen Future” for more information.

              “Most gay people I know don’t see themselves as diseased or addicted.” Why would they? Most alcoholics famously don’t think they have a problem either. Even serial killers often don’t see anything wrong with the way they are. Asking various people how they feel about the way they are doesn’t strike me as particularly revealing.

              I do agree, though, that not everyone is called to be married. People aren’t necessarily at any fault for their particular temptations, but that doesn’t mean that they are willed by God either.

              • Illinidiva

                “Why would they? Most alcoholics famously don’t think they have a problem either. Even serial killers often don’t see anything wrong with the way they are.”

                See, this is the main issue with saying that the environment causes homosexuality. An individual who is an alcoholic harms him or herself and those around him or her. A serial killer is obviously harming others. Gay people aren’t harming themselves or others in the same way. In fact, a gay person in a committed relationship isn’t harming him or herself any more than a straight couple in a similar relationship.

                “I do agree, though, that not everyone is called to be married. People aren’t necessarily at any fault for their particular temptations, but that doesn’t mean that they are willed by God either.”

                Homosexuality isn’t an addiction or negative trait. It is like having red hair as I said. God gave some people red hair and He made some people gay. The reason why being gay is so harmful isn’t because the person is uniquely sinful, but modern society is very sexualized. It is difficult for all people to remain true to Catholic sexual morals and is especially difficult for gay people, who don’t have the same option of marriage that straight people do.

                • Dave

                  Well, I wasn’t comparing being gay to being a serial killer or alcoholic except in the sense that none of them necessarily see anything wrong with their temptations, to show that a self-referential survey isn’t a good means of determining morality.

                  “Gay people aren’t harming themselves or others in the same way.” Since you said “in the same way” I don’t necessarily disagree. It is Catholic teaching that every sin causes harm to all. It is clear in Catholic teaching that there is no such thing as a private sin. Just because harm might not be obvious to you doesn’t mean there isn’t any.

                  “Homosexuality isn’t an addiction or negative trait.” So you say, but this is just an assertion. Certainly, you are right that gays aren’t “uniquely” sinful just because they have a different tempation, and that they have a more difficult cross to carry in that regard than others may have in regards to their sexuality.

                  • Illinidiva

                    Yes.. But there isn’t the amount of self-harm associated with alcoholism or harm of other people associated with both alcoholism and serial killing. There are degrees of sinfulness. One of the things that would also be considered sinful is for a baptized Catholic to get married at the Vegas Chapel of Love without a proper dispensation. The couple in that situation is considered to be sinning every time they have sex. Same goes for a heterosexual married couple spicing up their sex life by trying different things. I consider the sin committed by a long-time gay couple to be in the same category as the sin committed by the civilly married Vegas couple and the hetero couple engaging in non-procreative sex acts. The Church can argue that there is a social sin committed by these couples’ disregarding the Church’s teachings on sexuality and marriage, but there isn’t the same harm as associated with someone getting drunk.

                    And the cross that gays have to carry is no different from the cross that divorcees have to carry. A couple who gets married at eighteen, finds out that they are incompatible, and divorces has the same cross to carry.. Except they can have sex with someone who turns them off I guess.

                    • Dave

                      I don’t know if I’d say the “amount of self-harm” associated with alcoholism is more. It’s more obvious, that’s for sure. But, as far as “harm of others” with a same-sex couple who walk around together with displays of affection, etc., I’d argue that that does substantial harm, and is a walking billboard encouraging everyone who sees them in their own particular sexual weaknesses.

                    • Illinidiva

                      “I don’t know if I’d say the “amount of self-harm” associated with alcoholism is more. It’s more obvious, that’s for sure.”

                      The amount of self-harm associated with alcoholism is pretty obvious. I’m not sure what harm is actually associated with a long-term gay couple. In fact, one could argue that the Church teaching telling a gay couple that they must separate and essentially live and die alone is more harmful because humans are social being and need to form families.

                      ” But, as far as “harm of others” with a same-sex couple who walk around together with displays of affection, etc. I’d argue that that does substantial harm, and is a walking billboard encouraging everyone who sees them in their own particular sexual weaknesses.”

                      What you are arguing against is PDAs, not gay couples. There are hetero couples sinning in the same way. Aren’t two clearly unmarried teens pawing at each other encouraging others to give into their sexual weakness in the same way that a gay couple is?

                    • Dave

                      “I’m not sure what harm is actually associated with a long-term gay couple.”

                      Well, it really depends on what you mean by that. If they are not sexually active, perhaps there is little harm. I don’t know though. If I were divorced, I’d prefer to live with a male friend than live with a woman who I am attracted to. That would cause harm to me in the form of chronic sexual temptations.

                      “What you are arguing against is PDAs, not gay couples?”

                      No. Certainly the example you give is in the same category, but a man and a woman holding hands does not give this bad example, while a man and a man does.

                    • Illinidiva

                      “Well, it really depends on what you mean by that. If they are not sexually active, perhaps there is little harm. I don’t know though. If I were divorced, I’d prefer to live with a male friend than live with a woman who I am attracted to. That would cause harm to me in the form of chronic sexual temptations.”

                      Actually, if they are even sexually active, they aren’t harming themselves physically or emotionally.

                      “No. Certainly the example you give is in the same category, but a man and a woman holding hands does not give this bad example, while a man and a man does.”

                      How do you know that the gay couple is sexually active and that the straight couple is living chastely? In fact, wouldn’t it be easy to assume because society is so sexualized that the gay couple and the unmarried straight couple are both engaging in sexual relationships frowned upon by the Church.

                    • Dave

                      “Actually, if they are even sexually active, they aren’t harming themselves physically or emotionally.”

                      I am not sure if you typed that correctly, but if you did, I strongly disagree.

                      “How do you know that the gay couple is sexually active and that the straight couple is living chastely?”

                      I don’t. But with the straight couple, I can assume they are married, and even if they are not, a man and a woman form an ‘ordered’ pair in that they form a natural pair, ordered to the creation of new life, and thus hand-holding, the mildest form of a PDA, is not inappropriate in my view. A man and a man is not an ordered form of sexuality.

                    • Gregory Peterson

                      A Gay couple is a couple in love, and very much a “natural pair.” You really can’t not defame Gay people, can you? You insist on denigrating their humanity, dismissing them as “unnatural.”

                      As for love and marriage, that’s a fairly recent development (thanks, Enlightenment!)…and that’s something Gay couples can do very well.

                      Marriage use to be about mostly creating “legitimate” male heirs for their freeborn father’s family’s position on the social hierarchy. The children of slaves were never legitimate.

                    • Gregory Peterson

                      I would say that a man and a man being gently affectionate in public are very good examples for the power of love. You just don’t like the idea of “consenting adults.”

                    • Gregory Peterson

                      You really can’t help defaming Gay people, can you? You sound like the article I read in an old Citizens’ Council Newsletter which breathlessly reported on an interracial kiss in a train station. Oh, the horror!

                      Couples in love are appropriately, I hope, affectionate in public. The proper response is to smile and mentally wish them all the best. What’s the problem?

                      Gay isn’t a sexual weakness. Gay is an identity and flexible, evolving social constructs which people with a same-sex orientation often choose as their identity (and which many don’t). Gay is also a worldwide community, majority Asian, and a worldwide egalitarian movement for justice.

                    • Gregory Peterson

                      Of course, I see nothing wrong with non-procreative sex. Human sexuality isn’t primarily about reproduction. If it were, women would have estrus and we wouldn’t be human.

                      Our sexuality is primarily about pair bonding. Babies will happen if the couple is fertile. But, pair bonding is about building the foundations of the societies that we need to raise human young, and also to help care for our aged and ill. You don’t have to be fertile to be a productive part of society.

                      In any case, many Gay people I know do have children, and more are seeing their dreams to have children realized.

                      I don’t have children, however, because, well, that’s none of your business.

                • Gregory Peterson

                  Yes…and my married Gay friends think they should be married.

                  It’s not the Gay that’s dangerous, it’s minority stress. Gay is many things, one of which is that Gay is a declaration of a certain sort of personal integrity which conservatives seem to fear.

              • DN

                Do you have any notion that – rightly or wrongly – gay people tend to find it offensive to compare their romantic attractions to alcoholism or serial murder?

                • Dave

                  Of course. My context is pretty clear, though, especially if you kept reading the exchange between Illinidiva and I. I am not comparing them, but am using those examples to show the flawed logic of one particular assertion.

                  • DN

                    I did read the rest of the exchange. You refer to gays as having a “sexual weakness” and you say outright that two men or two women holding hands in public causes harm.

                    I regret posting anything in response to you, because I didn’t realize how haughty you are on this topic.

                    • Dave

                      ‘You refer to gays as having a “sexual weakness”‘

                      LOL. Actually, I didn’t. You just failed at reading comprehension. Try again.

                      Yes, though, I do stand by my assertion that two men or two women holding hands in public causes harm.

                    • DN

                      a) you did say that, and you are bearing false witness. Live up to your own religious code, sir.

                      b) the second you tell someone that loving someone that you don’t approve of, you are no longer worthy of polite conversation. I am finished with you.

                    • Dave

                      Reading my own words, I guess you could interpret them either way, but by “and is a walking billboard encouraging everyone who sees them in their own particular sexual weaknesses.”, I was referring to the sexual weaknesses of everyone who sees them.

                      I assure you I have no problem at all with love. It is certain actions that are wrong.

              • Gregory Peterson

                People can safely operate heavy machinery while under the influence of Gay. Gay people are not like addicts or serial killers. You really can’t talk about this without defaming law abiding minority adults, can you?

                “Our Stolen Future” seems to be rely too much on anecdotes. It’s one of those “yes… but…” books lacking in intellectual integrity.

                Why would you think that there is a great increase in “homosexuality?” Reminds me, speaking of unsubstantiated anecdotes, of an acquaintance in the early 1970s who said that his town suddenly had a lot more “Negroes.” No, the town didn’t have a lot more Black people than before. Black people just had more social visibility; I’m guessing because of the Civil Rights Movement.

            • Gregory Peterson

              My understanding is that you very likely are “born that way,” for complex reasons similar to left-handedness. However, how you act upon a given such as your sexual orientation or handedness, is heavily influenced by society.

              Being right handed makes many things less awkward than they are for left-handed people because so many things are designed for right handed people (except for my old Exakta camera…), but…it’s not unnatural, chosen behavior to use your left hand to write if you are left handed. .It would be closer to being chosen behavior to write with your right hand if you’re left handed. You were probably coerced in ways subtle and course to write with your right hand..and you probably won’t do it as well as you could otherwise…but you likely could if you really had to do that.

          • Gregory Peterson

            Perhaps left-handedness might be a better metaphor. It just happens and there is apparently a complex, interactive genetic component, but…there is no single left-handedness gene.

        • Thomas R

          But I’m not saying I agree with the idea they shouldn’t be in consecrated life.

          Also I think comparing it to red-hair is a little disingenuous. Even if one thinks homosexuality is benign or positive it does involve a desire to a behavior. Making it, at least, more like being introverted or something.

          I think calling it a “disorder” is sensible from Catholic thought. The non-willed desire for actions considered sins would be disordered. The desire to eat dirt instead of food, is that Pica?, I think is considered “a disorder” in secular terms. So homosexuality is the desire to mate with that which your body is not designed to mate with properly.

          That homosexuals are happier or healthier than those with Pica is nice, but Catholicism isn’t based merely on being happy and healthy. Homosexuality is inherently sterile. A homosexual couple lacks one half of humanity and can not reproduce except through heterosexual actions or artificial means. (If my original wording was unclear) These things matter in the Catholic understanding.

          But I’m not sure I agree disorders make one unfit for the priesthood. Unless the disorder is so severe that, even when not acted on, it makes one unable to function in society. (Like I could see not ordaining a schizophrenic or bipolar person, if it’s not responding well to treatments, even if the person is not acting on their delusions or manias) I think some Catholics feel homosexuality is that severe. I don’t think I do.

          • Gregory Peterson

            Comparing all the adult members of a minority group to people with mental disabilities which interfere with their everyday functioning is defamation.

            “Homosexuality is inherently sterile. A homosexual couple lacks one half of humanity and can not reproduce naturally.”

            There is no such thing as reproducing unnaturally. Again, you’re defaming “the other” by dehumanizing him or her.

            In any case, maximum reproduction by every member of a social species such as our own, is unnecessary. We all contribute towards raising human children. The childless teacher, for instance, helps to educate your child.

            Humans are both individuals and inextricable from humanity. We are not like sea turtles which mate, lay eggs in the sand and then swim away.

            • Thomas R

              Maybe I didn’t explain it the best. (Although there’s no such thing as artificial, i.e. non-natural, reproduction? That doesn’t sound right) But the point being in Catholicism sex has a great deal to do with reproduction and the union of sexes. In the Gospels marriage is only talked about in terms of a man and a woman.

              As I said, if you don’t believe in that then don’t believe it. Whether you’re Catholic or Christian, I kind-of think much of this is pretty standard in all orthodox forms of Abrahamic religion, is up to you.

              • Gregory Peterson

                If it’s unnatural, it’s supernatural.

                “in Catholicism sex has a great deal to do with reproduction and the union of sexes.” But that’s largely based upon 13th Century neo-Aristotelian philosophy. We’ve learned something about human sexuality and identity since then. To defame a minority group with what is to me, the now idolatry of Natural Law, is simply immoral and desperate rationalizations for creating unjust minority stress.

                To demand that secular law conform just compounds the immorality and injustice.

                • chezami

                  “But that’s largely based upon 13th Century neo-Aristotelian philosophy.”

                  No. It’s not.

                  • Gregory Peterson

                    Okay then, neo-neo-Aristotelian philosophy, as “homosexuality” and “heterosexuality” are modern-era social constructs which didn’t exist until the 19th Century. Therefore, projecting homosexuality back in time is deliberately ignoring how those who came before us understood what they and others were doing. They had other social constructs, usually despicably sexist ones.

                    Making the case that nature teaches moral lessons on how humans are to act like Catholics say we should is from Natural Law. The foundations of modern Natural law were most impressively laid down by those reading the then recently rediscovered Aristotle back in the 13th Century..

                    But, we now know differently. nature doesn’t teach moral lessons, we project them upon nature…and the Bible. Our understandings of nature are very different than they were even when my great-grandfather was born in the 1830s (that’s not a typo).

                    • Thomas R

                      So you’re either over 70 or there’s three generations of fairly late-in-life fathers in your family.

                      But to the topic at hand

                      One: Catholicism’s teaching on homosexuality predates the 12th/13th century revival of Aristotle. Eastern Orthodoxy is not really influenced by Aristotle at all, or barely so, but considers homosexuality a sin. It is also considered sinful in Ultra-Orthodox Judaism, Islam, Baha’i, Zoroastrianism (sorry Freddy Mercury), and Tibetan Buddhism.

                      Two: That our bodies have no moral meaning or purpose is more a philosophical statement than an inarguable truth.

                • Thomas R

                  Where did I say secular law must conform to the teachings of the Catholic Church? The posts I wrote I look to have been pretty careful to refer to what Catholic, or general orthodox Abrahamic, teaching is not about how secular law should work. I don’t want homosexual sex to be a crime. Or for their explicit constitutional rights to speech, assembly, gun ownership, voting, running for office, etc to be abridged.

                  And I think at this point you’re being deliberately obtuse on the “unnatural reproduction” statement. I’ve explained pretty well that I mean. I mean yes artificial things are within the natural world too, but I tried to be clearer what I meant.

  • Gabriel Blanchard

    I am one of the “New Homophiles” (yeesh, such a squicky term). I wrote a response piece to Ruse’s articles which was published in Crisis, and I’ve also blogged about this extensively on Mudblood Catholic (I’d post a link but I don’t know whether that’s a done thing here); the post “Felix Culpa” sums up, with an attempt at combining clarity and concision, why and in what sense I do regard being gay as a gift. I don’t think it’s fundamentally different from what you’re maintaining here, though I do prefer different language, and tend to accent different elements of the truth than you do.

  • Gabriel Blanchard

    As for why you’ve been drafted as our Papa Bear, my guess is that it’s because you’re not a jerk or a hysteric about us. For which, profuse thanks. :)

  • Mark

    The problem with this is that a person is still gay even if they are never tempted to lust or acts of lust. “SSA” or gay is not reducible to “temptations” or to inclinations to certain disordered acts (though certainly a gay person can have those).

    You’re knocking down a straw man.

  • Tom

    This whole article is just battling windmills.

    Being gay is not “temptations.” Sexual orientation is not in itself an “inclination” to any acts at all necessarily. Orientation can manifest in temptations of course, and it can color or “determine the direction” of a variety of inclination (some bad, some good, some morally neutral)

    But any arguments based on comparing sexual orientation to a drug addiction, a vice, or an evil “proclivity” fundamentally misunderstand the phenomenology of orientation.

    Saying I’m gay isn’t like saying “I’m a glutton.” It’s more like saying “I prefer sweets to savory.” Yes, this tells us that IF someone were tempted to gluttony it would probably be with candy rather than crackers, but it doesn’t mean the person is in fact tempted to gluttony at all.

    “Attraction” to men or to women or both is not the same as and not reducible to “lust” for them, as if the experience of attraction is equivalent to “a desire or tendency to have sex with” (just as the little boy on the playground in puppy love with the little red haired girl, neither of whom even knows what sex is yet!)

    The relation of attraction to sex is more like the relation of anger to violence: that’s one possible script or option that the experience might suggest, but anger cannot be reduced to “an inclination to violence” anymore than attraction can be reduced to an inclination to certain sex acts.

    Conservatives on the question sound like absolute idiots when they say things like (as I’ve already seen several times now in the case of gay football player Michael Sam) “ugh, I don’t want to know which stimuli you prefer to get off with” as if that’s what sexual orientation is or what a disclosure of it means.

    This article does a good job of clarifying this:
    http://gcnjustin.tumblr.com/post/33704172633/can-you-feel-the-sex-tonight
    http://gcnjustin.tumblr.com/post/41726126968/tmi


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