I don’t have any strong views on people who regard themselves as ex-gays

I don’t have any strong views on people who regard themselves as ex-gays July 30, 2013

That’s because I’ve never felt homosexual attraction. It’s fairly simple. C.S. Lewis once remarked that he resented it when officers who had never been in combat came to the lines to give the troops moral lectures about temptations they had never borne. He therefore did not offer moral advice on things like homosexuality or gambling addiction because he’d never felt those temptations.

(He also adds something to the effect of “You may ask, ‘But what about all the other sins you talk about? Do you mean…?’ Yes. My heart–I need no other’s–showeth me the wickedness of the ungodly.”)

When it comes to homosexuality I have always pretty much limited myself to noting the basics of the Tradition (“Sex is for monogamous heterosexual marriage and nothing else–including homosex”). Beyond that, I’ve mentioned two things as a general rule: a) I’m not interested in trying to control what you do in your bedroom since it’s, you know, not my business and b) stop trying to force or threaten me into approving of your sexual immorality.

That’s about it. Concerning quarrels about how people choose to deal with the disordered appetites I have never experienced, I have no input. Some people seem to think those appetites are unchangeable (like the recently abandoned Exodus International). Others say that their sexual appetites can be governed to a greater or lesser degree and call themselves ‘ex-gay’, even going so far as to say they can be reoriented to heterosexuality. Others simply choose celibacy. I have no idea who is right and, depending on how strong an individual’s drive and orientation are, they may all be right for all I know. What concerns me is not how accurate the claims are, but the persistently totalitarian approach of a not-insignificant percentage of homosexuals who demand approval for themselves while denying even tolerance to those who dissent from the party line.

It is that sometimes violent intolerance from the gay community

that prompts a group of ex-gays to demand police protection from people who divide their time between blathering about being bullied and threatening those who do not bow to the demands of their appetites for absolute worship.

So, as ever, I’m not interested in adjudicating a quarrel about whether appetites I’ve never felt can be changed. I am very interested, however, in the right of those who say they can to be free from the threat of beatings and harrassment from those who wish to deny this.

There is a deep and violent intolerance at the heart of the homosexualist movement. It cannot abide mere tolerance. It demands unquestioning approval.

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  • John F. Siple

    I know I’m still mostly gay, so I have my own cross to carry. I’ve said goodbye to the gay community; It’s been a few years now of trusting the Living God for grace.

    • Dr. Eric

      Is “mostly gay” like “mostly dead” a la Miracle Max from “The Princess Bride”? 😉

      Seriously, I will pray for you, that you won’t buckle under the weight of your cross.

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    I do have one thought on “ex-gays”. Does it not strike you how, in our modern paradise of diversity, ex-gays are the only ones who are not allowed to define their own identity or call themselves a community? We may have male lesbians or six-year-old transgenders, but woe betide anyone who dares to define him or herself an ex-gay. And it’s not only the enforcement wing of the Gay Internationale; just look at how the media treat them if they mention them at all.

    • David Elton

      Excellent point. If a six year old boy can think of himself as a girl, why can’t a gay man think of himself as straight? After all, reality originates inside our minds.

  • Lee Johnson

    The younger generation seems less tolerant of Christianity and Christian preaching than previous ones. Violence against the gospel is to be expected, but it’s still a shock to me to see it happen. I am always amazed at persecution, particularly from people who preach “tolerance.”

    As I get older, it gets more and more difficult to untie the knots of deception in our culture. Let me restate them again: Tolerance isn’t really a virtue, but civility and manners are. Love is a virtue.

    At this point, the police are still arresting those who were violent. The day may come when they will arrest the preachers for incitement.

  • Laura Lowder

    But it’s not about “sexual appetites.” That’s just the public face of it. The fact is, homosexuality is about one’s orientation to the same or opposite sex in all dimensions of life – and like the sex act itself, those other dimensions of orientation are disordered, too. That’s what reparative therapy addresses – not just whom one wants to get in bed with, but how one sees and orients to the opposite sex out of bed. Of course, I think NARTH is the only organization that actually admits such a therapy can succeed; the pink mafia has gone so far as to attempt to criminalize it in states like California; they insist that such therapy damages especially the young — the young who are victims of abuse/seduction. I think the pink mafia just wants to secure their power base by increasing victim numbers.

    • Irksome1

      And you don’t see, as potentially problematic, any course of action of merely human origin which seeks to reorient an individual’s relationships, even those far afield from what the Church calls sinful? Do you not see the hubristic arrogance of a therapy which, in effect, attempts to take a wrecking ball to a person’s life in order to rebuild it, with fallible, human hands, according to an essentially Freudian blueprint?

      Moreover, those are just the temporal concerns. In saying that the genital stimulation engaged in by two members of the same sex is only the “public face” of homosexuality, what I take to mean its most superficial manifestation, doesn’t that imply that the sinful, homosexual act that the Church calls unnatural, and that cries to heaven for vengeance might just be something one might have formerly considered innocuous, such as sitting down to coffee with someone else (apparently of either gender)?

      I don’t agree with Mark on everything, but at least, in this, he knows what his limits are. I cannot say the same for NARTH.

  • HornOrSilk


    Actually, Lewis had a good thing to say about homosexuality and the temptation.

    • Wow. Hadn’t known about that letter. Thanks for sharing it–what a wonderful contribution to this discussion. Typically graciously orthodox Lewis. What a treasure. Speaking of treasures, it looks like that blog was pretty great. Sorry to see it was retired in 2010. Might be worth reading through the old posts.

      • HornOrSilk

        Yes, it was a wonderful letter. I came across it from a reference pointing to that blog, and so thought it best to go to the blog itself. There are questions of Lewis’ early life of what he did /did not do, especially in school, and people might be surprised he might have had some “forced” experiences. So he might have known more than he normally would say. But that letter should get more exposure!

      • College Jay

        A friend sent me a text and said that my blog had been mentioned in this comment thread. Thanks for the compliments! Much like Mr. Shea, I try to stay out of the divisiveness that can occur between many of the Christians who struggle with homosexual desires. I’m gay and celibate myself, but I have many friends who identify as ex-gay. I also have many liberal friends who advocate for a “progressive” understanding of human sexuality and believe the Church should embrace homosexual unions.

        Obviously, we all disagree strongly sometimes, but over the years I have found a refreshing amount of respect and civility from all sides, even in the midst of strong disagreement. I’ve also experienced a lot of bigotry and nosiness from liberals and conservatives alike. I appreciate Mr. Shea’s restraint, and I also applaud his standing up for free speech.

  • “There is a deep and violent intolerance at the heart of the
    homosexualist movement. It cannot abide mere tolerance. It demands
    unquestioning approval.”

    Seems that way. Little profit for orthodox Christians in dwelling on others’ sins, though. Let me try to get some profit from this, then. Perhaps, the failure to show even “mere tolerance” to homosexuals through the centuries of Christendom has led to an overcompensating backlash against us orthodox Christians by grievance-nursing gay folks now that the Constantinian entanglement of Church and state has been torn up and the homosexualists have the upper hand.

    I recall reading somewhere that Joseph de Maistre wondered if the Enlightenment and the French Revolution might not be Divine chastisments, akin to the Assyrian and Babylonian chastisements with which God afflicted stiff-necked Israel. Those modern chastisements (and the prior chastisement of the Reformation) have led the Church to its post-Vatican II embrace of “proposing, not imposing” the Gospel. And that is all to the good, and shows the hand of Providence in breaking our arrogance. Perhaps the abusive backlash we are now starting to see from the gay movement is a similar Divine chastisement.

    If so, I think the common-sense orthodox charity of Pope Francis is leading us to what Providence wants us to learn from our present troubles on this issue: to charitably propose, not intolerantly impose, the liberation chastity offers to both celibate gay and to celibate or married straight. I think we are a long way toward this as a Church, thank God. But the temporal consequences of our long centuries of past sin are going to take a while to work themselves out, I fear: if the sins of the father echo down to the seventh generation, then many generations of entirely affable ex-gays and other orthodox Christians are going to have to bear this Cross, however tolerant we might ourselves be.

    • Newp Ort

      My gut isn’t divine chastisement, more like reap what you sow.

      • For me, “reap what you sow” is how Divine chastisment (Purgatory, e.g.) usually works. To that limited extent, I think there’s a seminum Verbi in the eastern pagan concept of karma.

    • Deker71

      ” Perhaps the abusive backlash we are now starting to see from the gay movement is a similar Divine chastisement.” One of the consequences of our God-given free will is that we become our choices. The backlash is because gays have made choices that they are uncomfortable with, and don’t know how to get back to divine providence. Instead of embracing the sin and seeking forgiveness, they seek legal affirmation of the sin which will not give gays the love and joy they need. Only Christ can do that. By dying on the cross, he gave us all a way to get back to divine providence no matter what sin we’ve committed. I just read a book called “I Just Came for Ashes” by Robin Beck which describes her 30 year journey from lesbianism to Christ.

  • See Roe

    No, it does not want approval.

    We hear this all the time, “They do not want ‘tolerance’ they want ‘approval.'”
    No, not tolerance, nor approval, but rather CONQUEST.
    The works of darkness, as in all sin, are seeking permanent conquest. They can never have it which is why the devil is so mad.

  • Vicky Hernandez

    To the point and pithy. Especially the third paragraph. Thanks.

  • yan

    “I’ve mentioned two things as a general rule: a) I’m not interested in trying to control what you do in your bedroom since it’s, you know, not my business …”

    That’s a bad rule.

    Until Lawrence v Texas, it was always understood that the State had a role in trying to control what goes on in your bedroom when it comes to the act of sodomy. And, to paraphrase Louis XIV, in America, ‘you are the state’ [or for you francophiles: ‘L’etat, c’est vous.’]

    One could of course argue that Christendom did not begin to exist until 2003.

    That would be a tough one to argue.

    So basically, I think, you can take the side of Lawrence, or, the side of the last 2000 years of history, when it comes to deciding whether or not it is anyone’s business to try to control what goes on in your bedroom.

    Why don’t you think about that a little before I am accused of being a cranky traditionalist. [I am not a traditionalist…]

    While Justice Scalia’s dissent in Windsor has been widely reported recently, it might do us cultural conservatives good to review his dissent in Lawrence. There he predicts that the Lawrence decision will inevitably affect the question of gay marriage.

    He was right, as the Windsor decision proves. The only question that remains is whether the Lawrence decision, in combination with the Romer decision, will ultimately add up to a constitutional right to gay marriage. We should know the answer to that in a few years.

    What was the policy rationale underlying Lawrence, in laymen’s terms?

    It was this: “I’m not interested in trying to control what you do in your bedroom since it’s, you know, not my business…”

    • Dagnabbit_42


      I think the “it’s, you know, not my business” is shorthand on Mark’s part. I’m sure he could fill it out more precisely if he felt the effort necessary.

      Were he to do so, he might offer some statement along the lines of how our obligatory love for humanity does not mean the same kind and degree of effort towards each person in the world, and that while the struggles against Same Sex Attraction Disorder of someone young gentleman in Vladivostok might in some limited sense be Mark Shea’s “business” purely on the principle of loving one’s neighbor as oneself; still, the fact that he doesn’t personally know them, let alone have a relationship with them, let alone have a role as spiritual director or confessor to them, let alone have special experience in the matter, makes his obligation to take the initiative to advise that person so minimal as to be virtually nil — a kind of null obligation which we colloquially, in our culture, call “none of my business.”

      In the meantime, please note that none of the above has anything to do with the proper role of the state. He’s talking about the propriety of offering counsel (man-to-man, as it were); you’ve suddenly introduced the propriety of sticking guns in people’s faces and sending them to jail. That’s a bit of a non-sequitur.

      At any rate in the U.S., the government claims that its just authority is that of employees hired by the populace; it “derives its just authority from the consent of the governed.” Powers are “delegated” to it; and any power not so delegated is reserved “to the states respectively, or to the people.” (Nota bene: Amendments 9 and 10 of the U.S. Constitution, the Preamble, the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and pretty much the whole bulk of commentary of that whole crowd of political philosophers who produced the above documents.)

      Now perhaps a European king in the 1100’s really ruled with authority delegated to him directly from God, without any intermediary delegation from the populace, after the fashion of Moses or the Davidic kings. And perhaps among the powers God so delegated was the just authority of those kings to enact earthly enforcement of God’s moral laws against immoral sexual behavior. Such assertions are hard to disprove, although harder to prove, and certainly forming no portion of Catholic dogma.

      But the assertion of the documents upon which all the laws of the United States are based is that whatever just authority human individuals have to justly wield force against one another is delegated to individuals by God, and that these individuals in turn band together in political communities and further delegate that authority to wield force against other persons to a crowd of employees called “government.” This is the foundational concept of American law; it is hard to see how any of America’s laws, let alone its jurisprudence, could be valid if its whole conceptual underpinning is false.

      So the question we must ask is, “If government gets all its just authority to use force against persons from us by an act of delegation, then, what authority to use force against persons did God delegate to us?”

      After all, if we have just authority from God to point firearms at one of our neighbors, and then lock up that neighbor to prevent him from having consensual sexual relations with another of our neighbors, it follows that this MAY be an authority we can plausibly delegate to our employees, the government. (Whether we HAVE in fact delegated that particular authority is a separate issue, which can be resolved by determining whether it falls among any of the Enumerated Powers granted in the relevant State or Federal Constitution.)

      But if we do not have just authority from God to point firearms at one of our neighbors for such purposes, then it follows we cannot delegate such authority to our employees, be they private bodyguards or the government. For of course one cannot delegate an authority one does not have! (That’s why bishops can grant faculties to hear confessions, et cetera, in a given diocese, but deacons and laypersons can’t.) And there’s even such a thing as having an authority to do XYZ, but not having the authority to delegate that authority. (Which is why priests can confect the sacrament, but cannot delegate that role to a deacon.)

      So: Do we have just authority from God to point firearms at one of our neighbors to prevent consensual homosexual acts?

      I believe that we don’t, and that for us to use force in that fashion without authorization from God is to exceed our warrant and use unjustifiable force: A sort of Unjust War at the personal level, if you take my meaning.

      (The analogy to Just/Unjust War is an apt one, I think. For of course not all depredations by another country constitute sufficient justification to authorize war against them in the eyes of God. Sometimes they do things which are in fact quite evil, but which are of a character that does not authorize us to initiate force against them. So too at the individual level and the criminal law level: A man might do something quite evil, but it might be of a character which does not authorize his fellow man to use force against him.)

      At any rate, I am deeply unconvinced that we as persons have been granted authority by God to use force against other persons to prohibit and halt and punish and deter consensual homosexual acts between adults, despite the (high) degree of disorder and sin involved in such acts. I believe these acts are not of a character which warrants gun-pointing.

      Certainly the Catechism seems to envision force-wielding against other persons as a sort of emergency measure to prohibit the unjust use of force; and I take it that for the proper ordering of civil society we extend that to “intellectual force” (e.g. fraud, contract violation, property crimes and the like). It is clear a man can defend his family against a home invader or his person (or a neighbor’s person) against highway robbers; but it is very far from clear that the Catechism also intends simple fornication, masturbation, sodomy, and the like to likewise authorize gun-waving, however sinful these things might be.

      And if we do not have just authority from God to use force for such purposes, neither do our employees, to whom we delegate the normative role of organizing our collective use of force. We can’t delegate what we don’t have.

      • yan

        You have obviously done a lot of thinking about your theory of delegation of powers and I think your theory is interesting. I would caution you that your theory of delegation is far from being the only theory that is out there being discussed in the legal journals today. I would also suggest, since the topic seems amenable to you, that you check out some of the other theories. And I will only offer two tentative criticisms, and these are 1] that I do not recall from Locke, Hobbes or the Federalist papers, that it is first required that a power must exist in an individual before it is delegated to a government; and 2] while you say that this must be the case as a matter of logic, in fact there are simply some things that government can do, and that individuals cannot. Thus, it would be absurd to, for instance, premise the ability to delegate the power of waging war upon the ability of an individual to wage war, since the power of waging war belongs by the nature of the act to states and not to individuals. Thus, I don’t believe that your attempt to apply your theory to the power of the state to interfere in sexual relationships is correct.

        Finally, I think it would have occurred to the Founders, if your interpretation of delegation of powers is correct, that all the laws then present on the books in the states outlawing adultery, sodomy, incest, polygamy et al, would be, by your reckoning, contrary to the law of nature. That it did not occur to them I think speaks poorly of your understanding of delegation, since although our state governments are theoretically governments of plenary power, even they claim to derive their powers from the consent of the governed.

        I will grant you that the same sex attraction of a man in Vladivostok is not relevant to the foregoing. On reflection, it is unclear to me from the context of the article whether Mr. Shea was espousing solely a principle of personal behavior, or a more general principle which should also apply to state action. Since he invoked the homosexualist movement, which is highly political, I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that he meant that his principle also applied to state action.

        So permit me to clarify: if he meant it purely as a matter of personal action, then I agree that as you say, I jumped the gun and furthermore, if his principle is actually as you have stated it in your second paragraph, then I am in agreement with him as to its substance too.

  • bonaventure

    C.S. Lewis was wrong, and so are you Mark Shea (with all due respect).

    A person COULD (and SHOULD) give moral advice against sins which he/she has never been tempted to engage in, because one does not need to be tempted by a particular sin in order to understand and explain why a particular behavior is sinful.

    I was never tempted by drug use; yet I know and I can clearly explain why drug use is sinful.

    If temptation and/or sinful activity is a prerequisite to teach against sinfulness, then must I wonder about those excellent teachers in my life (including teachers, professors, priests, parents, relatives, religious, bishops, authors, friends, etc) who have ever taught me something about some sins???

    Mark: It is sad to see that an otherwise intelligent commentator like you must suddenly flow with the current just because an apparent idol of yours — in this case the pope — goofed off and inadvertently spoke off the cuff without weighing his words first.

    • Irksome1

      Of course you understand that knowing a certain thing is sinful or even why it’s sinful isn’t the point. The point I believe that Mark is trying to make is that once he’s acknowledged the sinfulness that same-sex attraction inclines an individual towards, he’s loathe to give advice out about how to manage it or the relative strategies one may pursue to achieve chastity, since he’s completely without a reference point to be able to judge the merits of any such advice. So, Mark practices humility in acknowledging where the limits of his competence are.

      You ought to familiarize yourself with Courage, the Church’s apostolate for those experiencing same-sex attractions. At Courage, men and women with same-sex attractions draw strength and advice from each other rather than an armchair theologian with only a speculative idea of what they’re going through.

      • bonaventure

        I am not familiar with “Courage,” but if it is a faithful organization (as opposed to being a dissenter organization), all power to them.

        But experience is not enough.

        In fact, different teachers are actually expected NOT to have engaged in different sins, yet they are also expected to inform themselves about those sins, and teach against them.

        What is so silly lately, is that so many (otherwise faithful & intelligent) Catholic commentators in the blogosphere are suddenly holding their breath on the issue of homosexuality, just because — as Cardinal Dolan wrongly asserted — the “tone has changed.”

        While in fact nothing at all has changed. The pope spoke for 3 minutes off the cuff and, as is apparently his speaking style, botched the answer and laughed it off.

        He was not defining a dogma, for crying out loud!

        • College Jay

          I’ll admit I’m not Catholic, but I don’t know how he botched his answer when, by all accounts I’ve read, he simply reiterated the Catechism’s teachings on homosexuality. He said that gays are called to chastity like all others, that they should not be marginalized or judged, and that they can seek Christ in good faith.

          Even as a Protestant evangelical, there doesn’t seem to be anything controversial, notable, or “botched” about that answer.

          Also, you’re still missing the point that Mr. Shea wasn’t talking about “teaching against” sins. He was talking about helping those who struggle with them. There are many debates among Christians who struggle with homosexuality about whether or not same-sex attractions are immutable. Some say we are all called to celibacy. Others advocate for reorientation (also known as “ex-gay”) therapy, while others say such therapy is ineffective at best and harmful at worst. Mr. Shea was simply saying that, as a heterosexual man, he really has no input in these debates, but still defends the right of ex-gays to state their point of view.

          • bonaventure

            When compared to the very wise, thoughtful, intelligent, and theological answers and comments of the last two popes (John Paul II and Benedict), Pope Francis’ poor verbal communication skills are a setback.

            That’s what I meant when I wrote that Francis botched his answer. His speaking style is botched… which is something that you may agree or disagree with.

            But his answer to the question was, in fact, faithful to the teaching of the Catholic Church because he clearly and insistently compares homosexuality to sin, and he clearly say that political homosexual activism is evil.

            The full text of Francis’ answer can be found here, in English and the original Italian: http://saltandlighttv.org/blog/world-youth-day/a-note-on-the-popes-remarks-to-journalists-en-route-to-rome

            What is upsetting, is not what the pope said, not even his clumsy style (which I admit to dislike a lot): you can read my other posts elsewhere where I defend Francis against those liberals who gaily believe that the Catholic Church will suddenly ordain and marry homosexuals (and ordain women, and allow abortion, and allow all the other sacred cow new fascist causes).

            What is upsetting, is to see how many faithful and conservative Catholics are suddenly “holding their breath” out of confusion, and waiting to hear what else will the Pope say — or how will the curia spin the pope’s comment — before they, themselves, continue to speak and write on homosexuality as they always did. Such attitude is plain juvenile.

            • College Jay

              I already knew that the Pope’s comments were in line with the Catechism, and I said so in my comment. There was no need to tell me that, although I’m getting the distinct impression that you don’t read comments before you jump in with your opinions and defensiveness.

              I fail to see how this is a crisis, or why it would be upsetting to anyone. The Pope reiterated Catholic teaching on human sexuality. The media, as they tend to do, have taken things out of context and spun their own narrative. I don’t see many people waiting for the Pope before they comment. In fact, aren’t we all commenting now? Everyone is speaking about and writing about homosexuality like they always did. If anything, the Pope’s comments are causing them to write about the subject more.

              • bonaventure

                Yeah, the feeling is mutual. I also have a feeling that you don’t read other people’s comments before replying.

                So, let’s dot some “i”s:

                (1) I agree with the pope. I’ve been telling many liberal catholics that the pope didn’t say anything new, and that his teaching on human sexuality is in line with the Catechism, with Benedict, with John Paul II, with the deposit of faith, the Tradition, the Bible, etc…. I’ve been saying that because they (liberal catholics) suddenly believe that the Church will magically ordain and marry homosexuals, just because the pope said it in a clumsy way.

                (2) I do not like the style that the pope is using. It’s off the cuff and clumsy, and I like leaders to be thoughtful when they speak (especially on important moral issues, and in answer to “gotcha” journalists). You’re free to disagree with my assessment of the pope’s verbal communication skills.

                (3) What I really do not like, is to see that many conservative Catholics (of which I am one) suddenly say “I’m not interested in trying to control what you do in your bedroom since it’s, you know, not my business” (ref. Mark Shea’s article) to a behavior which, prior to two days ago, they were all over the place condemning, as indeed they should be condemning. That’s what I mean by “holding their breath”: suddenly, they appear confused or in a “I don’t now and I don’t care” mode (like Mark Shea’s quote above)… just because the pope said something in a botched and clumsy way.

                (About the “botched and clumsy style” of Pope Francis: fact is, had he not answered the journalist’s question in a clumsy style, we wouldn’t be discussing it here, since the liberal media would have never made a story out of it).

                Good night.

                • chezami

                  “suddenly saying”? I’ve always said I have no interest in trying to control somebody elses behavior in their bedroom. I’ll say what I think is right and wrong, but unless you are suggesting we institute the sodomy police or the masturbation squad I don’t know how you propose to enforce some sort of civil code about illicit sexual activity.

                  • bonaventure

                    Of course, no one cannot physically control what all the sodomites do behind closed doors. For one, it would be too disgusting; secondly it would indeed require a sodomy police (as you say), which at this time is non-feasible, although not a bad idea… unless, of course, you also favor the SCOTUS’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas…

                    But yeah, Mark Shea and other Catholic commentators have, indeed, suddenly changed the tone of their previously loud and clear condemnation of homosexual behavior.

                    I mean, why on earth did Mark Shea EVEN write the following passage: “I’m not interested in trying to control what you do in your bedroom since it’s, you know, not my business”?

                    Why? Because the pope was misquoted by the liberal media when responding to a question which he answered off the cuff, in jest, and rather clumsily (as is his speaking style). But papal idolatry is a poor excuse to suddenly change one’s previously strong and uncompromising tone on a most crucial and important matter of morality, like homosexuality.

                    (Remember the homosexuals’ whistles and shouts at the 1973 APA convention? Oh, maybe you weren’t born… so FYI, that’s when the APA, under bullying pressure, removed homosexuality from the DSM).

                    Now, notice that Mark Shea wrote the quote above as if he was speaking to a homosexual. Well, if he were really speaking to a homosexual sinner, he should rather say: “I would urge you to control your sinful behavior even behind closed doors, because, you know, what you do in private really DOES AFFECT SOCIETY AND THE COMMON GOOD FOR THE WORSE.”

                    And this is what I deplore so much:

                    (1) The pope says something clumsily…
                    (2) Liberal vultures jump at the clumsy speech…
                    (3) Faithful Catholic suddenly shake and tremble that — oh dear! — maybe the pope did say something “different” from the previous popes in content and/or in tone (the “tone difference” argument was used by Cardinal Dolan)…
                    (4) And then suddenly the otherwise faithful Catholics start spewing defensive idiocies that “what one does behind closed doors is not my business”… Yet we all know that immoral behavior has no open or closed doors, and that it always AFFECTS THE COMMON GOOD FOR THE WORSE.

                    So yes, it SHOULD be our business what people do behind closed doors, even if we do not have all the practical, professional, and/or scholarly experience of the sin in question. And as Christians, we should be always prepared to offer a defense of the faith; in this case, that homosexuality IS a grave sin (as, incidentally, the Pope actually said very clearly despite his otherwise clumsy style), WHY it is so, and WHAT is needed to be free from it: the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Saints in his Church.

                    But if Catholic commentators and users on Disqus really think that homosexuality in our neighbor’s bedroom is (suddenly) “none of our business,” then maybe we should all team-up to open a brothel and keep everything that’s going on inside it “behind closed doors” (as brothels already do), and then the activity inside the brothel will be “no one’s business.”

                    • chezami

                      “which at this time is non-feasible, although not a bad idea”

                      Okay. So we’ve established that you are a lunatic. Never mind. As to why I wrote what I wrote (back in May of last year, so it’s hardly a sudden change), it’s because it’s what I think.

                    • $34727343

                      maybe we should all team-up to open a brothel and keep everything that’s going on inside it “behind closed doors” (as brothels already do), and then the activity inside the brothel will be “no one’s business.”

                      Duh. Already been done. It’s called The VATICAN. No doubt you’d find a lot of sodomy to police there, in addition to getting your jollies, that is.

    • College Jay

      I’m not sure you really read Mr. Shea’s article. He believes homosexual behavior is a sin, and has preached against it several times. However, he does not feel it is right for him to counsel a homosexual person about how to manage his or her temptations.

      You might know why drug use is sinful, but does that make you qualified to run a drug rehabilitation ministry? The question isn’t about whether or not homosexual behavior is sinful, but about whether armchair theologians should enter the debate about whether reorientation therapy or celibacy is the best option for those who struggle with homosexual desires.

      • bonaventure

        In this case, Catholic clergy should never speak about spousal problems and sins which are specific to marriage.

        In this case, Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox clergy who have been trained through the regular seminary route should never speak about those sins that they have not personally encountered in their lives.

        • College Jay

          You’re being completely ridiculous and juvenile. No one said such a thing. There is a big difference between a clergyman with years of training and a cultural commentator who has neither the training nor personal experience to comment deeply. You’re taking Mr. Shea’s quite reasonable statement and taking it to absurd conclusions. It’s annoying.

          I’m not qualified to put my two cents into debates about which methods of drug rehabilitation work best. Do you know why? Because I’ve never dealt with drug addiction, nor have I trained and read much about the subject. Mr. Shea didn’t say that heterosexual people can’t support those who struggle with homosexuality, nor did he say that they can’t have opinions about reorientation therapy. What he said was that he, personally, did not have the experience or knowledge to comment on the subject beyond saying that homosexual behavior is a sin.

          You’re completely foolish if you thought that anyone was implying that a priest can’t counsel a married couple. No one was saying that, or anything close to it. The biggest takeaway from this article, and perhaps one that you should follow, is that if you don’t know much about a subject, it’s best to learn more about it before you speak up and make a fool out of yourself.

          • bonaventure

            (1) Mark Shea implied that one cannot speak about a sin, if one has no experience of it;

            (2) Neither am I currently qualified to speak much about methods of drugs rehabilitation. But if I needed to speak about it (because, let’s say, I am a priest/pastor in a community which must deal with the problem), I would inform myself and talk about it without restraint.

            (3) Mark Shea clearly said that he does not feel to have the authority to say anything to a homosexual couple about their sinful behavior because it is not “his business” what they do in bed. In the Catholic Church, such refusal to call others about their sins is, in itself, a grave sin — and Mark knows it very well.

            (4) I was simply using rhetorical language to make a point, no foolishness there (on the contrary). But you seem to be no different than those Catholics that I have been critical of in the last two days: those who claim to be conservative but appear to be suddenly so confused about the sin of homosexuality because the pope — oh, dear me, the pope??? — said something in a clumsy way…

            • chezami

              No. Mark Shea has said that while I can say what the Church teaches about sexual morality (no sex outside of faithful heterosexual monogamy) I do not feel myself qualified to hand down free advice from Mt. Sinai on how homosexuals should handle their form of concupiscence. That’s because a) I don’t have their struggles and b) I am neither a priest nor a spiritual director, nor do I have any charisms in that department.

  • Francis


    Please qualify/explain your idea of drug use being “sinful.”

  • james s.

    It seems to me that tolerance as a guide to one’s behavior leads to only one of three outcomes: (a) continued difference, in which A and B disagree on the issue but agree to tolerate each other; (b) consensus, in which either A or B abandons his position and adopts the other’s view. Tolerance has no meaning within the framework of a consensus. (C) imposition, in which either A or B brings in the state to impose a solution, which outcome, obviously, is the opposite of tolerance itself. Radicals in the homosexualist movement appear to opt for outcomes B or C.

  • BHG

    Two observations. Paul demonstrated a certain satisfaction in the fact that he had been beaten for witnessing. Nothing’s changed. Second, if one really wants to witness Christ to the gay community, perhaps the best lead in is not a sign saying “Repent or else” with flames at the bottom. Effective witness first requires relationship. These confrontations prove little except to stir up passions on both sides, ones not easily cooled.