For the biblically challenged, onansim is a synonym for masturbation, Onan being that character in Genesis 38 who paid dearly for the sin of spilling his seed (and we’re not talking Burpee). Because sex is supposed to lead to procreation, the idea of self-stimulation has long been condemned by Christian churches, not to mention the lustful thoughts that generally accompany onanists.
So when Pope Francis says the church needs to apologize to gays and lesbians, will he also include all those boys (now men) upon whom mothers, fathers, priests, pastors, and nuns inflicted guilt, who sought sexual pleasure in forbidden ways? Imagine the following recommendation from Michael Sean Winters of the pope edited to include masturbaters:
Pope Francis’ comments, then, really are not that remarkable, or shouldn’t be. He said the church should apologize for marginalizing
gay peopleonanists and others over the centuries, a marginalization in which the church was not alone, to be sure, but by which the church fell short of the higher standards to which it is called by the Lord Jesus. Why then such a fuss? The fuss comes about in large part because of the fact that while the pope’s words should not be remarkable, they are.
Pope Francis’ comments stand in stark contrast with those who place all sorts of qualifications on their affirmation of the dignity, even the humanity, of
gaypeople who masturbate. Few clergy, at least Catholic clergy in this country, are willing to affirm the dignity of gay peopleonanists, full stop.
When you put it that way, it sure does seem that affirming someone’s worth on the basis of their sexual preferences comes up a tad short.