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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Are we complicit?

It has been deeply disturbing to read media coverage of the bullying and suicide of at least six gay youths in the past few weeks.  A colleague of mine in psychology assures me that this represents only a small percentage of the number of LGBT young people who committed suicide in the same period, not to mention those who attempted to end their lives.  In reflection, I wonder whether we are somehow complicit in creating an environment of alienation and despair.  In the Church's attempt to assert it's commitment to heterosexual marriage and to maintain that homosexuality is a moral disorder, does it help to create a cultural climate that tacitly legitimizes the stigmatization of gay young people?  At the very least, I hope that bishops and pastors will take the opportunity to offer encouragement to young people at risk and to call communities to love rather than to reject.  It has also caused me to reconsider the possile benefits of anti-bullying legislation even if it were to serve a largely symbolic function.

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I am very much struggling with the question posed by Russell and thus would be grateful to hear people's thoughts on it. A friend of mine posted the following on FB yesterday:

"Bullying is trickle-down. If, with YOUR vote, YOUR offering-plate dollar, and/or YOUR club dues, you support institutions which tell our teens that gays aren't worthy of the army, the pulpit, the marriage bed, heaven, equal treatment under the law, or basic respect and dignity, then don't act all shocked and surprised that teens see gays as expendable."

I confess that I'm not sure what to think about the question of whether my financial contribution to my parish each week makes me complicit in creating an atmosphere "of alientation and despair" (to use Russ's phrase) or one in which teens think taunting of gays is acceptable behavior (to use my friend's wording.)

Posted by: Susan Stabile | Oct 5, 2010 6:26:08 PM

The answer to the question, "Are we complicit?" is, of course, yes.

I think it is absolutely critical for the Church, and also for parents, to figure out some way to teach about homosexuality that does not leave young people who discover they are gay loathing themselves. It is just a fact that a certain percentage of young people will turn out to be gay. If I were a Catholic parent, I honestly don’t know how I would teach my children the Church’s position on homosexuality without being extremely worried about how they could live with themselves if they discovered they were gay.

Would a young teen who discovered he or she was gay feel comfortable going to a priest for counseling? (I am not alluding to the abuse crisis here, but now that I think of it . . . . ) How many parents, Catholic or otherwise, have raised their kids in such a way that the kids will come to them for help and advice if they think, or know, they are gay?

When you are around 13, how do you deal words like "grave depravity"? Interestingly, I just Googled those two words, and look what the first hit was:

Catechism of the Catholic Church - The sixth commandment
Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,140 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are ...
www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a6.htm - Cached - Similar

Look up "intrinsically disordered," and your first three hits are from the Vatican website.

How do you explain this to a young person: "When such a claim is made and when homosexual activity is consequently condoned, or when civil legislation is introduced to protect behavior to which no one has any conceivable right, neither the Church nor society at large should be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground, and irrational and violent reactions increase." I remember when that came from the CDF (1986) a lot of people thought it sounded almost like a threat. It's interesting to read that statement in the light of the question about bullying young gay people. "If you engage in behavior to which nobody has any conceivable right, don't be surprised at what happens to you."

Posted by: David Nickol | Oct 5, 2010 8:37:22 PM

The Church is worthless if she is teaching anything other than the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in matters of faith and morals. If the Church is teaching error in a matter of faith or morals, it would mean that she is not what she claims to be. Accordingly if I believed she were teaching error about homosexuality I would immediately cease putting money in the collection basket. I would also cease considering myself a Catholic, and seek the truth elsewhere.

I however believe that the Church teaches the truth about homosexuality. Her teaching that homosexuality is disordered finds support in plain old common sense (who cannot see that heterosexual sex is sex that functions the way it supposed to?), the Old Testament, natural law and the writing of Sigmund Freud (who considered any sexuality that did not tend to procreation to be a perversion). Were the Old Testament, St. Paul, natural law, and Sigmund Freud all wrong in concluding that homosexuality is disordered? If so, what error in reasoning did they make?

If the Church is teaching the truth, it is hard to see how see she is to blame if others engage in bullying that the Church condemns. David Nickols’ assertion that the CDF’s document callously turns a blind eye to bullying (“don’t’ be surprised at what happens to you”) is an outrageous misrepresentation of what the document in facts says. The passage that Mr. Nickols quotes is immediately preceded with the following statement that Mr. Nickols does not quote:

“It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.”

(Notable, in light of the foregoing, is that the CDF document goes onto to state: “But the risk is great and there are many who seek to create confusion regarding the Church's position, and then to use that confusion to their own advantage.”)

For anyone who is sincerely interested in the appropriate pastoral care for the homosexually inclined, I suggest that he read the CDF document in its entirety and with an open heart. I also suggest David Morrison’s “Beyond Gay.” http://www.beyondgay.com/

Posted by: Dan | Oct 5, 2010 9:28:16 PM

I do not take the position Dan does, that disagreement with the Church on a matter of morals would lead me to "immediately" cease putting money in the collection basket and calling myself a Catholic. The Church has changed its position on certain issues over time and there is room for (and value in) dissent on its positions to ensure that it, in fact, speaks truth. If everyone took Dan's position, there would never be any possibility of growth and change.
That doesn't say there isn't a point at which ceasing contributions and leaving is necessary - and I'm not entirely sure what that point is, but immediately walking out on discovering a disagreement doesn't strike me as the best course.

Posted by: Susan Stabile | Oct 5, 2010 10:03:33 PM

I woke up thinking about the exchange between Dan and David in the comments above re the 1986 CDF document. It is true that the CDF document clearly condemns acts of violence in speech and action against homosexuals. It is also the case that there is some wonderful language in the American Bishop's 1997 Pastoral Letter, Always Our Children.

However, how many Catholics in the pews have read or are ever reminded of those documents? The only thing people hear from Church officials is that homosexuality is intrinsically disordered, a moral disorder, a major sin, etc. It is not surprising if some of them pick up the message that they need not respect such persons. I know from my expeience as a retreat director and spiritual director that many parents of homosexual parents are not aware of the contents of Always My Children and think the Church is asking them to disown and not love thier children (something that clearly contributes to the despair and depression of some).

Bishops and pastors ought to see themselves as having some obligation to give a fuller message on this issue. Perhaps whenever they make statments talking about the Church position on homosexuality they need to do a better job of conveying what does and does not constitute acceptable behavior toward homosexuals. And the call of some in recent days that pastors spend some time preaching on these recent suicides and the atmosphere surrounding them is one I think should be heeded.

Posted by: Susan Stabile | Oct 6, 2010 8:52:36 AM

I woke up thinking about the exchange between Dan and David in the comments above re the 1986 CDF document. It is true that the CDF document clearly condemns acts of violence in speech and action against homosexuals. It is also the case that there is some wonderful language in the American Bishop's 1997 Pastoral Letter, Always Our Children.

However, how many Catholics in the pews have read or are ever reminded of those documents? The only thing people hear from Church officials is that homosexuality is intrinsically disordered, a moral disorder, a major sin, etc. It is not surprising if some of them pick up the message that they need not respect such persons. I know from my expeience as a retreat director and spiritual director that many parents of homosexual parents are not aware of the contents of Always My Children and think the Church is asking them to disown and not love thier children (something that clearly contributes to the despair and depression of some).

Bishops and pastors ought to see themselves as having some obligation to give a fuller message on this issue. Perhaps whenever they make statments talking about the Church position on homosexuality they need to do a better job of conveying what does and does not constitute acceptable behavior toward homosexuals. And the call of some in recent days that pastors spend some time preaching on these recent suicides and the atmosphere surrounding them is one I think should be heeded.

Posted by: Susan Stabile | Oct 6, 2010 8:52:36 AM

I deleted a few comments, FYI, that I thought were inappropriately ad hominem.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Oct 6, 2010 9:30:52 AM

In my own experience (which might be unrepresentative, given that I live and work in a University setting, Catholic teaching with respect to homosexuality is *always* presented in a way that emphasizes (indeed, prioritizes) the dignity of the person over the critique of immoral sexual activity or the sacramental understanding of marriage.

In response to Russ's question, I believe the answer is "no." That is, I do not believe that the Church, or Catholics generally, can fairly be said to be "complicit" in the hateful behavior that seems to have caused the suicides under discussion. Indeed, I think we should worry that this hateful behavior, and its tragic results, will be used as an occasion / excuse for efforts to silence or penalize the Church's distinctive message: which is, again, a message that holds up and affirms the dignity of all while at the same time proposing a particular normative vision of human sexuality.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Oct 6, 2010 9:38:59 AM

Susan - I agree that no one should leave the Church just because they discover that they disagree with one of its teachings. Our human formation requires that we wrestle over those disagreements in our hearts and work them out over time. In many cases, a Catholic may find a single teaching in isolation (e.g. no artificial contraception) difficult to accept, but as that person grows in the faith and comes to understand the Church's larger position on human dignity, life, freedom, creation, etc. - then some of those teachings start to make sense.

We should actually tell people who disagree with the Church on certain moral teachings: stay here and keep worshipping God with us. Those struggles and disagreements you have are a sign that you are growing. And we who accept the teachings should also accept with patience those who disagree. Even the apostles disagreed over important issues, but they stayed united by working through the questions together in faith.

I also agree that the Church and its leaders should do all they can to teach about the inherent worth and dignity of all people, including homosexuals. But I am often frustrated when we "blame" the Bishops for not doing enough (it's too easy a charge to bring). If the Church is "the people of God," then we are all responsible for making the Church's teachings known in the public square. It is our responsibility too, not just the Bishops.

I think this is an especially important point in our sound bite age. Of course, the media only reports those times when the Bishop says the words "sin" and "homosexual acts" in the same sentence, but never when he says "forgive" or "love" or all those other words that are part of the gospel message. So, in many ways, we are the ones who have to read the documents (as I know you do) and teach them to our kids and colleagues and parish family (as I know you do too). The Bishops are putting out good stuff, and we have a responsibility to make it known.


Posted by: BMW | Oct 6, 2010 10:15:35 AM

Here is my own understanding of what the Church says about "the dignity of the person."

First, a quote from "Some Considerations Concerning the Response to Legislative Proposals on the Non-Discrimination of Homosexual Persons"

**********
Homosexual persons, as human persons, have the same rights as all persons including the right of not being treated in a manner which offends their personal dignity (cf. no. 10). Among other rights, all persons have the right to work, to housing, etc. Nevertheless, these rights are not absolute. They can be legitimately limited for objectively disordered external conduct. This is sometimes not only licit but obligatory. This would obtain moreover not only in the case of culpable behavior but even in the case of actions of the physically or mentally ill. Thus it is accepted that the state may restrict the exercise of rights, for example, in the case of contagious or mentally ill persons, in order to protect the common good.
**********

The key passage, to me, is, "Nevertheless, these rights are not absolute. They can be legitimately limited for objectively disordered external conduct. This is sometimes not only licit but obligatory." Now, objectively disordered external conduct can be something like quietly living in a same-sex relationship. Remember Archbishop Chaput refusing to let the children of a lesbian couple continue their education in the Denver Catholic school system. If the two mothers had been renting from a Catholic landlord, he (or she) would have not been engaging in "unjust discrimination" to require them to move out of his apartment building. A good Catholic employer could have fired them from their jobs.

According to the Church, a person is not to be unjustly discriminated against because of his or her sexual orientation. However, we have this:

**********
10. “Sexual orientation” does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnic background, etc. in respect to non-discrimination. Unlike these, homosexual orientation is an objective disorder (cf. Letter, no. 3) and evokes moral concern.

11. There are areas in which it is not unjust discrimination to take sexual orientation into account, for example, in the placement of children for adoption or foster care, in employment of teachers or athletic coaches, and in military recruitment.
**********

As I read that, discrimination ("just discrimination") is permissible based on orientation alone, not on behavior. And as we all know, a celibate homosexual man is now not permitted to enter the priesthood. It is not a question of his behavior. It is a question of orientation.

So some discrimination is permissible based solely on a homosexual orientation alone. And once a person engages in homosexual conduct, it is unclear what kind of discrimination would be "unjust." I do not mean to suggest that the Church would permit bullying a young gay person, but it seems to me it would permit ostracism.

So gay people have dignity, as all persons do, but their dignity may in some cases be similar to the dignity of the dangerously mentally ill who must be controlled to protect other members of society.

Posted by: David Nickol | Oct 6, 2010 10:29:14 AM

BMW - I agree with everything you said. And, as my original comment perhaps did not make sufficiently clear, the personal responsibliiy issue is an extremely important one to me. If one comes to the conclusion that the Church is complicit in not doing enough, that can't be the end of the story. The follow-up has to be, to what extent does personal silence/nonaction make one complicit as well.

Having said that, I do think there is "blame" on the part of the Bishops and that there is nothing wrong with pointing that out. I think the silence from the Church on, not only the suicides, but also gay-bashing is shameful. For example, whatever else one thinks of the gay marriage DVD that is the subject of a separate post by Rob, that video was coincidentally mailed within a week of an attault on a gay student at a local college here (Augsburg college...and there was more gay bashing the following weekend). Wouldn't all the discussions and interviews about the video have offered a wonderful opportunity for the Archbishop and his spokespersons to speak out against such violence? What does it say when the only thing we hear about is that the Archbishop denied communion to at a student mass to students wearing a rainbow fish and the Archbishop's statements about gay marriage (even if one completely supports both of those) but no statement about the violence and suicides?

Posted by: Susan Stabile | Oct 6, 2010 11:17:42 AM

It appears that the consensus here is that we all are complicit, and I agree. This includes all Christians, Catholic and otherwise. This includes all persons.

Dan asked questions about whether homosexuality is “disordered” that should be discussed – on a different thread. I do think Dan agrees that the putative “disordered” character of homosexuality does not justify hateful acts against homosexuals.

The complicity of most Christians (including Catholics)–indeed: most People–lies not in any advocacy or indifference to hateful acts; such advocacy or indifference is rare. Complicity lies in failing to anticipate how some people will respond to the language used to express disapproval: reasonable people can anticipate that some UNreasonable people will treat disapproval as a license to abuse those disapproved. Reasonable people can anticipate this and speak as forcefully about respect for human dignity as they speak against that they disapprove of. Unfortunately, most of us fall short on the former regardless of how we feel about the latter.

The aphorism attributed to Burke goes: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.” Sometimes it is sufficient for them to just do too little: to speak forcefully against some honestly perceived evil and just assume that all the listeners understand that the speaker opposes hateful acts. Those two concepts need to be joined EXPRESSLY: Homosexuality may be a sin, but that DOES NOT JUSTIFY hateful acts etc. Too often we are clear on the first thought and silent on the second.

The same, of course, applies to those who support the human rights of homosexuals; too often their forceful words omit the vital thought that hateful acts against their adversaries are NOT justified. There are no innocent parties in this debate. We could all benefit by ratcheting down the rhetoric. Neither shouting nor CAPITAL LETTERS make an argument right. The whole point of this debate is to preserve or enhance human dignity, it serves no valid purpose to abuse in the name of stopping an abuse.

When hateful acts are incited or just “winked” at, or not forcefully repudiated, there will be victims on all sides, including the “side” you or I am on. Complicity in one victimization is complicity in all.

sean s.

Posted by: sean samis | Oct 6, 2010 12:05:52 PM

I deleted a few more comments. Come on, people: Dial it back.

Sean writes that "[t]oo often we are clear on the first thought and silent on the second." He and I agree that we ought to be clear about both. But, again, in my experience, it is not the case that the Church is silent on the second.

Posted by: Rick Garnett | Oct 6, 2010 3:09:12 PM

I believe my comment was deleted. Thus proving that if homosexuals get their way it will be illegal to teach what the Church teaches. Political correctness kills.

Posted by: Fr. J | Oct 6, 2010 6:27:52 PM

From the Catechism. Quoting it could get you arrested in Canada. If these acts are gravely disordered then the people who crave them have what? A problem. That problem could well have other symptoms, such as depression or suicidal tendencies. How can we deal with that if people refuse to see it as a problem, but see the cure as the problem? What happens is that you close off any research on the issue and make it...political. Then you silence those who point this out. Silence=Death.

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

Posted by: Fr. J | Oct 6, 2010 6:40:28 PM

Fr. J,

Suppose you are invited to give a talk to a class of 13-year-old boys and girls about homosexuality. Some of them actually may already have realized they have a homosexual orientation. What would you say to them? Would you use the words "grave depravity" and "intrinsically disordered"? And if you did, and they asked you to explain what that meant, what would you say?

Posted by: David Nickol | Oct 6, 2010 7:18:56 PM

Part of me thinks that responding to Fr. J’s comments on this thread makes us analogous to those who protest against homosexuals at military funerals. Turning reflections on the untimely deaths of people into a debate on any other topic seems … just wrong. I’m channeling Aquinas’s synderesis here, I think. May they rest in peace; may we be forgiven.

sean s.

Posted by: sean samis | Oct 6, 2010 10:11:16 PM

David, in fact I have taught classes and some in them did turn out to be homosexual. I can think of two off hand. I taught them exactly what the Church teaches. I tried to use terms they could understand. They have a right to hear the truth. I would, if I had known, offered to find counseling for those who were troubled. They may reject the truth of the Church's teaching, but at least then knew what they were rejecting. I have never met a happy homosexual.

Sean, so proclaiming what the Catechism says is the same as Fred Phelp's? Again, you prove my point. You try to silence opposition and avoid engaging what is actually said. However, I did not post this article I just responded to it. If you cared about these deaths then you would want to know the truth rather then score propaganda points against religion. Wouldn't you?

Posted by: Fr. J | Oct 7, 2010 11:28:40 AM

I was absent while the comment thread was unfolding. At this point I wish only to make a clarification: My comment that I would leave the Church if I believed she were teaching error, while a true statement, was not intended to mean that I advocated the departure from the Church of other Catholics who, for whatever reason, cannot accept the entire teaching of the Church. That said, Catholicism makes sense only if accepted whole; piecemeal (or "cafeteria") Catholicism results in a fragmented Catholicism that has considerably less luster than unedited Catholicism. The analogy that comes to my mind is that of a beautiful vase. When it is unbroken its beauty is resplendent. If, however, it is broken and then glued back together with a few pieces missing, it loses most of its beauty.

Posted by: Dan | Oct 7, 2010 1:59:21 PM

Dan,

When I was going to Catholic school in the 1950s and early 1960s, I would have sworn on a stack of Douay–Rheims Bibles that infants who died without being baptized went to Limbo. I would not have dared to tell one of my teachers that I didn't find it believable. (I never thought to question it back then, in reality.) But now we have been told that it was never an official teaching of the Church. So my question is this: How do you define or know what "the entire teaching of the Church" is? What, for example, is the teaching of the Church on the death penalty? And what about the "hierarchy of truths"?

Posted by: David Nickol | Oct 7, 2010 3:20:23 PM

"I taught them exactly what the Church teaches."

Fr. J,

It seems to me there are two issues -- what the Church *says* and the impression the Church gives. It is fairly easy to teach what the Church says, but the impression part is what I am interested in. One gets the impression, for example, that the Church considers homosexual sex acts the most evil sins imaginable, as opposed to, say, artificial birth control, which is apparently used by about 90 percent of Catholic married couples at some point in their marriage -- couples who probably cohabited before they were married, and are statistically a little bit more likely to have an abortion than the general population. Where in the population of sinners did you try place homosexuals in comparison to others?

Posted by: David Nickol | Oct 7, 2010 3:30:29 PM

David, your comments directed to Fr. J illustrate the problem with dealng in “impressions” as opposed to facts and actuality. “Impressions” by their nature tend to be inaccuarate and are not subject to verification. Yours in particular are nothing more than subjective assertions of opinion that do not correspond to any relevant facts. For example, contrary to what you claim, the Church views homosexual acts and contracepted heterosexual sex as analagous evils. The Church condemns artificial contraception as “intrinsically evil” because "’every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible’ is intrinsically evil.” CCC 2370. Similarly, the Church condemns homosexual acts because they “close the sexual act to the gift of life.” CCC 2357.

Although I am not a theologian, I would say, based on the foregoing, that the answer to your question (of where the Church puts contracepting couples in relation to homosexuals) is: in about the same place.

Posted by: Dan | Oct 7, 2010 5:21:36 PM

David, abortion is also a sin. That doesn't make homosexual acts less sinful. Even if everyone had an abortion it would not make abortion morally good. It is always evil. The same goes for homosexual acts, which are always objectively gravely sinful. We have a saying, "all heresy begins below the belt." There is some truth to that. I believe the "impression" I gave was that God loves and loves us enough to tell us the truth. While my 2 students who suffer from same sex desire may not agree with what I said neither of them would say that they held it against me. I know this from my subsequent contact with them and their relatives.

Posted by: Fr. J | Oct 7, 2010 6:11:55 PM

Dan: "Impressions" and perceptions are not irrelevent becuase people act based on their impressions and perceptions. The Church has to be concerned with how their words are perceived by people which is why my concern is with HOW the Church conveys its message. If the Church speaks in a way that people perceive as permitting gay bashing or as making parents of gay children think they must abandon their gay children it is, in my mind, no defense to say, "well they just interpeted our words wrongly. They should have read the CDF document."

Fr. J: Our experiences are very different. I have met very many happy homosexuals.

Posted by: Susan Stabile | Oct 7, 2010 8:11:58 PM

Last time I looked, we were all objectively disordered.

Posted by: WJ | Oct 7, 2010 9:17:11 PM

Dan,

Susan Stabile's response regarding impressions is right on target. The Catechism says, "They [homosexual persons] must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided." But Archbishop Chaput would not let the children of a lesbian couple continue to attend Catholic school. To the best of my knowledge, Cardinal O'Malley of Boston is the only high-level Catholic official in the United States to even imply that Archbishop Chaput was not speaking for the Catholic Church as a whole. Read in the light of Archbishop Chaput's actions, respect, compassion, sensitivity, and avoidance of unjust discrimination seem to be no more than words on a page.

Posted by: David Nickol | Oct 7, 2010 11:21:34 PM

to discuss the original question, in what way does it stigmatize homosexuals to say homosexuality is a sin? Does it stigmatize masturbators to say masturbation is a sin? Does it stigmatize obese people to say gluttony is a sin? Or people with anger problems to say anger is a sin?

The problem here is in the false dichotomy of American secularism (in my opinion idolatry against both God and Science) which say homosexuals are somehow different in that they deserve some special standard of relaxed disapproval, or else some special standard of heightened disapproval, than the disapproval we apply toward anyone else with a sexual dysfunction.

Unfortunately, this false dichotomy has been the key factor in how psychologists in America have chosen to discuss homosexuality: is it a disorder for two consentual people to have desires for one another when they have opposite gender? They have decided it is not, on the basis of consent of the parties. But the Church has always said that it is the opposite gender part that is the inherent disorder, that it defies the very presence of gender as a result of the ordering of creation itself. Science agrees with that in principle: Darwin says only the fittest survive, and the fittest survive by transmitting genetic material to future genetic beings, aka offspring, which are produced by man via sexual reproduction. Defiance of that defies what both Darwin and the Church would say is the natural law.

This is basic algebra, but because homosexuals "believe" against these principles, they can claim stigmatization against those who oppose this view? Rather, is it not secular America who fails to see how victimization is exaggerated in the gay rights propaganda to reach the point where the whole nation cries for the gay man who killed himself, while similarly ignoring any other suicide? Don't you see how captive America is to the false ideology...to which the Church should continue to stand firm as a rejection of idolatrous beliefs that defy logic and reason, such as that homosexuality is not clearly disordered, in that it opposes the very act of creation that God spoke into being.

In conclusion, I'm not any more worried about stigmatizing gay people with my faith than with stigmatizing Jews, Hindus, polygamists, murderers, thieves, drunkards, liars, corruption, immorality, and hypocrites. And the fact that Christian America is even having this conversation shows me how little foundation our faith has in America, such that this principle governs: "if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."

I hope that's not too long of a comment for this blog but I personally believe this nation is insane by ignoring these principles:

1: Simple math: male + male does not = child; male + female = child. Life continues from only one of these equations, from the other we have only certain extinction. Therefore only one should be encouraged by a society who believes in continuing to exist.

2: simple rule of faith: don't bully anyone for any reason, but do not let up from what is true to give in to what is false.

Posted by: Colin Leicht | Oct 8, 2010 3:00:56 PM

Inspired by David N from Oct 5, 2010 8:37:22 PM:
I believe that the Church teaches the truth about left-handedness. Her teaching that left-handedness is disordered finds support in plain old common sense (who cannot see that the whole world is set up to encourage the right hand to function the way it supposed to?), the Old Testament, natural law and the writing of Sigmund Freud (who considered any writing that did not tend to avoid ink blots to be a perversion). Were the Old Testament, St. Paul, natural law, and Sigmund Freud all wrong in concluding that left-handedness is disordered? If so, what error in reasoning did they make
-----
Left-handedness used to be considered a mark of evil, an abberation to be beaten out of a child. However, like variations in sexuality, it always existed as a minority, and must therefore be natural. It's taken time, but now we've accepted it as "normal". Why make LH lives any more difficult by having churches move to outlaw LH scissors and LH golf-clubs? You can keep your right-handed bibles as long as you want. That's protected. However, my life is more interesting and rewarding because I support left-handed people in my heart. Of course, there is some bumping of elbows around the dinner table, so some friends no longer come to dinner, but that's OK with me and my G'd. We're inclusive in following His main message to love your neighbor.

Posted by: Marco Luxe | Oct 8, 2010 3:15:59 PM

the error in your logic is in asserting that lefthandedness is analogous to homosexuality. this is easily demonstrated by considering that were the situations reversed, and left-handedness was the dominant position, and everyone were forced to use their left-hand, mankind would still continue to exist. It can also be seen because no matter which hand is dominant, neither handedness has a significant biological and physiological advantage.

yet neither equation works when considering homosexuality in the way that you have framed it (as "variations in sexuality"). This is because if everyone were forced to live with homosexuality as the acceptable norm, and heterosexuality as not acceptable, this would be the last generation of mankind. And in fact, if homosexuality were purely genetic and not based in some sort of hormonal or libertarian drive, homosexual human beings would already be extinct, based on a similar Mendelian genetics schematic.

How can logical people think otherwise? This is why this issue is debated on an entirely illogical paradigm: the problem is in the definition itself of "variations in sexuality". The very term is the source of all error in these discussions, and is in fact borne not of science or fact but out of mythology. The Christian view on sexuality is actually the closest to science that there is, but the anti-Christian sentiment has fueled a neo-idolatrous belief that fiction is fact and fact is fiction, that homosexuality is not what plain high school biology can demonstrate: a disorder.

One deserving as much compassion as any other, but still a disorder.

Posted by: Colin Leicht | Oct 8, 2010 5:31:28 PM

BMW, your quotes were chilling. I never realized the Church taught this stuff until I was in a discussion with someone who took issue with the way the Church treated gay people and I said that the Church was tolerant of gay people and he sent me this. I went to 12 years of Catholic school and have attended Mass every Sunday for over 45 years and have never heard a word spoken against homosexuality in school or from the pulpit. The words in those quotes actually sound to me like they were written by a Nazi in describing Jewish people. It pretty much says that gay people bring it upon themselves because of who they are. Yes, it does seem to say that people can be discriminated against based on their orientation. I don't see a lot of respect for the dignity of gay people in these writings. To the author they seem to be a disordered and defective group of people and discrimination against them is OK if it can be justified.

Posted by: Mareczku | Oct 8, 2010 9:59:41 PM

Colin Leicht says: "And in fact, if homosexuality were purely genetic and not based in some sort of hormonal or libertarian drive, homosexual human beings would already be extinct, based on a similar Mendelian genetics schematic."

Colin,

I have a limited understanding of genetics, but it is enough for me to know you are incorrect. There are any number of ways homosexuality could be purely genetic and not be eliminated by natural selection. Below is one theory from Wikipedia. It is important to remember that natural selection works not on individuals but on populations.

**********
Important new evidence on a plausible mechanism for the evolution of "gay genes" has emerged from the work of Camperio-Ciani. They found in two large, independent studies that the female relatives of homosexual men tended to have significantly more offspring than those of the heterosexual men. Female relatives of the homosexual men on their mother's side tended to have more offspring than those on the father's side. This indicates that females carrying a putative "gay genes" complex are more fecund than women lacking this complex of genes, and thereby can compensate for any decreased fertility of the males carrying the genes. This is a well known phenomenon in evolution known as "sexual antagonism", and has been widely documented for many traits that are advantageous in one sex but not in the other. This provides solid experimental evidence of how "gay genes" could not only survive but thrive over the course of evolution.
**********
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biology_and_sexual_orientation

Posted by: David Nickol | Oct 8, 2010 11:33:14 PM

Evidence for a "plausable mechanism"? Do you mean that we should proceed under the assumption that a gay gene exists before anyone has found clear evidence? Which is why once again I say this is mythology and BELIEF, NOT FACT.

And yet this is without realizing that the basic flaw in the logic behind the existence of a "gay gene" is that it would genetically inhibit procreation. If your theory is correct concerning a female genetic advantage, it proves only that "homosexuality" is a side-effect of some ordered feminine genetic function, such that "homosexuality" is not meant to be expressed in males at all, and is therefore a genetic malfunction. But even if it were ever PROVEN to be genetic, that is, beyond "plausability", that doesn't mean sexual organs are supposed to be applied to any other part of a human body than those of the complementary sex.

I mean, come on; Down's syndrome is genetic, too, you know. Are you going to argue that that is genetic-therefore-not-a-disorder? How about diabetes, IBS, anemia? This isn't exactly rocket science.

Further evidence that it is not genetic was on 60 Minutes a few years back where two genetically identical twins were of different apparent sexual orientation. I say apparent because they were 5 years old, and incapable of expressing any real "sexuality" in prepubescence, other than the social roles. This is distinct from sexuality expressed by "attraction," which is more chemical than social. OR IS IT? Maybe homosexuality is entirely a psychological disorder. Insomnia, anorexia, kleptomania, fetishism, and gender identity disorder all currently exist on the DSM...but homosexuality was removed for what reason again? The logic is not sound to exclude it from any other sexual disorder.

Thus, how did we get to the point where people who essentially have a fertility disorder now have a whole highly complicated psychological and social identity and subculture, which the Church is being asked to exalt as if a biological tendency to avoid procreation were something to be cherished and encouraged?

Are we heading towards progress, or regress, to adopt such ideology? I do realize I'm starting to resemble a eugenicist (except i'm not advocating genetic cleansing of society), but the scientific logic leaves no room for mythology like that of the modern world regarding homosexuality, even in the secular world, much less the Church.

Why should the Church change what it believes about homosexuality, when this matches the basic logic of evolution (as opposed to the highly stretched application of the search for a "plausable mechanism" logic of evolution), in order to adopt an illogical, irrational, ideological belief system that prejudicially assumes facts that haven't been proven yet?

That sounds like false worship to me, and the Church should take no part in expressing such idolatrous beliefs about the world, and in fact, is commanded by God to oppose such beliefs.

Posted by: Colin Leicht | Oct 10, 2010 6:28:07 AM

My name is Joseph R. Yungk, Providence, Rhode Island.
I grew up in Windsor CT, son of Ron Yungk Sr. and Ann Yungk.

I was raised to believe I was moral trash from the age of five when I was playing with dolls and my mother approved of the resultant social ostracism from my brothers and all their friends.

I learned multiple lessons such as that over the course of the next twenty years.

I was convinced I was a deranged psychopath who would certainly go to hell just for my thoughts. I was terrified all the time.
I was bullied incessantly for long periods of time for being different, effeminate, interested in other things, and the list goes on.
My parents would immediately blame me for any kind of bullying that befell me.

This is all the direct result of the church making the claim that my thoughts are evil and don't deserve the same rights as a heterosexual.

I've since tried to discuss with them how difficult this was, but they are not in any way responding. I've contacted their parish priest, he does not reply.

I'm treated like scum for my entire life, no chance of a healthy relationship, shunned by my family, can be denied insurance, a job, mortgage, housing, even education for my children if I have any, and I can still be berated as someone with a deep moral disorder.
And this is "Christian"?
I'll be nursing the wounds for the rest of my life. At fifty years, this is getting tiring.
How do you catholics justify treating people like this and calling it Christian? This really is the direct result of catholic teaching. Others are greatly encouraged when they hear someone is evil. And in my vast experience, when that happens, no catholic tries to stop it, even parents blame the gay.

I had a very good friend who was beaten close to death this time of year in the middle of the street in Queens, NY. There was a resultant demonstration about the violence, there were no religious figures there saying this should not happen. There were, however, catholics there counter-protesting. One guy had a quote from Leviticus burned into his skin for the occasion, not even realizing that a tattoo is also against Leviticus.

Whether this is genetic or something more complex is still unknown, some say this may be more closely related to hormonal events early in life, either way, one does not "choose" this attraction. I do not choose to be treated like crap with so few workable choices in my life. The "gay gene" question does not matter, for all you know, this may be a way of inhibiting overpopulation. What matters is some are stuck with an attraction and your church justifies very UNChristian behavior over it.

This is the reality of what the catholic church does to gays. You don't act compassionately or lovingly. telling a child he's got a moral and sexual disorder and is going to hell if it's ever gratified is not healthy. Letting other children and adults too think that gays are pedophiles and trying to corrupt you is not healthy or accurate. Telling me that I'm loved and don't deserve "unjust" discrimination while every hateful slur is supported by your church is schizogenic. blaming me for your divorce rate, your own homosexual inclinations, your own pedophile problem, all of which the Vatican has openly done, is far from anything I can ever imagine someone like Jesus would have approved of.

you don't love me, nor do my parents or your priests, you love having a scapegoat. You love having someone to blame, you love having someone you can look down on. If you really were Christian or specifically Catholic, you'd be more worried about your own terms with God than mine. Isn't that part of the throw the first stone thing?

Why do you throw stones? Why do you not say anything when someone else does?

yes, you ARE complicit.

Posted by: joe | Oct 11, 2010 3:25:27 PM

Colin Leicht,

I have no idea whether a homosexual orientation is determined in whole or in part by genetics. I was responding to the following statement you made: "And in fact, if homosexuality were purely genetic and not based in some sort of hormonal or libertarian drive, homosexual human beings would already be extinct, based on a similar Mendelian genetics schematic." That is simply false, and all it takes is one plausible scenario like the one I presented -- whether it is actually true or not -- to falsify your statement.

You say: "I mean, come on; Down's syndrome is genetic, too, you know. Are you going to argue that that is genetic-therefore-not-a-disorder? How about diabetes, IBS, anemia? This isn't exactly rocket science."

I agree with you that it isn't rocket science. It is *far* more complicated than rocket science. Your view is that you are correct, high school biology proves you are correct, and anyone who disagrees with you is denying the obvious. However, the Human Genome Project has revealed that human genetics is vastly more complex than anyone imagined. Understanding is still in its infancy. Those who have taken only high school biology, or college biology, or even who have graduate degrees and have worked in the field for decades have no simple answers for complex matters like sexual orientation, other human personality traits, or even what were hoped to be relatively simple diseases.

Posted by: David Nickol | Oct 11, 2010 4:24:40 PM

Joe,

I'm really sorry that all of this happened to you, that people misconstrued what the Church teaches and used it to their own advantage. But it does not change the fact that the Church A)does not teach nor condone violence against the homosexual, B)has the responsibility and obligation to teach the truth which she receives from the divine, and C)that the sins of the human element do not negate the immutable truth of the divine element.

I can't begin to understand the pain you've experienced, but just as you feel you are a scapegoat for the Catholic Church and her people, you are making the Catholic Church and her people a scapegoat for all the wrongs that have been done to you in your life, can't you see that?

In the end, in order to love someone, you must tell them the truth, even if it hurts their feelings. You don't show your love for an alcoholic by taking him to bars, telling how great getting drunk is, and saying "I won't judge you, you can do whatever you like with alcohol." The same for a homosexual, an adulterer, a contraceptor, a kelptomaniac, a murderer, a liar, etc.

Posted by: Norm | Oct 11, 2010 5:29:06 PM

Gee Dave, you don't think that the way you present your "truth" is going to be understood when your "truth" says people are on a continually drawn to evil due to a disorder and are the same as murderers if they act on it? And you think that people who just want to be themselves are not then going to be subject to objectionable reactions? It's already been noted, ad nauseum, that the Vatican seems to think that violence is only inevitable to such people. After they tell others gays are evil, making a footnote about "unjust" discrimination, after saying they want to reserve the right to deny any sort of benefits, also noted above.

Is this realistic? When you or an institution makes such philosophically incongruous remarks, everythings is open to interpretation. And you see the result right before you. you've seen it in everyday life when someone makes a gay joke followed by some remark in disgust, I certainly do. And after a summer of anti-gay Catholic support public rhetoric that gays are, again, evil, we see an endemic of gay suicides. And you compare them to murderers.


You really do not get it.

I get my door knocked on twice a weekend by some missionary who wants to include homosexuality in his list of sins, but would certainly not want me knocking on their door about the sin of blame and the need for tolerance of homosexuality.

Whatever your "truth" is, or wherever it comes from, children have a right to some degree of dignity and safety. Is that not Christian?
Is denying safety and dignity unconstitutional? You may think it's Catholic, but it certainly isn't American.


Have you ever considered what the pubescent child goes through with this teaching? Are you really OK with the result? Look at the results? Do you think you would not have any gay children? these kids could be in your own family. do you not think that they would deserve the same respect and safety as any other child?

And in all this discussion of "justice" I haven't really seen an question of why the Catholic Church should even be as involved in the degree of legislating one's own private life, yet, they don't want one very basic right of safety covered for their own children.

Posted by: Hal J | Oct 11, 2010 7:59:10 PM

Is there a reason that someone should be subjected to your, and only your religious views? Maybe the homosexual does not want your "love". If we want to legislate love, we should be legislating peace too.

Posted by: Jamie J | Oct 11, 2010 8:02:57 PM

David Nickol,

It looks to me like nothing was ever misconstrued, the results look very direct.

How is a child supposed to feel growing up with this guidance?

Posted by: Jamie J | Oct 11, 2010 8:14:08 PM

The Church needs a nemesis, now more than ever after repeated pedophile scandals, gays are just the only people left whom they can do this to and get away with it. That children are denied safety to further that propaganda is reprehensible and indicative of Her motives.

Posted by: christine | Oct 11, 2010 8:50:25 PM

Hal J,

I think you are responding to the post that ends, "The same for a homosexual, an adulterer, a contraceptor, a kelptomaniac, a murderer, a liar, etc." That post was written by Norm, not by me.

Posted by: David Nickol | Oct 11, 2010 11:11:33 PM

David Nickol,

Let me get this right, I and my peers were taught growing up that the person I was becoming was evil;
I'm berated because I'm dealing with this burden;
other children, whom I also know to presume I'm gay due to effeminacy and are also taught that being homosexual is evil,
all this supported by catholic dogma and practice,
and you have no idea why I'd be blaming the catholic church for a large part of some serious abuse I've experienced over the years?

Posted by: joe | Oct 12, 2010 3:57:30 AM

Joe,

I am *totally* on your side here. If I have stated the Catholic position here in harsh terms, it is because I believe the position is harsh. I am not at all endorsing it. I am just saying what I think it is.

Let me repeat something I wrote over on the Commonweal blog. My premise is that "homosexual persons" are persons with a homosexual orientation who remain celibate because they accept the Church's teachings that homosexual acts are acts of "grave depravity," and that "gay men and lesbians" are men and women who accept and embrace a homosexual orientation as not being evil and identify in a positive way with others who describe themselves as gay men and lesbians.

**********
The Church is less than fully accepting of “homosexual persons,” — they can be discriminated against, although only “justly” — but it is the enemy of gay men and lesbians. The Church does not recognize “gay rights.” No doubt it will welcome gay men and lesbians with open arms if they renounce their self-identification as gay men and lesbians, acknowledge that they are intrinsically disordered, confess that their past behavior amounted to grave depravity, and dedicate themselves to a life of celibacy. But of course the Church would feel much the same about repentant terrorists, abortionists, murderers, and rapists. As I said, in a very real sense, the Church does not recognize the right of gay men and lesbians to exist. They must convert to being “homosexual persons” to have any but the most basic rights. To quote William Lindsey, “I confess I don’t hear the love in all of this.”
**********

When I say that the Church is the enemy of gay men and lesbians, I am lamenting the fact, not approving it. The Church is (for lack of a better word) homophobic. The Church is anti-gay in much the same way as it was anti-Semitic.

You might be interested in reading the following two threads on the Commonweal blog

Carl Paladino’s opposition to homosexuality: “Exactly equivalent to the Catholic Church”
http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/?p=10376

Gay bullying and Catholic responsibilities
http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/blog/?p=10364

Posted by: David Nickol | Oct 12, 2010 7:54:48 AM

Nobody has explained why the American citizen at large should be expected to live up to your particular standards? How about explaining why you feel it necessary to tell children that they are either intrinsically disordered or are among others who may be intrinsically disordered?

Do any of you see this as something potentially harmful?

Posted by: GCD | Oct 12, 2010 12:27:06 PM

Thanks GCD, has anyone commented on why we need to do this outside of the Church and how it makes children feel?
One person above mentions how it is in a University setting, far from the playground where people like Joe got beaten up, and some of the other suicidal teens mentioned.

How does this happen practice?

Look at our actions and the result.

I see a direct result contrary to the teachings of Jesus.

Posted by: Jamie J | Oct 12, 2010 1:17:22 PM

David Nickol never answered to Joe as to why he feels the Church is blaming him and other gays for divorce, pedophilia, just about any social strife, yet he's accused Joe of scapegoating when he addresses the direct result of the Church's catechism.

You say the church is "harsh", you never say why he and every other gay person in the U.S. should be subjected to it. And after you claim to be "totally" on his side. Your God and church are harsh. I thought this was about love and forgiveness.

The contradictions are shining through, even we don't understand it all, yet the child on the playground is expected to.

I think you're more than just a bit unrealistic. Have any of you ever considered having to grow up like this?

Historical/linguistic note: the actual terms used in the old testament, prior to being translated over and over again through 20 centuries never used any term equivalent to "grave depravity" in reference to homosexuality, in practice or otherwise.
David is the one being "harsh". do you see any historical connections with the idea of 'just following orders'?

Posted by: Hal J | Oct 12, 2010 1:57:40 PM

isn't telling someone they should never have a sexual relationship due to their disordered depraved motives actually helping to "close the sexual act to the gift of life"?

Either way you lose, the way it is now by Catholic standards, they are not going to reproduce anyway.

Is treating someone in this way really supposed to show them the "gift of life"?

Posted by: Chrissie G | Oct 12, 2010 2:41:25 PM

why are none of you trying to legislate masturbation? it's got all the dogma behind it being a sin. Is it at all possible that you don't because you know everyone does it?
You do realize that everyone does it and not masturbating for men has been determined to be unhealthy, right?

Did God want us to be sexually frustrated with prostate cancer or did he want us to be fruitful in life in general?

I seriously doubt He wanted the results we're seeing in the rest of the media nor the results that are being discussed here.
Joe, and other homosexual pubescent children and adults, whether acting on it or not, do not deserve what they have gotten. What they have gotten is as against the Church's lessons as homosexual acts themselves. It's even more doubtful He wanted us teaching children that bullying others for any reason is wrong, but turn a blind eye the bullying of gay people. That the answer is not apparent to so many is absurd.

I've been lurking on this subject for a few days and one consistent from the anti-gay viewpoint that I see here and everywhere else is a complete lack of empathy or any understanding of homosexuals feelings as human beings. It's easy to de-humanize in discussion, use terms such as "objectively disordered" and it gets easier.
See how easy it is for you if everyone thinks and says this to you knowing you'll never really be considered a whole person. That every now and then, very rarely, the suffering of the homosexual is noted and compared to Christ's suffering, but with no compassion shown , while not giving someone a choice in how they live is very much not Christian, and in plain terms, cruel.

There are statements about the idea that say this could be you and your children. Nobody seems to be taking the challenge of this

As for the left-handed model, how about you have a paralyzed right hand, because use of the left hand is sinister, you are not allowed to use it for any reason, people will feed you and work for you but you cannot write or work or have a relationship because of it. You are openly told that your intent to use your hand is evil and will go to hell if you do, there is something objectively disordered with you that will make the world crumble and therefor are not entitled to the same rights or privileges of the rest of society. You can never scratch an itch or prepare a meal for yourself with that hand. The actual survival of the species will not be affected either way as not enough people have this "affliction", but you will bring down society with you actions, just by your own actions that you do in your own home. Other children have an idea that something is wrong with you, they see you not using your arm. They poke fun at you continually through some of the most important years, because the Church says you have evil intentions of using your left hand one day. How do you feel growing up?

Posted by: Ken | Oct 12, 2010 4:17:17 PM

Hal J says: "David is the one being "harsh". do you see any historical connections with the idea of 'just following orders'?"

Hal J,

A response of mine to your message earlier this afternoon seems to have disappeared. (Deleted? I don't know.)

Briefly, I said I believe the teachings of the Church are harsh, and I do not endorse them or accept them. When I describe what I believe the Church teaches, it sounds harsh because my understanding of it leads me to believe it is harsh. I think the Church has been anti-gay much in the same way that it was anti-Semitic, putting a terrible burden on gay people. I believe gay people and straight people should basically follow the same "rules" when it comes to sexual morality. I think sexual morality should be arrived at based on what is helpful and harmful to people, not based on arcane rules about openness to the transmission of life.

I put my personal e-mail address in the last message, which is maybe what got it deleted (if it was deleted).

No young person should have to face the teachings of the Church about sexuality while trying to come to grips with their own orientation. I would not describe the behavior of any gay person I have known -- including behavior I have disapproved of, like cheating on a partner -- as being "grave depravity."

Posted by: David Nickol | Oct 12, 2010 5:33:58 PM

Regarding masturbation, I believe Thomas Aquinas considered it a more serious sin than visiting a prostitute.

Posted by: David Nickol | Oct 12, 2010 5:36:03 PM

I think the anti-gay crowd should put themselves back in their own shoes when they were just beginning to understand their own sexual urges. They find out they are drawn to something that's considered evil. They know that they will be marginalized socially and spiritually, that their family may disown them, that there are entire institutions dedicated to limiting their rights and privileges, there are slurs and accusations of how evil their thoughts are floating around them all the time. They are told they will go to hell if they either act on their urges or even entertain them. They hear in the course of their lives more lies and accusations, none of which make any sense in reality. They know they can't tell anyone.

How does it feel? You're twelve and bullies are looking for one expletive or another to start their barrage of hate. If you are bullied, it's more than your parents are going to be able to help you with, if they even would understand at all in the first place. The bullying is silently ignored by the church, possibly your parents.
Can you cope with that? Is this fair? Should you be expected to just "take it"?

Now try imagining a world where you pick out one naturally occurring trait that develops at various stages through life until it becomes clear. You tell all your children that if this happens, you will live a life of misery, no satisfaction, no trust from your own church, one can refuse to hire or house you, you will never be able to have a family of your own. You subject these people to doctrine explaining why they are always drawn to evil, their motives and feelings are evil and they are subject to ongoing slurs and ugly characterizations. Some experience physical violence which the Church does not want to intervene on.
You then see that these people have problems due to the way they were raised, rather than helping them from the start, accepting them or even listening to them, you just blame the resultant self esteem issues on that horrible trait you were so afraid of. The Church actively states the problems that actual professionals immediately identify as the result of long term abuse is really just because those people were morally deficient in the first place.


All of this is immoral in a civilized society. How it passes as Christian is beyond me.
This is institutionalized oppression and abuse at it's most powerful.
That the Catholic Church has done this for centuries while blaming the abused is socially, ethically and morally abhorrent. Why anyone would feel that all U.S. citizens should be subjected to this is not quite as astounding as the fact that you have subjected your very own children to it for centuries.

Posted by: Ken | Oct 12, 2010 8:17:34 PM

"Just take it?" That's exactly what's expected. I grew up gay in the Catholic church and asked myself how much I'm supposed to take. What they are asking of people, let alone children, is way more than should be expected in the case of homosexuality. It simply does not work, we've seen this over and over again through history.
We keep hearing now about too much government and all and I'm sure the flip side is not wanting to be told how to judge homosexuals, but to force the suffering of that judgment on someone without their will through legislation is not anything I can see the Bible supporting. I do see the Bible supporting legislation against violence of any sort. You may feel comfortable subjecting your own children to it, and I do think you should consider the other experiences outlined, but I would not wish that imposed on my worst enemy, let alone a child with no control of his feelings.

Posted by: JT Jones | Oct 12, 2010 9:47:48 PM

By the way, have any of you tried Ken's empathy exercise? Try doing it from the age of twelve through fifty, in real life. Then tell us what you think about Christianity.

Posted by: JT Jones | Oct 12, 2010 9:51:30 PM

Since there are now documented cases of actual violence toward gays, including children, the moral dilemma between accepting what one does in their own home vs. their dignity and safety, should be easily answered. Unfortunately, The Church has backed herself into a corner on the reasoning. But despite what is called "natural" vs. "disordered", the moral imperative should always be safety and dignity. To rationalize away anti-gay violence and The Church's involvement while providing nothing but platitudes if someone conforms to every demand of The Church is not a fair exchange by any means. sounds more like moral enslavement than anything else.

Posted by: Doc J | Oct 12, 2010 10:51:14 PM

To instill the kind of fear in people that the catholic church has done without fully explaining nonviolence is irresponsible. Gays are attributed to the divorce rate, the overall erosion of the family, rampantly spreading diseases, attempting to "convert" children and confusing them about their own gender. All this handed out by the vatican. But the church takes no responsibility for the social fallout.
you're more than complicit, you're signing the order. We saw institutionalized fear the summer of health care reform, we saw the anger and rage, most of it all misdirected based on cogently prepared false reports of taking away medicare and euthanizing grandma. Yes, the church's treatment of gays is homophobic, these are based in fear and they are designed to stir up more. The church points the finger and then leaves it to the mob. None of us are fooled by these machinations.

Posted by: Eddie C | Oct 12, 2010 11:04:03 PM

JT Jones,

Don't forget pedophilia. After the long unending scandals, Cardinal Bertone came out and stated quite clearly that pedophilia was a homosexual problem caused by having too many homosexuals in the clergy. Gays after all are considered to have such inherently low moral standards they have less resistance to temptation around children, therefor should no longer be in the clergy or around children. Actual science has denied this for about forty years.
But, the gays get blamed.
I think we all see the social code being put into play.

Posted by: JT Jones | Oct 12, 2010 11:11:17 PM

David Nickol said:
"When I say that the Church is the enemy of gay men and lesbians, I am lamenting the fact, not approving it. The Church is (for lack of a better word) homophobic. The Church is anti-gay in much the same way as it was anti-Semitic."

Yet he also said that the church "loves" me by telling me what an evil person I am and you go on to say it's the same with a murderer.

What is it, do you think I'm a seriously disordered person who should not be trusted and will always be tempted by evil therefor not afforded the same rights and be called evil, or are you really on "[my] side"?
You accused me of scapegoating, I responded, but see no reply from you. I have not accused the church of contributing to my financial or health, job, just the fact that I can be denied those services. I have kept the experience to exactly what I have experience and the results. But still, somebody is always around to say it's the gay guy's fault.

going around validating a value you think is harsh and lamentable is not exactly what I'd ever call "on my side". I'm amazed at what I hear out in the world, people claiming they love me but then going an throwing some kind of judgmental slur.

This entire issue is arbitrary. It could be based on color, religious views, weight or height. Most social systems are dysfunctional to a point, but the catholic church needs someone to blame, get people worked up for a sense of unity through excluding others. We've seen this over and over again through the centuries. What you just gave me was the Nuremberg defense after much of the same behavior.

Just why is it that the church work its own spiritual growth rather than bash gays? If you think I'm not being bashed, review my experiences outlined above, then think of the result if I was at rally calling all open catholics evil. Do you not think it's a slur? do you not immediately go and say that's wrong to berate someone for a religion? Why are you supposed to be more protected than me?

And by the way, I have a U.S. constitution saying I do not have to practice your religion, let alone be subject to your abuse because of it. I was subjected to this as a child and it will not happen again.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 13, 2010 7:14:14 PM

I just finished looking over some of the responses. I'm glad a turned a few people onto the site.

Is there anyone here who would like to offer their five year old child for the experiments outlined by Ken above?

We could take a five year old and tell him over the following fifteen years that there's something very wrong with him, just because of the way he acts and feels. We can then see if he has problems socializing, forming relationships, having trust in his religion and elders.

I'm sure someone out there who fully believes that the rates of depression and drug abuse which make gays so incapable of having relationships (according to you leaders anyway)would like to see if his heterosexual child would turn out to have problems.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 13, 2010 7:53:20 PM

I just got off the phone with Sr. Mary Kelly from the Archdiocese of Hartford.

She could not understand how being told from the pulpit that gay people were evil would effect a twelve year old who is just discovering his attractions.

She could not understand why it would be an issue for someone who had already left the church.

She could not understand how that speech would affect others who would hear it.
she had no idea how this would contribute to bigotry.

She seemed to think I had all the same rights as any other Catholic, despite the church's insistence that I do not have the same rights.

She seemed to think that because this happened years ago, that it should not be affecting me.

She could not understand how telling the media that gays are evil, that a child would use that as playground ammunition.

This is complete evasion of responsibility, denial of one's actions, and complicity with an institution that has systematically abused children for at least as long as I've been alive.

The catholic church's actions in this regard are indeed evil and has lost the intent of Christianity.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 14, 2010 3:40:50 PM

I forgot to mention,
she had absolutely no idea how other children, hearing that gay people are evil and effeminate men are somehow inadequate, would then pick on children with this as an excuse.

How does the church go on denying their own socially cruel behavior?
Is it blind?

Posted by: Joe | Oct 14, 2010 3:47:14 PM

If anybody is still reading this . . . .

Joe,

You said: "You accused me of scapegoating, I responded, but see no reply from you."

Please take a careful look above. Here is the sentence I believe you are referring to: "I can't begin to understand the pain you've experienced, but just as you feel you are a scapegoat for the Catholic Church and her people, you are making the Catholic Church and her people a scapegoat for all the wrongs that have been done to you in your life, can't you see that?"

That sentence was "Posted by: Norm | Oct 11, 2010 5:29:06 PM."

The author and date for posts appears BELOW the post. You read Norm's post, looked at the name ABOVE it, and attributed it to me. I never said a thing about scapegoating.

You said: "Yet he also said that the church "loves" me by telling me what an evil person I am and you go on to say it's the same with a murderer."

I believe you are referring to this: "In the end, in order to love someone, you must tell them the truth, even if it hurts their feelings. You don't show your love for an alcoholic by taking him to bars, telling how great getting drunk is, and saying "I won't judge you, you can do whatever you like with alcohol." The same for a homosexual, an adulterer, a contraceptor, a kelptomaniac, a murderer, a liar, etc."

That was also written by Norm! Let me just reproduce his whole message here for the sake of clarity:

*******************************************************
NORM'S MESSAGE TO JOE OF Oct 11, 2010 5:29:06 PM
*******************************************************
Joe,

I'm really sorry that all of this happened to you, that people misconstrued what the Church teaches and used it to their own advantage. But it does not change the fact that the Church A)does not teach nor condone violence against the homosexual, B)has the responsibility and obligation to teach the truth which she receives from the divine, and C)that the sins of the human element do not negate the immutable truth of the divine element.

I can't begin to understand the pain you've experienced, but just as you feel you are a scapegoat for the Catholic Church and her people, you are making the Catholic Church and her people a scapegoat for all the wrongs that have been done to you in your life, can't you see that?

In the end, in order to love someone, you must tell them the truth, even if it hurts their feelings. You don't show your love for an alcoholic by taking him to bars, telling how great getting drunk is, and saying "I won't judge you, you can do whatever you like with alcohol." The same for a homosexual, an adulterer, a contraceptor, a kelptomaniac, a murderer, a liar, etc.

Posted by: Norm | Oct 11, 2010 5:29:06 PM
********************************************

I, David Nickol, did not write that!


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