Anti-Gay Bigotry

My colleague Father Martin has pointed out the ridiculousness of Cardinal Bertone’s comments linking pedophilia with homosexuality. I find the Cardinal Secretary of State’s remarks not only offensive but completely inexplicable. Why would he cite studies that do not exist or which were fabricated without recourse to science, to make a point the Pope has already refuted, which, in turn, only make him look like a man desperate to shift the blame for the clergy sex abuse scandal anywhere so long as it is away from himself and his boss? Bertone may not be a Donatist, but I suspect he is listening to some. I also have an alternative theory. I think Cardinal Bertone is planning to run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.

Not to be outdone by the Cardinal, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee told a group of college students that he was opposed to gays being able to adopt, and in the process of explaining himself compared being gay to being a drug abuser, or someone guilty of incest, or a polygamist. Huckabee went further than most fundamentalists who hold that they love gay people but they detest the sin of homosexuality. The Church teaches something similar, distinguishing between being gay and acting upon that inclination. Such distinctions never seem to recognize that this construction raises a new variety or category of sin. After all, most sins are choices, you do this bad thing or that, but being gay or straight is not experienced as a choice. All human beings are susceptible to the seven deadly sins, we are all tempted to pride or envy, but certainly not everyone is susceptible to gay feelings. So, the "hate the sin, love the sinner" approach, in this case, seems to raise a new category of sin unknown to the tradition or to the Scriptures.


Huckabee, at least, scored lower on the bigotry barometer than fellow Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum who compared homosexuality to bestiality. The former senator from Pennsylvania, in a 2003 interview with AP said: "In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be." The reporter stopped to comment, "I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about ‘man on dog’ with a United States senator, it's sort of freaking me out." Santorum also invoked comparisons to incest and polygamy. This week, Santorum headlines a GOP fundraiser in Pennsylvania, a pro-life banquet in Kentucky, and a Tea Party Rally back in Pennsylvania before beginning a tour of South Carolina. In other words, he is running.

The fact that Santorum is running is evidence of how skewed the GOP primary electorate is. In 2006, Santorum ran for re-election in his home state and got shellacked, losing to Robert Casey, Jr. by 18 points. I can’t recall an incumbent senator losing an election by eighteen points except in cases where a personal scandal was involved. Yet, he might stand a chance in the GOP primaries. Go figure.

The reason the GOP is likely to remain the minority party for the foreseeable future is that its leading candidates say such ridiculous things in public, things that do not only offend gay people because of the bigotry, but offend others because of the stupidity. The next time one of them is tempted to speak such bigotry, they should bite their tongue and go hiking on the Appalachian Trail or something. Perhaps Cardinal Bertone would enjoy the view from the Trail, too. When your finger is wagging at others, it is not only your finger that is out front of you, it is your chin, and you shouldn’t be surprised when someone lands a punch. Better to use one’s finger to write in the sand than to point an accusatory finger, for politicians as well as for cardinals..

Michael Sean Winters

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Chuck Anziulewicz
8 years 6 months ago
I'm reminded of a Republican political candidate here in West Virginia who would purchase hour-long blocks of radio time to host his own talk show as part of his campaign strategy. I called his "show" and told him that, while I found myself becoming increasing conservative as I grew older, I was still dismayed by his disdain for Gay Americans. I said to him, "It's almost as though you're incapable of making a moral and ethical distinction between a monogamous Gay couple and someone who is promiscuous." His response? "One is bad and the other is worse." Case closed.

My question for Cardinal Bertone, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum would be this: Why is it that it's perfectly acceptable, even admirable, for Straight (i.e. heterosexual) couples to date, get engaged, get married, and build lives together in the context of monogamy and commitment, and that this is a GOOD thing ... but for Gay couples to do exactly the same is somehow a BAD thing? To me this seems like a very poor value judgment.

The ONLY difference between a Gay and Straight couples is the gender of the two people in the relationship. And yet Bertone, Huckabee, and Santorum seem perfectly comfortable with dismissing being Gay as no better than pedophilia, incest, drug abuse, polygamy, and bestiality. With younger people becoming increasingly accepting and supportive of their LGBT friends, family members, and co-workers, this antiquated attitude is simply going to get less and less sympathy as time goes by.

Perhaps the best thing for these men to do when it comes to their dealings with Gay individuals and couples is simply to obey The Golden Rule: Treat them as they themselves would wish to be treated.
8 years 6 months ago
I thought this was about Card. Bertone?  Yet, somehow, those evil Republicans remain the enemy.  Rick Santorum is not even close to being electable in the Republican primaries; he's a statistical blip.  As you correctly point out, he's perceived as a loser.  Well, I'd say he's perceived by Republicans about like Dennis Kucinich is by Democrats. As a REAL political journalist points out in the Post today, Mitt Romney is leading & polling shows him trailing Obama by 8 points at this point.  With political analysis like this, it's no wonder you're a blogger now rather than a political strategist.
8 years 6 months ago
And just when I thought SMW had finally seen the light and left the group think of the Catholic left...
He cites a lack of science in Bertone's views - but this is the pot calling the kettle black!  There is no science to say that people have a natural inclination to a specific sexual "orientation" - there is no homosexual gene.  While some men and women may be some effeminate or masculine that their peers - it is not backed up by hard science and does not automatically make one "gay".
Also, he argument essentially denies free will and reverts to a scientific determinism (in this case, an iminagary scientific determinism that is put forward by radicial individualists and modern ideology).
Sin and sinner is true and compassionate - SMW's version is the inhumane one...
8 years 6 months ago
PS - by his obvious inclusion of politics in this piece - he has shown his hand.
He cares less about the theology and science than defending the gay lobby of the Democratic party that he promotes so frequently...
8 years 6 months ago
"Bertone would enjoy the view from the Trail, too. When your finger is wagging at others, it is not only your finger that is out front of you, it is your chin, and you shouldn’t be surprised when someone lands a punch."
So the obvious message here is this - do not stick up for objective moral values, Catholics, lest this put you in the public spot light and you become the political punching bag for ideologues. 
Keep quiet or else. 
The same for health care - no wonder the NYTs starting draging up 30 year old stories against Catholics a mere two days after the health care bill they opposed was signed into law...
There thinking is obvious and so is Mr. Winters veiled reference here: this will show them what happens when you oppose the liberal regime.
Anthony Tramontano
8 years 6 months ago
Bravo Cardinal Bertone!

MSW'S arguments are the typical liberal bait-and-switch (Catholic magesterium = evil Rebuplican) and condescending liberal presupposition that assumes any argument from the right is alsways unsophisticated in daring to question liberal Dogma, in this case "Gay is ok."

The Cardinal is not conflating pedophila with homosexuality, he is simply pointing out the elephant in the room. Most of the abuse cases involving RC clergy were between males.

8 years 6 months ago
I fancy myself a moderate conservative on this issue: gay relationships deserve some legal classification, but I don't think they should be defined as marriages, primarily bc I think there's a reason no society in history has given gay relationships the status of marriages.
That said, I think it's fair to say BOTH sides here engage in a certain moral minimalism in their arguments.  One would expect that from a politican like Santorum; its disappointing coming from Card. Bertone & MSW.
The liberal minimalist argument is seen in the above comment that the "ONLY difference" between gay & straight couples is gender.  Yes, that's true, but it is THE difference (rather than ONLY), because, of course, same gender persons cannot procreate with each other.  To dismiss that difference is to make slight of a significant fact, & good Catholic moral theology begins with facts.  So when conservatives argue by analogy to incest or beastiality, I think they are responding to the liberal minimalist argument to the effect that such relationships without procreation are not different from any other sexual act between creatures.  This, of course, is the conservative minimalist argument, & is unfair to the depth of attraction & affection between gay couples.  BUT, from a Catholic perspective, however crude, the argument that by forgetting the procreative aspect reduces relationships to a base level does have some grounding that any serious Catholic should wrestle with.
the second liberal minimalist argument is that government has no business regulating "private sexual behavior."  this, of course, is legal nonsense, as governments throughout history have regulated sexual behaviors, & I don't think anyone is in favor of totally unregulated sexual acts between, say, adults and children.  Thus, conservatives raise incest & beastiality in an attempt to also rebut this liberal argument about regulation of sex.
David Nickol
8 years 6 months ago
Brett Joyce says: "There is no science to say that people have a natural inclination to a specific sexual 'orientation' - there is no homosexual gene."
This is certainly not consistent with what the Catechism says about homosexuality. For example, "
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." 
Elsewhere, the Church makes it clear that people with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" are not to be ordained. 
Nowhere does the Church imply that "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" are freely chosen. It says of homosexuality, "

Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained." The Catechism says, "
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." It is not saying, "They made a choice, and they can change their minds." It is saying, "They have to learn to live with their condition."

David Nickol
8 years 6 months ago
Anthony says: ''The Cardinal is not conflating pedophila with homosexuality, he is simply pointing out the elephant in the room. Most of the abuse cases involving RC clergy were between males.''
Actually, what Cardinal Bertone said was, ''Many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and pedophilia but many others have shown, I have recently been told, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia.'' If he had said who told him, what studies they were relying on, and what the alleged relationship was between homosexuality and pedophilia, then we'd have something. But in the absence of any information about who told Bertone what, based on what information, I think we have a right to suspect he is just repeating the old slander that homosexuals are child abusers. 
Homosexuality is far from being an elephant in the room. It is talked about all the time. It is explicitly dealt with in the John Jay Report. And now, in spite of solid evidence that homosexual priests are more likely to abuse than homosexual priests, a ban has been placed on ordaining homosexual men. The expression ''elephant in the room'' refers to an obvious truth or major issue that is not being discussed. Homosexuality in the priesthood and its relation to sex abuse is discussed endlessly. 
David Nickol
8 years 6 months ago
CORRECTION: That should have been: And now, in spite of NO solid evidence that HOMOSEXUAL priests are more likely to abuse than HETEROSEXUAL priests, a ban has been placed on ordaining homosexual men.
8 years 6 months ago
Here is some commentary on this topic from another Jesuit, Fr. James Schall:
"If Benedict XVI has brought anything to the fore in Catholic theology, it is the nature and necessity of "judgment" of the acts we put into the world. This judgment is what Spe Salvi, among other things, is about. It is also very much what Plato is about. Augustine had said that Christian revelation was not necessary to learn what virtue was. The pagan philosophers understood this already. What mystified the great pagan thinkers was not the definition of virtue but its practice.
What we quickly learned both during and after the life of Christ was that the practice of virtue, even with grace, would still be quite difficult. Christians, along with everyone else, would still too often be sinners. One does not become a Christian in order to guarantee that he will never sin again. He becomes a Christian in order, should he sin again, that he need not despair of his soul's eternal fate, provided he is willing to respond as Christ in the Church asked him. 
Thus, Christianity was also about repentance and forgiveness, without ceasing to be about judgment. But this possibility of repentance did not erase the harm our sins cause to others or the penalties of law designed to promote a decent order. Aquinas said that the civil law does not cover every sin but only the most serious ones, those without which people cannot live together. Certainly, the possibility of changing one's life after great faults is central to our understanding of human nature and freedom. But so is the experience of those who refuse, when given a chance, to reestablish proper order in their own lives. Like alcoholics, some people keep doing the same things over and over. The external effects of their internal disorders also need to be attended to."
All of it here:
Anthony Tramontano
8 years 6 months ago
There is an elphant in the room - and it involves the homosexual activity of priests with other men. We know very little about it becuse those who practice it are silent. My only point is that this secrecy on the part of priests - and probaly bishops as well (think Weakland)- has a lot to do with the cover-ups involved in the larger abuse crisis.
Vince Killoran
8 years 6 months ago
I don't think" the homosexual activity of priests with other men" (is there any other kind?!) is an "elephant in the room."  Why on earth is that any of my business?
8 years 6 months ago
I love the posters here, Jeff and Brett saying MSW 'has shown his hand'
Like maybe their wingnut comments don't reveal their 'hand'
Catholic Culture has no comments on Bertone and I take that to mean the trads are 'going to ground' or 'taking to the mattrasses'. until this abuse crisis blows over... NOT..
Anthony Tramontano
8 years 6 months ago
I made a salient comment regarding above but it was deleted!


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