Gay Groups in the St. Patrick's Day Parade: Cardinal Dolan's Pastoral Choice

Cardinal Dolan is getting heat. He is grand marshal of the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York and says he has no problem with the decision of the parade committee to allow gays and lesbians to march as a group in the oldest parade honoring St. Patrick in America. This is not a religious rite though some attend it religiously. It’s of course associated with Catholics, especially in New York where the saint is patron of the archdiocese’s (some say the nation’s) premier church, St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. The Catholic Church does not sponsor the parade, though the marchers go by the cathedral where the grand marshal traditionally greets the archbishop of New York. The parade also is preceded by Mass in the cathedral. 

Unfortunately a lot of faithful critics and culture warriors are taking issue with Cardinal Dolan’s tolerance of the parade’s gay and lesbian contingent. They seem to advocate an in-your-face approach to anything gay.

The cardinal’s predicament typifies one of the most neuralgic points in the church today: how to balance pastoral and political and doctrinal positions related to gays and lesbian people. Few issues draw such ire as those associated. It is visceral, as if threatening one’s very identity. 

Unfortunately, the church has been dragged into the rancor because of political positions forced by the advances of the gay rights movement. The movement provokes deep polarization of late. Even the federal government eventually refused to defend the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman for the purpose of federal benefits in the Defense of Marriage Act, a law passed with practically unanimous support and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996. The government stopped defending the law in court in 2011 and two years later, the Supreme Court found the definition unconstitutional. 

The Catholic Church rightfully feels the obligation to support marriage as between one man and one woman, and as a player in the public square strongly espouses its position. Its political position meshes with doctrinal teaching on the nature of marriage. 

Nevertheless, Cardinal Dolan also has pastoral obligations. Many Catholics are gay, are related to gays, have gay friends. That is a reality to be dealt with. The U.S. bishops’ Committee on Marriage and Family voted in 1997 on a statement “Always Our Children,” that addressed the relationship between parents and their gay children. It drew fierce opposition from a number of people, but it cleared the air and comforted families who felt torn between what they understood to be church teaching and the natural love of mothers and fathers for children.  

Where to draw the line?

Can a gay person participate in the corporal works of mercy, for example, by working in a church sponsored soup kitchen? Why not? Feeding the hungry is a religious obligation that crosses religious lines and is well rooted in Christianity.

Can a gay person take up the collection at Mass? It’s a service, not a doctrine. Why not? 

Can a gay couple marry in the church? Since the church does not recognize such a union, this does not seem like something the church can approve of.

Can a gay person be welcomed to parade in honor of the saint who used the shamrock to explain the mystery of the Trinity? No reason not to say “march right in.” Can gay groups be disrespectful of the church? That’s been proven by San Francisco’s beyond tacky Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Can Catholic college students drink too much? That’s been proven in the streets of New York. Decorum does not always characterize the cold March celebration.

Cardinal Dolan’s position on the parade is the pastoral one; you don’t reject people for who they are. If a parent of a gay or lesbian child asked if they should invite their child to Thanksgiving dinner, any decent church person would say yes. When torn between being pastoral or political, a basic understanding of what it means to be a church community demands that pastoral take the day. 

Mary Ann Walsh, R.S.M., is the U.S. church correspondent for America.

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dondi gutierrez
3 years 5 months ago
The church accepts individuals to serve with sinful tendencies such as drugs, pornography , alcoholism and homosexuality, as long as they do not commit the sin or repent from such sins. The issue with homosexuals is they do not consider sodomy a sin, therefore the commandments of GOD (pastoral) supercede all mortal human rules. (political). Sister, were you absent the day they taught Catechism 101?
Linwood Camp
3 years 5 months ago
I suppose some would take exception to even the entourage of Jesus Christ himself who routinely 'paraded' with those who were imperfect. And just as with the centerpiece of our faith, the Eucharist, Pope Francis asserts, “[T]he Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.” And to be this upset over a parade? Just silly. I trust they will dutifully eschew Mardi Gras festivities.
Marie Austin
3 years 5 months ago
The Catholic Church should have abandoned the hijacked St. Patrick's Day festivities years ago on the basis of heterosexual people's antics alone. Why complain now? The holiday has become a festival of public drunkenness and lewd behavior based on anti-Irish stereotypes. That said, the author of this article seems to be confused: Gay people have always been allowed to march in St. Patrick's Day parades. Thousands around the country have probably done so as individuals. No one is turned away. This is what is in fact properly analogous to the author's reference to "inviting a gay child to Thanksgiving dinner." Not, as she claims, the parading of a banner supporting a sin. Actually, this banner would in truth be exhorting people to sin, since the "out and proud" theme encourages people to embrace their homosexuality and live the lifestyle. This is a direct call to sin. Parades are not just individuals marching. They are organizations/special interest groups that represent abstract entities, including ideas. Organizers absolutely endorse these entities whether they're Irish dancing troupes or beer companies. For example: Can Irish members of the Former Catholic Priests Association march? Can Catholic cross-dressers march? Can Freedom from Religion Foundation members march? Catholics for Choice members? Sure, they can -- but they can't parade their banner, which shows parade endorsement of their cause and ideas. The grand marshal shares in this endorsement.
Michael Barberi
3 years 5 months ago
Marie, You said: "Actually, this banner would in truth be exhorting people to sin, since the "out and proud" theme encourages people to embrace their homosexuality and live the lifestyle. This is a direct call to sin." I do not object if the policy of those who sponsor the St. Patrick's Day Parade require all groups that wish to march in the parade not to display signs of any kind. However, I object to your remarks above because they encourage the polarity within the RCC rendering gay people second-class Catholics, and if they are living in a civil marriage they are living in mortal sin. This issue is highly debatable. Should Catholics that were born with an innate inclination/orientation have to agree with what the Church proclaims, namely, that what they have is an "intrinsic disorder" of a universal heterosexual orientation/inclination and practice a lifetime of sexual abstinence as the only means to their salvation? Granted, it is one thing to practice sexual abstinence if you are single, gay or straight. I have no issue with that. It is quite another to tell those born with a homosexual inclination/orientation that their "only choice" is a lifetime of sexual abstinence because the RCC prohibits any form of marriage for them. Celibacy is a gift from God given to few individuals, not a large subset of the population. According to many surveys, about 2% of the worldwide population are gay. Only 1% of the worldwide "Catholic" population are priests, seminarians, nuns, etc. Since Catholics represent about 18% of the worldwide population, only a small fraction of the worldwide population are priests, et al. Does God give the gift of celibacy (lifetime sexual abstinence) to all gay people? If not, then why would God ask all gays to do something that they are incapable of doing? Every Catholic is given a choice between marriage or being single, but not gay people. Even priests that have taken a vow before God can get a dispensation from their vows, leave the Church marry and have all the sex they want. Apparently the vow they took before God is not permanent. According to Catholic theology, the acts flowing from a neutral or positive inclination could not be intrinsically evil. So, any moral judgment on this inclination must depend on use. If a homosexual orientation or inclination is morally neutral, then the judgment that homosexual acts that follow naturally from that orientation or inclination are disordered does not logically follow. It is like saying, it is ok to be left handed as long as you don't write with your left hand. Of course, this brings us back to the morality of voluntary human action and arguments that homosexual acts are not open to the transmission of life. I conclude with Fr. James Alison that homosexuality has an unstable meaning. As such, we will need to await the day when the magisterium will change its teaching or pastoral application of the moral norm underpinning the teaching...OR provide us with a convincing moral theory in support of these teachings. Until this happens, our Church will continue to be profoundly divided over this moral issue.
Marie Austin
3 years 5 months ago
Dear Michael, It's quite clear that your issue is not with "polarizing" facts. The truth is, you believe that the biblical prohibition on homosexuality is wrong. That what the Bible says about this is untrue. That the teachings of the Catholic Church on this issue are false. Another religion may be better for you until you understand the wisdom of the Church's teachings, which are not only derived from eternal natural law as God created it, but deducible by human reason. You, on the other hand, are looking for a versions of Christianity where you decide your own rules and are your own God. The mere fact that something is difficult, such as celibacy, does not justify abrogating an entire set of ethical principles. For example, if I am a woman who has a pregnancy out of wedlock and the father leaves me, I cannot just kill the baby because the rest of my life will be unalterably difficult. If the baby is horribly disabled, I can't just kill it because it will be too difficult to raise. Simply being born a woman, it is tremendously difficult in our society to reject the birth control pill, but it is the morally correct choice, and so I do. And what about the scores of males who, through no fault of their own, biologically lose sexual interest in their wives and can only achieve sexual satisfaction through new women? It is a biological fact that men lose interest in their sex partners after a time and can only be aroused by other women; many marriages later in life are notoriously sexless. This is no less rooted in the nature of male biology than homosexuality is in their biology. Ergo, if the prohibition of homosexuality is wrong, then the whole program of Christian monogamy is as well. So, the "too difficult" argument really fails, I'm afraid. (But then again, maybe you are a person who thinks there is "wiggle room" on these issues too. Where do the exceptions end?) Also, your "too difficult" argument presupposes that God has no power to grant peace or the "gift of celibacy" to these individuals through prayer, which is strange indeed if you believe in God. I think you should actually investigate Catholics who take this path. The organization Courage offers support and powerful testimonials that would enlighten you and contradict your assumption that being actively homosexual is superior to being celibate. Watch their captivating film here: http://everlastinghills.org Also, the Church's teachings do not entail treating LGBT people as "second-class citizens." Everyone is beloved by the Lord. Everyone has burdens and challenges. I was born a woman and I think it's terribly unfair that I have to bear children simply because I was "born this way." Why should I be forced to give painful birth to a stranger in my womb? Why aren't I entitled to make that "choice"? Unfair, God!
Linwood Camp
3 years 5 months ago
Just as height, hair, and eye color are immutable traits, likewise is orientation. And while no less an immutable trait, and beyond an 'ordinary' phenotype, it conveys deep psychological and sociological consequence (among many others). That said, as we most know, sexuality is as insatiable as hunger. We can clearly see by the waistlines just how well even that struggle has evolved (especially in the United States). One then can only imagine the difficulty in fighting an intrinsic biological drive, compounded with an orientation that has even greater far-reaching consequence--particularly in the presence of discrimination, prejudice, hostility, violence and indifference. And while it may be easy to assert chastity for these children of God, I think we all know the difficulty in that even for heterosexuals. Lastly, Jesus said nothing of the homosexual in his ministry, let alone his condemnation.
Marie Austin
3 years 5 months ago
An accusation of "condemning" people is the substitution of an argumentative response to sound logic that upsets you with emotional attacks. It's very hateful and divisive to claim that I or the Church condemns LGBT people. And patently untrue. LGBT people are much loved and indeed children of God. If you don't like the idea of chastity for same-sex attracted people I hope you will permit your husband to have sex with other women outside of marriage once he's grown sexually bored with you. After all, he has biological urges that he can't control. He was born that way. If you deny him sexual release, you are harming him both physiologically and mentally. (Assuming you are a woman, but you get the idea in any case.) The truth is, chastity is not a "too difficult," but necessary virtue. All sexual urges are the same -- biologically rooted. The only biological difference in these urges in people is whether people are predisposed to have strong urges or less strong urges, regardless of orientation (completely irrelevant). The people with the greatest "burden" of chastity are therefore those with the strongest sexual urges. If "too difficult" is the measure we use to determine who can forego chastity, then clearly -- clearly! -- those with the strongest biological sexual urges are the most entitled to get the license to forego chastity. This is the absurd logic that the "too difficult" argument leads to. Once you say that chastity is "too difficult" for any one person, you say it is too difficult for anyone (or everyone). The young single male, the married, teenagers, those who never find partners, heterosexual couples who want the benefit of marriage without having to commit to marriage, etc. We know where this road of rejecting chastity leads: the murder of millions of unwanted children, children being born into broken homes, male child abandonment, dehumanizing use of people, divorce, etc., etc. Chastity is a paramount virtue. Again, the "too difficult" argument is simply invalid. Christian monogamy is contrary to the biological nature of men. Many men become celibate later in their marriages simply because they cannot be attracted to their wives anymore than an LGBT person can be to the person of the opposite sex. This is a difficult, difficult burden for men. If proscriptions on homosexuality are unfair, then the concept of monogamy and marriage is unfair as well and we shouldn't expect it of people. Gee -- what a surprise that we see these two concepts gaining in popularity at the same time in our society! It is because we are turning away from God's word -- we say, it's too hard, God! Those who suffer are primarily the children. Jesus clarified God's design of marriage -- between one man and one woman forever (Matthew 19). This is the eternal definition of marriage, affirmed by the very mouth of our Lord. Marriage is the only permissible channel for sex in the Christian framework. Therefore, there can be no homosexual sex allowance. Jesus's message to sinners was "Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more." You may not like the pie, but anyway you slice it, it is what it is.
Linwood Camp
3 years 5 months ago
You are most creative in the construction of straw men and false dichotomy. At no time did I assert any aspect of human sexuality was "too difficult." People in same-sex relationships are no less capable of monogamy than any other married couple. To suggest otherwise is ignorant. I sought to address only an aspect of biology. I'll conclude with this: while our Church is clearly free to define marriage between a man and a woman, it is not free to restrict those religious beliefs of others who may indeed sanction marriage equality, nor may it impose its beliefs upon the People. And while perhaps the idea of marriage equality may indeed be repugnant to you, Americans are clearly protected under the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments in this matter. It will soon be invariably and unambiguously clarified by SCOTUS. A fight was picked that cannot (and will not) be won.
Marie Austin
3 years 5 months ago
Linwood, you said: "And while it may be easy to assert chastity for these children of God, I think we all know the difficulty in that even for heterosexuals." So, yes, you did assert that chastity is too difficult. Hello. And the Church doesn't and didn't define marriage. God did. And he didn't create a "definition" like in a dictionary, but an actual thing with a particular nature and structure like a tree or the sun or the grass. Marriage is man and woman joined together forever. Jesus clarified what this nature is in his own words. It matters not what any worldly court decides. What you are rooting for is actually the government obliterating the institution of marriage on a social and legal level. The "marriage" that you're talking about can be absolutely any formulation of "companions" -- five men, three women, a man and two women, take your pick. Marriage can be anything, which means that it is nothing. So, enjoy your glorious future.
Henry Kelly
3 years 5 months ago
Thank you, Marie.for your single handed defense here of Catholic teaching. Sister Walsh, above, I suppose wouldn't give you much help, her somewhat derisive dismissal of critics of the parade decision with the term "culture warriors" tipped her hand before she comes down to characterizing that choice as "pastoral". It's the homosexuals who are "in your face" by demanding to be part of the parade as homosexuals and for all that identity implies.
Michael Barberi
3 years 5 months ago
Marie, I believe that the Biblical prohibition on homosexuality has been interpreted through an historic lens where in ancient times everyone was assumed to be heterosexual. Any heterosexual who performed homosexual acts was going against their universal heterosexual nature. Under these circumstances, it is reasonable that our ancient fathers believed that homosexual acts were an abomination. No one understood the etiology of homosexuality, namely, that it is an innate inclination/orientation that many people are born with. Just to set the record straight. I attend weekly Mass, receive Holy Communion and I am a faithful Catholic. I studied moral theology for 5 years and am published. I also minister to the poor. However, I do not claim to see the fullness of truth. Nevertheless, I disagree with certain teachings for legitimate philosophical and theological reasons. My conscience does not act as my personal magisterium, but I do believe in a well-informed conscience. However, the moral truth is constantly evolving and I work within the Church to bring a better understanding of truth in scholarly debate and strive to appropriately influence the hierarchy. We can disagree and remain faithful Catholics. Your arguments that you use are exaggerated and absurd in order to make your point. You conflate a women killing her baby because her husband left her and her life would be difficult, with what I said about the unreasonable requirement imposed on gay people, namely, to practice a lifetime of sexual abstinence. Try confining your remarks to the issues at hand and not use exaggerate examples that I disagree with and never implied or said. Your argument about "difficulty" taken to extremes to justify your point is also an absurd counter-point. Married men who lose interest in their wives may be a normal fact of many marriages, but this is not a reason for adultery. Get real. Let's get back to the issue of homosexuality. The Church condmens homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered based on 3 primary arguments: 1. They are contrary to the natural law, the prinicples of which are reflected in human nature itself. 2. They close the sexual act to the procreation of life, and 3. They don't proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. The issue of nature and natural law is not to argue that homosexual activity is moral because it is natural for those with a homosexual orientation, for that would be to treat natural facts as moral justification. To be moral, any sexual act, whether homosexual or heterosexual, must be not only natural but also just, loving and in accord with holitistic complemenatarity of which sexual orientation is included. Consider the second point, that the sexual act must be open to procreation. Clearly, infertile married couples and their sexual acts are not open to procreation. In these circumstances, the Church has no problem if infertile married couples adopt children. However, they are against the adoption of children by homosexual couples that no one wants. As to the Church's claim that same-sex marriages destroy the very fabric of heterosexual marriages and the well being and upbringing of children, recent scientific research disagrees. There is no significant difference in the emotional, cognitive, social and sexual functioning of children whose parents are hetereosexual or homosexual (American Pychological Association, 2004). As to the third point about sexual complementarity, the Church does not believe that sexual orientation should be a factor when considering sexual complementarity. While the Church may not change its teaching on homosexuality, I hope their pastoral theology and practices do change. I continue to believe that imposing a life time of sexual abstinence on people with a same-sex attraction is not only cruel and unreasonable, but the gift of celibacy (or sexual abstinence) is a gift from God given to the very few. It must be voluntarily chosen, and not forced or imposed on them who want to enter into a life-long, loving, faithful and committed relationship under the same obligations and responsibiities of heterosexual married couples. I believe the Church should be open to a re-thinking on this issue. Frankly, your last thoughts convey a person who is in desperate need of counseling when you say; I was born a woman and I think it's terribly unfair that I have to bear children simply because I was "born this way." Why should I be forced to give painful birth to a stranger in my womb? Why aren't I entitled to make that "choice"? Unfair, God! If your final remarks above were your sense of sarcasm, so be it. However, it is sophomoric. I am certain you believe strongly that homosexual persons should merely practice a lifetime of sexual abstinence because that is what the Church teaches regardless of the practicality or excessive character of this teaching. I do not equate being actively homosexual as superior to being celibate. Far from it. Both are voluntary choices. If you have the gift of celibacy and choose it, good for you. However, celibacy is not being forced or imposed upon specific individuals. On the other hand, a lifetime of sexual abstinence is being forced upon every gay person in a permanent, faithful and loving relationship (civil marriage) as the only means to their salvation. I don't expect you be persuaded by these short arguments. Rather than debate this issue further (which I am happy to do), let's agree to disagree.
Marie Austin
3 years 5 months ago
I respect your reasonable disagreement, but your conclusions are wrong and demonstrably wrong. What you say are "exaggerated" claims are merely demonstrations of the logical conclusions of the things that you believe. The conclusions follow from the premises. I don't make the laws of logic. And I assure you, they are not exaggerations, but constitutive of a competing view of human nature that is very much active in our society today. It is the view that we should be able to do as we please with our sexuality. That its defining and primary purpose is not reproduction. That the alternative to sexual autonomy is repressive and cruel. This view is held by the people who believe that women are entitled to kill their children in the womb, that life-time monogamy is too hard, that sex outside of marriage is just fine and too difficult to avoid, etc. These are not "exaggerated" positions, but have been mainstreamed and are held by probably half or more of the population. They use the exact same arguments you do ... it's "too hard," "unreasonable," "unfair," etc., etc. And because you say that these arguments validate your conclusion, you must agree that they validate their conclusions as well. Like them, you are arguing for the same thing: the acceptance of the divorce of procreation from human sexuality. And of course -- of course -- some of the things I said are tongue-in-cheek. But, again, I assure you that although I say these things in a sarcastic way to illustrate a point, many, many people hold these views very seriously. You'll find that my final remarks on the unfair plight of being born a woman are actually sincerely held by the women at NOW and any major "feminist" organization and by Planned Parenthood. This is just standard feminism and not extreme in anyway. They believe that just because someone is a woman and wants to enjoy sex as freely as she pleases, that doesn't mean she is obligated to have any child. This is an unfair imposition from her unchosen biological state. This reasoning is the basis of their support for abortion. I would like to see you explain how, if the Church accepts that procreation can be divorced from human sexuality, that a woman does not have a right to an abortion. You can see my response to Linwood below for further refutation of your "too difficult" argument. We can agree to disagree and if you want to talk about this further, we should indeed take this off the site.
Michael Barberi
3 years 5 months ago
Marie, You ignored my arguments either because you don't understand them or you don't understand moral theology very well, or for that matter the theological debate over the past 50 years. My conclusion stands, namely, you are using exaggerate examples and comparisons as an illusion to prove your point. I never implied or said that people should be able to do what they want. Nor is it an argument to say that if some people agree with me, but believe in abortion-on-demand, that my arguments reflect some type of contemporary evil culture that is infecting me with a diabolical cancer that blinds me to the truth. Witness the theological debate and scholarly works of many prominent theologians over the past 50 years. Most disagree with Humanae Vitae and certain other teachings. Your rhetoric is similar to those who like to classify anyone who does not obey every teaching of the magisterium as those misinformed and faithless ignorant Catholics who are destroying the RCC and leading people into sin. Your ill-informed and misleading comparisons are not an argument. I am, and anyone else who respectfully disagrees with certain teachings of the magisterium, and provide legitimate reasons for a rethinking, are no less Catholic and faithful as you seem to be. I do not have all the answers to these complex teachings. I admit I only see a partial view of the truth. However, I have a God-given intellect and reason and a God-given faith. History has demonstrated that it has been in disagreement that many teachings of the Church has changed. I don't think further discussion will be very productive, however, I am open to debate you off-line. Just let me know. God Bless.
Marie Austin
3 years 5 months ago
Sadly, you turn to insults when you cannot provide a response to critique of your argument. Yes, Michael, clearly -- clearly! -- I am a very, very unintelligent person. I haven't understood a thing you've said. I'll return to the kitchen now ... If I had time or permission to respond to all of your points in a 3000-word reply, certainly I would, but I don't. That is why I only deal with the nub. That nub is that you accept that human sexuality can be ethically divorced from procreation. This is the principle that undergirds your views on the Catholic teachings that you don't like and claim are too difficult and unfair. So simply cut to the chase and debate the merits of the real issue. I have never once claimed that I was a more "faithful" Catholic than anyone else. You keep imputing this sentiment to me for some reason. I am merely providing a defense of teachings of the magisterium and demonstrating why they are irrefutably correct. Human reason alone tells us this. Again, complaints of "exaggerated examples" are not in any way valid counter-points. Simple study of the structure of logical fallacies will tell you this (what you call "exaggerated examples" are what a logic professor would call "logical conclusions"). It would also tell you that your appeals to the majority -- i.e. "most people agree," etc. -- are equally fallacious, invalid and indefensible. I'll note also that I have not once made negative suggestions about your intelligence or capacity to understand. Nor did I ever claim that you were ignorant, misinformed, faithless and all the rest for your beliefs. It is you who makes these references. At times like these I ponder not what people say but why people say them.
Michael Barberi
3 years 5 months ago
Marie, For a thorough debate and analysis of Humanae Vitae, inclusive of my detailed moral arguments, see the comments posted under Am. Magazine's article by James Keenan, How I Teach Humanae Vitae, that appeared earlier this year. There were quite a healthy exchange involving fundamental theological ethics and philosophy, and the principles that underpin Humanae Vitae. I believe there were over 100 comments. I will not repeat such a lengthly argument why I believe Humanae Vitae should be the subject of a rethinking. You are entitled to disagree with my comments or believe I have not made legitimate and intelligible arguments. If so, we will have to agree to disagree. I wish you well on your faith journey.
Anne Chapman
3 years 5 months ago
Cardinal Dolan’s position on the parade is the pastoral one;you don’t reject people for who they are. And yet that is precisely what the Roman Catholic church does - it rejects people for who they are. The bishops in the US church actively work to deny non-religious marriage - civil marriage - to gays, because they are who they are - gay and not heterosexual. The hierarchy of the Catholic church also denies access to a sacrament to 51% of Roman Catholics because they are who they are - female. The church's hypocrisy is obvious to most - unfortunately those with the power to make changes do not see it. They are blind - one wonders if they are willfully blind or just so removed from the "real" world that they cannot see beyond the chasm they have created between the vowed and ordained, and the 99.9% of other Catholics.
TIMOTHY MACGEORGE
3 years 5 months ago
What initially caught my eye and prompted me to comment was the author's thoughts on "Where to draw the line?" regarding the participation of LGBT persons in the life of the Church. While the question itself is ipso facto offensive to LGBT people (i.e. a "line" by definition is intended to "delineate," to separate, to say "who is in" and "who is out"), the author fails to ask one question that should also be on that list: Can a gay person preside at Eucharist? As a religious, surely Sr. Walsh is intimately aware of the high percentage of ordained clergy who are, in fact, gay. Week in and week out, a significant percentage of Masses celebrated throughout the world are lead by men whom God created gay. When celibate gay clergy come out of the sacristy closet and speak openly about who they are, there will be a sea-change on this issue. Nonetheless, Sister, I ask that you reconsider the question itself. The "line," after all, is of human origin and not from God. Would you ever consider asking this same question of any other non-LGBT group? For baptized and fully initiated Catholics, is it not their/our responsibility and right to participate fully in the life of the Church? Despite some of the misinformation perpetuated by other commentators, even the "official Church" recognizes the intrinsic nature of a person's sexual orientation. I, like many others, would call this intrinsic character "good" and not "disordered," as I would not want to subscribe to a theological conclusion that places the creation of disorder in the Hands of God. Do we not believe that every human person is created in the image and likeness of God? If God says that His creation is good, who are we to say otherwise?
Michael Barberi
3 years 5 months ago
Timothy, A good point: "Despite some of the misinformation perpetuated by other commentators, even the "official Church" recognizes the intrinsic nature of a person's sexual orientation. I, like many others, would call this intrinsic character "good" and not "disordered," as I would not want to subscribe to a theological conclusion that places the creation of disorder in the Hands of God." Per Fr. James Alison: Even if the person's sexual orientation is morally neutral, how can acts that naturally flow from it be automatically declared immoral, especially in a permanent, faithful and loving relationship? It is like saying, being left handed is ok, but it is immoral if you write left-handed. Many people often conflate a voluntary chosen act, such as murder or pedophilia, acts that people are not born with but are evil acts chosen to achieve a bad intention, for acts that flow from a neutral or good innate sexual orientation to achieve good ends in a permanent, faithful and loving relationship. Granted that the Church teaches that marital acts must be open to procreation, but the marital acts of many couples are not procreative due to infertility or deliberate, intentional acts of birth control including NFP which separate the so-called unitive and procreative meanings. As Pius XII said, a couple can practice NFP for a long time or a lifetime for good reasons. In this case, all marital acts are not procreative, or in any real sense "open to procreation".
Tim O'Leary
3 years 5 months ago
I believe the "official Church" says it as follows: "Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder." (CDF on Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19861001_homosexual-persons_en.html). An inclination or tendency does not involve the Will and is not a sin. But, since the Fall, we all have intrinsic tendencies to sin (intrinsically disordered). Examples abound - a tendency to violence, to anger, to alcoholism, to adultery, to masturbation, to polygamy, to "alternative sexual practices" and to SSA. It is not the tendency or temptation that is sinful, but the choice to act on a tendency to evil that is sinful.
Michael Barberi
3 years 4 months ago
Tim, I was away in NYC for my mother's 93rd birthday, so this is belated reply. According to the magisterium the homosexual orientation or inclination is an objective or intrinsic disorder. But what is the term disorder mean? Science has shown from mental health and from animal biology that it is entirely natural, and not in any scientific sense disordered. The magisterium says that such a disorder is not be viewed in this sense, but in the theological sense. Just what does "disordered" mean "theologically"? Beyond the meaning that it is not ordered to procreation, that I have already countered in my previous comments, I have not worked out what a theological meaning might be. The Vatican theologians have conceded that the condition of homosexuality is entirely natural, and so not disordered in this sense. However, they have not offered any clear explanation of what meaning it does have. Does the meaning of homosexuality have a meaning in any reality that can be measured? Or is it merely a verbal construct used by those theologians to reach the conclusions they want? I repeat….According to Catholic theology, the acts flowing from a nuetral or positive inclination could not be intrinscially evil. So, any moral judgment on this inclination must depend on use. If homosexual orientation or inclination is morally neutral, then the judgment that homosexual acts that follow naturally from that orientation or inclination are disrordered does not logically follow. It is like saying, it is ok to be left handed as long as you don't write with your left hand. Of course, this brings us back to the morality of voluntary human action and arguments that homosexual acts are not open to the transmission of life. I conclude with James Alison that homosexuality has an unstable meaning. As such, we will need to await the day when the magisterium will change its teaching or pastoral application of the moral norm underpinning the teaching...OR provid us with a convincing moral theory in support of these teachings. Until this happens, our Church will continue to be profoundly divided over this moral issue. I agree that our voluntary human actions must be lived and judged "morally" in the context of our relationship with God, but also in the context of our relationship with others, with virtue, and in the context of our good motivations, good ends-intentions and good circumstances provided that our exterior actions are also appropriate, suitable, and proportionate to the good in the agent(s) ends. Tim, we continue to disagree about fundamental moral principles/method, especially with respect to certain teachings that I believe should be the subject of a rethinking. There is a big difference between an innate natural inclination one is born with and an inclination to commit polygamy. To be immoral, the intention of the agent must be bad, the choice of a voluntary act must be morally evil, or the circumstances must be bad. For same-gender couples who are in a permanent, faithful and loving relationship and express their love sexually, and do no harm, strive to love God and neighbor, is not the same as a person who commits pedophilia, murder, adultery or steals. We will have to agree to disagree once again. I do not want to enter into a lengthly debate again with you. God bless.
Tim O'Leary
3 years 4 months ago
Michael - I wish your 93-year old mother well. 1. It is false to say that either science or the Church has proven homosexuality is "entirely natural" unless you just mean "present in nature." In any case, since you say the term homosexuality has an "unstable meaning," you would have to define which meaning has been proven natural and define what you mean by natural. Here are three meanings you could choose from: a. Natural, meaning found in nature. This includes all healthy, eccentric and disease or dysfunctional states, including those that have a genetic predisposition. So, schizophrenia, alcoholism, homosexuality, bisexuality, pedophilia, polygamy, infidelity, are all found in nature and some have genetic predispositions. b. Natural, meaning fully functioning. For example, deafness is a loss of function. Polygamy might be a gain of function, since the male can beget more children (again, apart from the morality of it). Homosexuality and infertility both suffer from a loss of the ability to beget children, without some medical aid. Less importantly, but still a loss - homosexuality also suffers from the loss of enjoying sex with one's natural mate - of the opposite gender. The medical literature is replete with evidence that male homosexual acts are associated with several consequences deleterious to their health, most notably very high rates of venereal diseases and damage to the normal function of the lower GI tract. The NIH reports that lesbians suffer from a higher rate of breast cancer and obesity (25% higher). An orphan also has a loss of function, in that they have lost the natural benefits of being raised by their biological parents. The loss of either, through death, divorce or choice are all unnatural in this sense. The medical literature for years has confirmed that children are healthiest when being raised by both biological mothers and fathers, and failing that, adoption by a man and a mother in a stable marriage is the surrogate most closely corresponding to the child's loss. c. Natural, meaning morally normal. Here, science is incompetent to make a judgment at all. (Many non-scientists seem to be unaware of this). Here, the moral teaching of the Magisterium applies, and she is uniquely competent in this area, having the protection of the Holy Spirit. This is where the Church makes the distinction between a tendency or inclination of whatever cause (healthy or not) and the act, and the latter is what they describe as "an objective disorder," per my quote above.
Michael Barberi
3 years 4 months ago
Tim, The American Psychiatric/Psychological Association studied homosexuality. They do not consider homosexuality, or a homosexual orientation/inclination, an objective intrinsic disorder that the Catholic Church asserts is the truth. Many scientific studies point to the conclusion that a same-gender orientation or inclination is something that one is born with. It is not an objective disorder of a universal heterosexual orientation or inclination. As to your comparison or implication that people born with a same-sex orientation/inclination are akin to people who have an inclination to be pedophiles, murders, polygamists or adulterers…and therefore they should resist such temptation...is absurd. Are we going to list all the scientific studies on homosexuality and debate them? Suffice it to say that you will not agree with any scientific study that does not agree with your philosophy or the Church's position regardless of the evidence. Now you want to debate the term 'natural'? It is indeed perplexing that the Church has never offered any convincing scientific evidence, whatsoever, for its claim that a same-gender orientation/inclination is an objective intrinsic disorder. A disorder of what? You like to make all kinds of socio-scientific assertions but scientific studies have demonstrated that children who are raised by homosexual parents are no different than children raised by heterosexual parents (e.g., the Am. Psychological Association). Please don't, once again, assert that such studies are biased…which you have made in the past as your argument. Such accusations go nowhere. At least we should agree that the evidence to date does not convincing point to any specific conclusion with certainty. However, you will throw any statistic around to prove your point. It is difficult or almost impossible for a heterosexual to think of a person who is attracted to a person of the same sex as they are of the opposite sex. In ancient times, everyone was assumed to be heterosexual and anyone who committed homosexual acts were heterosexuals. To them, this was an abomination. I agree!!! However, in ancient times no one understood homosexuality. As for the term natural, for a heterosexual it is normal and natural for them to act upon their innate born heterosexual inclination, just as it is normal and natural for homosexuals to act upon their innate born same-gender orientation/inclination…in a permanent, faithful, loving relationship. We disagree upon what is considered immoral in a permanent, faithful, loving relationship. This is a complex issue and I will not repeat lengthly arguments again and again since our arguments go nowhere. We also disagree that every person with a same-gender orientation/inclination, something they are born with, must practice lifelong sexual abstinence for their salvation. Keep in mind that about 1% of worldwide Catholics (who represent 17% of the worldwide population) are priests and nuns, representing about one-tenth of 1% of the worldwide population. This very small fraction of the worldwide population are given the gift of celibacy, a gift from God given to few individuals…. while about 2% of the worldwide population are born with a same-gender orientation/inclination. Does God give all or most individuals of this large segment of the population the gift of celibacy or lifetime sexual abstinence? Does God give all of them this gift if they ask for it in prayer and in worship? Do they have to ask for it? Is it freely given to them? These are questions to reflect upon Tim. Lifetime sexual abstinence must be voluntarily chosen to work, not imposed and forced upon individuals by authority. It is unreasonable and unrealistic to require every individual born with a same-sex orientation/inclination to practice lifetime sexual abstinence for their salvation. These people have no choice…a choice between celibacy or marriage because marriage is denied them in the Catholic Church. It is time to give this a rest for now Tim. We will only be going over the same arguments again and again.
Tim O'Leary
3 years 4 months ago
Michael - you do repeat all your arguments each time (>600 words this time). But, they never get to the kernel of the moral or Natural Law point and your misuse of science is astounding. St. Augustine, in his City of God (Book IV Ch 15) noted that when man became disobedient to God, his flesh became disobedient to him. Our nature tends towards sin. Yet, science knows nothing of sin. It knows nothing of this disobedience.
Michael Barberi
3 years 4 months ago
Tim, You also repeat your arguments. I repeat my arguments, from time to time, because you fail to understand them or do not address them. For your information, I keep a copy of most of our exchanges because I do reflect upon them and strive to refine them as the issue again becomes the subject of debate. When I do get to the kernel of moral theology, you either ignore, misunderstand or do not address my moral arguments. So, regardless of how many points of view I use in my arguments, you accuse me of not discussing some aspect of an argument and say things like "my misuse of science is astounding". Just exactly what that means is beyond me. It is unpersuasive and leaves little room for a reasoned and fruitful reply. I have no ill-feeling about your perspective as a self-declared defender of the magisterium. I respect the magisterium and my faith. I strive to fully understand every teaching and both sides of the argument. I also strive to get priority to the magisterium. However, I will never go against my informed conscience. We need a good debate if we, as the Church and People of God, are to strive to a better understanding of truth. However, I do not believe that every teaching of the magisterium is the absolute moral truth with certainty…as you do. We also disagree on the role of the Holy Spirit and the interpretation of Scripture with respect to the definition of "the Church" and how it is protected from error, as you well know. We can disagree and still remain faithful Catholics. I offered you some more thoughts for reflection about the term intrinsic, objective disorder. No doubt you will be unconvinced about the profound disagreement and debate concerning this issue. You may not struggle with certain teachings as I do. However, I claim no moral higher ground in my arguments, nor do I claim a wiser view of the truth than anyone else. I continue to be open to further education, prayer and the wise council of the Holy Spirit, my priest and theological mentors. For your information, St. John Paul II believed that science and human experience should be one of the sources of knowledge as we strive to understand truth. To ignore science and human experience leaves us with a faith and a morality devoid of existential reality and a truncated reason. God bless.
Tim O'Leary
3 years 4 months ago
Michael - I am a scientist and have many years of both scientific education and experience with rigorous scientific studies. So, I do not denigrate science at all. But, I know when it is being misused. I do not think you are scientifically trained. So, you make appeals to science that are inappropriate. You do not seem to know that science cannot address morality, which is the key question for the Church. Secondly, you also misunderstand the applicability of scientific studies and the problem of scientific bias or publication bias. As to the impact of gay marriage on children, there has been insufficient time to fully evaluate the impact on children. Yet, there are decades of literature on the importance of a father and mother and even healthy heterosexual role models on the healthy upbringing of children. http://www.frc.org/issuebrief/new-study-on-homosexual-parents-tops-all-previous-research. To put this argument into words you might be more favorable to, my well informed conscience tells me the Church is wise in its protection of the traditional family, wise in its rejection of divorce and contraception and abortion, and wise in its determination to stay with the teachings of Jesus. And, you would not want me to go against my informed conscience.
Michael Barberi
3 years 4 months ago
Tim, You have no idea of my education, skills or professional training, yet you accuse me of not knowing about scientific studies. I was a senior partner in a worldwide actuarial consulting firm and lead many complex healthcare scientific studies. As a senior partner, I lead many teams of physicians, pharmacists, epidemiologists, actuaries, and other professionals in scientific and business studies. I have also been published. I am fully aware of scientific bias but this has nothing to do with the points in argument. Statistical bias can be control and minimized and are used all the time in appropriate ways. Science and human experience are some of the sources of knowledge that are used in our search for moral truth in circumstances. I use scientific studies and human experience only when the magisterium or a theologian makes evidentiary claims concerning reality in support of a moral theory and rationale for a teaching. If the magisterium says that couples who use artificial contraception in the practice of responsible parenthood have a false, evil and destructive love, a utilitarian attitude and a diabolical love grounded in concupiscence, then I use science to search for evidence in existential reality for it. There is no evidence in reality or in any study whatsoever of this erroneous assertion. The other sources of moral knowledge are Scripture/Revelation, Reason and Tradition. Thomas Aquinas tells us that the moral species of a voluntary human action is based on the act/object, the intention and end of the agent, and the circumstances inclusive of the agent's deliberation by right reason. Science and human experience are not the sole or dominant sources of morality, but they are part of many sources that we consider in our search for truth. You think you know everything or stand on a moral higher ground, but when you cannot address my moral arguments, you resort to accusations and assertions that have no merit. They degrade my human dignity and character. I suggest you stay focused on the facts and points in argument. You are entitled to your opinion and informed conscience. I never said you were not. We are having a debate on the facts and points in argument. Let's keep it focused on these things and not personal negative accusations about my expertise, knowledge or skills that are unsubstantiated and have no role in a respectful debate. As usual Tim, our exchanges are becoming unproductive.
Tim O'Leary
3 years 4 months ago
Michael - another 1300 words from you in the 2 new comments. I will keep it <100. You have indicated your role as a managing executive several times and do not mention any scientific training, so that is all I have to go on. Scientific and publication bias are very different from statistical probability. Here is just one article on publication bias (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20181324) but this is a very big area of concern in the hard sciences and is even more problematic in the soft sciences. It would help keep the length of the debate down by being pithier.
Michael Barberi
3 years 4 months ago
Tim, I have the equivalent of a masters in higher mathematics and statistics. I have spent 30 years in the healthcare field doing analysis and consulting. As a professional consultant and head of a national practice consisting of many Fortune 200 Corporations, Major Blue Cross/Blue Shield Organizations, HMOs, Big Pharma Companies, the Federal Government and many State Governments, as well as International clients, I am quite familiar with "publication or statistical bias" in all of its aspects. I also was responsible for the Ethics and Professional Standards of a Worldwide Healthcare Practice, and I don't need a lecture from you on such issues. Your complaints about the length of my comments is absurd. It is the quality of my content and argumentation that you fail to address. When you cannot respond to my arguments, you resort to irresponsible attacks on my character and expertise. Your tactics are well known to many American Magazine bloggers and this includes dragging legitimate disagreement and solid counter-arguments into small minded side issues. This is sophomoric at best (and I am being kind). How is this for being pithy? It is time to end this debate Tim because we have drifted far from this topic. Let's allow those who follow our arguments to make up their own minds about the issues we are discussing. God bless.
Tim O'Leary
3 years 4 months ago
Michael - definitely more pithy, even if also sophomoric. I do think quantity gets in the way of the (repetitive) quality. Maybe, you can agree on the limits of science in adjudicating moral questions. But, if you believe it is time to end the debate (as you keep repeating), then why not take the lead?
Sandi Sinor
3 years 4 months ago
I DO wish I had made my bet with a real person instead of myself. Because I knew that you would not be able to let go, that you would have to have the last word, get in your last little dig, the last bit of snark. Too bad - if I had a "real" bet, I could have donated my winnings to a worthy group - most likely one of the orders of women religious who have little time for Mueller's games because they are too busy living the gospel. Most readers here, even if disagreeing with Michael B, know that his posts are thoughtful, reflect serious intellectual engagement and years of research. He does not simply parrot the Magisterium, it is true, but is among the many in church history who have "tested" the teachings and found them wanting. If you are concerned about quantity v. quality, and repetitiveness, perhaps you should reflect a bit about people who live in glass houses. Meditation, prayer and reflection might help you understand this need of yours - to always be "right", to "best" your opponent and get in the final word.
Tim O'Leary
3 years 4 months ago
Sandi - does it count as a final word for your bet if you come in at the end just to take a personal swipe? I hope by this pithy comment to prevent you being a loser.
Sandi Sinor
3 years 4 months ago
You would have made one more post anyway, Tim. You really can't seem to help yourself. I had no concerns that I would lose my bet. ;)
Michael Barberi
3 years 4 months ago
Sandi, You are right about Tim. My own remarks about Tim is reflective of my constant belief that one should not be dragged into the lowest level of arguments that are disrespectful. However, I do have to bite my tongue and control my comments often when debating with Tim, even when he deserves to be read the riot act (so to speak). Thanks again for your wise comments and entering the debate. I do appreciate it.
Michael Barberi
3 years 4 months ago
Sandi, Thanks for your comments. Just to be clear, I am never angered by what Tim does. He truly believes that every magisterium moral teaching is guided by the Holy Spirit and is the absolute moral truth with certainty regardless of the reasons many faithful informed Catholics offer. Like the majority of Catholics, I disagree with Tim about this issue. Tim is entitled to his opinion even if he cannot bring himself to embrace faithful scholarly arguments as good reasons for a rethinking of certain moral teachings. His classicist worldview prevents him from accepting that the magisterium could be wrong or that a teaching should be changed and not merely developed. He also does not believe that certain teachings have been proclaimed as truth for centuries but were changed, such as as slavery, usury and the (lack of) freedom of religion. He believes that any evidence offered in support of such changes are merely the result of people reading history incorrectly. Thanks again for entering this debate. As you said, not everyone will agree with me on everything I argue about. Nevertheless, I hope I have offered good arguments for reflection in this blog about homosexuality in the hope that God's will be done. I also hope that my comments help move the conversation forward toward a better understanding of truth. People with a same-gender orientation/inclination must be treated with respect, dignity and compassion. This has not been easy for the Church but I am hopeful that some aspects of the teaching will be modified in the years ahead. We have to be tolerant and understanding with Tim, even if his style of argument, at times, is not judged as respectful, reasonable or responsible.
Michael Barberi
3 years 4 months ago
Tim, You are not the criteria or benchmark for debate or the criteria that defines the quality of argumentation. Far from it. Your tactics are to deflect, ignore and move the conversation to unimportant and negative side issues when you cannot adequately address my legitimate and scholarly points in argument…or anyone else's. Unproductive and irresponsible negative comments about my personal character, expertise or a debate about small-minded side issues are you way to camouflage your lack of a good response to my arguments. I am always willing to continue a respectful debate that stays on point and does not wander into ridiculous arguments about length or unsubstantiated assertions. We started to argue over the assertion that a same-sex orientation/inclination was an intrinsic objective disorder, as proclaimed by the magisterium and bishops. When I offered you a very balanced scholarly analysis of this issue, by quoting a small part of Polgar's doctoral dissertation on Homosexuality, you said "nothing". You could not bring yourself to acknowledge that someone might be making a good point here. Your problem is that you will not admit to any error, any lack of knowledge, any misunderstanding or give one inch to anyone's argument that clearly raises serious questions about the absolute truth of certain teachings. Unless you have something of substance to say which is on point, we should stop this fruitless exchange.
Michael Barberi
3 years 4 months ago
Tim, Below is a short but solid description about the term "intrinsic disorder" taken from a recent doctoral dissertation by Polgar. This is only one reason why the Church has not been able to develop a convincing moral theory in support of its teachings on the homosexual orientation/inclination. "In the period after the document was published, at least three distinct interpretations of what the term ‘objectively disordered’ might mean appeared; moral, psychological, and philosophical interpretation. The document itself seems to exclude the moral and the psychological interpretations, because it states that “the particular inclination [...] is not a sin” and it tries to keep clear from scientific debates on the matter that are not in the competence of the authors of the document. This would leave the philosophical interpretation, which seem the only plausible one from the context in which the phrase appears. The authors of the document narrowed down the phenomenon of homosexual orientation to its genital component and, consequently saw it as a “tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil” or, plainly put, the homosexual sexual act. Hence, the argument seems to suggest, if this particular sexual orientation is nothing but a tendency toward an intrinsically evil object, then the tendency itself is objectively disordered, participating, as it were, in the disordered nature of its object. Such an interpretation of the phrase ‘objectively disordered’, was argued by Archbishop John Quinn, who emphasised that this ‘philosophical categorisation’ does not in any case apply to a homosexual person, but only to the homosexual orientation. He also suggested a number of analogies, like an inclination to rash judgement, cowardice or hypocrisy, in order to show that there is nothing particularly disputable in this kind of language and that the homosexual persons are not the only ones that have disordered inclinations. As convincing as this might sound at first glance, other commentators pointed out that the analogies offered by Quinn do not hold and, hence, do not justify this new categorisation. For instance, Joseph Selling reminds us that the inclination to rash judgement, cowardice or hypocrisy are “learned and accumulated by habit” which runs counter to what is generally presumed to be the case when it comes to homosexual orientation. It is also presumed, Selling continues, that homosexual orientation does not depend for its existence on homosexual sexual behaviour, while the other tendencies mentioned by Quinn do, since they are accumulated by habit. Hence, these two kinds of tendencies can hardly be understood as belonging to the same (philosophical) category. The bad analogies that Quinn offered are surely not yet a decisive argument against the philosophical interpretation of the meaning of the phrase ‘objectively disordered’. However, the fact that no one has been able to come up with a better analogy makes the philosophical interpretation highly suspicious, while other kinds of interpretations start to seem more convincing. In that sense, the reactions to the new phrase were hardly surprising because, as Selling points out, "the terminology used in the earlier document [the Declaration] implied the classical connection: disordered equals objectively immoral, so that any wilful acceptance of such a thing would entail culpability, albeit sometimes diminished. Since this document now referred to the ‘inclination’ itself as disordered, how could one avoid concluding that the inclination itself would constitute something objectively immoral?" Nevertheless, Selling rejects this ‘moral interpretation’ in the end, under the condition that the new terminology has evolved so much since the publication of the Letter that one can describe homosexual orientation as ‘objectively disordered’ “without any immediate association with sin or moral culpability”. On the other hand, Mark Jordan remains unconvinced by either the philosophical or the moral interpretation of the term ‘objectively disordered’. Although brief on this point, he believes that the psychological interpretation comes closest to what the authors of the document had in mind. In summary, although it might seem that too much ink is being spilled over a proper interpretation of just a single phrase, there is much at stake here. A superficial resolution of this problem would point toward the fact that the Letter was the first document of the teaching office that used the term ‘objectively disordered’ and that it is only natural that it will take some time until all its implications are worked out and the precise meaning of the term is established. To some extent that might be true, but the debate on it seems to point to a deeper problem as well. Let us again quote Crowley’s reading of the Letter here. For him, the document states that, [homosexual] inclination [...] is a more or less strong tendency toward an intrinsic evil. Like heterosexual persons, these people also suffer the postlapsarian state of premoral concupiscence, with the additional proviso that the tendency of their desire is self-indulgent and therefore already leans toward sin. Theirs is not only an objective disorder like a defect of nature, but, because of the vicious character of a ‘tendency’ or ‘inclination’, it is also a disorder that has moral implications, even before one has acted upon the tendency through sexual activity. A careful reading of this quotation, which seems to capture the essential elements of homosexual orientation as described by the Letter, shows a language/ethical terminology that goes far beyond the traditional language of previous Vatican documents on sexual ethics, even that of the Declaration. If this is true, then it is understandable why the previously mentioned debate on the proper interpretation of the term ‘objectively disordered’ has not been resolved. It has not and cannot be resolved at this point because the tension between the different interpretations (psychological, moral and philosophical) is present already in the document."
Tim O'Leary
3 years 5 months ago
Many great points from Marie Austin below, especially the reminder that the call to chastity is universal, even for those who believe their urges are too strong to be tamed and they need a special exception and slap on the back from the Church. I'm sure it is only a matter of time before the sexaholics and sadomasochists get their own banner: "sadomasochists of the world unite - you have nothing to lose but your chains." They would fit right into the bacchanalian event that St. Patrick's Day festivities have become. The scientific literature in this area is certainly a muddle, but homosexual feelings appear to be distributed across a spectrum rather than categorically (which is the politically correct position), meaning that this behavior is better described as behavioral and psychological rather than biological. Hence, we see many movie stars come out as homosexual and/or bisexual (most recent is Maria Bello, a self described "whatever") later in life, after many years of then claimed heterosexual bliss. A couple of references on the general area http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7998816 & http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7560917. On a more serious note, I hear that a pro-life group is also going to march in the parade. Expect some fireworks. And, for those who have homosexual inclinations and are truly interested in the Catholic position, I recommend Courage - http://couragerc.org/

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