Lady Gaga and pro-LGBT Catholics: Beyond "the homo stuff"

I wonder if there are some Lady Gaga students and theological aficionados out there who can help parse the significance of her role in contemporary popular culture. I am late to the party, having been led to Gaga by my undergraduate students, who get her symbolic order on a more intuitive level than I do. But if her music and persona is important to them, I had better think about how the theological tradition might relate to her and to my students' fandom.

Michael O'Loughlin on this blog recently posted a defense of Lady Gaga as a contemporary prophet, but the post was capable of being read as so intentionally guileless that I could not tell whether it was parody worthy of Spinal Tappish sublimity. (And his post was met with the memorable dig in the comment box: "I will use this for meditation tomorrow after Mass.")

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(For me, part of what heightened the Tappish archness of the post was O'Loughlin's reporting that Lady Gaga advocates celibacy -- followed by a link to a "60 Minutes" interview in which Gaga says that she prefers to be called by her real name during sex.)

There must be some who are tracking the theological contact (and conflict) points in her songs, videos and interviews, in the experiences her fans have of her music, or in the production of her persona and products. I wondered about this again when I was watching (not suitable for children) Episode 41 of her "Transmission Gagavision" series, in which she has an encounter (from her limousine) with a Christian protester at her concert, warning of the path to hell awaiting those taken in by her:

Gaga: "We really believe in God at my show."

Protester: "Well, your pervert ways don't quite equate to what God is all about, darlin'."

Gaga: "My pervert ways?"

Protester: "Yeah, you know, the homo stuff?"

Gaga: "The homo stuff?"

[...]

Gaga: "I went to Catholic school for thirteen years."

Protester: "That's probably most of your problem is you got raised in a screwy religion."

She then has a little trivial fun with the encounter with this man, who will no doubt live in a sort of infamy (or fame, depending) at least for a little while.

But I wondered about that "Catholic school" reply and his "screwy religion" retort, especially in regard to "the homo stuff," when I read about the recent report by the Public Religion Research Institute that according to their survey data, nearly three-quarters of U.S. Catholics are in favor of civil unions or marriage for lesbian and gay couples.

Presuming the data hold up over time, as Austin Considine reports in the New York Times, "Today's Catholics are the most progressive Christians in the country regarding gay equality -- and more open than Americans in general."

As countless commentators have observed, once a religion like Catholicism unleashes an idea like the presence of divinity in the flesh, it may just be that "the faithful" will take this in ways not intended (but surely imagined) by the official teachers.

Or as Fr. Gil Martinez of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in New York City is quoted in Considine's article, "Once you say that God is a human person -- I mean we're just so varied and diverse that way -- I think the real Catholicity of that is to acknowledge that and accept that."

We now have several post-Vatican II generations, many of whom went to Catholic school like Lady Gaga, representing the leading edge of this tolerance for and affirmation of sexual diversity. Could it be that a century from now, our culture's present preoccupation with "the homo stuff" will be seen generally in the United States to be as parochial as it now appears to (apparently) a great number of Catholics?

Tom Beaudoin

Hastings-on-Hudson, New York

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Eugene Palumbo
6 years 6 months ago
Michael Brooks:
 
 Yesterday, at 8:41 p.m., Jim McCrea responded to a comment of yours, asking you, “Would you mind informing the rest of us how ''My priest is obviously gay (as are many)''?


Since then, you’ve responded to three other comments – one posted before Jim McCrea’s, and two posted after it.  That suggests that you’re following the thread and seeing all the comments, including Jim McCrea’s; but you haven’t responded to his.  Will you?
Michael Barberi
6 years 6 months ago
Bob Villano and Brett Joyce:

Bob: Talk about word semantics. Anything that goes against the Divine Law, Gods will, is intrinsically evil. The issue is what is God's will. Usury was written in Scripture as Divine Law. The Church never addressed this particicular fact when it reformed its teaching on usury. Notice, that JP2 in Vertitatis Splendor defined intrinsic evil but did not mention usury even though it defys the Divine Will.

JP2 said deportation is intrinsic evil under all circumstances. 

    Is deportation really intrinsically evil and never morally permitted under all circumstances? What if the person is in the U.S. on a temporary visa or illegally and committed a felony? Would not these circumstances change the ethical context and render deportation prudent and morally permissible?

My point about God loving the whole person, body and spirit, and that homosexuality is not "chosen" but given is to argue for a re-thinking. A re-thinking does not mean an exaggeration as you propose or imply by my suggestions. It does not mean that adultery, bestiality et al, will become morally permissible, ipso facto. Those kinds of arguments are not a convincing demonstration of your thesis, just like contraception was never a convincing demostration of the thinking of Paul VI or JP2.  According to the Church, the only way homosexuals can have a seat at God's table is if they practice celibacy. Similarly, the only way a HIV-positive husband can have a seat at God's table if he practices celibacy. He can not use a condom to protect his wife from transmitting a deadly disease and express conjugal love.

These complex and concrete cases of reality tell us that the more specific you get, the more moral absolutes lose their absoluteness. Is it possible for a homosexual couple to practice a life of fidelity in marriage or civil union and lead a good life pleasing to God? Or are they condemned to everlasting fire if they don't practice celibacy? 

There are no easy answers here. However, if you have an open mind and would like to read a strong "theological" argument for homosexuality, read the works of theologians Lisa Cahill, Margaret Foley and Todd Salzman. You may still believe in your point of view, but at least you will understand someone else's. I am not a libertarian, nor do I pick and choose my doctrines to suit my personal or relational circumstances. You can disagree and remain a faithful Catholic.

Your comment about "Amen" before you partake of Eucharistic Commuion is an exaggeration. If you believe that, then most of the people who are standing in line with you will be committing a "sacriledge" because 97% of married Catholic women practice a form of birth regulation condemned by the Vatican as intrinsically evil.

Brett: There are books and articles that explain the difference between act-centerd and personal-relational centered sexual anthropology. One is focused on acts, the other on both acts and the person and his or her relationships with God, neighbor and self. For example, the Church's social-ethical teachings are personal-relational anthroplogy and theology. However, the Church's sexual-ethical teachings are act-centered. This makes no sense. The act-centered orientation has its roots in the Church's history with its focus on sin, acts, confession and the moral manuals. It was only Vatican II that changed the focus to the person as subject including all of his circumstances, relationships et al. However, in 1968, Paul VI issued Humanae Vitae that sent the Church back to the pre-Vatican II mentality.  Since then, some progress have been made to get back to the vision of Vatican II. If you want to understand this better, read James B. Nelson's article online "Reuniting Sexuality and Spirituality", and the book by Todd Salzman called "The Sexual Person".

I hope this helps.
6 years 6 months ago
Jim/Gene -

I'm not sure what you're getting at with your off-topic request.  Do you want to delve into a discussion of gay stereotypes?  Of my many gay friends and acquaintenances over the years and their common characteristics?  And to what end, so that you can say that just because of all of his sterotypical traits that I cannot say with 100% certainty that the priest is homosexual?  Ok, you got me; he never told me he was gay and I never caught him in the act.  My cousin never told me he was gay either, but noone was surprised when he came out. Noone.  Stereotypes exist for a reason: they're often spot-on.
Bill Freeman
6 years 6 months ago
I find so many of these posts very disappointing.  As a new online subscriber, I had hoped for a more informed readership and community of commentators from America; it feels more like Fox News.  Candidly, I find it closer to online bullying - particularly against a stigmatized minority group.  As I read the Gospel, the message has far more to do with the Beatitudes than the Ten Commandments. It is alarming that the JP2 brand of Catholics would so easily, and in my opinion, unwisely dismiss the work of the Second Vatican Council that is yet to be fulfilled.  Finally, the self-assuredness of some of these posts that "the church is always right" dismisses the theological truth of the incardination.  

Anne Chapman
6 years 6 months ago
Bill Freeman,

If you are new to America, you may discover that any blog related to homosexuality too often arouses venom towards homosexuals, making rational discussion difficult. It's best to stick with threads that do not tie into homosexual issues if you want a higher level of discussion.

As far as the suggestion that homosexuals should marry and have kids, I do hope those who support that will reflect very seriously about what a truly horrible idea it is - think about the devastating harm done to women and children by this. In my generation, homosexuality was still very much in the closet. Far too many men married in order to either "seem" heterosexual or in a desparate attempt to try to be what they were not - heterosexual.  I have personally known  three marriages and families that were destroyed by this dishonesty when the men could no longer live the lie, and realize that their attempts to use women to help them hide their homosexuality - sometimes even from themselves - were futile. Of course, in some cases, the fear of examining their own sexuality probably pushed some into marriage - they were in denial.  They did not want to admit even to themselves that they were homosexual. It is so much better today - homosexuals can be who God made them, they don't have to hide in closets, and they don't  enter marriages under false pretenses nearly as often as they once did.

The level of paranoia on this subject is astonishing.  Most homosexuals simply want to share their lives with someone they love, and enjoy the same legal protections that other couples have and just live their lives without harrassment. The neart-hysteria in some posts makes one wonder if some posters doth protest too much. Why?

Michael Barberi
6 years 6 months ago
Well done Anne Chapman. Thank you for elevating the discussion.

We should stick to an objective theological, and not a subjective hostile debate filled with rightousness, whether implicitly or explicitly implied.
Jim McCrea
6 years 6 months ago
" - commiting oneself to a woman, having children with her and growing a family. It's a beautiful gift that God has made available to all of us."

Correction:  "SOME of us," Michael, not all.  Others have other gifts from God.  Mine is a 39 year loving relationship with the same man that has survived without help or blessing from church or state.
Juan Lino
6 years 6 months ago
I am late to the party but I find that Martinez’ comments are very strange.
I realize that reporters often misquote people but what does Martinez mean when he says:  
“Catholics believe God incarnates in diverse forms, like human beings.”
It’s my understanding that the word “incarnation” in Catholic theology primarily refers to God’s act of becoming man in Jesus Christ.  
and
“Once you say that God is a human person — I mean we’re just so varied and diverse that way — I think the real Catholicity of that is to acknowledge that and accept that.” 
God is a “human person” - who?  Me?  Him?  Is he is saying that Catholics in his parish are quasi-Mormons?
Regarding some of the comments/arguments regarding SSA (which I have!), they are getting really old.  I am attracted to men and probably always will be, but my “orientation” is towards the Triune God.  So, I pick up my cross everyday and follow Christ - period.  That's what we should do!  And that cross includes adhering to everything He has revealed!
Although Anne and I do not always see eye-to-eye, I agree with her that being dishonest is not the path to take!  Not that I am cheering the social engineering that’s taken place now (including fudging statistics, etc.) - BTW, a helpful book in this regard is The Hand of God by Bernard N. Nathanson because the tactics used to make abortion legal are eerily similar to the ones being used to make the culture believe that the act of sodomy is objectively as good as the act of intercourse between a man and a woman.   
Lady Gaga’s declaration that she went to Catholic Schools for 13 years makes me ask the obvious question -  what was she taught about the One True Faith? From what I’ve seen working with those her age and younger, I’d have to say not much.  After all, "ballon and bunnies" catechesis is definitely a faulty catechesis.
Beth Cioffoletti
6 years 6 months ago
dunno, but the idea of "God made flesh" kind of blows me away when I consider it deeply, causing me to look at my own body with a renewed sense of awe, sacredness and mystery.  Even the sexuality part.

The protestor calling Catholicism a "screwy religion" gives me some hope that we're on the right track.   I like and am intrigued with Lady Gaga - there's something about her art that feels prophetic to me, and it has to do with a message of "body".
David Nickol
6 years 6 months ago
Homosexual  behavior is intrinsically disordered.

Repeating this over and over again doesn't make it true. Whatever value it has is within a system of thought that most Catholics (and probably most people) don't buy into. That a Full House beats a Flush in Poker is a truth of sorts and is important to Poker players, but it is irrelevant to Bridge players.
6 years 6 months ago
Juan - Are you being dishonest by giving up sexual activity, regardless of whom you're attracted to?  Of course not.  Likewise, a man with same-sex attraction who elects to get married is not being dishonest, unless in entering marriage he has no intention of abiding by the marital contract.  Our free will allows us to control ''who we are,'' to resist our selfish urges in the interest of a greater good.

Contrary to the mainstreamed psycho-babble derivative of the now discredited Sigmund Freud, marriage does not require ''good'' sex, ''regular'' sex, or, frankly, any sex at all.  That is a social construct that, frankly, has contributed to the unrealistic expectations and misunderstandings of what marriage is all about.  We've all become part of a social experiment in critical theory in which the greatest accomplishment of unrepressed sexual experimentation thus far is a 40% out-of-wedlock birthrate in the United States.  Nearly 50% of all HIV/AIDs cases are in men who have sex with men, and all we call this a tragedy needing a cure, instead of looking at the fact that the disease is nearly 100% preventable and continuing to spread primarily because of irresponsible and immoral sexual conduct.

I realize that not all people have the will to deny themselves as Christ demanded; and I don't judge guys like Jim McC and Biil F who opt for an easier way through life.  What I resent is the claim that no one should try to fight their urges; that denying oneself is being dishonest.  And even more so, what I resent is the proaganda that is used to encourage impressionable youth - my kids - that it is good to experiment with our sexuality since all forms of sexual conduct are deemed equal.  If protecting my kids is "protesting too much," then so be it. 

On another note, see what good the acceotance of homosexuality is doing in the UK:   http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/apr/26/catholic-adoption-agency-gay-lesbian
6 years 6 months ago
Anne -

I see sex as a predominately selfish act, at least from the male perspective; in marriage, it is unifying only in that it prevents the man from going elsewhere to achieve the physical pleasure that sex provides.  Social pressure, derivative from cultural Marxists, forced the Vatican to essentially make a choice between allowing non-procreative sex in marriage or aiding in the destruction of marriage and the family.  That is, as repression of sexual urges became unpopular, via the works of Freud and later Kinsey, men would be less inclined to marry if it meant that hey had to give up having sex for pleasure.  Marriage and family, important social and religious institutions, were far more important than what married couples did in private, so the Vatican came up with the unifying purpose of sex.

When a man commits to marrying, he gives up the possibility of having sex with any other woman but his wife.  Marriage is a huge sexual sacrifice for a man; no man gets married because he wants to limit his sexual actvities with one woman.  And frankly, a lot of guys find this to be a bad deal after the fact, hence the rate of adultery.  It's likely the reason that in states that have legalized SSM, only a small percentage of ss couples have decided to marry.

You are claiming that a man who denies his sexual nature is being dishonest.  By that definition, then, all married men are dishonest because men's sexual nature is to have sex with any woman that will agree to have sex with him.

I think that calling sex a "beautiful gift from God" is a rationalization of sinful behavior, again, from a male perspective.  The beautiful gift from God is that men and women can create children from sex; procreation is the selfless unifier of men and women.

Marriage is intended to keep men from inseminating multiple women.  It encourages, through morality and/or contractual obligation, a man to stay with a woman and claim responsibility for any children that result from sexual relations within the marriage.  It helps ensure that children born within that marriage will have a mom and a dad to raise them.  I know that it's not the image that Hollywood depicts, but marriage exists only because of the procreative aspect of the male-female union.  Why else did humans begin pairing up instead of remaining single or forming unions of 3 or 4 or more?

So, I maintain, if you want to get married and have kids, do so.  But, by all means, whether you have same-sex attraction or desire to have sex with a variety of women, recognize that you give that up in exchange.

Jim McCrea
6 years 6 months ago
Michael Brooks:  I’m going to let you in on a closely guarded secret, known only to every lesbian and gay man in the world.  Be sure and don’t share it with anyone else, OK?
 
We are NOT constantly jumping into bed with each other as often as possible!  After 39 years I freely admit that those sinful lustful nasty urges do moderate.  I know couples who freely admit to not having sexual relations hardly at all!
 
As in your relationship with your wife, according to your words, the basic glue is mutual love, admiration and support.  Surprise, surprise – that is what I and mine have experienced for a long, long time -  AND without benefits from or support of state or church.  I think that is one of the reasons why we have lasted as long as we have.  We are together because we want to be, not because we’d have to jump through hoops to get out of a mistake – which we don’t have.



fWe've felt no need to get married.  We obviously can't have kids (but we could have adopted).  And we have made it work extremely well.
Michael Barberi
6 years 6 months ago
Bill Freeman:

Theologians Christopher West and Janet Smith have written about imperfect sodomy.

Janet Smith, claiming that:

Certainly there isn’t any “Church teaching” about this action at a magisterial level, but few seem to know that there is a tradition of approval of such behavior as foreplay to intercourse (not to be confused with the biblical condemnation of sodomy which replaces intercourse) by orthodox Catholic ethicists. The principle generally invoked is that consensual actions that culminate in intercourse are morally permissible…. Perhaps it is time for ethicists to work on the question…

Bill, I was equally surprised by such claims but West and Smith are prominent traditionalist theologians. If you can provide "official" Church teachings on this subject, please enlighten us.
Michael Barberi
6 years 6 months ago
Bill Freeman:
Some more evidence you may not be aware of from a posting about imperfect sodomy.
> But to the extent the question, "Where, pray tell, is the Catholic tradition that approves of anal penetration as a forerunner to coitus to be found?" was sincerely posed, I think we will find support for Smith's assertion (PROPERLY understood) in Ford & Kelly, Vermeersch, Noldin-Schmidt, and Davis, all of which I looked at today, and none of which are susceptible to claims of herterdoxy.

Smith can defend her reading of the moral tradition.
Bill Freeman
6 years 6 months ago
@Michael J. Barberi - Why, pray tell, is this issue of such importance to you?  Why are you so interested in the physical particularities of gay sex?  What motivates this for you?  I don't have the slightest interest in your sex acts, why are you so interested in mine?
Michael Barberi
6 years 6 months ago
Bill Freeman:

I think you have misread my blog postings. Those quotations were taken directly from other blogs that were focused on sodomy and the West/Smith assertion.

I am not interested in your or anyone else's sex acts. I was responding to your specific objections about my use of the term "imperfect sodomy".  My earlier posting referred to the fact that the entire prohibtion about sodomy is centered in the Onan Story. One should never spill his seed in a non-procreative faculty (i.e., the ground, the condom, the anal faculty). However, as I also said, the meaning of the Onan Story is also contraversial; so is the actual act of anal penetration without remainder in terms of its morality.

If you misunderstood my intentions, I apologize. I mean no harm, only good.
Jim McCrea
6 years 6 months ago
MJB:   If the proscription alleged in the story of Onan (Gen 38) has validity in this day and age, then why do not those proscriptions in Lev 20: 9&10, 24:16, 18:19, 19:9, 19, 23, 27,28, and 25:37 also have weight? 


Or are we playing “cafeteria Catholic” with the Hebrew scriptures?
6 years 5 months ago
Anne -

I think there's common ground to be found between us; just not enough time to get there in the comments section of a blog: I tend to be long-winded, I write hastily, and my writing style implies that I am immovable in my opinions. 

I'm a bit worn out on this one; no doubt there will be other opportunities to engage on this subject.

Congrats on nearly 40 years of marriage.
Michael Barberi
6 years 5 months ago
Jim McGrea:

I have no idea what you are saying. My comments are clear. The Story of Onan "that God killed Onan because he spilled his seed on the ground" continues to this day". My point is that many Biblical Scholars argue differently, thus there is some controversy.

However, the Church seems to be inconsistent in her teachings, or not completely clear, when imperfect sodomy is not morally wrong, but perfect sodomy is. Despite those that argue about prudence, cleanlines, et al, this is another seeming ambiguity and controversy. The fact that one act is completed and the other act is not, as the basis for morality, seems to defy moral logic.

Rather than focus on this point, a more important argument is "personal and orientation complementarity". I refer you to "The Sexual Person" by Todd Salzman and Michael Lawler.  They make a good case for homosexuality. If homosexuality is not "chosen" but is "given", then it is proper to debate a broader sexual ethical theology.

I do not judge but to respect alternative opinion based on sound principles of reason. I do believe that homosexual people can live a life pleasuing to God. The issue is a thoughtful sexual theology. 

Jim McCrea
6 years 5 months ago
Proof text out of context is pretext of proof text.  Particularly when dealing with all of the "shalt nots" in the Hebrew scriptures.

I maintain my point above:  if you are going to selectively choose certain scriptures to defend your point, then you are deliberately ignoring the other texts that also require certain actions be taken when other "sins" happen.
Michael Barberi
6 years 5 months ago
Jim McCrea:

Honestly Jim, you are missing my point. Let me try once again.

1. I am not assserting that the Church's interpretation of the Onan Story is wrong. Nor am I relying on another interpretation to make my point. My previous posts used the Church's interpretaion on the Onan Story. The point is specifically the prohibited that man must never spill his seed in a non-procreative faculty.

2. Given the above, the Church does not formally teach that imperfect sodomy is illicit. While this may be contaversial, Janet Smith and other theologians argue that this is correct. Hence, there is a seeming contradiction and ambiguity that it is morally neutral and not wrong if one performs imperfect sodomy as foreplay before virginal sexual interourse despite one's opinion about cleanliness et al. 

3. Your first objection referred to my use of ther term "imperfect sodomy", thus implying that it was non-sense. My reply was appropriate and referred you to a blog comment from a website that was arguing over this issue, quite extensively. So, this term was not non-sense but was grounded in sound theological opinon from several experts. You may not agree with this interpretation or use of this term, but to rely on the concept of "proof texting" in this situation is indeed non-sense.

4. Lastly, the reference to the Onan Story and other interpretations was not to dismiss the Church's position or other Scripture texts. In retrospect, I did not have to use the point "controversy" of the Onan Story to make my point as I have made once again above. As I have mentioned, most comtemporary theologians have argued about the morality of homosexuality based on personal and relational sexual anthropology inclusive of complementality. This is the stroner and proper argument, IMO.

I hope this finally clears up the confusion.
Bill Mazzella
6 years 6 months ago
The relevant fact is that the encounter of Jesus with sinners was always gentle and inviting. Whereas, too many Christians are out demonstrating and cajoling those who disagree with them rather than loving and caring for them. The woman at the Well is made an apostle and the woman caught in adultery is fogiven. The wrath of Jesus is saved for the Scribes and Pharisees who are like too many alleged Christians.
Jim McCrea
6 years 6 months ago
Michael: some of the most effeminate men I have met are NOT gay and vice-versa. You cannot presume that appearances always belie what a person is. I have been gay long enough to have a fairly well developed “gaydar” and I find myself wrong more than a few times.


And your comment, " If you're homosexual, Bill, give up those immoral acts and find yourself a nice woman that you can love and bear children with the way God designed you. You can do that, Bill; you choose not to" is simply not borne out by fact.


Do you realize how many marriages have been entered into by gays or lesbians with the hope that doing so will "cure them," only to end up broken marriages, devastated spouses and hurt children?
“Dr” Nicolosi’s “Reparative Therapy” that promises to turn gays/lesbians into straights has been discredited by many reputable sources, no matter how much Courage and NARTH parrot it as being successful.  I suggest that you and others visit this site and learn more about the pseudo-science of RT:  http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_repar.htm
6 years 6 months ago
Jim -

My experiences with one's gaydar being wrong have been with gay men hitting on me, thinking I was gay; I think it's wishful thinking.  In any case, my point was that for whatever reason, my priest never talks about the Church's position on homosexuality.  If the Church is making any noise about homosexuality, it's because She's being attacked and has for too long been battered and abused in silence.

I'm a research skeptic, so whatever the studies say about reparative therapy and what not I take with a grain of salt.  I have one friend who gave up homosexual acts in exchange for getting married and having kids.  I have other friends who chose not to do so, and one guy who is still considering it because he'd like to have his own kids and a family.

The human will is a powerful thing.  Marriages fall apart for all sorts of reasons,  but the number one reason is that people don't try anymore.  We're supposed to give up our individual selves when we get married.  Me, I'm the stereotypical married guy who doesn't get laid enough; am I going to go out an have an affair or end my marriage over my need for sex?  Nonsense. 

I would not suggest that guys with same-sex attraction should expect to be "cured" by getting married.  I think they should exercise the power of the will and enjoy the mulltitude of non-sexual pleasures that comes with commiting oneself to a woman, having children with her and growing a family.  It's a beautiful gift that God has made available to all of us.
Michael Barberi
6 years 6 months ago
While the following is not the thoughts most people have, or thoughts they perfer to have, they nevertheless, provide for reflection.

The Church does not proclaim as intrinsic evil or moral evil imperfect sodomy, only perfect sodomy. Imperfect sodomy is the act of sodomy without completion. In other words, it is sexual foreplay that does not result in the placing of semen into non-procreative faculites. Oral sex without completion is also not forbidden. The Church discourages imperfect sodomy and oral sex, but these acts are not morally wrong.

This prinicple has its roots in the story of Onan where man's seed was spilled on the ground. Historically, this event was interprete as the reason God stuck down Onan. However, recent Biblical scholars differ over this interpretation. Some say God struck down Onan because he defied Levitrate Law by an act of injustice when he did not provide his widow sister-in-law offspring in order to continue the family line.
Bill Freeman
6 years 6 months ago
Michael Barberi - Really now, imperfect v. perfect sodomy - are you for real?  Where did you study moral theology?  Your "theological discourse" would be more appropriate for estimating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin!  Please, please don't think that your preposterous claims are serious biblical or theological examination. They are not.

Anne Chapman - Thank you for your response.  I have noticed this bizarre behavior in other gay-related article threads - but also on the one-hit wonder topic of abortion. What would the church do without the trilogy of abortion, stem-cell research, and anything gay-related?  Think maybe?  Listen to the signs of the time?  As I stated above yesterday, to argue with these commentators would just be futile. I had hoped for so much more from America.
 
Bill Freeman
6 years 6 months ago
Jim McCrea - Thanks for your wonderful post.  I have been with my partner for 23 years and he is the most giving, christian person that I have ever met.  
Anne Chapman
6 years 6 months ago
Michael,

It IS sinfully dishonest for a homosexual man to marry a woman. Even if she knows exactly what this man is offering and is willing to ''settle'' for so much less than God intended for marriage - so if she is desperate to be married and have children, and if the man tells her up front that he is looking only for companionship, only for platonic love, and wants to use her body and sex for utilitarian purposes (to beget children), is marrying only for convenience, and to hide his true sexual orientation, and she's OK with that, it is still a morally questionable thing to do. It reduces marriage to a business contract, sex to a utilitarian and mechanical physical act, much as it was through most of history.  It is so much less than what marriage is supposed to be - it is not whole, and so it is not holy either.

And if the man is NOT honest with the woman he asks to marry him, if he deludes her and deliberately misleads her, he is committing a terrible sin against her and any children they may have together.

Clearly you don't see sex as holy, as a beautiful gift from God, or as a primary unitive aspect of marital love.  You see sex as utilitarian (and unfortunately the church encourages that utilitarian view of sex by putting procreation ahead of the unitive aspects of marital sexual love) and marriage as primarily a utilitarian enterprise.   This view of marriage as a utilitarian enterprise denies the sacrament that is married love, denies the wholeness of the sacrament, and that wholeness includes married sexual love.

Juan believes the church's teaching that all sexual acts outside of marriage between male and female are sinful. He must follow his conscience. He is being honest with himself and others, and as long as he believes this, he must remain single and celibate.  He is honest. The homosexual man who marries a woman under false pretenses or under a false understanding of the sacrament of marriage is not being honest and he is sinning gravely against the sacrament of marriage.
Anne Chapman
6 years 6 months ago
Michael,

A man marrying a woman who is heterosexual is not denying his heterosexual nature. A homosexual who marries a woman and has sex with her is denying his homosexual nature. 

Your views of sex and marriage are so negative and so utilitarian.  It is not a sacramental view of all - it denies the beauty of one of God's most generous gifts to human beings.  Those who think along these lines probably should not get married nor have children - it would be a travesty.
Bill Collier
6 years 6 months ago
Bill F.-

Though until now I haven't been actively participating in this thread-contenting myself instead with reading and thinking about the issues raised-I nevertheless silently welcomed your comment @ # 62 that some of the posts have been "very disappointing." So I was surprised, and admittedly disappointed, that you said the following in your post @ # 67:

"I have noticed this bizarre behavior in other gay-related article threads - but also on the one-hit wonder topic of abortion. What would the church do without the trilogy of abortion, stem-cell research, and anything gay-related?  Think maybe?  Listen to the signs of the time?"

Why inject abortion and stem cell research into a thread that has nothing to do with those topics? You're entitled to your opinions, of course, but trite and unsupported comments about "the one-hit wonder topic of abortion" and the Church's failure to "[l]isten to the signs of the time" border on the "bizarre behavior" you were initially criticizing. 
 
6 years 6 months ago
Anne -

While my perspective on the purpose of marriage has a utilitarian aspect to it, that doesn't mean that marriage cannot have incredible fulfilling elements, gifts, beyond the creation and raising of children.  Indeed, my marriage transformed my and my wife's lives into a single life of countless blessings.  Sex just isn't an important part of our union; we enjoy it, of course, but neither of us would tell you that it is indispensable to our marriage (except making the kids, of course). 

When my wife and I were married, it was at a time in our lives when we were ready to settle down and have kids.  Our expectations were, I believe, pretty basic:  we were going to commit to spending our lives together, be faithful to one another, have some kids; beyond that we hoped for good fortune.  I don't think that either of us expected how deep our relationship would become; how unified we would become.  Having kids was a big factor in how our love for one another grew.  And, frankly, I didn't realize how little sex would matter to me, bad boy that I was in my youth.

I've been blessed with a fabulous marriage, a fabulous, joyful family.  Our gifts are many.  I doubt that anyone would ever refer to our marriage as a travesty just because we entered into it with a utilitarian purpose or that we do not believe that great sex makes a great marriage. 

btw - How "homosexual" is a guy if he is able to have sex with a woman?  Seems like the dishonesty of such a guy is in calling himself "homosexual" instead of "bisexual."

Get married, have kids, make it work.




Anne Chapman
6 years 6 months ago
Married sexual love is a very complicated part of marriage and the church both overplays sexuality at times and underplays it at other times.  Few who have been married for many years (my husband and I are approaching our 40th) would say that sex is ''the'' most important thing in their marriage, However, for most couples their desire for the joys and consolation of marital sex also don't disappear with age or after children are born.  The marriage must be holy by itself - before children are brought into it. Some people can have very sacramental and holy marriages without choosing to have children.  The unitive role of married sexuality is generally quite important in maintaining marital health and marital love, especially when dealing with all of the stresses, joys, sorrows, and losses that everyone faces throughout their lives.

Perhaps gay men who marry women are really bisexual  - however, it's also likely that many fantasize and the object of their fantasy is male.  However, many of these pseudo-marriages are mostly without sex - once the kids are conceived and born, that's it.  That may be enough for some women, but not many. It is cheating them - it's not only men who h ave sexual desires, and it's not only men who have extra-marital affairs. Marriage to a man who is not sexually attracted to his wife can be devastating to a woman's self-esteem, because most women would blame themselves for not being attractive to their husbands - not knowing that their spouses are gay. Getting married for utilitarian reasons if both don't agree to the business relationship is a form of cheating one's spouse. (And marriages based on utility are not likely to be truly sacramental.) NO man who prefers other men to women as sexual partners should get married.  It is very wrong.  If some people are content with second-best (marriage purely for convenience or other utilitarian reasons), then that's their choice, but seldom do they enjoy the blessings that a truly sacramental marriage brings.

It is clear that there is no common ground to be found in our discussion, Michael. I am actually appalled that someone would try to push gay men into marrying straight women.  I often disagree with other posters - such as Juan or Brett or others. However, with them, there seems to be at least a possibility of finding some common ground, and perhaps increasing understanding of the point of view of the other.  It is probably my ''fault'', but I truly see no way you and I could find any common ground on this subject.  I think that what you recommend is simply wrong and very unfair to unsuspecting wives.
Bill Freeman
6 years 6 months ago
Michael Brooks said: I realize that not all people have the will to deny themselves as Christ demanded; and I don't judge guys like Jim McC and Biil F who opt for an easier way through life.

Opt for an easier way through life ???  Are you nuts?  Who in their right might would choose to be considered a pariah by people like YOU?  To be denied basic civil rights? What planet did you live on?

Second, no one is trying to recruit your children.  Sexuality is fixed at birth, one no more chooses to be gay than one chooses to be straight.

You really are a ball of misinformed opinion.  
Bill Freeman
6 years 6 months ago
The current issue of Commonweal has an excellent article on Homosexuality and The Church that readers with an open head and heart might find of value.  It can be found: here.
Juan Lino
6 years 6 months ago
I'm with Tim (#82) at this point.

Bill (#86) - Please consider that you undermine yourself (and poison the well) by making statements such as ''readers with an open head and heart might find of value.''  

Why not just present the article and let it speak for itself without the implied "you're some kind of closed minded small hearted bigot if you find it has no value."  Isn’t that exactly the kind of mindset/framing that you are fighting against?  

And yes, I am very familiar with Eve Tushnet and her blog.

Bill Freeman
6 years 5 months ago
@Juan Lino Lopez - I thought my introduction to the Commonwealth post on Homosexuality and the Church was appropriate for those readers, as I stated: with an open head and heart. If you read the above comments (particularly those repeated by several posters), you might find that many are nothing short of attacks against gays and lesbians showered with pick-and-choose scripture, and citations from the Catechism.  As I stated to Bob Villano, if he cannot conceive of homosexuality as anything other than sinful, then that presumption precludes any further discussion.  Or, as another example, given David Nickol's recommendation to me to give up those immoral acts and find yourself a nice woman that you can love and bear children with the way God designed you.  You can do that, Bill; you choose not to. Clearly, he is not open to another point-of-view.
Juan, those commentators who do not or will not concede the dominant scientific understanding that sexual orientation is hardwired and cannot be considered sinful by its nature since it does not include choice, are not open-minded and I would suggest are hardhearted - in the full biblical sense. As I stated in a much earlier post, I continue to be very disturbed by the culture of misunderstanding and homophobic attacks here in America that is found so often in secular conservative blogs.  As Anne Chapman stated to me above: any [America] blog related to homosexuality too often arouses venom towards homosexuals, making rational discussion difficult.
 

Thus, I believe my introduction to the current issue of Commonwealth is quite appropriate.  Posters who have clearly made up their minds about the sinfulness of homosexuality would not be interested in the alternative position as presented in Commonwealth.  Again, I would recommend Commonweal’s excellent article on Homosexuality and The Church which can be found: here.
6 years 5 months ago
Bill -

It was me, not David Nichol who made the statement about finding a woman to marry.

While many individuals who idenitfy as homosexual never made a conscious choice to do so, scientific evidence strongly suggests that environment is the dominant factor in causing individuals to have this orientation.  That indicates that it is teachable, preventable and, as Juan's cited article explains, reversable.

In any case, it's not the orientaiton that is sinful; it's the behavior.  We have the will to resist temptation; we choose not to or are too weak to resist, whether it's homosexual acts or sinful heterosexual acts. 

Bill Freeman
6 years 5 months ago
@Michael Brooks - do you have any understanding how offensive your statement is? Further, you are wrong that sexual orientation is "changeable."  Such opinions form the basis for the horrible destructiveness of "reparative therapy." 
6 years 6 months ago

I think that the preoccupation with "the homo stuff" is actually much more attributable to those promoting homosexuality and attempting to force or sell that particular viewpoint as cause célèbre.

That said, I think Lady Gaga and the evangelical protestor are made for each other! Each represents sentimental extremes of the argument (i.e., the protestor focuses only on a distorted faith...while Gaga focuses only on distorted love). 

The true position is the one take by the Church: love and truth together - neither flippant promotion or acceptance of sin, nor distainful rejection of the sinner.


Crystal Watson
6 years 6 months ago
I do think lay Catholics will continue to have a more accepting view of same-sex marriage, etc., but I don't think we can give the credit to Catholic teaching, which has been incredibly negative on this issue.  I think the credit goes to the ethics of fairness in secular society.  The church can learn from the world.
Michael McFarland
6 years 6 months ago
The Church does not need to Learn from the world. If lay Catholics become more aceepting of same sex marriage they will do so in disobedience to the teaching of the Church. Homosexual  behavior is intrinsically disordered. and is against not only the teaching of the Church but also the teachings found in the Bible. Fairness has nothing to do with it . What is morally right and wrong does. Homosexual behavior is wrong.
Stanley Kopacz
6 years 6 months ago
I'm 62 now and I think I've reached the "don't ask, don't care" phase.  I've bigger problems with capitalist terrorists poisoning (fracking) the water supply of my state.
Stanley Kopacz
6 years 6 months ago
Why is there homosexuality?  To this day, it remains a mystery in terms of evolutionary biology theory, according to which, it should disappear because it doesn't produce children.  There's no evidence it has any advantage to relatives of homosexual people, either, so that sociobiological theory doesn't work either.  The only thing I can figure is that mammalian sexuality is so complex in development that it is only 100% minus the percentage of homosexuals efficient.  The only other possibility is that theorized recessive homosexual genes might give an advantage, the way a single sickle cell anemia gene gives resistance to malaria.  Anyway, try reading "THe Sexual Brain" by a researcher Dr. LeVay, himself homosexual.  AFter reading that book about development of sexuality in mammals, I'm surprised anybody ends up heterosexual.
BOB REGAN MR
6 years 6 months ago
Read the Catholic Catechism on homosexuality and homosexual behaviour. David Nickol's comments are the current problem with American Catholics. They read the Catechism, know the Church's teaching on homosexuality (and yes, it is considered "intrinsically disordered" by the Church), but decide they don't need to follow that teaching. Essentially at that point, they are not Catholics anymore, but popes of their own version of protestantism. Does the Catholic Church have the teaching authority given by Christ handed down through apostolic succession with the ability to "bind and loose" on scripture and tradition? YES! I can't change Christ's teaching to fit my lifestyle, I must change my lifestyle to fit Christ's teaching, whether it is culturally accepted or not. Thank you Jesus, for the Truth of the Catholic Church to guide me back to you.
Matthew Pettigrew
6 years 6 months ago
This is obviously just a guess, but I suspect I know, am friendly with, and am related to more homosexuals than a number of other commenters here.  And never, not once, has any of them said or done anything that could be construed as "promoting homosexuality [or] attempting to force or sell that particular viewpoint as cause célèbre." Each of them simply wants the right to do what the rest of do:  love, be loved, earn a living, raise families, and be full participants in society, including the religion of his or her choice.
BOB REGAN MR
6 years 6 months ago
Some Christian's say that living out the gay/lesbian lifestyle is morally acceptable. Other Christian's say that living out the gay/lesbian lifestyle is moraly unnaceptable, and therefore, sinful. Two diametrically opposite views on a moral subject. Which view is correct, which view is incorrect? Can both be correct (as subjective relativism says?) Is there a place where a Christian go to find out which view is correct? is there an institution (a church, perhaps) that has the teaching authority handed down from Christ to give Christian's the guidance on faith and morals to tell us which view (interpretation) on the gay/lesbian lifestyle (sodomy, if you will) is correct and clear up this confusion?? Yes, there is. It is the Catholic Church. Read the Church's teaching on homosexuality in the Catechism. It is actually beautiful and quite sensitive to the subject.
David Nickol
6 years 6 months ago
Bob,

I think everyone here knows the official position of the Catholic Church on homosexuality (and other sexual issues, such as contraception). The point is that most Catholics not only don't abide by the teachings of the Church, and apparently don't even believe them. The question is, what are we to make of this? Your answer would seem to be that the majority of Catholics are ''bad Catholics.'' Certainly you have a right to think that. But for many people (including people who are not themselves Catholic), that's not the only answer to the question. 

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