Listen to the L.G.B.T. person: a response to the Vatican’s gender theory document

Revelers carry a rainbow flag along Fifth Avenue during the L.G.B.T. Pride Parade in New York on June 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki, File)Revelers carry a rainbow flag along Fifth Avenue during the L.G.B.T. Pride Parade in New York on June 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki, File)

In recent years the Vatican (including popes, congregations and dicasteries) have expressed concern over “gender theory” and “gender ideology.” The latest document from the Congregation for Catholic Education, titled “Male and Female He Created Them,” is the most comprehensive treatment of the topic yet. As America’s Vatican correspondent, Gerard O’Connell, reports, the document comes from a Vatican Congregation and was not signed by Pope Francis, so it is not intended as the “final answer” on the topic.

Gender theory is a notoriously slippery term. Broadly, it refers to the study of gender and sexuality and how those two realities are determined naturally (that is, biologically) and/or socially (that is, culturally). Usually it includes the study of the experiences of gays and lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, and all those who identify as “queer,” another often-ambiguous term that can mean (but does not always mean) a decision to identify oneself outside of categories like male or female, or gay or straight.

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The congregation’s new document is an explicit call for dialogue, which all should welcome.

For some critics, gender theory also represents an “ideology” that seeks to impose itself on others, “encouraging” or “forcing” some people, especially youth, to question and restate their own sexuality and gender. In some church circles, especially in the developing world, it is often linked to a form of “ideological colonialism” that seeks to impose Western ideas of sexuality and gender on developing nations. Pope Francis has several times adverted to this belief.

The congregation’s new document should be praised for its call for “listening” and “dialogue.” The subtitle is important: “Towards a Path of Dialogue on the Question of Gender Theory in Education.” It is an explicit call for dialogue, which all should welcome. It speaks of a “path,” which indicates that the church has not yet reached the destination. It focuses on the “question” of gender theory in education, which leaves some degree of openness, and is thus addressed mainly to educators and “formators,” including those responsible for the training of priests and members of religious orders.

Another positive aspect of this document is its clear call to “respect every person in their particularity and difference” and its opposition to “bullying, violence, insults or unjust discrimination.” It also praises “the ability to welcome all legitimate expressions of human personhood with respect.”

The document’s conclusion speaks of the path of dialogue, which includes “listening, reasoning and proposing.” As such, it leaves open room for further developments and also avoids some of the harsh language of other Vatican pronouncements on sexuality and, especially, on homosexuality.

This traditional view, however, is contradicted by what most biologists and psychologists now understand about both sexuality and gender.

Let me, then, engage in the respectful dialogue called for, as someone who ministers to L.G.B.T. people.

What does the congregation propose? Essentially, and unsurprisingly, its document restates the traditional Catholic view of sexuality: Men and women are created (as heterosexuals) with fixed sexual and gender roles. This traditional view, however, is contradicted by what most biologists and psychologists now understand about both sexuality and gender. These contemporary advances in understanding human sexuality and gender have been set aside by the congregation in favor of a binary understanding of sexuality. Even the term “sexual orientation” is put into quotes in the document, as if to call that very notion into question.

[What do you think about the Catholic Church and transgender issues? Let us know in our short reader survey]

The crux of the congregation’s argument is in this understanding of gender: “This separation [of sex from gender] is at the root of the distinctions proposed by different ‘sexual orientations’ which are no longer defined by the sexual difference between male and female, and can then assume other forms determined solely by the individual, who is seen as radically autonomous.”

One objection to that proposition is that it ignores the real-life experience of L.G.B.T. people. In fact, the document’s primary partners for conversation seem to be philosophers, theologians and older church documents and papal statements—not biologists or scientists, not psychiatrists or psychologists, and not L.G.B.T. people and their families. If more people had been included in the dialogue, the congregation would probably find room for the now commonly held understanding that sexuality is not chosen by a person but is rather part of the way that they are created.

If more people had been included in the dialogue, the congregation would probably find room for the now commonly held understanding that sexuality is not chosen by a person but is rather part of the way that they are created.

In fact, for a document that relies so heavily (albeit implicity) on natural law, it ignores what we increasingly understand about the natural world, where we see men and women attracted to the same sex, men and women feeling a variety of sexual feelings throughout their lifetimes, and men and women finding themselves more on a spectrum than on any fixed place when it comes to sexuality and, occasionally, even gender.

The congregation also suggests that discussions about gender identity involve an intentional choice of gender by an individual. But people who are transgender report that they do not choose their identity but discover it through their experiences as human beings in a social world. 

Again, the document largely neglects to engage in discussions about new scientific understandings and discoveries about gender. It relies mainly on the belief that gender is determined solely by one’s visible genitalia, which contemporary science has shown is an incorrect (and sometimes even harmful) way to categorize people. Gender is also biologically determined by genetics, hormones and brain chemistry—things that are not visible at birth. The congregation’s document relies heavily on categories of “male” and “female” that were shaped centuries ago, and not always with the most accurate scientific methods.

The document relies mainly on the belief that gender is determined solely by one’s visible genitalia, which contemporary science has shown is an incorrect (and sometimes even harmful) way to categorize people.

The document is also undergirded by the notion of “complementarity,” which means that based on their gender (male and female), men and women have separate roles. In a sentence sure to raise eyebrows the congregation writes, “Women have a unique understanding of reality. They possess a capacity to endure adversity…” Not men? Such ideas reinforce stereotyping and prevent both men and women from rising above precisely those cultural constructs that the Vatican often rightly decries.

The most unfortunate aspect of this document is the way the congregation understands transgender people. (Oddly, in a document about gender and sexuality, the words “homosexual” or “homosexuality” are absent.) Consider this passage: “This oscillation between male and female becomes, at the end of the day, only a ‘provocative’ display against so-called ‘traditional frameworks’, and one which, in fact, ignores the suffering of those who have to live situations of sexual indeterminacy. Similar theories aim to annihilate the concept of ‘nature’ (that is, everything we have been given as a pre-existing foundation of our being and action in the world), while at the same time implicitly reaffirming its existence.”

In this formulation, transgender people are being “provocative” and are either consciously or unconsciously trying to “annihilate the concept of ‘nature.’” Friends and family members who have accompanied a transgender person through their attempts at suicide, their despair over fitting into the larger society, or their acceptance that God loves them will find that sentence baffling and even offensive.

Perhaps the most thoughtful response to this approach comes from a Catholic deacon, Ray Dever, who has a transgender child and wrote about his family’s experience in U.S. Catholic. As he writes, “Anyone with any significant first-hand experience with transgender individuals would be baffled by the suggestion that trans people are somehow the result of an ideology. It is a historical fact that long before there were gender studies programs in any university or the phrase gender ideology was ever spoken, transgender people were present, recognized, and even valued in some cultures around the world.”

The most likely short-term result of “Male and Female He Created Them” will be to provide ammunition for Catholics who would deny the reality of the transgender experience, who would label transgender people as simple ideologues, and who would deny their real-life experiences. It will most likely contribute to a greater feeling of isolation, a greater feeling of shame and a greater marginalization of those who are already marginalized in their own church: transgender people.

Let us return to the more positive aspect of this document, which could be the long-term result: the call for listening and dialogue. The congregation seems sincere in its invitation. The church, like the rest of society, is still learning about the complexities of human sexuality and gender. The next step, then, could be for the church to listen to responses from those that this document most directly affects: L.G.B.T. people themselves.

Let the dialogue begin.

[What do you think about the Catholic Church and transgender issues? Let us know in our short reader survey]

Read David Cloutier's response to the document on gender theory from the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Jessica Pegis
3 months ago

There was no male and female at the beginning of time. Male and female are essentially reproductive strategies that evolved--adapted and survived. In another galaxy, the results could look quite different since adaptation is tied to environment. There is more to the human being than male or female.

John Mack
3 months ago

I do not expect any wisdom on the issue of sex from the Catholic church. It ignores science.

david_roccosalva@yahoo.com
3 months ago

"In fact, the document’s primary partners for conversation seem to be philosophers, theologians and older church documents and papal statements—not biologists or scientists, not psychiatrists or psychologists, and not L.G.B.T. people and their families." Ignoring science and scientists? What a great idea and traditionally Catholic! How'd that work out for Galileo?

Juliana Boerio-Goates
3 months ago

This afternoon, speaking to the USCCB meeting, BIshop Robert Barron named four or five reasons why millenials are leaving the church. One was the conflict they experienced between what their faith was asking them to believe and what they were learning from modern science; the other was on sexuality. Yesterday's report on transgenderism and gender ideology will just push more young people out for these two reasons. The young people who know the science will see this as yet one more example of the church getting things wrong because it fails to engage with scientific thought that has progressed beyond the Aristotelian science used by Aquinas.

Glenn Lanham
2 months 3 weeks ago

The Word of God still stands...still describes homosexuality as abhorrent...

Matthew Janicak
3 months ago

What Fr. Martin doesn't address is that discrimination against LGBTQIA humans is encouraged by official church teachings, which are targeted toward a young audience that grow into less flexible adults. His damage control is a band-aid over a sad reality: that the Catholic Church's God is not the source of "nature," but a means of authority. For a Jesuit, substantively undermining this "God" means finding a new job, which is scary for any one. But many of us need to find new jobs and quickly. Let the dialogue begin.

Matthew Janicak
3 months ago

Come on, coward club. I'm seriously disappointed a Catholic isn't available for me to eat.

Matthew Masotti
3 months ago

‪What “scientific method” could possibly accurately and verifiably ascribe a person as B.isexual or T.ransgender if ‘male’ and ‘female’ are outdated?‬

Because people can experience “a variety of sexual feelings throughout their lifetimes” doesn’t mean every act based on these feelings is an equivalent element in “a spectrum” of acceptable behavior. Should the Magisterium also listen to M.asturbating Catholics to inform its teaching on marriage and sexuality? A.dulterous Catholics? B.igamist Catholics? (wouldn’t B.isexual Catholics have two spouses?) P.olyamorous or P.olygamist Catholics? These are serious questions that the “dialogue” begs.

Father Martin’s use and defense of “L.G.B.T” categories, and his persistence in describing people according to their sexual forays, self-serve his modus operandi. He deliberately obfuscates Church teaching and disingenuously invokes “contemporary” science. Sure, there are many in science and medicine today who promote “gender theory” and its corollaries, but science and medicine once embraced eugenics and mass sterilization with enthusiasm, and today most of their professional organizations defend and endorse the use of chemical contraceptives and elective surgical abortion.

Moral relativism permeates Father Martin’s writings. In his essay above he speaks nothing about sin as it pertains to sex or to suicide. That his expressed views are widely held does not contradict their underlying Gnosticism. Mention of rare congenital abnormalities is a tactical diversion from attempts to explain, for example, the contagion represented by propagandized children seeking to mutilate themselves in order that their bodies reflect fantasies that they’ve been led to believe are real.

I am very thankful that the Church has intervened lest practitioners in science, medicine, law, media, and education continue hellbent with increasing support for the present mass delusion. I also pray that Father Martin one day rejects the errors that he now promotes.

Matthew Janicak
3 months ago

"What “scientific method” could possibly accurately and verifiably ascribe a person as B.isexual or T.ransgender if ‘male’ and ‘female’ are outdated?‬"

Scientific results do not dictate linguistics. "Male," female", "bisexual," and "transgender" are all word-phrases with buy-in.

"Because people can experience 'a variety of sexual feelings throughout their lifetimes' doesn’t mean every act based on these feelings is an equivalent element in 'a spectrum' of acceptable behavior."

It is not up to you, or any undemocratic club, to discern "acceptable behavior."

"Should the Magisterium also listen to M.asturbating Catholics to inform its teaching on marriage and sexuality? A.dulterous Catholics? B.igamist Catholics? (wouldn’t B.isexual Catholics have two spouses?) P.olyamorous or P.olygamist Catholics? These are serious questions that the “dialogue” begs."

Masturbation should not have been conveyed as a problem to yourself, and sexual pleasure is not as supremely powerful as you imagine.

"Moral relativism permeates Father Martin’s writings. In his essay above he speaks nothing about sin as it pertains to sex or to suicide. That his expressed views are widely held does not contradict their underlying Gnosticism"

This sounds like utter nonsense. You can go Gnosticize yourself.

"I am very thankful that the Church has intervened lest practitioners in science, medicine, law, media, and education continue hellbent with increasing support for the present mass delusion. "

I understand that you want to feel achievement, which certain disciplines, such as science, medicine, law, media, and education ascribe. Their achievements are real, however, and I think you would agree if you were able to take those first steps in effort.

Teresa Gould
3 months ago

The science has to do with looking at the brains of transgendered individuals. Evidently, their brains match more with their desired gender than their physical sex. http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2016/gender-lines-science-transgender-identity/

Gail Bederman
3 months ago

It's surprising and disturbing that so many opponents of gender theory commenting here have apparently never actually read any gender theory--merely condemnations of gender theory. Similarly, most apparently know no transgender people--merely textual representations of such people. It even sounds like many haven't read the new Vatican document which--as Fr. Martin correctly points out--itself calls for the dialogue that so many posting here oppose. I suggest to all of you more reading--which will make the dialogue the Vatican desires much more productive. Thank you, Father Martin, for speaking truth truth, perfectly informed by Catholic doctrine, so lovingly and thoughtfully, as always.

Gail Bederman
3 months ago

It's surprising and disturbing that so many opponents of gender theory commenting here have apparently never actually read any gender theory--merely condemnations of gender theory. Similarly, most apparently know no transgender people--merely textual representations of such people. It even sounds like many haven't read the new Vatican document which--as Fr. Martin correctly points out--itself calls for the dialogue that so many posting here oppose. I suggest to all of you/us more reading--which will make the dialogue the Vatican desires much more productive. And thank you, Father Martin, for speaking truth, thoughtfully informed by Catholic doctrine, so lovingly and eloquently, as always.

Martin Cosentino
3 months ago

The Roman Church is in error in publishing such a reactionary document that, even charitably speaking is at least a half century behind in psychological and cultural thinking.

To begin, there is NOTHING in the New Testament that specifically addresses this issue, except maybe Jesus' remarks on the eunuchs:

11“Not everyone can accept this word,” He replied, “but only those to whom it has been given. 12For there are eunuchs who were born that way; others were made that way by men; and still others live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” 13Then the little children were brought to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them. And the disciples rebuked those who brought them.…

We are also speaking of human sovereignty here - the self-evident right to be what one's own self chooses to be - Soren Kierkagaard, one of the most devout Christians ever, had this to say nearly 200 years ago:

"By relating itself, to itself, and by willing to be its OWN self, the Self is
transparently grounded in the Power which constitutes it."
-Fear and Trembling

The Power Kierkagaard was referring to was 'before G-d' and it is an issue Jesus would have been thoroughly familiar with. The equipment that Nature supplies us with between our legs when we are born, is secondary to the SELF that ultimately is formed from life's experiences.

Because G-d made us 'in his image, . . .male and female he created them,' this passage means that EACH ONE OF US is male and female, and that it is ultimately our adult and sovereign choice to become that person who we want to be.

Jesus commanded us to "whatsoever you would have others do to you, do you likewise to them - love your neighbor as yourself.'

If you are NOT reading the New Testament, and that includes the Congregation for Catholic Education, then you are not Jesus' disciple, and you cannot call yourself a Christian.

Pancho Mulongeni
3 months ago

Yes, James Martin, thank you, your arguments are #Flawless. We're Alisters!

Michael S
3 months ago

-The fundamental issue is that these people have no idea who they are. They have a sexual identity as XX or XY, given to them by the Creator. Let'a not talk about the rare outliers such as XXY, XO, or adrenal issues. These people are simply confused, and cannot accept themselves for who they are. This is basic biology, and has nothing to do with Church teachings. The next time you meet a transgender woman, ask her about her uterus, periods, and child bearing. These are essential aspects of being a woman that they will never know! All of this is total nonsense!

Luis Gutierrez
3 months ago

Isn't patriarchy a "gender theory"? Isn't religious patriarchy a manifestation of the gender ideology of male headship and the gender binary? As long as the Vatican is not willing to dismantle the patriarchal scaffolding that makes the church hierarchy exclusively male, we shall remain shackled to a patriarchal gender theory. Pitiful. Disgraceful.

Paul Hierholzer
3 months ago

"One objection to that proposition is that it ignores the real-life experience of L.G.B.T. " Imagine that--celibate Catholic religious authorties ignoring the real-life experience of non-Celibate Catholic lay people. How unusual.

Rhett Segall
3 months ago

Fr. Martin states: " If more people had been included in the dialogue, the congregation would probably find room for the now commonly held understanding that sexuality is not chosen by a person but is rather part of the way that they are created." On what basis does a person say they were created as homosexual or transgender? On the basis of feeling gay or trans? But then those who feel like fornication is okay or polygamy is okay could justify their disposition in the same way. On such a mind set feeling becomes the criterion for truth. Can society really live with this criterion?

Vince Killoran
3 months ago

Bravo Fr. Martin! God gave us all brains (not to mention ears) and we need to use them.

Mister Mckee
3 months ago

A rather feeble APOLOGIA PRO ECCLESIA SUA, based on even weaker "official teaching" of the institution on so-called "gender theory:"
http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/marriage-and-family/marriage/promotion-and-defense-of-marriage/upload/Gender-Ideology-Select-Teaching-Resources.pdf

Jessica Pegis
3 months ago

Thank you, J and Mary Gail.

Ysais Martinez
3 months ago

It's almost never reported on the Western press, but His Holiness Pope Francis is quite old school conservative on topics like the devil, hell, homosexuality, gender ideology etc. And it comes to no surprise. He's the pope. I respect Fr Martin's gift in the field of Communications but I struggle mightily trying to make sense of how he bends the truth. He goes to extremes to find the "other side" of stuff the church says. Whatever the case may be or whoever the pope is, the Church is not likely to change on doctrine because rich Western countries use their wealth, means, and resources at their disposal to twist and turn.

J Jones
3 months ago

Thank you for committing to dialogue. I pray everyone here will keep in mind that almost one out of every two trans male teens attempts suicide and almost one out of every three trans female teens attempts suicide. When you mock, when you reject, when you deny their honesty and their sincerity and their existence, you taken into your hands the very real, the very precious lives of these youngsters: by what YOU write you can make them want to die today or you can make them wish today they were already dead. Think about it before you type.

John Patrick Riley
3 months ago

Once again, the moral degenerate of the SJ weighs in with the usual simpering nonsense. Male and female God made them, all of us. What perverted creature one becomes by erroneous belief and degenerate practice is a matter of personal responsibility. This applies to Fr. Martin, Mayor Petey, and other prominent purveyors of perversion. May God have mercy.

J Jones
3 months ago

John Patrick, your comment is bigotry pure and simple. It is also rank with assumption. Father James Martin is a courageous advocate for the love of Christ. Pete Buttegieg went to war to protect your right to say hateful things. You are hung up on what other men do or don't do with their phalluses. Remember that next time you question the morality of THEIR lives.

Matthew Kilburn
3 months ago

Dialogue and understanding are good. But apologists for the social-sexual left, like "Father" James Martin don't seek to understand, they seek to normalize and condone.

The "experiences" of people who are homosexual, or who choose to be transgender, are irrelevant to to the biological and theological truths they are trying to undermine.

The overwhelming majority of the human race is either male or female. This is determined at conception. It is a measurable, demonstrable, irrefutable, unchangeable fact. There is your science for you. And our roles as humans, particularly the normal and proper function of our sexual behavior, is dictated by our sex.

Yes, there are men who thinknthey are actually women; and people who have their sexual attractions directed toward those of the same sex. But these people suffer from a mental or physiological deformity or defect, just as one born blind or autistic or diabetic or with a predisposition to addiction.

It is the Church's job to promote truth, not stroke emotions or egos.

Richard Markiewicz
3 months ago

Please educate yourself on the intersex community. thank you. https://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/intersex

Mary Gail Frawley-O'Dea
3 months ago

This morning, our mental health center heard a presentation by three parents who have transgender children. We heard about their journeys, the depression and anxiety and cutting and suicide attempts these young people made before they came to terms with their gender identities. The families too had to travel a long distance to learn about transgenderness and about what their kids had been experiencing before coming out. It was a heartbreaking and hopeful presentation. Some of the remarks made here are so ignorant and so cruel and so lacking in compassion and knowledge of science. Jesus must weep -- as he does at so much coming out of the Catholic Church that disgraces him and his teachings. God bless all of us -- men, women, trans, non-binary, cisgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual. May we all love and be loved in sacred ways -- meaning that our love lives are infused with dignity, consent, respect, trust, playfulness, and love. There is nothing inherently sacred or sinful about heterosexual or homosexual sex. They are sacred or sinful depending on the infusion or lack of love. It is unfortunate but thank God changing that some people are so terrified of what they are not that they have to devalue the person artificially labeled as "other." Vive la difference!

J Jones
3 months ago

Mary, thank you for sharing this! GLAAD created a great video series: I AM TRANS

Richard Markiewicz
3 months ago

I decided to educate myself a little more about the intersex community and much information can be found on the internet via Google. One very good YouTube video can be found out on TEDx Talks entitled Born Intersex, We are human, in which Mx. Anunnaki Ray Marquez talks about their specific experience. I think the title itself is telling and needs to be taken into consideration. I am very disappointed by the negativity expressed here and elsewhere about our fellow human beings. I believe that Jesus would be very disappointed by the negative rhetoric and demeaning statements being made. These statements are not supported by RC doctrine, quite the contrary. And in any case the lack of compassion is not aligned with the General Principles outlined in the US Catholic Bishops statement on ministry to homosexual in
Respecting Human Dignity
The commission of the Church to preach the Good News to all people in every land points to the fundamental dignity possessed by each person as created by God. God has created every human person out of love and wishes to grant him or her eternal life in the communion of the Trinity. All people are created in the image and likeness of God and thus possess an innate human dignity that must be acknowledged and respected.1

In keeping with this conviction, the Church teaches that persons with a homosexual inclination “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”2 We recognize that these persons have been, and often continue to be, objects of scorn, hatred, and even violence in some sectors of our society. Sometimes this hatred is manifested clearly; other times, it is masked and gives rise to more disguised forms of hatred. “It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church’s pastors wherever it occurs.”3

Those who would minister in the name of the Church must in no way contribute to such injustice. They should prayerfully examine their own hearts in order to discern any thoughts or feelings that might stand in need of purification. Those who minister are also called to growth in holiness. In fact, the work of spreading the Good News involves an ever-increasing love for those to whom one is ministering by calling them to the truth of Jesus Christ.4

Thank you to Father James Martin and all the other priests and bishops who are supportive and not afraid to tell the truth.

John Mack
3 months ago

In matters of human sexuality the Roman Catholic church contradicts and rejects science. Roman Catholics need to face up to this.

Tim Brantley
3 months ago

Gender applies to language. The word was hijacked....Is Kaitlyn Jenner a man or a woman? Was Bruce Jenner a man or a woman when he fathered children?

Oliver Olinger
3 months ago

My journey toward the Catholic Church first passed through an early love of philosophy. The great Greek Objectivists always demonstrated a firm grasp of the real world, recognizing an inherent order in everything around them. I came to the Church because, following the life of Christ’s life on Earth, the objectivist school of philosophy was kept alive best by the Great Catholic philosophers of the past 2,000 years. Objective truth is perhaps the most defining characteristic of the Church in general, especially once one considers that the word "Catholic" itself means "Universal truth." A Church that, contrary to popular belief, seeks truth where it is and records it (rather than inventing statements and then arbitrarily naming them “truths”).

My problem with the argument presented here is that, while certainly charitable regarding the implied dignity of homosexuals' lives and their desire to live free from fear and oppression, is that the general tone of the article is one of subjectivism, not objectivism. The focus is inward-looking... self-discovery and self-realization without reference to the ordered objective universe around us. We don't exist in a vacuum; we are part of a system where everything interacts with everything else in some way. Epistemology is only one part of philosophy. Metaphysics is another part... a part that is nearly forgotten in the modern world, save by educated Catholics.

If we limit ourselves to only those things that are within us, we are cheating ourselves of everything that is outside of us and beyond us. Accepting that you are homosexual (or any of the other varieties covered by the LGBT+ moniker) is blameless and commendable… as an act of subjective epistemology where we choose our own, personal truths based only on that which we see in ourselves and our internal reactions to external phenomena. But doing so is tantamount to, let’s say, a pharmaceutical company researching its own poisonous medicine and determining that it’s entirely safe for use (no objective 3rd party research). Self-examination by its very essence is biased, and the only way to self-examine without a subjective bias is to admit of objective truths beyond the self and apply them to the examination.

Objectively, human beings aren’t all that special in biological terms, except for the unique characteristic of having a rational soul/mind. Sex, just like in the rest of the animal kingdom, carries with it the PRIMARY purpose of reproduction. Sexual enjoyment is an ACCIDENTAL property, not a primary one. Outside of ourselves, in the rest of the universe which follows a perfect order (St. Thomas Aquinas’ teleological argument) homosexuality is foundationally DISordered. Even within the field of epistemology, Kant’s Categorical Imperative suggests that we should act in such a way that our actions could reasonably and workably establish a maxim of behavior for the rest of the human race. Homosexuality/LGBT+ unfortunately fails this test as well.

If we, as Catholics, abandon objectivism we bury Catholicism in toto. Objective truth and Universal truth are identical and inseparable. If we have in our midst some who are suffering under a disordered state, convincing them that no disordered state exists where it does exist is doing them far more harm than even the most vicious bully. Yet both the placation and the bully run contrary to the Charity of the Church. We live in a left/right, false dichotomy-laden world. On one side we find those who wouldn’t bat an eye at the suggestion that all homosexuals be removed from the equation. On the other side, we find those that perpetuate disorder, and stoke its fire, instead of working to build bridges back to an ordered state. Perhaps we can find sensibility in between these two extremes and actually help the LBGT community the way they truly need it.

D T
3 months ago

Both the Vatican representatives and Fr. James Martin are committing the same error: Not referring to or synthesizing actual valid scientific data. This results in sloppiness on both ends.

The Church's document includes absolutely no indication of a single Cardinal attempting to read the literature that's out there and trying to make sense of the "science" around the issue. And I can understand that it doesn't because it's supposed to serve as a theological beacon to re-orient (no pun intended) the wayward world. But, if the Church expects the world to listen to what She has to say, Her sons ought to translate the document into a language that more could understand, i.e. Showing that they've taken the time to actually read and give a damn about what the world has to say about "gender."

Now, Fr. James Martin - contrary to his own belief - is no better in this regard. He makes vague, sloppy blanket statements when trying to get his point across: "This traditional view, however, is contradicted by what most biologists and psychologists now understand about both sexuality and gender." By "most", does he mean 60%? 75%? 98%? Has he really synthesized the information provided by almost all of the biologists and psychologists in the world? Why doesn't he include a single reference to any studies or books that could help us understand his point? Fr. Martin's use of the word "science" reminds me of a College Humor skit about Batman. At one point, they find evidence, and Batman exclaims, "Good! We'll study it. With science."

Glenn Lanham
2 months 3 weeks ago

More "nice" James Martin heresy

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