Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Looking to Desire

I'd like to expand a little on the points that I made in my last post, particularly with regards to moving from Eros to Ethos – from the experience of desire towards the appreciation of that “Beauty ever ancient, ever new” who is the rightful object of our worship and adoration. This comes in the context of an article by Robert Sungenis, “Creating the Illusion of 'Chaste' Gays,” critiquing Joshua Gonnerman's recent First Things article “Dan Savage was Right.” Sungenis' article is fairly typical of sanctimonious conservative diatribe: it opens with a passive-aggressive attack on Gonnerman's assertion that he is chaste, proceeds to describe people like myself and Mark Shea as covert accomplices of the gay agenda, and then makes the usual claim that the proper thing for gay Christians to do is to hide shamefacedly in the closet and ruthlessly uproot every trace of homosexuality from their heart.

Sungenis' vitriol is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means to be gay. Gayness is not reduceable to homosexual sex, or the desire to have homosexual sex. It is a way of relating to other people, a way of appreciating human beauty, and a way of relating to one's own gender. Most people who identify as chaste, gay Christians, are referring to involuntary currents of homoeroticism and gender-queerness that run through the personality. Sungenis appears to believe that these currents are so fundamentally disordered that the only proper response to them is one of outright warfare, that the personality must have surgery performed on it in order to eliminate every vestige of queerness in order that it might be rendered fit for salvation.

I think that there are two serious problems with this approach. First, people who engage in this kind of argument seem to think that the question of to be, or not to be same-sex attracted is an open question in the lives of gay people. This point is obvious to those of us with SSA, but apparently not to everyone else: for a homosexual person, same-sex attraction is a given. We can have a heated debate about whether or not people ought to have these attractions, just as we can have a lively argument about whether or not men ought to have spontaneous erections (a subject that has produced considerable discursive excitement over the centuries, mostly amongst ivory tower academics), but the fact is that for all practical purposes the question is settled – no amount of theological speculation has ever proved capable of preventing “concupiscent movements of the flesh,” nor can any amount of moralistic diatribe prevent homosexual persons from having homoerotic desires.

Secondly, hard-line traditionalists tend to assume that same-sex attraction is fundamentally objectively disordered in all of its aspects. The Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops, in their recent document on Youth with Same-Sex Attractions, were very careful to explicitly spell out the fact that homosexual inclinations are objectively disordered in so far as they concern the desire to have same-sex genital relations. That is, in so far as same-sex attractions are concupiscent, they are objectively disordered: a nice little tautology which only stands in need of clarification because it is counterintuitive to contemporary secular culture. What this means is that same-sex attractions, in so far as they are not concupiscent, are not disordered: another tautology, but one that is equally counterintuitive to many moral conservatives.

To understand the difference between concupiscent desire, and ordered desire, let's follow John Paul II's lead and return to the Beginning. I'd like to analyze, specifically, Genesis 3:6: “The woman saw that the tree was good to eat and pleasing to the eye, and that it was enticing for the wisdom that it could give.” Surely this is a case of disordered desire, right? Eve wants what she's not supposed to have, and as a result of that desire, she sins.

Sed contra, Eve at this moment is still in a state of Original Innocence. She does not have concupiscence clouding her judgement. What she sees at the moment is objectively true: the fruit really is good to eat, it really is pleasing to the eye, and it really is desirable for the wisdom that it could give. What is false is her conclusion, that because of these properties, it is justifiable for her to take and eat what has been denied to her by God.

I'd like to apply the same hermeneutic to same-sex attraction. When I look at a woman, and see that she is beautiful, that she is desirable, that she is enticing, I'm seeing something that is objectively true: she is objectively a manifestation of the imago dei, she is objectively attractive, and it is objectively legitimate for me to desire to be united with her in the vast communio personarum which is constituted by the Church and by the whole human race. My desire is not disordered in and of itself: it becomes disordered when I direct it, or allow it direct itself, towards something which is forbidden. If it leads me to fantasize about homosexual acts, or to think of the woman as a sex object, then it becomes disordered, that is ordered towards an end which is not in conformity with Truth and with the dignity of the person. But what if I make the act of will to redirect that desire, to use it as an opportunity to give glory to God for the beauty which He has made manifest in that particular woman? Or to meditate on my desire for the one-flesh union of the entire humanum in the Eucharist where there is neither Gentile nor Jew, slave nor free, woman nor man? Or as an opportunity to contemplate the relationship between the doctrines of the Communion of Saints and of the resurrection of the Body? What if, by an act of will, I take that desire and order it towards its proper end: towards the Good, the Beautiful and the True?

This is what I mean when I speak of sublimation, and it relates to what Joshua and other gay Christians mean when they speak of being both gay and chaste. It means that the word “gay” is being used to refer to the fact that some of us are more easily able to experience the goodness and beauty of the body in the bodies our own sex than we are in the bodies of the opposite sex. Obviously that leaves us open to homosexual temptation, just as the ability of most men and women to more easily appreciate bodily beauty in the opposite sex leaves them open to heterosexual temptations (to pre-marital sex, to adultery, to pornography, to sexual fantasy, etc.) Obviously in so far as it leads to homosexual temptation, it is disordered. But the word “gay” can refer to the orientation of that initial erotic impulse, irregardless of whether it develops towards disordered lust, or towards an appreciation of Christ playing “lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not His.” Which is why, in my submission, gay chastity is a calling, not a myth.

36 comments:

  1. Nice work!

    Mark Shea

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  2. One minor point: It's "Sungenis"

    Mark

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  3. Hi, Melinda--I appreciate your exploration of this topic and want to say up front that obviously I have no issue whatever with the concept of the chaste SSA person. But I *do* take issue with the concept of a "chaste gay" *couple*. I do not know your take on this element, but I wanted to make this clear as it relates to your post above.

    My comment is also without reference to Sungenis or any of his...work, such as it is.

    But, I have to point out that, from a "Theology of the Body" perspective, *chastity*--not "gay chastity"--is the calling for folks with SSA. Here is why:

    Firstly, there is a reason why, in my view, the topic of homosexuality is not to be found in JPII's TOB--it's because the "meaning of the body" claimed by JPII is "spousal." JPII claims that this "spousal meaning" penetrates the "reciprocal relations" of man and woman in general (not just in the realm of "eros").

    Secondly, the universal teaching Church, to my knowledge (and contrary to what you suggest appears in the Canadian bishops' statement), has never made reference to any form of "homosexual inclination" that is "un-disordered." If there is such a universal magisterial nuancing, I'd welcome correction.

    Thus I would assert that, when a person with SSA considers the inherent "beauty" of the a person of the same sex, with a necessary "disinterest" and "purity" that does not in any way distort the "spousal meaning of the body," such a person is merely being chaste, not "gay-chaste."

    The person with SSA and the person *without* SSA are both called to avoid "objectifying" a person of the same sex in the same manner, and further, are called to "reciprocal relation" with other persons *according* to the "spousal meaning of the body".

    In this context, I assert that your description above is merely of chastity. If it's not identical with chastity, "unqualified", can you tell me in what way the chastity you describe should be called "gay"?

    Finally, it would seem that the Church's understanding of "eros" is that human nature, according to God's plan, realizes the fulfillment of "eros" as reciprocal between man and woman exclusively, right? I.e., "eros" is "ordered" to this ultimate expression, yes?

    God bless you, and sorry I've left such a long comment!

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  4. Hi Deacon JR,

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment. A lot to respond to – I'll try to be brief.
    1. I've never met a chaste gay couple, but can't see any problem with it. There have been a number of same-sex “couples” (in the strict sense of the word “couple” as “two people or things together”) in the lives of the Saints: men who worked together, lived together, studied together, preached together, and who expressed a very profound love for each other. I think it's not unreasonable to assume that some of these men probably had same-sex attractions – with Aelred of Rivaulx, we know for a fact that he did – but their attractions were chastely expressed.
    2. By gay chastity, I simply mean chastity, ordinary, universal chastity, as it is expressed when the disordered temptations are gay instead of straight.
    3. The Church does specifically define homosexuality as “relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominate sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex.” Whenever the Church talks about homosexuality, She is referring exclusively to the definition that She has adopted (this is really necessary, given that Church documents have to be translated into a wide variety of languages in which different words will necessarily have all kinds of different cultural connotations). That means that any kind of same-sex attraction which is not ordered towards homosexual sex is not included in the definition – and of course we can generally assume that the yearnings of the human heart are innocent until declared guilty.
    4. W/r/t the spousal meaning of the body, yes, eros realizes its fulfillment in the reciprocal relations between a man and a woman. For some people, however, this fulfillment is not going to happen this side of the eschaton. Those people still experience eros, and they still need an ordered way of doing so, because repression just doesn't work. I agree that exclusive same-sex attraction is sub-ideal, but it's non-culpable, it's real, and ideal human beings are in short supply. Besides, it's possible to have fruitful experiences of the spousal meaning of the body as a result of SSA -- I have a lot of conflict with my feminine identity, and there have been several occasions where my attraction towards the beauty of other women has been a tremendous help in coming to terms with and understanding the spousal meaning of my own body.

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  5. Hi, Melinda--thanks for the reply--you wrote:

    ***1. I've never met a chaste gay couple, but can't see any problem with it. There have been a number of same-sex “couples” (in the strict sense of the word “couple” as “two people or things together”) in the lives of the Saints: men who worked together, lived together, studied together, preached together, and who expressed a very profound love for each other. I think it's not unreasonable to assume that some of these men probably had same-sex attractions – with Aelred of Rivaulx, we know for a fact that he did – but their attractions were chastely expressed.****

    I perceive that you have moved the goalposts a bit in this comment, as I am referring to the idea of a “chaste *gay* couple” rather than a same-sex “couple” who may or may not have SSA. Are you saying you see no problem with the idea that two people who self-identify as “gay” and further self-identify as a “couple” are being “chaste” as long as they aren’t sexually active? It would seem to me that this reduces chastity to “continence”, no?

    ****2. By gay chastity, I simply mean chastity, ordinary, universal chastity, as it is expressed when the disordered temptations are gay instead of straight.****

    It would then appear we are in agreement on this point—SSA or not, the “chastity” we are all called to seems well expressed in the CCC (#2337-2359)…

    ****3. The Church does specifically define homosexuality as “relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominate sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex.”…. That means that any kind of same-sex attraction which is not ordered towards homosexual sex is not included in the definition –****

    This would not seem to dovetail with the language of CCC #2358, which says: “The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitute for most of them a trial.”

    This makes clear that “homosexual *tendencies*”—not homosexual “sex”—is the “inclination” that is objectively disordered. In this light, I’d be at a loss to imagine the Church claiming that some homosexual “tendencies” are not objectively disordered.

    ****I agree that exclusive same-sex attraction is sub-ideal, but it's non-culpable, it's real, and ideal human beings are in short supply.****

    Is “exclusive” SSA merely “sub-ideal”, or is it “objectively disordered”? Therein lies a crucial determination. As far as I can tell, “objective disorder” in this sense refers to a consequence of original sin, and as such, while remaining “non-culpable” (in terms of moral guilt), it is not in itself a “created good.” Correct? It's not something to seek or safeguard?

    ****Besides, it's possible to have fruitful experiences of the spousal meaning of the body as a result of SSA -- I have a lot of conflict with my feminine identity, and there have been several occasions where my attraction towards the beauty of other women has been a tremendous help in coming to terms with and understanding the spousal meaning of my own body.****

    But wouldn’t such a response to this attraction be not a result of SSA or concupiscence itself, but rather a response to *grace*, the remedy for concupsicence? It’s the moment of grace that helps us realize the universal call to chastity when we (SSA or not) confront concupiscence.

    God bless you, and thanks for the dialogue on this tremendously important topic.

    Deacon JR

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  6. Eve at this moment is still in a state of Original Innocence. She does not have concupiscence clouding her judgement.

    I think your analysis is to black and white. While Eve may still be in a state of Original Innocence, she is also being tempted by the devil. The devil is making the statements which you consider objectively true, in all likelihood the statements have some falsehood included. Its true that Eve only sins when she gives in to the desire, but its not true that the desire is only innocent. I think Christ's statement demonstrates this fact: but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

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  7. I'm with the Deacon, I'm having difficulty understanding you. I do not mean that as an affront, although I am concerned. You write:

    "But the word “gay” can refer to the orientation of that initial erotic impulse, irregardless of whether it develops towards disordered lust, or towards an appreciation of Christ playing “lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not His.” Which is why, in my submission, gay chastity is a calling, not a myth."

    With all due respect, I have to say I am convinced 'gay' chastity is not a calling per se - it is a mandate - and therefore it is not unlike the call to all men and women to be chaste according to their state in life - not necessarily according to their sexual orientation. The condition of homosexual inclination is not a state in life, it is a sexual orientation, a condition which is objectively morally disordered. The 'gay mystique' is an adaptation, a counter cultural construct. I fear you are buying into and developing a gay spirituality here.

    Homosexual acts can be a temptation for anyone - temptation to sexual sin takes all forms - those who have lived chastely and celibately could verify that - it is astonishing the variety of temptations a person can experience.

    I'm sorry, but I'm also not sure Aelred of Rievaulx was same sex attracted in the sense modern gay people like to think - his writings on friendship are directed to companions in communities of same sex religious and unfortunately are misinterpreted these days of sexual permissiveness.

    Likewise, the use of Hopkin's verse “lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not His” though lovely and deeply meaningful, has been used by gay Catholics to justify homosexual erotic attraction as well as acts between ssa persons who live together, and or, initiate a friendship, although they agree to be chaste later.

    All of that said, there are indeed people with ssa who live together as chaste friends, helping one another to be chaste and pure.

    God bless you.

    Terry

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  8. Okay, there's a lot to answer here. First, a small point, I have it on the authority of an Aelred of Rivaulx scholar (a very straight conservative guy with no agenda to advance) that in his private letters to his spiritual director St. Aelred discusses his temptations to sodomy. These aren't available in English, so I can't quote you chapter or verse, but I think that's prima facie evidence of SSA. Nor should that surprise or offend anyone: it would be a true scandal if the Church had never once managed to lead a single homosexual soul to sanctity.
    That said, I'm going to do a full blog entry later on about the difference between "gay" and "homosexual," and also, hopefully, on the question of objective disorder -- first I promised my daughter some mommy time, so the full response will have to wait. A couple of thoughts, however:
    1. If homosexuality is defined by the Church as relations between people sexually attracted to members of the same sex, then the homosexual inclination must refer specifically to the inclination to commit such relations. That just follows.
    2. I think that all discussion of SSA is considerably muddied by the fact that (a) SSA does not necessarily preclude opposite-sex attraction or chaste heterosexual marriage -- of which I'm a case in point, and (b) the inability to see the attractiveness of the opposite sex is in some sense a separate phenomenon from SSA itself. The assumption of a straightforward, bipolar, gay-vs.-straight sexuality is problematic; a fact which is increasingly recognized within the LGBTQ discourse, but which the Church has understandably not caught up with yet.
    3. The whole "is it objectively disordered or not" question is deeply problematic on a practical level, because people tend to behave as though "disordered" and "culpable" are somehow deeply enmeshed. I think it's legitimate to recognize that a tendency might be both objectively disordered, and innate -- the objective disorders of the body are a clear case in point. Nor is it true that people are morally responsible for trying to eliminate and alleviate everything in the human condition which is objectively disordered -- particularly if the form of the disorder proves a means of grace. To give a fairly clear example, Genesis tells us that pain in childbirth is objectively disordered, that it is a product of the Fall, a curse which is contrary to God's original plan for human reproduction. Does this mean that women are morally obligated to have epidurals or other medical interventions in order to more closely approximate our original state? I think obviously not. Personally, I've found that pain in childbirth is a wonderful chance to participate in the sufferings of Christ, and six times now I've made the deliberate decision to face and embrace it, and have found in it a goldmine of spiritual wealth.
    4. Yes, I am trying to develop a "gay spirituality" if by gay spirituality you mean a spirituality for people whose sexual attractions are exclusively, or predominately same-sex, and for whom this is a relatively stable element of personality. Irregardless of how disordered it is, homosexuality is an inescapable reality for some people, and those people need a spirituality that amounts to more than just hating their sexuality, going to counseling, and hoping against hope that God will take the gay away. I think that one of the challenged for the Church in the present age to elaborate such a spirituality, one that calls gay people to chastity in a way which actually works. Unfortunately, a lot of straight people really seem to think that calling gay people to chastity means calling them to not experience homoerotic desire -- which is naive, unrealistic, unhelpful, and also scandalous, in the sense that it presents homosexuals who are interested in Christianity with a very severe stumbling block to achieving the chastity to which they are called.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks very much. I would be interested in the name of the scholar on Aelred, if you have his name and work that he has published, could you add it for me please.

      Thanks for taking the time to respond to my objections.

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  9. This article--as with most on the website--was great. When I first realized I was dealing with SSA, I thought I'd have to choose between Sungenis' ideas of getting rid of the attraction once and for all, and embracing the LGBT lifestyle. It was only after discovering--partially through this site--that there was another option, that accepting the Church's teachings appeared possible to me.

    I think where Sungenis falls short is in looking at same sex attraction as some sort of "special sin". So, when I feel sexual attraction for a man (I do experience both), it's a temptation I should resist, but when I feel desire for a woman, it's some kind of sick perversion.

    Sungenis' ideas of getting rid of all temptation, they'd be wonderful in an ideal world, but the problem is that this isn't an ideal world. And, just as a man does not generally stop noticing attractive women after he's married, most of us will not be able to get rid of SSA. It's just reality.

    All I can say for his approaches is this: if I thought that living as a chaste Catholic with SSA would only ever consist of straight men calling me and others like me a pervert over the internet, then acting self-righteous about it? I might not have been able to make the decisions I have that brought me to this point. Instead, I am comfortable with who I am and my sexuality, and still living in line with Christ's teachings. What's "perverted" about that?

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  10. Thanks for your wonderful post. It's hard to find carefully thought out ideas on this topic.

    Regarding the debate above about a "chaste gay couple": Perhaps the reason that DeaconJR thinks this reduces chastity to continence is that he is thinking of the kind of "coupling" in which two people of the same sex engage in passionate kissing, cuddling, and all other forms of physical intimacy associated with marriage, except for genital activity. This is a kind of compromise that certain Catholics have advocated (including the point-man for gay outreach in a certain American archdiocese ten years ago), and I wonder if DeaconJR misunderstood you and thought that you were referring to such couples? (By the way, I am not convinced any such couples actually exist; they may have been entirely imaginary.)

    It seems to me that the discussion about SSA often omits a factor that seems crucial to me. There are quite a few people who find it impossible to form satisfying friendships with members of the opposite sex. I personally have known several heterosexual men and women, some of them in good marriages, who become profoundly unhappy if they do not have close friends of the same sex. For them, there is a kind of emotional or mental or spiritual intimacy that (for whatever reason) they are unable to have with members of the opposite sex -- even their spouse.

    When such a person becomes involved in a sexually active homosexual relationship, this relationship satisfies two desires: their desire for sex, and their desire for emotional intimacy. And of course, once this relationship has become stable and strong, it is difficult for them to perceive the distinction between these two desires.

    Now, it seems to me that the first of these desires is disordered, but the second of them is not.

    And the reason I find them independent is that it sometimes works the other way around. A friend from my childhood is a very promiscuous homosexual; he has been in hundreds (thousands) of sexual relationships. But all the time I have known him, he has only formed deep friendships with women. By contrast, I know other active homosexuals whose desire for sex and desire for emotional intimacy are both pointed towards their own sex; such people often have no interest in members of the opposite sex whatsoever. They'd be content on an island devoid of women (or men, as the case may be).

    Since Freud, and since the 1960s, many people have seen all these questions in terms of sex. Therefore, when Christians claim that happiness is possible without sex, some people think we are deceiving ourselves.

    But perhaps even more insidiously, since the Romantic era (Goethe, Jane Austen, Byron) our whole society has equated happiness with finding a lifelong romantic partner. As a result, our society cannot accept the claim that a deep friendship can be just as satisfying as romantic love. (Look at the difference between Frodo and Sam in the books and in the movies: Peter Jackson had to illustrate their relationship using the film techniques associated with romance, because there simply aren't any film techniques that have been designed to highlight deep friendship!)

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  11. Hi, Melinda--thanks for all you wrote, much of which is deserving of reflection and reply, but this jumped out. You wrote:

    **** Unfortunately, a lot of straight people really seem to think that calling gay people to chastity means calling them to not experience homoerotic desire -- which is naive, unrealistic, unhelpful, and also scandalous, in the sense that it presents homosexuals who are interested in Christianity with a very severe stumbling block to achieving the chastity to which they are called.****

    But here is the thing--whether one "experiences" homoerotic desire or not, it is vitally important to teach and understand the Church's view that homoerotic desire is part of the "objective disorder" of homosexuality (if not in some ways the core of that disorder).

    As long as this is *taught*--just as it is taught that *heteroerotic* desire must be properly "ordered" as well--then the question of what to do *when* one experiences this disorder of homoerotic desire can be answered correctly through *grace*, just as it is when "hetero-erotic" desire is disordered.

    But I believe that it is clear that the Church teaches that *homoerotic* desire is objectively disordered, and we need to acknowledge that.

    I know of nothing in the TOB or in the teaching of the Magisterium that says otherwise.

    God bless you,

    Deacon Jim Russell

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  12. Okay, I'm going to get a bit abstruse here, so bear with me. “The term “eros,” besides being the proper name of a mythological personage, has a philosophical meaning in the writings of Plato that seems to differ from the common meaning and also from the meaning that is commonly attributed to the term in literature. Obviously, we must consider here the vast range of meanings that differ from each other in a nuanced way with regard to the mythical personage as well as the philosophical content, but above all the “somatic” or “sexual” point of view. Taking such a vast range of meanings into account, one should evaluate in an equally nuanced way what relates to “eros” and is defined as “erotic.” According to Plato, “eros” represents the inner power that draws man toward all that is good, true and beautiful. This “attraction” indicates, in this case, the intensity of a subjective act of the human spirit. By contrast, in the common meaning – as also in literature – this “attraction” seems to be above all of a sensual nature. It arouses a reciprocal tendency in both the man and the woman to draw near to each other, to the union of their bodies, the union about which Genesis 2:24 speaks...If we suppose that “eros” signifies the inner power that “attracts” man to the true, the good and the beautiful, then we also see a road opening up within the sphere of this concept toward what Christ wanted to express in the Sermon on the Mount. While the words of Matthew 5:27-28 are an “accusation” of the human heart, they are at the same time an appeal addressed to it. This appeal is the category proper to the ethos of redemption. The call to what is true, good and beautiful means at the same time, in the ethos of redemption, the necessity of overcoming what derives from the threefold concupiscence. It also means the possibility and the necessity of transforming what has been weighed down by the concupiscence of the flesh.” (Theology of the Body, 47 1-2,5) I'm suggesting that if we consider this “vast range of meanings” then some elements of homoeroticism will prove to be objectively disordered – specifically those that tend towards homosexual sin – and others will prove to be an attraction towards that which is objectively good, beautiful and true within the object of same-sex desire. I'm not denying the Church's teachings on the objectively disordered nature of homosexual inclinations, but suggesting that homoeroticsm extends beyond homosexual lust, that it encompasses elements of the other meanings of eros, elements which open up a road towards the ethos of redemption, “the possibility and necessity of transforming what has been weighed down by the concupiscence of the flesh.”

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  13. Hi, Melinda—you wrote:

    **** I'm suggesting that if we consider this “vast range of meanings” then some elements of homoeroticism will prove to be objectively disordered – specifically those that tend towards homosexual sin – and others will prove to be an attraction towards that which is objectively good, beautiful and true within the object of same-sex desire. I'm not denying the Church's teachings on the objectively disordered nature of homosexual inclinations, but suggesting that homoeroticsm extends beyond homosexual lust, that it encompasses elements of the other meanings of eros, elements which open up a road towards the ethos of redemption, “the possibility and necessity of transforming what has been weighed down by the concupiscence of the flesh.”****

    I have to be candid here—I would suggest you are venturing not only well beyond anything ever said or implied in JPII’s TOB, but also outside what the magisterium has taught regarding both SSA and eros. Consider what Pope Benedict says regarding eros in Deus Caritas Est, subsequent to stating that: “3. That love between man and woman which is neither planned nor willed, but somehow imposes itself upon human beings, was called eros by the ancient Greeks.” He later says:

    “Two aspects of this are important. First, eros is somehow rooted in man's very nature; Adam is a seeker, who “abandons his mother and father” in order to find woman; only together do the two represent complete humanity and become “one flesh”. The second aspect is equally important. From the standpoint of creation, eros directs man towards marriage, to a bond which is unique and definitive; thus, and only thus, does it fulfil its deepest purpose. Corresponding to the image of a monotheistic God is monogamous marriage. Marriage based on exclusive and definitive love becomes the icon of the relationship between God and his people and vice versa. God's way of loving becomes the measure of human love. This close connection between eros and marriage in the Bible has practically no equivalent in extra-biblical literature. (11)”

    Simply put, “homo-eros” is antithetical to the “spousal” meaning of the body and to the unique and defintive “deepest purpose” of eros itself, as expressed by Pope Benedict--marriage.

    Is there a “homo-eros” that is *not* objectively disordered? Not according to anything I’ve read in TOB or in Deus Caritas Est. Rather, whatever is good, beautiful and true in another person can be recognized *despite* homo-eros and may well lead one to the “ethos of redemption,” but nothing I’m reading indicates that this is “because” of homo-eros but rather would be because of the “unqualified” eros spoken of by the two pontiffs—an eros intrinsically linked to the reciprocal and spousal meaning of the body and to marriage itself.

    God bless you!

    Deacon Jim Russell

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  14. One other thought, Melinda, regarding “vast range of meanings.” JPII says: ‘Taking such a vast range of meanings into account, one should evaluate in an equally nuanced way what relates to “eros” and is defined as “erotic.”’ By this, in context, I don’t think JPII is indicating that each meaning in the “vast range” is somehow valid or true. Rather, he’s saying that we have to make an “equally nuanced” evaluation of these meanings to properly define what “eros” really is.

    As such, I don’t think this text is supportive of a conclusion that some “homo-eros” is disordered while some is not. JPII is merely indicating that not every that has “passed” for eros really “is” eros, and we need to be careful when defining it.

    God bless you!

    Deaocn JR

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  15. Deacon JR,

    Thank you, incidentally, for all of your thoughtful responses on this post. I think an open discourse is so absolutely important for coming to an understanding of these issues, and I'm genuinely grateful for the time that you've taken.
    I agree with you in substance: most of the legitimate meanings of eros, when it is applies to homoeroticism, are disordered. I think, however, that John Paul II establishes that the Platonic meaning is one of the valid meanings of the word – even though I think we can all agree that most people don't mean by eros what Socrates meant (in fact, Socrates had to take hold of the word in the Symposium and radically redefine it in order to make his point). The issue for me is that I'm looking at this from an interior perspective, not merely that of abstract theology. I'm asking myself: what is the genuine good of which my homosexual desire is a corruption? Can that good be salvaged? Can it become an opportunity for grace? The answer, at least in my own heart, is yes, it can.
    When I look at a woman, and my first impulse is to desire that which ought not to be desired, I am able to recognize in my desire a legitimate impulse towards the spousal meaning of the body: specifically, towards the spousal meaning of my own body. For me, I find it very difficult to understand the spousal meaning of femininity in the context of my own body. That's objectively disordered, I'm happy to admit. My desire for other women is, I think, at least in part a desire to reclaim and heal that deficiency in myself: that is, it is a desire to appropriate the femininity which, in myself, is wounded. The psychological and emotional force of eros, in this case, is not merely a desire for that which is wrong, for homosexual sex, but also a desire for that which is right, a deeper relationship with, and acceptance of, my own femininity. If instead of thinking, “Mmm...that girl is hot. I'd like to press my lips to hers...” I think, “Mmm, my attraction towards that girl is a manifestation of my desire to be an attractive, desirable, fully feminine woman, a sign of the beauty of the Church as the Bride of Christ” and then I pursue that, instead of pursuing the line of thought that leads to homoerotic fantasies and the like, then the experience of attraction becomes ordered towards the spousal meaning of the body, rather contradicting it. It becomes, in a sense, reoriented and redeemed. This is what I mean when I say that not all elements of homoerotic desire are disordered: that the disordered desire is a disordered manifestion of something fundamentally legitimate. This, I think, is true of all sinful desires: I believe it's Aquinas who points out that evil can only ever pervert what is good, that it can never be anything but a privation. So what I'm asking is, where is the good of which this evil is a privation? And how can I redirect the force of my temptation in order that I might instead pursue that good?

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  16. Hi, Melinda—you wrote: “I'm asking myself: what is the genuine good of which my homosexual desire is a corruption? Can that good be salvaged? Can it become an opportunity for grace? The answer, at least in my own heart, is yes, it can.”

    Yes, indeed! I think this is in fact where our perspectives “converge” once again, then. This is exactly the question to ask, and I don’t know if this will seem too bold a reply, but I would assert that the Church in her wisdom has the answer for us. The “genuine good” of a “distorted” eros would necessarily be eros “un-distorted”—the eros described by JPII and Pope Benedict. In fact, I would submit that this is indeed the *same* good we are *all* called to (re-)discover, whether our “disorder” is SSA, or porn, or adultery, etc.—that is, regardless of “gay/straight” considerations.

    My hope is that this is a point of agreement.

    And indeed—a vivid and valuable conversation!

    God bless you,

    Deacon JR

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  17. Hey Melinda,

    "I'm not denying the Church's teachings on the objectively disordered nature of homosexual inclinations, but suggesting that homoeroticsm extends beyond homosexual lust, that it encompasses elements of the other meanings of eros, elements which open up a road towards the ethos of redemption, “the possibility and necessity of transforming what has been weighed down by the concupiscence of the flesh.”"

    I think this is right. You can consistently say that homosexual inclinations are objectively disordered in some sense, without having to say that there is nothing redeemable in them whatsoever. They can be directed to a redemptive end, as all "disabilities" can. A gay person *is* seeing something objectively good in those attractions, and as such their desires are not wholly aimed at perversion or any such thing; they are simply called not to act on them in that kind of way.

    And I think you are right that homoerotic desires can be distinguished from homoerotic lust: the former is merely a physical reaction (even if we want to consider it disordered in some sense, it is not voluntary or culpable), and the latter is an act of sin.

    I see all of this as consistent with saying that homosexual inclinations are *not as God intends it,* etc. I think people sometimes have a hard time seeing that you often speak in the language of internal experience rather than abstract theological metaphysics.

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  18. First of all, Mrs. Selmys, thank you for your intelligence, lucidity, and charity. I am in -- well, I suppose I shall call it a morally awkward position for a Catholic -- but I profoundly appreciate your work. It is one of the few things I have ever found, almost the only one, that combines faithfulness to the Church with a real understanding of gay experience. It is one of the things that have enabled me to remain orthodox, even if I have not remained creditable. Well-meaning naivete and well-meaning pontifications have sometimes come to the point of all but ruining valuable relationships for me, and I'm glad that you prove that there is something more to be had than misunderstandings. (Thanks, by the way, for the information on St. Aelred; I've been seeking a patron for this for ages, and for whatever reason Henri Nouwen -- whose own history I gather is ambiguous anyway -- doesn't click with me. I'll try chatting with the monk. :) )

    Second, if I may join the discussion. I don't see how it is possible to take exception to the thesis that there is a germ of goodness in same-sex attractions, for the simple reason that -- as Catholic theology has always explicitly taught -- evil cannot originate anything. Only God creates; therefore anything which exists, even if it is evil or otherwise imperfect, must contain some element of goodness simply in order to exist.

    Of course this doesn't make homosexual eros good, considered simply. But it does mean that the sublimation Mrs. Selmys outlines (even if one differed on the details of the process) must presumably have some validity; to rescue the goodness of a bad thing, as Marriage does (or can) rescue the goodness from heterosexual list, is a valid endeavor. We might of course maintain that that task is too difficult for, or not the vocation of, some individual. But that is not a prima facie case against anyone ever making such an attempt. That this is never specifically outlined in the Catechism or TOB does not seem to me to be a grave objection; if it does follow from the first principles of Catholic thought, then even if it is an innovative exploration, it would constitute a legitimate development. I doubt my knowledge of those things is as extensive as that of anybody else present, however, and will accept correction.

    Again: thank you!

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  19. Hi, Melinda--

    I think we are currently at the point at which we may agree in principle but may be using different terms.

    Your view is that some aspects of "homo-eros" are *not* objectively disordered and describe the experience of responding to homoerotic impulses in such away that you turn from temptation toward the "spousal meaning" of the body.

    So I think we agree on substance but not on one crucial item--I think the claim that this represents an example of "homoeroticism" that is *not* intrinsically disordered is off the mark, largely because you have said you experience an impulse toward the *spousal* meaning of the body. How can this impulse be viewed as "homoerotic" when it is a calling we *all* fundamentally share, regardless of whether we are homosexual or not?

    I suggest it is vitally important to set aside the idea of "redeeming" homoeroticism at all--since there is no basis for this approach to be found in Catholic teaching (and much that contradicts it)--and focus on the fact that what you describe of your experience is actually the same "ordered" call to chastity that we *all* share as human persons.

    How does this sound to you?

    God bless you,

    Deacon JR

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  20. Hi Deacon JR,

    I think it's vitally important not to set aside the idea of "redeemining" homoeroticism for a very simple reason: people who experience homoeroticism need to be redeemed. I'm using the term "homoerotic" here in a colloquial sense, to refer to an experience that homosexual people have -- an experience that I think can be reordered towards the objective meaning of eros. Subjectively, though, it's still going to be experienced as homoerotic, that is, as having the capacity to tend towards homosexual thoughts, fantasies, etc. It's the same sort of thing as St. Paul referring to the altar to the unknown God in the Areapogus: there was no precedent in Jewish teaching, or in Greek culture, for believing that God to be Yaweh. However, the worship of that god was something that the Athenians could relate to, it made sense in terms of their lived religious experience. Telling homosexuals that their homosexual condition is "objectively disordered" and that every manifestation of that which is subjectively experienced as homoerotic is also "objectively disordered" is not only *not* vitally important, it's usually problematic. Yes, the Church teaches this, and it has to teach it in order to avoid being drawn into syllogisms that justify homosexual sex. To most homosexual people, though, that language is bewildering and useless. It doesn't help me in any way to know that my inclination is "objectively disordered," because it's real, and it's there, and I can't get rid of it -- after 11 odd years of heterosexual marriage, and plenty of hands-on experience with the spousal meaning of the body, I'm pretty sure that that homoerotic impulse is here to stay. I can play a language game where I redefine it so that I no longer think of it as homoerotic, but that's dangerous too because it would mean ceasing to be aware that it's an impulse that could potentially prove an occasion of sin. Perhaps it's best to recognize that there is a difference between the technical language of Church teaching, and the colloquial language of subjective experience, and that effective evangelism generally requires us to resort to the latter.

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  21. Good article and thoughtful comments. This is a blog worth following. However, I miss something I consider crucial in this discussion: the distinction between temptation and sin. St. Paul (or whoever wrote the Letter to the Hebrews) refers to Jesus as having been tempted in all points like as we are -- yet without sin.. Temptation is not temptation at all unless there is some desire to follow through. It would seem to be deciding to follow through if possible (look at a woman with lust in the heart) that constitutes the entry to sin, and deciding to say NO that keeps it from becoming sin. I am predominately (nearly exclusively, as the woman I married was, during her lifetime, the sole and only exception) same-sex-attracted, and have never ceased experiencing temptation, but I have, for a half century now, consistently been able to say NO. Does that fit a definition of chaste gayness. I think it does.

    Objectively disordered? Well, yes, but that has to be said of any deep-seated inclination that does not match God's will, not just of those involvlng sex. We are ALL disordered to greater or lesser extent in all parts of our living, but for the grace of God, and we pretty generally are shaky in accepting His grace.

    Gay couples? Well, try this one, I'll open myself up wide here: Nine years ago I met an 11 year old boy for whom I had an instant attraction, and who was desperate enough for adult approval that I think I could have had anything I wanted. Did I want? I'd sound foolish to say otherwise. I said NO deep in my spirit, but I knew this boy was part of my destiny (calling, vocation). He had and has a collection of mental challenges that made him rather difficult for most to get close enough to help. It's been nine years now. I love him as much as I ever have, and the love flows both ways. I've become his principal mentor, the one he talks to when he can't talk to his parents (with whom I've developed a close and open partnership in helping him), and fully believe I've rescued him. I think he'll do OK, and I wouldn't have said that confidently in those early years. Nothing out of place has been allowed to intrude. I've never kissed him (much as I have always wanted to) or done anything further. There is certainly a sense in which we are a couple, bound by a very real love, but we are certainly not 'spousal'.

    I could say more, but I think this is already too long.

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  22. Hi, Melinda—you wrote:

    ****I think it's vitally important not to set aside the idea of "redeemining" homoeroticism for a very simple reason: people who experience homoeroticism need to be redeemed.****

    I honestly don’t see how that necessarily follows—for example, all people who experience temptation to lust need to be redeemed, but the idea isn’t to “redeem” the lust—it’s to “crucify” it and be liberated from it. The notion of redemption adheres to the person, not the disorder, seems to me.

    **** I'm using the term "homoerotic" here in a colloquial sense, to refer to an experience that homosexual people have -- an experience that I think can be reordered towards the objective meaning of eros. ****

    Yes, but how is this a “redemption” of homoeroticism when it’s our universal call to order our intellects and wills to the objective meaning of eros? Aren’t you seeking to move *past* the “experience” of homoeroticism and toward the properly ordered experience of “eros”?


    ***** Telling homosexuals that their homosexual condition is "objectively disordered" and that every manifestation of that which is subjectively experienced as homoerotic is also "objectively disordered" is not only *not* vitally important, it's usually problematic. Yes, the Church teaches this, and it has to teach it in order to avoid being drawn into syllogisms that justify homosexual sex. To most homosexual people, though, that language is bewildering and useless. *****

    If it’s not “vitally important” and “usually problematic,” then why is it in the Catechism??? I would be stunned to learn that the Church simply “has” to teach this just to keep its “logic” straight but doesn’t deem it vitally important for a homosexual person to know! After all, the Church teaching on *contraception* is “bewildering and useless” to most Catholic married couples (judging from the stats), so does this mean we should just “understate” it since so many find it “problematic”?

    ****It doesn't help me in any way to know that my inclination is "objectively disordered," because it's real, and it's there, and I can't get rid of it *****

    I would suggest you ask yourself whether you really believe this, since I presume you wouldn’t be *trying* to deal with the inclination in the manner you’ve chosen unless you knew or believed it was objectively disordered, right? It “helps” when you have the proper “diagnosis” so you can seek the proper remedy, no?

    **** I can play a language game where I redefine it so that I no longer think of it as homoerotic, but that's dangerous too because it would mean ceasing to be aware that it's an impulse that could potentially prove an occasion of sin. ****

    I don’t think anyone would suggest a language game here (I’m certainly not). My suggestion is to name things accurately, which I think would mean not seeking to redeem something that is objectively disordered. The “good” that is redeemable does not seem to be an aspect of “homoeroticism”—it’s an apect of “eros” itself.

    ****Perhaps it's best to recognize that there is a difference between the technical language of Church teaching, and the colloquial language of subjective experience, and that effective evangelism generally requires us to resort to the latter.*****

    But the “technical language” we’re speaking of is in the *Catechism*--and in fact the paragraph in question was *amended* to include the language in the “editio typica” (second edition).

    And it would seem to me that evangelism requires first the acknowledgement of objective truth before one can make the subjective choice to believe, or not.

    Melinda, my intention is only to reconcile what I’m being told with the truths taught by the Church. And I just can’t seem to connect the dots on this one—redeeming “homoeroticism” at the expense of clearly communicating what the Church teaches in the Catechism seems very dissonant to me.

    God bless you,

    Deacon JR

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  23. Hi Deacon Jim,

    I think I've you've led me to something that's an important insight. It deserves a blog entry of its own. I'm going to let it percolate for a bit, and spend some time with my family, then I'll post again.

    Thanks and God bless,

    Melinda

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  24. Melinda--sounds like a good plan to me! Be assured of my prayers for you and your family. And THANK you for such a gracious and engaging dialogue--my thinking has been greatly enriched along the way!

    God bless you,

    Deacon JR

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  25. Hey Deacon,

    I think you are trying to speak in metaphysical terms, whereas Melinda is speaking in experiential terms. I don't read Melinda as saying that the metaphysics (in the Catechism, for instance) are unimportant or false, but that there is a very real experiential way of feeling and talking about these matters that will not always line up perfectly with the metaphysical talk.

    If homoeroticism is disordered eroticism, as the Church teaches, then channeling it to the right ends is, I think, redeeming homoeroticism. Our desires, even our fallen desires, are still *part of who we are,* indeed, the heart of who we are. So when we are redeemed, they are too, and since all evil is perverted good, this means directing those desires to their proper end.

    Now, since homoerotic desires are unlike other disordered desires in that they do not go away with moral sanctification in this life (typically)--though they can be managed and rightly directed--it makes perfect *experiential* sense to talk of a sanctified homoeroticism--one that directs all homoerotic feelings to their proper, ordered ends. There is no sense in which a gay person can entirely "get beyond homoeroticism" in this life in the sense of no longer having those desires. As such, *experientially,* they must practice a continual sublimation of homosexual impulses to their proper ends. Yes, this is the same end straight people aim toward, but it comes out of the context of gay experience, which is just not the same.

    This is what, I think, Melinda is saying (correct me if I'm wrong!). We need to go *beyond* the metaphysics of the Catechism in order to develop workable experiential models, not *against* that language. And all of it is entirely compatible with saying that, metaphysically and objectively, homosexual impulses are disordered.

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  26. Hi Deacon Jim,

    You sent me a comment as a private message -- I'd like to respond to it privately, but don't have your contact info. My e-mail is melinda-at-vulgatamagazine-dot-org -- drop me a line and I'll get back to you.
    Same deal for anyone else who wants to contact me privately.

    pax

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  27. Deacon Jim,

    I'd like you to comment on how "objectively disordered" relates to what Hebrews has to say about Jesus being tempted in all ways like us, but without sin. Is there such a thing as a temptation that does not involve a desire for what God has not willed? Is an outcome other than what God desires not necessarily 'disordered'? Is it not then possible to desire something disordered, but by rejecting it to avoid sin,, thus to avoid becoming disordered?

    That, at least, is how I've come to see it, to the immense benefit of my soul. I certainly find myself tempted, i.e. desiring, what is disordered; but, knowing what it is to be properly ordered, have avoided following a disordered course for decades now. The temptations I experience have not changed, but, with God's help, I've been able to respond in accord with His will.

    Please pardon me if I've not expressed myself well here. These things are hard to put into clear words.

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  28. Dear Ed--I *think* I follow what you are asking, but insofar as Jesus's "temptations" did not involve the "wound" of human nature which we call "concupiscence", it's hard to draw a strong comparison with Jesus and Hebrews and "disorder".

    Hebrews, in telling us Jesus was like us in all things but "sin", gives us a Scriptural hint that Jesus's human nature was of course sinless *and* free of "disordered appetites" (just as Adam and Eve were originally).

    But I concur with the way you respond to temptation arising from the kind of disordered appetites we all share (since we all have some form of concupiscent desire)--it's all about grace--literally (in terms of what is a "remedy" for concupiscence). Sounds like you're experiencing the "salve" that grace brings when we let grace become the "antidote" to our disordered desires.

    God bless you!

    Deacon JR

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  29. Is "disorder" a moral category here? I wonder if we need to make a critical distinction here between *sinful* desires--immoral desires, ones that can be altered via sanctifying grace--and more broadly *disordered* desires, ones that are part of a fallen body, but not properly part of our moral character (though they may gain moral significance in how we respond to them).

    Imagine if, as a matter of purely involuntary bodily dysfunction, I immediately smack whoever tries to wake me up in the morning. If this is just a bodily reaction, completely out of the provenance of my will or character, I think we have there a model of a "disorder" of the body that is not strictly speaking moral in character.

    I think Jesus may well have been susceptible to disorders in this sense, given that he had a typical, broken human body. We have to be careful not to create a Docetic Jesus. Yes, Jesus was morally perfect: perfect in moral character and moral action. But his body was imperfect, as is ours--that was part of His condescending to our earthly estate.

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  30. Thank you, Deacon Jim.
    Jesus indeed did experience temptation, and it did involve the desire for other than the Father's will - "Father, let this cup pass from me" - certainly a human desire to avoid the Cross - "Yet not my will, but thine" - a decision to forego what is truly desired. To say that he was tempted, but had no desire to follow through appears to deny the very definition of temptation. Also Adam and Eve were tempted before the Fall, before the resultant flaws, which resulted from their yielding to that temptation received in the time of innocence. Is not Jesus' opposite response to the identical experience a central part of the Redemption?

    You wrote "Jesus was like us in all things but "sin"," which is quite accurate, but is not quite what the writer to the Hebrews wrote, but rather the more specific, "was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin".

    Other than this bit of semantics we seem to be in pretty close agreement. Thanks for you openness to recognizing just what my struggle and response have been. Would that more Christians could find a simi
    olar balance.

    and Kyle,
    I appreciate your careful distinction between disorder and sin, and you reminder that we are all disordered in many ways, not merely in the sexual.

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  31. Melinda, I responded to your opening article. Don't know whether you saw it. It is at
    http://www.catholicintl.com/index.php/catholic/scandals/894#id=I1_1338833958930&parent=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.catholicintl.com&rpctoken=433400109&_methods=onPlusOne%2C_ready%2C_close%2C_open%2C_resizeMe%2C_renderstart

    Robert Sungenis

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  32. Robert, I have skimmed your reply (which was all the attention your logorrhea deserved), and I see a series of "straw men" and other misrepresentations of what Melinda actually said. You have not refuted what she said. You have tried to refute a figment of your imagination. It is unfortunate that you are so blind as to think that you have actually responded to what she said, or so dishonest as to knowingly misrepresent her position in order to make yourself appear to be on the side of truth and right.

    You are apparently incompetent to comment in this area. Not to put to fine a point on it, you have shown yourself to be an unchristian fool. You just don't know what you're talking about, so you make up stuff (i.e., fabricate, i.e. lie about those you choose to denounce) so you can delude yourself into thinking that you are truly defending the teachings of the Church. Sit down and shut up, you stinking Pharisee.

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  33. Robert Sungenis — I wrote a response which may not pass muster under Melinda's guidelines. So let me just say that the article you linked, even on a cursory reading, shows numerous instances in which you misrepresent what Melinda actually wrote.

    And, among the many exceptionable things you wrote, one example is your point that Jesus is capable of delivering people from their very same sex attraction. Yes, and he is also capable of delivering everybody from their cancer. The fact that he can do it does not mean that he will do it for everybody who sincerely asks. I have read a good number of accounts of people who prayed and prayed and prayed, pleaded with God to be delivered from their homosexual inclinations, and God never took the inclinations away. It is a fallacy to suppose that just because God is capable of doing something, he will do it.

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  34. What a beautiful piece Melinda. I happen to be 'fb' friends with Joshua and find his work quite interesting. I wonder whether you might find my own blogpiece, written some time ago on a similar topic, at all interesting. You can find it here:

    http://saundersoncross.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/catholicism-and-ontology-of.html

    I'd love to pursue a dialogue with you on these issues.

    God Bless you friend.
    Aaron.

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  35. Weighing in here rather after the fact; nevertheless, I feel drawn to respond. I'm an older, Catholic woman that has same sex sexual attractions. I'm afraid pathologizing homosexuality whether in the psychological world or thinking of my weakness as 'objectively disordered' in the theological world has been an absolute disaster for me. I need to live my weaknesses within the context of 'others', not within the context of 'disorderedness' or pathology.

    I was able to have great healing (meaning diminishment, not removal) of sexual attractions to women when I lived with my Aunt for 23+ years until her death at the age of 98. I was chaste, busy with work and caring for her, as she did me ... and, I learned to appreciate my being a woman. I finally understood the joy others must have of surrendering themselves to sacrifice and the cross, which became mine. And, I also learned (in my head) how wonderful spousal love must be.

    After my Aunt passed away, I was desolate, alone, afraid, etc. and chose all the wrong ways to grieve and mourn. As God is so Good, being restored to a measure of spiritual health, I've been graced to appreciate the beauty of babies and children, something that was foreign to me as a woman. I've been graced to recover in the context of other suffering souls; which in no way means I am free of same sex sexual attractions.

    I've, also, learned that the more I focus on what's good about my weakness (the necessity of God' grace) the better I am, spiritually. Part of my placing myself in the world of 'others' is my use of the word 'gay'. It's my shorthand way of showing commonality with persons like me who are working our way to being continent in a single life. There is absolutely no meaning other than having same sex attractions: no lifestyle I'm advocating, no agenda I'm pushing, etc.

    It seems we're battling over a war of words, and which one really means what to whom. To that end, why don't we use the word 'celibate' to mean consecrated virginity? That's its older, Catholic correct meaning. Why don't we use the correct term of 'continent' for chastity within the single state of life? For me, same sex attracted is incorrect terminology. Everyone is same sex attracted if they have friends of the same sex: this is the piece that is not 'disordered' if you will. The more accurate term should be same sex sexual attractions: the part I call lust.

    Last note: I have found it helpful for me to see my same sex sexual attractions in the order of lust. It helps me from thinking I'm unique; and, places me in the context of all 'others'.

    ReplyDelete

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