Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sad Bad Sex



We are human, and we long to be loved. It's not just LGBTQ people who feel isolated and demeaned by the way that the sexual teachings of the Church are generally portrayed. For the most part the secular media puts forward the idea that there is a Catholic answer to every question about sex, and the answer is always “No.” Sadly, Catholic apologists tend to confirm this impression: “Can I use contraception if my wife refuses to have a baby or use NFP and I'm going completely bananas and finding myself compulsively gawking at teenage starlets on my iPad in the early hours of the morning?” “No.” “I go to my local Courage meeting every week, and attend daily Mass, and say fifteen rosaries a day, and wear seven different scapulars, and I still end up at the Bathhouse every Friday night. Wouldn't it be more prudent to get a permanent sexual partner so I don't get AIDS?” “Well, it's a tough situation, but...I would have to say...No.” “Is it okay if I make love to my wife in a Batman costume?” “Mmmm...it's not covered in the Catechism, but if I had to give an answer, based on what I understand of the dignity and beauty of the marital act, most likely your safest bet is...No."

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Slave of Two Masters



I have now officially released my first self-published book! It's about money, providence, detachment, and the joys of poverty. There's the usual smattering of philosophy, occasional wild flights of hyperbole, and a lot of solid research: my husband and I read all of the Vatican social documents from the past hundred years, and scoured the Bible for quotations about money and poverty. The goal was to create something that would briefly but accurately portray the role that money is supposed to play in the lives of Christian laypeople.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Systems of Grace



I wrote last time about how chastity is a grace, not a demand. This is a point about the Law which is frequently misunderstood, but it's all over Scripture. Psalm 119 gives us a portrait of what the Law is supposed to look like to the human heart: “Be good to your servant and I shall live, I shall observe your word. Open my eyes: I shall concentrate on the marvels of your Law. Exile though I am on earth, do not hide your commandments from me. My soul is overcome with an incessant longing for your rulings.” It goes on from there, as the psalmist rhapsodizes about how much he loves the commandments, how they have given him hope, comforted him in his suffering, kept him alive. This echoes the text of Deuteronomy where God lays out the blessings that will come to those who keep the commandments. (cf. Dt. 28:1-14) Those who do the will of God are promised that in doing it they will find joy, prosperity, increase, and life in abundance.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Gift of Chastity



I've been challenged recently to provide some suggestions for how we can actually reach out to LBGTQ people. This is a very large and complex question. I'd like to begin with this single point. We must offer something before we demand something.

This is consistently the modus operandi of Our Lord when dealing with people, and especially when dealing with sinners. The call to repentance comes after, not before, the healing, the feeding, or the deliverance. Christ begins by finding out what it is that His people need and then offers the thing that they are hungry or thirsty for. Only once He has established His credibility by making it clear that He is able to deliver on His promises does He tell people to “go and sin no more.”

Friday, April 5, 2013

Answering Michael Voris



I'm responding to a letter from Michael Voris' staff, posted on the First Things web-site in the com-box. ChurchMilitant.tv writes:
Mrs. Selmys,

We thank you for taking the time to write a lengthy rebuttal to our work; however, we feel that your comments are totally off base.

The entire point of the program is to help people see the homosexual sexual movement for what it is – a rejection of the divine and natural law. It wasn’t aimed at ardent homosexuals, but those who love and want to be apart of the church.

In actuality, we spoke the truth and if that’s hard for people to hear so be it. We’re told to preach the gospel in season and out of season. The point of the Christian life is to become a saint and not to hide, rethink, rework, or downplay the gospel. It needs no reworking or rethinking. What it needs is strong Catholics to go out and preach no matter the personal cost. Each person deserves to hear the truth in the clearest terms possible.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

What I Mean By Acceptance



I posted a review on the First Things web-site of Michael Voris' FBI: Homosexuality, and it's raised a few hackles in the com-box. My basic thesis is the Voris' production is not really an effort in evangelism or apologetics, so much as it is an expression of grief over the loss of America's Christian identity. I point out that grief is a process which ends in acceptance, and that you can't really move on and start building a new life – or a new evangelization – at any of the earlier stages of grieving. So long as Catholics are still deeply upset, angry, and horrified at the widespread social acceptance of homosexuality, and remain in denial about the fact that gay marriage is going to be a political reality in the very near future (as it already is in my home country), there's no way of effectively preaching the gospel to homosexuals.