Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Authentic Dialogue Is Possible

EFFECTIVE OUTREACH TO THE HOMOSEXUAL COMMUNITY

By Melinda Selmys

Last year I was invited to give a talk at the University of Notre Dame on the subject of homosexuality and identity. I arrived at the lecture hall to find a group of demonstrators from the campus’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) contingent reading “queer poetry” as a form of protest against my appearance. They distributed a small note, explaining the reasons why they objected to an “ex-gay” speaker talking at Notre Dame. The main objection: They thought I was going to say that “homosexuality [is] curable, thus pathologizing it.”

It was not an easy climate in which to speak. Several recent scandals had justly ignited the ire of the LGBTQ crowd at Notre Dame. The protest itself only served to deepen the divide: Most of the people attending the event were conservative Catholics who were stunned by the poetry, which came off as obscene. Campus security surrounded the building, and there was talk of calling the police. I put aside my prepared speech and decided that, instead of talking about dialogue with the gay community, I would try to do it.

I’m sure the results were frustrating for some of the Catholics in attendance. Prof. Randall B. Smith, in his article “Call the Police, It’s an Academic Lecture!” in the January-February issue of the NOR, noted that the question-and-answer period was dominated by the LGBTQ crowd, and wondered whether true dialogue was even possible. Yet, in spite of the obstacles and difficulties, I think that some small headway was made: If nothing else, at the end of my talk several of the protest organizers came up and thanked me for having come to speak.

A Long History
In order to understand the frustrations of the LGBTQ people and their fear of having an “ex-gay” speak in a public venue, it helps to understand the history of homosexual politics in the Western world. It is an uncomfortable fact that for a long time a campaign of hatred and persecution has been waged against those who experience same-sex attractions. The reasons for this are many, one of which is that the early Christian response to homosexuality was based on the way it was practiced in the Greco-Roman world.

When the Seleucid Greeks conquered the Jews, they brought with them a culture that was both alien and, in many cases, inimical to Jewish culture. One of the atrocities that earns particular opprobrium in the book of Maccabees is the establishment of a gymnasium in Jerusalem (2 Macc. 4:9-15). Part of the problem was that, according to Greek custom, exercise was done in the nude. This had two important implications for the Jews. The first, and the most often talked about in biblical criticism, is that this practice allowed the Greek rulers to easily identify practicing Jews, whose circumcision would be conspicuous. The second was that Greek culture at the time openly encouraged the practice of pederasty. Jewish parents, anxious that their children should keep the Law of Moses, were understandably aghast at the thought of old Greek men ogling their naked sons from the sidelines.

The horror that this inspired in the Jewish mind did not diminish when the Greeks were replaced by the Romans. Homosexuality in ancient Rome was not much better than it was in Greece: The open adulation of the “love of boys” was certainly less common, but the practice was still widespread. Edward Gibbon, in Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, notes that “of the first fifteen emperors, Claudius was the only one whose taste in love was entirely correct.” The Romans replaced the Greek notion of an older “lover” and a younger “beloved” (ideally a beardless youth) with a model of homosexuality that was based on Patrician notions of virility. Homosexuality was socially acceptable — provided you were the active partner. This created an atmosphere in which homosexual relationships were, more often than not, expressions of dominance. Usually, the passive partner was either a social inferior or a slave. The contempt with which St. Paul, Epictetus, and other writers of the period refer to “catamites” reflects the fact that when such relationships were consensual at all, the passive partner usually got involved only to further his career, for the sake of monetary gain, or because he lacked the moral courage to refuse.

To a large extent, these patterns continued through­out most of European and Middle Eastern history. Louis Crompton’s impressive Homosexuality and Civilization chronicles the documentary evidence of homo-erotic practice from ancient times to the Enlightenment. In spite of his valiant attempt to provide a historical basis for the modern gay community, the fact is that the historical evidence indicates that the great majority of homosexual relationships were based on exploitation. The history of homosexuality in the West prior to the French Revolution is largely a history of what we now call child abuse.

This needs to be taken into account when reading the vitriol that is poured out against “sodomites” in the writings of early Christians. The modern notion of homosexuality as a consenting, ideally long-lasting union between adults was practically unheard of. Sodomy was implicitly connected with sexual predation in the minds of the late Roman, Byzantine, and medieval Christians. This led to widespread, often savage, persecution of those who practiced it. Castration, pillorying, and burning at the stake were common punishments for those charged with the “sin that dare not speak its name.”

The Reformation altered the situation somewhat. Generally, prior to the rise of Lutheranism, very little was said about homosexuality in the northern parts of Europe. Trial records, indecent poems, and ringing denunciations of the “sin of Sodom” are easily found in the Mediterranean countries, but north of Germany there is virtual silence. With the rise of the Reformation, homosexuality suddenly became a “Catholic” sin, a product of priestly celibacy and monastic enclosure, evidence of a decadent Church on the road to ruin. The persecution of “sodomites” and the persecution of Catholics often went hand-in-hand.

The quiet, previously subterranean homosexuality of northern Europe was now brought to light. Here, for the first time in European history, we find widespread evidence of homosexual relationships between people of roughly the same age and social status. It is here, in the midst of some of the most savage anti-homosexual persecutions of the past two thousand years, that the modern model of homosexuality was being born.

This type of homosexuality, and the repulsion against it, were both brought to America by the early Protestant settlers. Yet, as the theories of the Enlightenment gained currency in American culture, the understanding of homosexuality began to shift. Slowly, over the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, homosexuality ceased to be seen as a particularly odious sin, and was instead perceived as a psychological or biological defect. This led, in the early twentieth century, to a bevy of experiments being performed on American homosexuals in order to “cure” them. In many cases, these experiments were extremely harmful, involving testicular transplants, electro-shock therapies, and Clockwork Orange-style behavioral conditioning. The subjects were often mental patients or prison inmates who had been incarcerated for homosexual behavior; in many cases, they were simply not given a choice or were told that if they submitted to treatment they would receive their freedom.

The effect of this history on the contemporary situation in North America cannot be overestimated. For people within the LGBTQ community, and particularly for people of the older generations, the fear of anti-homosexual sentiment is not simply a fear of name-calling and rejection; it is a fear of the very real violence that was often inflicted in the name of Christianity, or in the pursuit of a “cure” for homosexuality.

The Genesis of the Homosexual Identity
One of the consequences of the historical persecution of homosexuals is the emergence, in the twentieth century, of the idea of a homosexual identity. In previous eras, homosexuality was seen, for the most part, as a taste, a pattern of desire, a sin, a temptation, or a lifestyle choice. Bisexuality was much more common than exclusive homosexuality, and, especially in strongly patriarchal cultures like Rome or Imperial China, most practicing homosexuals were married to members of the opposite sex.

The idea of homosexuality as a fixed element of personality, subject to scientific scrutiny and biological or psychological determinism, changed this. Previously, the persecution of homosexuality had taken the form of punishment for an action; now it was presented as a cure for a personality defect. The pathologization of the homosexual person produced a strong counter-reaction. For the most part, gays and lesbians have accepted that homosexuality really is an element of personality and really is caused by biological and/or psychological factors that lie outside of the will of the individual. But they reject the notion that it is pathological.

Instead, gay and lesbian activists throughout the twentieth century began to construct an idea of homosexual identity as something distinct, unique, and valid. The homosexual community transformed itself from a subterranean complex of means by which same-sex attracted individuals could find like-minded partners, and took on its contemporary form as a complete subculture.

The implications of this are tremendous. According to their construction, a “homosexual identity” is not merely a matter of same-sex attraction: There are plenty of people who are, at various times in their lives, attracted to members of their own sex but who never identify as gay or lesbian. Rather, the homosexual identity cements same-sex attraction as a crucial element of personality, and places it in a privileged category along with culture, religion, ethnicity, and gender. People who adopt this identity refuse to give up the practice of homosexuality because they see it as an essential part of themselves.

Identity & Conversion
My own conversion, and the conversions of others whom I have seen leave a gay or lesbian life for the sake of Catholicism, hinged on this question of identity. I didn’t leave my same-sex partner because I ceased to be attracted to women or because I was miraculously “cured” of homosexuality. I left because my identity as a Catholic was more important to me than my identity as a lesbian. At the time, I really believed that my sexuality was fixed and that I would spend the rest of my life struggling to subordinate my same-sex desires to my intellectual convictions. I was content to accept this because I had first accepted the premises that I possessed free will, that I was in a position to make autonomous decisions about my own sexuality, and that rational, philosophical, and religious convictions were more essential than sexual desires.

I did not end up struggling for the rest of my life. As I moved away from a lesbian identity, I realized that the theories that were supposed to account for my attractions were neither satisfying nor adequate. This was equally true of the genetic theories favored by pro-gay advocates, and of the psychological theories in vogue among the Christian Right. I don’t deny that there are people who turn to homosexuality for psychological reasons — clearly there are women who turn to lesbianism because of their experiences with rape or abusive heterosexual relationships, and men who turn to older male sexual partners in search of a substitute for the affection of a distant father, and so forth. Psychological trauma, family dysfunction, and peer rejection can all be contributing factors, but so can aesthetic preference, ideological conviction, sexual opportunity, and positive experiences with the LGBTQ community.

Changes in my ideological outlook, my understanding of femininity, and my sexual behaviors were enough to allow me to be open to the possibility of a genuinely intimate, emotionally open heterosexual relationship. I didn’t fixate on “praying away the gay” or on eliminating all vestiges of same-sex desire; I figured that anyone entering into a marriage was likely to be occasionally troubled with extra-marital attractions and that it didn’t particularly matter whether they were directed toward members of the same or the opposite sex. In both cases, chastity and self-control were going to be required. There was nothing about same-sex attraction that made it somehow more urgent or problematic than any other form of unwanted attraction.

Effective Outreach
Several factors made my conversion possible, and I think that they’re worth considering because they provide a blueprint for how Christians can effectively reach out to people within the LGBTQ community. First, I was able to put aside the idea of a lesbian identity because I was not reliant on a lesbian community in order to provide for my social needs. Furthermore, my conversion did not happen in isolation: I was surrounded by friends who were also on the road to conversion at the same time I was. This is absolutely essential. Many people identify as gay or lesbian because they find love and acceptance within the LGBTQ community and nowhere else. A great deal of damage is done when Christian communities are openly homophobic, when effeminate men or masculine women are treated with contempt, and when cruel jokes or dismissive speech are used to demean people who have same-sex attractions. I was a girl with a shaved head who wore weird clothes and who did not behave in a traditionally feminine manner. If I had had to rely on the lukewarm support of the local Newman club and the mainstream Catholic community, I probably would have given up within the first year and written it off as my “Catholic phase.”

Second, I was able to find ways of integrating my Catholic identity, and Marian spirituality, with an atypical femininity. Many people seek sanctuary within the LGBTQ community because their own particular expression of masculinity or femininity is not “normal” in the mainstream culture. The more restrictive the gender roles within a given subcommunity, the truer this is: In parts of the U.S. poor hand-eye coordination in childhood is a predictor of a gay identity later in life. This is not because a “gay gene” causes boys to be bad at baseball; it is far more likely that a severely limited understanding of what makes a male a male leads to exclusion, name-calling, and gender confusion among boys who aren’t sufficiently skilled in sports. Christians who reach out to LGBTQ folks need to remember to practice liberality in nonessentials. Conformity with cultural gender expectations is not a precondition of salvation in Christ.

Finally, I was converted, not by arguments against homosexuality, but by the love of Christ. I was aware of the arguments years before I converted and even found them relatively coherent. I could see that if you believed in a God who had designed the universe, and that the natural creation was a manifestation of His wisdom, and that sexuality was ordered and designed for the union of spouses and the procreation of children, then obviously homosexuality had to be immoral. I didn’t believe in such a God. Nor would I have been willing to give up one of the most important relationships in my life for anything less than the person of Christ Himself.

Effective outreach to the homosexual community will be possible only when Catholics are willing to acknowledge that there are real reasons why gays and lesbians choose to identify with their sexuality and that these reasons have to do with more than just sex. Only then can authentic and fruitful dialogue take place. It is not enough to offer arguments, however rational, against the morality of homosexual acts. If the Church does not offer adequate emotional and spiritual support for people with same-sex attractions who wish to live out a full Catholic life in accord with magisterial teaching, then Catholic witness is doomed to failure. A small minority will be willing to tough it out, but the vast majority will turn to the gay subculture and the LGBTQ community, where there is at least a strong and concerted effort to see that their emotional needs are being met.

It is also essential that Catholics enter into this dialogue with humility, and recognize that our own attitudes, and the attitudes expressed by Christians in the past, have caused real and substantial harm to people with same-sex attractions. Often the simple acknowledgment of another person’s grievances, and the willingness to listen and to respond with compassion and contrition, is enough to break down the barriers that prevent real understanding.
___________

Melinda Selmys is the author of Sexual Authenticity: An Intimate Reflection on Homosexuality and Catholicism (Our Sunday Visitor, 2009). A regular columnist for the National Catholic Register, her articles have appeared in numerous Catholic publications, including This Rock, The Catholic Answer, and Envoy. She writes from Canada, where she and her husband are awaiting the birth of their sixth child. Melinda Selmys' article, "Authentic Dialogue Is Possible" originally appeared in the New Oxford Review (May 2011), and is reproduced here by kind permission of New Oxford Review, Kains Ave., Berkeley, CA 94706.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Comments from "Are they Catholics?"

Archived comments from the post: "Are they Catholics?" (Musings, May 30, 2011) posted on Michael Liccione's Facebook page:

Comments (17) | Trackback


Fred Kaffenberger I dunno. These folk would seem to have more in common with many cradle Catholics I know than so many intellectuals who think faith is primarily the articulation of correct opinions...
[4 hours ago]

Michael Liccione You have a point. Anybody who believes that faith is a matter of holding correct "opinions" does not understand what faith is. But it doesn't follow that being Catholic does not require professing what the Church teaches as "de fide." It does, even when one is unaware of all that's contained in that category. The basis for wondering about the people described in this article is that there's no evidence they are even DISPOSED to affirm all that the Church thus teaches--leaving aside their obvious lack of AWARENESS of much of it.
[3 hours ago]

David Braine The question is also worrisome in such cases as Tony Blair who made public display of the same views on homosexuality after reception into the Church as before, besides cooperating in delaying the Lebanon cease fire in 2006 fo 28 days so that cluster bombs could arrive from the US for use before ceasefire, showing the same rejection of just war principles as before reception.
[3 hours ago]

Fred Kaffenberger so why would a person believe in everything that the Catholic Church teaches? What would even make a Catholic curious about what the Church teaches on this or that? The Church teaches that if they are baptized, then they are Catholic. Do we believe that they have been ontologically changed, or do we have another criterion for belonging than the Church does?
[3 hours ago]

Michael Liccione Fred, it is on the Church's authority that we believe that whoever is baptized Catholic is a Catholic. To accept the Church's authority on that point, but not on others of equal or greater importance, is self-inconsistent. And that state of mind is not compatible with being in full communion with the Church.
[2 hours ago]

Frank Palmer Purcell CL is OD for bad Catholics. Just as well. We are all pretty bad Catholics, but we still have God's work to do. Of course we Easterners are not only bad Catholics, but bad Orthodox too! You know Fr. Faber's spiritual conferences? He makes a pretty good case that it is worse to take scandal than to give it. Much worse. Life is too short to upset ourselves about whether other folks are in full communion, and if we are truly concerned, a little prayer won't hurt.
[2 hours ago]

Fred Kaffenberger why would anybody believe in the authority of the Church? And why does Blosser question it?
[2 hours ago]

Michael Liccione Your first question requires a book of apologetics as an answer. I'm sure you've seen some of them. As for Blosser, he does not question the authority of the Church. I know him personally as a totally orthodox and loyal Catholic. What he questions is the pastoral wisdom of receiving into the Church people who have not been adequately informed of her teaching and practice. People who are not well informed cannot give informed consent. I share his concern.
[2 hours ago]

Fred Kaffenberger Michael, if apologetics is your method then it would certainly take a library to bludgeon a poor soul into submission. :)

My wife, who was an avid Protestant when I met her, says no book or tract would have been good enough to persuade her. Instead, the only thing that convinced her was the testimony of someone who lived his faith without complicated rationalizations. As for who's a Catholic, the teaching of the Catholic Church on this matter is sufficient for me. I believe it was Cyril of Jerusalem who proclaimed "you are caught in the Church's net etc."...
[2 hours ago]

Fred Kaffenberger If apologetics were enough, then Charles Peguy's wife Charlotte would have been converted by the threat of anullment and arguments of Jacques Maritain instead of by Peguy's loyalty, profound faith, and death.

Michael Liccione Apologetics is never sufficient. For some, it is necessary--i.e., for people who raise the question you did.
[2 hours ago]

Thomas Gnau Who wants to reach the point where the only authentic Catholics are saints and (orthodox) theologians? That really wouldn't be a "catholic" church, would it?
[about an hour ago]

Michael Liccione Right. There is such a thing as 'implicit faith'. The question is who can be presumed to have it.
[about an hour ago]

Thomas Gnau And there's explicit faith that fails from time to time. Or more often, perhaps.
[about an hour ago]

Michael Liccione Not sure about that. I have found that usually, when explicit faith fails, it's more a failure of virtue than a revolution of intellect. In the spiritual life, one goes either forward or backward. In keeping with that, those whose faith does not deepen often lose it.
[about an hour ago]

Jeff Kantor I agree. But at the same time, people just aren't very logical. They don't know how to think. And the whole idea of authority is badly damaged.
[about an hour ago]

Michael Liccione People indeed do not know how to think. I'm in the business of trying to change that, one person at a time. But if people neither think nor accept authority, they're in pathetic shape. At least they can be brought to recognize that much, and hence the need for both.
[about an hour ago]

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Comments on "What homosexuals do"

Archived comments from the post: "What homosexuals do" (Musings, June 26, 2006):

Comments (196) | Trackback


Wow. That's a LOT of information. Yikes. Thanks(?) Dr. Blosser. No, really, it needed to be done.

Truly indeed 'a nasty little hell of a pit'.

I suppose we should clear up one tiny error, before Fr. Joe and Atiyah jump all over it:

'The rectum was designed for the absorption of nutrients from digested food before its excretion, and clearly not for introducing anything from the outside.'

One word: suppository. The 'enormous lymphatic network in the mucosa of the rectum' obviously lends the rectum to the introduction of medication from the outside. (Can you believe that we're actually having to talk about this stuff on a Catholic theology blog?!) Nevertheless, I still think that the concluding thought of Dr. Blosser's excellent post passes the "smell test" :

'Hence, the use of the anus for intercourse is quite simply unnatural, contrary to nature, counter to the purposes for which human anatomy was naturally designed.'

While it is natural to introduce a suppository into the rectum (precisely because of the vast lymphatic network therein), it is certainly NOT natural to introduce a penis, for all of the health reasons described above.

And we haven't even addressed the lack of true mutual affectivity based on sexual complementarity -- a lack which is scarcely resolved by having one of the men wear a dress.
Dave | 06.27.06 - 3:42 pm | #


Spirit of Vatican II,

As you reminded me, indirectly, in a previous of comment that accuracy counts I will return the favor: an unaltered chromosomal human female’s urethra exits the pelvis anterior to the her vagina. A human female does not excrete urine from her bladder through he vagina. The vagina, in this case, is not part of the excretory system at all.

An unaltered chromosomal human male, however, does transport both semen and urine in his urethra depending one whether he is using his penis in its reproductive function or in its excretory function respectively.
Trog | 06.27.06 - 5:54 pm | #


GravatarZowie!

Great! This is a great hobbyhorse of a relative of mine--"Keeping saying what they are DOING; describe it; don't let them hide behind vague conceptualizations." She is entirely right. Disgusting stuff!

And thanks for the addresses. I wonder though if you know who his canonical bishop (in Ireland, I assume?) is. There must be some way of finding out.

Of course, we could just ask.

Father O'Leary, who is your canonical bishop, pray tell?

Complaints won't work in the short term, of course. But the system is slowly re-limbering itself and we help it along by using it. Bishops are beginning to imagine exercising discipline again, as well they should.
Jeff | 06.27.06 - 6:48 pm | #


GravatarYou forgot gay sex at highway rest stops. Here in New England especially in Vermont you are hard pressed to find an open rest stop. The gay activity became so dangerous police officers could not stop without being accosted. Rather than arresting the perverts- after all the cops don't want to get AIDS from being spat upon and bloodied they closed the rest areas down.

In Vermont that' what they call progress.

Necessary post but so distasteful.
Mary | Homepage | 06.27.06 - 7:57 pm | #


GravatarI never put vaginal sex on the same level as anal sex; merely pointed out even in that case sexual and excretory are not so far apart, as Yeats noted in my quote.

Again, all I can say is that I have listened to the testimony of gay Catholics who have had the courage to give that testimony in face of brazen bullying on all sides. And their testimony is that homosexuality is not an obsession with the anus but a capacity for love, and that within the context of a loving couple sexual activities have a unitive bonding role. Sorry, but that is what they say.

I am not here as an apologist for the other sexual behavior you mention.

And what of lesbians? I am friendly with a married lesbian couple (Canadian-Irish) -- how does your hateful screed apply to them?
Spirit of Vatican II | Homepage | 06.27.06 - 8:22 pm | #


GravatarMr O'Leary,

Even if males sexually attracted to other males aren't obssessed with the anus, as you aver, you even admit that they (at some point) engage in sexual activities, which both historical Judaism and Christianity categorically eschew and condemn (see James Dunn's remarks on Romans 1:26-27 in the Word Commentary series). How you justify this conduct in the light of Judeo-Christian history or Scripture is beyond me.

In any event, you say that Catholic gays have testified to the "unitive bonding role" that homosexual activity plays in the life of gay couples. Do you accept the testimony of any professed Christian at face value, even if it conflicts with massive amounts of data from the Judeo-Christian tradition? I wonder what a Catholic or Baptist (fill in the blank) pedophile might say about the "unitive bonding role" that sex plays in his/her relationships? I've heard some "christian" pedophiles wax eloquent on the subject. Yet, that does not lead me to lend much credence to their testimonies. Likewise for the narratival accounts you mention.
Fos | 06.27.06 - 9:20 pm | #


GravatarFather --

I'm sorry to need to be a witness for the prosecution in this case, but you did say (I can't find it exactly) that homosexual sex was analogical to heterosexual sex in important ways.

Philip:

I suppose this is the example of holding him up for everyone to see what he proudly proclaims under other circumstances? Heavy heart.

Be assured, Father O'Leary, of my prayers for you.
Chris Garton-Zavesky | 06.27.06 - 9:46 pm | #


GravatarBravo Mr. Blosser!
Father O'Leary you are in my prayers. I've read your screeds in defense of homosexuality ad nauseum and as someone who struggles with same sex attraction I far prefer the forthright unambiguous Christianity that I get from the likes of the Pertinacious Papist and others. Christ has saved my soul and helps me to bear this cross (and yes, it is a cross) but it has become a light yoke since I truly gave it over to Him and now it is merely a temptation that I struggle with (gee, just like heterosexuals who are commanded to live chaste lives also!) and not an obsession that defines who I am. May God bless all who speak out against the glorification of homosexuality and bless all those who help us (homosexual and heterosexual) live rightly ordered lives for the glorificatio of God. Sorry for the rant. bridgit
bridgit | 06.27.06 - 10:43 pm | #


GravatarSex at rest stops is as old as the hills, Mary -- it flourished especially in the 1950s, the age of flourishing sodomy laws. If you want to change this kind of gay subculture, you should be promoting civil unions.

Thanks for your piece on Bertone -- I see he is another of the anti-gay crowd in the Vatican. The entire Curia seems to be turning into one monolithic inquisition, with a sharp focus on gay issues. Consider -- former head and secretary of the CDF are now pope and secretary of state; then we have the present CDF, and Cardinal Grocholewski of Catholic Education and Cardinal Trujillo of Pont. Council for the Family (his dismal recent document still unavailable in English) -- the latter two are viciously anti-gay and are also involved in the sacking of leading Jesuit theologians.

Making the whole Curia an Inquisition is of no value whatever to our paralyzed Church. It is a totally wasteful, destructive response to the needs, including the religious needs, of humanity today.
Spirit of Vatican II | Homepage | 06.27.06 - 10:46 pm | #


Gravatar"I'm sorry to need to be a witness for the prosecution in this case, but you did say (I can't find it exactly) that homosexual sex was analogical to heterosexual sex in important ways." Of course it is. It is well known that every single sexual practice that gays perform is also performed (and in absolute terms far more frequently) by heterosexuals. What you are thinking of is my claim that loving gay couples can share analogically in the goods of marriage. That claim is made by many moral theologians today.

Thanks for your prayers.
Spirit of Vatican II | Homepage | 06.27.06 - 10:49 pm | #


GravatarBridgit, thanks for your witness. But what response have you to the countless gays who say they have tried celibacy for decades and found only unhappiness, and that they have found happiness in a quasi-marital relationship with another person? Do you dismiss them because they do not fit your current choice?
Spirit of Vatican II | Homepage | 06.27.06 - 10:51 pm | #


Gravatar"Fr. Joseph O'Leary (who's [recte WHOSE] comment box signature is "Spirit of Vatican II"), is [recte Associate] Professor of English Literature at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan, and a Catholic priest who dissents from [recte: suggests the need of development of] Catholic Church teaching on very many points, especially pertaining to Church moral (read: sexual) teaching. Another Catholic priest, Fr. J. Scott Newman (on Fr. Al Kiemel's [recte KIMEL] Pontifications weblog) once called him "a closet Anglican on the Catholic payroll," which may be an apt description for him, as he seems quite the Anglophile, enamored of the aesthetic refinement [AND SCRIPTURAL WEALTH] of Anglican liturgy, what he regards as the non-doctrinaire [BUT I PRAISE THE PURITY OF ANGLICAN DOCTRINE AND ITS WONDERFUL INTEGRATION OF PATRISTIC AND REFORMED INSIGHT] and exegetically-based Anglican homiletics, and the openness to trendy liberal agendas one finds in the Anglican communion -- including openness to gays.

But is it worth Fisking a Blosser post? It's like shooting goldfish in a goldfish bowl.
Spirit of Vatican II | Homepage | 06.27.06 - 10:58 pm | #


GravatarHave they really chosen chastity? Or have they looked on it as a burden to be struggled against only and then 2, 5, 10 years down the line they're not "happy" (gee, like alot of people because of different circumstances in their life)do they decide they must start a same-sex relationship or never find happiness? Everybody struggles with something, if all we do is look at our struggles as burdens instead of as means of sanctification then we'll always be unhappy. This is where many well intentioned people have been fooled and led down the primrose path. Taking the narrow road (my worst struggles have been against a society that keeps claiming this is not a sin! then any actual temptation I have) has given me more peace than I ever thought I'd have. I have fallen many times before and I'll probably fall some more! This is why God gave us confession!! So, no I can't speak for anyone else but my own redemption in Christ. This is not my "current choice" Father, it's been my lifelong choice but I am looking at it differently now, it's no longer an obsession or even a burden, its a means to sanctification, no better or worse than any cross God gives to anyone else. I finally am over myself and my poor me attitude about my particular struggle and I've gotten this attitude from Christians who teach the Truth in love, not from others who preach a false gospel. bridgit
bridgit | 06.27.06 - 11:06 pm | #


"The other thing that's ironic is that it's very often O'Leary himself who drags the discussion into the gutter (one recalls references made in his exchanges in former debates with 'Dreadnought' and his photographs, for example)." How strange to find Philip Blosser claiming that these photos, of a near naked man in sm poses on a rooftop, are what Dreadnought claims them to be -- comparable to the Ignudi on the Sistine Chapel roof! See http://johnheard.blogspot.com/20...e-sing-for.html
Spirit of Vatican II | Homepage | 06.27.06 - 11:06 pm | #


GravatarSpirit,

Your lackluster response to Bridgit's beautiful statment reveals much more about you than you likely intended. Your concern, it seems to me, is simply "happiness." From my armchair, I have diognosed you as a common hedonist, accepting an "ethical doctrine holding that only what is pleasant or has pleasant consequences is intrinsically good." Truth and virtue seem to have little standing. Or rather, you define these terms according to what brings you, or others you know, "happiness."

I am convinced by your frequent posts that you would theologically justify any behavior that permits you to avoid pain while maximizing pleasure. Were you a married heterosexual man, I suppose you would pronounce adultry a virtue if your wife were a bore while your secretary "understood" you. What a sad, warmed over, 1960s cliche.

Rather than advance tortured theological positions, may I suggest you immerse yourself in Holy Mother Church's rich theology on suffering? I pray God will grant you the grace to repent and pick up your cross, like Bridgit, and obediently follow Christ into glory.
Recusant | 06.27.06 - 11:17 pm | #


Gravatar"Surveys indicate that about 90% of gays have engaged in rectal intercourse, and about two-thirds do so regularly."

What surveys? If what is meant by "gays" here is "same-sex attracted men", I suggest that this is piffle.

"In a six-month long daily sexual diary study (L. Corey and K.K. Holmes, "Sexual Transmission of Hepatitis A in Homosexual Men," New England Journal of Medicine, 1980:302:435-38.6), gays averaged 110 sex partners and 68 rectal encounters per year (more recent studies would likely show higher statistics)." Again what was the sample? If you suppose these statistics apply to all gay men you are talking through your hat! The universe would not be able to contain such sexual energy!


"Saliva, however, contains many germs foreign to the rectum. During rectal intercourse, the rectum therefore becomes a receptacle for a cocktail of 1) saliva and its germs and/or an artificicial [sic] lubricant, 2) the recipient's own feces, 3) whatever germs, infections, or substances the penus [sic] has on it, and 4) the seminal fluid of the penitrant."

Lubricants are also used often for vaginal intercourse. All intimate contact, including kissing, involves risk of germ transmission. Differences here are in degree not kind. Lesbians are the safest sexual partners, to compensate perhaps for the dangers of man-man sex.

"Since sperm readily penetrate the extremely thin rectal wall (only one cell's width) causing immunological damage, and tearing or brusing [sic] the anal wall is very common during rectal sex, these substances have a high possibility of gaining direct access to the blood stream. In contrast to vaginal intercourse (in which sperm cannot penetrate the multilayered vagina and no fecal matter is present), rectal intercourse is probably the most sexually common way to speading hepatitis B & C, HIV, syphilis and other blood-borne diseases (G.W. Manligit, et al., "Chronic Immune Stimulation by Sperm Alloantigens," Journal of the American Medial Association, 1984:251:237-38.." 1984 is a long time ago; I doubt if anyone would claim this today.

" The risk of tearing the anal wall during rectal sex mounts exponentially with practices like "fisting," where the hand and arm are inserted into the rectum, or sex 'toys' (bottles, dildos, vegetables, even rodents) are inserted into the anus. The prospect of ending up with a colostomy bag for the duration of one's life is quite real." Note that these bizarre practices are not confined to gay men.

"That's just the rectal sex. Then there's fecal sex. About 80% of gays admit to licking and/or inserting their tongues into the anus of their partners (rimming) and thus ingesting medically significant amounts of fecal matter." This is complete nonsense! Even if -- on the quite implausible supposition that 80% of the world's same-sex attracted men are into "rimming", the idea that they would then "admit" it is a further implausibility. Your sources stink, Ph
Spirit of Vatican II | Homepage | 06.27.06 - 11:19 pm | #


Gravatar"If the vagina could accept viruses, women would be dying like flies from every sort of viral disease imaginable. Women survive because nature has designed the vagina for the reception of sperm but not viruses."

Are you saying that Aids is transmitted only or chiefly by anal sex? I thought vaginal intercourse was the chief channel of transmission.
Spirit of Vatican II | Homepage | 06.27.06 - 11:21 pm | #


GravatarWhy in the world is it necessary for homosexuals to be in a sexual relationship in order to be happy?

That is not the case for any other group of people. I'm not even simply making the point that many people choose celibacy and are happy. There are a lot of people who desire to get married but never get the opportunity to do so, and nonetheless, lead happy lives.
Gregg | 06.27.06 - 11:24 pm | #


GravatarBias and prejudice are patent in Philip Blosser's choice of "authorities" -- shameful in an academic. I can only pity his students to be exposed to his petty hysterical dogmatism -- his readiness to delate them to the authorities if they resist him -- his inability to spell and his chronic rampant inaccurac.

Here is what his source says about the origins of homosexual orientation:

"There is evidence that homosexuality, like drug use is "handed down" from older individuals. The first homosexual encounter is usually initiated by an older person. In separate studies 60%, (6) 64%, (3) and 61% (10) of the respondents claimed that their first partner was someone older who initiated the sexual experience."

And of course his source associates homosexuality and pedophilia etc.

But I am tired of plunging my hands into the cesspool of Dr (!) Blosser's mind...
Spirit of Vatican II | Homepage | 06.27.06 - 11:26 pm | #


Gravatarinaccurac SHD BE inaccuracy (must be infectious!)

"Why in the world is it necessary for homosexuals to be in a sexual relationship in order to be happy?"

It may not be absolutely necessary, but it helps. What is a cause of major unhappiness to both parties is when a gay man is forced by social pressure to marry a woman.

"That is not the case for any other group of people." Perhaps not, but if you have ever seen a Hollywood movie or read a novel, the whole thing is predicated on the need of a beloved for full happiness. This probably generates a lot of unhappiness and frustration in many people.

" I'm not even simply making the point that many people choose celibacy and are happy. There are a lot of people who desire to get married but never get the opportunity to do so, and nonetheless, lead happy lives."

Absolutely. Yet is would be a severe crime against human rights to take away the "natural right to marry" of those people.
Spirit of Vatican II | Homepage | 06.27.06 - 11:30 pm | #


GravatarHere's that pic again, that Philip seems to like so much (the randy old dog!).
Spirit of Vatican II | 06.27.06 - 11:34 pm | #


Gravatarhttp://photos1.blogger.com/img/3...roof%20gay1.jpg
Spirit of Vatican II | 06.27.06 - 11:35 pm | #


GravatarA lot of the things you cite as causes for the unhappiness in homosexuals - social pressure, Hollywood idolizing romantic love, etc. - are things that Catholics would agree with you are things that need to be seriously reformed.

Why not zero in on those rather than the homosexuality issue?
Gregg | 06.27.06 - 11:50 pm | #


GravatarThis is the crux of the "dialog."

Father O'Leary says "hateful screed," i.e, your position is morally offensive and cannot be given credence, even for the sake of argument. So: Step One is beg the question and reject the good faith of the other side.

Step Two: The witness of "happy homosexual couples" is to be taken at face value, as is their complaints about loneliness, etc. No criticism or questioning allowed.

Step Three: Other homosexuals once claimed to be happy homosexuals but now say, "It wasn't true, it was lies and self-deception, I was hurt and I saw other people hurt by this. Thank God for people who will tell the truth about this." This testimony is to be rejected out of hand as an attack on those who differ. We can only regard their experience as, at best, applicable to them in some personally quirky way. No generalization allowed.

I guess that means that even in the abstract, it can't be that an activity which some people claim--even believe--is happiness inducing is in fact destructive. The question of what happens when large numbers of people start acting this way is so far out of bounds that it can't even honestly be put, just as with contraception and divorce. Hardly any kids and the ones there are don't know their parents and have to take care of themselves. But, hey, the couples testified that they were happy and unitive and embarked on a great spiritual journey.... To accuse them of being selfish and to ask them to be "unhappy" to avoid a deeper and more long-lasting unhappiness is...well, I guess it's "hateful screed." After all, a society of atomized and autonomous sexuality can't possibly be destructive--after all everybody is just nicely and sweetly pursuing what they claim makes them happy. Paradise should be right around the corner, if only we could do away with the "hateful screed".

This is a childish pseudo-psychological approach to moral theology and not even set up as any kind of dialog at all. We can never progress in a discussion of this kind until Fr. O'Leary grasps the reasons why we are so utterly, utterly unimpressed by arguments like, "But they are nice and they swear they are happy." But then he's not open to grasping them or even entertaining them.

Anyone who has ever, I mean EVER, had an interior conviction of personal sin and repentence, knows the depthless inadequacy of this kind of "thinking." You go on and on acting happy and tellng yourself that you are happy and smiling and living your life and then you suddenly realize that it's all a tissue of lies and self-deception and you don't know the first thing about how to live life or what happiness is supposed to be. And in despair--hope beyond despair--you reach out to God begging for salvation: "I am a sinner, save me God, I cannot save myself. Teach me Your ways and help me to walk in them."

Fr. O'Leary, it's time to repent, to wake up, put aside inte
Jeff | 06.28.06 - 12:44 am | #


Gravatar(continued)

Fr. O'Leary, it's time to repent, to wake up, put aside intellectual and spiritual pride and find your way back to Christ. But, in the meantime you are hurting others. So: Who is your canonical bishop? From whom do you derive your priestly mission?
Jeff | 06.28.06 - 12:44 am | #


GravatarLet's take a look at some of Father O'Leary's style of argumentation. He is vastly prolix, so one must go in search of the gems.

To Dave:

"Dave, you are beginning to worry me. This effeminate snooping about and sniffing of other people's underpants is the obsession of a lonely man."

To Me, just beforehand:

"You have no need to use the language of a schoolyard bully."

In this context:

"Jeff, what is your basis for saying that it is an "infantile belief" that homosexuality is more common in the upper stages of the evolutionary ladder? It is either a fact or not a fact. If you can show that it is not a fact I am happy to correct my mistake. You have no need to use the language of a schoolyard bully."

Fr., is the "evolutionary ladder" a fact? Are we scientifically "higher" than, say a lion? Than a dolphin? A clam?

This is a vague, broad, sweeping generalization that could not possibly be sustained in any definitive way except by thousands, perhaps millions of studies, which would then be open to all sorts of objections. And we know that there is not such vast literature available. Besides the fact that studies potentially critical of homosexuality don't get funded. They are "hateful screeds" you see.

You and I both know that this is sheer wish fulfilment, fairy-tale nonsense couched in pseudo-scientific terminology.

Not to mention one pathetically easy response: murder is more common among humans than among animals, too. So what?

You say: "Hateful" "Underpants" "Cesspool". I say: "Infantile." Schoolyard bully yourself.

Repent, Father; it's not too late. There really is a Divine Life of Grace, it's not just kid talk and fundamentalism. Come back to us!

And, BTW, who is your canonical bishop? Wouldn't it be fun if he joined the thread?
Anonymous | 06.28.06 - 1:06 am | #


Gravatar"Father O'Leary says "hateful screed," i.e, your position is morally offensive and cannot be given credence, even for the sake of argument. So: Step One is beg the question and reject the good faith of the other side." I think most people recognize a bully.

"Step Two: The witness of "happy homosexual couples" is to be taken at face value, as is their complaints about loneliness, etc. No criticism or questioning allowed." Question all you like, but on the basis of first listening and having dialogue.

"Step Three: Other homosexuals once claimed to be happy homosexuals but now say, "It wasn't true, it was lies and self-deception, I was hurt and I saw other people hurt by this. Thank God for people who will tell the truth about this." This testimony is to be rejected out of hand as an attack on those who differ." This refers to Jim Caputo's postings? I did not reject his accounts, but asked him has he any positive message for gays? Is the telling them to become pseudo-straights, with all the unhappiness that is known to cause?

"We can only regard their experience as, at best, applicable to them in some personally quirky way. No generalization allowed." The roll of public opinion is buying the case of self-affirming homosexual men and women and is suspicious of self-hating ones. People who come across as merely negative rarely excite much enthusiasm.

"I guess that means that even in the abstract, it can't be that an activity which some people claim--even believe--is happiness inducing is in fact destructive." It doesn't mean that at all. Many other happiness-based cases have failed to carry conviction. Judge each case on its merits, I say.

" The question of what happens when large numbers of people start acting this way is so far out of bounds that it can't even honestly be put, just as with contraception and divorce." Well, Philip Blosser wants a legal ban on contraceptives and I suppose on divorce as well. But that is not going to happen.

"Hardly any kids and the ones there are don't know their parents and have to take care of themselves. But, hey, the couples testified that they were happy and unitive and embarked on a great spiritual journey.... To accuse them of being selfish and to ask them to be "unhappy" to avoid a deeper and more long-lasting unhappiness is...well, I guess it's "hateful screed." After all, a society of atomized and autonomous sexuality can't possibly be destructive--after all everybody is just nicely and sweetly pursuing what they claim makes them happy. Paradise should be right around the corner, if only we could do away with the "hateful screed". This is a childish pseudo-psychological approach to moral theology and not even set up as any kind of dialog at all. We can never progress in a discussion of this kind until Fr. O'Leary grasps the reasons why we are so utterly, utt.erly unimpressed by arguments like, "But they are nice and they swear they are happy." But the
Spirit of Vatican II | 06.28.06 - 2:34 am | #



GravatarBut then he's not open to grasping them or even entertaining them. " The only counter-argument of you and Philip Blosser is the unique horror of anal sex, which for him is the essential core of homosexuality. That is based on total deafness to the witness of gays and the countless theologians and others who plead for gay rights

"Anyone who has ever, I mean EVER, had an interior conviction of personal sin and repentence, knows the depthless inadequacy of this kind of "thinking." You go on and on acting happy and tellng yourself that you are happy and smiling and living your life and then you suddenly realize that it's all a tissue of lies and self-deception and you don't know the first thing about how to live life or what happiness is supposed to be. And in despair--hope beyond despair--you reach out to God begging for salvation: "I am a sinner, save me God, I cannot save myself. Teach me Your ways and help me to walk in them."" Fine, but irrelevant to the issue, or at best question-begging. Catholics practicing contraception have faced down this kind of moral and spiritual blackmail for decades, and more power to them. Gays have done the same, and more power to them.
Spirit of Vatican II | 06.28.06 - 2:36 am | #


GravatarYup, I am replying to Philip Blosser (for the first time) in his own language. Just to see how he likes it. Of course he will remove the posts -- we know how scrupulously he follows Da Rulz...
Spirit of Vatican II | 06.28.06 - 2:38 am | #


GravatarAnd I would point out to all of you that the case I am making is shared by many, many Catholic pastors and theologians -- despite Vatican bullying. It is a case for the recognition of gay couples (even if only as a "lesser evil" as even the Vatican itself recognizes -- see Jan Visser's comment on Persona Humana which he co-authored; but I was to say not a lesser evil but a "lesser good to marriage").

It is Philip Blosser and he alone who constantly drags this discussion back to anal sex, with which he seems to be totally obsessed (as one can see by looking at many of his postings from the beginning of this weblog long before I appeared). A gay couple embark on a communion of love and life. Anal sex may or may not be part of that life, but I doubt if it looms as large in the imagination of any happily "married" gay as it does in that of your regular homophobe.
Spirit of Vatican II | 06.28.06 - 2:43 am | #


GravatarDr Blosser accuses me of “little asides and jibes” yet he continues to provide sooooo much material. He is the gift the keeps giving.

What a morbid negative Catholicism we have on this blog.

Oh dear oh dear this time he blows his top. Where does one begin to up-pack the psychology of all of this – three posts in a row two on sodomy and a thieving nun chucked in for good measure. And we all know sodomy = homosexuality the words are actually interchangeable. And so we must endure the luridness of the 14yr olds in the school yard. But it’s the frenetic nature of the post rather than the content that disturbs the most.

I am greatly enjoying the prospect of a flood of letters rushing their way across the Pacific to these two senior clerics in Japan. In a region where many Asians resist Christianity as western and therefore foreign, where Christianity makes slow progress in Japan and religious oppression abounds in North Korea and China I am sure everyone can drop what they are doing and focus on the problem of Fr. O’Leary. He is after all a latter-day Luther who must be nipped-in-the-bud - the very survival of Catholicism rests upon it. Such is the importance of the rectitude of Dr Blosser’s blog to the course of Christendom.

But why stop at Japan why not write to Benedict himself after all his address is as they say “in the book” why not go right to the top. I guess both of the bemused clerics in Japan be confirmed in their view that American Catholicism is indeed a mixed blessing.

As to the charge that Fr. O’Leary is a secret Anglican – one treads dangerously when accusing an Irishman of this. As for his partiality for Anglican liturgy – this is merely to accuse him of good taste.

Lets to Dr Blosser's pièce de résistance:

“If the vagina could accept viruses, women would be dying like flies from every sort of viral disease imaginable”

This is surely a statement of theology or philosophy for it is not a statement of science. Any Catholic medical professional would be disciplined for this - it is grossly negligent advice and if given to a women whose husband is HIV positive would result in a medical malpractice suit.

Women are of course dying like flies in Africa where Aids/HIV is an overwhelmingly heterosexual disease passed by vaginal intercourse. Most human diseases both viral and bacterial come from animals (perhaps bird flu is transmitted by anal sex too). This one jumped the species barrier in the 1930’s in West Africa because of the hunt for bush meat and someone’s broken skin. Accord to our Dr Blosser clearly the chimps where up to sodomy and that explains why they have it.

Aids/HIV is so interesting to evolutionary biologists because it is an example of evolution in practice – decent with modification. A very interesting disease.
Atiyah | 06.28.06 - 2:49 am | #


GravatarOf course Blosser shows himself a total ignoramus, and a heartless one, in his remark about women dying like flies.
Anonymous | 06.28.06 - 3:00 am | #


GravatarGod bless you, Bridgit.

Be advised that Fr. Joe's beef with Rome extends beyond the Vatican's "inquisitorial focus" on homosexuality. He is also critical of the Vatican's "obsession" with the quaint idea that the person of Jesus Christ is the center of the Gospel. It seems that for Fr. Joe, a little bit of Jesus goes a long way; too much Jesus spoils the pot.

You will find that one minute the "Spirit of Vatican II" will praise the self-authenticating authority of the early Christological councils of Niceae and Chalcedon, while the next minute he will say that Christology is an obstacle to the evangelization of Asia. This "Spirit" is a bit of a slippery eel, quite hard to grasp and hold in one place.

By the way, be sure to profread your comments before posting. Fr. Joe also relishes the role of grammar schoolmarm, and will fisk your comments for mispellings. Thank God this is a virtual classroom and he cannot crack your knuckles with a ruler. Unfortunately he can still melt your brain with his sophistry.

Fr. Joe, here is a positive message for gays: Turn to the Lord. Repent of your sin. Try not to sin anymore. Keep in mind that Jesus does not expect perfection from any of us. Fall down, get up, try again. Trust the Word of God. Trust the shepherds whom the Lord has placed over you. Distrust the voices of dissent and so-called "dialogue". Distrust the hermeneutics of suspicion. Adore Jesus in the Sacrament of Love. 'Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love undying.' (Eph 6:24)
Dave | 06.28.06 - 3:16 am | #


Gravatar'... while the next minute he will say that Christology is an obstacle to the evangelization of Asia.'

Fr. Joe will correct me here. Let me correct myself. The Bishops of Asia say that Christology (or too much focus thereupon) is an obstacle to the evangelization of Asia. In this, the Bishops of Asia (or the FABC) are in full agreement with Fr. Joe. It is an interesting topic -- perhaps the subject of another thread if Dr. Blosser deems it worthwhile. It WOULD be nice to take a respite from anuses.
Dave | 06.28.06 - 3:23 am | #


GravatarJesus Christ is the center of the Gospel but the center of Jesus Christ's teaching is not himself but the Kingdom. The Asian Bishops are perhaps saying that we must reveal the values of the Kingdom first, only then will our proclamation of Jesus as Lord make sense to our hearers.
Anonymous | 06.28.06 - 3:51 am | #


GravatarFr Timothy Leary, sorry Fr O'Leary's comments are banned at DREADNOUGHT. Based on the compulsive, wildly incoherent, scattered nonsense he has pasted here - including the obsessive references to me, my site and the photos I took of my friend Jason - I don't think there's a reasonable man who'd fault my decision.

For those who labour to counter the apparent priest's comments, don't bother. You don't have to respond to all of the claims that come from the dark fringes of theory.

Sure, Fr O'Leary sounds clever, sometimes frightfully so, but his hermeneutics of distrust, his overweening ego and his various, often non sequitur, literary and theological allusions reveal an undisciplined mind.

He has frequently demonstrated that he is not interested in dialogue, his is an onanistic monologue, his development stuck at the level of a precocious grade-school kid, always keen to show how apparently clever he is, but not willing to learn from others.

He's also fallen victim to the ex-pat's disease, a kind of intellectual degradation that accumulates amongst those in foreign places, whose already arcane mutterings, relatively free of challenge from English-speaking students/colleagues, acquire - or so the academic thinks - a level of currency or coherence that would not be the case were the man speaking in the US, Australia, Britain or elsewhere.

The claims he makes cannot, by virtue of the format - a comments box is hardly a thesis paper - be satisfyingly refuted. One needn't bother, however.

The fact that O'Leary publishes where he does, and lectures where he must, the fact that he persists as a Catholic priest despite his heterodoxy proves the paucity of his ideas. This last, indeed, demonstrates that not even he takes his comments seriously.

He writes as though he is Hans Kung or Joseph Ratzinger, but the reality, both personal and academic, is somewhat more humble.

Fr O'Leary needs our brotherly concern - the dissonance must be extreme - but he doesn't always need our dialectical interaction, even though he craves it.

Ignore the man, for his own good. Perhaps in the resulting silence some of his nonsense will reverberate back and he'll realise how silly he is.

When he does, I know I'd be pleased to interact once more with the newly minted, newly humble, re-orthodox, priest from Japan.
DREADNOUGHT | Homepage | 06.28.06 - 4:17 am | #


GravatarWell Dread

Took you long enough to pop on over

Still a disappointing post but I guess you are stirred to action by the link to one of your pics.

Would have been nice to see a substantive post on either natural law/gay marriage and Dr Blosser’s great obsession: sodomy.

You say Fr O’Leary suffers from the ex pat disease a level of currency or coherence that would not be the case were the man speaking in the US, Australia, Britain or elsewhere” Strange that describes the Catholic Church’s position on civil unions and contraceptives and homosexuality here – and that’s with her own faithful let alone anyone else.

I guess you support Dr Blosser’s sage medical advice that a women can have vaginal sex with an HIV positive man because her vagina is immune to viruses. Is this standard of discourse we can expect. Not so much incoherent just wrong and very dangerous.

Of course from an immunity point of view repeated exposure the virus does over many generations result in rendering the disease non lethal as in the case in chimpanzees (those little sodomites) and a very few Africans – especially the odd prostitute. Of course people must “die like flies” as Dr Blosser puts it in a supreme example of Christian charity.

Perhaps Dr Blosser is a closet supporter of evolution through natural selection after all.
Atiyah | 06.28.06 - 5:32 am | #


GravatarDave, Fos, Trog, Mary, Bridgit, Chris have this in common: they accept the fetid codswallop sought out in 30 year old sources as VALUABLE INFORMATION whereas a brief glimpse reveals it to be full of impossible claims and to be motivated by pure prejudice. This must cast doubt on the intellectual integrity of the afore-named.
Disgusted | Homepage | 06.28.06 - 6:22 am | #


GravatarDreadnought -- amazing that you, a self-proclaimed same-sex attracted Catholic man -- would come out in support of the dreck pb publishes here (and puhlease, it was he who resurrected your rooftop pics, for reasons best known to himself). I notice you have banned several others from your weblog, including a brilliant guy who challenged you in the very field you claim to have degrees in -- law.
Disgusted | Homepage | 06.28.06 - 6:26 am | #


GravatarI have nothing against "jason" myself, but I find it odd that pb thinks that I am salacious for pointing us that "jason" is posing in a rather erotic position (simulating masturbation in one pose). I just believe in calling a spade a spade.
Disgusted | Homepage | 06.28.06 - 6:29 am | #


GravatarJason looks to me like much happier gay man than Dread, or that any of the screaming in-denial folk here. Go, Jason!
Disgusted | Homepage | 06.28.06 - 6:36 am | #


Gravatarcorrections:

Jason looks to me like a much happier gay man than Dread, or than any of the screaming in-denial folk here. Go, Jason!
Disgusted | Homepage | 06.28.06 - 6:37 am | #


GravatarFrom today's GUARDIAN:

"The more biological older brothers a man has, the greater the likelihood that he will be gay" (Report 27 June, page . What a shame no one told my mother, who gave birth to me (unquestionably gay) and my younger brother (who won't object to being outed as a heterosexual). Who benefits from knowing whether sexuality has medical, psychological or social origins? In this week when we celebrate gay - and lesbian - Pride, why not concentrate on welcoming our diversity and challenging prejudices instead of continuing a 150-year-old, and so far vain, search for a medical cause that has led instead only to repeated and disastrous efforts to "cure" people of homosexuality. Lesbian and gay people don't need curing, we need equality."
Peter Purton
Southall, Middx

"The question Rowan Williams needs to address is this: would it be right to put priority on holding together the worldwide Anglican communion if the issue were not gender or sexuality, but slavery? That's how it was in the early 19th century, with opponents of abolition just as vociferous in their use of the Bible to justify a position now felt to be untenable. In what way does homosexuality - or being female - interfere with the prime Christian message to love our neighbour? It's time to stand up and make clear that we should not in the Christian church allow injustice, simply to maintain a stronger power base."
J Richard Pater
Kendal, Cumbria
Disgusted | Homepage | 06.28.06 - 6:51 am | #


GravatarDreadnought bans contributors and then goes on to badmouth them on his weblog with no right of reply. At least pb grants us the right of reply! (Gee, sorry if that remark is incoherent -- or is the incoherence in the jaundiced eye of the reader?)
Disgusted | Homepage | 06.28.06 - 6:55 am | #


'Jesus Christ is the center of the Gospel but the center of Jesus Christ's teaching is not himself but the Kingdom.'

This is a false opposition. There is no Kingdom apart from Jesus. Jesus IS the Kingdom in person. Therefore Jesus is the center of his teaching, albeit not in a self-glorifying way.

'The Asian Bishops are perhaps saying that we must reveal the values of the Kingdom first, only then will our proclamation of Jesus as Lord make sense to our hearers.'

There is some truth to this. Of course we glorify the Lord by living as he has taught us to live. Christology must become incarnate in works of love. However, I am distrustful of the point of view that suggests that Christology is an obstacle to establishing the reign of God. How does focusing our hearts and minds on the person of Jesus Christ distract us from the task of building the Kingdom? That did not seem to be the case for Bl. Teresa of Calcutta, for whom adoration of our Eucharistic Lord was the driving force of her mission to the poor and outcast.
Dave | 06.28.06 - 8:40 am | #


GravatarBy the way, in another combox I signed off from the discussion on homosexuality. I will add this one comment: if my treatment of Fr. O'Leary in that discussion has not reflected the values of the Kingdom, then I am a hypocrite and my words above are empty clanging. If my words and actions have offended Christ, then I repent. Let us assume that they have offended the Lord, because surely they were written less in the Spirit of Christ than in the spirit of polemic. The litmus test is this: was my heart and mind focused on the Lord when I was writing those comments to Fr. O'Leary? In truth, not really.

So there you have it. I am sorry. I repent. Forgive me, Father.
Dave | 06.28.06 - 8:47 am | #


GravatarThe Spirit of Vatican Two has become Disgusted!

Now, that's progress!

Did you notice? No interaction at all on substance from Father. Just deny that there is any question to be discussed. It's all a matter of "Vatican bullying." Our entire society is being wiped out by the failure to reproduce (contraception! divorce! homosexuality! More power to them!) and being replaced by Muslims: no friends of Fr. O'Leary's! But that's not in his social "science" magazines. It must be a "hateful screed."

Immature children are the ones who think of any exercise of authority as "bullying." They are the ones who think they are so grown-up, so mature, that they never need any correction. "I'm a big boy now; I can make my own decisions!" More power to them, eh?

Repent, Fr. Disgusted. Time to return out of the universe of solipsism to His wonderful light.

And, oh, yes. Who is your canonical bishop? From whom do you derive your priestly mission? Or are you off on your own like the SSPX?
Jeff | 06.28.06 - 8:49 am | #


GravatarAtiyah, ET AL.:

The Japanese episcopate is not in great shape, it's true. But I wouldn't generalize about Asia.

The Chinese Church is undergoing martyrdom and is steadfast in its loyalty to the Pope. Even the "Patriotic Association" is more Catholic than a lot of ostensibly loyal Churches.

The Korean and Philippines Churches are pretty sound. The Church in Vietnam is wonderful.

The Indonesian Church is a mixed bag, but getting better.

The Indian hierarchy is undergoing a slow transformation under the watchful eye of the increasingly powerful Cardinal Dias, recently of Bombay, now Prefect of the dicastery for the Evangelization of Peoples. Many of the new episcopal appointments have been very good indeed and there are many more to be made.

All in all, progress is being made, just as it is in North America. Excelsior!

Look what decades of complaining and bitching have done about the liturgy! Look what they have done about seminaries--now filling with orthodox young priests. The battle is being won on every level and before two more decades have passed, the universities and theological associations will be feeling the full weight of renewal.

And, of course, the Anglican Church in the US is slowly being pushed out of full communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury over the issue of confusing anuses with vaginas. Everything is looking up!
Jeff | 06.28.06 - 9:16 am | #


Gravatar**

What was the objectionable thing that the Cardinal of Lagos is supposed to have said? I think I missed that one. Was it something like, "If you try to destroy our societies as you have been destroying those in the West, we will put you in jail?" Something like that?

Since people go to jail in Europe for talking about traditional moral theology--remember, it's a "hateful screed"--and are hounded from their jobs in America for saying that they merely BELIEVE that homosexual activity is deviant, I don't know what the complaint would be. Rather hypocritical, I'd say.

It's not tolerance they want--it's victory! And they will persecute us to get it. Soon, they will take our children away if we try to teach them that homosexuality is wrong. They are already beginning to force us to allow our children to be "reeducated" on these issues in Canadian schools. Why should we let them do it without a squeak? Don't kid yourselves about what's going on. They won't be putting up with us for much longer. They don't want tolerance. It's us or them and they KNOW it. We should know it, too.

But after the Europeans have contracepted and anal-sexed themselves to death--in line with O'Leary's recommendations--what does he think the Muslims who replace them will do? Will they be convinced by his junk "science" magazines?

God bless you, Father. You don't need all this nonsense. Let it go, you can, you really can.
Jeff | 06.28.06 - 9:18 am | #


GravatarDisgusted accuses me of putting trust in 30 year old sources cited by Dr Blosser, but I find that somewhat humorous in view of the fact that I neither affirmed nor denied the alleged veracity of Blosser's sources. My arguments have been based on Greek grammar, the Judeo-Christian tradition, and the pre-Nicenes. I also encouraged O'Leary to exercise critical rationality when it comes to the testimonies of gays, who speak about the unitive bonding role of sexual relations.

First, I am not Catholic. And Dr Blosser can attest to my disagreement with his views in a number of areas. I read Blosser's post on what homosexuals do and I would probably agree with some of its content but also question some of the post. Just as I would do with any truth-claims from gays or anyone else.
Fos | 06.28.06 - 9:44 am | #


GravatarFather:

WHen you insisted on lauding Anglicans, I brought to your attention the testimony of a former Anglican, me, who is now grateful to be Catholic. Your constant ranting about how the rest of us don't understand gays lesbians, same-sex attracted persons, homosexuals, and similar persons has now been completely undone by the testimony of one of the people you so ardently protest that you represent. Why not take Brigid to the woodshed, as it were, instead of merely minimizing her testimony, singling her out for making a "current choice"? The answer, I hope, is that you realize the sheer nonsense of your position.

Karl Keating has remarked about Vatican bullying: an average of one heretic a year has been censured by the Holy Office. This couldn't be counted as bullying, but perhaps neglect. I prefer to think of it as evidence gathering with an eye to mounting an effective counter-attack.

Perhaps you would care --- and I would certainly like Brigid's comment on a recent blurb in Newsweek:
"House calls from [sexual] predators don't happen spontaneously when your kid does homework on Google or hangs out solely with buddies on MySpace.com. (After some alleged cases in which teenagers unwisely got together with adults they met on the service, MySpace introduced new protections last week, making it tougher for strangers to contact minors.) NBC [the broadcasting network] does its investigations with a watchdog group that supplies decoys who pose as minors hanging out in unmoderated, all-access, regional chat rooms and gay chat rooms on AOL and Yahoo -- hot spots for hookups ....." Surely NBC knows better than to look for abusive predatory sex in gay chat rooms? Haven't the execs studied the testimony of nipponese gaelic priests and the manual on how homosexuality is never the problem, regardless of evidence?
Chris Garton-Zavesky | 06.28.06 - 10:16 am | #


Gravatar'The Indian hierarchy is undergoing a slow transformation under the watchful eye of the increasingly powerful Cardinal Dias, recently of Bombay, now Prefect of the dicastery for the Evangelization of Peoples. Many of the new episcopal appointments have been very good indeed and there are many more to be made.'

This definitely bears watching. Chris (or anyone else), have you seen anything about Cardinal Dias' views concerning the FABC, in particular their reaction to Dominus Iesus?
Dave | 06.28.06 - 10:48 am | #


GravatarFurther to the comment above:

http://dlibrary.acu.edu.au/resea...resea...aejt_6/ phan.htm
Dave | 06.28.06 - 10:50 am | #


GravatarOops, broken link above; here it is again:

http://dlibrary.acu.edu.au/resea...aejt_6/phan.htm

My apologies for diverting the discussion from anuses and such.
Dave | 06.28.06 - 10:53 am | #


GravatarIn a rant against Blosser, Fr. O'Leary writes: "... his inability to spell and his chronic rampant inaccurac [sic]"

What was that, Father? Eigo wakarimasu-ka? (Trans. "Do you understand English?") Charming.
Pertinacious Papist | Homepage | 06.28.06 - 2:46 pm | #


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"But I am tired of plunging my hands into the cesspool of Dr (!) Blosser's mind..."


And yet you keep coming back to bloviate.

"Step One is beg the question and reject the good faith of the other side..."


You've hit the nail on the head, Jeff.
Funky Dung | Homepage | 06.28.06 - 2:54 pm | #

GravatarAtiyah, Fr. O'Leary. HIV can be communicated by shaking hands with another person, provided you've each got an abraision or tear in your skin. The virus is communicated through the blood. The point of the "pièce de résistance", as Atiyah put it, is that the chances of that happening through rectal-anal sex are exponentially higher than with ordinary vaginal intercourse, do to the design and construction of the respective orfices and their tissues.

-- Your beloved 'Total Ignoramus,' PP
Pertinacious Papist | Homepage | 06.28.06 - 2:55 pm | #


GravatarDave:

Dominus Iesus?

"Despite the religious syncretism that sometimes flourishes in India, Cardinal Dias was a strong proponent of Dominus Iesus, the document released in 2001 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith-- of which he is a member-- reaffirming the unique and necessary role of Jesus Christ and his Church in the plan of salvation."

Moreover, I did see a strong defense of Benedict by Cardinal Dias when he objected to Indian laws forbidding conversion. "The Pope has no business interfering in Indian affairs," said the Indian Govt. "The hell he doesn't!" said Cardinal Dias. "He's the Vicar of Christ on earth!"

Dias is a well-known opponent of Hinduization and a strong proponent of modesty in dress.

"Christ needs India and India needs Christ," he said a couple of days ago.

He will oversee 39% of the world's dioceses in his new job (Yay!). Make a great Pope, he would. Though Benedict must live at least another half a century.
Jeff | 06.28.06 - 3:05 pm | #


GravatarAh No Dr Blosser

You claimed that the vagina was immune from viruses. If you were a real Doctor you would be struck off.

This sort of claim is pure snake oil.
Atiyah | 06.28.06 - 3:56 pm | #


GravatarJeff (and others),

Here is an interesting quote from the article that I posted above (courtesy of Tailgunner Joe, who kindly provided it to me in another combox):

'This imposition of Christology [by insensitive Vatican provocateurs] with its claim of Jesus as the “mediator and one and only savior" on the Asian Synod’s agenda and conceiving it as the panacea for what may ail the Asian churches constitute, to judge from all the documents of the FABC, a massive misdiagnosis of the situation of Asian Christianity. As we have seen above, neither Christology nor ecclesiology are at the center of the Asian churches’ concerns but God’s reign or a new way of being church. It is most interesting that the FABC’s seventh Plenary Assembly, which took place shortly after the synod on January 2-12, 2000, adopted the second part of the theme of the synod, i.e., “mission of love and service” but replaced the first part “Jesus Christ the Savior” with “A Renewed Church,” thereby subtly but unmistakably subverting the Roman-imposed focus on Christology.'

Most interesting, indeed.

It gets better:

'Even from a cursory reading of these responses, it is clear that the uniqueness and universality of Jesus as the Savior was never placed in question by the Asian churches. Rather, the burning issue for the Asian churches, a tiny minority in Asia, is how to proclaim this truth about Jesus credibly in the midst of crushing poverty, competing religious systems, and cultural diversity. The unanimous answer to this problem was found to be dialogue: dialogue with the Asian poor, with their religions, and with their cultures.'

Ah ... DIALOGUE! Sound familiar? We've seen how dialogue works in practice, haven't we? '[I]t is clear that the uniqueness and universality of Jesus as the Savior was never placed in question by the Asian churches.' Again, sounds familiar. Fr. O'Leary is constantly re-assuring us of the good faith of his Christology. He even affirms the self-authenticating authority of the ancient Christological councils! (Continued ...)
Dave | 06.28.06 - 4:36 pm | #


Gravatar(Continued ...) Yet is it REALLY 'clear that the uniqueness and universality of Jesus as the Savior was never placed in question by the Asian churches'? Let's read on:

'With regard to interreligious dialogue, many Asian episcopal conferences called for not only a respectful dialogue with non-Christians but also an explicit recognition of the salvific value of non-Christian religions, not as independent from or parallel to Christ, but in relation to him. The Indian bishops affirmed: “ ... For hundreds of millions of our fellow human beings, salvation is seen as being channeled to them not in spite of but through and in their various socio-cultural and religious traditions. We cannot, therefore, deny a priori a salvific role for these non-Christian religions.”'

We should parse these words carefully. On the one hand, we hear that 'an explicit recognition of the salvific value of non-Christian religions [is conceived], not as independent from or parallel to Christ, but in relation to him.' Yet on the other hand, we are told that it must be affirmed and cannot be denied that there is 'A PRIORI a salvific role for these non-Christian religions' (emphasis added). Excuse me, but what is it to affirm an A PRIORI salvific role to Hinduism, if not to recognize (or better, to assert) the salvic value of Hinduism INDEPENDENT from or PARALLEL to salvation in Jesus Christ? If Indians are already (a priori) getting their salvation channeled to them through Brahma, why do they need Jesus Christ?

According to the author of the article, this is the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference (FABC) talking. First question: is it a true report? Second question: if it is true, what is Cardinal Dias doing about it?
Dave | 06.28.06 - 4:50 pm | #


GravatarSorry again to divert the combox from the illuminating discussion of penises, anuses, and vaginas.
Dave | 06.28.06 - 4:51 pm | #


GravatarDr Blosser

I would actually like to respond to your serious reply to my basic outline of the development of natural law – some of which I agree with. Instead we must dwell on sodomy. Again!

I am interested in Catholicism in Asia and pleased to hear it is in good heart from your readers. The Japanese are especially interesting. Asia is a fascinating part of the world. Dave seems to have just discovered it. I am watching the Catholic Church go toe to toe with the totalitarian Chinese regime and have an idea of who will win. Yet with all this material the contribution by this blog is an immature rark up to write to a couple of prelates in Japan over O’Leary. This is the behaviour of little people.

Well Dr Blosser if you didn’t have Fr. O’Leary you would have to invent him.

You claim the purpose of the post is to consider the relative risks of sexual behaviour in relation to viral diseases. Is that so?

In absolute terms most of the worlds victims of Aids/HIV are heterosexual does this mean that heterosexual activity is inherently more risky than homosexual activity?
Atiyah | 06.28.06 - 5:08 pm | #


GravatarOoops, I just noticed that I misrepresented the statement by the Asian bishops. I represented them as affirming an 'a priori salvific role' to Hinduism. In fact they said that we cannot DENY A PRIORI a salvic role to Hinduism and other Asiatic religions. There is a significant difference. Therefore I must retract (or at least modify) the following statement: 'If Indians are already (a priori) getting their salvation channeled to them through Brahma, why do they need Jesus Christ?' The Asian bishops are not saying that Hindus get their salvation channeled to them through Brahma and apart from Christ. My bad.

Nevertheless, one must ask, why is a de-emphasis and de-centering of Christology necessary for dialogue with non-Christian religions? How does this strategy advance the cause of evangelization? Why is 'the central and neuralgic issue' in the Asian churches the need to 'present Jesus Christ and the Church with an authentic Asian face?' Why is it not sufficient to present Jesus Christ as he is authentically presented in the Gospel portraits? Has the cause of evangelization been advanced in the United States by presenting Jesus Christ with an authentically American face? What have we gotten out of that? The "Buddy Christ" of the movie Dogma.

Modifications to my original comment notwithstanding, I still find the anti-Christological stance of the FABC to be troubling, and I am still interested to know Cardinal Dias' view of the issue.
Dave | 06.28.06 - 5:09 pm | #


GravatarDave

Withdrawing the "Tailgunner Joe" comment too?

...

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