It's much the kind of response I was hoping for.
The question is whether demanding celibacy of someone not called to be a priest isn't "inhumane." It is pretty easy, and not very charitable, for a heterosexual, from the fortunate heights of normalcy, to condemn a homosexual to that fate.
Replace "homosexual" with "pedophile" or some other less politically correct sexual deviation. Does your argument still hold? Thinking even more broadly, consider any neuro-psychological disorder, like kleptomania, compulsive lying, or criminally violent tendencies. The latter is especially interesting to look at. There's plenty of evidence that suggests that serial killers are neurologically different from normal people. Some were born that way. Others were abused as children. Should society approve of how they act upon their inclinations?
Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to directly compare homosexuality to homicidal tendencies*. What I'm trying to demonstrate is that "I'm not normal", "I was born this way", and "I'm this way because I was abused" are not valid excuses for disordered behavior.
I thought the post at Regula revealed a lot of sincere pain and struggle, rather than being "pleasant" and "anticlimactic."
By "pleasant" I meant that it was not painful to read – poorly written or riddled with cacodoxy. By "anticlimactic" I meant that there was a lot of theological buildup with no theological defense of gay love. Pastoral anecdotes/advice, while ultimately relevant to the topic, are not theological arguments. After going to great lengths to underscore the importance of orthodoxy, the author did not even attempt to defend acceptance of gay love as orthodox.
You're basically saying this guy cannot be sincerely religious if he wants to have earthly love.
I don't recall saying that. I believe he's sincere. However, I also think he's wrong. Sincerity does not magically make one orthodox. It's a good step, though. Sincere desire to learn is needed to find truth. It doesn't hand it to you, though.
Imagine yourself sentenced to celibacy unless you could reprogram your own orientation.
Too easy, too, for a heterosexual to imagine that it would be easy to learn to love the other sex! 🙂
I never said it would be easy or even possible.
It's pretty ironic, considering the substantial number of homosexuals who've sought refuge from obligatory heterosexuality in the Catholic priesthood, and who somehow seemed to convince themselves that sex with adolescent boys wasn't "sex" because it wasn't with women.
That's a mess I won't touch with a ten meter cattle prod. Saying that the ephebophilic abuses were mostly committed by frustrated homosexuals is a VERY controversial suggestion that is still a hotly contested issue in the Catholic Church.
Don't tell me this began with the '60s counterculture — a lot of the testimonies of the abused and seduced come from the '50s.
No, it didn't begin then. It got a lot worse, though.
I have never seen a passage of Scripture in which Jesus said anything about homosexuality.
So? I know of no orthodox Christians that insist on the words of Christ to believe or act a certain way. The gospels make it explicitly clear that Jesus did and said a lot of things that weren't recorded [e.g., John 20:30-31, John 21:25]. In Judaism, Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy, there is the notion of oral law/tradition. Not all that is binding need be recorded explicitly in Scripture.
(That passage about "eunuchs" [Matthew 19:12] is incredibly cryptic. Anyone who says he or she is sure what that passage means is blowing smoke, IMnot-humble-enoughO.)
I wasn't blowing smoke. It was simply speculation on my part.
St. Paul did [address homosexuality].
So why are his teachings insufficient?
To the ambadoxtrous out here, that has to be taken in cultural context. Homosexual activity in Biblical times was pagan and promiscuous, even ritually so. The concept of a monogamous homosexual relationship is a new one, even though homosexuals have been quietly forming such bonds quite likely forever.
I don't buy that. There was plenty of ritualistic, promiscuous heterosexual activity and I doubt monogamous homosexuality is new. What evidence of your assertions do you have?
As you know, I tend to think Alan Stewart Carl, an Episcopalian, is right when he writes that "homosexuality is much more a cultural issue than a Biblical one. Using the Bible to declare homosexuality a “sin” is just a trick to give a bigoted opinion moral weight."
Do you believe I am a bigot?
Tradition has been modified over and over again to incorporate new understandings (re: slavery and polygamy are the most common examples), and I suspect that's going to happen again in regard to gay monogamy and women priests, even if not in our lifetimes.
I pray that no "new understanding" about gay monogamy poisons the Church. Women priests are a wholly different matter and a red herring to this discussion.
We're now in the necessary struggle that precedes such a change. You are arguing in a sincere and theologically informed way against the change, and Christopher is arguing on the same level for it.
I prefer to see this struggle as the kind that preceded ecumenical councils that solidified teachings and clearly defined heresies.
That's why I hoped you would read his post.
I'd be glad to have a theological discussion/debate on the issue, and involve more knowledgeable parties as needed, but as I've said, I found no theological arguments for gay monogamy in the post.
P.S. I liked these words from Richard Hogan and John LeVior's Covenant of Love: Pope John Paul II on Sexuality, Marriage, and Family in the Modern World and wanted to share them with you.
"The bodily differences between a man and a woman given by God in his creative act are the physical means of expressing a familial communion of persons. Further, the bodily expression of love serves life, new life, because god willed that our love be fruitful as his love is fruitful. Homosexual activity can never be a physical expression of familial love. Familial love is precisely the union of a man and woman in a total self-donation, which is physically expressed through their masculine and feminine bodies. Since it is impossible for two men (or two women) to give themselves physically to one another, any attempted union between them ceases to be a gift. It becomes a using of each other, or, at least, a using of each other's bodies. A further indication that homosexual acts cannot be the expression of a true self-donation of each to the other is that such acts are always and in every case sterile. They do not serve life. Two men (or two women) can never form a familial communion of persons."
"Still, if both homosexual and heterosexual orietations are transmitted by genes, neither is consciously chosen. Even if homosexual tendencies are learned or acquired in some other way, they are not usually the result of a free personal choice. The person with a homosexual orientation has not chosen to violate the vocation of love. But, of course, a homosexual act is the result of a choice of will. When a homosexual chooses to act on his tendencies, he chooses to use himself and others. Therefore, specific homosexual acts are contrary to our call to love. On the other hand, the homosexual orientation, even though it may make a true self-donation to a person of the opposite sex difficult, does not directly contradict our vocation imitate God's love."
"The less difficult road is the one of least resistence: to surrender to selfishness and then to justify the actions. In the present era many have followed this path. Not only have some people used other people, but they have justified such actions. The false ideas employed to justify such abuses have established thought patterns for our entire society. Thus, they are even more destructive than individual lapses against human dignity. Those who wish to reject the abuses and the arguments favoring them have difficulty because they, in doing so, are rejecting their own culture. They are acting counter-culturally, which is always most difficult."
"It is clear that many who attack human dignity either in their behavior or, more more seriously by justifying selfish acts, misunderstand human dignity or believe the Christian norms to be impossible ideals. The Pope teaches that out dignity rests on the divine image in each one of us. Knowing the destruction which the false concepts of human dignity have caused, how can we refuse to accept the truth of the papal understanding of ourselves? The Pope insists that our lustful and other selfish inclinations are gravely harmful to human dignity and that they can be overcome in Christ. Christ calls each and every one of us "to the beginning", to live as Adam and Eve did, despite original sin and its effects, and he makes this possible through his grace won for us by the blood of his Cross. Christ desires every human person to share his life, his grace with him. Therefore, he makes himself present to us in the sacraments. However, even blessed with grace we may fail in our effort to act as we are made "in the beginning", but his forgiving love, available in the sacrament of penance, restores us and allows us to make the effort again. Nonetheless, this optimistic view of the human person rests on the acceptance of the papal view of our dignity and the equally important principle that the effort to live in accordance with that dignity is worthwhile. We must acknowledge that the alternatives to the Christian norms are gravely injurious to our dignity, i.e., to our very selves."
P.P.S. I also thought you might be interested in reading a secular argument against allowing gay marriage.
* I very often prefer to think and argue analogically, which has advantages and disadvantages. One obvious disadvantage is that no analogy is perfect. I humbly ask that my readers interpret my analogy choices charitably and give me the benefit of that doubt that whatever cruel or nasty implication they believe they have read is accidental and not written with deliberate malice.