An Exchange on Gay Christians (Part IV)

Read Part I of "An Exchange on Gay Christians"
Read Annie’s response to Part I.
Read Part II of "An Exchange on Gay Christians"
Read Annie’s response to Part II.
Read Part III of "An Exchange on Gay Christians"
Read Annie's response to Part III.

Well, either you've been lucky or careful!

I'd say it's sort of both. I don't know of any homosexuals in my family, so that's the "lucky" part. The types of folks I generally make friends with share my religious convictions, so odds are that even if any them have homosexual tendencies (and I strongly suspect a couple do), they would never act on them.


But really, that explains a lot. Knowing people firsthand really de-demonizes them and forces you to struggle with the issue in a different way (or else break off all contact, I guess).

I disagree. Personal contact can and should impact one's pastoral approach, but not necessarily one's convictions.

I mean I get the sense that you have strong feelings on the issue, that it is deeply emotional first.

Heresy makes me mad. Inside or outside of the Church, I think active homosexuality is sinful. However, when nominal Catholics advocate for its acceptance by the Church, I am particularly annoyed. BTW, such annoyance is certainly not limited to homosexuality. 😉

For the record, here's what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about homosexuality.

Chastity and homosexuality

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.


141 Cf. Gen 19:1-29; Rom 1:24-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10.
142 CDF, Persona humana 8.

Pax Christi,
Eric

Comments 5

  1. Funky Dung wrote:

    Please consider commenting on the posts at Ambivablog. There are different related conversations going on over there that could benefit from your participation.

    Posted 30 Jun 2006 at 11:12 am
  2. Bryan Davis wrote:

    Funky – As always since you linked me into your blog, I’ve enjoyed reading your well-thought opinions and arguments. I have to say, though, I don’t think your defense in this series has been great.

    In this session:

    I disagree. Personal contact can and should impact one’s pastoral approach, but not necessarily one’s convictions.

    I think this is logical, but betrays a lack of humanity. Convictions, if accurate, should bear you through all, but contact with the unknown, especially when it is contact with the unknown about which you are convinced, tends to reveal poor convictions.

    Take, for example, a conviction that usury is wrong. It’s biblical, right? And we can think of all kinds of examples of nasty banks and credit card companies ripping people off. But then you actually talk to one of the farmers or homesteaders who used a non-corrupt S&L back in the days; who was able to buy a house because of usury, who was able to keep their farm out of hock because of usury, and you see how these blanket assertations of moral certitude need finessing in light of practical, human examples.

    Now if your conviction of the immorality of homosexuality is based on the certitude of a 3rd party (i.e. Catholic dogma), familiarity with homosexuals may cause you to have to choose between faith and reason, which is always a difficult choice to make.

    Posted 30 Jun 2006 at 3:58 pm
  3. Tom Strong wrote:

    reposted from ambivablog (with an edit):

    Well, this has been fun. It’s good for me that it’s over, as I’m back to having no time for blogs.

    I think Steve N. is correct in that this is not a matter to be settled by debate, but by experience. Different communities will have to make their own decisions, and will have to wrestle with how to then interact with other communities which have chosen differently. I will continue to try and move my communities in what I consider to be the right direction.

    Funky, you remain a graceful debate opponent, and I’ll acknowledge that I cannot present you with the theological argument you need. If that ever comes, it will need to come from a forceful Catholic thinker like yourself. I still think your explanation of why homosexual desires cannot be ordered except through celibacy is unconvincing, and relies on an unnecessary complication in your framework. [I’m striking this based on explication from another source; while I still think the argument is unconvincing, I understand the logic better now].

    I also would still like to see you explain where you differ from the secular argument against gay unions you linked to here. But I respect the fact that you’re still considering secular unions as a viable compromise, and I hope you’ll continue to do so.

    I will make one more criticism: For all your efforts at being fair, you (and your readers) do let your revulsion towards homosexuality bleed into your writing, and I do not blame sleipner or michael for responding to that tone with contempt. When pro-gay marriage boosters point out the lack of similar attention for heterosexual adultery among opponents, it is tone as much as political activism which we are talking about. That is bigotry, even if it does not make you a bigot (I would not call anyone a bigot who does not actively want to be a bigot). But I would argue that it is un-Christian, and ungraceful besides. Read the Experimental Theology essays amba pointed you to, and Weekend Fisher’s post here, and consider.

    Posted 30 Jun 2006 at 4:24 pm
  4. Funky Dung wrote:

    “I think Steve N. is correct in that this is not a matter to be settled by debate, but by experience. Different communities will have to make their own decisions, and will have to wrestle with how to then interact with other communities which have chosen differently. I will continue to try and move my communities in what I consider to be the right direction.”

    It may not be resolved with debate, but I think debate, or at least public discourse, is useful for all involved. It may or may not change minds, but it should help each side to articulate their points more understandably and convincingly and to understand and apprecaite their opponents’ points of view.

    “Funky, you remain a graceful debate opponent, and I’ll acknowledge that I cannot present you with the theological argument you need.

    Thank you for the kind words, but I know I’m deeply flawed and a long way from arguing with true grace and humility.

    “If that ever comes, it will need to come from a forceful Catholic thinker like yourself. I still think your explanation of why homosexual desires cannot be ordered except through celibacy is unconvincing”

    Technically, homosexual desires can also ordered through heterosexual monogamy, but I suspect that that option would regarded by most as unpalatable and/or unsustainable.

    “I also would still like to see you explain where you differ from the secular argument against gay unions you linked to here. But I respect the fact that you’re still considering secular unions as a viable compromise, and I hope you’ll continue to do so.”

    It’s been a while since I’ve read it. I’ll have to refamiliarize myself. I’ve contacted the author. Hopefully he/she will stop by and clarify, defend, and/or repent from his/her arguments.

    “I will make one more criticism: For all your efforts at being fair, you (and your readers) do let your revulsion towards homosexuality bleed into your writing, and I do not blame sleipner or michael for responding to that tone with contempt. When pro-gay marriage boosters point out the lack of similar attention for heterosexual adultery among opponents, it is tone as much as political activism which we are talking about. That is bigotry, even if it does not make you a bigot (I would not call anyone a bigot who does not actively want to be a bigot). But I would argue that it is un-Christian, and ungraceful besides.”

    While I do think adultery is a grievous sin, I do not think it is as bad as active homosexuality. Perhaps that is why I speak of them in different tones. While the partner in a heterosexual adulterous relationship is inappropriate because one or both parties are married to someone else, at least each is an appropriate recipient of erotic love from the other. Such is not the case with gay relationships because in all circumstances neither partner is an appropriate recipient of erotic love from the other.

    Posted 07 Jul 2006 at 3:50 pm
  5. Funky Dung wrote:

    “Read the Experimental Theology essays amba pointed you to, and Weekend Fisher’s post here, and consider.”

    I intend to (eventually).

    Posted 07 Jul 2006 at 3:52 pm

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 3

  1. From Imago Dei on 14 Jul 2006 at 3:43 pm

    The Post that started it all An Exchange on Gay Christians (Part I) Response to Part I An Exchange on Gay Christians (Part II) Response to Part II An Exchange on Gay Christians (Part III) Response to Part III An Exchange on Gay Christians (Part IV) Both sides are articulate and intelligent. I encourage you to read through them (none of the posts are incredibly long). Tags: Christianity, Homosexuality

  2. From AmbivaBlog on 11 Jul 2006 at 12:39 am

    Funky Dung, my partner in disagreement about gay marriage, sent me this — approvingly. Irony of ironies, it’s an account of what I can only describe as a soul marriage between two gay men, although of course it does not speak that name. But the one who’s writing says, “[N]ow we are family really. I could no

  3. From Ales Rarus - A Rare Bird, A Strange Duck, One Funky Blog » Hooligan’s Holiday on 04 Jul 2006 at 9:20 pm

    […] An Exchange on Gay Christians (Part IV) […]

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