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

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About Funky Dung

Who is Funky Dung? 29-year-old grad student in Intelligent Systems (A.I.) at the University of Pittsburgh. I consider myself to be politically moderate and independent and somewhere between a traditional and neo-traditional Catholic. I was raised Lutheran, spent a number of years as an agnostic, and joined the Catholic Church at the 2000 Easter Vigil. Why Funky Dung? I haven't been asked this question nearly as many times as you or I might expect. Funky Dung is a reference to an obscure Pink Floyd song. On the album Atom Heart Mother, there is a track called Atom Heart Mother Suite. It's broken up into movements, like a symphony, and one of the movements is called Funky Dung. I picked that nickname a long time ago (while I was still in high school I think), shortly after getting an internet connection for the first time. To me it means "cool/neat/groovy/spiffy stuff/crap/shiznit", as in "That's some cool stuff, dude!" Whence Ales Rarus? I used to enjoy making people guess what this means, but I've decided to relent and make it known to all. Ales Rarus is a Latin play on words. "Avis rarus" means "a rare bird" and carries similar meaning to "an odd fellow". "Ales" is another Latin word for bird that carries connotations of omens, signs of the times, and/or augery. If you want to get technical, both "avis" and "ales" are feminine (requiring "rara", but they can be made masculine in poetry (which tends to breaks lots of rules). I decided I'd rather have a masculine name in Latin. ;) Yeah, I'm a nerd. So what? :-P Wherefore blog? It is my intention to "teach in order to lead others to faith" by being always "on the lookout for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to the faithful" through the "use of the communications media". I also act knowing that I "have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors [my] opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and [I] have a right to make [my] opinion known to the other Christian faithful, with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward [my and their] pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of persons." (adapted from CCC 904-907) Statement of Faith I have been baptized and confirmed in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I, therefore, renounce Satan; I renounce all his works; I renounce all his allurements. I hold and profess all that is contained in the Apostles' Creed, the Niceno- Constantinopolitan Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. Having been buried with Christ unto death and raised up with him unto a new life, I promise to live no longer for myself or for that world which is the enemy of God but for him who died for me and rose again, serving God, my heavenly Father, faithfully and unto death in the holy Catholic Church. I am obedient to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. That is, I promote and defend authentic Catholic Teaching and Faith in union with Christ and His Church and in union with the Holy Father, the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of St. Peter. Thanks be unto Thee, O my God, for all Thy infinite goodness, and, especially, for the love Thou hast shown unto me at my Confirmation. I Give Thee thanks that Thou didst then send down Thy Holy Spirit unto my soul with all His gifts and graces. May He take full possession of me for ever. May His divine unction cause my face to shine. May His heavenly wisdom reign in my heart. May His understanding enlighten my darkness. May His counsel guide me. May His knowledge instruct me. May His piety make me fervent. May His divine fear keep me from all evil. Drive from my soul, O Lord, all that may defile it. Give me grace to be Thy faithful soldier, that having fought the good fight of faith, I may be brought to the crown of everlasting life, through the merits of Thy dearly beloved Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. Behind the Curtain: an Interview With Funky Dung (Thursday, March 03, 2005) I try to avoid most memes that make their way 'round the blogosphere (We really do need a better name, don't we?), but some are worth participating in. Take for instance the "interview game" that's the talk o' the 'sphere. I think it's a great way to get to know the people in neighborhood. Who are the people in your neighborhood? In your neighborhod? In your neigh-bor-hoo-ood...*smack* Sorry, Sesame Street flashback. Anyhow, I saw Jeff "Curt Jester" Miller's answers and figured since he's a regular reader of mine he'd be a good interviewer. Without further ado, here are my answers to his questions. 1. Being that your pseudonym Funky Dung was chosen from a Pink Floyd track on Atom Heart Mother, what is you favorite Pink Floyd song and why? Wow. That's a tuffy. It's hard to pick out a single favorite. Pink Floyd isn't really a band known for singles. They mostly did album rock and my appreciation of them is mostly of a gestalt nature. If I had to pick one, though, it'd be "Comfortably Numb". I get chills up my spine every time I hear it and if it's been long enough since the last time, I get midty-eyed. I really don't know why. That's a rather unsatisfying answer for an interview, so here are the lyrics to a Rush song. It's not their best piece of music, but the lyrics describe me pretty well.

New World Man He's a rebel and a runner He's a signal turning green He's a restless young romantic Wants to run the big machine He's got a problem with his poisons But you know he'll find a cure He's cleaning up his systems To keep his nature pure Learning to match the beat of the old world man Learning to catch the heat of the third world man He's got to make his own mistakes And learn to mend the mess he makes He's old enough to know what's right But young enough not to choose it He's noble enough to win the world But weak enough to lose it --- He's a new world man... He's a radio receiver Tuned to factories and farms He's a writer and arranger And a young boy bearing arms He's got a problem with his power With weapons on patrol He's got to walk a fine line And keep his self-control Trying to save the day for the old world man Trying to pave the way for the third world man He's not concerned with yesterday He knows constant change is here today He's noble enough to know what's right But weak enough not to choose it He's wise enough to win the world But fool enough to lose it --- He's a new world man...
2. What do you consider your most important turning point from agnosticism to the Catholic Church. At some point in '99, I started attending RCIA at the Pittsburgh Oratory. I mostly went to ask a lot of obnoxious Protestant questions. Or at least that's what I told myself. I think deep down I wanted desperately to have faith again. At that point I think I'd decided that if any variety of Christianity had the Truth, the Catholic Church did. Protestantism's wholesale rejection of 1500 years of tradition didn't sit well with me, even as a former Lutheran. During class one week, Sister Bernadette Young (who runs the program) passed out thin booklet called "Handbook for Today's Catholic". One paragraph in that book spoke to me and I nearly cried as I read it.
"A person who is seeking deeper insight into reality may sometimes have doubts, even about God himself. Such doubts do not necessarily indicate lack of faith. They may be just the opposite - a sign of growing faith. Faith is alive and dynamic. It seeks, through grace, to penetrate into the very mystery of God. If a particular doctrine of faith no longer 'makes sense' to a person, the person should go right on seeking. To know what a doctrine says is one thing. To gain insight into its meaning through the gift of understanding is something else. When in doubt, 'Seek and you will find.' The person who seeks y reading, discussing, thinking, or praying eventually sees the light. The person who talks to God even when God is 'not there' is alive with faith."
At the end of class I told Sr. Bernadette that I wanted to enter the Church at the next Easter vigil. 3. If you were a tree what kind of, oh sorry about that .. what is the PODest thing you have ever done? I set up WikiIndex, a clearinghouse for reviews of theological books, good, bad, and ugly. It has a long way to go, but it'll be cool when it's finished. :) 4. What is your favorite quote from Venerable John Henry Newman? "Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt." 5. If you could ban one hymn from existence, what would it be? That's a tough one. As a member of the Society for a Moratorium on the Music of Marty Haugen and David Haas, there are obviously a lot of songs that grate on my nerves. If I had to pick one, though, I'd probably pick "Sing of the Lord's Goodness" by Ernie Sands.

8 thoughts on “An Exchange on Gay Christians (Part IV)

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  3. Bryan Davis

    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.

  4. Tom Strong

    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.

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  6. Funky Dung

    “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.

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