It scares me that the circumcision ban business was even taken seriously, let alone taken all the way to law (though iirc it was repealed sometime after this column was published).(via frauluther)
It scares me that the circumcision ban business was even taken seriously, let alone taken all the way to law (though iirc it was repealed sometime after this column was published).(via frauluther)
Can someone explain to me the thinking behind the notion that gay men are not fit for the priesthood because they cannot relate properly to the Church?
Because the longer I think of it, the more theologically troubling such an idea is. Is heterosexual orientation and desire something that is directed towards the Church? If so, in what way? In what manner is the Church “gendered”, so to speak?
This type of thinking is, as far as I know, is fairly new, and largely springs from John Paul II’s thinking on sexuality. Well, actually, the theological ideas were first developed from von Balthasar (this is the one area of his theology that I have rather mixed feelings about). The idea of a counter-sexualization (I think I just coined that phrase) to meet the threat of the sexual revolution has always struck me as an extremely problematic strategy, especially when such thinking is divorced, in either form or application, from the Church’s theological anthropology (Which is why I have HUGE problems with Christopher West and Jason Evert).
This thinking seems to spring from an idea that celibacy is not really an ascetical undertaking, a renunciation, but rather a redirecting of the pattern of sexual desire.
It all seems poorly premised, a mistaken reaction to the sexualization of all things in modernity by doing the same to the Church.
I’ve been thinking about this issue myself, and so I’ll share my thoughts on it. I should note, that these are my thoughts, and not Church teaching in any manner. I also think it should be noted that this document, “instruction concerning the criteria for the discernment of vocations with regard to persons with homosexual tendencies in view of their admission to the seminary and to holy orders,” is a fairly new document and there is not a lot of analysis around it, so when we analyze it, much of it will be speculative, and probably reading in more of our own biases than the intent of the document.
Anyways, the two major arguments made in the document are,
“deep-seated homosexual tendencies are… objectively disordered and… in light of such teaching..the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture”
“Such persons, in fact, find themselves in a situation that gravely hinders them from relating correctly to men and women. One must in no way overlook the negative consequences that can derive from the ordination of persons with deep-seated homosexual tendencies.”
So I don’t think the argument has ever been made that because gay men cannot relate properly to the Church (as an entity) they can’t be ordained, but rather, because they cannot relate properly to the individuals who make up the Church. I’m not saying I necessarily agree with that statement, but that seems to be the statement made.
But I think it is important to note that it does not seem this is a blanket policy against all people with same-sex attractions, but instead an explanation of how seminary policies may be applied to those who express deep-seated homosexual tendencies. The modifier seems to suggest that there is a difference between having a same-sex attraction and having one that is deep-seated. This is the opinion of Cardinal Dolan who said, “It’s not a no-gays policy.”
Given that the other two things this instruction says would not be allowed by seminarians are “practicing homosexuality,” and “supporting the gay culture,” and both are acts, it makes sense to believe “having deep-seated homosexual tendencies” is also an act, not merely the tendency of being attracted to people of the same sex.
My opinion is that a deep-seated homosexual tendency is a homosexual tendency that has been allowed to affect not just the passions of the human person, but also the intellect and the will.
Consider that a person’s action is often predicated upon what they believe to be true. A person who believes certain acts are wrong, are less likely to commit them. In other words, a person is less likely to “will” against their intellect, than with it. This is why it is important for us to learn and believe the truth, so that we may act in accordance with it. We can call this the natural state, natural not meaning primordial, but the “just” state, in which reason is governing the will and keeping the passions in check.
But, we understand that sometimes it does happen that we do things we know to be wrong, and so act against our intellect. For example, one who knows stealing is wrong, may still steal if the prize is deemed “worth it.” In these situations, we may say that reason has lost control of the will, and the passions have taken control of the man. When this occurs, a man may do wrong and violate his intellect, (his conscience,) but it is likely that he will feel some remorse over it. A man in this situation is liable to seek forgiveness and attempt to do better to govern his passions in the future.
But there is a situation far worse than this, it is when a man allows himself to be deceived in his intellect, and believes what is wrong to be right, and what is evil to be good. A man in this situation can do wrong and still act in accordance with his intellect, and therefore, there is no interior check on his actions. There may be exterior checks, such as parents, teachers, and authorities, both civil and religious, but if a man truly believes with his intellect that he is right in his actions, he will often discount these individuals and find excuses to ignore their authority and their opinions.
Another possibility is that they may obey these authorities, but maintain their beliefs, for some ulterior motive. Consider a person who smokes marijuana, who claims that it is not harmful, who agrees to quit drugs, (at least for a short period of time,) in order to hold a job that does randomized drug tests. It is likely that such an employee may grow to resent the employer for what they see as forcing them to comply with a belief that they do not hold, (that smoking marijuana is harmful.) A person in this situation may grow to resent the authority, and try to act contrary to the authorities wishes in secret. Such a situation may cause great harm to not just the employee and the employer, but anyone else who may depend on them to fulfill their duties.
Consider these positions applied to same-sex attractions. If a man’s passions direct him towards committing homosexual acts, but his intellect attempts to control his will into denying these passions, like the intellect of an obese man who wishes to lose weight may try to hold the man’s will into denying his hunger, we may say such a man is merely struggling with a temptation, and therefore, so long as he is supported in his struggle, he may overcome it. In this situation we may say his homosexual inclination is not deep-seated because it has not taken root in the man’s intellect and any acts committed by him are only a manifestation of when the man gives into temptation, not a manifestation of his interior disposition towards the act.
On the other hand, a deep-seated homosexual attraction results when one not only has a same-sex attraction, (affecting the passion) but also a belief that homosexual acts are moral, (affecting the intellect.) When this occurs, one can commit homosexual acts and still act according to his intellect. He will not feel remorse over his actions, will not seek repentance, and will not work to prevent future acts. For this reason, such a deep-seated homosexual attraction has a degree of permanence, which is only altered by divine grace which may cause a change of heart, or rather, of intellect.
A man in this situation, who ordained a priest, is required not only to obey a vow of celibacy, but also uphold in word and deed the moral teachings of the Church, may find himself resenting ecclesial authorities, or even the Church herself, for the teachings on homosexuality. He may seek to skirt around such teachings in secret, or might even defy them publicly to great scandal to the faithful.
Furthermore, to become a priest when one harbors a belief contrary to teaching of the Church may cause one to experience the effects of hypocrisy, causing a man to live a kind of double life, upholding Church teachings in public to maintain appearances, but abhorring them in private. Such duplicity is a perversion which affects not only his interior disposition but also his relationships with others. Therefore such a man, with a deep-seated homosexual inclination, may not be able to properly relate to members of the Church because of a lack of transparency.
But again, this only concerns men with a deep-seated homosexual tendency, not those whose intellect continues to struggle against their passions, whose tendencies are therefore challenged by his reason.
This makes sense when you consider that the article goes on to say that if such tendencies are superseded, which seems to suggest that one’s intellect can effectively monitor one’s will against their passions, 3 years prior to ordination to the diaconate, they may be ordained.
Does that make sense? God bless!
(I have a sneaking suspicion this will garner
grumpyinteresting responses on both “sides.” Here’s to hoping people check incivility at the door, eh?)
Once upon a time there was a female sophomore in college. In high school she watched one of those “slaughterhouse” videos which showed animals…
for the first time today. Going to the N.O. at my parish in an hour. I’ll write a reflection on it if I have time.
If sexual orientation is a construction, is it necessarily bad or wrong or misguided to operate within that construction?
It depends what you’re trying to do? But generally if you build an argument off of something that is contingent upon time and place without…
women need to stop talking about matters of faith and doctrine. when is the last time you heard a female say anything worth hearing on the subject?
I’m not sure I agree with that. After all, not saying anything worth hearing has never stopped you.
This inanity you posted shows a deep disrespect for and wide gulf of ignorance of both the Tradition of the Catholic Church and of your fellow posters here on tumblr, some of the brightest and most educated of whom are women.
The argument explained by Doctor Edward Fesser.
Most people who comment on the cosmological argument demonstrably do not know what they are talking about. This includes all the prominent New Atheist writers. It very definitely includes most of the people who hang out in Jerry Coyne’s comboxes. It also includes most scientists. And it even includes many theologians and philosophers, or at least those who have not devoted much study to the issue. This may sound arrogant, but it is not. You might think I am saying “I, Edward Feser, have special knowledge about this subject that has somehow eluded everyone else.” But that is NOT what I am saying. The point has nothing to do with me. What I am saying is pretty much common knowledge among professional philosophers of religion (including atheist philosophers of religion), who – naturally, given the subject matter of their particular philosophical sub-discipline – are the people who know more about the cosmological argument than anyone else does.
In particular, I think that the vast majority of philosophers who have studied the argument in any depth – and again, that includes atheists as well as theists, though it does not include most philosophers outside the sub-discipline of philosophy of religion – would agree with the points I am about to make, or with most of them anyway. Of course, I do not mean that they would all agree with me that the argument is at the end of the day a convincing argument. I just mean that they would agree that most non-specialists who comment on it do not understand it, and that the reasons why people reject it are usually superficial and based on caricatures of the argument. Nor do I say that every single self-described philosopher of religion would agree with the points I am about to make. Like every other academic field, philosophy of religion has its share of hacks and mediocrities. But I am saying that the vast majority of philosophers of religion would agree, and again, that this includes the atheists among them as well as the theists.
A good review; Hill’s critiques and concerns are very much similar to mine as I’ve seen quotes from this everywhere.
I can appreciate Hill’s critique of Brownson’s argument regarding gender complementarity, but I disagree with him that Paul was critiquing same-sex acts in Romans 1 because those acts traded difference for ‘sameness.’ Quite frankly, I think ‘traditionalists’ understandings of the relevant passages of Paul are more of a stretch than Brownson’s understanding of them. His view makes much more sense to me.
On the issue of gender complementarity, one doesn’t have to agree with Brownson, of course, but I don’t think you can argue with what he says—that gender complementarity isn’t as explicit (if present at all) in the Bible as we think it is. Honestly, I went into the book assuming GC was pretty obvious, but Brownson demonstrated that this isn’t totally the case.
Re: Genesis and Ephesians seen Christologically—no one has ever presented me with an argument that man and woman can ONLY represent/image Christ giving himself to the Church. No one is arguing that this is what marriage has looked like in the past, but I haven’t heard a convincing argument that this man/woman representation of Christ and the Church must be present otherwise the whole thing falls apart.
I think gender matters, but I don’t know if gender is the thing that matters in marriage.
Reading Brownson, Hill, Lee, etc. over the past few months, and praying about it, and wrestling with homosexuality and Christianity personally I’ve really become convinced that the only way forward is for us to trust Christ and take a big step in the Spirit, and that’s terrifying for me. I want to have my theology and doctrine all nice and lined up, with ever ‘i’ dotted and ‘t’ crossed, but I feel like the Spirit is calling me and the Church to just trust. This isn’t an issue, IMO, that will be solved intellectually. It can only be solved by faith.
I’m hung up on your first paragraph. It’s one thing to disagree with what weight to give those passages in Paul, it’s another to say that the “traditionalists” have clearly misread them entirely for 2000 years. How do you figure? I mean seriously how on earth do you figure the traditional reading—which amounts to “the words mean what they say, in Greek”—is a “stretch”?
This is where I have to lean on something more than “praying about it,” why I am an evangelical catholic and not just an evangelical, because golly, I’ve been reading and praying too and the more *I* pray the more I come to the opposite conclusion of what your study and prayer has brought you to! Is the Spirit calling us to opposite courses of action? Why would that be? There has to be something both of us can turn to in addition to our own reason and faithful struggle to break the tie. And that thing is tradition, the accumulated wisdom of our predecessors from the apostles to the church fathers and on down.
What I mean by the first paragraph is that I think more is read into Paul’s words that is there. I don’t disagree that he denounced same-sex activity, but I don’t think it was a particular point of focus for him, it was denounced as one example in a list of other examples of the sinfulness of man and his fallen nature. I don’t think Paul was overly concerned with providing a treatise against homosexuality—since that wasn’t a ‘thing’ in his time and because he had other pressing goals. Further, he was responding to same-sex acts as were practiced in that time. And although I’m sure not every homosexual act was exploitative and cultic, I imagine many if not most were. I think we can all agree that the image of homosexuality (which I realize is an anachronistic term to use) Paul had in mine wasn’t Cam and Mitch.
So yes, I think the traditionalists understanding of the Pauline passages as decisively settling the argument over homosexuality is quite a stretch. Paul wasn’t as focused on homosexuality and its various ethical/theological implications and challenges as we are.
We should indeed look at the tradition of the Church, but to be fair we have diverged from tradition in various ways (I think chiefly of women’s ordination). Further, I still haven’t seen anyone put forth a compelling argument as to why the tradition of the Church surrounding marriage can’t be expanded to include same-sex couples. Again, with women’s ordination, it seems to me that we (at least those of us sacramentally minded when it comes to ordination) expanded our understanding of ordination, we didn’t throw it out.
EDIT: I take that back, the view of marriage as primarily about procreation is an argument I’ve heard that makes sense to me. If marriage is chiefly about ‘being fruitful and multiplying’ then I completely get why it should be closed to same-sex couples. BUT if the procreative capacity is the litmus test, then I think the Church should stop marrying infertile couples and those past childbearing age. I’m not convinced of this argument though, but that’s probably the Protestant in me.
As to the different leadings of the Spirit,just because we’re being led down different paths doesn’t mean the Spirit is of a different mind, nor does it mean that one of us is just wrong. It can mean that we’re each perceiving only a piece of the Spirit’s larger plan and leading—a plan and leading that is much bigger than you or I or anyone else.
Recently, though, I’ve just felt that I’ve used tradition as a way to remain safe when God was challenging me to do something fearless for him. And yes, “praying about it” doesn’t give us the intellectual security that the accumulated dogma, doctrine, and tradition of 2000 years does, but there’s something to be said about “praying about it” and striking out trusting in God and his faithfulness.
But when what you “hear back” is uniquely divergent from tradition, on what grounds to you claim to know that what you are hearing is Spirit and not just your own culture-endorsed desire to resolve this a certain way?
It doesn’t need to be a primary concern of Paul’s, and it doesn’t need to be the only sin in the book. It’s one thing to say it’s not as huge of a deal as evangelicals have made it sound at times. It’s another entirely to set up the altar to celebrate it and use the weight of the church to offer a blessing. There’s a huge burden of proof and integrity of source that is required before using the church to bless something. I don’t see how the usual (tired and multiply rebutted by people more capable and patient than I) “Paul was only talking about cult prostitutes, also, lying is also bad and we marry liars! and we should stop marrying infertile people!” meets that burden.
Not everyone HAS changed on the question of women’s ordination, btw. And those that have may have done so for the wrong reasons. NT Wright can make a respectable enough argument in favor of it, but his reasoning isn’t what drove the original decision by TEC, for instance.
What, pray tell, do you think this plan is that we are apparently being lead to?
Hi, I don’t want to intrude, but I do think in the discussion of how to read Paul’s statements, it is important to note that while monogamous same-sex relationships weren’t exactly common at the time, they were not exactly completely foreign to the Greco-Roman world either. Less in the Roman world, but still present. I mean, are we truly going to believe that same-sex couples only began existing after the Stonewall riots? So, the idea that Paul would have been clueless about them seems a bit of a stretch. And, if he knew about them but only wanted to criticize temple prostitution, extreme lust, etc. shouldn’t he have made that delineation?
Also, the reason infertile couples can marry is that the marriage itself is still fertile, i.e. it has the right “components” for fertility, while in a homosexual couple, those components don’t exist.
If I may use a metaphor, if we imagine one sex to represent computer “software” and the other to represent the hardware, we can see that it would take both sexes to make a computer. Now, if one of those parts is damaged, your computer may not work to its full capacity, but it is still a computer. If you have two pieces of hardware and no software, or vice-versa, you don’t have a computer. Does that make sense?
Wish you both the best, God bless!
Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Migration.
Click here for full remarks.(via notstrangers)