I’ll batten the hatches for another round of hate mail and “block parties” and alert the readership of a good piece at The Catholic Thing by Fr. Jerry Pokorsky.
He tackles the “gay” (I hate that word) priest problem.
Confronting the Gay Priest Problem
Recently, a priest who was prominent in the pastoral care of those with sex addictions received his fifteen minutes of fame when he revealed to his congregation at a Sunday Mass and to the National Catholic Reporter[aka National Sodomitic Reporter] that he was “gay.” According to news reports, his self-congratulation was met with thunderous applause. In a television interview, he proclaimed there is “nothing wrong with being gay.”
The game plan of a gay priest “coming out” was quite predictable and is politically effective. In revealing his homosexuality, the Midwestern priest was careful to assemble a string of ambiguous assertions that cannot be immediately assailed on grounds of orthodoxy, but when bundled together are morally subversive. Here is the template:
- Claim that sexual transparency is a matter of personal integrity.
- Remind the public that you are a Catholic priest in good standing.
- Proudly proclaim that you are “gay.”
- Cultivate the adulation of your congregation by claiming victim status and the freedom that comes from such an honest revelation.
- As a pre-emptive strike against disciplinary actions by ecclesiastical authorities claim that your self-revelation is truly courageous.
- Feign humility and presume you have become a necessary role model for others.
- Remind us that you and all gays (and members of the alphabet soup of sexual perversion) are created in the image of God (implying our sinful neglect).
- Commit to celibacy (i.e., not to marry), but carefully avoid the term “Christian chastity.”
Each of these assertions, standing alone, would likely withstand ecclesiastical censure. But when woven together, the gay agenda promoting the acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle within the Church comes into a clear focus. [the “gay” agenda doesn’t end at “acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle”. The next brass ring is the lowering of the age of consent.]
Faithful and orthodox Catholics are at a political disadvantage in our gay-friendly culture. We realize that same-sex inclinations – as with all seriously sinful inclinations – cause great suffering and, unrestrained, can become a true slavery that endangers others including adolescents and even young children. But our opposition to the gay agenda is often crudely characterized as hateful and unreasonable. So a brief sketch of natural law in Catholic sexual morality may be helpful.
Male and female sex organs differ and have a unique reproductive function. The body of every human being contains a self-sufficient digestive or respiratory system. But it only contains half of a reproductive system and must be paired with a half-system belonging to a person of the opposite sex in order to carry out its function. These are undeniable biological facts.
“To engage in sex” is a relational term that implies male and female complementarity. Only a male and a female truly “engage in sex.” In contrast, same-sex “relations” involve the exercise of one’s sexual power, but not according to its self-evident nature. Sodomy is not really relational “sex.” It is merely a masturbatory use of sexual powers. Similarly, there is no such thing as “sexual relations” with a “sex robot” (alas, an emerging technology).
When a priest claims to be “gay and proud,” he is revealing that he has assented to his same-sex attraction. Free and deliberate thoughts have moral implications, as Jesus asserted: “But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt 5:28) The difference between internal assent and external action is only a matter of a sinful opportunity. [NB] An unabashed and proud “gay” priest has already committed sodomy in his heart. [To the applause of the Fishwrap and certain Jesuits.]
So how might an ecclesiastical superior defend Church teaching if one of his priests (or religious) claims a special dignity by “coming out” as gay? The superior should invoke immutable Christian moral principles in dealing with a self-described gay priest:
With that cliff-hanger, I’ll send you to read the rest there.
I applaud Fr. Pokorsky for his clarity. Fr. Z kudos.
I have known a few priests who were/are homosexuals. A couple of them told me they were. The rest were obvious or otherwise out. With a couple exceptions, all of those whom I have known are now dead. To be clear, I know a lot of priests. I have know very few who were/are homosexuals. I sincerely believe it is a myth that there are lot of homosexual priests.
I also strongly think that men with strong homosexual inclinations should stay out of seminary or leave the seminary before ordination. I strongly believe that homosexual men who are now ordained must never reveal that they have this appetite or attraction. I strongly believe that if they suffer as a result and remain chaste, they will win a glorious crown in heaven and their place among the saved will be very high indeed. If their suffering is greater than others, then their graces too will be greater and the rewards will be as well.
“But Father! But Father!”, you Fishwrap rattlers are keening. “It is an incontrovertible FACT that God wants people to be homosexuals. He makes them that way. And if that’s so, then homosexuality is just as normal as all the other kinds of sexuality and identity that anything can imagine! As a matter of fact, God didn’t really make human beings male and female. God made at least … ummm…. 53 genders! Facebook says so! And Facebook knows more than YOU do. You…. you… HATER! YOU HATE GAYS! And you HATE VATICAN II!”
I have such respect for “gays” (I hate that word) and Vatican II that I won’t lie about them.
I like Father’s reminder, above, of natural law.
Homosexual acts are clearly wrong. Our parts are intended by God to fit a certain way. They are ordered to each other in a complimentary way. God made us to live the human life in a properly ordered way, according to our human nature which He created. We can choose not to live that way. If we have inclinations not to live as God made us, that doesn’t mean that God made the aberrant inclination. God makes all people. People with disordered inclinations are, of course, people and, hence, God made them. But God didn’t make them to be people with disorders. God foresees and allows disorders, but that doesn’t make the disorders the norm. All human beings are intended to live the human life in a properly ordered way. Those who have some disorder have a harder time doing that.
We believe, however that overcoming that disorder, which will entail suffering, will bring them great merit and beautiful rewards in heaven, if not on earth.
Same-sex attraction is a disordered attraction. God doesn’t make disordered attraction. He foresees and permits disorders, according to His plan. But it is not part of the normal ordering of living the human life.
All analogies limp a little, but let’s look at this another way.
If we study, say, 10000 beavers, we get a good picture of what beavers are made by God to do, what Beaver Life™ is. Beavers are semi-aquatic. They gnaw down trees, make dams and lodges out of branches, logs, stones and mud. They work at night and slap the water with their tails when there is danger. They do not hibernate, so they stockpile food for the winter. They eat plants and bark and roll up lily pads like cigars to munch on. They mate for life, live in colonies, and they make little beavers during the winter.
That’s pretty much it. That’s what living the Beaver Life™ is. God makes all beavers and makes the Beaver Life™ which all rightly, beaverly, ordered beavers live.
However, say that among the 10000 beavers we have studied to determine what Beaver Life™ is, we find a beaver who, instead of gnawing trees and building dams, collects discarded aluminum cans out of which he constructs abstract art. Instead of stockpiling food before the winter, he lounges in the sun. Instead of rolling up lily pads before eating them, he eats frogs. Instead of using his tail as a rudder and to signal danger, he swims backwards and ignores danger completely.
You would have to say that God made that beaver, but you wouldn’t say that that beaver was living Beaver Life™ properly. You would probably say that this beaver has a disorder of some kind. He’s doing the wrong things. Furthermore, if other beavers start to imitate the beaver with the disorder, there could be a problem for the survival of that colony. You would hope that that beaver would correct his ways, stop giving a bad example to the other beavers, and cease to undermine Beaver Life™ which God intended for all beaverkind.
Frankly, a beaver like that wouldn’t last very long in the wild. A beaver with that disordered inclination would probably win the Darwin Award, so to speak, and leave the gene pool.
Living Human Life™ as God intended is more complicated than living Beaver Life™ as God intended. We aren’t governed by instincts as critters are. We have reason and will, unlike brute beasts. Still, natural law holds for us as it does for beavers. Our natures are written into us by God.
Homosexual acts are wrong in themselves. They are intrinsically disordered. They are sinful in themselves. They can never be right. Never. They are identified as intrinsically wrong by reason, observation of nature, and because of divine revelation.
The inclination to disordered acts is a disordered inclination.
Sodomy (homosexual acts) is rightly identified as one of the sins that “cries out to heaven” for vengeance, along with murder, oppression of the poor and defrauding a works of his just wages. Dante places those who committed sinful homosexual acts… in the 7th circle of the Inferno, with the violent, with murderers, suicides, blasphemers and usurers. It is a form of violence against another. And note that Dante treated the representative for sodomy, his friend Ser Brunetto Latini, with great dignity. Dante saw sins like this as tearing apart the bonds of society, so in the Inferno they are among the violent. In Purgatorio 26 homosexuals are being purified alongside heterosexuals and are, thus, categorized according to the vices, rather than violence against nature. But I digress. Dante get’s me going.
Having an attraction to, an appetite for someone of the same-sex is disordered, contrary to the complimentarity which God wrote into our human nature as males and females. God makes order, not disorder. He foresees and permits that their be disorders and sins and even defects all through nature, and somehow they can serve to His greater glory. But the disorders and the sins and the defects are not God’s will.
We will see how that all works out only in the general judgment after all things are submitted to the Father and God is all in all.
In sorting out questions about why some people have same-sex appetites, we have to understand something about God’s positive or ideal will and God’s permissive will.
God is perfect, infinitely good. God can only will that which is good, true, beautiful and holy.
So why is there evil in the world? Why are there disorders?
God willed that Adam and Eve remain holy. But because He willed that they have a free will, as He has a free will, He permitted them to fall. He did not will them to fall. He permits that sins be committed, he does not will them to be committed. Because of the nature of… well… nature, he permits that there be defects or weaknesses. He does not will them.
God doesn’t make people sin. He permits it. He foresees and uses it. But God the perfect Orderer cannot be the cause of disorder.
I suspect that in most cases, homosexual relationships that involve genital, etc., acts are really a twisting and warping of friendship. But that might be a topic for a different entry.