Twelve step programs are at their most ineffectual when they try to change mother nature.
For some reason I seem to be practicing 'article avoidance behavior'. There have been a couple of news worthy events which have either punched a button of mine, or are just too unbelievable for my brain to handle. It could be both. The story about the twelve step program for gay men--notice it's only for gay men--has been written about extensively, but not by me. Then finally my curiosity about the actual twelve steps finally overcame my avoidance behavior. So here are the twelve steps:
We admitted that we were powerless over homosexuality and our lives had become unmanageable. (I can think of dozens of straight men who could say the exact same thing about their own sex lives, and I have dealt with an uncounted number of the female wreckage they left behind.)
We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. (Oh my.... I guess one has to admit being gay is the same as being insane. Unless this is a typo and they meant sanctity. I kind of doubt it.)
We made a decision to turn our will and our lives to the care of God as we understood Him. (A truly humble person knows they aren't capable of understanding God.)
We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. (In a system which teaches that gay is a ticket to straight to hell, any such inventory under the direction of the Church would take a certain amount of fearlessness.)
We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. (The intrinsic nature is the problem in Catholic thought---which takes gay way beyond addiction.)
We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of our character. (Gayness is not a defect, but petitioning God to remove it is delusional and that is a defect.)
We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings. (And when God is done removing all one's shortcomings, the gay part will still be there because gay is not a shortcoming)
We made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make direct amends to them all. (Wouldn't it be nice if our bishops took this one seriously?)
We made the direct amends to such people whenever possible except when to do so would injure them or others. (This one too.)
We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for the knowledge of God's Will for us and the power to carry it out. (Once again, no one can claim to understand God--least of all any Church that actually claims they do.)
Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs. (Can't wait for KC produced DVD.)
Anyone who is familiar with Twelve Step programs will notice a few deviations from the norm in this particular twelve step program. That happens when one is trying to stuff a square peg in a round hole.
I'm still trying to figure out what in the world this program is attempting to accomplish. If it's to help a person modify abusive exploitative sexuality, a twelve step program for that already exists--and it works with either gays or straights. I suspect this program at core is not about addictive abusive sexuality. It's about reinforcing 'correct Catholic thinking' about gay sexuality. I also suspect it's sort of aimed at seminary types who could probably get a seal of approval if they participate in this program.
There is also no compelling reason not to start a group for straight single men, and that might actually help accomplish a reduction in abortion and unwed motherhood. So I'm wondering why there is no group for straight single men. The amount of destruction left behind by irresponsible ego driven straight single men is legendary and it's effects on society are far more damaging. In fact the Diocese of Colorado Springs could start with the Air Force Academy which has already gone through a number of scandals involving the rape of female cadets. Date rape is exploding on all our college campuses and that's not happening because of gay men. Virtually every college and university fraternity could support such a twelve step group. The Church could also start a group in the inner city where marriage before sex is about as likely as caviar with dinner.
I really want to know why straight single men are always left out of all the sexual discussions? Is it because the Church actually has no courage when it comes to dealing with straight men and the repercussions of irresponsible straight sex? That would be my guess. It doesn't take courage to focus on the supposed flaws of a sub group already thoroughly conditioned to accept such a focus. This is just more abusive marginalization dressed up as a pastoral initiative. It's also an abuse of the Twelve Step therapeutic approach which is targeted at addictive behavior, not romantic attachment. And maybe that's what's bugging me. The Church seems incapable of seeing homosexuality in terms of romantic attachment just as it's seemingly incapable of seeing aspects of single male heterosexual activity in terms of an exploitative and outright selfish 'lifestyle'.
For me personally, I see this myopic blindness as a result of the true position of women in Church thinking--somewhere far far behind men and boys. The Church has always recognized men and boys can be sexually exploited so of course gay men need twelve step groups. After all back in the day St Damien didn't give his rants about clerical sexual abuse over girls and women. His rants were over exploiting men and boys. Given this long history it's no wonder there are no Church sanctioned twelve step Courage groups for straight men. Women and girls have historically been accused of bringing on their own abuse. Like gays, women have promiscuous 'lifestyles'. Straight men are never described as having a sexual 'lifestyle'.
As for lesbians, they only get on the radar in Chaput Catholicism when they do maternal attachment stuff like put their children in Catholic schools. Then the reaction doesn't even pretend to be pastoral. Every good Catholic knows instinctively that lesbians are incapable of healthy maternal attachments. This is in spite of the fact recent data show lesbian couples are actually very good at raising children. The best actually.
Hmmmm. That's another part of my problem. Now a days Catholics are asked to believe hierarchical teaching IN SPITE OF THE FACTS. Which leads me to believe our hierarchy should take a twelve step rubric to heart. The one that says 'Let go and Let God'. If they did they might find out they really do not understand the mind of God, and if they got that far down the road to spiritual awakening, some of them might actually begin to get over themselves.