|There are days this almost seems just, given the biblical history of boys in religious authority stoning girls and all.|
Vatican Insider is running a piece on the Vatican's issues with the UN resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity. The following paragraph has some really fascinating convoluted thinking which seems to say that because heterosexuality is natural, straights are not subject to the same kinds of moral reasoning as LGBT which even though these states may be natural they are not the same kind of natural as straight--or something a long those lines.
The Holy See shares the legitimate scope of avoiding unjustified discrimination and protecting "LGBT" people from violence , but condemns any attempt to force opinions and conscience, by imposing the idea that any kind of relationship (heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or transgender) would be equivalent in terms of nature and morality. (The Holy See never defines what might be considered unjustified discrimination. Based on their own behavior I'm not sure there is anything they actually consider unjustified short of violence.)
This, according to the Holy See, violates several fundamental rights since it weakens the freedom of opinion, expression and religion. What is at risk then, is the freedom of the Church and believers. (Which means what is weakened is the freedom of Churches to publicly condemn and castigate a minority who are the way they are through no fault of their own.)
In addition, family and children would no longer be recognized as a natural reality in themselves but as an object of subjective desire because of the existence of the right for gays to marry, to adopt and establish a “family”, as if natural realities did not exist. (Family and children are a subjective desire. Many people neither want or have children--including Catholic religious-- and the vast majority happen to be straight.)
The Holy See is concerned about the denial of any difference between the reality of relations between heterosexual couples and LGBT people, as well as for the neutralization of sexual morality. The controversy between Rome and Geneva, is based on the opposite evaluation of a premise: whether or not sex is outside the moral sphere. For Catholic morality, human sexuality, like all voluntary activities, has a moral side: it is an activity engaged in by an individual desire, for a purpose; it is not an “identity”. In short, it depends on doing and not being, regardless of the degree of homosexual tendencies that may be rooted in the personality. (Then this is also true for heterosexuals, regardless of the degree of heterosexual tendencies that may be rooted in the personality. This makes gender identity a doing, not a being.)
To deny the moral dimension of sexuality is to deny a person’s freedom in this area and leads, ultimately, to a breach of their ontological dignity. The Holy See is concerned that the recognition of full legal equality for persons with homosexual orientation can lend itself to the demands for marriage between two men or two women.
If I've understood this correctly, the Vatican is inventing a different reality for homosexual orientation than the reality experienced by heterosexuals. Heterosexuality is NATURAL, and transcends in it's ontological nature any doings or desires of any given heterosexual. Heterosexuals 'are' no matter what they 'do'. Homosexuals 'do' irrespective of how homosexual they are. Gender is a hard wired aspect of the ontological nature of heterosexuality. Men are men, women are women, and gays are queer. Ergo to let homosexuals marry is really bad for heterosexuals whether those heterosexuals desire children or not.
Too bad it doesn't work like this in real life. In real life people experience sexual arousal and both gays and straights can 'do' that arousal responsibly or not. Same arousal mechanisms; more or less the same choices; consequences can vary. There is that children thing for heterosexuals, unless of course they are using birth control, which some ninety per cent of Catholics do in the West. In fact some heterosexuals maintain that using birth control frees them from enslaved gender roles. OK mostly that's women, but I know a lot of straight men who are very happy their sexual partner has not made them involuntary daddy's. Sighhhh.
There are days I despair that these sexually stunted boys masquerading as spiritually evolved adult men will ever grow up. I guess it's going to take some more pressure from the rank and file. The good news is when they finally do start maturing, and accept their own sexuality, they will experience what real freedom truly feels like, and part of that is making real choices, not guilt infected coerced choices.
Thanks for a perceptive & amusing article. One definitely needs a sense of humour. One can understand the Vatican's concerns, but its response is badly flawed; if only it weren't.ReplyDelete
"The recent UN resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity has become part of a document-bill that could limit the freedom of the Church. In practice, it would no longer be considered acceptable to have a moral or religious opinion on homosexuality."
It might "no longer be considered acceptable" to treat *us* - we're people too, not an abstract faceless "them" - as second-class citizens in the Church, or in society: but how is that a *Bad* Thing ? The scapegoating of those who are gay on the plea that being gay is religiously objectionable is itself very bad: the CC cannot object to gay Catholics, yet accept the good we do for the Church. If a gay man is acceptable as a church organist (say), without being known as gay, he cannot decently be sacked when it is found he is not straight. For the Church to do that sort of thing, is a form of exploitation, of treating people as commodities. Which is ironic, since we treat our lovers not as commodities but human beings whom we should respect and love. ISTM we are often more moral than our critics.
Why should the world - which the Church seeks to influence, and is a leaven in - not at times perceive better or sooner than the Church what is acceptable and right and pleasing to God ? By allowing gays civil rights enjoyed by so many other human beings, the world outside the Church is contributing to people's human flourishing - & to do that, lets them become more fully human, which is one of reasons that God became "one of us". For the world to do that is profoundly humane, and profoundly Christian. How is that contrary to what the Church stands for ? God works in the world, not only in the Church.
To recognise certain things gay people ask for as human rights holds no dangers for anyone - certainly not for Christians. "Since these are rights that have to do with life and the behaviors of persons, communities and populations, the Catholic Church believes that it is necessary to understand, each time, whether the issue to be recognized as a new right is actually good for everyone and what relationship is there with other rights and individual responsibility. What is threatened by the "road map" on gay rights, therefore, is actually religious freedom." That fear is unfounded. Why would practicising Christians who are also gay want to threaten the freedom of their religion ? The objection assumes that no gays are Christians, in many different Churches: Orthodox, Evangelical, Anglican, Presbyterian, & so on. There are gay Mormons, Jews, Muslims - why would any of these groups want to threaten religious freedom ? Does one work for a charity sponsored by, or give donations to, or officiate as a religious professional in, a religion which one wants to theaten ? Or is it supposed that we are fifth-columnists or traitors, sapping the foundations of religions we say we love & want to serve ? Should not such ideas be supported by evidence ?
ISTM the Vatican is fighting a phantom problem, one it does not understand. There are arguments that it might make, but it doesn't make them; instead, we have the weak arguments of Abp. Dolan, for example. Weak arguments are not stronger even if bishops make them.
For that fear of persecution:
Tomasi's utterances induce rage and contempt, and a hope that this stupidity is terminal, and that we'll soon see the end of this abuse.ReplyDelete
“Headache” in your headline seems quite appropriate. The Vatican’s explanations on gender are all based in the head. The big clue for me is when they use words like “ontological” to describe what they are trying to say. Those clerics who live in the one dimensional world of the intellect in the Vatican can move the gender pieces all around to say just about whatever they want and condemn what they want. It is a very important point that you make that a heterosexual and homosexual are both ontological. Therefore: “In real life people experience sexual arousal and both gays and straights can 'do' that arousal responsibly or not.”ReplyDelete
The reality the men at the Vatican miss? The Catholic faith is incarnational. “God fitted a body for the redeemer.” The Vatican officials and writers seem to overlook the reality that all of us living folks have bodies with gender and hormones and all kinds of other messy stuff that comes hardwired with bodies. Sometimes, maybe many times, because we are in the flesh, the logical categories, or as the Vatican people would say, “ontological”, only describe a small part of who we are.
There was a heresy once that also could not cope with the fact Jesus had a body. Most catholic church officials, like bishops, would do well to listen to the experiences of real GLBT people, but that would bring them down to the real messy world of bodies and real life. I suspect if they did, which I do have a lot of hope they will, they might not write and say and “do” so many nonsensical things. It seems to me in their arrogance and ignorance there is a new manifestation of an old heresy. Bodies are not always neat. It’s so much better to live only in the head. So, “headache” fits, for Vatican people who are nonsensical and those who sometimes try to figure out what they are saying.
Your exegetical effort is heroic but I don't think the raw material can support it. Vatican Insider in English sometimes feels to me as if the text were translated by machine (e.g., Google) or somebody using his 3rd or 4th language. The vocabulary list is fine, but the selections and combinations from it literally don't make sense in the language we use; e.g.:ReplyDelete
share … scope?
"LGBT" = LGBT?
avoiding discrimination --> escaping or preventing or …?
any kind[s?] … would be equivalent [to?], etc.
It only matters because the coverage and presentation appear to me to be very attractive and convenient. Reasonably accurate reporting of the originator's convolutions, without adding to them, could help a lot in understanding what's going on.
The translation thing is a problem with Vatican Insider, but this particular piece uses the same kinds of thinking and language credited to Tomasi in the CNA article which Bill Lyndsy links to in his own blog on this a couple of days ago. That article is an email interview with Tomasi, and since CNA is a Chaput enterprise, I'm pretty they go the gist of it correct, and this VI article is very close to the CNA article.ReplyDelete
"If I've understood this correctly, the Vatican is inventing a different reality for homosexual orientation than the reality experienced by heterosexuals."ReplyDelete
That's exactly how I read it, Colleen. They have to do this in order to avoid admitting, ever, that sexual orientation is established at birth or very early in life. That it's God's will, that is, to make folks gay.
They're really fighting a rear-guard battle against what all major medical and therapeutic groups in the developed nations have long since accepted: that a homosexual orientation is as natural as a heterosexual one, and is not a sign of disorder or mental illness.
So they're playing one semantic game after another to try to keep gay folks in the disordered category, and therefore justify denying rights to gay folks and treating them as less than human.
Bill one of the points I make in this article is about sexual arousal. It works the same in gays and straights and it isn't always nearly so neatly target specific as the Church's sexual morality needs to believe. And arousal works differently in men and women, and sometimes in men it doesn't work at all which is why ED drugs are a billion dollar industry---which Vatican Inc is invested in.ReplyDelete
Someday our fearless leaders may finally admit human sexuality is not a neat controllable phenomenon. Or maybe that truth is at the core of why they are so terribly afraid and so utterly bent on controlling.
Rat-biter your comment got spammed because Blogger seems to put all comments with any kind of web address in Spam. I try to check that at least daily.ReplyDelete
Some days I wonder if your musings about fifth column traitors isn't some of the fuel behind this gay fire. Something that used to be the bane of Intelligence Services could still be the bane of a Vatican who maintains the same social stigma that made gay intelligence agents so susceptible to black mail of one sort or another. This kind of thing would very likely have been the lived experience of gay clerics of Benedict's age.
"Rat-biter your comment got spammed because Blogger seems to put all comments with any kind of web address in Spam. I try to check that at least daily."ReplyDelete
## Many thanks - I thought my tendency to burble on might have been the problem :)
"Someday our fearless leaders may finally admit human sexuality is not a neat controllable phenomenon. Or maybe that truth is at the core of why they are so terribly afraid and so utterly bent on controlling."
## Well said :) Rome has always had a genius for commanding & putting in order; that maybe why it became an empire & stayed one for so long. But God in the Bible is *not* controllable; He works when, where, how, through whom He wills. Rome is at ease with reason, but not with "fuzziness" or doubt or with the unprecedented & untraditional: and being gay is a challenge to that sort of POV. It is still not fully converted to Christ; any more than people are.
It hasn't yet found a theological account of being gay & Catholic that makes gay Catholicism plausible as a way of Christian life; when (not if) it does, Rome will be able to slough off the ill-fitting ideas about gayness that it currently accepts. Once that happens, the gay-friendly elements in Catholic Tradition will probably be seen as leading up to the Church's acceptance of it. But first Rome needs to be able to come to terms with the fact of gay life in the Church as it actually is. Not that Rome's ideas about gayness are "wrong"; they are inadequate, too cerebral and one-dimensional(as pointed out). But people are not one-dimensional :)
People still agonise over evolution - it's a lot to expect them to be able to adapt to regarding gay marriage with favour.
"For Catholic morality, human sexuality, like all voluntary activities, has a moral side:"ReplyDelete
## That surely goes without saying
"it is an activity engaged in by an individual desire, for a purpose; it is not an “identity”. In short, it depends on doing and not being, regardless of the degree of homosexual tendencies that may be rooted in the personality."
No: being gay is a matter of being, of identity. Gayness is a form of human identity. *Being* gay is logically prior to what one *does* as a gay person. One's doing, is the consequence of one's being - that is a traditional philosophical catchphrase in Catholicism.
If homosexuality/gayness is a dis-order, the person dis-ordered by it can't be gay, as it is not dis-ordered for a gay person to be gay, but is in order. It doesn't describe gay Catholics, but Catholics who are straight. STM the document is badly confused in its thinking. "Oh, but gayness is bad !" The reasons being...?
One is gay even if one is entirely chaste in every respect; just as straight people who are virgins or continent are straight. Shopping, reading, going on-line, working, when done by gay people, are in that sense gay activities. Are straight people straight only when they make love to their spouses ?
To narrow down being gay to explicitly sexual activities is as inadequate as narrowing down being straight to their explicitly sexual activities.
Well stated Rat, for some reason this explains things in a way that made me rethink my own position:ReplyDelete
"If homosexuality/gayness is a dis-order, the person dis-ordered by it can't be gay, as it is not dis-ordered for a gay person to be gay, but is in order. It doesn't describe gay Catholics, but Catholics who are straight."
This may be the exact point the Vatican types are not computing.
"(sexuality)is an activity engaged in by an individual desire, for a purpose".ReplyDelete
Wrong. "Sexuality" is a part of personality - even the catechism recognises this, and tells us it must be embraced and fully integrated into our lives.
"Sex" is sometimes an activity, but more usually, and more appropriately, it is part of a relationship, and an expression of that relationship.
This is one of the many ironies in the Vatican responses to nonconformist sexuality: they often claim that we are obsessed with genital self-gratification - but in their writings, they are the ones who show themselves to be obsessed with genital acts, to the point that they are simply unable to see what is plainly before them: that for us too, just as for all humans, "It is not good for wo/man to be alone".
On adoption they are equally wilfully blind: the importance of gay adoption is not simply to satisfy gay selfishness, as the Vatican assumes, but arises from the best interests of the children. Those in need of a home should be placed with the best possible potential parents - in some cases, the best possible (or even, the only possible)could be gay, lesbian or trans.
To suggest that the desire of potential parents to adopt springs from selfish motives is bizarre - the impulse to adopt, by anyone, gay or straight, springs from selfless self-giving. If in any single case, there is some misguided element of doing so out of some kind of self-gratification, without a firm commitment to the welfare of the child,that applicant would not make it through screening for suitability.
Adoption decisions should be made by adoption professionals, in the best interests of each child and available potential parents, not on general assumptions about whole classes of people - especially when those assumptions have no foundation in fact.
The Vatican believes that people may have "transgender" relationships?? Talk about muddled thinking! Isn't heterosexuality, if using the words correctly, a transgender relationship? A relationship across genders?ReplyDelete
Perhaps the Holy father might wish to replace Tomasi with someone who understands the issues involved. I am sure that transgender people would be better served with an opponent that at least knows what he is talking about...