Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Cardinal Eats Some Crow And Catholics Take Notice

I see where Cardinal George has apologized for his remarks about the LGBT movement turning into some version of the Ku Klux Klan with it's anti-Catholic virulence. It only took him some two weeks, but better late than never.  In the meantime this brouhaha generated a great deal of comment, and some of it was truly worthwhile.  One commentary I found  particularly on target was this article from Jamie Manson in the NCR.
Cardinal George, given that his unfortunate choice of words were uttered in a FOX interview, truly did seem to be appealing to the fringe at the expense of the marginal.  I personally felt, if only for that reason, he did need to issue an apology.  And so he has.

There was one comment written in response to Jamie's article that I found brilliant, and have chosen to reproduce both that comment and the comment that precipitated it. The first comment is written by one the thousands of Catholic traditionalists named anonymous and the response to it by Presbyter Felix.


What are equal rights for LGBT persons? If it is to be treated with respect as human persons, then I agree with the author. If you are talking about the "right" to engage in sinful activity or to live in same-sex "marriage" then you have not understood the Church's constant teaching (or at the very least you disagree with this teaching). I myself am gay, but I am liberated by the truth however difficult it may be. Please don't fight for my "right" to live in sexual union with a person of the same sex. Fight rather for my right to be seen as a child of God deserving of respect. And this exactly is what Cardinal George is doing. He is a good shepherd who loves all of his flock, but who does not capitulate to untruths.

Cardinal George did not exactly show much respect for gays as children of God, and no body has attacked this writer's right to follow Church teaching.  What is in dispute is forcing non Catholics to follow Church teaching and using the debatable immorality of gay sexual acts as an excuse to deny the benefits of marriage to loving gay relationships.  Onto Presbyter Felix:
When you ask that others not fight for your right "to engage in sinful activity," you enter into a very dangerous area of politico-moral theology, or politico-moral enforcement. We have been through laws of miscegenation based on many people's understanding of the black races as belonging to the biblical Ham. We have witnessed slavery justified biblically in both Testaments with such citations as, "Slaves, obey your masters."
The Taliban demands strict adherence to Sharia law. How far shall we legislate biblical law? The Puritans went after dancing, card playing and even the external celebration of Christmas. Prohibition went after drinking, or at least selling alcohol. To say that there should be no public area open to anyone who opts for things that you consider sinful can quickly devolve into horrendous persecution. The church fully supported the Crusades and killed many Moslem citizens, ordinary people, in the process.

If homosexuality is not a sin, but an objective moral disorder - just as blindness is an objective physical disorder - then sinning while being homosexual is less of a sin than sinning while having no such moral disorder. That makes other sexual sins to be much more serious - such as practicing birth control, which is an entirely free-will act. Firing teachers, for example, for refusing to be tested for the use of birth control pills, etc. should be much more acceptable to you than the firing of homosexuals for acting out of an "objective disorder." Did not Jesus say in John's Gospel that the man born blind was sinless.

Your desire to close off all areas where sin can be committed would lead to a completely policed religious state, as in Saudi Arabia today. Your only hope would be that you always fall on the side of the police.


I really like the point Presbyter makes about the relative moral culpability between succumbing to an 'objective disorder' or committing similar such offenses while having no such moral disorder. I've written in the past that given the preponderance of weight that the Church places on the procreative aspect of sexuality, that sins of heterosexuals should be weighted far heavier than those of non procreative gays.  After all it is by far and away the sins of heterosexuals that destroy families and create the unwanted children which result in those abortions which Catholics condemn.  

While I'm sure it's very ego convenient for straight men to have gay sexual acts against which to minimize their own sexual immorality, such rationalization won't impress God when the final bell tolls. Just as I'm sure putting all the consequences and blame for abortion at the feet of women serves a similar function.  And just as operating from traditional ideas of gender place primary responsibility for raising children on mothers has given way too many men the freedom to bail on their biological children--or become, in the strict heterosexual biological sense, nothing more than sperm donors.

In a number of crucial aspects gay marriage really represents an evolution in the morality of sexual relationships in that they are about a practical equality between partners and a shared responsibility for the sexual expression of the relationship.  Marriage in this context is no longer about a 'right' to sexual expression, but more about the responsibility of sexual intimacy.  Spouses are not primarily objects of an 'ordered sexual attraction'. They are gifts from God in human form that one loves with the care and concern one extends to ones self, and that kind of relationship ordering is the perfect place to raise children.


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