Summary of the Law (said at every Sunday Mass)

Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Friday, January 24, 2014

My Column at Crisis

I don't know if this counts as a reblog, but a week or two ago I wrote a column in the wake of Ruse's first two pieces at Crisis, and the magazine has now published it. I was puzzled and disappointed by the alterations they made to the first paragraph, which ruined a simile and destroyed one of the Scriptural allusions I made; but the substance is unaltered, and that's the important thing. And -- hey, for the first time ever, I am a published author and can convincingly pretend to be a grown-up.

The New Homophiles: An Incomplete Apologia


  1. Gabriel,

    Your post was great! Reading the comments at Crisis though is so disheartening. I wrote a comment under my Disqus ID, JoseProvi. I was somewhat anti-gay for a while since I tend to be very traditional and that was the way we're taught to see things. Very black and white. Being gay has been a real issue for me but now I'm trying to see it in a new light and Spiritual Friendship and the so-called "New Homophiles" have been very helpful. I wish more of our fellow Catholics would understand how harming their strong rhetoric can be. Oh well, trek on! I'll follow this blog! Blessings and Peace from Florida!

  2. Well written piece. Unfortunately, the comments over at Crisis are about as far from Christian in either doctrine or compassion as it is possible to be. It is really weird watching the whole debate over there about homosexuality being "disordered." By definition ALL temptation is disordered, even the temptations Christ Himself faced, as ALL temptation draws one toward fulfilling a desire in a way or by a means that God did not intend. Yet James 1 is very specific, though God Himself does not tempt anyone, He allows and uses it for a very good purpose, the strengthening of faith. So it is really weird to watch the people over there howl and stamp their feet like little babies over the word "gift." Have we really raised a generation of such immature Christians as that?

    1. Well, you know what they say -- don't read the comments. ;)

      I rather think, though, that the anger is produced by a number of things, many of them good or at worst pardonable. A lot of people think (mistakenly, in my opinion) that a culture war is the way to win people or win people back, and so seeing people borrowing things from "the other side" looks like insanity or surrender rather than evangelism. A lot of people are simply fed up with hearing about gay stuff -- I'm a little tired of it myself, frequently, but when you carry it around with you twenty-four hours a day, you ind of have to get over being fed up with it. A lot of people, due partly to real attacks on Catholic doctrine, think we must be covert corrupters of orthodoxy, especially if their reading of our work is limited or inattentive (and of course we aren't always as clear as we should be, either; such is life). And there are also people who are struggling with this themselves who either don't find our approach helpful, or believe they wouldn't find our approach helpful if they tried it, so that we seem almost to be tantalizing them, I imagine. And some people simply think that certain things must be simply and always branded as evil without further qualification. I don't consider this a truly Catholic approach to the problem, but when you come to think of it, the "felix peccatum" spirituality of the Church is highly paradoxical, and we're far likelier to notice that in an unfamiliar context than a familiar one. Shock is really a natural reaction.

      I very much doubt that that's an exhaustive list, and it probably sounds patronizing, which I don't intend. There is also the fact that the thought of our little cadre is in some ways kind of an experiment: we don't have an agreed-upon "agenda," and, aside from the Church herself, there isn't a central authority binding our opinions together (though it happens that I agree with more or less everything the others have written, at least of what I've read). I can certainly see why novel terms and still-developing ideas could strike a practicing Catholic as a little alarming.

    2. I think part of it is their refusal to reconsider what "gay" or "homosexuality" or "sexual orientation" or "attraction" means.

      Truth is, if I saw "gay" as primarily being "a temptation"...then I wouldn't celebrate it or speak of "gift" either. It would be more like a providential flaw where "grace did more abound," but it would really be grace that was the gift.

      However, I don't see my homosexuality as "a temptation" primarily. It HAS its temptations (including or especially temptations against chastity), but I don't perceive sexual orientation, in itself, as being "a temptation to sex acts."

      Of course, one assumes that they just understand this implicitly about heterosexuality. As Justin Lee once said rhetorically: lots of people just say they "oppose homosexuality," and of course they "oppose teenagers being sexually active," but how would they answer if you asked them "do you oppose teenage heterosexuality?"

      As long as people's minds are jumping to sex acts, this whole thing is never going to be resolved. But for some people it is practically a dogma that "Gay ----> Sex" even though it's really not up to outsiders to define a subjective experience or "what it means" (especially when their motive for doing so is to justify continuing to malign it...)

    3. That may be their motive. However, they may also simply be used to that meaning of the word, and trying to avoid confusion. That, after all, is what they say they're doing. I don't think that task is worthwhile, for a number of reasons (including the inconsistency of its heterosexual parallel that you point out); but it's understandable.

    4. Then they're motive is laziness, because that's what I'd call sticking with a harmful definition and inconsistent and vague conceptual framework merely because you're "used to" it...