Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Gay, Catholic, and Doing Fine"



Steve Gershom (a pseudonym) is a gay Catholic man in his late twenties. His blog, stevegershom.com, has been around for some months, but he has just decided to make it public. It's original, funny, poignant -- and culturally important. You can also find him on Twitter as stevegershom. I am profoundly grateful to Steve for agreeing to write this post for the Bubble.

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When Leila asked me to write about gay marriage, the first thing I found out was how little I know about it. If I wanted to say anything coherent, I'd have to have definite beliefs about some deeper, thornier subjects first: the relationship between civil and moral law, just for starters. Even if I were sure enough of myself to talk about those things, I doubt I could do it in a blog-sized article.

So I'll have to do it in a more personal way. That might be better anyhow.

I have heard a lot about how mean the Church is, and how bigoted, because she opposes gay marriage. How badly she misunderstands gay people, and how hostile she is towards us. My gut reaction to such things is: Are you freaking kidding me? Are we even talking about the same church?

When I go to Confession, I sometimes mention the fact that I'm gay, to give the priest some context. (And to spare him some confusion: Did you say 'locker room'? What were you doing in the women's...oh.) I've always gotten one of two responses: either compassion, encouragement, and admiration, because the celibate life is difficult and profoundly counter-cultural; or nothing at all, not even a ripple, as if I had confessed eating too much on Thanksgiving.

Of the two responses, my ego prefers the first -- who doesn't like thinking of themselves as some kind of hero? -- but the second might make more sense. Being gay doesn't mean I'm special or extraordinary. It just means that my life is not always easy. (Surprise!) And as my friend J. said when I told him recently about my homosexuality, "I guess if it wasn't that, it would have been something else." Meaning that nobody lives without a burden of one kind or another. As Rabbi Abraham Heschel said: "The man who has not suffered, what can he possibly know, anyway?"

Where are all these bigoted Catholics I keep hearing about? When I told my family a year ago, not one of them responded with anything but love and understanding. Nobody acted like I had a disease. Nobody started treating me differently or looking at me funny. The same is true of every one of the Catholic friends that I've told. They love me for who I am.

Actually, the only time I get shock or disgust or disbelief, the only time I've noticed people treating me differently after I tell them, is when I tell someone who supports the gay lifestyle. Celibacy?? You must be some kind of freak.

Hooray for tolerance of different viewpoints. I'm grateful to gay activists for some things -- making people people more aware of the prevalence of homosexuality, making homophobia less socially acceptable -- but they also make it more difficult for me to be understood, to be accepted for who I am and what I believe. If I want open-mindedness, acceptance, and understanding, I look to Catholics.

Is it hard to be gay and Catholic? Yes, because like everybody, I sometimes want things that are not good for me. The Church doesn't let me have those things, not because she's mean, but because she's a good mother. If my son or daughter wanted to eat sand I'd tell them: that's not what eating is for; it won't nourish you; it will hurt you. Maybe my daughter has some kind of condition that makes her like sand better than food, but I still wouldn't let her eat it. Actually, if she was young or stubborn enough, I might not be able to reason with her -- I might just have to make a rule against eating sand. Even if she thought I was mean.

So the Church doesn't oppose gay marriage because it's wrong; she opposes it because it's impossible, just as impossible as living on sand. The Church believes, and I believe, in a universe that means something, and in a God who made the universe -- made men and women, designed sex and marriage from the ground up. In that universe, gay marriage doesn't make sense. It doesn't fit with the rest of the picture, and we're not about to throw out the rest of the picture.

If you don't believe in these things, if you believe that men and women and sex and marriage are pretty much whatever we say they are, then okay: we don't have much left to talk about. That's not the world I live in.

So, yes, it's hard to be gay and Catholic -- it's hard to be anything and Catholic -- because I don't always get to do what I want. Show me a religion where you always get to do what you want and I'll show you a pretty shabby, lazy religion. Something not worth living or dying for, or even getting up in the morning for. That might be the kind of world John Lennon wanted, but John Lennon was kind of an idiot.

Would I trade in my Catholicism for a worldview where I get to marry a man? Would I trade in the Eucharist and the Mass and the rest of it? Being a Catholic means believing in a God who literally waits in the chapel for me, hoping I'll stop by just for ten minutes so he can pour out love and healing on my heart. Which is worth more -- all this, or getting to have sex with who I want? I wish everybody, straight or gay, had as beautiful a life as I have.

I know this isn't a satisfactory answer. I don't think any words could be. I try to make my life a satisfactory answer, to this question and to others: What are people for? What is love, and what does it look like? How do we get past our own selfishness so we can love God and our neighbors and ourselves?

It's a work in progress.




Related posts:
From "Awesome" Gay Lifestyle to Catholic: Marie's Story
A Catholic Mother and Beloved Son Who is Gay



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530 comments:

  1. Wow! Great article! Totally was not expecting to hear from an orthodox Catholic man who identifies as having same sex attraction. I love the points about how being a true believer means denying oneself at times--that's for everyone! I can identify with that because my husband and I are struggling with infertility and ivf is oh. so. tempting at times! Mother Church is a good mother--not the "BFF" mom that is so commonplace today. She's the old fashioned mama that calls it like it is and sometimes has to paddle her children to make them listen to Her wisdom! Metaphorically, of course :)

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  2. What an important post! Thank you for sharing!

    Your cross is heavier than many- it is inspiring to see someone so rooted in Truth.

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  3. Beautiful insight, expression, and such love for God and our church.

    Steve, you are a light in a dark world. God used your words to open my eyes even more.

    While working in youth ministry, I would often get these "confessional" moments with a few of my teen boys who were struggling and feeling like they they needed to apologize for who they were and I remember always telling them first that "God LOVES THEM!" Then sharing the message of the church that is there to guide their hearts.

    This is a timely post because I just learned of a family friend who is not choosing to be celibate in his life.

    Steve, what are your thoughts on same gender couples adopting?

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  4. Dear Steve....
    I really wish the secular news would pay more attention to gay men like you....you are the Lords light in a dark world.
    May Gods blessing and Grace be upon you in your journey.
    THeresaEH in ALberta

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  5. Steve, Thank you for writing this for Leila's blog. Your post amazes me. God bless.

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  6. Steve, your post was poignant and insightful. Thank you so much for writing it.

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  7. Amazing post! Thank you for your honesty!

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  8. Amazing....Do you think maybe it's easier to be accepted when you detest the lifestyle that is attached to the burden you carry? I'm sure you do not walk around saying Hi I'm Steve, I'm Gay and Celibate... ;) But just wondering?

    I have a question if you wouldn't mind answering steve..

    In my family one of my siblings is in a homosexual relationship. I try my hardest to be loving but the sin disgusts every fiber in my being....The said sibling has changed appearance and everything in the past year. It is the opposite of how the sibling was created.

    Any thoughts on how to deal with that siutation. I'm not "tolerant" of the sin being committed...Obviously, I am with great sin as well, but I don't know how to be loving towards my sibling, but keep my face free of absolute disgust of the situation my sibling has fallen into....

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  9. Steve thank you for this post! Very insightful.

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  10. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  11. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  12. That was beautiful. When I think of the treasures we have in the Catholic church, I often feel the same as the author: "I wish everybody, straight or gay, had as beautiful a life as I have." God bless you, and thank you for sharing your thoughts and insight! Lori

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  13. What wisdom!! Thank you!

    "That might be the kind of world John Lennon wanted, but John Lennon was kind of an idiot." Yes yes yes!

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  14. This is so beautiful and inspiring-- you are carrying a burden that must be so difficult in our "anything goes" society. The most profound part of this post was the reminder of our beautiful faith where our Lord LITERALLY waits for us to spend time with Him. I need to get to Adoration more often, and teach this beautiful truth to my children.

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  15. you make so many excellent points!

    We are all sinners, we all carry our own cross...which is of course not something the 'modern world', who is all about 'feeling good' about yourself, will accept.
    "Would I trade in the Eucharist..." that is what it all comes down to for me. Will I trade in Christ for my own desires?

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  16. "Is it hard to be gay and Catholic? Yes, because like everybody, I sometimes want things that are not good for me. The Church doesn't let me have those things, not because she's mean, but because she's a good mother. "

    Love this point the most! (And the ones following it.) We need more gay men and women like you, who are brave enough and love the Church enough to stand up to defend it. You bring to light the gay activists only cloud; you bring out your humanity and struggles as a Catholic, but you don't hold the Catholic Church as responsible for your crosses as so many do. You've embraced your cross for all to see--and we need to see this.

    This was good. Thank you.

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  17. Thank you for your honesty. I love your metaphor about eating sand, you explained the Church's intent wonderfully.

    What a great article. I'm going to link to it from my blog. (If that's not OK, let me know and I'll take it down.)

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  18. Thank you so much for your example and your striving for holiness. We are all called to live chastity according to our state in life despite our temptations. I don't know if this is harder for someone who is gay. Your faithfulness to the magestrium must be an inspiration to many. Thanks again for sharing your personal thoughts.

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  19. Hi Steve,

    You might be glad to know Leila has articulated many of your points about being gay and Catholic already. Still, it was interesting to read this point of view in your own words. Thanks.

    I'm just curious, how do you view the secular/non-Catholic gay/lesbian/Queer community?

    -gwen

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  20. Steve,

    Thanks for sharing your story. However, while your coming out experience may have been met with love and compassion from the Catholic community, many of us dealt with a situation that was embarrassingly opposite. My own experience was riddled with confusion, ridicule, and harassment, and at that point I was no longer identifying as Catholic.

    Unlike yourself, I left the Church. Being in a loving relationship with a man, just because I'm also a man, does not compare to eating sand as opposed to normal food.

    I hope to join this conversation more later, but I have to ask if you really are against all aspects of gay marriage? Do you understand what gay marriage would bring to same sex couples? We live in a secular world, not a catholic nation. Are you really okay denying basic legal rights and priveleges from a couple just because they're the same sex?

    Thanks. Zach.

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  21. Actually, Zach, the Vatican has responded to that:

    Nor is the argument valid according to which legal recognition of homosexual unions is necessary to avoid situations in which cohabiting homosexual persons, simply because they live together, might be deprived of real recognition of their rights as persons and citizens. In reality, they can always make use of the provisions of law – like all citizens from the standpoint of their private autonomy – to protect their rights in matters of common interest. It would be gravely unjust to sacrifice the common good and just laws on the family in order to protect personal goods that can and must be guaranteed in ways that do not harm the body of society.

    Also, I'm curious as to your opinion of the situation of Joyce and Sybil Burden, who were denied a civil union license in Britain because they are biologically related. I don't think it's fair that two lesbians can get a civil union, but not two sisters. What do you think?

    Also, Steven Greydanus brought up a good point in an article he wrote recently called Redefining Marriage:

    “I’ve never once had any same-sex marriage advocate be able to offer a coherent account of what marriage is and is not, and why it is the state should have a bureaucratic apparatus for certifying (and decertifying) sexual partnerships involving two and only two non-related adults in any gender combination.”

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  22. Just a quick word -- can't respond fully because I'm at work -- I'm enjoying everyone's comments, (even/especially the ones who don't agree) and hope to respond to as many as I can when I get home this evening. Peace!

    Steve

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  23. If two celibate homosexual men want to join together in a union, they have confessed their sins, and they wish to live together to provide each other support while providing a safe, loving, Catholic home to foster children - would you support their civil union?

    If an infertile alcoholic man and an infertile woman with anger management problems want to join together in a union, they have confessed their sins, and they wish to support each other while providing a safe, loving, Catholic home to foster children - are they allowed to marry?

    All four people have sins. An alcoholic man and an angry woman possess the same possibilities to sin as the homosexual men, and neither can procreate. Can we state which is more likely to sin in those situations? If all four are in control of their behavior, are we truly allowed to judge either - stating that they will sin when together in one house?

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  24. Simply beautiful. Your love of God and the Church is inspiring and your words are a breath of fresh air! I was just in complete awe as I read. God bless you!

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  25. @Anon,

    I know you directed your questions to Steve, but I must say that I was taken aback by your post. In referring to your homosexual sibling, you state that “I try my hardest to be loving but the sin disgusts every fiber in my being...”

    Why are you trying to be loving to your sibling? He or she is still your sibling. Even Christ loves them. He doesn’t TRY to love them. I feel from that from this and the following statement “Obviously, I am with great sin as well, but I don't know how to be loving towards my sibling, but keep my face free of absolute disgust of the situation my sibling has fallen into....”, you are more overwhelmed with your disgust of this particular cross your sibling carries than any overflowing of love for them and prayers to guide their heart. Are you disgusted by your sibling’s choice to be in a homosexual relationship or by their identification as a homosexual?

    I’m not trying to pick on you, but I am just really curious about your particular choice of words.

    Marie

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  26. Steve, that was an amazing read. I kept copying lines to quote and say "Excellent" but I was going to have to recopy the whole thing. God have blessed you with an abundance of courage and fidelity.

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  27. Melly Sue
    I doubt I would support either marriage/civil union and I know I would support neither couple as an ideal foster home.

    First a note about marriage – celibate marriage is not sacramental. The Church does not allow couples who are incapable of sexual intercourse to marry for that very reason. (This should not be interpreted to assume that couples who were once capable and through age, disease or injury are no longer capable have ceased to have a sacramental marriage.) This is worthy of long discussion on its own merits but for today this will suffice.

    There are several additional issues for the homosexual couple . First and most profoundly is the struggle to remain celibate while living together. This is a terrific burden for them to bear and to place them (or allow them) to be in that situation would be unjust. The Church’s primary goal must be for their salvation of these men and placing them in a situation where they are likely to sin again is unconscionable. Then there is an issue of scandal*– even if the men themselves were celibate their example could potentially lead others into sinful situations. Finally there is the reality that they are modeling for their foster children a situation which will not give them a full, healthy understanding of what marriage is supposed to mean and what role a mother places in that situation. (Yes – I am aware that we cannot always achieve the ideal in foster care but let’s at least strive for it in this conversation)

    The straight couple also has issues – not their infertility, as long as they are capable of sexual intercourse the Church allows them to marry – but their intentions and the burdens they come into marriage carrying. The primary intention of any couple should be the salvation of their partner – above and beyond all else. Is this couple marrying for that purpose or to satisfy some other longing? They also have the burden of alcoholism and anger. Marriage with those burdens must be approached with extreme care. Parenting under any circumstances can be difficult and stressful but foster parenting requires unique skills and extraordinary virtue. For anyone already struggling with issues of alcoholism and anger the burdens could be overwhelming and the temptation to fall into old behavior patterns severe.

    *Scandal - Any action or its omission, not necessarily sinful in itself, that is likely to induce another to do something morally wrong.

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  28. Melly Sue,

    Potential for sin is not the moral criteria for getting married. We're all sinners. Even a non-alcoholic man and a non-angry woman have potential for grave sin! That's not what we're judging. Like Steve said in the post, "the Church doesn't oppose gay marriage because it's wrong, she opposes it because it's impossible." It inherently defies the true meaning of marriage.

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  29. Melly Sue - Nicole C makes a good point. Another issue with your scenario is that as Catholics we are to avoid near occasion for sin. Two homosexual men living together and fostering children together seems like a set-up to break their commitment to celibacy. A recovered alcoholic is not going to necessarily be tempted to drink just because he marries. My stepmother is a family counselor and she sees a lot of sin and brokenness... According to her own words, sins and disorders associated with sexuality/sex are among some of the hardest to deal with in a marriage, so even if something such as "gay celibate marriage" existed (??), it wouldn't be the best setting for two Catholics to deal with the struggles associated with their temptations nor would it be such a great environment for fostering children.

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  30. Hey Steve, you wrote: "Where are all these bigoted Catholics I keep hearing about?" Man, let me introduce you to most of my family and many on our parish council. :)

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  31. You are living proof that there is nothing greater than surrending to love of God and overcoming self. Thanks for your inspiration and bravery.

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  32. Thanks for sharing your story with us Steve. I'd be interested to know if you think you were born gay. And if you weren't born gay, what is it that made you gay?

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  33. Thank you for your honesty and for taking the time out to write this---you are fantastic!
    Manda

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  34. Marie, said sibling chose to act on this lifestyle. It's not a cross. Sorry if you thought my words were harsh. Read through the hurt...Thanks.

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  35. I really enjoyed reading your article. I find it hard to explain why I don't believe in gay marriage to friends who do believe in it without walking away feeling like they all think I am some sort of bigot. I loved your analogy about the sand b/c it's just so true! It makes me think of my own children and then I realize that that is exactly how God sees us. He doesn't discipline us b/c he is mean he does so out of love and he never promised us an easy life. We will all have burdens to suffer. Thank you for providing such clarity on an often difficult subject.

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  36. Anon, you don't think same sex attraction is a cross but a choice? The Church as even stated that the attraction is disordered but not in itself sinful. The actions that come from that desire are what creates the sin. You're correct in saying that your sibling chose to act and live a lifestyle but he/she didn't choose to have the attraction. I wasn't hurt reading your words, in fact I felt empathy. I was just surprised by your "attempt" to love your sibling. As a Catholic myself, I find that uite sad.

    Marie

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  37. Anon,

    If your sibling was addicted to drugs or living with someone of the opposite sex unmarried would you find it difficult to love them? Right now your sibling needs love. You don't have to support their lifestyle, but you should choose to love them. Love is a choice, you know. (Which is why I don't get it when someone says, "you can't help who you love!")

    They should read this book: http://www.amazon.com/Love-Choice-Definitive-Unhealthy-Relationships/dp/0785263756/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1310502973&sr=8-1

    Manda

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  38. Marie, Sometimes making a conscious choice to do something is the opposite of "carrying a cross". To carry a cross would mean to struggle with one's burdens and trials, and to fight one's temptations and sins, on the way to Calvary (and redemption).

    Let me throw this out there, specifically about lesbians: In the case of some lesbians (not all!!), embracing lesbian identity is a political choice, or an even an emotional one. Not necessarily a point of genetics or "being born with it". So, in that case, is it a cross that certain lesbian was born with? Or is it truly, a "lifestyle choice"?

    Just some thoughts. I will let anonymous address it, as I don't know the particulars of her sibling.

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  39. But I do agree, as Marie and Manda have said, that we must love our siblings no matter what. I think what I sense is that anonymous wants to love her sibling, but has such a visceral reaction to seeing how much the sibling has changed, physically. The opposite of the person she once knew. That's what I am getting. She wants to love, but doesn't know how to stop the visceral feelings. Anon, am I getting that right?

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  40. Great post Steve. Thank you for sharing your struggles with us. God bless!

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  41. "Sometimes making a conscious choice to do something is the opposite of "carrying a cross"

    Leila, I completely agree with you on this. I don't think that I expressed myself well in the previous response, but I do note the difference between what is the chosen lifestyle and what is the unchosen struggle.

    On a side note though, I've never met a lesbian in my life that dates women for the political or feminist identity. Even the most "pro-choice, pants suit wearing, Hillary Clinton idolizing" lesbian who sits on the Far Far left truly has no sexual/physical attraction to men.

    Marie

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  42. Marie, my experience is different. For example, I know of women who were battered women "brought into the fold" by the women who ran the shelter they were staying at. Not hard to turn to women when the man in your life is beating and trying to kill you. Men stop looking attractive and start looking evil (understandably), and they attach to these "nice women" who help them and give them hope, and also give them a political cause to help other women.

    I don't think that only happens at domestic violence shelters. I think a lot of lesbianism starts in college these days, and the women don't necessarily start out attracted to women. There is an emotional component to women, and women's relationships. The ones on the "far left" maybe born that way (I'm not discounting that in both men and women), but the ones experimenting with women in college, or lonely for a woman's response and caring… they are ones who could go either way, maybe, but have chosen to go with women.

    Of course, I am not an "expert". It's just what I've seen.

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  43. Ok, I can understand what you are saying about the emotional component. Those "relationships" are pretty rampant in college. Ever hear about LUGs? It means "Lesbian until Graduation".

    Marie

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  44. LOVED this post! Thank you for sharing this with us. I knew there was someone out there who was gay and knew how loving Holy Mother Church really is. God Bless you!

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  45. Marie, thanks, I don't need counseling.

    I think the way I worded it was wrong.

    When it comes to homosexuality when you oppose it you are being seen as unloving towards the person. Leila, thank you for explaining exactly how I was "trying" to come across.

    I do love my sibling hands down. The visceral reaction I have towards the situation can be seen as unloving. Get me now?

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  46. @Amazing Life -- answering questions more or less in the order I read them -- thanks for reading. It sounds like you are doing good work.

    I don't have much to say at the moment about same-sex couples adopting. I haven't given much thought to it at all, but maybe it would make a good future post. Do you have any thoughts on it?

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  47. Hello Anonymous -- I mean the one with the sibling in a homosexual relationship.

    I think people are reacting strongly to your post because of the word "disgust". Do you mean you're disgusted with your sibling's sin? Is it because he's acting effeminately and you find *that* disgusting? Or what? It's hard to tell from what you wrote.

    It's hard to answer your question because I don't know anything about the relationship between the two of you.

    I think a lot of times, Catholics feel like we have to let our beliefs known at all times, even when they're unpopular -- or maybe *especially* when they're unpopular. I think this involves commendable bravery but not always as much prudence as it should.

    I forget where I was just reading about fraternal correction -- and about how it's only a good idea if we're reasonably sure that it will actually do good.

    It's possible that, since your gut reaction is disgust, you're not in a place where it's possible to correct your brother in the way that he needs, and that he would be better served by your just being as natural and loving to him as you can.

    I hope this helps, although I feel like I haven't understood very well.

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  48. @Gwen,

    Thanks -- I've read bits of Leila's, but by no means everything. I'll have to look up the article(s) you mention.

    You said:

    "I'm just curious, how do you view the secular/non-Catholic gay/lesbian/Queer community?"

    The question's a little general, but here is what I think generally.

    Part of what I feel for those living the gay lifestyle is admiration, because it takes a lot of courage to follow what they believe is the truth, despite a lot of prejudice and cruelty.

    Part of what I feel for them is sympathy, because I believe they're hurting themselves. That's sort of the center of how I think about homosexuality (and morality in general) -- God doesn't forbid things out of caprice, but because they will hurt us.

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  49. Zach,

    Thanks for writing clear-headedly about such an emotional issue.

    I realize now that I've made it sound as if those who complain about Catholic bigotry are just...making it all up. That's really not what I meant to express, and I certainly don't think it's true. It obviously wasn't true in your case, and I have friends who it wasn't true for, so I feel like a jerk for putting it that way.

    I've been in loving relationships with men, too, and still am. I don't mean that in a dismissive way. I think I'm as close to my friend Sal (I write about him on my blog) as I could be to any man. I even think that being gay has helped me have closer friendships with other men than I might have otherwise had, and that's definitely a good thing.

    So, loving another man isn't what I meant to compare to eating sand. I was talking (although fairly indirectly) about the sexual aspects of a gay relationship. My point was something like this: our bodies aren't meant to digest sand, and they're not meant for homosexual sex, either. This might not be the most important aspect of the question, but I don't think it can be ignored.

    I say this from the point of view who certainly understands how it feels to want a sexual relationship. But my understanding of this feeling is that, just like with thousands of my other emotions, it's pointing me towards something that's not good for me.

    So, about gay marriage, yes, I think I'll always oppose it. But frankly -- although this may sound surprising -- I haven't been thinking about this particular aspect of the question for very long -- I mean the legal aspect. I know that even if it were legal it would never be an option for me.

    Thank you again for writing. I'd like to hear from you again...I don't think it's easy for people on opposite sides of this issue to talk about it, but I do think it's important. Feel free to continue the conversation here or by email (steve.gershom@gmail.com).

    Peace
    Steve

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  50. Steve, thanks for posting your thoughts and story. It takes great courage! Your humility is inspiring, loving God more than ourselves is what He calls us to do. Have you ever considered using the terms same sex attraction (SSA) and promoting and practicing homosexuality (PPH) instead of homosexuality?

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  51. Steve,
    Thanks for posting. Just wondering. Why do you need to use a pseudonym? I totally understand general fears about the Internet, but are there people in your life that don't know you are gay? I guess it would be easier to live as a gay man who is an active Catholic who was not out, but maybe you are just not out in certain situations?

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  52. Leila,
    I agree that there are some lesbians who are not "born that way", but certainly some are totally born very gay.

    Interestingly, research seems to support this idea that women's sexuality is indeed more fluid than men's. I remember reading a study where women were sexually aroused by images of both men and women, but for men their arousal pattern was fixed to their orientation.

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  53. Whew. Thank you SO MUCH for writing this post! I have so many friends and people I know who have left the Church because they suffer with the same cross you do - and it is so great to hear from someone who understands that the Church is loving us, not restricting us.

    Thanks for your honesty - I am passing this on to some friends!

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  54. Oh, and Leila - I added this post to my Evernote so I can come back and reference it! I downloaded it after you mentioned it!

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  55. Steve, this is absolutely amazing. Thank you for have the courage to live out the profoundly difficult call to live chastely, as many people (straight it gay) do not. I cannot imagine what it is like to be in your shoes, but I'm so glad for your sake that the Catholics around you are showing you so much love and support, and that you have chosen the harder, but surely more rewarding, lifestyle available to you. You also articulate the Church's teaching and reasoning with wonderful simplicity and clarity. Again, this is fantastic, thank you, keep it up, and be assured of my prayers for you. God bless you,
    Christina

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  56. Beautiful post! Thank you for sharing!

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  57. Thank you for sharing! I't always great to hear about someone with same sex orientation being obidient to the Chruch

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  58. Part of reading these types of comments makes me want to cry. And I want to express that, because a lot of times you guys mention that you want to cry and you mention your children and how dare we [liberals] suggest we push [abortion, gay marriage, etc].

    But your comments push hard against the relationship I've had for only a year. It's been the strongest and most important part of my life. My boyfriend is my foundation and my inspiration. We learn from each other, and we share a dream to help make this world a better place for everyone.

    We recently had a mock civil union, to raise awareness about MN's new amendment that would define marriage as one man, one woman:

    http://thepoetryofthesingularity.wordpress.com/2011/07/12/a-union-to-remember-union-of-ducky-goose/

    I know, I usually try to use a mix of logic and other rhetoric to cool headedly explain my point, and I'm simply pandering to emotion now. I don't know how we could destroy the American family, while we both share family values and are both rather docile.

    Steve, I will email you, but in a quick reply: not everything we do with our body is what it was "meant" to do. It almost makes me want to weep when I imagine anyone staying celibate when they could be living a life so full of love and as enriching as the one I have now.

    -Zach

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  59. I think it's obvious for things our body was not meant to do that hang gliding and homosexual intercourse are a bit different, for instance. Some things you can do with your body that it originally wasn't designed to do can be useful, while other things put you at much higher risk factors for multiple diseases or cause other problems.

    For some reason you seem to believe that having a meaningful relationship with other people absolutely requires for you to have sex with them. Your "weeping" for his celibacy makes no sense otherwise. I would like to think that I have a meaningful relationship with many people but I don't feel the need to sleep with all of them.

    As far as this "mock civil union" it does indeed sound like you are mocking it, as well as actual marriages that are intended to be for the good of creating and raising children for society. That's even before the much more important good of the helping with the salvation of each other's souls that the Church sees in sacramental marriage.

    I can't even imagine wanting to do a "mock marriage" as a heterosexual male - shoving active homosexuality down everyone's throats is a part of what is so upsetting to many. I do not want my kids being forced in public schools to learn and repeat the party line that homosexuality is just as good as anything else, and whatever feels good is what you should do in life. Thank God I don't live in California but in a state with some sanity left.

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  60. Zach, if I may…

    This comment was left on Steve's blog today, from a man named Karl"

    As a straight man with five children and more grandchildren, who was abandoned by his wife more than twenty years ago and who has chosen to honor those vows, I want you to know that there are others who share a choice of fidelity to the teachings and wisdom of the Catholic Church with you and anyone who earnestly pursues such a course.

    I dropped by via a link from “Creative Minority Report” and wanted to encourage your witness. Your walk, though challenging and likely, unpopular among many, is not impossible and not without reward.

    May God give you the grace to lead others to His son. Do all you do for love of Him.


    Do you weep for him, too, for honoring his vows and living a life of virtue, or do you see and honor the heroism and sanctity in his life?

    I know you now identify as atheist, but if you were still a believer, do you see the beauty in what he says and how he lives?

    Also, I still have a hard time with the fact that on the day you did the "mock marriage", you commented here that you had never even thought about what the definition of marriage is. That deeply troubles me. Do you see that as problematic at all, that you are trying to change the institution of marriage, fundamentally, and yet you never knew its essence, meaning or definition?

    Blessings!

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  61. This whole discussion is so interesting and brave!

    Zach, here is a question for you and Steve, and maybe others: Do you think the beautiful part of your relationship with your boyfriend could be just as wonderful and beautiful if you were both celibate, but just romantically close?

    Others on this blog have told me that it would be still considered sinful for two men to hold each other and kiss and be romantically involved even if they did not have sexual relations, but I don't think anybody cited official Catholic teaching in this regard...although I might have forgotten it.

    It seems to me that if the sinful part is the actual act, then the romantic love and partnership part of it would not really be the problem.

    To the man who raised his children alone: you are one tough cookie! You should write a book!

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  62. To Jarnor23:
    How is hang gliding useful?

    I would say it was purely pleasurable (well...not for me!) I can think of no uses for it.

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  63. Jarnor23,

    Hi.

    I am unsure what it means to "shove active homosexuality down someones throat" means. Could you define what it would mean to be shoving my active sexuality down other people's throats, and how I could do that less? You mean, kids learn in schools that gay people exist and they can be happy? Blasphemy! Obviously.

    You said, For some reason you seem to believe that having a meaningful relationship with other people absolutely requires for you to have sex with them. , which made me laugh. I never used the words "meaningful relationship", but I certainly don't have sex with everyone i do have a meaningful relationship with. Perhaps you can't delineate between romantic love and deep friendship?

    Jarnor23, you also said: Some things you can do with your body that it originally wasn't designed to do can be useful, while other things put you at much higher risk factors for multiple diseases or cause other problems. This shows an obvious lack of understanding, and seems to imply that you think we should just ban homosexuality! Spread less disease then, right?

    Leila, I had remarked that writing out a full definition hadn't occurred to me. Marriage is obviously something I've thought about, and as I remarked later, I didn't want to put something down before carefully articulating it. Because I don't think something along the lines of "full legal equality" would have satisfied anyone that day. Importantly, I don't think legal marriage should carry a requirement for gender. Many say this denigrates marriage to nothing, but we live in a strong society with standards--such as monogamy, and part of fighting for gay marriage shouldn't have to explain why we don't need to worry about incestual or polygamous marriage. And if you still don't understand, read Dan Savage for a while.

    These are obvious close questions, and I'm debating how much to share since I'm sharing publicly. Mary, I don't feel completely comfortable answering your question.

    And Leila, to the man who raised 5 children, clearly there is beauty in it.
    -Zach

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  64. Lastly, Jarnor23, I want to say I've learned a lot from you. The next time people on this site get emotional, particularly when we talk about abortion, I'll be sure to brash, crude, and absolutely disregarding of people who felt emotionally attached to their unborn children!

    Thanks!
    -Zach

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  65. Zach, how was Jarnor23 "brash, crude, and absolutely disregarding"? If you're going to throw out accusations that are both snarky and rude, have the decency to back them up with evidence.

    As for indoctrination into accepting homosexual BEHAVIOR (not the attraction, the BEHAVIOR, I believe this is the legislation to which he was referring. It does, essentially, mandate that California public schools teach children that homosexual BEHAVIOR (not the attraction, the behavior) is normal and even laudable -- something which violates the religious beliefs of many Christians, including Catholics.

    Also, there's ample evidence of the potential dangers inherent to both homosexual and promiscuous lifestyles; see this study, for example.

    Mary: I could see hang gliding as very useful in some military capacities; as a hobby, it can help maintain and promote physical fitness -- especially upper-body strength -- and balance.

    Also, two homosexuals of the same sex living together but not actually having intercourse is problematic for two main reasons: it presents a near occasion of sin and promotes scandal.

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  66. It almost makes me want to weep when I imagine anyone staying celibate when they could be living a life so full of love and as enriching as the one I have now.

    So, apparently to Zach, Steve’s life of celibacy is not a life “so full of love” nor is it “enriching”. However, I believe it’s been explained by him both in this article and on his own blog as the exact opposite. I don’t see Steve weeping over his celibacy; I see him celebrating, fighting his urges, and overcoming what he knows and believes to be sin. So how about we take the lens of ‘brash, crude, and disregarding’ and focus it some.

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  67. Leila: Thanks for publishing this! I appreciate the fresh perspective and I’m always impressed by the writers on your blog.

    Steve: I don’t think you’re a freak for choosing celibacy. I’m glad you find joy and goodness in it. I do think, though, that you’ve chosen that goodness over another good: the possibility of lifelong, committed and, yes, sexual love.

    I know that the Catholic Church doesn’t see sexual gay relationships as a source for good, and that’s one place where I disagree with its teachings. I’ve seen too many positive, healthy sexual gay relationships with my own eyes to believe that it’s inherently disordered and unhealthy.

    And I think that the view that our bodies aren’t “meant” for gay sex is based on a misreading of natural law, or more specifically, a misreading of our sexual natures. Put briefly, I think we are meant to pair off and love, and our sexuality is meant (in part) to facilitate that, and that’s true for both gay and straight people.

    And as a married (straight) man, I have thought quite a bit about the meaning and purpose of both marriage and sex.

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  68. I think it was on the last post that Leila made a comment in the discussion to a Catholic commenter with liberal opinions-to paraphrase-"the atheists/liberals are agreeing with you! This should be a red light warning that something is wrong with your way of thinking" It's tempting to want to say the same to Steve: "red light here buddy! all the hetero-normative conservative Catholics love you because you don't threaten them with homosexual sex, you obligingly follow the ideology of conservative Catholicism and hetero-normative ideas about what constitutes godly and proper sex/relations/sin."

    But it's clear from Steve's writing that he identifies most as a devout Catholic man and as he is very comfortable and seemingly happy with this choice and all that his religion expects of him (celibacy, not coming out to everyone, and discouraging of "homosexual behavior") as long he's happy, that's great. And it seems that the social network of fellow Catholics support him-even more important.

    That said, I hope Steve that maybe someday you pick up a copy of Foucault's "History of Sexuality"

    Also, just as most of the discussants here get into a tizzy at the mere suggestion that Steve might not be happy as a Catholic celibate, I think it's fair of Zach to be point out how offensive Jarnor23's comments are, especially to someone who doesn't proscribe to the Catholic handbook on sexuality.

    So, I'm happy for you Zach! rock on : )

    -gwen

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  69. One more thought, when our ancestors began walking upright, a physiological change occurred and our pelvis bones became smaller making childbirth more of a challenge and a risk to the survival of mother and child. No one said, "hold up! this isn't working. Our pelvis bones don't always allow for the easy passage of baby's head. Obviously we aren't meant to give birth this way."

    -gwen

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  70. Gwen, can YOU demonstrate how Jarnor's comments were so offensive? I don't get it. See, my definition of offensive would be Fred Phelps and his ilk. I didn't see Jarnor saying that God hates fags or that all gays were going to hell.

    Pedro, if someone were to say, "I’ve seen too many positive, healthy sexual man-boy relationships with my own eyes to believe that it’s inherently disordered and unhealthy" or "I’ve seen too many positive, healthy sexual adulterous relationships with my own eyes to believe that it’s inherently disordered and unhealthy" or "I’ve seen too many positive, healthy sexual incestuous relationships with my own eyes to believe that it’s inherently disordered and unhealthy," would you take those comments at face value, too, and begin to reconsider those relationships?

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  71. Pedro, welcome back! But you are the guy who never finished our last convo….

    Zach, we did get some people to give a "definition" of marriage, and it completely negated the old definition (which has never through the history of mankind included same-sex people, and which has always been ordered toward procreation.

    Did anyone say one could do nothing for pleasure? Hang gliding is certainly pleasurable. But we are talking about the sexual faculty. Sex is something a little deeper (even sacred!) which we all know can be terribly, terribly misused. We even have a virtue which corresponds to its correct use, called chastity. There is a reason for this. Sex is the mechanism which produces new human life. If we can't respect that act that creates life, and use it the way it was designed to be used, then we can't respect life itself… We step into the Culture of Death (a term which Miss Gwen hates, sorry! It's accurate.)

    Sperm have one purpose, and that it to get to the egg and fertilize it. If you want to misuse your body and put sperm (life) where waste comes out (death), then you are doing something disordered. And it is unhealthy.

    Heterosexuals misuse sex, too. All the time. Catholics are not saying that is good, either! It is wrong to use sex outside of the context of marriage. Sex is intrinsically connected to marriage, and marriage is intrinsically connected to procreation. To forget this right order is to get into all sorts of disorder. Which plays out every day in this society, and not just in the homosexual community. (And by the way, gay people cannot actually have sex. They cannot have sexual intercourse or consummate anything. They can only have sexual play. That is not sexual union, and that is not marriage. I've said again and again, that even the secular state will annul a marriage for non-consummation.)

    I've had people on other threads tell me that "marriage" is any two (why only two?) adults who want to commit for life (it is irrelevant if they have sex, and it doesn't matter their "genders"). So, if marriage is not about sex at base, and not about procreation, at base, then it's about…. ?????

    If marriage can mean anything, then it means nothing. And that is not what marriage has been about for the history of mankind. It's been about something more than insurance and legal rights! It's bee about men and woman and the creation of children and families. Every culture, creed, and society has revered marriage. And now, we want to make it meaningless? Really unwise to go down this road….

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  72. when our ancestors began walking upright, a physiological change occurred and our pelvis bones became smaller making childbirth more of a challenge and a risk to the survival of mother and child. No one said, "hold up! this isn't working. Our pelvis bones don't always allow for the easy passage of baby's head. Obviously we aren't meant to give birth this way."

    It's called "a fallen world", Gwen. Nothing is perfect. That's like saying some folks are blind, so clearly eyes were not made for sight.

    And, having given birth eight times that way, I would say we actually are meant to give birth that way. Occasionally, just like getting glasses for bad eyesight, we women need assistance to give birth.

    Also, you do know that the process of giving birth is not an act of the will (a moral issue)? Labor is involuntary. When labor goes wrong (as it does in this fallen world) we work to bring things back to order, we don't accept disorder.

    So, I'm not quite getting your point, but if you would like to clarify.

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  73. My understanding of the California law to "teach homosexuality" as it was referenced, is not about teaching homosexuality. It is about teaching that people from all walks of life have contributed to the history of America (regardless of skin color, gender, or sexual orientation). But it isn't really shocking that people are offended by equality, Black History Month still doesn't sit well with some people in this country.

    Changing the topic a bit here, but have you ever watched a movie about hatred. Sitting and watching movies about hatred that is overcome, with someone that has hate is one of the most interesting things ever. They can acknowledge that the hatred expressed in the movie is wrong, but they don't see how their hatred is wrong even if it is the same (watching Remember the Titans with my racist father for instance). People are afraid of what they don't understand. That is why we label people - liberals, conservatives, white, black, gay, straight. Because straight people don't understand homosexuality (for religious reasons or not), the only thing they can do is fear it and link it to other things they fear (polgamy, beastiality). Some times they fear they might "catch it." But it wasn't too long ago that interracial marriage wasn't allowed. The mixing of cultures was bad not just because of the superiority complex in our nation, but because there would be a spread of disease. As a society we've had this fight before. Society feared what the majority did not understand.

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  74. Mary - The Catholic Church teaches that sexuality is part of our entire beings, how we relate to others, not just what happens at the moment of sexual intercourse. Kissing and being "romantic" with a person are sexual acts too - they speak a language of sexual love and commitment - and also awaken the desire to go further - to have intercourse. As a lady who was single for some time, I know the temptations of kissing and being "romantic" with a guy. :) You can't sustain that behavior forever... it either becomes more or diminishes because that's how we're designed. And it also sends a message to that person... expresses a certain level of sexual involvement.

    As human beings, our goal is to act chastely and in a way that is appropriately ordered others. If I was kissing and being "romantic" with a man other than my husband, would you agree that I am still cheating? Still being sexual? As a woman, I have to make choices regarding how my sexuality is going to be expressed with any given person I come in contact with.. and as a married woman that means being acting as a sister/friend to the world and as a wife to my husband only (so only he gets romance and kisses! And don't forget that even married couples sometimes must have seasons of celibacy... that doesn't change their marital status or their sexuality as a man and a woman with a unique union)..

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  75. Sorry.. as usual, too many typos!

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  76. Melly Sue, you get that skin color is a state of being, and homosexual acts are a behavior, right? Two different things. You see that, correct?

    Your Church, Melly Sue, says that active homosexuality is a grave sin. Do you think your Church is hateful? How do you defend your Church and Christ against those who call her hateful? Because she will never, ever, ever change her teaching.

    Thanks!

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  77. Gwen - from a medical standpoint, women are designed to give birth. Open up an anatomy and phys textbook... they explain how the pelvis is uniquely shaped for that (it's pretty amazing, really). A man's pelvis is very different. The fact that our bodies change and disease/disorder enters into the picture doesn't negate that original design or purpose of the pelvis(which is still quite in tact). I just thank goodness we have ways to help those who have trouble.

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  78. A few quick responses:

    Joanna, I'm not surprised you can't find how Jarnor's comments might be brash and crude. When I wrote how I held a mock civil union to raise awareness, you jumped to calling it a protest. You've also just implicitly linked being gay to being promiscuous. It's not surprising, though, because people make that link all the time.

    Lastly, when I say I get emotional, it's not because I think Steve is a freak for choosing celibacy. It's because I think the Church's policy in the Catechism concerning homosexuality is wrong, and it affects the lives of members of the Church in a negative way. It's because I'm atheist, I'm secular, and I don't see anything wrong with a monogamous, same-sex relationship.

    See, the way I see it (the catechist policy) and the responses here, it follows in line with a lot of the stuff I've experienced in real life. People get sick of "having homosexuality shoved down their throats", and they praise those that keep it out of sight and out of mind so they don't have to see it. I don't try to shove anything down anyone's throat, but I do make some attempt to allow myself to be visible to show that my relationship isn't harmful to myself, my community, or society.

    So I "weep" over the way everyone celebrates this so much, because it reeks of heterosexist privilege and victory. I think if Steve chooses a celibate lifestyle, and finds meaning and joy out of it while not harming others, fine-power to him. I've met people, gay, straight, and asexual, who have chosen celibate lifestyles for various reasons. I don't think choosing one because the Catholic Church tells you to is a particularly good one, but to each his own, I guess.
    -Zach

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  79. My understanding of the California law to "teach homosexuality" as it was referenced, is not about teaching homosexuality. It is about teaching that people from all walks of life have contributed to the history of America (regardless of skin color, gender, or sexual orientation).

    Well, here's my problem with the legislation.

    From the article referenced earlier:

    "Before the Assembly vote, Perez" [a supporter of the bill] "pointed to a few contributions of gay people, including Friedrich von Steuben, one of George Washington’s military advisers who fled Prussia after he was hounded as a homosexual. Von Steuben is credited with being one of the fathers of the Continental Army and teaching essential military drills."

    Okay, fine. But why is it necessary to teach our children that "BECAUSE Von Steuben commited homosexual acts, he was one of the fathers of the Contienntal Army and taught essential military drills"? Why not just teach that Von Steuben was one of the fathers of the Continental Army and taught essential military drills? How are his sexual preferences relevant to his historical accomplishments?

    For me, it'd be like having a class that highlighted the historical contributions of adulterers, such as Henry VIII and Bill Clinton. I wouldn't want that taught to my children, either.

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  80. Zach et al,

    I think you have followed this blog long enough to see that I am really on the fence about gay sex etc, but, contrary to your claim, I do think it is relevant to bring up the question of plural marriage when people are discussing the pros/cons of gay marriage. I personally think these two concepts are much closer in the way they could challenge the idea of traditional marriage. I reject the idea that accepting gay marriage is akin to accepting pedophilia and incest, as both of those activities have the potential to cause grave harm. Plural marriage does not appear, to me to have such an obvious caveat. In fact, although I hate to admit it, the sexuality of most males and females seems to indicate that plural marriage was probably the norm for part of our evolutionary history (one male, several females).

    PS...no prob not answering that question I asked. I guess it could be kinda private....maybe some other gay male could answer it as an anonymous.

    PPS I have not read a lot of Dan Savage...but I was rather horrified by his book about his adopted child....He strikes me as really kind of callous....maybe I am wrong?

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  81. Well, Zach, in that earlier comment you never answered my question as to how your "mock civil union" was NOT a protest. You were protesting a proposed Constitutional amendment that embraced the traditional definition of marriage, right? How is that not a protest?

    And what about discriminatory civil unions, such as the one I posted about earlier? How do you feel about those?

    I'm still not seeing how his comments were brash and crude. Can you quote one that you felt was brash and crude, and describe what characteristics made it so?

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  82. I've been all over the place on gay marriage, mostly because of my own lack of understanding of natural law.

    This is my progression:

    #1: Sure whatever, I don't care. It doesn't affect me.

    #2: Wait, I have kids and I am responsible for what happens in society as a citizen. OK, I support marriage and family, one woman, one man, loving and raising their children.

    #3: Then I got relentlessly called a homophobe, so I decided that maybe the state should just stay out of marriage completely. Let individuals define their own relationships. Yay freedom!

    #4: Then I got called a liar, told my real objective was to control people (???), so I defended the libertarian "everybody do their own thing" position. No state involvement in the definition of marriage at all. Want to be married to your car, be married to your car. You'd think that would make gay marriage activists happy. All equal. Nope.

    #5 So then I realized those people who didn't really want freedom from state intervention actually want to IMPOSE their beliefs. Ironically the people who said we must acknowledge homosexual marriage because marriage meant something in society were the same people cohabitating for years without a marital commitment from their partner...because it's just a piece of paper. Yeah. (???)

    #6: If we are going to define marriage in society then, we are going to define it according to natural law. The end. I have as much right to defend my beliefs as anyone else without being called names. That's where I am now.

    I doubt I'll ever change my mind again because I don't know of any position I haven't explored yet.

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  83. Sarah, Gwen, Leila,
    Gwen is exactly right about the pelvis, it is a well-known biological tale... but the "fallen" question is unanswerable if you are coming from two differing viewpoints, i.e. that our bodies and behaviors are utterly designed down to the last hair by God, or that they are the result of millions of years of evolution (that could still have a God at the beginning of the process).

    The pelvis evolved as Gwen said, and actually it is not well-suited to childbirth of the human skull, especially since our babies keep getting bigger with more nutrition these days.
    One of the most moving moments of my entire life occurred in grammar school when we did grave rubbings from the early 18oos. You saw many many little graves, and many many graves of women in their twenties and thirties. Back then, it seemed that if you made it past those years there was a chance you could make it to 80. Many women died and still do (in very poor nations) because the baby got stuck.

    Now, female pelvises are better than male pelvises, but it would be much better if the human skull was smaller at birth and instead grew rapidly after birth.

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  84. Zach, by demonstrating and advocating for gay "marriage", you are working to fundamentally change an institution which is foundation to our society and to every culture. When you want to fundamentally change the basis of society, and redefine it, you must expect that people will fight that change. The Church of course, will never bend, even if the entire planet things gay "marriage" is a-okay. We may see massive, detrimental changes in this world and nation, but my faith and my God will stay the same. Truth does not change. I just think it's sad the road we are headed down. Marriage used to mean something (and still does, to God).

    Melly Sue: JoAnna made a great point. Please address it. Think about what teaching history is all about. We teach our children about the important figures who have shaped the state, nation, and world around us in significant ways. What earthly purpose does it serve to teach small children about the sexual practices of those men or women? I can think of only one reason it would be done: To advance an agenda which says that homosexuality is good. That is the only reason. Can you think of any other reason? I am not interested in having any teacher tell my child (who has a right to a latency period!) about any sexual behaviors, or opening that door while they are innocent. The "Mommy what is gay?" talk comes much too early as it is. Goodness, let children be innocent!!

    But of course, if any of you have read the disgusting (truly, vomit-inducing) new document from International Planned Parenthood, you would know that many out there do want to sexualize our children, and mightily:

    http://www.ippf.org/NR/rdonlyres/9CDED64D-5750-41A1-994D-E7D35D0F1580/0/Exclaim.pdf

    I will fight that till my last breath.

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  85. Stacy,
    I think your thought progression outline was helpful....it helps to see how others evolve their views.

    I am confused about who was not happy with your position at #4. Did you have many interactions with gays who did not like this view? Who specifically, if you would, drove you away from this way of thinking?

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  86. Mary, if the human female pelvis is not designed to give birth, then no one has to worry about overpopulation. But yet they still are insistent that too many people are being born… hmmmm? Maybe the pelvis works as designed after all.

    And, what of blindness? Does the existence of blindness mean that the eye is not ordered toward sight?

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  87. In this society we strive to teach our children that are different, that it is okay to be different and that they can achieve anything. By presenting that homosexual people have achieved great things we are telling children that they can achieve great things regardless of the things that could otherwise be used as a method of discrimination. Abraham Lincoln was poor, technically we don't need to acknowledge his families financial position but we do. We acknowledge that you can overcome adversity. We don't teach them that they need to be poor.

    I agree with Pedro.

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  88. Melly Sue, if only you had specifically addressed JoAnna's and my points. Sigh.

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  89. Ladies and Gentlemen, Dan Savage:

    http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/07/13/watch-dan-savage-leaves-stephen-speechless-on-colbert-report/

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  90. Joanna,

    Quick answer: Have you seen many positive healthy man-boy, adulterous, incestuous relationships? I haven’t.

    Slightly longer answer: Children can’t legally consent to sex, and for good reason: children aren’t physically or psychologically ready to deal with sex, or mentally developed enough to know that. So man-boy relationships are, by definition, rape. Adultery is deception. Those two are inherently wrong.

    I don’t know a lot about incest, but from what I hear it almost always involves manipulation, often rape, and it results in a greatly increased risk for genetic problems in any offspring it produces. Nor have I seen evidence (admittedly, I haven’t looked into this) that it’s inborn and not the result of childhood abuse. So, I guess, if you can show me a consensual, non-manipulative, healthy incestuous couple that won’t produce a disadvantaged kid but does create the love, joy, and support I’ve seen in healthy gay couples, then I’ll think more about that analogy.

    Leila,

    Yeah, I am the non-finisher. I’m amazed that you can keep these conversations up with your busy life.

    Quick question: when you say that "every" culture has limited marriage to straight couples, are you using that as shorthand for "almost every" or "every culture that I think merits mention"? Because I'm pretty sure that some Native American cultures recognized gay marriages, and I'm sure you've heard that by now in these debates.

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  91. Leila, you're forgetting that modern health technology now allows for C-sections and all sorts of modern conveniences to help guarantee mother and child survive birth. Obviously the changes in our pelvis bones didn't stop us from procreating, but survival rates of birth have become better and better thanks to technology.

    Also, we aren't becoming blind due to evolutionary, physiological changes in our eyes. Now, if we lived in dark caves and our eyesight was useless anyways, we might have evolved into sightless beings like the blind salamanders living in caves.

    -gwen

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  92. JoAnna,

    Of course you don't see Jarnor23's comments as disparaging in the least-they support your convictions about your faith, religion, way of life, philosophy, etc.

    If someone kept saying your heterosexual relationship was disordered because of X,Y,Z would you be offended?

    -gwen

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  93. Leila,
    The shape of the pelvis has killed countless otherwise perfectly healthy mothers and babies....I would never have had a birth at home...NEVER...my own sister almost died after having an emergency C when her own near ten-pounder got stuck coming down the chute. Thankfully she was in the hospital.

    I don't think you really meant to say that it is good that babies and mothers sometimes die giving birth as it keeps the population down.

    Granted...poor nutrition (which is at least in part--in my view--the result of sinful human behavior) caused and causes many women to have smaller pelvises than they might otherwise have. So, I would agree that sin does cause many maternal deaths (the sin of corruption that keeps so many people poor).

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  94. Mary,

    "Did you have many interactions with gays who did not like this view? Who specifically, if you would, drove you away from this way of thinking?"

    Yes, online. I used to interact on Facebook in debate groups a lot (couple of years) with pro-choice and liberal people. I've been called bigot, homophobe, liar, mysogynist, wingnut, idiot...keep going.

    My husband even still believes #4 is the way to do approach the legal issue in society, but we disagree on that. He's a libertarian with a good heart and for kind reasons. I think more and more as we hear such vitriole in the media from Obama and his supporters, even my husband is starting to say, "Forget it" and move on to asserting his beliefs about marriage. He was willing to accept the "live as you please" mentality as long as people left him alone, but they don't. They teach it to kids, shove it in your face, intimidate you. We live in MA. If you openly don't support gay marriage around here, you can expect hostility.

    We encounter "married" homosexual couples when we leave the house and they are pleasant people. I talk to people, am nice to people, but if two women are both calling themselves mother to a little baby that my children are coo-ing over and playing with, and they publicly show affection, I am in an uncomfortable position to have to explain it to my kids and they don't understand.

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  95. I also live in MA...I think probably close to you...so how do you explain it to your kids? Because, I am not 100% on board with accepting it as equal to straight marriage, (but still open to that idea) but we have that situation in our schools and do you say, "Well, they have two daddies and that is what they chose, but our church doesn't think that good at all." Or do you say something like, "In their house they have their way of doing things, an in our house we have our way of doing things" (like I do for kids who live with other disciplinary rules when they come over). It seems like it would be possible to say something like that to young kids so you are not giving them the impression that it is 100% OK with you but that you understand you live in a very diverse world and your kids are going to live in that world too.

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  96. PS what is a Wingnut? (hee hee).

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  97. This is so completely off topic, but this whole pelvis conversation is ridiculous. Absolutely.

    The NUMBER ONE reason why women no longer die in droves in childbirth today is because practitioners wash their hands between patients.

    C-section rates above 5% show INCREASED morbidity and mortality for both mother and baby. I will site the WHO as my reference.

    Increased nutrition has not significantly changed baby size. The only maternal nutritional factor that increases baby size is gestational diabetes, which is a disorder.

    In a true case of baby being too big (incredibly rare- almost only seen in cases of GD or when a pelvis is misshapen due to rickets or another bone disease), a c-section is of course, a life-saver for everyone. However, in cases of too-big baby prior to common c-section, the mother almost always died days or weeks afterward due to infection after the dead baby was cut apart in utero and removed piece by piece by a practitioner using dirty instruments and unclean hands.

    TRUE stuck baby, as in a shoulder distocia is a death sentence for baby, whether the baby is being born at home or in the hospital, because once the baby's head has gone that far through the birth canal, c-section is no longer an option.

    Human babies are born significantly more premature than animal babies, precisely so that their heads can fit out- and baby head are designed with clever overlapping plates that squeeze together during birth.

    Most of this info is taken from Birth: The Surprising History of How we are Born, which is a fascinating read and clears up a lot of myths about child birth.

    And now, back on topic...

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  98. Anonymous....not sure what the point was with Dan Savage clip...although it was entertaining (Paella!)

    I think the guy is missing the whole point. When people commit adultery they are breaking a promise. People who swing...well..what is the point of getting married? Why get married if you want to swing? If you screw up and flirt or step out, then work to get back...work towards building the marriage...you are going to try to be with that person for your whole life...why break that down? Plus, are you not using the people with whom you are fooling around with?

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  99. Pedro:

    Have you seen many positive healthy man-boy, adulterous, incestuous relationships?

    That's not the point. The point is IF SOMEONE SAID THAT TO YOU, would you take the comments at face value?

    I've never seen a postive healthy sexual gay relationship, but obviously you won't take my comments at face value.

    By the way, I have seen what could be defined as a "positive, healthy" adulterous relationship -- my mother and stepfather began their sexual relationship while they were both still married to my father and my stepfather's ex-wife, respectively. They married shortly after their respective divorces were final and are still married to this day (16 years so far, I think?) By all accounts, they are still very happily married. However, their relationship ripped our families apart and caused lasting repercussions that still exist today, and obviously from my POV it is not a positive, healthy relationship. Still, to outsiders it is. The media certainly portrays many adulterous relationships as happy and joyful. Does that mean we should start celebrating and condoning adultery?

    Gwen - I am told, nearly on a daily basis, that my due to my faith I am hateful, bigoted, vitrolic, etc. (You've seen evidence of this on my blog.) I had one atheist tell me that he believes I am abusing my kids just by raising them Catholic. I am told that I am a mindless automaton that blindly follows the dictums of old men or some imaginary sky daddy (or both) and have never engaged in rational thought of my own. I'm told I'm incapable of thinking on my own, which must be why I'm Catholic.

    Oh, and I have also been told by those in the "childfree" community that I'm a filthy breeder, among other insults. I've also been told that since we use NFP and have more than 2 kids, I'm a mindless baby-making machine who just keeps popping them out and will destroy the planet someday. I've had pro-gay activists tell me they hope my kids will grow up to be gay (and if they do, I hope they'll be like Steve). I've had pro-abortion activits tell me they hope my daughter will be raped and get pregnant someday so I'll know what it's like to be in that situation.

    Et cetera.

    But you know, I mostly just feel pity for those who say such things since they are so obviously misinformed or just plain ignorant. I don't really get offended (although I have to say I was pretty offended at the people who wished rape upon my daughter), just puzzled or exasperated at their cluelessness.

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  100. Mary,

    Out the door, but quickly, and we can talk more later (maybe even face to face someday, huh? in MA).

    My own oldest daughter is living with a man and not married. We explain any couple "pretending to be married" but not really being married the same way. It's wrong because it's bad for you (like Steve explained), but you have to be courteous to people, and in the case of family love them, anyway.

    A wingnut is a right-winger. :-)

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  101. Pedro, I haven't heard of that. Are you making the case that .000001% of the history of mankind has ever believed that "marriage" was about gay sex? Not sure if that disproves my point? That's like if I said, "Everyone feels pain" and you said, "But what about those .0000001% of folks born with a genetic disorder where they cannot feel pain?"

    At that point, conversation breaks down and discourse becomes impossible. I wrote something long ago that addresses that:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/09/generalizing-is-not-bad-thing.html

    (Also, I'm gonna guess that whatever tribes you are talking about, if they did sanction gay unions, they still thought of them as different from marriage which facilitates actual sexual intercourse and produces children. I could be wrong of course…)

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  102. Monica, THANK YOU! This pelvis/childbirth thing is used all the time by those who are trying to justify gay sexual play, and it is just weird to me, as there is no analogy! So strange. I can usually connect the dots on a logical argument (even when I disagree with it), but this one has no dots to connect.

    It's like saying that "gay sex is moral, because our knees give out more easily than they did 10 thousands years ago"… huh? Sorry, not getting the connection AT ALL!!

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  103. Mary, did you ever define marriage for us? I honestly can't remember. Could you define it? Thanks!

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  104. Zach, we are "celebrating" holiness, sanctity, and virtue. That used to be okay. In my Faith, it still is. Steve's life is one of heroic virtue, especially in this culture. Why would you weep over the fact that we celebrate virtue?

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  105. It's because I think the Church's policy in the Catechism concerning homosexuality is wrong

    The teaching about the wrongness of homosexuality is not simply "the Church's policy in the Catechism". It is the unchanging teaching of the Church for 2,000 years, and for thousands of years before that in Judaism all the way back to creation itself.

    No one has still given a response regarding the improbability of this:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/04/and-papacy-remains.html

    There is no human answer to it, only a supernatural one.

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  106. Ironically the people who said we must acknowledge homosexual marriage because marriage meant something in society were the same people cohabitating for years without a marital commitment from their partner...because it's just a piece of paper. Yeah. (???)

    Stacy, exactly my thoughts! It's like the agenda changed on a dime as soon as they found out what was/wasn't working to sway the public sympathies. And this whole debate is based on misguided "compassion." Compassion for anyone should never, ever include condoning their sins. Sins are not good for anyone, body or soul.

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  107. Pedro, are you aware that many people think man-boy love is "positive and healthy"? NAMBLA, of course, and some other academics. And the APA came thisclose to saying that pedophilia is no longer a disorder. And International Planned Parenthood says a whole lot of sick stuff in their new treatise on children's sexual rights.

    So, I guess when that (growing) opinion gets a big enough following, you'll be on board with that? Because after all, maybe the only reason "man-boy love" does not seem positive and healthy to you is because of the "unfortunate" social stigma that it has!

    I hope you see the point.

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  108. Mary - okay, so I guess my completely secular, college anatomy and physiology textbook which went in depth on how the female pelvis (when a healthy size) is perfect for childbirth was lying to me?

    I mean I have 7 nieces and nephews, and all except one were a c-section... and there's an entire raging debate about how US medicine performs too many c-sections. Go to Japan and they won't even give you pain meds, like even an Advil - just not seen as important or necessary. I guess the point I am trying to make is that your claim that the pelvis isn't "well-suited" for childbirth seems awfully over-confident since ob/gyn's and birthing experts across the world don't always consistently agree on what medical intervention is "too much" intervention and what is necessary.

    And yeah, what Monica said lol. This is so off-topic.

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  109. As for teaching homosexuality in schools. Basically we accepting homosexuality or we condem it. I think the reasoning to mention someones homosexual orientation is clear it is to show kids that gay people contribute to socieity too, that it is okay to be gay. This isn't to derail families but really to alleviate the stress felt by gay kids, who as we know get mercilessly mocked and threatened. No one is saying Catholics do that or the church encourages it, but there are a lot of people who use the premise that it is unnatural to be hateful. Even in liberal college land, boys try extra hard to not be perceived as gay. They still use gay slurs when no gay people are around.


    Fundamentally You have a lot in common with biggots whether you want to believe it or not, you believe acting homosexually is not ok. Others believe it is ok. If it's not okay, it's okay to badger the homosexual afterall they are doing somethig wrong. If it is ok, why wouldn't you teach it in schools after all it's ok...

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  110. College Student, wow. "Fundamentally You have a lot in common with biggots whether you want to believe it or not..."

    Isn't that comment inherently bigoted in itself? I've always wondered how people who call others bigots for their beliefs can't see how even using that term is bigoted. Especially on this blog. No one name-calls, tells people they're going to hell, tells people God hates them, etc. We're thoughtfully debating a moral issue. Just because our beliefs aren't the same as yours, and that we have a certain set of moral values, doesn't mean we're bigots. Because if we were, wouldn't you also be a bigot against us? See how that works?

    Read JoAnna's comment back at 10:39am, then tell me the pro-traditional-marriage advocates are the bigots.

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  111. wow, awesome article!! Thank you!

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  112. Monica, Thank you!!!!!!!!!!

    My mom had 8 children (at home) and delivered a 13 pounder among other very large babies. My mom is not a big lady but the woman's body is meant to have babies. C-sections are constantly being pushed out of CONVENIENCE. In fact more than 55% of the time, that's what they are.

    Manda

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  113. Additionally,

    If you believe that treating Homosexuals different is a civil rights issue than parents shouldnt have the right to take their children out of school on that day anymore than they have the right to withdrawal them from hearing about the holocaust.


    I do also wonder if one of the reasons homosexuality is talked about in school is sex. Of you have a sex Ed class and told gay students that they couldn't have sex, it would just stop then from protecting themselves and worst from getting tested. I think it's a problem if a gay man tells his doctor he's a virgin because he's never had sex with a woman but has had numerous male sex partners. Again, if we ignore 'sex play' in the discussion we fAil to tell kids of the special risks to oral and anal sex ( practiced be gay and straight alike) if we mention
    it we legitimize the lifestyle.

    Many of you Have mentioned how gay men are promiscuous, how much of that has to do with them being told and told again their relationships are unnatural anyway and they don't have the capacity to make relationships based on more than sex?

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  114. College Student,

    I think the reasoning to mention someones homosexual orientation is clear it is to show kids that gay people contribute to socieity too

    Why can't we teach that EVERYONE can contribute to society, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, etc.?

    Would you support a class that highlights and celebrates the contributions that adulterers have made to society?

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  115. Excuse me, I had no idea evolutionary biology was used "all the time" to justify gay sex.

    I have no doubt that hand washing before touching other people's bodies and open cavities prohibits many bad things from occurring. And I am not arguing that C-Sections are healthier than vaginal births or that because we have small pelvis bones we should stop procreating or that small pelvis bones means we can't have babies. We wouldn't be here if that was the case.

    Perhaps I've been quite wrong in my reading and studying from prestigious evolutionary anthropologists that our ancestors pelvis bones became smaller after we began walking upright? Would any of you care to tell me from your in depth studies, that this is not the case?
    Perhaps the fact that our useless wisdom teeth stick around in our mouths is more evidence for the "fallen world"? A reminder of all the "sin" we've performed?

    And thank you for clearing up what exactly each and every body part is meant to do. Until these recent illuminations, I kept squeezing my boobs hoping I could hear better and trying to drink water up my nose.

    -gwen

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  116. What an interesting post-thanks for sharing!! I'm also enjoying reading the comments...very interesting.

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  117. But yet, gwen, WE'RE the ones who are brash and crude... hmmmm.

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  118. JoAnna, do you seriously have no sense of humor?

    -gwen

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  119. Gwen, how bout stay on topic and address the points that are actually being made instead of trying to be cute? And, yes, on this blog the pelvis issue comes up a lot. And it is unrelated to the morality of gay sex. You see?

    College student, no on is "allowed" to harrass anyone else. That is not Catholic teaching. Are you kidding? Have you understood anything you've read on this blog? You've been here a while and you are still misrepresenting Catholicism on these basic things? That is what is frustrating. I guess we just have to live with it. You will not listen to what we are actually saying, but only hear what you want to hear.

    For the others: The Church teaches that gay people are to be treated with utmost dignity. They are children of God like everyone else. But we can never condone sexual activity outside of marriage. And marriage is impossible for two men or two women. That is not and has never been marriage. Sorry. You can redefine it, and it will still be immoral.

    As for teaching history. History is about facts and contributions. It is not to "make people feel good" or "make people stop being harrassed" or anything else based on the culture of "tell me I'm a good person". That is not the job of education. Only a liberal would base history on an agenday to make one group of people feel better about themselves. It makes absolutely no sense. Many a composer has contributed to the world music scene, and children can appreciate those contributions without knowing what they were doing in their bedrooms, can't they?

    And really? Little children (who do not need to be sexualized in any way!) need to know about gay sex and how "good" it is to be a practicing homosexual? Really?

    If you think so, fine. You state your case, we state ours. That's the arena of ideas. We debate the merit of ideas. Everyone decides for himself which side to fall on.

    That's the culture war, folks. And let's shoot for clarity, at least, since there won't be agreement.

    Oh, and one more thing: College student is saying that if you fall on the Catholic side of the issue, you may not opt your children out of the teaching which violates your faith and sexualizes your children. Be very clear about that. They don't want you to opt out of this teaching of their agenda, and they don't want you to homeschool, either (liberals in California tried to outlaw that).

    So, when I say that liberals are only liberal when it comes to sex and drugs, and that they push to control your life in every other way, please believe me, they do. Thanks, college student, for making that ever more clear.

    No opt out for parents who want to protect their kids from sexualization and the gay agenda. Yep.

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  120. Hmmm Monica.
    I just don't agree, and I'd have to ask a question: So, are you the one who gets to decide what is on-topic on this blog? Maybe Leila appointed you? Seems like most everyone else is OK when side conversations crop up...actually it is one of the best features of this excellent blog. I know I have followed my share of side topics that did not relate directly to the main thrust of Leila's point. She seems to be OK with it.

    I have several OB's in my circle and an obstetric nurse in my family, and they would utterly laugh at your comments about babies only being bigger from GD. Although, you are probably totally on base with the idea that great advances have been made by hygiene alone. I was in the third world and the lack of basic hygiene is pervasive.

    Tina Cassidy...oh yes, I remember that book. It was all the rage when one of my sons was being born. The slant of that book is so obviously pro at-home-birth. Everyone was all back to being a hippie and into what was "natural" and pushing the doula etc.

    In the book Tina herself seemed to have a hard time reconciling her distaste for obstetrics with her awareness of the maternal deaths due to inadequate modern care worldwide. In fact, I remember her talking about the pelvis....maybe not? I will see if I still have the book.

    My sister would have died without the C and the hospital. ....very glad she did not. Her baby did not have a shoulder issue...he has a huge head...still does.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17925047

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  121. Well, Leila if your comment above doesn't speak arrogance and assumptions, I don't know what else does. But I won't try to get you "off-topic" because I guess the meaning and purpose of body parts now isn't part of morality? (weren't you just saying hetero sex with male/female body parts is only meant for the purposes of creating life and bringing unity to married couples?)

    Later,
    gwen

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  122. Mary, what I believe Monica means by "off topic" is that you are using an analogy in an attmept to make a point, but the analogy has no bearing whatsoever on the topic at hand. She wasn't saying (I don't think) that one topic can't move to a completely different topic. Yes, that's the fun of this blog. But to use unrelated topics and try to analogize them to make a point? That is where the problem of "off topic" lies.

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  123. I do, gwen. How about you?

    College Student, this is Church teaching:

    It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.

    And this:

    2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

    Do individual Catholics always live up to this teaching? No, and that's a shame. But individual Catholics fail to live up to EVERY teaching of the Church; that's why we're a hospital for sinners and not a hotel for saints.

    Given the above, though, can you HONESTLY say that the Catholic Church condones or encourages harassing those with same-sex attraction?

    Mary:

    Oh, let's not start the homebirth debate. I can whip out just as many statistics and studies about the safety of homebirth as you can about the dangers of homebirth. The bottom line is that neither a hospital nor a home environment can guarantee a 100% positive outcome every single time. Bad things can and do happen no matter where you choose to give birth.

    That being said, I've given birth three times (in hospitals, vaginally, with no pain medication -- and I'd love to have a homebirth if my husband was more comfortable with the idea) and I'm not dead yet. God willing, my 4th birth in December will go just as smoothly as my previous three have.

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  124. Gwen, seriously? You do you believe that labor and birth are voluntary acts? I always thought those were natural processes which are involuntary. I've been through labor. As I labored, it was not a moral decision to labor, nor a question of willful behavior.

    That's like saying that kidneys cleaning the blood improperly is a moral issue. Ummm, no.

    But choosing where and what to do with your own sexual organs, and with whom... yes, those are moral, behavioral issues.

    If you can't see the distinction, maybe others reading can.

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  125. Steve, thanks for your courageous post. I'll pray for you.

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  126. My last birth was 2.5 hours from start to finish. I felt like I was on a freight train that was careening out of control... I wanted things to SLOW DOWN. (We just barely made it to the hospital the way it was... I went through transition in the elevator on the way up to L&D!) Believe me, it was NOT a voluntary act!!

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  127. Gwen, or maybe you are saying that because "evolutionarily" the pelvis grew smaller for childbirth, that it somehow correlates to "gay people must choose to have sex with each other"? Because if that's the case you are making, it opens up a whole host of problems.

    Really what is the connection between small pelvises and the decision to use one's genitals as one pleases?

    Cuz I am not getting the connection. Anyone else want to try to spell it out for me, clearly? I need it very clear. It's how my brain works (call me stupid, it just is).

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  128. Many of you Have mentioned how gay men are promiscuous, how much of that has to do with them being told and told again their relationships are unnatural anyway and they don't have the capacity to make relationships based on more than sex?

    This is an example of "soft bigotry" which is actually nothing more than condescension. College student, are you really saying that gay men do not "have the capacity" to act morally and control their promiscuity because other people made them "feel bad about themselves"? I have a much higher opinion of the humanity and capacity of gay men than that.

    Is that like saying that teens "can't help but have sex, since they have urges" or that poor people need abortions and condoms because they "aren't educated" like the rest of the elite?

    There is a reason the term "liberal elite" came to be, and your statement is a perfect example. It's insulting to gay men.

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  129. Steve, Kuddos on a great post! Thank you for your courage and fortitude, I will keep you in my prayers.

    Wow. I'm having trouble keeping up with the other comments.

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  130. Gwen, I was thinking the same thing about this arrogant paragraph from Leila:

    The teaching about the wrongness of homosexuality is not simply "the Church's policy in the Catechism". It is the unchanging teaching of the Church for 2,000 years, and for thousands of years before that in Judaism all the way back to creation itself.

    I gather from the previous post that as long as catholics are properly humble about being the only group with the legitimate authority to proclaim such truth, then they are not being arrogant.

    And Leila also says in the previous post:

    The only proper response to discovering and receiving Christ's Truth is not arrogance, but utter humility; not the exclusion of non-believers, but an extended hand of inclusion.

    When I fail in this regard, please call me on it. For the times I already have, please forgive me.


    I'm trying to determine if she is including here, or excluding. What do you think, Gwen?

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  131. JoAnna,
    I am not saying you cannot have a home birth...power to you....but I would never ever do it. And I would never advise you to do it. My sister, several other close calls and one friend who developed post-birth HELLP syndrome all brought me there.

    I've been on both sides of the epidural and I think it was the best thing ever invented....pretty much! I cannot understand why someone would not want one....kind of like Novocaine...but I guess everyone experiences pain differently...I also cannot understand what makes Ironman Triathletes do what they do...

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  132. Well, my mother's neighbor who developed spinal menginitis due to her epidural and nearly died would probably quibble with you about the epidural issue...

    I've never gotten one because I don't want a needle going anywhere NEAR my spinal column unless it's a life-or-death emergency.

    HELLP is a serious syndrome but statistically rare, and any homebirth midwife worth her salt is trained to recognize the symptoms of HELLP, pre-eclampsia, and other serious conditions and then refer such women to the hospital for treatment and/or delivery (incidentally, if your sister had post-birth HELLP, how would being in a hospital or home setting for the actual birth make any difference)?

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  133. MaiZeke,

    But assuming that atheists are so much smarter, honest, etc. than those ignorant Christians isn't arrogant...?

    If the Church's claim to truth was indeed true, would it be arrogance, or fact?

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  134. I’m going to fumble my way through this idea so please bear with me. I recently read that a priest feels that if the homosexual community would acknowledge their calling to celibacy than it might be appropriate for them to become priests and nuns and fulfill God’s works.

    I see that God has a purpose for everyone. I also see that tragedies that strike us are a way of God working around our free will. I word my thoughts differently than the catechism but I see infertility as a design by God to care for children that are not wanted or abused. Our free will has developed a scientific solution to God’s design. While the priest I mentioned sees homosexuality as a design by God for continued holy people, I see homosexuality as a design by God to fill the need of children without parents.

    As you’ve mentioned people continue to convert to Catholicism but they are not lining the street to adopt, they are lining the street to get invetro. God’s design of family and child rearing has changed many times throughout the course of history (man and woman, man plus multiple women, man plus wives, plus concubines). Is it not possible to believe that God would step in and design a solution to our global problems? Gay couples, living a life without sin, thereby not committing sexual acts or invetro fertilization, and wishing to share their life with the children who remain without parents. Could that not be a design by God?

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  135. This post is about a gay Catholic man, and we are discussing whether or not female pelvises are able to fit babies out. Maybe I am mistaken on the definition of off-topic? But it is a topic I like, so...

    No one is questioning that the human female pelvis is different from that of a quadruped. Here is the WHO report on causes of maternal death in developing nations- http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/maternal_perinatal/epidemiology/en/ Less than 10% (average from the three developing continents surveyed)of women who die in labor die of "obstructed labor". Obstructed labor is defined as either a. failure to progress (insufficient uterine activity) or b. true cephalo-pelvic disproportion CPD.

    I'm sure your sister had a very necessary c-section for a very rare true CPD. I assume the x-ray of her pelvis clearly showed it's outlet at the time of birth, flooded with relaxin, as she was in an upright and mobile position, being insufficient for her child's head. I'm not denying that this CAN occur.

    All I am saying is that less than ten percent of maternal deaths in third world countries are caused by obstructed labor, and probably some half of those are caused by actual CPD. Maternal mortality in developing countries is 290/100000 births.

    So, in the worst possible scenario, your chances of dying due to true CPD are going to be around .0145% (.0029 (deaths per birth) x .05 (portion of deaths due to CPD)).

    .0145%. This is enough to proclaim the human pelvis faulty?

    I am sorry to hear that your obstetrician friends would laugh at the findings of the WHO, but I don't find it surprising in the least. The WHO also recommends breastfeeding 2 years, but I have yet to come across a pediatrician who doesn't find this idea laughable at best. Go figure.

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  136. Excellent article, Steve. Thank you for writing it.

    However, I would take some exception to the notion that you are "gay". "Gay" implies more than just someone who has same-sex attraction. It implies a lifestyle which you have rejected (Deo gratias). It would be the equivalent of a man calling himself a "Swinger" just because he experiences the temptation to commit adultery.

    You are not "gay". You are a man and a Child of God--and quite a noble and good one based on your posts.

    May Almighty God bless and keep you always.

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  137. I gather from the previous post that as long as catholics are properly humble about being the only group with the legitimate authority to proclaim such truth, then they are not being arrogant.

    MaiZeke, perhaps you missed the bulk of that post? If the Truth is received (and not determined by me or anyone else) and if that Truth is intended for everyone (not exclusive to a few), then how is that arrogant?

    Help me out, I'm a little slower than you. ;)

    What would be arrogant about that?

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  138. See, this is why it's off topic, because we are now talking about the pros and cons of home birth and epidurals! lol!

    Studies show that home birth and hospital birth are equally safe for low-risk women (most of us), so it seems logical that women should give birth in the location where they "feel" most comfortable. For some women, this will be at home, for others, it will be a hospital. To counsel someone in one direction or the other based on anecdotal evidence is not useful. Most women, if given both sides, can make an informed decision without needing to hear about other horror stories, which are almost always statistical anomalies.. whether they occur in hospital or home.

    Personally, having given birth both in and out of hospital, I would never set foot in a hospital again unless a true medical need was identified. light candles.

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  139. Light candles is a typo... :-)

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  140. http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/04/and-papacy-remains.html

    MaiZeke, will you be the first atheist or secularist to address this? I've tried oh so many times. Any human explanation for this?

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  141. With all of my friends and our stories, I'm pretty sure labor/delivery/epidural/water birth/at home birth could fill a whole blog and contain too many comments to follow.

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  142. Leila
    To your point about off-topic. I don't think that is what Monica was saying, but the connection with gay sex is this:

    -Catholics and others say that all our behaviors and body parts are inherently designed to be perfect...any deviation from that is sin.

    -There are human anatomy structures that are wholly or partly vestigial; remnants of our evolutionary history

    -Some of these structures demonstrate "design flaws" such as the human knee, the human back, wisdom teeth, the back of the throat etc. (I stand corrected by someone way back about the very recent new evidence about the appendix!)

    --Therefore, some of our behaviors and structures might not be so inherently "wonderfully made".

    --Thus, perhaps one could view (especially male) homosexual attraction as an offshoot of this evolutionary process. (I for one, think I could see how, in a tribal society, the fourth or fifth son might have some advantage from forming romantic and sexual bonds with males, since his birthright status is so low) Some research supports the idea, as boys are more likely to be gay the more older brothers they have (from the same womb).

    I do understand how you see male sexuality not as evolved, but rather as akin to pedophilia or rape. Thus, it is a "disorder". Although I see the huge evolutionary and social disadvantages to homosexuality, I must tell you that I know loving, committed gays who seem to be ordered in every other way. Their expression of love seems just as true as mine....so I am conflicted...

    Using my terminology about abortion....I would hate to err on the wrong side here....Is it worth condemning loving adults to lives of celibacy if we might be wrong about gay sex? Seems like a lot of lost love and a lot of loneliness. Understand I am talking about committed relationships, not promiscuous relationships.

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  143. Leila,
    I don't think I gave a def. of marriage. That is a hard one, because at this point, I guess I am like Stacy's husband...kind of libertarian about it. Really...though...it seems like civil unions would be OK....keeping the procreation definition in marriage alone. But....I think plural marriage is a greater challenge. It seems plural marriages have been wonderful, stable places to bring up children through the millenia (and in the Bible).

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  144. What I meant by off topic is that when a large group of women start talking, and things turn to babies and birth... the focus of the conversation rarely comes back to the topic of origin. I wasn't using "off topic" as an insult, and am not sure why you are upset about my stating a fact? Obviously I enjoy the birth conversation!

    Also, thank you for clarifying how you connect the two topics- this was helpful to me, as I had not heard the female pelvis/gay marriage connection before this post either.

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  145. Catholics and others say that all our behaviors and body parts are inherently designed to be perfect...any deviation from that is sin.

    Mary, whaaa….??? Stop the presses! I have never and the Church has never, ever said that! Where is the communication breakdown? I can't even get to the rest of your comment.

    I don't even know what to say….

    We have said that body parts are made for a PURPOSE. And they should be used according to their NATURE.

    As for sin, it's when we go against God's moral law, our own good, our own design, our own nature, our own inherent dignity.

    I have no idea where you got the above.

    How can one even "deviate" from "perfect body parts" in the first place?

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  146. Melly Sue said "Gay couples, living a life without sin, thereby not committing sexual acts or invetro fertilization, and wishing to share their life with the children who remain without parents. Could that not be a design by God? "

    Really interesting point! Never thought about it that way! Maybe you covered this above, but do mean that the gay couple would not be having any intimacy?"

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  147. No...you are right Leila...I should have worded it that way...sorry...you believe our bodies and behaviors are perfectly designed for a purpose, and I would say that they might well serve that purpose, but there are inherent flaws, that are often due to the evolutionary process.

    Is anyone else getting this? Zach? Are you not a biologist?

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  148. Mary, distracted by a lot of little boys.

    Let me ask, per your "loneliness" thoughts: Do you believe there is any higher love than eros or erotic love?

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  149. JoAnna,
    It was my friend with HELLP...It happened just hours post birth...all her organs, particularly her liver were shutting down. I don't know much about it, but they took her husband into the other room and told him things were tanking quickly and he might want a couselor. It was that quick. It shook all of us (her friends) to our core. She made it...due to very amazing hospital staff who acted like lightening.

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  150. Mary, there are flaws in every part of us, in a fallen world. Flaws. Blindness, disease, knee problems, a penchant toward disordered attraction. And how does this touch the moral law and the call to virtue? Not getting the connection, still...

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  151. Florentius, I think you will like what Steve has to say about that, here:

    http://www.stevegershom.com/q-and-a/

    :)

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  152. Yes Leila.

    I think the love of your children is higher than eros. And...I struggle...but would hope that the love for God could be higher...but I have a hard time thinking it could be greater than my love for my children and husband (and parents for that matter). Really....I see God in them.

    I have read a bit of Henri Noewen, (sp?) and he struggled with his loneliness. He was a gay, celibate priest...but he helped so many...I guess we will never know if he could have helped so many if he were not a priest and instead was an active homosexual and a counselor or something else. That experiment can never be run!

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  153. Joanna:

    That’s a fair point. I presented my personal experience, and I know it to be true, but I don’t have the power to make you see it as objective truth. So, to directly answer your question, if someone told me they had seen many healthy, positive, man-boy relationships, I would not believe them.

    Leila:

    1. “Pedro, are you aware that many people think man-boy love is "positive and healthy"?

    I don’t see your point. You and I disagree (somewhat) about what’s right and what’s wrong, but I’ve never said that I don’t believe in right and wrong. I have no problem saying that it’s wrong to perpetrate sexual acts on people who are not capable of consenting to them. It doesn’t matter to me if someone (or many someones) says differently.

    2. Regarding generalizations: I thought you were into objective truth? If a man were to say “I’ve been faithful to my wife every day that we’ve been married,” when what he meant was “I’ve been faithful to my wife for 99% of the days we’ve been married,” would he be telling the truth?

    I’m not just being pedantic. Okay, I’m being a little pedantic, but I’m doing it because this reflects one of my big problems with Catholic natural law. Generalizations are great. But when you present a generalization as a universal truth, you’re not telling the truth anymore.

    Like when Budziszewski writes: “There is something in male emotional design to which only the female can give completion, and something in female emotional design to which only the male can give completion. When the two come together, they balance each other.” That holds for the emotional design of most men and most women, but we know it’s not true for all. Otherwise men like Steve would just settle down with a nice Catholic girl.

    [If you’re interested in gay marriages among Native American tribes, research the Two-Spirit tradition, though I think that tends to be associated with tribes of the Northwest. Cabeza de Vaca documented something similar in tribes in Texas. He used the Spanish word for marriage (“casarse”) to describe their unions, but it’s possible something got lost in translation. ]

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  154. Hi Mai,

    First, have you noticed JoAnna's comment regarding yours? My goodness, I think she assumes we're smarter than she is!? Did you ever make that assertion? I don't think so-neither did I.

    At any rate, I'm not sure what to think really about Leila's posts/comments/questions being in any way inclusive. On the one hand,I have no quibbles about someone having a polite conversation about how happy their religion makes them feel, how glad they are to know they are going to heaven, etc.

    But it seems that rarely happens. In my own opinion, once indoctrinated in the idea that there is only one truth (made legitimate by a man named Jesus who died an unfortunate death and 2,000 years of popes in power)and that it's really an act of love to tell other people how and what they should believe in and live their lives, well, apparently it's too difficult to see how any of this could be arrogant because to admit arrogance would be to admit that this ideology doesn't hold one truth at all. So when we're asked to lay out what could possibly be arrogant about evangelizing the world in Catholicism or telling gay men they live in sin if they dare have sex with other men it's merely an exercise for Leila et. al to defend their faith.

    Also, I see you're being expected to answer the question, how have popes been in power for 2,000 years. Why do I feel like we're expected here to jump through all the hoops and be expert commentators on every topic from biology to philosophy to the pros and cons of whether to have an epidural? Maybe one of the Catholic ladies here would like to answer why we still have wisdom teeth even though they aren't necessary? Oh wait! off topic!

    -gwen

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  155. Melly Sue, it's an interesting thought, but there is one problem with thinking up new moralities: God already revealed His truth through Christ and Christ's Church. If you are talking about two male friends (who are not attracted to one another sexually) living in the same house and taking in older or hard-to-place foster children, then you are way off topic of gay marriage, and homosexuality in general.

    It still seems a little odd that two single male friends would live together just to be foster parents? And it still would be second-best, as children do need and deserve a mother and a father. Where that kind of stable family is not possible, then (and only then) would we move to place them in single-parent homes. It would not be ideal, and stable married couples should always take precedence, all things being equal. I don't really know how many platonic adult male friends are living together and ready to adopt foster kids as buddies?

    And the priest's sentiments are nice, but the Church has already spoken to that:

    In November 2005, the Congregation for Catholic Education released the “Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocation with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders.”

    The Instruction, approved by Pope Benedict, forbade admission to seminary to “those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called ‘gay culture’.”


    Of course, critics will say that is terribly mean or somehow unfair, but those are the same critics who say won't admit that a huge part of the priest scandal was the culture of homosexuality in seminaries in past decades, and who won't comment on the fact that 80% of the molestation was male to (adolescent) male.

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  156. Hey, if we're in a fallen world and I can blame all my physical ailments on a fallen world-I'd like to know, just when did the world fall-I'm assuming Adam and Eve-but would that be before the dinosaurs or afterwards? I've got a nightmarish picture in my mind of a scene from the creationist museum featuring Adam and Eve wearing Ivy to cover their genitalia while a brontosaurus munches happily in the background.

    -gwen

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  157. First, have you noticed JoAnna's comment regarding yours? My goodness, I think she assumes we're smarter than she is!? Did you ever make that assertion? I don't think so-neither did I.

    You sure as heck imply it at every opportunity.

    that it's really an act of love to tell other people how and what they should believe in and live their lives

    I didn't know you were an anarchist, Gwen. That's interesting. (I'm assuming, of course, that you are also opposed to the government telling people how they should live their lives, meaning that laws about big things like rape, murder, etc. and little things like traffic safety, etc. are oppressive and cruel).

    how have popes been in power for 2,000 years

    Wrong question. Read Leila's original post about the subject again.

    Regarding wisdom teeth: my husband still has his. His jaw is so large they've never caused him pain or discomfort so he's never needed to have them removed. WebMD says "Sometimes these teeth can be a valuable asset to the mouth when healthy and properly aligned..." So, I'd dispute your assertion that they are always unnecessary.

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  158. Gwen, you crack me up with your funny little Christian caricatures! But again, you mistake us for Fundamentalists. We are a Catholic blog here. But you already knew that, right? ;)

    Will get to your other comments soon….If that's okay, seeing how you and MaiZeke are having a private conversation. (Oh, and she made clear to us that we are to call her "MaiZeke" and not "Mai", FYI)

    Pedro, back to your points soon, too….

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  159. Typical of taking things out of context JoAnna-here's the full quote from WEbMD:

    "Sometimes these teeth can be a valuable asset to the mouth when healthy and properly aligned, but more often, they are misaligned and require removal."

    So by gollies, maybe the fact that your husband still has a large mouth and wisdom teeth means diddly squat to evolution.

    Sorry Maizeke, I didn't know you prefer Maizeke to Mai (honest mistake).

    -gwen

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  160. And using YOUR full quote in context, gwen:

    Maybe one of the Catholic ladies here would like to answer why we still have wisdom teeth even though they aren't necessary?

    The WebMD quote shows that wisdom teeth can be very beneficial if they're properly aligned, which would disprove your assertion that they "aren't necessary."

    AAOMS states, "Anthropologists note that the rough diet of early humans resulted in the excessive wear of their teeth. Normal drifting of the teeth to compensate for this wear ensured that space was available for most wisdom teeth to erupt by adolescence. The modern diet, which is much softer, and the popularity of orthodontic tooth straightening procedures produce a fuller dental arch, which quite commonly doesn't leave room for the wisdom teeth to erupt, thereby setting the stage for problems when the final four molars enter the mouth."

    So, the change in diet and modern dentistry practices have contributed to the "problem" of "unnecessary" wisdom teeth, but these teeth WERE very necessary at one time. Kinda torpedoes your theory, doesn't it?

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  161. Actually I'm really ticked off with your comment JoAnna about assuming I'm smarter, more intelligent, less arrogant than you and your Catholic posse (that term just came to mind). If anything, I've made more concessions on here to seeing your perspective and understanding better where you are coming from. I may never agree with it, but I have been open minded enough to see/understand how your viewpoint has been guided by your faith-which is a far more gracious attempt at understanding than you have ever shown on these posts.

    -gwen

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  162. Regarding wisdom teeth: my husband still has his.

    Still got mine!

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  163. Actually, Gwen, my perception of you is that you are snarky, rude, insulting, and yes, arrogant. Perhaps you don't see yourself as such, but that's how you're coming across to me, especially on this thread.

    And I understand your viewpoint about gay marriage et al perfectly. I used to hold those viewpoints myself, after all, in my Lutheran days. I simply disagree with it as well as your basic premises.

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  164. JoAnna, if you want to have a contest of who can copy and post snippets from professional orthodontal websites to prove that wisdom teeth are necessary and everyone should have them, please find someone else. And if you don't believe in evolution, just say so. And, finally, regarding wisdom teeth, it's not my theory nor does your little quote "torpedo" my point.

    Thanks for being a non-emotional, charitable, kind and friendly Christian. You demonstrate that trait so well with you comments.

    -gwen

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  165. Question, gwen: Cat claws aside, why do you come here, if we're mentally inferior, bible thumping, old fashioned twits?

    Why not take your own advice and banter with your buddies on atheist blogs about how 'nothing arose from nothing' and how your elitist club alone holds the key to all things material and spiritual, even though you don't profess to hate God or even know Him or his followers?

    Just wondering, because one can smell bitterness a mile away, and you have it, sister.
    Has anyone ever told that to you before?

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  166. Nubby, cute that you say things like "cat claws aside" and then proceed to tell me I'm part of an elitist club and a bitter person.

    No, no one has ever associated me with bitter. Your sense of smell must be off.

    Has anyone ever called you pugilistic?

    -gwen

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  167. Is there a reason why heterosexual men can remain celibate more than homosexual men?

    While pedophilia happens between men and boys, pedophilia is a disorder that is drastically different from the "disorder" of homosexuality. (in quotations because I would never label homosexuality as a disorder) If being a homosexual is not a sin, but the acts are, how could a homosexual man be any different than a gluttonous man when considering the priesthood? Are they both not affected by the near occasion of sin - they would both be surrounded by the gender in which they had sexual interest, and the gluttonous man would often be presented with tasty confections from parish members?

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  168. Gwen, why do you assume I don't believe in evolution? As a matter of fact, I do. I just disagree with your assertion that wisdom teeth are unnecessary.

    Thanks for being a non-emotional, charitable, kind and friendly Christian. You demonstrate that trait so well with you comments.

    That's a very open-minded and gracious attempt to understand my viewpoint, Gwen.

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  169. Gwen, cat claws aside. What gives? Why the thrill of the Catholic blog for you?

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  170. For the most part, in my month of reading - there are no open-minded contributors to this blog. And when one side begins to acknowledge that, the other begins with the snarky, sarcastic, nasty comments. It detracts from the positive aspects of everyone posting.

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  171. Maye not JoAnna, but this comment from 9:58 on the previous post certainly was:

    JoAnna, Betthanny, Leila,

    Thanks for the answers. Your responses to the old adage, 'if I am not on the Pill, I'm just a baby factory' are particularly illuminating. I can understand how that would be offensive/misleading to you.

    -gwen

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  172. Gwen, here is my honest impression. There have been times when you are kind and generous in your comments, and there was even a time (when you had your own blog) when we seemed to get along nicely. I have always welcomed you here. Unlike MaiZeke (who is snarky about 80% of the time), you generally have been pretty decent. Lately, though, not so much. I sense lots of sarcasm, snarkiness, and yes, bitterness. The part about how you actually "INTERVIEW" people and "WRITE PAPERS" because you are an academic and we are not, made me see that you really have no respect for our intelligence (at least not mine). Why you turned? I'm not sure. I haven't had a snarky relationship with Mrs. M, or with Michelle, or with Zach, or with Mary (not an atheist, but still).

    Maybe this is too much psychology/therapy for a blog, lol!

    Anyway, one think JoAnna is very good about is being factual and non-emotional. So, I don't get why you would accuse her of being otherwise?

    Anyway, I hope you can put your animus aside and just discuss the issues. It's all I want to do.

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  173. Melly Sue, we are Catholic on this blog. We stand for what is Catholic teaching. I am still perplexed as to why you converted to the Catholic Faith (which stands for very definite, unchanging truths) if you think that to have Catholic principles is not "open-minded" (which I am guessing is the highest virtue that you hold)?

    Melly Sue, do you believe in your Catholic Faith? Do you believe she teaches objective truth, revealed by God, as you professed when you came in the Church?

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  174. Back to issues, Miss Gwen:

    You missed my point about the post on the endurance of the papacy. I didn't ask if there have been 2,000 years of popes. I asked how it is possible that such a thing could happen? How, humanly, do you explain it? How do you explain, on top of that, that the Papacy is teaching the very same things today as it did 20 centuries ago? Even our little baby nation (America) is struggling and infighting about moral codes, etc.

    How do you explain that post, and that quote? Can you? It's an honest question.

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  175. I'm glad you understand why being called or considered a "baby factory" is offensive, Gwen. That's great. Thank you for that.

    It doesn't change my opinion that in the past, and in this thread in particular, you come across as snarky, rude, insulting, and arrogant. Again, you may not be trying to be that way, but that's how your words are coming across to me.

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  176. I believe you've even admitted Leila that comments have gotten emotional on this blog before. So I think it's okay once in awhile if I have a strong reaction to something you've written-because I certainly seem to instigate the same from you and your followers.

    I do actually interview people and write papers, it's part of my job. It doesn't make me smarter than you or anyone else here (though I have suggested lack of mental fortitude with regards to Nubby in the heat of exchanging ideas).

    I don't believe at all you "just want to discuss the issues" but a commenter wiser than me who used to grace this blog already called you out on that before.

    I sense we are getting "off topic" here though with the psychological profiling of me. weren't we supposed to be discussing how inclusive and loving the Catholic church is towards gay people as long as they don't act on their gay behavior?

    -gwen

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  177. Gwen, At the risk of having what sounds like an Oprah moment (puke), we are Catholic, we do care about your soul at the end of the day, and that's why we have a dog in this fight (meaning the spiritual fight).

    To answer you: No one’s ever called me pugilistic before, but I kind of like it. I do like boxing.

    We do care about you, gwen.

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  178. You and I disagree (somewhat) about what’s right and what’s wrong, but I’ve never said that I don’t believe in right and wrong. I have no problem saying that it’s wrong to perpetrate sexual acts on people who are not capable of consenting to them. It doesn’t matter to me if someone (or many someones) says differently.

    Pedro, what is the source of truth? And is consent the sole criterion of the good?

    A man-boy lover could say that his victim has the right to sexuality, too (International Planned Parenthood might agree). They say they are not doing anything wrong. You say they are. One of you is right, one is wrong. How do we know? And remember, the man-boy lover does not care that you say he is wrong.

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  179. Well, JoAnna, your comments come across as snarky, pugilistic, arrogant, rude, insulting, assumptive, and derogatory to me.


    -gwen

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  180. Maizeke, I have to go. It was good exchanging comments with you one here though. Since you and I are snarky and rude, maybe that's why we get along eh?

    I'll leave more commenting to the nicer peeps here like Mrs. M, Pedro, Zach etc.

    Cheers!
    gwen

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  181. I don't believe at all you "just want to discuss the issues" but a commenter wiser than me who used to grace this blog already called you out on that before.

    Huh? I guess I'll let that go. Have no idea to what you are referring. If you don't think I am here to discuss ideas (as well as teach the Faith), then what the heck do you think I'm here for? Oy, vey.

    Back on topic (of another post)...

    Mother Teresa had the same view of Catholicism that all other orthodox Catholics do: Namely, the Church teaches the Truth of Christ to the world. She also submitted her life in obedience to those teachings.

    Because of this, was she arrogant, in your eyes? Why or why not.

    (that was for Gwen)

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  182. oh and thanks Nubby, I do appreciate the sentiment but really I don't need anyone to take care of my soul : ) I'm doing just fine and there need not be an "Oprah moment" Despite portrayals here and perhaps mental images of the agonized elitist academic losing her hair and consorting with evil, I'm a happy kind of gal.

    -gwen

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  183. I don't have those images of you, gwen. Just wanted to extend you some friendship.

    Back to topic, sorry Leila.

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  184. Man, this kitchen is hot!

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  185. Pedro, I speak the language of the common man. So, to say that "I am faithful to my wife 99% of the time" means "I am unfaithful."

    I hope you understand that mental reservations in order to deceive is a way to, well, deceive.

    Saying that "marriage has always been understood to be about men and women committing their lives for the procreation of children" is not a deceptive statement. It's something we all can understand, even if .00001% of "marriages" (or something else that was "like" marriage) were same sex.

    If you have to put every caveat to every converstation you have, I feel bad for your kids: "Daddy, dogs have four legs!" "Well, dear, actually, that is not a true statement. Some dogs only have three legs. And some dogs have two. And still other dogs have three and a half legs, and.... "

    LOL, I hope you get my point. I speak common English, plain language, so as best to be understood. If it becomes necessary to get into caveats or deviations of meaning, then I will do so, if it leads to clarity and a better grasp of truth. That is what I am about: clarity, not obfuscation. Language's purpose is to facilitate communication, not obstruct it.

    Hope that makes sense!

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  186. “There is something in male emotional design to which only the female can give completion, and something in female emotional design to which only the male can give completion. When the two come together, they balance each other.”

    Professor B is correct. There is something quite "unbalanced" objectively in male-on-male "union" or female-on-female "union". Very unbalanced indeed. Where is the balance that you feel exists? Show me. Pleasure does not equal "balance". Do you really and truly not understand what Professor B means? Really?

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  187. My Catholic faith and your Catholic Faith are very different. And in my search for changes in the history of religion you can see that the changes in the catechism, how very minute they maybe, spur a lot of frustration and misunderstanding between the different RCIA classes and cradle Catholics.

    My thought on Truth, is that truth is associated with fact, associated with proof, proof thereby negating faith. My faith in God and the Church is not negated because I acknowledge that free will has impacted everyone except Jesus. In addition to free will we all sin. This doesn't mean that I don't have faith that the bible holds truth, it doesn't mean that I don't have faith in the Vatican to ensure the continued preservation of that faith. My perception of what God has granted us however leaves room for the side of caution in trusting completely in people - because God first gives them free will. Because of free will and sin there can be no full truth here on Earth as it relates to religion. As such God remains unproven, we are able to show faith in God.

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  188. Ugh...I am lost.

    Gwen, I get some of your points, but I do wonder how (really wondering) you come up with ideas about why adultery is wrong, why lying is wrong etc. Maybe it was covered (sorry...sometimes not following exactly) but I think the question is not whether the Catholic Church or anyone has a right to tell anyone what to do about anything, but whether the church or a government has the right to tell people what to do about certain things and not others.

    (I know this is coming across as simple-minded, but my writing is not at it's best right now...kinda sick)

    My issues with the Church, is that certain teachings seem suspect because they do not jive with what I know, what others know and what appears to be true. For me, things like adultery are obviously wrong for lots of reasons...murder, lying, stealing, etc...even "coveting your neighbor's wife and stuff etc." but it is harder to make the leap about masturbation, contraception in a marriage and priestly celibacy for me....committed gay relationships also...but a bit less so.

    I am sure you have elaborated before, but maybe you could point out a few ideas.

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  189. WOW - thank you! this will be bookmarked and referred to often!

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  190. My Catholic faith and your Catholic Faith are very different.

    Melly Sue, in the gentlest way possible, I need to tell you that there is only one Catholic Faith. Only one.

    Please go back and read the definition of "Faith" that I posted when you asked. Faith is not opposed to reason, and it's not opposed to Truth. Faith is conviction in things unseen, not unknowable. It does not mean there is no evidence, no "proof" for our faith. Faith is what we believe because it is revealed by God and it is True.

    Melly Sue, there is only one Catholic Faith. Please, read your Catechism, please learn about your Catholic Faith (which is not based on your opinion, or anyone's opinion). We don't get to determine what it is. We submit to it as it is revealed by God Himself. No one can force you to believe that, but that is our Catholic Faith.

    “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God."

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  191. Mary, I don't know much about Henri Noewen, but if he was an orthodox faithful priest, the idea that mortal sin would help him and others would be an abhorrent thought to him and a disgrace to his memory. It's like telling a Catholic that if only a married saint would have had an affair, he would have been able to do so much more good…

    Agape love is what we are supposed to have for all, not just our children. (Not that you are disputing that… just clarifying)

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  192. The author Romano Amerio "claims that CCC displays a shift away from presenting dogma as fact and toward presenting the Catholic faith itself as a search for truth." Does that claim explain the differences in opinion that we both have about the same Church?

    I am leaving for vacation on Friday, and will be taking with me "Rediscovering Catholicism" and I'm going to look to see if I can find a library that has "Iota Unum: A Study of Changes in the Catholic Church in the XXth Century."

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  193. Melly Sue, I have never heard of the author Romano Amerio. Is he a faithful Catholic who submits to the teachings of the Church? If not, then he is a dissenter. I don't know him, so I can't say.

    I think that is a Matthew Kelly book? He is a faithful Catholic, from what I know of him, so I hope you get a lot out of the book!

    I pray that at some point you read Church encyclicals and the Catechism, along with the Bible and the Church Fathers. You have no guarantee that you will find Catholic Truth in any other sources, and there are plenty of dissenting sources which will mislead you.

    Have a good vacation!

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  194. And, Melly Sue, the CCC is definitely about Truth. No question. So, no… that does not explain the differences between us. The CCC is very clear on all the faith and morals that the Church teaches, and that's all I teach here.

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  195. Gwen,

    I'm so sorry you feel that way. It wasn't my intent.

    Leila/Melly Sue: A quick Google search of Amerio doesn't show indications that he was considered dissenting; the Wiki article suggests that Pope Benedict XVI drew on his work when composing Caritas in Veritate.

    However, I'd quibble with his statement a bit in that I'd say it's not either/or, it's both/and. The Catechism presents Catholic teaching as both "factual dogmas" AND "a search for truth."

    I like how Pope John Paul II put it in the CCC's preface:

    Catechesis will find in this genuine, systematic presentation of the faith and of Catholic doctrine a totally reliable way to present, with renewed fervor, each and every part of the Christian message to the people of our time. This text will provide every catechist with sound help for communicating the one, perennial deposit of faith within the local Church, while seeking, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to link the wondrous unity of the Christian mystery with the varied needs and conditions of those to whom this message is addressed. All catechetical activity will be able to experience a new, widespread impetus among the People of God, if it can properly use and appreciate this post-conciliar Catechism. (emphasis mine)

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  196. JoAnna, thank you for that, it's very helpful!

    I would advise all people to stick with Catholic sources with authors who truly love the Church (and are not embarrassed by her, or make excuses for her) and who want only to submit their lives to the Truths that the Church protects, proclaims and reveals. If an author is confused or is hostile to Church teaching, I would steer clear and consult the Catechism on whatever issue is at hand.

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  197. MaiZeke said: I gather from the previous post that as long as catholics are properly humble about being the only group with the legitimate authority to proclaim such truth, then they are not being arrogant.

    Leila said: MaiZeke, perhaps you missed the bulk of that post? If the Truth is received (and not determined by me or anyone else) and if that Truth is intended for everyone (not exclusive to a few), then how is that arrogant?

    Leila again: Help me out, I'm a little slower than you. ;) What would be arrogant about that?


    Leila thinks I did not understand her post. I looked at this sentence, direct from the post:

    the Church is the teacher who is commissioned to hand on the truths of faith and morals. She has been given the legitimate authority to do so by Christ, and in doing so she is lovingly, dutifully fulfilling her mandate, not preening in arrogance.

    Now, I am not saying that I am smarter than you are. In fact, you seem to be saying that I can't understand your sophisticated logic. Please, please tell me how I misinterpreted that sentence.

    Thanks!

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  198. MaiZeke, here was your statement, calling me arrogant:

    Gwen, I was thinking the same thing about this arrogant paragraph from Leila:

    The teaching about the wrongness of homosexuality is not simply "the Church's policy in the Catechism". It is the unchanging teaching of the Church for 2,000 years, and for thousands of years before that in Judaism all the way back to creation itself.


    Then you put in the stuff you just requoted above. So, you were calling me arrogant, then saying I'm not? So confused. Maybe you could clarify? Am I arrogant or not?

    "Arrogant: Having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities."

    Which is it? I have said time and again that I have very few talents. And none of the ideas of Truth are my own. They aren't the Church's dreamed up Truths either, they are Christ's. And they are accessible and open to all.

    So, help me out (I'm still slow, still not getting your point)… are you saying I am arrogant, or not? Because first you say yes, and then you (snarkily?) say no….

    color me confused….

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