Monday, June 22, 2009

Dante's Inferno - The Musical.

Wouldn't that be a fun Broadway show?
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Anyway. I've been reading Dante lately, as well as a few commentaries on the medieval masterpiece. Did you know the sin of sodomy is considered a form of violence? Defenders of the vice like to say only in cases of rape and humiliation of conquered enemies, but it is more than that. Sodomy is considered a violent act against nature... kind of like fisticuffs, if you know what I mean. Of course the "practice" of such intercourse is so obviously against nature, one shouldn't have to explain, given the fact physical injuries and health issues can follow such behavior. Unrelated to actual sodomy, one may note the violence done against one's own body as a result of sexual reassignment surgery. Severing body parts from one's person, though performed in a sanitized, clinical setting, certainly seems like a violent act to me. Of course, so is abortion.
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Considering all of this, I came across an interesting article titled, "Why does Dante consider sodomy worse than homicide and suicide?"
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"In the Inferno, the penalty holds a mirror to the sin itself, to show how it manifested itself in life."
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"Dante finds the sodomites at the bottom of the seventh circle (of hell), a circle that contains three rings. Again, his geography is very revealing. In the top ring of the seventh circle are those who killed for gain, whether in empire-building or in robbing travelers on the highway. Appropriately enough, mass murderers such as Alexander are up to their eyebrows in boiling blood, while common robbers are only ankle deep. Below them in the second ring are those who committed suicide because they lost money, reputation, or status. They are below the homicides, because they willfully violated the law of self-preservation, an even more basic law of Nature than love of neighbor. Since they set a lower value on their life than on worldly additions to it, they are now deprived of their human form and reduced to thorny trees oppressed by nightmarish Harpies.
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But Dante places sodomy in the bottom-most ring of the seventh circle, below homicide and suicide, suggesting that this sin is an even worse form of violence. The implication here is that sodomy involves an even more thoroughgoing hostility to Nature than defying the laws of self-preservation or love of neighbor; that it is a culmination of violence in being destructive to neighbor, violating self-love, and at the same time undermining family and community. Note that the suicides in the first ring damned themselves alone, while the sodomites damned themselves with others. Therefore, sodomites must run in a band forever on the burning plain. The burning sands on which they run represent their sterility. With this detail Dante shows that the intimacies of sodomy lead to a lack of posterity and put an end to one's family line.
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Thus, Dante reveals that sodomy has wide social ramifications that go beyond homicide and suicide. The sodomites are on the same burning sands as the blasphemers — those who are violent against God — because they were equally destructive of the community. Just as the blasphemers assaulted the faith of the people, so the sodomites assaulted family life, and both of these are foundations of the community, one spiritual and one natural. - Source
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The myth of "coming out".
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It seems to me that the concept of self-hate/self-loathing, which the gay-pride movement asserts is overcome through acceptance of one's 'gayness' and 'coming out' is for the most part simply magical thinking - it is delusion on a grand scale. Active gay people are never able to free themselves from the cycle of self-hate they accuse their so-called homophobic adversaries of. In many cases it seems to me theirs is a wilful turning away from Divine Providence, the Divine plan. The Pride movement by definition resists God to His face as it were, "I will not serve, I will not obey." The Pride movement can provide a superficial semblance of virtuous solidarity and freedom, but it does not offer an antidote to the deeper, more profound alienation of soul - it only distracts from such self-knowledge. I find it interesting that the author of the article cited above included the following critique:
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"Now, the punishment for sin in the Inferno represents exactly what the sinner obstinately chose during life. So it is important to note that Dante sees the sodomites running in a company, not paired like the lustful heterosexuals of the second circle. He implies that sodomy involves not couples, but a large pool of sexual partners - (or in the case of Pride, non-sexual partners). And when Dante asks Brunetto about the most famous men in his company, it is the sodomite himself who speaks of his fellows with contempt as a "wretched mob" made "filthy in the world," giving us a glimpse of the self-loathing and the contempt of sexual partners that accompanies this sin." - Anne Barbeau Gardiner
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Of course, these are just things to think about. Although I happen to believe that only real peace can be found in renouncing this sin and being reconciled with God and the Church through the Sacrament of Penance and the Holy Eucharist. Authentic self-love, which is understood in the commandment to love one's neighbor as oneself, is first and foremost concerned with the salvation of one's soul, and the souls of others.

8 comments:

  1. Wow Terry, very good analysis. Sodomy IS a form of violence, against nature and God. Very good post. Although, I have your page up at work and my boss walked by and so I scrambled to drop the picture before she saw the nudity--whew!

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  2. T — don't you think what you posted answers a question I posed privately several weeks ago about degrees of these sins? And the stranglehold and different levels of difficulties encountered in turn'g away from them ... very curious posting.

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  3. Paula - I knew there was a reason I had been wanting to post on this subject - but I'd completely forgot about your question. So here it is. Cool.

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  4. Tara - men aren't really naked from that angle.

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  5. Fear works on such as me, but does it work on the unrepentant violence-bent? I wonder. At any rate, it's stuff like Dante's Inferno (and Shouppe's "Purgatory") that scared me the most --until about 10 years ago. Just about then, an unmistakable and completely unexpected brush with hell was both frightening and illuminating. There was nothing seen or heard, but I knew without the slightest doubt that some despicable being was suddenly behind me, filled with lust/hatred--and purpose. I called on the Lord and His mother (aloud), but still it took an hour before I dared try to sleep again. Demons, unlike people who can act evil, don't even have self-love -- there's zero love, compassion, mercy, pity..it's all raging hatred from there. Since then, I've not been able (or willing!) to muse much about hell; its beings are monstrously real. And permanent.

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  6. Carol - I think encounters with the devil, with or without the 'd' are the only things that really scare me, which is why I am so attached to the rosary and the scapular. I have stories I could tell...

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  7. Gays can try to sanitize their living arrangements, be "accepted" into the prevailing culture and even get spousal medical benefits but in the end - YOU CAN'T PRACTICE VICE VIRTUOUSLY.

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  8. Terry, maybe folks need to hear such a story or two, even if in a conversation with Mrs. Rabbitowitz.

    As with miracles, I think the Lord permits such completely opposite events not just for the greater saving/sanctification of our own soul, but also as a witness for others' sakes. (God knows, many saints were not immune.) To see a beastly face in a 9/11 ball of flame is a cartoon compared to a real, personal encounter. A lot of people really don't believe in satan/hell etc.

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