See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. - James 5:7

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I should post something for today...


But I don't feel like doing a big post...

Today's Father's Day of course - so happy Father's day to my readers who are dads.  Especially Catholic dads who are neither alcoholics, drug addicts, wife beaters or child abusers, thieves, adulterers or other creepy things that have their effect on their children whether they are willing to admit it or not.  So happy Father's day to you good guys.
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Hey - I just got an email from a Muslim, Rahabbi-watzupawitu Muhhumiditi or something - it was labeled: "Please open the attachment!"  How dumb are these people?
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Alrighty then...
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So anyway - there was a post yesterday on a gay blog about a guy who infiltrated a local Courage meeting.  I know!  The guy was actively gay of course, and he pretended to be a Catholic hoping to walk the straight and narrow.  Instead he wrote an expose unbeknownst to the Courage members.  (Remember when I told you someone wanted me to infiltrate a group not too long ago?  Read the spy's article and you will see why it is not a good idea nor very Christian to do such things?!  I know!)  You can read the post here:  Notes From the "Laughable but Tragic" World of Courage.  I wasn't going to blog about it, but I thought I should publicize my comment to the post, since here I can correct spelling and stuff.  (I don't know how to do that when I place comments on other blogs.)
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Terry Nelson said...  (I indicate additions with italics and parenthesis.)

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Michael, the article could be laughable if the subject matter were not so tragic. I often recommend Courage to those folks reading my blog who may be seeking to live a chaste and celibate lifestyle in accord with Catholic Church teaching. The fraternal support is often necessary for those men who struggle to live according to the teaching of the Church.
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I only know one member of Courage really well - a man who reads my blog. However, I do know Fr. John Harvey as well as Fr. Benedict Groeschl - both instrumental in founding the apostolate. These men and their writings are very sound and instructive.  (I should add, based upon solid research and years of ministry.)  I also know two of the priests mentioned in the article, although I doubt they know or remember me. Both priests are also very sound, good Catholic priests - both very down to earth and deeply spiritual and compassionate men.  (With many years of pastoral ministry, as well as a good grasp of mystical theology - something essential when dealing with such matters.)
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The tragedy in this article is how the participants involved in the support group have been presented. I've never been to a support group but from what I've seen in documentaries and heard from those who have, there is a candor amongst participants due to the private nature of the meeting, a vulnerability expressed while speaking of their interior struggles which might otherwise sound laughable in other circumstances, or to an outsider who is convinced their struggle is unwarranted in the first place. In fact such comic scenarios - taken out of context - work very well in sit-coms and stand-up. Nevertheless, such conversation and self revelatory dialogue must be assessed in the privacy of the setting.
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Additionally, people should understand there are many stages penitents go through in transitioning from any unwanted lifestyle or habit, especially from gay culture into faithful Roman Catholic culture. It takes great courage and the gift of fortitude to do such a thing, and is the stuff that saints are made of.
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Conversion is an ongoing process and there are differing expressions or safeguards individuals employ. There are differing degrees of ascesis, as well as degrees of delicacy of conscience for each individual. Crazy as it sounds, maybe some guy really did have to throw out his computer or another fellow really had to stop going to the gym for awhile. There is something in the Gospel about that you know - "cut off your right hand..." No one is permitted to do that of course - but throwing out a computer isn't so radical a concept when compared to cutting off something else. Most likely the guy who did throw it out will eventually get a new one anyway - only to face the same issues until he learns how to deal with them appropriately. Maturity also takes a long time for many people.  (I have posted about a saint who in her penitence made a huge bonfire of her clothes and jewels - a dramatic gesture not without comedic potential.  Looking back upon my own conversion I too had moments of drama.)
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Generally speaking, the article picks up on the foibles of the Courage movement very well.  (It is easy to pull conversation and stories out of context in order to sound strange or bizarre.)  Yet the author was successful in representing the participants as repressive and and their means to combat these issues just plain dumb. (He mocked the priests and their celibacy as symptomatic of arrested development.)  I think if he studies the situation and concept of chaste celibacy more closely he would realize that it is the active homosexual who is more a victim of arrested development than a celibate priest - but that is a difficult reality for gay men to accept.
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That said, if anyone is genuinely interested in the Courage Apostolate they should read the books by Harvey and Groeschl - as well as the Courage handbook - they would then be able to discern that the apostolate isn't a crazy idea at all. Nevertheless, Courage isn't a fix-all either. Which may be why some people who tried it and failed denigrate it so. It's a support group, providing an outline, or guide to living chastely amidst a culture hostile to chastity and purity and fidelity to Church teaching.
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Anyway, despite such articles - I'm convinced most Courage members, as all Christians today, are prepared to be ridiculed for their faith.  The very fact that Courage receives such hostile criticism and ridicule indicates it is definitely the work of the Holy Spirit. - End of comment.
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One thing Catholics struggling with SSA - which can sometimes be like SA (sexual addiction) - is that a person is not obliged to join Courage - though it seems to me to be a very good help - it is a choice.  A man or woman can find equal support from fellow Catholics - if their new found friends aren't too freaked out about that SSA thing.  Sometimes 'lovers' decide to reform their lives together and live according to Church teaching - in a sense they have their own little Courage group.  But just as for an alcoholic - AA isn't always a requirement - though a lot of alchies will say that's heresy.  We all have free will - with prayer and proper direction, you 'can leap over any wall' as the Psalmist says.  And don't forget - saints are sinners who keep trying.  Remember the scene from What's Up Doc?  (This link is not that scene however.)  It shows an old lady trying to get to her hotel room despite a guy in the hall who kept tripping her?  She kept getting up determined to get to her room - that's how it is sometimes - we may fall at every step, but keep getting up - seen from a distance (after we get through it) or by an outsider, it's even kind of funny.  The one who perseveres however, has the last laugh.
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Something very queer is going on.  (That should be the title of my next post on the subject.)

11 comments:

  1. This is a most "thorny" issue...replete with all kinds of complexity, confusion and rash judgment.
    We humans are a complicated lot.
    Chaste love is something that is learned, in the Heart of Christ, over much "trial and error", sin and grace...blessings to those who struggle with SSA; prayers for those who want to minimize the struggle; or destroy the means that Christ has given us, all of us, repentance, grace, prayer...complete surrender to Him...in order to love others as we called to do.
    Great post! Loved Bugs Bunny!
    My word verification: nonna...which reminds me of "nanna" where I learned what unconditional love truly is.

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  2. doughboy1:59 PM

    terry, i love you dearly. thanks for your great comment on that blog. i don't get into debates with those who don't get the chastity thing anymore. it doesn't do any good, not to mention i'm often incoherent lol. must be the drinking. anyway, the struggle continues. God bless.

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  3. Your comment was spot-on. I sum it up this way - no one ever died from not having sex.

    As to the alcoholics that think AA is the end all and be all? They are dead wrong and most long-timers (which I will join the ranks of next month with my 20 year AA birthday) know this. The fact is more people quit drinking outside of AA than with AA. I sometimes question their sobriety, though.

    I wish my pocket gophers were as cute as your wild gerbil.

    Everyone seems to be into their word verifications sooooo mine is "cenoutri" which we all know is a large group of centaurs. I know!

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  4. You and Ray did a nice job over there.

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  5. Congratulations Adrienne for 20 years without drinking.

    I pray I can beat an issue or two of mine before I die!

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  6. Adrienne - I forgot to congratulate you too! God bless you!

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  7. I remember a few years ago when my weight started getting out of hand and I finally confinved myself to go to Weight Watchers. I felt so ashamed that as strong and powerful an individual I was I couldn't keep something as simple as a healthy weight..

    Yet they welcomed me and I was accepted for who I was and not a number, and knew that there were folks in the same room going through the same challenges I was, and that I wasn't alone.

    AA, Courage, and various other groups are the same, wheter you succeed or fail, it is so uplifting to have the acceptance and understanding, and to celebrate even little successes.

    I will alwasy remember two stories...one was one woman who stood up and proudly stated that she lost 225 lbs in one week..sent her husband packing because he couldn't handle the attention SHE was getting, slim and trim and hot, wearing cute clothes and looking like a million bucks..he wanted her to stay fat and unattractive.
    A man who drives an hour and a half each way to our meetings one day said he'd lost 125 pounds in one week....same thing...his wife left because "the jolly fat man she married had gone." Didn't matter that with the weight gone his blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol was all within normal levels and he'll live to see his grandchildren grow up..

    Sara

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  8. No congrats until next month. July 25 is my AA birthday...

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  9. Does Courgae give medals and pins for gay-less anniversaries?

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  10. I thinks it's a free wash and cut at a local salon.

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  11. Oh that's fabulous, Terry.

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Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.