Monday, June 28, 2010

Scandal and prudery...


And rash judgment.
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I just read a comment on a post suggesting that it is scandalous for two members of the same sex to live together now days.  A week or so ago I read another comment by a Lutheran pastor suggesting it was scandalous for a dead man, who had shared his house with another man, to be buried from a Catholic church.  I'm incredulous.  By way of response, I'd like to re-post something Fr. Blake of St. Mary Magdalen Blog wrote some time back...
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I was trying to suggest there were plenty of "gay" people who are neither vociferous or hedonistic, nor are in the lobby. That there are actually people who had a same sex attraction who might say they were homosexual or had a homosexual attraction or curiosity but would refuse to use the identity of being "gay", in part because it suggests a certain lifestyle and in part has certain political connotations.

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My parish has many single people. Some try to cope others are content with living lives on their own. Many have close friends, some share flats or houses with a particular friend, occasionally some define their friend as a "partner". It could be a business partner or any other form of partnership; I can't see the problem. Some might say they are "gay", I ask them if they believe what the Catholic Church teaches, they say "yes", they come to Mass, they go to confession, they pray, sometimes together; I can't see a problem. They support the Church they tell me about their brothers and sister, their nephews, their nieces, they regret they have never had children themselves; I feel sympathy. In the confessional they might tell me of the battle they have with their sexuality, sometimes of their defeats in this battle; I give absolution and a light penance, assure them of God's strength and often admire their extraordinary heroism and their great love of God and appreciation of his Grace. Are these "elements of the vociferous hedonistic gay lobby"? No, they are Catholics looking for salvation along with everyone else, bearing a very heavy cross. Often these men, occasionally women, have been distanced from the Church and have returned. Often they have misunderstood what the Church is saying and why, sometimes they have met deliberate cruelty and misunderstanding from priests, and are still faithful; that is heroism!
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My caller this morning said I didn't know much about the Brighton "Gay" community, that could be true. I have never visited a "Gay" club, I try to avoid walking through the pinker area of Brighton, I am a little shocked when I see men or women kissing or fondling one another on the street, whatever their sexual orientation and I try not to be on the streets during "Pride" weekend. My caller just saw it all as being friendly and supportive and fun.
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As a Catholic priest one tends to pick up the debris of peoples' lives and hear almost too much of their pain and suffering. I am not sure that my caller has done many funerals for young gay men who have died of a drugs overdoses or suicide. I haven't kept a tally and I suspect many don't have a priest at their funeral but there have been a number over the last 10 years, outside of the gay community I can remember only one funeral for a man under 35 years old. There is a larger number of parents who ask for Masses to be said for dead gay children, their lives are torn apart when their offspring have died through suicide or drugs or AIDS. Then of course there are curious young men, exploring their sexual orientation, who have gone into bars and clubs and have got or been gotten high on drugs or drink and found themselves in someone's bed and things have gone much, much further than they had intended. I knew of one young man who had claimed he became HIV positive after one single encounter, I heard he killed himself. One hears of men too, who try to sleep with a different partner each night, of teenagers passed around from one older "lover" to another. I could go on and on, but I suspect you get the taste. This is what I meant by hedonistic gay lobby and I haven't even touched on the various fetish sub-groups. Why is it a lobby? Because it makes money for Brighton: money speaks. - Fr. Blake
Praise and thank God for priests like Fr. Blake.
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Art:  St. Antony and St. Paul, hermits.
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16 comments:

  1. "Praise and thank God for priests like Fr. Blake." Amen!!

    Let more like him come out of our seminaries.

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  2. I forgot to mention that there is compassion in the way he deals with this subject matter. Rather than from a point of condemnation, he delivers this account from a humble and loving perspective.

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  3. +JMJ+

    Father Blake's line about "picking up the debris of people's lives" being what priests do, is haunting me. Yes, sometimes that is all that can be done, in which case it should, in the name of mercy, be done.

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  4. I can't say that I agree with everything that Father said, but I appreciate, and am grateful for, his compassion.

    I notice that Father isn't in the United States. Anyone who thinks that this issue isn't politicized in the Church has their head in a very dark, warm place.

    Thank you, Father Blake.

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  5. Why do people assume that two men or two women living together are automatically homosexuals? When I was growing up it was not uncommon for widows to share a home. Young people have "roommates." Why can't older folks do the same thing?

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  6. When my friend's mother left her husband she moved in with a woman friend since she had no other place to go. Everyone then accused her of being a lesbian. What would they have said if she had moved in with a man? It's a no win situation.....

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  7. +JMJ+

    I witnessed a situation similar to that Elena has just described, but without any of the nasty accusations. When a friend of my grandmother's left her philandering husband, she shared my grandmother's townhouse for a while. They were very good friends.

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  8. Men are typically held to a different standard than women.

    For example, you women could say that you're going to lunch with your girlfriend, but if Terry tried that with "boyfriend," he'd be reported to Pewwarmer. I mean Sitter.

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  9. michael r.2:28 PM

    Thanks for posting this again, Terry. Fr. Blake sounds like a very good priest. People need to stop worrying about the living arrangements of others.

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  10. “Clothe me, O Lord”

    A Priest wears a black cassock because he goes to the place of Death, which is Sin, and rescues souls.

    The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were wiped out not because they were queers, both male and female, but mostly due to their failure to resist this sin that cries out to Heaven for revenge.

    Some of the people in those cities were not ‘Gay’ but they were gay friendly; they celebrated with Pride their tolerance and diversity towards the gay way. They now burn in Hell.

    Some Padres need to learn about Holy Anger, and demonstrate it during Confession times, among others.

    Our Lord will not judge our Priests by their warm and fuzzy feelings, but on how they went to the place of Sin, and rescued souls.

    And you can’t do it dressed in your dancing shoes.

    *

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  11. Anonymous8:07 PM

    It is sad that people can't see strong friendships for what they are, "strong friendships". My best friend and I have a true David and Jonathan relationship. We are two heterosexuals but love each other completely. She has said that if I was to die before her, everyone would think we were lesbians by the way she would cry in church at my funeral. We always comment that people don't understand our kind of friendship. We find it very sad. We are both happily married (to others...lol).

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  12. Fr. Blake is "spot on".
    What a lovely and compassionate man and priest.
    Life is so very complicated; we just have to do our best and forget about the rash judgment others make...absolutely horrid, if you ask me.
    If you're living an "openly gay lifestyle" and pushing it into others' noses, well, that' one thing...
    but there are all kinds of other situations that people just need to "mind their own business"; if you're not fornicating/sodomizing/making things absolutely grotesque in other peoples' faces...
    Ah, well.
    You know what I mean.
    "Scandalous"?
    How about the women religious who have publically affirmed abortion on demand? Or the way they refuse to conform to the Church's norms about living in community/having a common life/having a religious habit/living according to the moral norms of the Church?
    THAT'S what I call scandalous!

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  13. +JMJ+

    Thom, you have a point.

    Even Mac and Blaine in Predator are no longer allowed to be the good army buddies they are; there are now fans seriously wondering whether they were lovers. Nobody understands David and Jonathan--or even Damon and Pythias--these days.

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  14. Yeah, it's kind of sad when friendship is suspect!
    Re: Pablo's comment: I don't have firsthand knowledge of these issues. However I do have firsthand knowledge of Confession. Getting yelled at in Confession isn't going to motivate change. It's just going to make one avoid Confession. And that's not what any of us need.

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  15. +JMJ+

    There was an angry priest who brought me to tears of shame in the confessional, and it wasn't even over a sin! And then he proceeded to tell me how much better than I he was. With concrete examples! LOL! Despite having known me for all of thirty seconds. Very nice . . .

    But really, being an alter Christus in the confessional can't be easy. (UNDERSTATEMENT!) They're damned if they don't respond in certain ways and they're damned even if they do. ("Damned" is figurative language, of course. I would have used "darned," but Terry isn't the prudish type.)

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  16. Yes..I'm a single gal..

    If I have a female roomie I'm a lesbian...if I have a male roommate then I MUST be sleeping with him....
    If I share a house with both a male AND a female roommate then we do nothing but have wild sex orgies :)

    Next thing you know they'll start thinking that I'm having sex with my cats...

    Yah know--

    Folks really need to get a f*'n life, and stop worring about MY living arrangements...

    Incidently, Utah being that capital of conservatism...it is very common for roomies to be only male or only female, cohabitation or opposite sex roomies are fairly uncommon due to the very traditional view of the predominately Mormon population... and people don't automatically assume or ask the question that same-sex roommates are gay...

    Sara

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