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, July 04, 2010

Let your 'Yes' mean 'Yes,' and your 'No' mean 'No.' Anything more is from the evil one. - Mt 5:37


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Not to be swayed by emotions.
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I love the account of the Centurion who sent Jewish elders to ask Jesus to heal his servant, when the Lord decided to go to his home, the Centurion sent word protesting, explaining that Jesus' order would be enough - as a soldier he understood authority and obedience.

And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof.  Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed.  For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come here,' and he comes; and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it." - Luke 7 

In other words, emotion, feelings, did not dictate matters in this scenario.  By way of another example, cold-hearted as it may sound, take for an example a combat soldier in Afghanistan.  He sees a little kid running towards him in a combat zone and he may not have time to waste thinking, "Aw, what a cute little kid..."  He may instead have to shoot the kid because the kid may be wired as a suicide bomber.  As one veteran told me, "Next time it won't happen because the mothers will have warned their kids - 'don't go running towards soldiers'"  Sounds hard hearted and cruel, huh?  But it is reality.  (Hope I got that right Sara.)  Sometimes we simply have to man up about stuff.
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Reality bites.
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Last week I wrote a post or two concerning a local brouhaha over a gay magazine outing a Lutheran minister who participated in an anonymous Catholic support group for same-sex attracted men seeking to live chaste and celibate lives in accord with authentic Catholic teaching - I can never recall the name of the group, but the group is the same as the well-known Courage Apostolate - the local name had to be changed because Minneapolis is home to another organization bearing the same name.
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Homosexual attraction, SSA, gay, gay rights, LGBT issues carry a lot of baggage.  It is a very emotional subject.  Thus even Catholic Church officials are sometimes swayed by the emotional appeal of gay activists and claims of unjust discrimination against the gay community.  In many cases, Church teaching is watered down to be less offensive to gay sensibilities.  Sometimes the 'victims'  protest too much however, and clergy cannot cave and say things like, "Well, it's okay then just as long as Bob and Bill are monogamous."  You know what I'm saying.
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It's just emotion making me over.
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I've used that line from the BeeGee's before and I've said this stuff before, but sometimes my care not to offend is misinterpreted as approval of homosexual acts or SS mariage when it comes to active gay people.  That may be my fault because I do get emotionally involved - I want friends of mine to be saved and not driven away from the Church by uncharitable name-calling, or personal invective.  Nevertheless, the truth needs to be spoken in charity - and sometimes, as I always say, "the effeminate mistake the truth as cruelty."  (From Cary Grant, "Women always interpret a man's honesty as cruelty."  Or something like that - you know, "It's not the dress that makes you look fat...") 
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People also hate it when I use the term effeminate - I mean it in the sense of the 'vice of effeminacy' and not in the sense of acting femme or butch - heterosexual men and women can and do share the vice as well.  Saint Thomas includes effeminacy under the vices opposed to perseverance. It is from the Latin Mollities, which literally means “softness.” Mollities is the verb used in 1 Corinthians 6:9 which deals with the sexual sin of sodomy. It involves being inordinately passive or receptive.
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So where am I going with this?
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I read a comment on another blog discussing the Lutheran pastor and the journalist who outed him - John Townsend wrote a defense as to why and how he had to write what he did.  One critic changed his mind on the whole matter and now says he understands and accepts the journalist's tactics and purpose.  He goes on to say how he chooses to live celibate but sympathizes with the author's point of view - and he doesn't like Courage either.  He identifies as a gay Catholic and is open to the possibility he may not always be celibate - he's just celibate for now.  Reading his 'namby-pamby' approach to Catholic doctrine I realised this guy doesn't have a chance in hell of supporting Roman Catholic teaching on sexuality.  He has changed his opinion on the issue with every new study, disclosure, experience, emotion he has experienced or read about.  Evidently at one time he supported the straight and narrow route but now minces words about it. 
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This demonstrates the huge temptation encountered by homosexual persons seeking to amend their lives:  Because of the culture and one's own emotional baggage, many are tempted to waffle on homosexual issues.  This temptation does not only afflict SSA men and women, but those most attached to them in some way - namely relatives, friends, and overly empathetic clergy.
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Delicacy...
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For me such instability is one huge reason why homosexual men should not be ordained.  (I've gone back and forth on that issue, I know - thank God I have no authority in the Church to make such decisions.)  I'm convinced that priests who identify as SSA - gay, do not really do their penitents any favors by doing so.  Precisely because  persons with homosexual tendencies struggling with chastity and emotional maturity need strong masculine men to guide them and model celibate behavior for them - since any gay man who wants to be Catholic is going to have to be chaste and celibate.
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And yes - homosexuality is a disorder, a vice - it is a perversion.  (Just look up the meaning of perverse.)  Tough to hear, but repentance and conversion is only authentic when sin is recognized as sin and one turns away from it.  One cannot be expected to persevere if one is always changing one's mind about what the Church teaches and popular psychological studies on the nature of the sin one is expected to avoid.  So, our 'yes' has to be 'yes' and our 'no' 'no' - anything more is from the evil one.  In charity of course.
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By your perseverance you will save your souls. - Luke 21:19
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[...] Perseverance is when “a man does not forsake a good on account of long endurance or difficulties and toils.” An “effeminate man is one who withdraws from good on account of sorrows caused by lack of pleasures, yielding as it were to a weak motion.” St. Thomas states that this effeminacy is caused in two ways. First, by custom, where a man is accustomed to enjoy pleasures and it is, therefore, more difficult for him to endure the lack of them. Second, by natural disposition, less persevering through frailty of temperament, and this is where Thomas compares men with women and also mentions the homosexual act of sodomy and the receiver in this act as being effeminate or like a woman. The vice of delicacy for Thomas considers those who cannot endure toils or anything that diminishes pleasure, and thus delicacy is a kind of effeminacy.   
  
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Thanks to Fr. Eric for the heads-up on the video.  The best commercial of the year.

2 comments:

  1. doughboy5:21 PM

    dude, you hit the nail on the head once again. it's the prospect of denying one's self pleasure that keeps so many SSA people waffling on this; committed one moment, hedging the next.
    it's difficult for all of us, sure, to persevere in our pursuit & practice of virtue. but for those with addictions to sinful behavior, well ... we just need to keep our eyes on Jesus. we know in our heart of hearts what He wants from us.
    pray for the success of the annual *courage* conference later this month, and for the strength of this movement and the growth in holiness of its members.
    what has kept me waffling on this is the hope not that i'll find a man to settle down with, the "one true love" syndrome, but the thought that i can find a man that will desire me, want to be with me, find me worthwhile. it's the need to be found desireable, worthwhile, that masquerades as "unfulfilled love" and romanticized, sexualized, blah blah blah that gets under the skin & longing for the fleshpots of egypt. goodbye fleshpots, i say again, and hello promised land. my God, my Lord, You are everything, the only Infinite Love that can fulfill my unending endless desire.

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  2. DB - yeah - I think you nailed it - a huge factor is the desire/need to be loved and accepted and affirmed - all natural inclinations.

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