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

Monday, September 20, 2010

Blessed John Henry Newman: Officially entered into the annals of cultural myth and urban legend.


Brotherly love profaned.
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As much of the world knows by now, Pope Benedict XVI beatified Cardinal Newman yesterday on his State visit to the U.K..  Though officially, liturgically and canonically enrolled amongst the blesseds and saints, Blessed Cardinal Newman has also been unofficially enrolled into the annals of cultural myth and urban legend by - popular opinion - as the first gay saint.  Unless things change within the Catholic Church, that can never be an official patronal designation, much less a saintly identity, yet many gay people the world over insist it is accurate.  This all because Newman had an especially close friendship with a priest named Ambrose St. John.  Because they are men, the friendship is referred to as same-sex friendship.  Because we live in the 21st century, anything referred to as same-sex is imbued with a far different meaning than it would have had in Victorian England, between two men, two priests.
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I've received a few emails alerting me to media commentary on this unusual friendship between two celibate men.  Unfortunately, as with just about every human relationship these days, people have this need to sexualize and romanticize platonic, fraternal love.  (Platonic man-love according to the urban dictionary.)
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That said, no matter how much "we dispute with our foes in the gateways" - the legend has taken on a life of it's own, and it will most likely perdure through subsequent generations.  Just like the Pope Joan myth, the St. Sebastian was a big flamer myth, The David and Jonathan were lovers myth, the Pius XII as Hitler's pope myth,  the John XXIII wept when he read the Fatima secret myth, the Paul VI wept when he realized he authorized the changes in the calendar myth, or the CCCR Synod had anything at all to do with the Catholic Church myth, and on and on.  Many of these myths are now fairly well embedded in the cultural memory. 
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Nevertheless, the correction of errors becomes an occasion to proclaim the truth in charity.  In Newman's case, the truth and beauty of authentic friendship. 
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Art: Mary Giberne painted Newman and Ambrose St John at the Propaganda College on 9th June1847.

9 comments:

  1. Kinda reminds me of how people read the Lord of the Rings and conclude that Sam and Frodo 'act like a buncha fags.' Yes, he was Tolkien's hidden intention.

    What a stupid, stupid, time we live in.

    I once worked with a girl who was learning in her college English class that Sir Gawain and the Green Knight was aaaaaall about homosexuality and gay "sex".

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  2. You forgot the "Roman centurion's servant was really his gay lover" myth and the "there really used to be ordained women in the early Church" myth. I think that kinda completes the Urban Myth Collection.

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  3. Mercury - that's pretty funny.

    Larry - I always forget about the centurion and the servant... reminds me of "Chumps at Oxford" when Oliver was the butler and Stanley the professor... naw - they couldn't be.

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  4. Actual title: A Chump At Oxford

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  5. It happens among us straight opposite-sex folks too..

    One of my very best friends for the past 15 years has been a straight, single man...we do everything that best friends do...so according to the rest of the world we are having sex :) Nothing could be further from the truth...there just isn't that kind of chemistry and attraction between us.

    Yeah right..the world just doesn't understand...

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  6. It is the peculiar and dishonarable proclivity of homosexual activists, for e.g, America Magazine, to appropriate the dead in furtherance of its homosexual agenda. It strikes me as sinful, when such argument emanates from the clergy...
    Maria

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  7. It is the peculiar and dishonorable proclivity of homosexual activists, for e.g, America Magazine, to appropriate the dead in furtherance of its homosexual agenda. It strikes me as sinful, when such argument emanates from the clergy...
    Maria

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  8. And, Terry, don't forget the youth in the Gospel of Mark who runs away with a loin cloth in the Garden of Gethsemane at Jesus' arrest (they were 'lovers' according to the pervert brigade, doncha know?)...
    sheesh...
    gimme a break.
    I'm not going to say more. It would just make it worse:<)!

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  9. I'm just laughing at "annals."

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