Saturday, May 28, 2011

Here's a thought....

"Holier than thou."
I was thinking how some of my acquaintances/friends get upset with me when I say or write things in defense of traditional marriage - that is, union between a man and a woman, not the Extraordinary Form of celebrating matrimony.  They take it as if I'm insulting them personally.  Aside from my own personal conviction regarding the matter - which happily accords with the teaching of the Church - I also find it necessary - when the issue becomes so public - to voice or express my convictions whenever I am asked, challenged, or confronted with the issue.  As the document Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Same Sex Unions makes clear (and will you people please read it!):
10. If it is true that all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians. Faced with legislative proposals in favour of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are to take account of the following ethical indications. - CDF
Thus, I am only doing my duty, it is part of my faith, my witness to express these convictions, which are no mere personal opinion on the subject.  Naturally those in favor of gay marriage will and do oppose my position and reject it - and some times they reject me personally.  Thus one understands my skepticism as regards authentic friendship and worldly loyalties and honors.
I'm accustomed to such attitudes however, as well as the limitations such 'conditional' friendships impose.  I grew up in a family where it seemed I was the only one who was 'religious' or tried to keep the commandments.  Without going into detail repeating all the scandals in my family, let me tell you that it was very difficult trying to remain faithful to the Catholic faith and practice - despite the fact my mother saw to it that we attended Catholic school.
If I questioned or asked my parents to come to Mass, to stop using God's name in vain, or ask why they drank so much and fought so much, or when I said I couldn't lie for them, I was accused of being a little hypocrite or a 'holier than thou little bastard'.  My siblings treated me the same way - on Sundays they would go to the soda fountain at the drugstore after dropping me off at Mass with orders to get 3 bulletins to show our parents on our return home.  I had to hide my devotions because I was made fun of for my piety.  Believe me I wasn't a saint - but I tried to live as faithfully as possible.  (I was so bad in 5th and 6th grade I think I went to confession every Saturday, so my parents were not wrong in calling me a hypocrite.)
Over the years I've grown accustomed to false friends and fair weather friends.  I see through a lot of religious facades many church people erect - liberal or conservative. So-called rejection and persecution for one's religious convictions is something I'm accustomed to - and I'm accustomed to bigotry just as much if not more than some same sex couple campaigning for equal rights/rites, while condemning Catholic teaching.
The point I really want to make is this:  If it was so bad growing up as I did in a traditional family setting - opposite sex parents, legally married, etc. - I assure you a household with two same sex parents is totally insane.  My parents should never have had children.  I can't even imagine how freaking insane it would be to be raised in a homosexual environment.  It makes for a fun sitcom (Modern Family) - but it is far from reality.
Today's Gospel offers some consolation however: "If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first."  Nice to know - much better to experience.
Photo:  Cast of 'Modern Family'.  Very funny show BTW.


  1. "My parents should never have had children.

    But, but - then we wouldn't have you and the world would be a dimmer and duller place.

    Our experiences, good and bad, are what make us who we are.

    I understand your background (as much as anyone can really understand the experiences of another.) Having been recently ostracized from what is left of my family for being a "right-wing crazy" and "religious nut", I can at least learn coping skills from you. So - there you go. You have a purpose.

    As to children in same-sex situations? It will simply breed people that are essentially amoral when it comes to sex. They'll now be able to justify sexual pleasure from whatever source is handy. "Experts" would call this bi-sexual, but it's really just sex by convenience or "masturbation with others."

  2. "I am only doing my duty."

    Careful, Terry! Such a sentiment can put us in some pretty nasty company. Let's not forget Howard Zinn's observation that "Historically, the most terrible things - war, genocide, and slavery - have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience."

    God gave us both hearts and minds. It is an insult to the Creator to squander either.

    "Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Same Sex Unions" is an abhorrent document, like practically everything the Vatican has written about homosexuality. It lacks both insights from the "mind" and compassion of the "heart." Accordingly, it fails to reflect the beauty of the truth as being revealed and lived in the people of God, whom, it should be noted, were not even consulted in its writing.

    And as Cardinal Newman said, if the teaching church saw it as a necessity to take into account the faithful's consensus in a dogmatic definition, all the more should authority "really desire to know the opinion of the laity on subjects in which the laity are especially concerned." Issues of sexuality definitely fall into this category.

    I do not consider unquestioning obedience to the church's clerical caste a duty. Rather, an important and life-giving aspect of my faith calls and challenges me to seek and discern God's transforming love everywhere, and to remember that we are a pilgrim Church still very much discovering God's truth in our midst.

    Such a faith requires trust and humility -- qualities I see sadly lacking in the clerical caste of the church. Yet the Catholic people are embodying this expression of the faith. The results, to some, may look like disobedience, but it's actually faithfulness to God's call to be a living church, a "flowering garden," as John XXIII so beautifully put it, and not the proud and rigid "guardians of a museum" (or, to use a contemporary expression, "temple police"!).



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  4. I deleted my comment cause it disgusted me. I hope you can see it though, Terry. I will repeat this part:

    Mr. Bayly sounds like a caricature of Liberal Christianity. Howard Zinn? That Marxist fellow-traveler? Why should anyone care what he had to say any more than say, Antonio Gramsci, Gyorgy Lukacs, or any other inveterate hater of the Church and the very idea of truth.

    "really desire to know the opinion of the laity on subjects in which the laity are especially concerned."

    I bet a lot of laity don't think getting drunk is all that big a deal. I sure as like to do it, and if it weren't sinful, I'd do it often. But alas, by the grace of God I avoid it. I bet if the Church did a poll of baptized Catholics though, we could get it repealed!

    Seriously, the Church cannot change her teaching on sexual morality, because it is based on the very nature of things themselves. The behavior is of itself self-destructive, just as fornication is, just as drunkenness, just as drugs are, just as any other condemned vice.

    Asking the Church to change her teaching that marriage between man and woman in an exclusive, committed union open to new life is the ONLY venue for sexual expression is like writing to the Royal Society and asking them to change the laws of gravity.

    The Church's teachings are not nominalist. Things are not wrong because the Church teaches they are. The Church teaches that things are wrong because they are, and are against our spiritual as well as bodily well-being.

  5. Mercury - well written and to the point. Unfortunately, Mr Bayly will merely accuse you of being close minded, a historical classicist when it comes to moral theology, and you just need to go to some Dignity meetings, and then you'll be all good to go.

    I think the line of Mr Bayly's comment that made me laugh out loud was this one: Such a faith requires trust and humility -- qualities I see sadly lacking in the clerical caste of the church. Yet the Catholic people are embodying this expression of the faith.

    Humility?!? From the dude who says "The Church is wrong and I'm right"? Humility?!? Snort!

  6. +JMJ+

    Off-topic as usual, so I'll delete it after you read it, Terry . . .

    There was a time I was a very active member of a forum dedicated to Romance novels. Someone started a thread about Romances with single mother heroines, wondering why it had become such a popular trope. I suggested that it was a great wish-fulfillment fantasy not just for readers who are single mothers but also for those who were raised by single mothers--because in these novels, the broken home is always fixed by the arrival of a father. How was I supposed to know there were so many over-sensitive single mothers in the same forum? =P

    Their resistance was like gasoline to the flame of my hunch. Over the next few weeks, I built a thesis, telling them that denial of a father was a form of child abuse and saying their parenting was perfectly emblematised in the news clip of Michael Jackson dangling his baby over a balcony. I'm still surprised I wasn't banned. I think one of the moderators secretly agreed with me.

    Oh, the memories are rushing back now . . . If that was the biggest dust-up I was ever involved in on that forum, the second biggest was my suggestion that the Romance Writers of America change their official definition of a Romance novel so that it said "one man and one woman." (ROFLMAO, right???) A lot of people protested, one of them saying that if the RWA ever did that, she would never read another Romance novel again. (Oh, really?) I pointed out that if you got 100 or even 1000 different Romance readers together (including the gay men!) and asked them to recommend a "Romance novel," none of them would pick an M/M or F/F story. And you could go into any bookstore in the world and see that the two sets of books are shelved in completely different sections. "One man and one woman" is just common sense.

    And you know where that went, don't you? =P It was like the time I was arguing against homosexual "marriage" with a friend and she said, just to trip me up, "I might want to marry a woman someday, you know, and I don't want you telling me I can't!" (A few years later, she married a man.) Everyone who read that thread suddenly decided they would start suggesting M/M and F/F novels to anyone asking for a generic Romance recommendation. It would be their way of changing the paradigm. (Because shock tactics work so well, aye?) And what this means is that I've directly contributed to the end of common sense in Romance reading. I'm such a trainwreck.

    But while we straight people are happy to be all-inclusive, what's happening elsewhere? I will never forget the time I had to pick up a drunk friend at a party and found myself the only straight person in the whole apartment. We invite them to our parties, but do we get invited to theirs? Seriously.

    I have another friend who is encouraging me to go to graduate school so I can write a thesis on Madeleine L'Engle, but now I wonder whether there is more to be learned from doing a thesis on the portrayals of gay characters in regular Romances vis-a-vis the portrayals of straight characters in M/M and F/F novels.

  7. I just got back from Mass and I was going to delete this post but now I'll keep it for the very decent additional comments. Thanks all.

  8. Anonymous12:01 AM

    This is a good post. My husband and I are devout Catholics, of the traditional variety - and we are shitty parents.
    That's part of the reason we became Catholics in the first place, and then traditionalists because of the easy accessibility of the confessional and priests who don't try to convince us to get sterilized. (Yes, it happened, more than once.)
    It's hard enough, even with God's grace, to be all your children need you to be. I just don't know how the rest of the world does it, especially homosexuals.

  9. T:

    I am glad you speak about this subject... the way that you do. I think I get into this discussion more often than I feel comfortable, only in that I have odd circumstances based on friendships that make this "debate" tough.

    Not only that, I haven't "researched it" to the degree that PROPONENTS have, and I Feel "out gunned." The debate quickly jumps beyond religious discussion and into other areas, and my "views" are discounted because of my Catholic and Conservative values.

    I always find wisdom in your words.

  10. Joe - believe me I always feel 'out gunned' as well.


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