Friday, May 31, 2013

New Friday Feature: An Unscripted-Unedited Commentary (Sort of like Quick-takes, but not as domesticated.)


Darcy


Eve Tushnet:  Queer as a three dollar bill?

Tushnet self-identifies as a gay-Catholic.  I write about people who do that from time to time, mostly how I'm so confused by the identity problem their claims pose.  I call it a problem for several reasons.  For instance, if I identify as gay - I'm talking about a sexual preference, a vulnerability.  Why 'be gay' if you can't be sexual?  Especially for gay men, the gay lifestyle is highly sexualized.  Even the Leave It To Beaver style gay family - if dad and dad are sexually intimate - is highly sexualized.  Tushnet wrote a post recently linking to another article on what to do with desire - speaking to gay celibates.  So the sexual desire thing, as well as the 'affective disorder' part of it, is more or less a constant with queer Catholics - or so it seems to me, since their literature is so much about that.

Making a home for gays in the Church - or making the Church more welcoming to gays is indeed a queer notion.  Gay people do not want to be labeled disordered, nor disabled.  They hate the comparisons made to alcoholics, and definitely reject comparisons to anyone with mental illness - even the common garden variety bi-polar disorder.    So what is the special needs requirement that prompted someone like Cardinal Dolan to say 'the Church needs to do better for gay people'?  What are queer Catholics really saying but they are an unique 'third way' or gender type, a species set apart but needy to be included?  What are they saying about genderlessness, sexual fluidity, and how does that conform to Catholic teaching? 

Also, why do they oppose Catholic support groups such as Courage, and seek to create a special 'queer' spirituality for gay people?  Why would they reject the notion that a person can change their sexual preference and leave the gay lifestyle? 

Janet Smith: Sorry.  I agree with her on this one.

Once upon a time I decided I didn't like Janet Smith because she defended Christopher West and his interpretation of JPII's Theology of the Body.  It was all academic and over my head, and I moved on.  I got to appreciate Dr. Smith after her speaking engagement to Courage members at a Courage Conference a few years ago, and of course, I admired her work on the issue of contraception in the light of Humane Vitae.  Anyway, I have come to have a great respect for Dr. Smith.  (After all, she is a real theologian and has a real job.)

Dr. Smith was interviewed on the Kresta Show (I do not listen to radio talk shows) about the Cardinal Dolan/Archdiocese of NY problem of providing insurance coverage for Catholic employees, poloicies which also provide coverage for 'women's reproductive health' - contraception and abortion.  Yes.  It is a scandal.  But as I said in another post - I'm not sure the issue is restricted to NY, and probably exists in other diocese, and or, amongst Catholic employers.  I may be wrong.  However, as Dr. Smith put it:
One last question raised by Al Kresta concerned the issue of "intrinsic evil".  Is the Church cooperating with evil if it affiliates with hospitals whose health care plan for unionized employees includes contraceptive coverage?
 
Dr. Smith laughed, noting that God gave us everything we have, even while knowing that some humans would do some terrible things:  God provided Adam and Eve with the tree and the apple, and He gave them the possibility of eating the apple from the tree.  God was not, however, complicit in their sin.  Similarly, if a thief puts a gun to your head and demands that you drive him to the airport, you are under duress and are not guilty of material cooperation for driving him.  In the same way the Catholic Church, required to include birth control and abortion in their insurance coverage, is not culpable if the insured then utilizes that coverage. - Kresta 
Works for me.

I have confidence the Cardinal and the Archdiocese will sort through the mess.

In the meantime, all I want to add to that is what any other normal person might ask, "So what is wrong with the HHS mandate?  How can the USCCB possibly 'win' now?"  Maybe we will all have to become immigrants and leave the United States.

Bonus:  if you could have chosen any name for yourself at birth, what would it be?  I think Darcy is pretty for a girl.  (Patron saint could be Joan D'Arc.  Beulah is nice too.) 

Added bonus:  It's not genetic.


 

26 comments:

  1. Glad to see the link to the twins study - thanks for including. Disproves the 'born that way' theory. But we already knew that. The only think I'd add about what gays are looking for from the Church, is to be included as we are without some special ickiness factor. Objectively, of course, the Church *does* include all Her children. It's the pewsitters I'm talking about. If other Catholic Christians weren't so fast to excuse their own ickiness, we could all be icky together ... just with our own icky issues. Knowhutimeen? "Oh I'm icky, alright, but I would NEVER do 'THAT' ... YOU are ESPECIALLY ICKY'."

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    1. But y'are Blanch, y'are!

      Just kidding.

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  2. " For instance, if I identify as gay - I'm talking about a sexual preference, a vulnerability. Why 'be gay' if you can't be sexual? Especially for gay men, the gay lifestyle is highly sexualized. Even the Leave It To Beaver style gay family - if dad and dad are sexually intimate - is highly sexualized."

    I don't understand..how are long term gay couples more "highly sexualized" then straight couples. I don't understand what your measuring stick (no innuendo there intended) is for highly sexualized. I would hope all long term committed couples straight and gay have a great sex life with their partner...highly is subjective. I don't know your life story (I stumbled on this blog doing a Google search for "engelman ivy," of all things..yes, that is how exciting I am, and started reading your posts..) but if your in a relationship for 20 years, gay or straight,there is never going to be "highly sexual" going on.
    I also think you focus totally on the sexual aspects of a gay relationship, totally disregarding the love, affection and companionship in one. You, and other writers like you act like it is one big back alley hook up, which after you get the laundry done, make dinner, fix the car, cut the grass, how would anyone have time for anyway.

    Not trying to argue with you, as I said, I started reading this blog as you have interesting things to say, and it is YOUR blog so you can say what you want, but there is a different perspective out there.

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  3. Mack - thanks and excellent points you raise.

    Do you grow Engelman ivy - this spring mine seem to have a fungus.

    I didn't express myself very well as regard highly sexualized. You are correct that in a mature relationship there is much more depth than simply sexual intercourse - I didn't say that very well either. Note in the title of the post I specified unedited.

    Please do not be offended.

    I see nothing wrong with a friendship between two men or two women which is based upon love, affection, and companionship. One just can't call it marriage or liken it to marriage, which necessarily involves sexual intimacy. I often have the same sex marriage or blessings for gay couples thing in mind - I'm from Minnesota.

    When I talk sexualize, I'm thinking of people in my life, some in their 60's who still go out to dinner and ogle the waiter and the passers by, or claim the waiter is attracted to them. I think of the couples I've known who either cheat on one another - like Larry Craig, or, have some sort of open relationship and or keep condoms on hand for younger guests.

    Again, there may be mature couples who channel their energies and have moved beyond all of that - devote themselves to a normal life. There are exceptions.

    I suppose what I'm trying to say is why call that gay then? What is so special that it needs to be identified or defined by a term that is essentially a sexual term, denoting sexual preference and more specifically, sexual activity?

    I'm also writing from the Catholic POV - I don't see gay as an identity, I also believe homosexual acts are immoral.

    Does that help you understand what I'm trying to say even though you may disagree with my POV and likely think I'm nuts?

    Was my Engelman ivy post helpful? ;)

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

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    1. Not offended at all. I love to read and discuss different viewpoints in a civil way. I grew up in an Irish Catholic family and my uncle is a Jesuit so if you didn't have a viewpoint..could not defend it intelligently, or were easily offended you should just go sit on the front porch!

      Terry we just replaced our privacy fence last year and there is a bare section so I wanted fast growing Ivy..and I got a bunch of Engelman Ivy and yes your post helped..I hope my look as good as yours without the crazy neighbor. And by the same token I hope no one gets offended by my posts..I do have an odd sense of humor but I think God does too! If we don't laugh at the ridiculous non Eden we got ourselves stuck into..what can we do?

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    2. Thanks Mack - I'm glad. I have a strange sense of humor as well. I like your posts.

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  4. Without even considering the details of the gay lifestyle, I consider that any sin is separation from God & the Church maybe should not single out "special" sins for special handling. The first time I ever heard a homily about any sexual sins (use of contraceptives & porn) was just 4 short years ago & I am almost 47. It was subsequent to this that I first heard a homily on homosexual sin. I am frustrated by the frequent attempts to make gay behavior to some extent ok within the Church by certain folks, clergy & laity. It is no more ok than my use of contraceptives or engaging in adultery or lying or killing. Sin & Charity need to exist side-by-side & the Church needs to speak to both.

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  5. qualcosa - I agree. Thank you.

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  6. I absolutely love that picture.

    PS> HHS mandate happened like 5 years ago in Wisconsin. All the diocese already pay for it.

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  7. what qualcosa said.

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  8. Nobody answered the bonus question but I will. If I could have chosen any name for myself at birth it would be Elizabeth Mary.

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    1. Angela - that is my mother and my sister's name.

      If I could have chosen my name it would have been Erik. But I've really grown to like my name as it is.

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  9. Mine would be something dangerous and sexy.my cousins name is Devlin and it always uh teed me off that that he got the cool name.

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  10. Terry..forgot to add..yes I think the multiple partners swinging.Or whatever the kids are calling it these days..oogling every man in sight thing..is skeevy. But we aren't all like that and hey a lot of straight people skeeve me out. I won't go into it but my.. for lack of a better word..talks with God made me realize my relationship is not sinfull..and believe me God has told me when I am being a sinner. Not trying to persuade anyone just saying where I come from. God has blessed me in too many ways!

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  11. to Mack....that voice wasn't God's.

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  12. +JMJ+

    I would have just added a "Maria" to my name. I still don't know why my family didn't automatically do it for me. Dozens of my classmates wrote "Ma." before their names in Grade 1 and I envied them all.

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  13. And you know that Susan? And how? But thanks for weighing in, I needed someone like you who apparently has a direct line to God and knows when he does and doesn't speak ...to others no less. Thank you for clarifying a personal experience for me that you had no part in. We need more people in the world like you, oh, yes, we already have tons of them.

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    1. Mack - never let anyone discourage you from prayer. Keep praying and listening - God has his eye on you.

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  14. Thanks Terry and unfortunately I responded to Susan's negative post with some snarkiness of my own..if only I could follow Christ's example more and be kinder...or at least keep my mouth shut!

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  15. Mack, it wasn't meant as snarkiness. I perhaps inferred something that you didn't mean. If you were indeed saying that a sexual relationship outside of marriage was approved somehow by God, I don't see how it's anything but an act of charity to say that the voice you heard say it was ok was not God's. It wasn't. Is there really an argument against that?

    If it wasn't a sexual relationship, then I certainly apologize for inferring what I misunderstood as being implied.

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  16. Susan, Thank you for taking the time to circle back and apologize. By that I do know that you are speaking from your heart and that you arent just be a judgmental person feeling holier then thou (not that this is what you ment but that is how I took it.) However, yes, I am in a full relationship with someone outside of marriage as I can't be married to that person. To clarify, I don't expect you or anyone else to approve of it (frankly, my Irish side could'nt care less) but I don't care for you questioning something spiritual that happened to me. I don't expect you to believe it but I am not an idiot..and to go into the whole thing would be too personal. Lets just say this, I accept your healthy sceptisim and I am okay with that. I will argue and respect you to dawn about a lot of moral issues but this is way too personal and real to me. As I said, as a sinner I have had many pings in my head when I have sinned..and many times I kept sinning. but I KNEW it was wrong. Once again I don't expect you to accept, or to voice a "well, maybe this isnt what you thougt it was," but that is not what I read.

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  17. Mack, have you ever attended, or spoken with a priest chaplain involved with Courage?

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  18. courage conference is the last weekend of july at Mundelein (in case anyone is interested ;) http://www.couragerc.net/Conferences.html

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  19. "susan" and "doughboy," thank you for your thoughts as I know they come from a good place.

    But uh, no..I actually went on their website and while I think the Courage is a step above "the Ex-Gay," movement ..in that they aren't saying someone is going to become "straight," and marry some poor unsuspecting woman and then it all goes to hell..I just feel for those people involved and I hope it helps them. I agree, that it is their choice and that if it provides peace to someone great, not everyone in life needs to be involved with someone else or be sexual to find happiness. However, from reading the "testimonials," if they actually are all true testimonials it seems to attract some people with some "issues," either sexual abuse when they were younger or just not comfortable in their own skin or addiction issues (and for all I know maybe this group provides that kind of counseling.) To be clear, I am not putting anyone down who had either of those issues (thank God I was spared) and if it works for someone, and gives them peace and happiness I say go for it.

    However, I would help out with the priest who wants to get them involved in sports (apparently to make them manly???) as I think they are going to need someone who knows how to throw a ball and run the bases! : )

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    1. Mack - good points. Courage isn't for everyone - as you point out. Others have pointed that out as well. Some people are just not suited to 12 step groups. Maybe I can write about these things in the days ahead.

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  20. Thanks Terry, I don't want to offend anyone who is involved and I don't like making assumptions about something I don't really know about.

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