"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.
Saturday, October 09, 2010
St.'s Sergius and Bacchus: Martyrs, Soldier Saints.
Erastes, erastai, pederasty in the post-modern myth.
Contemporary gay Catholics celebrate the feast of the martyrs Sergius and Bacchus (October 7) as a special interest patron saint day, especially since controversial 20th century historian John Boswell presented the two martyrs as examples of homosexual lovers and partners, suggesting gay partnerships were approved by the early Church. Real scholars may debate the issue, but I say Boswell's theory is just that - a mythical theory of wishful thinking - totally prejudiced by his own homosexuality and 20th century sexual myopics.
Early records refer to Serge and Bacchus as erastai - plural for erastes - which strictly speaking usually refers to a relationship between an older man and a male youth - hence the term pederasty. Sometimes the Greek word erastai is used in non-sexual terms in the sense of 'beloved' - as is most probable in the case of the two martyrs. Male friendship, bonding, closeness, brotherly love, loyalty - especially amongst soldiers, and in the case of Serge and Bacchus - because they were secret Christians - would not have been sexual, unnatural or immoral. Their persecutors and executioners would have treated them with contempt - not unlike the humiliation Christ endured in his passion. In a culture where homosexuality may have been recognized to some extent, it wouldn't be out of the ordinary, nor an exaggeration to expect the courage demonstrated by the martyrs to have been mocked and themselves shamed as homosexuals. One legend claims the martyrs were paraded through the streets dressed as women - if true, it was a shameful act certainly not celebrating homosexuality.
It must be remembered that the term erastai is archaic and originates from pre-Christian times, in a period when the acceptance of certain homosexual practices was much different than in our own day. There is evidence homosexuality was not as exulted and respected across the board as modern gay historians like to imagine - especially by the time of Christ. There is no credible evidence the Church ever blessed same-sex sexual relationships, just as there is no credible evidence the Church ever ordained women as priests, or that there was ever a woman-pope.
"... Among you there will be false teachers who will smuggle in pernicious heresies. Their lustful ways will lure many away. Through them, the true way will be made subject to contempt." - 2 Peter 2
Iconography: As you can see most iconography of the saints depicts them as soldiers, friends. There is no evidence that their friendship was any more than friendship in Christ, and their witness and example to be that of martyrs for Christ. As such, the blessed martyrs St.'s Sergius and Bacchus are wonderful examples for all Christian men striving to live faithfully in an anti-Christian culture - but they do not belong to anti-Catholic political movements.