Sunday, May 04, 2014

The Third Way - A comment on the SSA 'docudrama'.

"Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart..."

Without fail every time you write about homosexuality, gay/ssa persons, you get flak.  "Not every one is like that" is the most common thread, or now, "That's a problem from an older generation - no longer applicable to the younger more tolerant generation."  Same old same old.  Truth be told, the re-education of Western culture has been driven by gender equality, and the elimination of sexual boundaries.  It has been going on for decades.  So yes - younger people and their parents have a greater openness and acceptance of what was once regarded as deviant culture.  The demand today is for approval.

Matt from Badger Catholic posted the video The Third Way, with a comment that I approved of the video.  Indeed after watching the piece - running through it actually, I was favorably impressed.  Later I heard from some people I respect who had some misgivings on the film, wondering about the purpose behind it, feeling there is something more, perhaps just below the surface.  I got that too - but I picked it up later from the Melinda Selmys commentary.  She seems to always have more to say after her talks - clarifying what she said, what she meant ...  I'll save that one for another post perhaps - if I can maintain an interest.

Anyway, Badger's post received an anonymous comment that may have helped explain what might lie beneath this type of gay docudrama.  The author remarked: "I VERY much liked the video's STRONG insistence that we (the Church) must show strong approval and clear acceptance of people with same sex attraction."  Obviously the comment was intended to be sarcastic, and maybe even directed at me.  That's fine.  Nevertheless, it demonstrates how frustrating it is for otherwise 'normal' people to be constantly berated for their lack of approval and/or acceptance of homosexuality.  As one friend told me, "the lecturing tone that is constantly given out to heterosexuals" is off-putting to say the least.  In a sense, the film may kind of  'guilt' some viewers into an approval or affirmation mode - albeit unintended, I'm sure.  Overall, the film is very good to help people understand the catechetical admonition that ssa persons must be "accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity."  It succeeds in that.

I don't often respond to comments - especially on other sites, but I wanted to make myself clear on what I really think of the film.  I've been busy working and haven't had time for the blog or other online sites, but I decided to make a comment on Badger's post explaining my initial 'positive' review of the film - which ended up as my post for the day.  The original comment here:

I have some reservations about the film and the way, as Anonymous @3:25 PM 4/30 expresses it - "the video's STRONG insistence that we (the Church) must show strong approval and clear acceptance of people with same sex attraction."
I was looking at the conscientious reflections of the subjects as they pertain to conversion from sin and understanding the self - self knowledge.  Overall, that would seem to me to be a good witness of repentance and conversion.  What I missed - or better put - what I didn't have time to reflect on was exactly that - the implication that the Church needs to show approval of the homosexual condition.  Acceptance of the person is necessary, but approval of behavior is in error.  Likewise, acceptance of homosexuality as a natural variant of human sexuality is erroneous.  Which is why the title bothers me - there is no 'third way' of marriage and sexuality.  The film points to the Church as the third way - but it needs to be understood clearly with regard to Catholic teaching - its definition of gender, marriage, and sexuality.
Interestingly enough, that seemed to be clear to 'active' gay people, who opposed the film for simply repeating Catholic prohibitions, and - some of the so-called 'gay Christians' dismissed it pretty much for the same reasons.  It's always a no win situation when it comes to Catholic teaching, which has been so frequently undermined as regards this subject.
Maybe I'll just cut and paste this comment to my blog.
Anyway - always be careful about how Catholic teaching is represented by the gay-Catholic movement.* - My comment @ Badger Catholic

So that's all I got - for today at least.  And believe me when I tell you, I do not imagine that my opinion matters, or that anyone cares about what I think.

Just keep in mind, Catholic teaching hasn't changed on homosexual behavior.  The Catechism talks about acceptance but does not teach approval.

This is why it is important to be the person God intended - read and meditate what the Catechism really teaches.  "There is great gain in religion, provide one is content with a sufficiency."

2338 The chaste person maintains the integrity of the powers of life and love placed in him. This integrity ensures the unity of the person; it is opposed to any behavior that would impair it. It tolerates neither a double life nor duplicity in speech.

2337 Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being. Sexuality, in which man's belonging to the bodily and biological world is expressed, becomes personal and truly human when it is integrated into the relationship of one person to another, in the complete and lifelong mutual gift of a man and a woman.
The virtue of chastity therefore involves the integrity of the person and the integrality of the gift.

2351 Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes.

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial.   Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection. - CCC
*BTW - The film is not a 'new homophile' production and is not intended as such - I was responding to the impressions of other viewers and their response to Selmys.  Like I said, that may be another post.


  1. You've piqued my curiosity. I think I will have to watch the film. I'm always interested in your insights on these matters.

    1. Back at you - I'll be interested to see what you think.

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  3. I thought that the film, on balance, was solid. I didn't see where it affirmed homosexual orientation. I think it just acknowledges that this orientation doesn't always disappear just because you submit to the Church's teaching on sexual matters.

    1. Excellent point Frank. I think what I've responded more to here is the perception of others and the comments I received via email and so on. Your impression that the orientation doesn't disappear or go away is the effective part of the project. My impression that something lies beneath has been the responses I've read and particularly Selmys response - which always seem to me that either not enough was said or that a genuine 'third way' needs to be recognized. Her presence in the film, as well as her commentary afterward - on her blog - affected me negatively.

      One of the best representatives in the film was Joe Prever - Steve Gershom. He strikes me as someone who is working things out in a very solid Catholic manner.

  4. Anonymous7:29 AM

    I saw a post recently on this same film, if you are interested. It's at the Personalist Project, posted May 1.

  5. Thanks for the clarity Terry

  6. I watched the film last night and thought it was very helpful towards understanding persons with SSA in order to respond better in charity in love... Which is always the answer.


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