Saturday, December 20, 2014

Austin Ruse Challenges the New Homophiles

Ed. note:  A reader asked me once who Austin Ruse is and what is interest in all things gay?  Austin Ruse is president of C-FAM (Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute), a New York and Washington DC-based research institute focusing on international legal and social policy.  Hence is personal views and concerns expressed in the articles he writes for Crisis.  

His latest essay challenges the New Homophiles (his term) and when I first read it I was slightly concerned the tone was off, but as Austin said in the article, "They have PhDs. They can take it."  My concern was perhaps unwarranted to the extent that we are all adults and therefore serious, frank conversation is especially necessary when discussing critical issues related to Catholic teaching and opposition to it.  Straightforward language is not necessarily mean-spirited or uncharitable. 

Though I perceived a scornful tone in Austin's article, I forgot that he has been disparaged by some 'gay-Catholics' for even questioning the novelties suggested by the more progressive elements within the so-called Spiritual Friendship movement.  I apologize for the misunderstanding on my part.  I reprint my comment here with strikethroughs:

I've read Eve's book, and though I disagree on some points I have to say she strikes me as very faithful to Catholic teaching and deeply devout. Her book is astonishing in it's honesty, and at the risk of being mocked here, I couldn't help but think of Dorothy Day and Madeleine Dubrel - as well as Teresa of Avila whose writings were similarly as honest and sincere. I know from people who write to me that they found her story encouraging as regards their own children who are actively gay.
Young people today, those alienated for whatever reason, simply want us to listen to their stories and recognize that they exist. They know what the Church teaches already and many just can't make it fit - yet. We all need to pray and be open to those trying to be faithful.
If the new homophiles seek to change Catholic teaching - they are mistaken - it can't change. I'm not sure they all agree with one another on that either. I don't read them very deeply and to be honest - their exchanges seem more academic/philosophical theoretical experiments than anything else. I know bishops and priests are listening - but Catholic teaching can't change. To be sure, their writings help people to examine their lives and grow in self-knowledge - that isn't narcissism since self knowledge is critical for any spiritual growth.
I'm definitely pro-Courage for ssa persons - but many people may not feel that type of program is designed for them, for whatever reason. Some are convinced that gay is their identity - precisely because they have been educated, formed to think that. Conversion from the 'lifestyle' takes time and is often confused, interrupted, sometimes because of critical posts such as this one. I always appreciate what you write, but this article seems just a tad sarcastic and/or scornful. Otherwise your points are well taken and I generally agree with you.
We need to have great charity - as well as patience. These people are some one's kids. The culture proclaims gay from the rooftops - as equal, as normative - that constant message pulls upon those trying to be faithful to a Church whose members often scoff and condemn - and as people who comment on my blog say - 'beat them over the head with doctrine.' Hopefully they can come to understand that gay is not the gift they were given, likewise, if they are to understand that friendship is not a vocation in itself - they can only do so if those outside their paradigm can befriend them. I often think of Vanier's book title "Befriending the stranger" in this regard.
My apologies for writing so much - I maybe should do a blog post on the subject, but I doubt it would affect any one's thinking on the subject.
God bless you and your readers. - My comment on Fifteen Minutes article.

Austin Ruse replied very graciously to my comment, which can be read at the end of the article.

I didn't finish Eve's book - with a close reading, that is.  I will probably return to it over the Christmas season.  As I mentioned in the comment, I very much admire Eve's candor about her life and spirituality, and what we commonly refer to as her 'journey'.

Gay people are not known for their honesty.  Eve is very honest.  It really struck a chord within me.  I regretted ever dismissing or treating Eve or the Spiritual Friendship group with scorn.  Eve's honesty caused me to examine my own life - how honest have I been with others, the heavy burden of shame and secrecy I carried for so many years - despite the fact people knew my story - and accepted me that way.  While others didn't know my past, and so on.  Yet I never wanted to be that way.  It's crazy - and too complicated to discuss here, and I may never discuss it - but I have to give Eve Tushnet so much credit for dealing with the reality of her life.  If I had never prayerfully read her, listened to what she said, I never would have understood how necessary it is to listen and really hear what individuals from this group are saying.

I've often remarked that things have changed and the experience and education of younger persons has been deeply affected by acceptance of homosexuality - like or not, that has to be understood as a major cultural shift.  Therefore one cannot simply shove a crucifix in their face and demand they accept Catholic teaching.  Considering the cultural climate, it strikes me as nearly miraculous that gay-Catholics are so accepting of chaste celibacy as necessary to remain a faithful Catholic - to continue in the state of grace.  That has to be Divine grace at work in their lives - in and through the sacraments.

The idea of a development of doctrine seems unlikely, as well as unnecessary to me.  Likewise, the Church can never approve same sex marriage or homosexual acts - even some form of 'foreplay' or 'spooning' between 'spiritual friends'.   That cannot happen.

That said, we need to respect those who disagree, and love them as our own brothers and sisters.  Nothing is impossible for God.  Many do the best they can at the stage they are at.  All of us need one another's prayer.

I'm sure I waste my time writing this because I'm not at all accepted by any group - which is best for me.  I'm just a Catholic man - that's my identity.

As Fr. Angelo Mary said in a post on blogging recently:
As I would guess, the vast majority of man-hours spent connected are purely elective and strictly speaking unnecessary. We really don’t even have a God-given right to all the information we have access to. Certainly, it is very rare animal indeed, that creature who quite literally must blog for his livelihood or wellbeing. No one’s blog, vlog, website, YouTube channel, Facebook page or Twitter feed is necessary for the perpetuation of life in our galaxy. And I seriously doubt that there are many, if any, Catholic bloggers whose work is necessary for the Church, or his diocese, parish or community. We have confused our pastimes with our duties, just as people have confused televised narcissism with reality. We have all become paparazzi. - The Creature Named Catholic Internet

I'm now trying to figure out why I blog or make comments elsewhere.

Anyway - be kind to one another.  Life hurts.

1 comment:

Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.