Saturday, February 01, 2014

An unfortunate chain of events ...

They're a 'couple'.

"Partners" denied Holy Communion at Mother's funeral: A little bit of history repeating.

Remember the Father Marcel Guarnizo affair a couple of years ago? Fr. Guarnizo denied Communion to a lesbian and her partner because they were a couple - possibly living in sin.  I think one of them was a Buddhist as well as something of an activist - I'm not sure.  Anyway - they were told not to present for Communion, they did and were refused.  Story here.

Just the other day a gay-Catholic left a comment criticizing me for an admonition I wrote as regards SSA Catholics who live together, I had said how it is important for them not to identify or present themselves as a couple.  My critic told me that my statement was nothing more than 'word policing' - that the word has no real meaning, noting:  "besides Marriage itself, the deposit of faith has no category of "couplehood" period."  Ah!  So let's see how that works.  

The gay couple were refused Communion over one word used in an obituary.

A couple who lives outside of Chillicothe say their priest denied them communion when he discovered they were in a same-sex relationship. Carol Parker and her partner of nearly 20 years, Josephine Martin, say they were good standing members of Saint Columban Catholic Church in Chillicothe for 12 years.
They say that all changed when Parker had her mother’s funeral at the church following her death on December 26th. The obituary noted Parker’s mother was survived by a son, a daughter and her daughter’s partner.
“If that one word had not been in there, he would be fine,” said Martin.
Parker said she had been a member since 2001 and served as a lector, a cantor and also sang in the choir. - Story

After the funeral the priest sent a letter to Ms. Parker explaining the teaching of the Church.  It said nothing about 'couplehood' or partnership - yet the use of that one word 'partner' was enough for the priest who explained:  “having a same-sex attraction is not sinful in and of itself … it is only when a person moves from attraction to willfully acting upon it that the situation becomes a sinful matter.”

From the looks of these women I would imagine they are probably not sexually active.  Ordinarily two women or two men, close friends, sharing a house is perfectly fine.  No sin or scandal in that.  Yet when the obituary describes the survivors in what can be interpreted as a same sex relationship or marriage, then that public declaration becomes a problem.  As the minister of the Eucharist, the priest calls the shots.

Likewise, as in the Guarnizo situation, it appears one of the women may dissent on Catholic moral teaching.  Commenting on the priest's actions, she said:
... she hopes that the priest might “open his eyes and fully receive the LGBT community into the church.”

What an unfortunate series of events, huh?  Yet words have meaning - and consequences.

The awful truth.

When Pope Francis said 'who am I to judge' he first noted that he hadn't seen any gay-identity-card-carrying people in the Vatican - in other words, no one was coming up to him and saying "I'm gay.  I'm out.  I want to change/undermine the rules."  He wasn't identifying people by their sexual inclinations.  He went on to explain, "If a gay person seeks God ... who am I to judge."  However, truth be told, if a gay couple comes out and declares they are gay, living as a married couple, then it appears there really is something to judge.  

“I didn't realize this was a sad occasion.” 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Portents of Woe

Flying Dragons. (A prophecy of the Wizard of Oz)

Renaissance Art of the End Times.

Stunning illustrations which appear almost modern, documenting cataclysmic events as indications of the End Times.  I've updated the captions to show how the images were in all probability prophecies for our times of tribulation and woe.

Smelly Beast of Gender-Queerness

All are made drunk from the cup of the whore of Babylon.

The Two Popes.

Winter in Minneapolis.

The Great Earthquakes to strike the U.S. any day now.

The Antichrist revealed:  Big Flamer

H/T to my friend Byron for the link.

Getting an education...

In deep sh-t.

LGBTQ.  Genderquerness.  Queer theory.  And that's not all.  It is dizzying, mind-boggling stuff.  I'm doing a lot of reading.

For today's post, we will look at a few random quotes from various authors.  If they don't make sense, don't worry - that's because it's queer.

Once the term 'queer' was, at best, slang for homosexual, at worst, a term of homophobic abuse. In recent years 'queer' has come to be used differently, sometimes as an umbrella term for a coalition of culturally marginal sexual self-identifications and at other times to describe a nascent theoretical model which has developed out of more traditional lesbian and gay studies. The rapid development and consolidation of lesbian and gay studies in universities in the 1990s is paralleled by an increasing deployment of the term 'queer'. As queer is unaligned with any specific identity category, it has the potential to be annexed profitably to any number of discussions. In the history of disciplinary formations, lesbian and gay studies is itself a relatively recent construction, and queer theory can be seen as its latest institutional transformation. - Annamarie Jagose
The appeal of 'queer theory' has outstripped anyone's sense of what exactly it means. -Michael Warner 
[It] will have to remain that which is, in the present, never fully owned, but always and only redeployed, twisted, queered from a prior usage and in the direction of urgent and expanding political purposes, and perhaps also yielded in favor of terms that do that political work more effectively. - Jagose 
The LGBT model and its feminist dominated agenda is both personally unappealing and IMHO unsustainable over the long term and therefore culturally suicidal. To put it in Jack Donovan’s typically brusque way: A society dominated by women and effeminates cannot survive. - Dr.AndroSF
Women couldn't be oppressed if there was no such thing as 'women' ... doing away with gender is key to the doing away with patriarchy ... Gender fluidity is the ability to freely and knowingly become one or many of a limitless number of genders, for any length of time. Kate Bornestein

Can you see how the deconstruction of gender identity is essentially intellectually dishonest and unreliable?  Therefore, what Pope Benedict  said makes so much sense:
According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious.” - Source 

It's a much bigger issue than simply identifying as gay.  

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Conscience and Truth

Do not quench the Spirit!

Something from John Paul II.

In their desire to emphasize the "creative" character of conscience, certain authors no longer call its actions "judgments" but "decisions" : only by making these decisions "autonomously" would man be able to attain moral maturity. Some even hold that this process of maturing is inhibited by the excessively categorical position adopted by the Church's Magisterium in many moral questions; for them, the Church's interventions are the cause of unnecessary conflicts of conscience.

56. In order to justify these positions, some authors have proposed a kind of double status of moral truth. Beyond the doctrinal and abstract level, one would have to acknowledge the priority of a certain more concrete existential consideration. The latter, by taking account of circumstances and the situation, could legitimately be the basis of certain exceptions to the general rule and thus permit one to do in practice and in good conscience what is qualified as intrinsically evil by the moral law. A separation, or even an opposition, is thus established in some cases between the teaching of the precept, which is valid in general, and the norm of the individual conscience, which would in fact make the final decision about what is good and what is evil. On this basis, an attempt is made to legitimize so-called "pastoral" solutions contrary to the teaching of the Magisterium, and to justify a "creative" hermeneutic according to which the moral conscience is in no way obliged, in every case, by a particular negative precept.

No one can fail to realize that these approaches pose a challenge to the very identity of the moral conscience in relation to human freedom and God's law.


Christians have a great help for the formation of conscience in the Church and her Magisterium.As the Council affirms: "In forming their consciences the Christian faithful must give careful attention to the sacred and certain teaching of the Church. For the Catholic Church is by the will of Christ the teacher of truth. Her charge is to announce and teach authentically that truth which is Christ, and at the same time with her authority to declare and confirm the principles of the moral order which derive from human nature itself ".111 It follows that the authority of the Church, when she pronounces on moral questions, in no way undermines the freedom of conscience of Christians. This is so not only because freedom of conscience is never freedom "from" the truth but always and only freedom "in" the truth, but also because the Magisterium does not bring to the Christian conscience truths which are extraneous to it; rather it brings to light the truths which it ought already to possess, developing them from the starting point of the primordial act of faith. The Church puts herself always and only at the service of conscience, helping it to avoid being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine proposed by human deceit (cf. Eph 4:14), and helping it not to swerve from the truth about the good of man, but rather, especially in more difficult questions, to attain the truth with certainty and to abide in it. - Veritatis splendor

+ + + 

Veritatis splendor is always in my sidebar.  In the absence of Pope Francis speaking less ex cathedra and talking more ex cuff on Catholic moral teaching, perhaps it is a good idea to re-examine the Magisterial teaching contained in the encyclicals of Bl. John Paul II, as a moral compass in these days of confusion.  It could also be a wonderful way to prepare for the canonization.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

More Definitions: Queer Theory*, what is it?

There has been some work by feminist and lesbian scholars...

"... Increasing numbers of people today, even within the Church, are bringing enormous pressure to bear on the Church to accept the homosexual condition as though it were not disordered ..." - CDF

Many people do not understand the origins or roots of the 'new' theories on gender and sexuality - so I will occasionally print a sort of glossary of terms, to help the interested - albeit confused - ordinary person understand some of the sources. 

Queer theory is a field of post-structuralist critical theory that emerged in the early 1990s out of the fields of queer studies and women's studies. Queer theory includes both queer readings of texts and the theorisation of 'queerness' itself. Heavily influenced by the work of Gloria AnzaldúaEve Kosofsky SedgwickJudith ButlerJosé Esteban Muñoz, and Lauren Berlant, queer theory builds both upon feminist challenges to the idea that gender is part of the essential self and upon gay/lesbian studies' close examination of the socially constructed nature of sexual acts and identities. Whereas gay/lesbian studies focused its inquiries into natural and unnatural behaviour with respect to homosexual behaviour, queer theory expands its focus to encompass any kind of sexual activity or identity that falls into normative and deviant categories. Italian feminist and film theorist Teresa de Lauretis coined the term "queer theory" for a conference she organized at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1990 and a special issue of Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies she edited based on that conference.

"Queer focuses on mismatches between sex, gender and desire. For most, queer has prominently been associated with simply those who identify as lesbian and gay. Unknown to many, queer is in association with more than just gay and lesbian, but also cross-dressing, hermaphroditism, gender ambiguity and gender-corrective surgery." Karl Ulrich's model, he understood homosexuality to be an intermediate condition, a 'third sex' that combined physiological aspects of both masculinity and femininity.

"Queer is a product of specific cultural and theoretical pressures which increasingly structured debates (both within and outside the academy) about questions of lesbian and gay identity" - Source

Queer theory is closely related to gender theory, which together form the foundation of a new philosophy of sexuality, something Pope Benedict XVI warned about:

 According to this new theory of sexuality “people dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity… They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.” If the duality between man and woman ceases to exist, the Pope explained, then “neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. - Source 
Words have meaning - yet modern philosophers love to play with the meaning of meaning - which I compare to sleight of hand, or shell games when it comes to discussions on gender and sexuality as 'social constructs'.

"The Church's ministers must ensure that homosexual persons in their care will not be misled by this point of view, so profoundly opposed to the teaching of the Church. But the risk is great and there are many who seek to create confusion regarding the Church's position, and then to use that confusion to their own advantage." - CDF

*Queer theory is a field of critical theory that emerged in the early 1990s out of the fields of LGBT studies and feminist studies. It is a kind of interpretation devoted to queer readings of texts. Heavily influenced by the work of Jacob Edwards, queer theory builds both upon feminist challenges to the idea that gender is part of the essential self and upon gay/lesbian studies' close examination of thesocially constructed nature of sexual acts and identities. Whereas gay/lesbian studies focused its inquiries into "natural" and "unnatural" behavior with respect to homosexual behavior, queer theory expands its focus to encompass any kind of sexual activity or identity that falls into normative and deviant categories. - Source

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

This happened in front of children!

The children were horrified and traumatized.


Terrified children fleeing St. Peter's Square.

Chastity, celibacy, and continence.

Jimmy Akin covers it.

I was going to write something about it as it applies to some of the discussions related to the controversy surrounding the 'New Homophobes' and their interpretation of chaste friendship.*  Their arguments are so complex and confusing, I have trouble understanding what they are saying at times. 'Truth is simple and pure and should be able to be transmitted to and understood by a barmaid' - I read somewhere that Einstein actually made such a claim about unified field theory.

Jimmy Akin is able to communicate with such simplicity and clarity, that no one should walk away confused.  I'll list his points here, but to read his complete definition of terms, click his name at the end of the quote:
What is continence?
Continence refers to what people think celibacy and chastity refer to—that is, not having sex.

What is celibacy?

Celibacy is the state of not being married.

What is chastity?

Chastity is the virtue of being sexually pure.

It comes from the Latin word castitas, which originally meant “purity,” and which came to refer specifically to sexual purity. 

Chastity will take different forms depending on whether one is celibate or married... 
What about unmarried people who aren’t consecrated or clergy?
All unmarried people are called to exercise chastity by observing continence.
The difference between ordinary unmarried people, on the one hand, and the consecrated and clergy on the other, is that ordinary unmarried people can get married.
They are not in a stable condition of life in which they are obligated to remain.
They are in a state of potentiality which they could leave by embracing one of the three vocations: marriage, holy orders, or the consecrated life.
Thus, everyone is called to exercise the virtue of chastity, but the form that takes will depend on their state of life. - Jimmy Akin

Chaste, continent, celibate same sex friendship.

As Akin points out, single people who remain unmarried are called to exercise chastity by observing continence  - no sex.  As in the case of same sex attracted persons, they live a chaste, celibate life.  That does not mean they must live alone, they can have same sex friendships, share an apartment and a house, and so on.  In fact, healthy same sex friendships are important for ssa people to live a balanced celibate life.**  The Church says living out of this (homosexual) orientation in homosexual activity is not a morally acceptable option.  But the Church does not forbid chaste friendship and mutual support.  

Indeed, the Catechism points to disinterested same-sex friendship as a help and support.  This can come about in those situations wherein two persons have lived together for a long time, and after a deeper conversion perhaps, returned to Church teaching on sexuality and marriage.  (Spiritual direction is critical in such cases.)  Friendship centered upon Christ with the purpose of living in fidelity to Church teaching and mutual sanctification is certainly not forbidden by the Church.  However, living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is not a morally acceptable option. - CDF

What does disinterested friendship mean?

As one friend put it:
A 'chaste lifestyle' for two ssa men does not and cannot include identifying as a 'couple'. Living together as a gay “couple” is effectively what I will refer to as “pseudo-spousing” just as much as a cohabiting man and woman are “pseudo-spousing” with or without sexual activity. This is a hugely important point to make and is one that dovetails with the CCC’s noting that the call to chastity for homosexuals involves disinterested friendships (the very opposite of “eros”), not 'couplehood'.

I agreed with my friend's important qualification.  At best, the arrangement might be seen as irregular, not unlike - yet not the same as - the case of a divorced and remarried man and women who agree to live chastely, as brother and sister, in order to be reconciled to the Church.  In the case of the married and divorced it is an imperfect accommodation, a pastoral exception permitted after spiritual direction and counsel, and sacramental reconciliation (confession).  This is often done provisionally, in cases involving children or estate, and complicated financial/economic problems.  In my experience it more frequently occurs when one of the spouses becomes ill or is incapacitated.

Two single men or women as friends.

Same sex friends are not in the same position, precisely because they cannot be spouses.  Even if civil law permits civil unions or ss marriage - in the eyes of the Church, their state in life is not changed.

In the past I may have inadvertently blurred these lines.  I believe I have used the analogy with divorced and remarried individuals presumptuously.  Personally, privately and publicly I have always maintained ss relationships have no affinity to marriage, precisely because the spousal dimension is impossible.  Likewise, romantic and sexual interest in one another isn't sustainable without outside stimulus. (This also helps explain why two longtime friends would not necessarily present an occasion of sin for one another.)  When sexual interest wanes, homosexual 'couples' look outside the relationship for sex and 'romance' - sometimes they may do it together, or singly, sometimes it is just heavy reliance on pornography or voyeurism at the gym.  In my experience, many delude themselves that consent is the determining justification for such behavior, maintaining their relationship has simply evolved into some sort of 'open marriage'.  Despite what they say, the entire idea that it is the same as traditional marriage in the first place is a falsehood.

Having said that, when and if chaste, celibate and continent same sex friends live under the same roof, they must be especially careful to avoid representing themselves or identifying themselves as a couple, as well avoiding giving the impression their lifestyle is a sort of substitute or compromise of gay marriage.   In my opinion that would be advocating the gay lifestyle, leading to a misunderstanding of Church teaching.

I hope this is understandable to my regular readers and friends.

*This post is actually in response to a question raised by Mark in the com-box of a post on Spiritual Friendship Blog here.

**SSA persons do well to form same sex friendships with heterosexual persons.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Bad Omen

Song for this post here.

Splinters and beams.

Minding my own business ...

I came across a comment on another blog by a writer I've encountered in the past.  The person declared some things about how he is privately consecrated to Christ and needs no other mediators to go to Him.  The post dealt with the idea of total consecration to Our Lady according to St. Louis De Montfort.  Naturally not every devotion is suited to everyone and there is no rule one has to embrace the devotion of total consecration, however, the way in which this fellow made his point struck me as bordering on presumption and maybe just slightly lacking in humility.  I may have been wrong in my perception of course, but I had also seen comments by the same person in the past complaining he wasn't accepted in this or that traditional religious community for whatever reason.

As I mentioned, I am familiar with this fellow's writing and he is a very solid, faithful Catholic, completely orthodox, if you will - although at times a little censorious towards those who may not share his convictions.

I wondered if his problem might be a lack of docility?  Since he seems to be convinced of his own self-righteousness - in a good way of course: he's doing everything right, he seeks God alone, he wants union with God, and so on.  However, some people like that are hard to admit into religious life precisely because they can be quite convinced they are much advanced and deeply spiritual already, thus they are quite secure and believe they are even able to teach others.  They forget that the man who keeps his own counsel can fall into error, or at least presumption... the worst kind of self-righteousness.  St. John of the Cross counselled, "Allow yourself to be taught, allow yourself to receive orders..." (#112) ... considering that we are called always to grow in wisdom, grace and knowledge.

I can convince myself I'm just fine in the spiritual, moral life.  More often than not, I have trouble allowing myself to be taught, to receive orders, to even be despised.  I think many are like that.  Many of us do not receive correction very well.  Many of us do not receive criticism very well.  We ignore the Psalmist who says, "If a good man rebukes me it is kindness."  Oftentimes we do it because the one correcting us doesn't seem to have the authority to do so.  He might be a layman or a religious, but he might not be a priest, or someone in authority over us - so we discount him.  His education may not be what we expect it should be.  He may not even be religious.  In other words, he's just not qualified.  In addition, he has no idea how orthodox and faithful we are, much less the sacrifices we have made to get where we are.  We become convinced of our own self-righteousness - which enables us to look down upon everyone else.

Sometimes we can be right of course - but that doesn't make us paragons of virtue or right living.

I have to go now.  I have snow to remove.

I'll try to pick this up later.


Did I ever tell you about a guy I knew who told me he made a nun's veil and wimple for himself out of dish towels and a bath towel and then did his ironing while listening to chant?  When I asked why, he said it helped him get things done.  He also smoked marijuana.