Friday, January 23, 2015

Deacon Jim Russell splits the hairs of 'disinterested friendship' and same sex 'couples'.


Ouchamagaucha!  He's sooooo strict!

I like Deacon Jim Russell.  He has a way of getting under people's skin though.  I believe he is blessed with a sensitive conscience, as well as a love of the truth - in charity, no matter how difficult it may be.  He has actually helped clarify, for me at least, some teachings of the Church regarding same sex friendship, and what that really means.  Today I discovered his essay on Catholic Vote regarding "Chaste Gay Couples - and other same sex unions".  He's a brave man.

How dare he?!

I say that jokingly because many people believe that all the Church calls people to is chastity - as long as same sex friends don't have genital sexual relations they are good to go.  Actually, the Church calls all of us to sanctity - holiness - which means a complete and total love of God alone, and our neighbor as ourselves.  Love never harms the beloved, hence, outside sacramental marriage, love never demands the exclusive love of the other.  Don't listen to me however, I have trouble expressing these things, which is why I like the fact Deacon Jim dares to step in and do so.

Perhaps these are hard sayings for most, especially those who are trying to live chastely with a friend they were once intimate with.  It can be hard to accept at first, but if one thinks it through, one eventually can understand there remains a distinction between disinterested same sex friendship and a variation of same sex union.  It may seem unnecessary to make such fine distinctions, but one needs to remember that 'same sex unions' prepared the way for legal recognition of same sex marriage.

As some readers know, I am convinced that marriage is impossible for same sex couples - precisely because of the lack of physical complementarity as well as the ability to 'naturally' procreate - being 'open to life' doesn't make the cut here.  People disagree with me of course, but it remains the basis for my insistence that same sex couples cannot be married, and even if they claim to be, the permanence of a real marriage cannot and does not exist.  This is also the basis for my claim the erotic interest between same sex friends dissipates and can only remain active in and through the use of porn or some other outside stimulus, even degenerating into mutual-consensual promiscuity.  I would also note that proper disinterested friendship, especially between former 'lovers' is an exceptional situation.  The friendship would necessitate resolute determination to help one another grow in holiness and wholeness - to support one another while allowing each other to attain that authentic freedom of spirit God wills for us.   People hate it when I say that stuff, so I'll shut up and hand this over to someone who knows his theology of the body better that I do...
In certain Catholic landscapes, an unsettling custom seems to be developing.
Many Catholic writers, pundits, and thinkers are opting to give a thumbs-up to the notion of the “chaste, gay couple,” describing self-identified “gay” couples who have opted to abide by Church teaching prohibiting “homogenital acts.” These observers of such couples are so rightly impressed by the pursuit of “chastity”* that they, unfortunately, wrongly overlook the other vitally important descriptor—“couple.” 
By glossing past “couplehood,” the observers are missing the inherent contradiction of saying all at once that someone is gay, chaste, and a couple. The claim is that the only “homosexual inclination” that the Church teaches to be “disordered” is the inclination to homogenital acts; therefore, by agreeing with the Church that such acts ought never be willed, the couple is therefore free to live life happily ever after in blissful, chastely-gay couplehood. Additionally, observers assert that being a “couple” is not wrong because the two men or two women aren’t succumbing to the temptation to act out sexually. Such couples are being referred to as Catholics living life in utter fidelity to Christ and His Church. 
Of the many inherent problems with this relative to an authentically Catholic understanding of human nature (which I won’t address here), one basic problem of “category” exists as well—the “chaste, gay couple” represents a specific form of same-sex union, and the Catholic Church makes clear, in its teaching regarding efforts to legalize or recognize same-sex unions, that Catholics are called to oppose them (See “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons”). - Please finish reading here.

I would like to reprint the entire article here, but I don't have permission for that, so please go to Catholic Vote and read what Deacon Jim has to say.  People have asked why Deacon Jim takes an interest in these matters, that it doesn't concern him.  I disagree, as an ordained minister he has Holy Orders, and his concern is pastoral and an important part of his ministry.  It's part of his vocation.



  1. "Disinterested Friendship," Any two people together for longer then 20 years!!!!

    And if you think that straight people don't need some uh, "support," in the area of keeping their interest up I think your straight friends are pulling your leg!

    Anyway, while I think Deacon Whatshisface and Austin Ruse's interest in this subject and what is going on in other people's houses is in itself a "unnatural inclination," I would have to agree with Deacon (and do Catholics have them???I never met one in my that real???) on one aspect of this. If the people involved in the relationship actually believe the story the Church has foisted on them,...I mean, Church doctrine, that would also include being a couple....while I think that is bull, if you buy into it, you can't skate around the issue and be celibate but look down your nose at other gay couples but still be a "couple," and all that goes with it. Frankly, in a normal relationship, gay or straight, sex should be important but its not THE most important thing...especially the longer you have been together.

    I think there must be a reason God put that great person that you want to watch the Walking Dead with and argue over what constitutes a totally clean frying pan (I personally think a bit smudge on it adds to the taste in later recipes but....) in your path, and that they give you the support and love you deserve..and I think its terrible that the good Deacon...(again..really???) would demand that gay friends live apart and consign themselves to being the odd man out, the freak at the party, the lonely spinster/awkward bachelor while he goes home to his six million kids..(he is the one who has all the kids right..) AND his..Deacon-ship and gets to tell everyone else how to live their can't have it both ways. As my Dad would say, "Shit or get off the pot."

    Well, now that we have cleared that up...

    1. I'm rewording my earlier comment - or adding to it, I should say. I only wrote, "I knew you would have something to add to this."

      And I'm always glad you do.

      The Church does not actually say two people can't live together any more than the Church says it's a sin to use the term gay. I know people split hairs over that, and they can. I think I understand what Deacon is saying and I think I understand his intent and purpose.

      A huge point of contention (by gay-Catholics) within the body of Catholic teaching on homosexuality is the CDF's concern and statement regarding 'an all too benign interpretation be given to the homosexual condition itself'. This is how I understand Deacon Jim's concern and essay pointing out, as it were, an all too benign acceptance of alternative same sex unions.

      It is a development gaining a lot of acceptance these days in and through the writing of Spriritual Friends, but the concept is only a twin bed away from the New Ways Ministry attitude, that it's better to be in a monogamous relationship than to have multiple sex partners, and/or - it's better to marry than to burn - something not a few priests and religious felt would be the only alternative to the loneliness of gay men and women BTW. Yet that is rooted in a 'too benign interpretation of the homosexual condition itself'. As for the monogamous - that can happen and probably does. However, as Dan Savage and more 'realistic' gay pundits pretty much have pointed out over the years, monogamy is a rare bird - esp. among gays, and other arrangements are often made - and domesticated through 'mutual consent' - it doesn't make it moral according to Judeo-Christian teachings though. I've written about that before and I know you and a lot of others disagree with me, and that's fine.

      It seems to me what Deacon Jim is calling out is a sly 'development of doctrine' that has now been set in motion and seen as an alternative same sex union ... which leads to SSM.

      On the other hand - you are right - no one can tell anyone how to live their lives - but neither can we tell the Church to change teaching on faith and morals.

      I know you know that and accept that too.

      God bless you my friend.

    2. Terry,

      You sound like my partner...."I know your'll have an opinion on this..." but luckily I can't see your face so you can't shoot me "the look," to shut my big fat mouth like he does.

      Dan Savage? That old wh*re??? LOL he doesn't talk for anyone but himself. Monogamy is hard for everyone gay and straight as we can see from the divorce rate and the percentage of straight couples who have extramarital affairs. When you throw two guys into the mix its harder as we are wired different then woman (sorry, that may sound sexist) and guys are more forgiving of mistakes of this kind. Doesn't mean its not worthwhile and a goal for all. As for mutual consent to have an open relationship..hey if it works for others I don't see how it can and I would be damned if I would go along with a freak show like that. That is just me.

      The Church is really concerned about an overly benign interpretation as it house of cards concerning this particular subject crumbles. But the horse is out of the barn for that...and I know we both disagree on that topic and as you say, its fine.

      My point about Deacon Jim and others like him. he sits there all smug with his 80 kids but demands that gay people sit at the back of the bus..(it is interesting that most of these guys, like him and Ruse are of a certain age..growing up when "queers," were weird and the last group that could really be picked on to make them feel better about themselves) Your damned if you do....and damned if you don't so just sit there gay boy and lezzies and act like the loner freak you are. Don't you dare stand up for yourself or demand a place at the table. They are heavily invested in keeping those queers in their place and are very, very, very frustrated that it is not working. Its much easier to do that when you can cloak yourself in God's Truth and tell everyone they are going to hell.

      And can anyone tell me what a Deacon does in a Catholic Church?

    3. Never mind, I looked it up...(yes...Google is our friend.)

  2. "Disinterested" is a word from the catechism. As in "disinterested service" -- the phrase means opposite of "I will scratch your back if you scratch mine".

    1. It should not be confused with "non-interested". In the CCC disinterested service is mentioned as how parents model love to their children.

  3. I would agree with you that "proper disinterested friendship, especially between former 'lovers' is an exceptional situation. The friendship would necessitate resolute determination to help one another grow in holiness and wholeness". However, living together with the intention of living a 'chaste' relationship would be an "occasion for sin". We have to remember our fallen human nature is at work. It seems to me this would be a great temptation. It is much like the alcoholic determined never to take another drink and spending each evening in the bar. Self - knowledge of our own weaknesses would necessitate - don't go there. To assume that one could and not "sin" is presumptive.

  4. Maybe.

    I disagree with your assessment however. It seems to me you believe living together would be a great temptation - living in a constant near occasion of sin. I doubt this is the case for long time companions or older friends - and in some cases even for younger persons deeply committed to live a chaste and celibate life - under spiritual direction ideally.

    I doubt you understand same sex attraction - especially between males. Believe me - the sexual attraction doesn't last between male same sex partners. And even if it did - I'm not discussing sex addicts here, nor the inclusion of porn or fetishism to stimulate arousal. If an ordinary man with ssa was unable to control himself, how could he even go to the gym or the beach or go out running, or use a public restroom without trying to seduce another guy or find some sort of sexual release?

    It seems to me you are also making judgments based upon healthy sexual attraction, or perhaps your own experience; yet it seems especially based upon ordinary, complimentary sexual desire - that is, heterosexual attraction. What I'm saying - that does not exist - it is not a fair comparison. Gay people will not admit that of course, and arguments for gay marriage insist the union is the same. I disagree.

    When you or others speak like that, you are falling into the trap that same sex attraction is equal to heterosexual attraction, falling in love, and traditional marriage. I don't know why people refuse to acknowledge that. You are thereby playing by 'their' rules. In doing so, same sex 'couples' definitely can make the claim they have the right to civil/legal marital rights - because you are using the same language. That is precisely why it has become socially acceptable. Such reasoning is formed in and through the acceptance of contemporary culture and its definition of gender, sexuality and marriage.

    More charitably, in passing judgment, you also neglect to account for providence and grace.

    That said - neither of us have the responsibility to guide souls, and these situations necessarily must be discerned by appropriate spiritual direction and one's confessor in accord with Catholic teaching. The Church does not lay burdens too hard to carry for those who seek reconciliation, and there is no accounting for God's mercy, and to be sure - nothing is impossible for God.

    1. I'm a little confused, Terry. If the sex isn't that important between male homosexuals why is the lifestyle so promiscuous? Is it similar to the guy who goes to the red district to pick up a prostitute? I've wondered about the roommate thing because if ssa individuals can't live with the same sex b/c it's an "occasion of sin" and if they can't live with the opposite sex b/c it gives scandal, it seems like a very lonely, isolated life. Your thoughts?

    2. I think Terry is saying that guys that have been together loose interest in each other and need to pursue others...(not trying to speak for you Terry but I think that is what your saying.) But it seems that he is ignoring the fact that this happens to everyone gay or straight...relationships change over time and hopefully deepen to something richer. Sex isn't as important as it is when you first meet. Now some people, gay and straight, have issues with that and panic and start looking for others (I think it has more to do with validation.) Gay marriage has been around for what, 10 years at the most and there is no rule book or role models for gays in this situation like straights...coupled with the fact that its two guys and guys maybe dont' freak out as much as a woman when they find out someone cheated on them...

      And just from my experience gay guys aren't anymore promiscuous then straight guys, (believe me, my straight friends stories would curl my hair if I had any and I was never a monk.) they just have more opportunity.

      Also, every gay person is not attracted to every member of the same sex, so yea, they can live together. All through college and my 20s I had room mates and played sports (gasp..they are in the locker room) and no...just really no.

    3. Good point Mary Ann - what I mean is that an intimate relationship - sex between the ss - is not comparable to the conjugal act or marital embrace - love, tenderness, union, etc.. That dimension is missing for obvious reasons - perhaps that may explain the promiscuity - because it becomes a looking for love, for romance, excitement and so on. I can't really say what motivates others however. I should also mention that many younger gay people are not as promiscuous as the Babyboomers were - or so goes the claim. However, internet sex and porn may have replaced the acting out a bit - at least for the time being.

      In my experience, most long term couples really do become disinterested sexually because it just gets boring. Too familiar perhaps? I'm convinced this happens because same sex friendship cannot sustain a sexual component and mature. It's not reparative, if you will. (I think one of the benefits of friendship is to build up one another, allowing the other to become the person God intended, to integrate the person, and so on.) The liveliness of sexual activity can only be enhanced and sustained by outside, artificial stimulus and even occasional promiscuity - either together or by one or the other. If it isn't consensual, then someone has a secret - but it fuels the sexual relationship.

      I'm generalizing of course, but as I have told fallen away gay Catholic older couples I've known over the years, "Since you've lost interest in sex, throw out the viagra, the porn, stop engaging in online sex and whatever form of mutual masturbation you engage in and return to the sacraments." Sadly, everything militates against that in our culture. However, if they did that - stopped the sexual crap and moved on with their lives, went to confession, they could grow in friendship, wisdom and grace - sanctify their lives and find freedom of spirit.

      At Fatima OL said there are many bad marriages - and I always think of that - or I used to think of it; over the years when my male friends - married to women - would concede to me their wives were not satisfied and they, the guys, needed to learn some different techniques or they were going to a sex counselor. My point bringing that up is that way too much emphasis has been placed upon sexual pleasure - we see it in the ads on television. This exaggeration is similar to the gay relational experience - looking for ways to enhance the experience, rating the sexual act, and so on. It has become an obsession.

      SSA individuals can live with the same sex - it doesn't mean it's an occasion of sin. That's absurd - look at the monasteries and seminaries, or the military, sports teams, showers at the gym - there has always been a blending of sexual inclinations in these all male situations. Men with homosexual inclination have free will. I've heard from guys who say they masturbated because they turned themselves on stepping out of the shower and seeing their gorgeous body in the mirror. They are an occasion of sin to themselves sometimes. What should they do? Life goes on - daily life is an occasion of sin. One size doesn't fit all.

      Likewise, in college, in big cities where housing is expensive and maybe scarce, male and females often live together out of necessity and without scandal.

      That's my take on it - but I do not have charge of souls nor do I pretend to be a spiritual director.

      I hope that helps.

    4. Thanks Mack. Looks as if people think we are rabbits and have no self-control. Did I say that?

    5. Well if everyone look like Tom Brady but...WHAT???

    6. I probably should have added - for your sake - that not everyone is promiscuous either. I added a photo of disinterested male friends too - Joey and Ross.

  5. Thanks Terry - am finding this helpful.

    1. Thanks Jackie - i'm finding it exhausting.

  6. I like very much what the pope said yesterday:

    Modern man, he quoted, is “at times wounded by a systematic relativism, that bends to the easiest choices of circumstance, of demagogy, of fashion, of passion, of hedonism, of selfishness, so that externally he attempts to dispute the mastery of the law, and internally, almost without realising, substitutes the empire of moral conscience with the whim of psychological consciousness.”

    “There exists, indeed, a sort of spiritual worldliness, which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church, and which leads to the pursuit not of the glory of God, but rather of personal well-being.”


  7. Thanks Mack and Terry, that is helpful. And the discussion of sex becoming less important makes sense too. I always find the ads showing elderly couples skipping through fields of daisies while they advertise Viagra ridiculous. Living as loving brother and sister as you age is not an unmitigated evil and I expect many heterosexual couples find that happening what with the increase in prostate cancer, etc.

    I would like to understand more about my ssa brothers and sisters and your blog is helpful for that. We are called to be "our brother's keeper" and we can hardly be that if we don't know him.

    Offering my rosary today for all my ssa brothers and sisters.

  8. Oh Mary Ann..the drug companies want everyone to think they gotta be getting busy into their 80s..they have their stock prices to consider!


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