Deacon Jim Russell asks "A yes or a mess?"
I have only written about Eve's book here and there - within in the context of posts about what others are saying in their reviews of the work. In fact, the further out the discussion goes with commentary by other noted religious thinkers, the less qualified I feel myself to say anything of substance.
Deacon Russell does a fine job of covering the troubling aspects of Eve's gay and Catholic 'teaching' in his current essay. I have learned a lot from Deacon Jim, he has helped me understand the fine points regarding same sex friendship, celibacy, chastity, and so on. I think he 'gets it'. This is especially clear in the latest article for Crisis. When it comes to forming youth, educating them on Catholic teaching regarding sexuality, marriage - including same sex attraction, Deacon goes right to the heart of the matter.
Interestingly, a post by and about Eve Tushnet's POV regarding 'gay and Catholic' titled, “God Delights in Me: What I’ve Learned as a Gay Catholic” has been removed from the LifeTeen website. Deacon Jim noted it in the combox, saying, "It's prudent and will minimize any potential confusion." I agree - but it's already out there, and has been - some Catholic schools pretty much teach the same things. The endorsement maybe has been put on hold, that's all.
Does the Church view homosexuality as a condition associated with affective immaturity, which may be transitory in adolescents? Yes.
It isn't as if Eve Tushnet is some wicked heretic, it's simply that the 'doctrine' may be a bit 'off'. As Deacon Jim stated in explaining his purpose for the current article:
I’d like to focus on Tushnet’s message as presented in the context of Catholic youth ministry. Let’s assess her assertions and then ask some questions about what a more authentic Catholic view regarding homosexuality and youth would be like. - Crisis
I want you to 'hear' that. We need to understand that things which get published on or off the Internet are sometimes intended for distinct audiences. Deacon Jim's chief concern with Eve Tushnet's outreach to youth is whether or not it is appropriate within the context of Catholic youth ministry. Kids in their formative years - despite the fact they may be from "Modern Family" style households and exposed to far more than many of us can imagine - it is absolutely critical that young people are educated in authentic, unambiguous Catholic teaching on faith and morals - not queer theory, gender theory, or same sex romance stories - but what the Church actually teaches and really calls us to. We can't 'make up' vocations.
Should the Church address same-sex attraction first and foremost via the virtue of chastity, particularly for young people? Yes.
Please read what Deacon Jim has to say - it should clear up any confusion you may have from Eve's book and her latest post at LifeTeen. As she herself noted in her post: “These days I go back and forth on how well I think I grasp the theology behind the Church’s sexual ethic.”
Ironically, that is a very real problem for gay people in general - the homosexual person or those with same sex attraction seeking to live in fidelity to Catholic teaching. Eve's book does little to dispel such wavering regarding Catholic teaching. Likewise, "pastorally speaking" accounts for even more confusion - if you know what I mean. The pastoral approach to individuals is unique, yet it is between the spiritual director and the individual person - to lift up exceptional life situations as a model for dealing with what is objectively disordered is not an acceptable replacement/substitute for clear, definitive Catholic teaching.
Should a clear and definitive distinction be maintained between authentically healthy and “disinterested” friendships on one hand and less-than-healthy relationships formed at least in part on the basis of same-sex attraction on the other? Yes.
Some of the Spiritual Friendship studies seem intent upon establishing a sort of gay-Catholic exceptional-ism which allows for exclusive same-sex partnerships, albeit without genital intimacy. So, if I was a kid and I heard that, I might think, "I can have a boyfriend - we just can't 'do it'."
I want to do a post on the Tushnet quote, "I go back and forth" - about the wavering on Catholic teaching gay people go through. On one hand we are bombarded by popular culture opening its arms to welcome gays as equal and normal, likewise psychology and academia affirms the gay person as intrinsically gifted and special. While the Church teaches the inclination itself is towards an intrinsically disordered sexuality, that chaste celibacy is the only alternative - yet the 'world' and popular culture distorts the very notion of all that is good and pure and simple. I see the back and forth all the time.
I have friends who've left the Church for the Old Catholics, the Anglican/Episcopalians, or some just 'moved beyond' the limitations of Catholic teaching. Almost all have vacillated on Catholic teaching at one time or another: Embracing this compromise, repenting and embracing the Courage model; or, falling back and integrating their lives with gay and straight - acting out, but going to Communion, repenting, digging in and going back to Courage or some sort of self-help source, even burning their bad books and Speedos, only to fall again - or just giving up all together. Maybe even developing their own idiosyncratic spirituality ... protestants do that. It's not Catholic. It might be spiritual and contain a Catholic sensibility, even a facade of Catholic religiosity - but it is not Catholic. I'm not judging the person here, nor am I saying the baptized person is not Catholic - but the 'practice' is not Catholic.
My point is that gay Catholics often have stability issues.
But. I. Digress.
Read Deacon Russell's essay. He doesn't vacillate.
Joseph Sciambra posted on the L.A. Religious Ed. Congress speaker Arthur Fitzmaurice, describing him as a gay "dissenter" from Catholic teaching, read Joe's post here. No surprise there I suppose. As I always say, Catholic education is riddled with misinformation - it's already part of the curriculum. No wonder Catholics are confused and 'go back and forth on how well they grasp - or accept - the Church's sexual ethic.'
Fitzmaurice teaches that God made people gay. All rightey then.
Apostasies among bishops and priests increase.