Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Something else from Dorothy Day: On the practice of 'unnatural sex'.

Before the corruption of minors became curriculum.

Before 'they' started teaching in schools that same sex attraction and gender dysphoria is 'natural', Dorothy Day and most anyone born before 1960 hardly knew anything about such things until at least high school.  (And if they did know, it wasn't discussed.)  In those days 'queer' actually meant queer - that is, strange, unusual, a deviation from what is normal, and so on.  Today, kids learn about this stuff in pre-school, therefore, it's interesting to read Dorothy Day's thoughts on 'unnatural sex' and her reaction to it.  She never considered her attraction to girls she admired to be queer at all - because her attraction was not sexual or romantic or possessive.

Duty of Delight - The Seventies

September 9
I awoke with a heavy sense of a problem nagging at my heart.  It is early morning - just light.  Having prayed briefly and pondered long, I must write now.  I must try to be brief.  St. Paul, who wrote so beautifully, so warmly of love, said 'Let these things be not so much as mentioned angst you,' so great was his repugnance to homosexuality and lesbianism, unnatural sex.  And now - in this perverse generation, it is proclaimed from the housetops.
I must set down my own insights which came to me after prayer.  I only go into this because two of our friends have now written and spoken to me of their acceptance of lesbianism.  Whether this means they are 'practicing it' I do not know.
I am always being confronted in mind and conscience with these words of Christ, 'Do not judge.'  And also these words of Paul, 'Let not these things even be mentioned among you.'
But this practice of 'unnatural sex' is now being 'proclaimed from the housetops' in America.  (Maybe I exaggerate.) Because my heart is troubled.  Why do I have to deal with it, write about it at all?  It's been among us before - and judged with horror and coldness by some in the CW movement and with faithful friendship which endured till death by many others.  One of the latter brought to my attention a treatise on friendship written by St. Aelred centuries ago.
How wide and beautiful is our understanding of the word love - love of children, love of one's brethren, and how it warms and strengthen the heart ... Even in so-called 'natural love' it must be controlled and, if not enlightened by grace, can become a 'delectation in temptation.'
I am sure we all know enough of love to know that first thrill of adolescence when we can exultantly say, 'I have a friend, a bosom friend,' the phrase used to be.
The sun shone brighter, unexpected beauty appeared all around us in all our relationships, in fact, we were in a way in love. -Duty of Delight

Friendship, 'hero-worship', bosom buddies - normal.

I want to stop right there.  Day goes on to describe her feeling for a girl in school - her admiration and fondness for her - though she didn't know her.  What was missing in her account was any notion of lust or desire, any inclination to possessiveness or control, much less envy.  She admired the girl's beauty and intelligence and her example propelled her, inspired her to emulate the ideal the fellow student represented to her.  Dorothy states, "I worked harder at my studies.  She was in a way, a model to me."  This is pure 'same sex attraction' if you will - uncorrupted.  A 'school-girl crush'.  Later she falls for a boy, a handsome football player, and she was physically attracted to him.

Dorothy writes of another attraction, after her conversion.  She was taken with a young woman - attracted to her piety and stately beauty and grace - her example inspired in Dorothy greater devotion to Our Lady.

These examples point to the right ordering of friendship - especially same sex friendship - her examples give us an insight into what disinterested friendship means.  I find it odd we even have to define the term, disinterested - yet that is how screwed up everything has gotten to be.

Continuing her discussion about the lesbians who confided in her their love for one another - a situation which clearly troubled Dorothy's conscience, I will conclude with what amounts to her conclusion on the matter - though she kept it to herself:

I do not narrow that important command of Christ ('not to judge') down to small meanings.
One must judge what is right and wrong and if one considers oneself of the Judeo-Christian faith, one must remember that admonitions in both Old and New Testaments about unbridled sex, practiced today in every form and fashion ... 
... one must be grateful for the state of 'in-love-ness' ... It is this glimpse of Holy Wisdom, Santa Sophia, which makes celibacy possible, which transcends human love.  Oh if only we could grow in faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these virtues is love. 
- The Duty of Delight, The Seventies, September 9, 1975


  1. Wow - she wrote that in 1975! Imagine if she were alive today! She'd have a heart attack!

  2. Written in the 70's? I must have been sleep-walking in the 70's. Oh, wait. I was. Poor Dorothy. She must be spinning in her grave, considering the state of things today.


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