Thursday, October 01, 2015

Friendly fire.

An apology.

I wrote a rather flippant post the other day challenging Joseph Sciambra and his objections to the use of the colloquialism gay in discussing other Catholics who employ the term to describe themselves.  One is supposed to use same sex attracted, and not identify oneself as gay.  I feel it's sometimes disingenuous to insist upon this point, and fired off a post I thought demonstrated the irony of Joe's position on the subject.  The post was misinterpreted as a sort of attack on Joe.  In retrospect, I also see it was indiscreet due to anecdotal references to the experiences of former friends, acquaintances, and even my own former behavior in order to point out how 'gay' people - or those struggling with same sex erotic attraction can inadvertently deceive themselves and others.  A couple of people thought I was referencing their particular experience.  I apologize for that, and the subsequent confusion and misunderstanding generated by my original post.

I should have known better and treated the subject with greater sensitivity and seriousness, rather than relying on my quirky sense of dark humor.  I should have known better and revised the post - which I did when I realized it had been misunderstood.  I probably should have removed it as soon as I began to defend it by adding multiple corrections.  I apologize for my self-opinion and pride and insistence upon my personal point of view, as well as my lack of consideration for the good name of others.   I'm very sorry.

For all of its faults, the original post was well intentioned, though admittedly very poorly written.

Essentially I wanted to express openness to the Spiritual Friendship group who identify as gay-Catholic and devote themselves to reconciling gay people with Catholic teaching.  It seemed to me their apostolate is very similar to Joe Sciambra's apostolate - accompanying and meeting gay people where they are at, in the reality of their existence, as they are - not as we would like them to be.  It's a discussion over my head, beyond my expertise.

My criticism came off as sarcastic, scornful and contemptuous.  I'm very sorry.

Joe Sciambra wrote a very good post explaining why he does not use the term gay to describe himself or others.
"Despite this, time and the healing power of prayer can calm all things: after over 15 years, I can at least now utter the word - though sparingly; I never call myself “gay” or anyone else for that matter. I only use it during outreach to the “gay” community; in the form of my two web-sites: I do this because, in the homosexual world, I am dealing directly with a group of human beings that are in a communal state of euphoric denial; its sort of The Coconut Grove gone berserk - since no one tries to flee as the burning building falls about them...." - Joe Sciambra
I had apologized in the combox of the original post, explaining why I called out Joe's post on the Folsom St. Fair:  (Edited for clarity.)

Actually I admire him for what he does - I simply find it ironic that he doesn't recognize or appreciate the fact that Tushnet, Belgau, Selmys and company are doing the same thing. Likewise, Joe's criticism of Cardinal Schonborn for suggesting: " the Church should not look in the bedroom first, but in the dining room! It must accompany people" impressed me as a bit over the top considering that Joe meets these people where they are at - the Folsom St. Fair. Nothing wrong with that - but it seems to me that it pretty much measures out to be the same thing.
Joe is doing a good thing - provided he's not placing himself in the occasion of sin - Folsom St. can be pretty raunchy. (I said that because it is often suggested same sex friendships are an occasion of sin for gay people.) That (occasion of sin talk) opens another can of worms - the occasion of sin argument for same sex friends. It's a topic Joe rails against. Likewise the photos - I've had more innocent photos guys have asked me to take down because they were tempted to lust.
Yesterday's Gospel spoke to this issue - when John complained to Jesus about someone casting out demons in Jesus' name and Jesus pretty much said, "C'mon - do not prevent him - whoever is not against us is for us."
I wasn't condemning him - just pointing out how he's doing the same stuff those he has criticized in the past do. I've said it over and over - there is nothing wrong with his 'outreach' here - 'accompanying' these people. I'm not criticizing his photos. - My comments on my post here.
Joe Sciambra is a good man, doing a very good work - truly going out to the peripheries.  No doubt about it.

My prayers today are for him and those caught in the crossfire of this spiritual combat.

I will try to mind my own business from now on.  God bless.

Thanks to JR for linking me to Joe's post.

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