Thursday, June 28, 2018

Differently ordered friendship.


Revisiting 'Spiritual Friendship' proposals.

I don't know.  The Catechism teaches one thing and everyone else seems to want to load up heavy burdens on top of what the Church asks of gay Catholics - or rather, 'Catholics who experience same sex attraction'.  These people are doing a lot if they abstain from homosexual acts, including porn and masturbation and affectionate embrace - or cuddling-spooning with proteges and friends.  You know, like Cardinal McCarrick liked to do with seminarians.

The Church does not want people to define themselves by their sexual inclinations and so on, and truth be told, many really do not do that, despite the fact they say they are gay.  Don't say gay, just don't, and you are fine.  Many of the Spiritual Friendship leaders-advocates support all of that, though some like to use 'queer' as a cultural differentiation, and others will say 'gay' when they are speaking to anyone outside organizations like Courage or when speaking in front of a strict-observance-pastoral setting.  Fighting those terms of identity is going to get much harder when kids have been taught from pre-school/daycare on that some people are indeed gay or lgbtq.  It's part of the culture - they are everywhere - gay-advocates, if you will.  The culture is 'homosexualist'.

Author D.C. Lyons, writing on Crisis seems to be revisiting the issue where Austin Ruse left off.  He goes after Spiritual Friendship writers, beginning his essay:

It seems the “Spiritual Friendship” think tank cannot catch a break among fellow Christians. Militant homosexualist Catholics say they don’t go far enough, and magisterially faithful Catholics think they go too far. And now Protestants from various backgrounds are challenging and criticizing their plan to hold a summer conference. Can’t we all just be spiritual friends? Why the push back?
Crisis readers may recall other writers taking on this group, which seeks to avoid the “doing” associated with homosexuality but embraces the “being” associated with our culture’s subhuman taxonomy of identifying certain individuals as part of the “LGBTQ community.” “Spiritual Friendship” writers also seek to make room for forms of so-called “same-sex friendship” that are raising legitimate concerns among lots of fellow Christians. - Crisis

Granted, there may be legitimate doctrinal concerns chiefly because the SF movement strikes many as an attempt to rewrite the Catechism, redefine friendship into a civil union, kinda-sorta, although that is never really articulated.  I think Mark Shea used to refer to their 'legitimate concern' as worried the group is a sort of fifth column movement to change Catholic teaching.  I have sometimes considered it as a means to develop an unique, gay spirituality, such as early homophile movements attempted, and so on.  The author has a good point when he gets to the focus of his opposition,  regarding the identity issues, which really are at the root of the movement.

It’s particularly self-contradictory for Belgau—or anyone—to suggest that “sexual orientation should not be the basis of an all-encompassing identity” while simultaneously stating that some sort of central calling or vocation arises from the “gay experience” that must be discerned because of that experience.
Seriously, if something is so central as to shape one’s vocation, does it not split a hair or two to also claim it’s not a big part of your identity? - Crisis

That right there seems to get to the heart of all discussions on the subject of gay=ssa, or lgbtq----, labeling and identity.   For me it is why all these discussions verge upon the disingenuous when you shake them out, or to use Lyons words describing SF literature, one gets lost in the "complex, convoluted, and often-sophistical landscape of years of written output from this group."  To be sure, I don't have the same fears as Lyons or Ruse for that matter, but it is all too complex and convoluted for ordinary Catholics concerned with keeping the commandments and living in fidelity to Catholic teaching to spend much time worrying and debating about.  The Catechism and CDF documents on all of this are clear and unambiguous, and to take that 'no' and somehow twist it to a 'maybe' or an 'yes' is never going to work.  As for gay people who are out and comfortable with their 'identity', they have little or no interest in religion, much less the Catholic faith, or any Christian denomination other than Episcopalian, which means they have no interest in the SF movement whatsoever.

Lyons seems to think that same sex friends who were once lovers or actively gay, can't really form a close, virtuous friendship.  He goes back to Genesis with the reference to seeking "a suitable partner" for the man, in a legitimate attempt to point out how it would be impossible for same sex friends to find that in one another.  I have no problem with that, and I doubt anyone else would.  Chaste, celibate, same sex friends would necessarily have rejected such a spousal understanding of their friendship - if they ever thought of it in those terms - knowing it is simply unachievable for same sex friends.  Virtuous friendship is necessary for people with inordinate same sex attraction - the 'spousal' dimension just doesn't fit.

One must never discount the power of grace and particularly the grace of conversion, aided by the sacraments, prayer, good works and good spiritual direction.  Remember ...
But for those who live in the midst of the world and yet strive for true virtue, it is necessary to ally themselves to one another by a holy and sacred friendship through which they stimulate, assist and encourage each other toward good.
Friendship is a virtue, and the greatest saints have had friends without harm to their advancement along the road of perfection. Perfection does not consist in abstaining from friendships, but in having only those that are good and holy. - S. Francis De Sales

Disinterested friendship McCarrick style.


  1. Terry, who did the art at the top of this post? The image itself looks like a depiction of the Good Samaritan, and similar in style to Clive Hicks-Jenkins'. As always, your posts give me food for thought and contemplation. God Bless you!

    1. Anto Carte: Thanks Mary Beth.


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