Friday, June 5, 2009

Rant on Homo-judgementalism

Unless you're in those circles that are drawn together precisely because of these issues, anything related to homosexuality is pretty much taboo.  If it NEEDS to be mentioned in a given setting for some reason, it might be glossed over briefly before being left behind in relief.

Why is it that so many of us are so terrified to be perceived as condoning another's public sin?  One dear friend always used to say that he was a much worse person than all these who were publicly living in sin, in reference to his pride and judgement and other interior vices, for which he was so much more responsible. The epic poet Dante would agree. He placed fornicators (including, I would presume, sodomites) in the ninth circle of his hell, the least painful part.  Their sin is so much lesser...

Heck, I would say that even St Augustine would agree.  "Love, and do as thou wilt," was how he summed up the law.  In that order - love first, and /then/ do other things, because when one loves first, everything else will fall in line.

But we're afraid.  I think part of it is that those of us who are theologically orthodox have been so scarred by our more progressive brethren that we're offended to be clumped in with them, afraid to come across as like them.  In an effort to avoid compromising ourselves, we project our prejudices and make our voices known.  And sometimes it is important for our voices to be heard.

But we can't be in ministry mode all the time.  Sometimes, we have to just accept people where they're at.  Is a man living with another man really all that different from a man living with another woman?  If someone is living in some other sinful way, do we feel morally obligated to make it known that their sin discomforts us?  Usually not.

Another college friend was discussing with me tonight two mutual friends who have quite flamboyantly come out of the closet since their graduations a few years ago, and how these men just felt so alone, so shamed into themselves on our conservative Catholic campus.  Sure, it's great that most people around you are striving for holiness with all their being, but how can you strive for holiness if you're barred from ministry positions because an adult you trusted spilled the beans that you struggle with homosexual temptations?  That's a far cry from blatantly living a lifestyle at odds with Church teaching, and yet it's often treated the same way.  Who can blame people with such temptations for holding them in and then exploding once they were allowed to let out that forbidden breath?

In the end, we straight folks fall into the same pernicious trap that ensnares anyone who's faced homosexuality in their own life: placing so much emphasis on the homosexuality that it overshadows absolutely everything else about a person.  It's uncomfortable, but you can live in harmony with those with whom you disagree on important things.  Get used to it and get over it.

That nun.  She really does have it right.  I respect her a lot, and I hope to one day achieve a balance like what she has.  May the Lord bless her, her cousin, all people anywhere on the LGBTQA continuum who feel rejected by Holy Mother Church, and all those in the Church (myself included) who reject them, from time to time).

None of us dare to even hope for heaven save for God's great mercy.  And if it's mercy that brings up both the biggest sinners and the dearest saints, who are we to judge who neeeds His mercy/


  1. "how can you strive for holiness if you're barred from ministry positions because an adult you trusted spilled the beans that you struggle with homosexual temptations?"

    Wait what?

  2. You don't remember Dante and the sodomites?
    They're totally in the seventh circle of Hell (fornicators in the second) just running a marathon on hot sand. He runs with them for a while and, while he generally has nothing but contempt for those who suffer in the other circles, after talking to them for a while basically decides "They're not such bad guys after all".

    But he places the fornicators in the rings of intemperance because they were consumed by their passions. He placed the sodomites in the rings of violence because they did violence to nature and they did violence to their families (by remaining sterile). The interesting question, then, would be whether the modern homosexual is substantially different from the sodomite of the past.


  3. Sorry for the unclarity, Kevin (it /was/ a rant). I was just upset to learn that a friend who came out after graduation (who had confided his feelings only to his spiritual director) had been banned from some ministry positions on campus because his sd had told people.

    I sort of understand, in theory, the great liability that someone with same-sex attraction can be to a Catholic institution (because if he falls, there's going to be a lot more scandal than if he didn't have that struggle). But I still find it absolutely appalling to hear of such a breach of trust, especially because it confirms the victim's already suffocating feelings of inadequacy, alienation, loneliness, and shame.

  4. Was it under the seal of confession? If so that is totally nuts and should be made public. I expect not.

    "Ministry positions" is pretty vague. What did he want to do exactly?

    I'm actually not clear on what you mean by "falls". What kind of fall would be public enough to cause scandal? Did he want to do SENT retreats with high schoolers or something?

    Was he told privately that he was barred from the ministries or was it made public?

    When I was at FUS, I remember hearing that there was a support group for guys struggling with same-sex attractions. I wonder if they are all barred.

    I wonder how many of the TORs struggle with the same thing and whether they tell their spiritual directors!

  5. Anonymous8:47 AM

    Wait, so is it a temptation or isnt it? Because throughout your rant you call it a temptation which would imply that it's a sin, that should be avoided since our duty as Catholics is to spurn all sin...and then you're saying that we should embrace this sin and make our peace with it b/c otherwise we would be "rejecting" them.

    As Catholic our duty is to above all be united and clear about our dogma, and the churches stance on sin is pretty clear. Don't Do It. Don't put yourself into places where you will fall into sin and don't entertain thoughts that will allow you to sin.

    Redemption is always available but redemption doesn't not entail accepting that our sins are just part of who we are and should be embraced.
    Frankly, I find your article conflicted on this point.

    God Bless

  6. Anonymous8:47 AM

    Also, you speak about public vs. private sin. and about dante's inferno. First of all yes Christ said, "Let he who is blameless cast the first stone." but He Himself cast out the buyers and sellers in the temple who were PUBLIC about their sins. There was a reprimand. He didn't take into account the hurt feelings and bruised egos. He could see a sin for a sin public or not. If you're going to be public about your sin be prepared to catch public ire.Accepting their sin just b/c we have our own problems to deal with is just another way of saying "i shouldn't care that this human being could go to Hell bc i'm so sinful I shouldn't try to help them."

    If sinners can't take the dogmatic heat they should stay out of the theological kitchen.

    And while a sins gravity may slacken punishment in Hell if it's a damnable offense... the end result is still Hell. How grave a sin is or how small the mortal sin was, will be little consolation in the hopeless darkness of Hell.

    Now is the time to help these people. In all things we must remember our first duty is to love our neighbor, but we are under no obligation to love the sins of our neighbor. Love is not acceptance. Love is not turning a blind eye. Truly loving these people is not sitting quiet or justifying their actions. A respectful, charitable, dogmatically sound, and firm reply is what will help them the most.

    God Bless


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