This blog started out as a companion piece to my book, Musings from the Christian Left (excerpts of which can be found in the July 2004 link) and to support a planned radio show. Now, its simply a long term writing project from a Christian Left Libertarian perspective (meaning I often argue for liberty within the (Catholic) Church, rather than liberty because the church takes care of a conservative view of morality.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Responding to Fr. Scalia - part 3 - Courage

In part 3 of Fr. Paul Scalia's series on same-sex attraction in the Catholic Herald, he describes the Courage Apostolate, which he is the chaplain of in the Arlington Diocese. You can read the article at http://www.catholicherald.com/faith/detail.html?sub_id=14059

Courage is a place where gay and lesbian Catholics can go if they desire support in following the Church's teachings on same sex attraction, which are proported to be based on natural law. As I have written previously, I disagree on the natural law justification of the Church's teachings -at least as far as natural law which is not bound by the teaching authority of the Church (i.e., with the answers coming before the inquiry).

Be that as it may, the Courage Apostolate is probably a good thing - if only for the support it offers. Too often, gay teens face the moral question of homosexuality alone - or through pure condemnation without support. This leads many teens to take their own lives. This is less likely in a supported envirnoment. I am still uncomfortable with the Apostolate offering access to Restorative Therapy - which is fairly well discredited in the scientific mainstream - since such therapy has as its basis old theories that say homosexuality is an acquired condition rather than an innate one (which is not the case at all). For more on the biology of homosexuality, see today's Salon for an interview with homosexuality expert Simon LaVey at http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2010/10/24/simon_levay_gay_brain/index.html.

Fr. Scalia cites the higher incidence of alcoholism and addiction among gays, however alcoholism itself is mostly a genetically caused predisposition. It is no more caused by homosexuality than is the propensity to write left handed. Addiction can be acquired as a coping mechanism, but not because someone is gay, but because someone is dealing with the externally imposed shame of being gay.

Let me say that again. The coincidence of addiction and homosexuality is likely not because of any relation between the two, but because of how people react to being told they are disordered or abnormal. It is equally valid to conclude that absent the Church's persecution of gays and lesbians, they would be any more drawn to addictive substances than promiscuous heterosexuals - and even these might not be as likely to indulge in such behaviors absent externally imposed shame.

As I have stated previously, the Church can teach about being moral and homosexual and that teaching would likely be good if it focused on avoiding promiscuity and waiting for the right partner, rather than using people as objects of physical pleasure. First, however, it must accept that being gay is natural for some people - not chosen or conditioned - and that gay marriages can function with the same unitive value as heterosexual marriages. Indeed, the sex act is a small part of heterosexual marriage - at least after the first few years - as any parent will tell you. As many gay people have children within their relationships (either from a prior heterosexual relationship or by inheritance from a sibling), they can testify to the same thing.

One day, I predict a non-celibate clergy celebrating gay marriages. I suspect that this will occur within a generation. The fact that a four part series is being dedicated to this issue shows that there is resistance to change - which also testifies to its inevitability.

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