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.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Responding to Fr. Scalia - part 4 - Encourage

Fr. Paul Scalia finishes his four part series on same sex attraction in the Arlington Catholic Herald by addressing the Encourage Apostolate to the families and friends of gays and lesbians. He maintains that families must show fidelty to both love of the person and the truth. You can read the piece at
http://www.catholicherald.com/detail.html?sub_id=14158

This is probably the most damaging article of the series, because it encourages the kind of support that gay and lesbian family members don't need, counseling against supporting such events as adoptions and weddings. This is exactly the wrong message for both families and gay and lesbians children. Indeed, he counsels against supporting the "homosexual lifestyle" while advancing the theory that there is no such thing as being a "homosexual person." He has it exactly wrong - there is no monolithic gay lifestyle - just like there is no "heterosexual lifestyle." In each sexuality, there are people who are promiscuous, people who are celibate and people who are married. Many opponents of gay rights assume that promiscuity and homosexuality go hand in hand when they do not - and that the only valid alternative is radical chastity (with the unspoken assumption that the priesthood should be considered). Life in the 21st Century shows that this is complete and utter nonsense.

The answer to promicuity must include marriage, mostly because this is what people chose for themselves. When people chose to be married and are heterosexual, it is a cause for celebration and the joining of families, who gather to witness the creation of a new family unit which on some level excludes the family of origin. Whether the Church likes it or not, legally gay and lesbian couples will have the same rights to family creation - and the truth be told they already have that right, which is to commit themselves to each other and before God.

Much of the controversy over gay marriage comes when families follow the bad advice of Fr. Scalia and the Church and resist this commitment - especially in times of extremis. Catholic hospitals are among the worst offenders in honoring the express wishes of gay and lesbian people as to who can exercise family rights - although thankfully the law is catching up with the culture to overturn such nonsense. While Virginia is among the most recalitrant in this matter - refusing to even recognize privately executived legal arrangements that resemble marriage as part of the Virginia Constitution - such refusal is blatantly unconstitutional under the contracts clause of the Federal Constitution, as well as recent rulings overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8.

This leaves families in a difficult position if they follow Fr. Scalia's advice. In essence, they will soon have to chose whether to agree with the Church or the law at a time when the law is more respectful of the dignity of the human person, while the Church is putting itself in the role of persecutor (even if it thinks it is being persecuted - it is not).

The way for the Church to support the families of gay and lesbian individuals - and my family is one such family - is to help us in celebrating these relationships. Such relationships are a welcome alternative to a promiscuous lifestyle and should be encouraged. They are on the whole nurturing, fulfilling and show themselves to be a manifestation of God's Love. Indeed, it is an act of unforgiveable offense against the Holy Spirit to not see this Love in action, which gay marrieds display for all to see. Indeed, this is a sin worse than any imagined sin related to the consumation of the sexual act in a homosexual marriage (which is not sinful at all).

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