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 II

Fr. Paul Scalia released the second of his four part series in the Catholic Herald on same sex attraction two weeks ago. I am just now getting a chance to blog about it. You can read his article here, where he denies that homosexuality is genetic, and even if genetic permissible. He then mentions Reparative Therapy and denies that there is such a thing as a homosexual person, rather than a homosexual disorder. He does all this under the guise of a natural law analysis.

In contrast, in today's Salon, Simon LaVey, the foremost researcher on the causes of homosexuality, gives an interview regarding his new book, "Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation" LeVey pretty much demolishes the contention that homosexuality is a chosen behavior. See the entire interview at

To be natural law as philosophy understands that (and this is thc claim Fr. Scalia is making), one must take into account the natural sciences. Of course, the natural law Fr. Scalia believes in is not the one where facts are more important than authority. Fr. Scalia could never argue outside the bounds the Church gives him, which means his conclusions must be suspect.

Homosexuality can be biologically determined without being genetic and likely can no more be cured than it can be caused. (Psychologists believe that people became gay by stages and could be recruited -serious scientists no longer believe this to be the case - nor do they take seriously attempts at Reparative Therapy).

This is not to say that there is not an appropriate way to behave while gay or lesbian. The Church has much to teach anyone regarding responsible sexuality within the context of loving relationships - preferably permanent marital ones. How we respond to sexual urges is in some way culturally bound. Marriage was formerly a property arrangement, with women as the property. It is no longer thus, largely due to the teachings of Christ - although some Christians have resisted this over time.

With legal recognition of gay marriage will eventually come sacramental recognition - albeit with some degree of kicking and screaming by the hierarchy. This will largely come at the insistence of the faithful who wish the charism of sacramental marriage for their gay children (and parents). Marriage is what happens when you leave the family of origin and start a new family. It severs prior familial relationships (which is why arguments about chosing to marry a relative are a canard) and transfers those rights to the new spouse. Weddings are the opportunity for families to mark that event - preferably within the life of the Church. The hierarchy can run - but it can't hide.


Blogger James Young said...

So, as I understand it, because (some) science says homosexuality is natural, you buy it, over revealed Truth.

Wow. 'Betcha I can find an even larger scientific consensus that a Man rising from the dead is patently absurd and false.

That's some faith you have there. In what, is utterly clear.

2:03 PM

Blogger Michael Bindner said...

Not only does science show homosexuality natural, but natural law reasoning - and I mean classical natural law reasoning - not reasoning bound by authority - shows it to be.

If you look at most instances of revealed truth regarding homosexuality, they turn out to be pious sermons rather than divine command. They are no more priviledged than current teaching - with the exception of the teaching on pederastry by Jesus. Sadly, that was likely included in scripture because it had probably become a problem in the early Church. Not much changes, does it.

Teachings on sexual morality are not an essential feature of the Catholic or Christian faiths, unlike the teaching on the resurrection, which is. Now, teachings on sexuality do illuminate how the teacher feels about God - whether God is an ogre or is loving. I will stick with a loving God rather than an angry one.

As far as the resurrection - it is actually essential for eternal life for ephemeral beings like man, since part of our essence is our physical nature. This is why it is more likely that "near death experiences" can be explained by science - even if we do experience something unique while dead - our brains have no way of recording this knowledge when we are in a disembodied state. So, like Jesus, I am a firm believer in the resurrection of the body - as without it occurring in some form (including possibly before the body is buried) the survival of the soul is a fairy tale at best.

1:06 PM


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