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Can you read, Andrew?

posted by awelborn

I just noticed that Andrew Sullivan has taken me to task

You notice a couple of things about the two NYT op-eds that have appeared on the subject of the proposed ban on chaste gay seminarians in the Catholic church. The difference between Amy Welborn’s description of the new policy on her own website as "insane" and her milque-toast defense of the new policy in the NYT just speaks to the limits of someone’s ability to tell the full truth when the spotlight is really on her. But John Allen’s piece is merely bizarre. The Vatican’s defense of their reversal of the classic policy of "hate the sin, love the sinner" to "ban all gays, regardless of their conduct" now comes to this: we won’t really enforce it. Of course, they’ve already conceded that by saying that they wouldn’t bar any already-ordained gay priests (the only logic here is prudential; if they actually enforced their new policy, they could lose up to a third of their current employees).

Andrew. My NYTimes piece was not on the rumored-forthcoming policy on homosexuals in seminaries. It was on the seminary visitation. The seminary visitation is not just about the gays, no matter how much left and right would like it to be so.

Retraction and apology, please, for mischaracterizing me and my statements at every turn, and especially for the bitchy "when the spotlight is really on her."

Oh, and you want bitchy? I can do that. Your reading of my piece doesn’t exactly do much to argue against the bigoted perception that narcissism is an important element in male homosexual culture.

You may want to watch that.



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hieronymus

posted September 28, 2005 at 11:08 am


Can you imagine the uproar, the virulent media criticism, the nasty letters to the editor, and the hysterics in the blogosphere if the Vatican decided to bar all left-handed men from seminary?
Neither can I.



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Sydney Carton

posted September 28, 2005 at 11:19 am


If left-handed men were responsible for nearly 80% of sexual abuse, as a left-handed person I’d be the first to say that there’s some idea to a precautionary principle of barring such men from the seminary.
amy, I don’t think you’ve begun to discover the depths of Andrew Sullivan’s narcissism and bitchiness.



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SiliconValleySteve

posted September 28, 2005 at 11:23 am


Amy,
Andrew is unfailingly unfair to those who disagree with him and goes out of his way to mischaracterize their positions. This is a regular pattern. Likewise, his own positions are infinitely malleable to suit whatever emotion he is playing to.
Certainly I understand your anger and would reply in much the same way myself but I wouldn’t take it too personally. It’s just Andrew being Andrew.



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amy

posted September 28, 2005 at 11:28 am


Steve et al:
I don’t take it personally. I simply don’t like my words twisted to a large audience. This is not the first time it’s happened – he did something similar a couple of years ago, I don’t remember the subject, but it was really outrageous, I demanded an apology didn’t get it. It’s too bad, because we occasionally exchange friendly emails.



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Anthony

posted September 28, 2005 at 11:29 am


A direct link to his post is http://www.andrewsullivan.com/index.php?dish_inc=archives/2005_09_25_dish_archive.html#112783310264504796
And yeah, Sullivan completely misses the point. He can’t have actually read both articles and drawn the conclusion he did.



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Richard

posted September 28, 2005 at 11:32 am


Hello Amy,
It seemed pretty clear to me that you were talking about two different things.
I hope you get that retraction – but as Steve says, Andrew is not exactly rational when his lodestar is involved.
But I hope I’m wrong. It doesn’t happen very much any more, but every now and then Sullivan pleasantly surprises me.



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reluctant penitent

posted September 28, 2005 at 11:39 am


amy,
Why even bother? Sully has all the tact, subtlety, intelligence and rationality of a hungover, gossiping hairdresser with a queer gait. His falsehoods are deliberate and I have no doubt that he is enjoying your reaction.



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Dan

posted September 28, 2005 at 11:40 am


Andrew Sullivan is one of those people who is where he is not so much because of talent (he’s not untalented but he is not remarkably talented either) but because he is more willing than most to be a jerk. But here I think the admonition “turn the other cheek” applies, as difficult as that is.



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Sean Gallagher

posted September 28, 2005 at 11:40 am


I wouldn’t be surprised if Sullivan would argue that the “proposed ban” and the visitation are intrinsically linked.
That, at any rate, seems to be the conventional wisdom in the MSM and not just with Sullivan.
That doesn’t mean that it is correct. But that’s the perspective that’s out there.



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amy

posted September 28, 2005 at 11:45 am


Well, yes, Sean. And that’s a point I made in the original, orignal version. I started off with a quote from one of the MSM news article on the visitation that said something like, “The Vatican begins a visitation of seminaries next week to hunt out homosexuals.” Indeed. But that was sort of the point I was attempting to make – it’s about more than that, as it should be.
And can we watch what we say about another person, please? There’s a line. Hard to discern sometimes, but it’s there.



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Sean Gallagher

posted September 28, 2005 at 11:51 am


I wish that I could have read your original piece. Heck, I wish that I could read the piece that appeared. The link seems to be down for some reason…



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Sean Gallagher

posted September 28, 2005 at 11:53 am


Well, now it’s back up. Go figure. I just commented that it was down…



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reluctant penitent

posted September 28, 2005 at 11:55 am


Andrew Sullivan posted a quote of the day in his ‘daily dish’ that says the following:
“When I asked whether homosexuals would be better served under Pope Benedict XVI than under John Paul II, he responded, ‘Don’t think that we will be any better served under a gay pope than a straight one'”
‘Gossipy’ is not an unfair characterization of the man. I doubt very much that he will be moved by the evidence to change his statement. He does not like the visitation (the nature of which has yet to be determined) and he will attack you and anyone else who disagrees with him. If that requires distorting the truth, so be it.



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Mark Windsor

posted September 28, 2005 at 11:55 am


Don’t read Sullivan. It only encourages him.



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amy

posted September 28, 2005 at 12:00 pm


Good point, reluctant.



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George

posted September 28, 2005 at 12:19 pm


What is the old saw?…..
Any text without a context it just a pretext for what you wanted to say in the first place.
It seems you and John Allen simply provided the text and Mr. Sullivan skipped the context. Oh well….
What I find also interesting is Mr. Sullivan’s take on John Allen’s article. In one of Allen’s books (“All the Pope’s Men” …I believe), the author makes the point that an appreciation for the operative culture of an institution (e.g. the Vatican and its dicasteries and Congregations) is necessary to understand what the institution is saying. This is certainly a point Allen makes in NYT piece as it pertains to interpretation of Canon Law (viz. Roman versus Anglo-Saxon viewpoints).
But perhaps Mr. Sullivan is a gifted interpreter of things Vatican. But then, perhaps not. Then again, lacking a context, any text will do.



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Matthew Mehan

posted September 28, 2005 at 12:24 pm


My advice to Amy: I realize that one must engage the culture and the detractors, but can we make an exception for Andrew Sullivan. He is simply not a serious intellect. He is more like Donald Sutherland in Backdraft. No matter what he’s talking about, we already know what he’s thinking about. Engaging in an argument with Sullivan is equivallent to debating a heroine addict: no matter what your debating his ideas are always in the service of his deeply twisted passions. Passions running the intellect is the reversal of the qualifications for a pundit. Ignore Sullivan



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Jeff

posted September 28, 2005 at 12:28 pm


“he bigoted perception that narcissism is an important element in male homosexual culture.”
When, oh when, did Catholics–good ones–suddenly decide that even PROPOSING that the exclusive or nearly exclusive tendency to desire one’s own sex for intimate partnership is seriously disordered (in common parlance, “sick”) has anything to do with bigotry? Why should we concede this ground?
Do we really propose that the act is disordered, but treating people whose whole sexual identity (in practice) is wrapped up in the desire for it differently is bigotry?
Why should it be bigotry to recognize that this whole phenomenon is accompanied by myriad other tendencies to immorality? Are we just trying not to hurt the feelings of people whom we know and don’t wish to offend? If we are afraid even to ENTERTAIN the possibility that homosexuals by inclination might ACT DIFFERENTLY in important ways, dismissing it as bigotry, how can we come to a just estimation of the Vatican’s proposed reaffirmation of long standing policy?
I think it’s a sad development and potentially a disastrous one. No, please, let’s NOT have homosexuals in the seminary. It’s not the place for them at all and the policy to bar them has never been changed. Let’s hope we will start enforcing it better, TOGETHER, of course, with a whole lot of other things.



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Liam

posted September 28, 2005 at 12:36 pm


Amy
If you had followed Andrew over his career, you may have discovered that he had long admitted to being something of a misanthrope. He famously hates fast and well in the pedigreed tradition of British polemicists (and journalists) that is somewhat foreign on these shores. Despite the ease of doing so, it’s not always advisable to reduce him to his orientation; he’s got other issues going on, just like everyone else.



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Jim

posted September 28, 2005 at 12:58 pm


I don’t doubt your powers, Amy, but I wouldn’t advise you to get into a bitchiness contest with Andrew Sullivan — in that department, if no other, he outclasses you. Besides, nobody takes him seriously anyway, and he’s doing you a favor: he’s creating buzz! Your buzz! You’re once again in the ranks of the luminaries he’s slimed lately! I suspect that’s how Mickey Kaus would look at it, and if anyone’s got Sullivan’s number, it’s Kaus.



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Nguoi Dang Chay

posted September 28, 2005 at 1:02 pm


Amy said “bitchy”. Hee hee.
Andrew Sullivan should be ignored. There isn’t a better example on the planet of someone with their head firmly in their ___, continually talking out their ___.



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Papabile

posted September 28, 2005 at 1:08 pm


It seems that research has been done on homosexuality and left-handedness….
http://www.narth.com/docs/lefthand.html



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Dad29

posted September 28, 2005 at 1:09 pm


Jeff, I think you have this in the correct perspective. There are a plethora of oddities connected with the ‘grave disorder,’ most of which “good” Catholics wish to ignore.
They do so at their own peril.



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reluctant penitent

posted September 28, 2005 at 1:30 pm


Gay rights advocates have been telling us that homosexuality has been spot-welded into the brain by nature but that it is bigotry to ask whether the spot-welding might have affected other parts. It’s a contradictory doctrine that has been spot-welded into the brains of academics and journalists, so we’re not allowed to challenge it.



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Sydney Carton

posted September 28, 2005 at 1:43 pm


Jeff,
One reason why I have little trouble with the screening of homosexuals from seminaries is because, in my experience, every homosexual man is obviously self-evidently homosexual. The disorder manifests itself in multiple ways.
I also agree that despite a need to engage dissenters and the opposition, Andrew Sullivan is far outside the pale of rational discourse and the blogosphere would be better served if it tuned him out entirely.



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Sheila

posted September 28, 2005 at 1:52 pm


I remember his previous misrepresenation of something you wrote — it had to do with Opus Dei, I think. I seem to recall that he pulled a line from one of your postings and completely reframed it, and that he called you a “lockstep Ratzingerian” or something to that effect. I remember all of this because it enraged me, and I wrote him an angry (but articulate and thoughtful, not crazy-angry) email taking him to task for whatever the specific misrepresentation was, and observing what a shame it was that someone who so diligently called the NYT out when it took someone’s words out of context and fit them into its own agenda was so quick to turn around and do the very same thing to someone else. I am sorry to hear you never received the apology you deserved for that incident. Now he owes you two.



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tony

posted September 28, 2005 at 1:59 pm


You go girl!!! Right on and I look forward to a grovelling apology from Andy. Keep at it! And by the way, I’ve not seen even seen a hint of dishonesty from you on your websites. You’re the best.
A new fan from Canada. Tony



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Matthew Hoye

posted September 28, 2005 at 2:08 pm


Hey Andrew, Defend your Pederast brothers in Canada who want to LOWER the age of consent….
http://www.religionjournal.com/showarticle.asp?id=3333
On July 20, Canada’s House of Commons passed Bill C-2 which added amendments to the Criminal Code on matters related to child pornography. Gwen Landolt, National Vice President of REAL Women of Canada, says that the amendments were helpful but still do not provide full protection for vulnerable children. Furthermore, in a detailed article scheduled for the Sept. 26 edition of REAL Women’s Reality magazine, Landolt reveals there was predictably strong opposition from Canada’s homosexual activist organizations to C-2.
Bill C-2, says Landolt, “includes some serious loopholes for those charged with violations of our child pornography law.” Some of the problems she identifies are:
1. The defense of “artistic merit” to a charge of child pornography was retained.
2. No minimum sentence was included in the bill when it was introduced in the House of Commons.
3. It did not include a provision to raise the age of consent from 14 years to 16 years “despite the fact that the Provincial Attorneys General had approved, at their annual federal/provincial meetings in October 1998, December 1999, and again in September 2003, to raise the age of consent.”
Landlolt notes that Canada’s most prominent, and often government funded, homosexual activist organization, EGALE, opposes raising the age of consent and that the mild amendments to the child pornography law “made the homosexual community decidedly unhappy.”
Revealing the extraordinary influence of the homosexual organizations on government policy Landolt notes, “it is well known that the Liberal government never brings forward legislation unless it has passed inspection by the homosexual lobby.”
The article reports that the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario (CLGRO) submitted a brief to the committee considering C-2 and complained that the bill would deny lesbian, gay and bisexual teens the free expression of their sexuality and create more circumstances in which sexual relations with adolescents would be criminalized.
CLGRO stated in its brief that “younger persons are capable of seeking and do seek out consensual same-sex relationships with older persons and, in fact, may be the initiators of such relationships. In addition, contrary to popular belief, a relationship with an older person may not in fact be damaging for a young person.”
The national newspaper, the Globe and Mail, “which never fails to promote the homosexual agenda,” says Landolt, also opposed the C-2 amendments. In a July 6 editorial it stated that Bill C-2 was “extreme” and objected to the limits placed on “freedom of expression.”
The REAL Women article concludes by warning that “The homosexual activists’ objection to Bill C-2, together with the Globe and Mail editorial, are setting the stage for our liberal judges to overturn the child pornography law at the first opportunity they get.”



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Desert Chatter

posted September 28, 2005 at 2:09 pm


To quote Kramer from Seinfeld:
“Meow…..cat fight!”



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Matthew Hoye

posted September 28, 2005 at 2:10 pm


Hey Andrew, Defend your Pederast brothers in Canada who want to LOWER the age of consent….
http://www.religionjournal.com/showarticle.asp?id=3333
On July 20, Canada’s House of Commons passed Bill C-2 which added amendments to the Criminal Code on matters related to child pornography. Gwen Landolt, National Vice President of REAL Women of Canada, says that the amendments were helpful but still do not provide full protection for vulnerable children. Furthermore, in a detailed article scheduled for the Sept. 26 edition of REAL Women’s Reality magazine, Landolt reveals there was predictably strong opposition from Canada’s homosexual activist organizations to C-2.
Bill C-2, says Landolt, “includes some serious loopholes for those charged with violations of our child pornography law.” Some of the problems she identifies are:
1. The defense of “artistic merit” to a charge of child pornography was retained.
2. No minimum sentence was included in the bill when it was introduced in the House of Commons.
3. It did not include a provision to raise the age of consent from 14 years to 16 years “despite the fact that the Provincial Attorneys General had approved, at their annual federal/provincial meetings in October 1998, December 1999, and again in September 2003, to raise the age of consent.”
Landlolt notes that Canada’s most prominent, and often government funded, homosexual activist organization, EGALE, opposes raising the age of consent and that the mild amendments to the child pornography law “made the homosexual community decidedly unhappy.”
Revealing the extraordinary influence of the homosexual organizations on government policy Landolt notes, “it is well known that the Liberal government never brings forward legislation unless it has passed inspection by the homosexual lobby.”
The article reports that the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario (CLGRO) submitted a brief to the committee considering C-2 and complained that the bill would deny lesbian, gay and bisexual teens the free expression of their sexuality and create more circumstances in which sexual relations with adolescents would be criminalized.
CLGRO stated in its brief that “younger persons are capable of seeking and do seek out consensual same-sex relationships with older persons and, in fact, may be the initiators of such relationships. In addition, contrary to popular belief, a relationship with an older person may not in fact be damaging for a young person.”
The national newspaper, the Globe and Mail, “which never fails to promote the homosexual agenda,” says Landolt, also opposed the C-2 amendments. In a July 6 editorial it stated that Bill C-2 was “extreme” and objected to the limits placed on “freedom of expression.”
The REAL Women article concludes by warning that “The homosexual activists’ objection to Bill C-2, together with the Globe and Mail editorial, are setting the stage for our liberal judges to overturn the child pornography law at the first opportunity they get.”



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Dave Hartline

posted September 28, 2005 at 2:11 pm


Andrew Sullivan reminds me of a Biblical parable. Even though he has so much promise, he has steadily moved into “conspiracy theory” land. He seems to think every traditional Christian is homophobic. In the past year, he has brought up a plethora of odd stories about “fringe” Christians doing bad things in the name of Christ. He then tried to make the leap that this is way traditional Christianity is nowadays.
As I watched Martin Scorsese’s film on Bob Dylan the last couple of nights, I couldn’t help but think Andrew Sullivan is Dylan in reverse. Bob Dylan left rural Minnesota and hung out at NYC coffee shops and found out he shared a lot in common with the alternative crowd in NYC. However as Joan Baez lamented, Bob couldn’t be pigeon-holed so as time went on, he never really bought into the politics and the lifestyle of the counter culture. Andrew Sullivan is the opposite, he was once a member of “Middle Britain” and “Middle America” but now he seems to have bought into the fringe. I hope just like another parable the
“Prodigal Son” he returns home soon. It would be nice to see the old Andrew again.



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Caroline

posted September 28, 2005 at 2:38 pm


Whenever they throw around the words “bitch, bitchiness” etc., I smell what I personally believe is at the bottom of the orientation–a hatred of women, a fundamental rejection of God’s creation of Eve. Were Amy Amos, I doubt Andy would have used the word.



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anon

posted September 28, 2005 at 2:49 pm


Andrew did not use the word “bitchy” at any time in his comments. Amy is the one who used it



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hieronymus

posted September 28, 2005 at 2:51 pm


I’d like to expound a bit more on my left-handed quip.
The point I was trying to make is that if homosexuality is what opponents of the new policy say it is – a neutral trait that has no bearing on whether a man should become a priest, no more than left-handedness – then the reaction to this policy should be the same as if a similar trait were barred. Yet I can’t imagine that right-handedness, or height, or any requirement except race, would be so quickly, so loudly, and forcefully denounced both within the Church and without. I don’t think there would be nearly as many protest rallies, front-page headlines, combative editorials, or diatribes from the televised talking heads. Sure, there would be complaints for a time, but people outside the Church would eventually shrug and ignore it. Those Catholics are crazy anyway – who cares if they want right-handed priests?
Which is exactly why this policy is necessary – the acceptance or rejection of homosexual activity is, simply put, the most bitter moral, political, religious, and cultural controversy of our age, and will become even more intense in the next few generations. This is a controversy that has already begun to kill churches – Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist – and will continue to do so. It rages all around us – in movie theaters, courthouses, ballot boxes, schoolrooms, churches, and homes. The Catholic Church cannot afford to be wrong on this. It cannot let this become the next contraception – officially banned, but completely ignored on a pastoral level.
If you want to tell me that priests who are homosexual are no more likely to dissent from this teaching of the church on sexuality, or to work to undermine it in their ministry and preaching, I don’t believe you. And even a perfectly orthodox homosexual is more likely to preach what I call “soft” orthodoxy – perfectly willing to assent to the Catechism on paper, or in private conversation – but from the pulpit, only presenting that narrow slice of orthodoxy that is acceptable to dissidents. The sort of priest who preaches five homilies on CCC 2358 for every zero he preaches on CCC 2357.
The gay movement is not going to soften its demands in the coming generations – it will demand more. It will seek to persecute the Church. The last thing we need is “soft” orthodoxy. We need priests who are willing to courageously and counterculturally say (without mean-spiritedness, but without qualification either) that homosexual acts are damnable sins that cry out to heaven for venegence – and that the Church is right to condemn them without exception, and always will. I can’t imaging homosexual priests, no matter how nice they are, doing that.
And let me commend Jeff for what he said. Many gays may be quite stable and sane, and many may even be inherently homosexual. But the claim that all are is gay propaganda – not proven, and not even evident. Many are gay because the lifestyle is an easy way to act out a pathological narcissism, a sexual addiction, a martyr complex, or something else. It’s a disorder than can hide far worse disorders – and the sex abuse crisis in the Chuirch is evidence.



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Simon

posted September 28, 2005 at 3:29 pm


Amen to the many posters who have argued that Andrew Sullivan should be ignored rather than debated.
The huge, consistent problem with Sullivan is not that he’s obsessed with homosexual issues. It’s that this obsession causes him to be dishonest over and over again.
He is rarely able to win an argument on the merits. Hence, he misquotes or distorts the positions of his opponents. He does this on an almost daily basis, so it’s long past the point at which one could presume it’s not willful.
An intelligent but deeply unhappy man who has descended tragically into angry obsolesence.



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Matthew Hoye

posted September 28, 2005 at 3:35 pm


85% of all of the pedophillia and ephebophilia claims and lawsuits involved homosexuals obsessed with pederasty. The homosexual culture is very youth oriented, look at my last post from Canada. Homosexuality, beastiality, necrophilia, etc etc are all sexual perversion. You cannot have have a ‘normal’ homosexual as the Father of a Parish no more having a ‘normal’ necrophiliac.
They are disordered individuals who need our prayers, for, their Cross is a very heavy one to bear.



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George C.

posted September 28, 2005 at 3:37 pm


I don’t think so, hieronymous. One’s sexual orientation is hardly the same as one’s preferred paw. Interesting analogy, but not the same. Calling homosexuals disordered is wrong scientifically and spiritually. It also appears to be a virtual license for intolerance, which some here and elsewhere choose to expand into bigotry.
Whatever the merits or lack thereof of homosexuality, bigotry is a greater sin, and has caused more suffering to God’s people. Also, our Church and its sister “ecclesial communities” have divided in the past, and if folks want to form a new Church based on intolerance and bigotry, go right ahead. The rest of us will resist, and it appears we are the majority, in the U.S and elsewhere.



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Ed

posted September 28, 2005 at 4:00 pm


George C.
Please show me a scriptural reference that describes bigotry as an abomination.
Please explain to me on basis homosexuality is well-ordered, in the face of both its reproductive disadvantage and the Catechism’s description of it as disordered. For a start, how many times have we all heard the argument that homosexuality MUST be inherent and immutable because nobody would CHOOSE it. That doesn’t sound like a well-ordered tendency to me; more likely “who in their right mind would WANT to see 20/300?”.
If you think that the Holy, Catholic Apostolic Roman Church will formally go along with you, and that we knuckle-dragging troglodytes will have to go into schism, well, may you live that long.



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hieronymus

posted September 28, 2005 at 4:02 pm


Calling homosexuals disordered is wrong scientifically and spiritually.
No, it isn’t. That is precisely what the Catholic Church teaches – that homosexuality os objectively disordered. The Church has a right to set its intenal disciplines based on what it teaches.
And my point is that it is quite different from other traits like handedness or height.
And as for complaints about bigotry – I first experienced “soft” orthodoxy while on a college campus – the priest (whom I know and love very much, and who is both straight and orthodox) preached numerous homilies against homophobia – and even encouraged students to participate in the “day of silence to protest persecutions against homosexuals” . Not one on the sinfulness of homosexual acts themselves.
This was on a liberal college campus that forces incoming students to attend gay sex talks during freshman orientation. That promotes anti-Christian sexual mores in the classroom, and enforces them in its social policies. The social culture is one of free-and-easy promiscuity, and the gay community is aggressive. The choir director was a lesbian with ties to womanchurch groups, and the student cosen to act as the rector of the annual retreat was gay, and openly dissented from the Church’s moral teaching. One friend told me he never attended Mass there because he didn’t like seeing men sucking face with each other in frat basements and then handing out Communion at Sunday Mass eight hours later.
And not a word from the pulpit challenging homosexuals to chastity, or urging students to resist the arguments for the moral normalization of sodomy from the students, faculty, and administration (although he did denounce the college sex festival the year after I graduated, and was harshly criticized for it).
But the homophobia that was denounced – that was common, too, right? No, it wasn’t. I didn’t know a single person who held sinfully homophobic views or who refused to treat homosexuals with respect. If they were accused of “intolerance” by the gay community it was only the “intolerance” that really means “refusal to think like sexual liberals and adopt thei values”. Some tolerance.



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Frank Gibbons

posted September 28, 2005 at 4:11 pm


I haven’t read Andrew Sullivan in months. I deliberately avoid going to his site. And I have been a more peaceful man ever since.



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Mary Kay

posted September 28, 2005 at 4:19 pm


I had never heard of Andrew Sullivan before but looked at his other writings to get an idea. Regarding abortion, he wrote that it’s not murder if not considered to be murder. That’s like saying physical abuse is okay as long as the person doesn’t consider it to be abusive. I certainly won’t be giving what he says any credence.
George C, I would echo Ed’s request that you show how homosexuality could be considered “ordered.”



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Courage Man

posted September 28, 2005 at 4:33 pm


We need priests who are willing to courageously and counterculturally say (without mean-spiritedness, but without qualification either) that homosexual acts are damnable sins that cry out to heaven for venegence – and that the Church is right to condemn them without exception, and always will. I can’t imaging homosexual priests, no matter how nice they are, doing that.
Well, I’m only a layman, but I am quite willing to say homosexual acts are damnable sins that cry out to heaven for venegence – and that the Church is right to condemn them without exception, and always will.
And I’m same-sex-attracted.



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Courage Man

posted September 28, 2005 at 4:40 pm


Hieronymous wrote (first paragraph is someone else):
Calling homosexuals disordered is wrong scientifically and spiritually.
No, it isn’t. That is precisely what the Catholic Church teaches – that homosexuality is objectively disordered.

Does anyone besides me see the difference in the bold-faced words?



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Art Deco

posted September 28, 2005 at 4:47 pm


Liam writes:
Despite the ease of doing so, it’s not always advisable to reduce him to his orientation; he’s got other issues going on, just like everyone else.
I think if one systematically compared the material he wrote during the interval running from 1986 through 1993 with that written during the years running from 1999 through 2001 one might perceive that his comparative interest in ‘other issues’ had undergone a fantastic decline.
Please recall that this man is the former President of the Oxford Union and the possessor of a doctoral degree from Harvard University. By age 23, and antecedent to his incoroporation into Washington’s gay subculture, he had done more hard thinking about the philosophical aspect of political life than all but a few of us will do in a lifetime. For whatever reason, he eschewed an academic career (or any sort of more productive labor) and expended that first-class mind on a polemical journalism that looks grosser every year.
A warning to others?



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Maclin Horton

posted September 28, 2005 at 4:51 pm


I haven’t read Sullivan since some months before last year’s presidential election, because I’d had all I could stand of his insistence that culpable bigotry is the only possible motivation for anyone’s objection to homosexual marriage. The possibility of stumbling across the occasional interesting observation wasn’t worth the time and aggravation. But now, by accusing Amy, who I think it’s safe to say is one of the most fair and judicious bloggers around, of dishonesty, he’s elevated my avoidance of his work from a matter of preference to one of principle.



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Jeff

posted September 28, 2005 at 4:51 pm


I’m half-convinced that it’s just time to say, Yes, we are homophobic bigots, what do you want to make of it?
There is good reason to be “homophobic”; to fear homosexuality and what it does to persons, to society and to the Church. It’s not against charity, it’s merely prudence. We must minister to and love EVERYONE, but when people are afflicted with a grave disorder like homosexuality, the traditional and healthy reaction is: Horror and Disbelief.
I have met people coming from the Third World who simply are AGHAST at homosexuality; who never had the slightest idea that it existed until they came to the US.
We have somehow to escape from the position of defensiveness that even the “soft” orthodoxy of “gay tolerance” puts us into and say frankly that homosexuality is a grave threat to us and the feelings of the afflicted, though important, must take second place to a frank confrontation with this.
Reread Romans One and pay careful attention to the way St. Paul singles out homosexuality for condemnation. He obviously finds it uniquely offensive and mind-boggling.
People who engage in self-abuse, or pornography do so as substitutes; they crave the proper kind of object but cannot get it. People who use contraception do so because they are afraid of the consequences of not doing so, but no one loves contraception. And sometimes homosexuality is part of the same phenomenon, as in the old British navy or the present day jail house: women are not available.
But the homosexuality which involves what is now being called “SSA,” an attraction to one’s own sex alone, is a unique perversion in that it involves a absolute PREFERENCE for perversion and a hatred toward or at best neutrality toward its healthy counterpart. Since “Male and Female He created them,” one’s sex is a fundamental part of one’s identity as a human being. Sex matters in a uniquely deep way, it’s intrinsic to one’s humanity at the very root; that’s why men can be priests and women can’t. A fundamentally disordered sense of one’s sex strikes at the root of one’s understanding of one’s own nature in a way that no other degeneracy or perversion does. And that is why traditional cultures and religions have found it uniquely horrifying.
And that’s why it should be so horrifying that even the best of us seem to be losing this sense and drifting into a false charity and inclusiveness that leave us to the mercy of those who are merciless.



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George C.

posted September 28, 2005 at 5:08 pm


I have no idea (really!) if homosexuality is well-ordered, whatever that is. I have no personal experience with it. My own standard for defining disorder in the human condition is high, as I believe humans generally reflect their Maker.
I am not a member of one of those “ecclesial communities” that upholds the doctrine of sola scriptura. While individual passages of Sacred Scripture are important to me, my primary use of the Bible is through the Mass, the Liturgy of the Hours, and the Magisterium.
I observe that most communities of Catholic priests during my lifetime have a range of 20-50% with homosexual orientation. Their orientations do not appear to correlate either to pederasty nor to heterodoxy. So I believe the latest developments in discipline (and possibly doctrine) may reflect lack of knowledge about human sexuality, intolerance, bigotry, or a combination of these and other factors.
The Church’s understanding of homosexuality as disordered relate specifically to practice and lifestyle, not orientation. The Church also considers masturbation and sodomy, among other practices, to be disordered. I do not disagree.
This is an issue not only of possible bigotry but of scapegoating. By making sexuality a topic of secrecy and shame in seminary formation, we may be inadvertently encouraging the same heinous acts that we all wish to avoid.
This may also lead to a smaller church, which I suspect is the goal of many here and elsewhere who promote these policies. Some here seem to want me and my gay brothers and sisters outside the Church. Since there is no satisfying their incessant drive to “purify” the Church, they will probably not succeed.



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Jeff

posted September 28, 2005 at 5:28 pm


No, George C., you are wrong. The Church’s teaching does NOT say that only acts are disordered, not “orientation.” Here is the Catechism:
“2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial.”
It is the inclination itslef which is disordered, not just the actions.
I don’t want a smaller church. But Catholics must be called to Faithfulness. You can’t just make it up as you go.



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Patrick Rothwell

posted September 28, 2005 at 5:31 pm


Boy, Jeff’s self-proclaimed homophobic rant is not only quite deranged, but it turns Church teaching on its head. This is how I read Jeff’s argument.
A little sodomy amongst friends when the ladies aren’t around, ’tis sinful sure, but understandable under the circumstances. But, the mere existence of someone who is SSA/homosexual, even if never acted on, is a dire threat to the society that must be confronted and destroyed. I know that we are supposed to love these dangerous and merciless people, but the dominical command to love one’s neighbor as one’s self, must give way in these desperate times to fight the monsters in our midst.



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Eileen R

posted September 28, 2005 at 5:36 pm


George C.
I have no idea (really!) if homosexuality is well-ordered, whatever that is. I have no personal experience with it. My own standard for defining disorder in the human condition is high, as I believe humans generally reflect their Maker.
What? So acute depression and panic disorder isn’t a disorder any more since lots of people suffer from it?
Whee! No more medications and visits to the psychiatrist for me!



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john c

posted September 28, 2005 at 5:44 pm


Not to take sides, but that’s an unfair reading of Jeff, Patrick Rothwell.



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George G.

posted September 28, 2005 at 5:47 pm


George C. said: “[...]My own standard[...]“
And that’s why you don’t get it.



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David Morrison

posted September 28, 2005 at 6:03 pm


Folks, there are good and holy men and women who sit beside you in your pews and who work in your parishes and who live with degrees of same sex attraction. And they are not out seeking to have homosexual sex or change the Church’s teaching on homosexual sex or preach (or live) any “soft orthodoxy.” They are seeking to live their lives as good Christians who struggle with a cross which is among the more difficult people are called to carry today.
And many of the people on this string have gone out of their way to write with a lack of charity that can only make their cross heavier if they are unlucky enough to happen across this string of comments.
In case anyone has forgotten, it is the teaching of the Church that same sex attraction is an “objective disorder.” It is not the teaching of the Church to equate people living with same sex attraction with SSA itself, as in the phrase they are disordered. That comment is is reductionist and not a part of the teaching of the Church.
The deep irony is that while we don’t know what causes same sex attraction in a person, I believe from my own experience that how gay activists are created. Christians, often, are the ones who create them.
After I came to Christ as an adult and after having been a gay activist for over seven six years, I didn’t come to chastity right away. I didn’t in part because I didn’t trust Christians. Based on their prior treatment of me and people I loved, I considered it quite likely that Christians hated me and so was relunctant to find a church and open up.
But finally I risked it and did, and thank God I did so in a community which was throughly orthodox (no one, for example, agreed with me at the time that gay sex was ok) but which had a enough wisdom to separate mistakes and errors in one’s life and the individual.
It was their reaction to me and interaction with me that led me to understand there really is more this Christianity than mere rules and that Christians didn’t, in fact, hate me.
So you know, before you write things like
But the homosexuality which involves what is now being called “SSA,” an attraction to one’s own sex alone, is a unique perversion in that it involves a absolute PREFERENCE for perversion and a hatred toward or at best neutrality toward its healthy counterpart.
and
Many are gay because the lifestyle is an easy way to act out a pathological narcissism, a sexual addiction, a martyr complex, or something else. It’s a disorder than can hide far worse disorders – and the sex abuse crisis in the Chuirch is evidence.
consider how many men and women you chase away from the Cross and from Christ and from any of the fundamental Truth of how much God loves them and wants the best for them – just as He wants and loves you despite your sins.
And yes, absolutely, to reduce men and women, created in the image and likeness of God, as nothing more than their same sex attraction is uncharitable and I seem to remember the recent Gospel reading in which Christ warned the scribes and pharisees that the tax collectors and prostitutes were entering the Kingdom before them.



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Patrick Rothwell

posted September 28, 2005 at 6:14 pm


“consider how many men and women you chase away from the Cross and from Christ and from any of the fundamental Truth of how much God loves them and wants the best for them – just as He wants and loves you despite your sins.”
Hey David,
Don’t you know pastoral theology is for weak-willed sallies too cowed to confront the perverts who are wreaking havoc on our society?



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Dan

posted September 28, 2005 at 6:18 pm


Patrick Rothwell’s take on Jeff’s comment is reminiscent of Andrew Sullivan’s take on Amy’s column. That said, I think Jeff overstates the case a little. It is obviously true though that the whole gay rights thing is premised on values and beliefs that are antithetical to core Catholic teaching and that those, whether gay or not, who are sympathetic to the gay rights movement would undermine core Church teachings solely to accomodate gays and “gay rights.”



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Lola

posted September 28, 2005 at 6:27 pm


Way up above, Caroline said something that rings true to me. There is a complete rejection of the female and just recently – forgive me, I can’t remember whose blog it was but it was during a discussion of this very thing – comeone asked why don’t SSA men get married? And one answered “because the thought of having sex with a woman fills me with revulsion” or something close to that. And I think: putting your penis into a vagina disgusts you, but flipping a guy over and aiming for the hole with the turds is what you’re hankering for. I simply cannot get beyond that. This entire seminary problem – and the scandals – are all about what kind of hole the penis wants, be it a man’s mouth, hand or anus. That’s it right there. And the penis just ain’t that important. Or shouldn’t be. There’s your objective disorder.



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reluctant penitent

posted September 28, 2005 at 6:35 pm


David Morrison,
Many many people have been driven from the Church and from Christ by openly gay priests and seminarians.
We owe Christians who live with SSA and are chaste our support and prayers. We ought to pray for the conversion of homosexuals who are not chaste. We ought not to hate homosexuals. This is all true. However, I have found disconcerting the often very shrill by critics of the visitations and the assumption that it’s all motivated by ‘reductionism’, ‘determinism’ and hatred of homosexuals.
There is a crisis in the Church–one described by Catholics of the left and of the right–of gay priests and seminarians who are not chaste. This crisis is huge and must be dealt with.



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Zhou

posted September 28, 2005 at 6:36 pm


Dear Lola,
I commend your directness.
But it is not the little dangling organ that is at fault.
Even if it were removed, a la Mk 9:43-48, the problem would still remain, perhaps even become worse.
The problem is the heart.
A la Mk 7:21-23.
This is basic “Theology of the Body.”
The problem is a lack of holiness,
not a choice of holes.



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reluctant penitent

posted September 28, 2005 at 6:46 pm


Zhou,
Do you have any problem at all with a homosexual priest who violates his vows? I’m not talking about pedophilia, molestation, or even getting caught in a public place or anything like that. I’m talking about a priest who is having discrete homosexual encounters. Do you think that many such priests are a problem for the Church? I’m asking because I’ve seen a number of posts from you in which you extol the virtues of gay priests.



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Lola

posted September 28, 2005 at 6:53 pm


OK, Zhou, I see what you’re saying. But if the lust that is still there is the real sin – if that’s the real horror of SSA, then isn’t that a very strong argument to not allow SSA men into seminaries? Even if they have been chaste all their lives?
And then you do have to admit, those men who have allowed their organ to take them where they want to go do have a much bigger problem than those who have managed to restrain the flesh…but they still have the lust. So the sin is still there. As is the objective disorder.
And I still think there is something really, really wrong with any priest who truly believes that women are repulsive. I know I don’t have the thoughts sussed out yet, but it ain’t right. On some level, it’s a rejection of femaleness, of womenhood, of anything that’s feminine. And I know that that which is feminine is not disposable in the life of the church. You can’t hate it.



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Zhou

posted September 28, 2005 at 6:54 pm


Dear RP,
I’m open to fraternal correction,
but I think your reading something into my comments that is not there.
Where do I “extol the virtures of gay priests?”
It is just that I don’t think that a non-gay priest, or a husband or wife, who break their vows, should be treated with any less rigor.
I think that a seminarian found “petting” with a girl should be ejected as quickly as a seminarian found petting with a guy.
I do not think that either homosexuals OR heterosexuals who act on their “orientation” are suitable for the priesthood.
Preists are called to vowed celibacy.
Spouses are called to absolute unique chastity.
The end.
If you want to hunt for sinners, hunt them all.



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reluctant penitent

posted September 28, 2005 at 7:04 pm


‘If you want to hunt for sinners, hunt them all.’
Agreed. But right now there’s a crisis in the Church. The crisis is one of a large percentage of gay priests many of whom are not celibate. That crisis calls for a special corrective that is directed at men who have SSA.
As for extoling virtues I was referring to posts like this one:
‘At one point I thought all Catholic priests were gay, I knew so many who were open about it. Why so many? Let me see. Maybe:
(1) because bishops ordained them?
(2) because it is a life that does not involve marriage, or expectation of marriage, to a woman? (no more pesky questions about when will you get married)
(3) because there are no mother-in-laws? (very smart!)
(4) because it is a “caring” profession? (gay nurses are top notch)
(5) because it is a less aggressive profession that being a businessman or soldier; no “Art of War” stuff? (chaplains excepted)
(6) because it can be a “gentle” profession: no heavy equipment, big machinery, working outdoors, etc.? (missionaries excepted)
(7) because it is a profession where you have the community’s unwavering love and respect, regardless of your little problems and weaknesses? (just don’t mess with the kids)
(8) because you get to be around lots of similar guys? (community!)’
You seemed to be promoting the Mark Jordan thesis here–i.e. that Catholics should just accept an openly gay priesthood because gays are naturally suited to the priesthood. That’s the sort of reasoning that has led to the current problematic state of affairs.



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Zhou

posted September 28, 2005 at 7:10 pm


Dear Lola,
This is one of my favorite sections of “Theology of the Body,” from Pope John Paul II’s General Audience of December 3, 1980:

The ethos of redemption is realized in self-mastery, by means of temperance, that is, continence of desires. In this behavior the human heart remains bound to the value from which, through desire, it would otherwise have moved away, turning toward pure lust deprived of ethical value….It is a question of this value in the act of self-mastery and temperance, to which Christ referred in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:27-28).
This act may give the impression of suspension “in the emptiness of the subject.” It may give this impression especially when it is necessary to make up one’s mind to carry it out for the first time, or, even more, when the opposite habit has been formed, when man is accustomed to yield to the lust of the flesh. However, even the first time, and all the more so if he then acquires the capacity, man already gradually experiences his own dignity. By means of temperance, he bears witness to his own self-mastery and shows that he is carrying out what is essentially personal in him. Furthermore, he gradually experiences the freedom of the gift, which in one way is the condition, and in another way is the response of the subject to the nuptial value of the human body, in its femininity and masculinity. In this way, the ethos of the redemption of the body is realized through self-mastery, through the temperance of “desires.” This happens when the human heart enters an alliance with this ethos, or rather confirms it by means of its own integral subjectivity; when the deepest and yet most real possibilities and dispositions of the person are manifested; when the innermost layers of his potentiality acquire a voice, layers which the lust of the flesh would not permit to show themselves. Nor can these laywers emerge when the human heart is bound in permanent suspicion, as is the case in Freudian hermeneutics. Nor can they be manifested when the Manichaean anti-value is dominant in consciousness. The ethos of redemption, on the other hand, is based on a close alliance wioth those layers.
Further reflections will give us other proofs. Conclusing our analysis on Christ’s significan enunciation according to Matthew 5:27-28, we see that in it the human heart is above all the object of a call and not of an accusation. At the same time, we must admit that the consciousness of sinfulness is, in historical man, not only a necessary starting point. it is also an indispensable condition of his aspiration to virtue, to purity of heart, to perfection….”

Yes, it is wrong (and not properly human) to reject “femaleness.”
And it is hard for those who are “accustomed to yield to the lust of the flesh.”
But this is, really, what we are called to be.
Lust has many forms besides SSA, all eqully deadly.



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holidaymouse

posted September 28, 2005 at 7:13 pm


Amy. Why waste emotions on misquotes or attacks. You can respond w/out the emotions. Your precious feelings should be save this for the kids scoring a goal at any game or dad coming home early. You are misquoted now/tomorrow and the next day. WE KNOW YOU to be right—why spend a second of angst other than a rebuttal to buttheads? The emotional part (ie: you want b___) is just a waste and s/be risen ABOVE.
We want you unemotional and level headed. WE NEED YOU.
And esp for what’s coming up w/ Howard’s movie. Great response but emotions turn to theatrics to those out to misquote and irritate you. You did exactly what he wanted—got pisseed, irate and angry and theatrical.
God bless you—we need you strong and more detached from a/h’s. One for every seat you know–just say your peace and speak out for us–For Him.



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reluctant penitent

posted September 28, 2005 at 7:13 pm


Zhou,
Of course lust has many forms besides SSA. But it’s SSA lust that is a problem in the Church at the moment.



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Mary Campbell Gallagher

posted September 28, 2005 at 7:15 pm


Amy.
Touche.
.Mary Campbell Gallagher



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Zhou

posted September 28, 2005 at 7:17 pm


Dear RP,
You mis-read me.
I was answering someone elses question, “Why are there so many gay priests?”
I think my answers are fair and, I think, just reflect the current realities. Especially (1). It WAS the bishops that ordained them.
I think that if all American priests-in-training were required, say, to be military chaplains in a war zone for a year, or be missionaries in Africa or Asia for a year, there would be many, many fewere gay priests in the US. As it stands, for most of them it IS a soft, cushy (delicate?) job, especially if they spend their time at seminary in California and then in a diocese near Los Angeles or SF.
And hospital chaplaincy, or serving soup, or caring for the elderly, is not going to be challenging to most gay or SSA candidates–all areas where religious sisters did most of the work in the past.
I’m not pro gay clergy. But where I live, a lot of the clergy are gay. And I can see how that happened.
But just trying to screen out the SSA/gay folks without fixing the system is not going to work.
Think bigger.



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Zhou De-Ming

posted September 28, 2005 at 7:25 pm


Dear RP,
Sorry, but I don’t think that “SSA lust” is THE problem.
It is just the one that the media has the spotlight on, mainly as a way to continue bashing the Church and make Catholics look neanderthal.
For example, “power lust” is another big problem. That is why the bishops cover up the scandal. That is why Catholic politicians can be “pro choice.” That is why we have Catholics pushing for ordination of women. “Power lust” and resistance to the Magisterium are why catechesis is such a mess in this country–everyone wants to the power to decide for themselves what is “truth.”
How about “heterosexual lust?” That is why we have an epidemic of Catholic divorce and annulment, of Catholic adultery, of contraception, of Catholics having abortions. Don’t forget the recent cases of clergy fathering children.
I think that “SSA lust” is just one issue. But it is one that will capture the spotlight as it pits the Neanderthal Catholic Church against Modern American Culture. And many Catholics will join in the fight, putting egg on the face of the Church, because they are not like “those sinners.”



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HA

posted September 28, 2005 at 7:26 pm


Gay rights advocates have been telling us that homosexuality has been spot-welded into the brain by nature but that it is bigotry to ask whether the spot-welding might have affected other parts.
Actually, when it comes to artists and entertainers, we’re *requied* to assume their achievements are wholly or mostly due to their homosexuality.
But while I’m not well-versed in homosexual narcissism, it’s worth noting along with Liam that there’s no shortage of it among heterosexuals like Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman, speaking just of the NYT. Moreover, as Amy noted, Andrew Sullivan’s narcissism is episodic, and when he’s not beside himself (or writing disturbing and fawning depictions of the courtship rituals of “bears”), he seems like a very likeable fellow.



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reluctant penitent

posted September 28, 2005 at 7:27 pm


‘But just trying to screen out the SSA/gay folks without fixing the system is not going to work.’
Well it’s a policy. It’s not perfect but I have yet to hear someone propose a better policy. The suggestion that we just enforce the rules already in place with no special provisions for SSA candidates ignores the fact that this approach has not worked and has resulted to the current crisis, no doubt because some Bishops don’t see a problem with gay priests. If implemented correctly, this policy will force them to do something.



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HA

posted September 28, 2005 at 7:31 pm


85% of all of the pedophillia and ephebophilia claims and lawsuits involved homosexuals obsessed with pederasty. The homosexual culture is very youth oriented, look at my last post from Canada.
There was a well-circulated article on chicken hawks indicating that a quarter to three-quarters of gay men over 30 have cruised adolescents. I’m sure the comparable figure for heterosexuals is pretty disturbing as well, but it seems significantly worse among the gay (male) population. This is sometimes extenuated by saying that gay courtship has always been a transgressive act, so that crossing other taboos is to be expected. Sullivan has argued that mainstreaming homosexuality would stop such behavior, but his warm affirmations what he encountered on his pilgrimages to Provincetown indicate that his idea of propriety — even when translated to the heterosexual world — is not one Catholics would embrace.
Pretty amazing website, hieronymous.



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Zhou De-Ming

posted September 28, 2005 at 7:35 pm


Dear HA,
Do you know that many folks are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Lolita?

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.”
That’s the opening line of Vladimir Nabokov’s groundbreaking novel Lolita — the story of a 37-year-old man’s emotional and sexual love affair with a 12-year-old girl.

Heterosexual fantasies have a much bigger market!
Shall we eject any seminarian found with a copy of Nabokov’s book as a potential child abuser?



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HA

posted September 28, 2005 at 7:43 pm


…right now there’s a crisis in the Church. The crisis is one of a large percentage of gay priests many of whom are not celibate.
Regarding the visitation, I would go on to say that the problem seems to be connected to the current seminary system which has produced cliques of self-encouraging active homosexuality. In that sense, it’s a different problem from the kind of temptation (as Fr. Septimus noted yesterday) that heterosexual priests face in having to interact with women in a parish setting (though the latter is of course, nothing we should lose sight of).



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HA

posted September 28, 2005 at 7:50 pm


True, Zhou, as usual, though at least Humbert Humbert has an epiphany at the end of that novel where he shows remorse upon realizing that he’s stolen Lolita’s childhood from her. It’s also fair to call it a cautionary tale, and so for those reasons, it’s a far more moral book than many we’ve been seen since. However, one wonders if any of those praising it so highly would have found it worth reading without Humbert’s earlier exaltations of his depravity.
Nabokov and Updike are to the literati what National Geographics are to 10-year old boys.



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reluctant penitent

posted September 28, 2005 at 7:56 pm


Zhou says: ‘Sorry, but I don’t think that “SSA lust” is THE problem.’
Sorry Zhou, but many people do think it’s THE problem. Its scale has seriously undermined the credibility of the presbyterate.
Zhou says: ‘It is just the one that the media has the spotlight on, mainly as a way to continue bashing the Church and make Catholics look neanderthal.’
Nonsense. Many faithful Catholics–left and right–have discussed the problem. It’s not just Church-bashing.
Zhou says: ‘For example, “power lust” is another big problem. That is why the bishops cover up the scandal. That is why Catholic politicians can be “pro choice.” That is why we have Catholics pushing for ordination of women. “Power lust” and resistance to the Magisterium are why catechesis is such a mess in this country–everyone wants to the power to decide for themselves what is “truth.”‘
I don’t know where to start on this one. The same people who oppose the visitations also oppose denial of communion or other punitive measures in the other cases, and people who support the visitation support denial of communion in the other cases. I’m really not sure what the relevance is of ‘power lust.’
Zhou says: ‘How about “heterosexual lust?” That is why we have an epidemic of Catholic divorce and annulment, of Catholic adultery, of contraception, of Catholics having abortions.’
Well a good place to start would be to eliminate CLERGY who make a mockery of Church teaching. I am not suggesting that we excommunicate people with SSA, so I don’t see how we would be treating them any differently than those who commit the sins you mention.
Zhou says: ‘Don’t forget the recent cases of clergy fathering children.’
Again, not a crisis in terms of scale. Note your own words: ”At one point I thought all Catholic priests were gay, I knew so many who were open about it.’ You did not write ‘At one point I thought that all priests had illegitimate children.’
Zhou says: ‘I think that “SSA lust” is just one issue. But it is one that will capture the spotlight as it pits the Neanderthal Catholic Church against Modern American Culture.’
If the only way to resolve the crisis is to implement a policy that the secular culture hates, so be it!
Zhou says: ‘And many Catholics will join in the fight, putting egg on the face of the Church, because they are not like “those sinners.”‘
This is not my motive. I don’t think I’m any better off as far as holiness is concerned than the average SSA individual. My support for a robust policy has nothing to do with comdemning one sin more than another and everything to do with the crisis in the priesthood.



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Zhou De-Ming

posted September 28, 2005 at 8:04 pm


Well, RP, it is not that I don’t know clergy who have fathered children after ordination and taking their vow of perpetual celibacy (I do, in my neighborhood), it is just that this is not the “hot topic.” Just read in the news of a bishop (not in the US) who had to step down just recently over the scandal of his kids.
But really, if you want to look at gross numbers of gross acts, the SSA/gay clergy are a drop in the bucket compared to the fornicating and drunken Catholic youth of America. I know. I live right next to a Catholic college. I’ve had to clean the vomit of my steps in the morning, and I’ve seen the sheepish boys buying their condoms at the local pharmacy.
Shall we throw them out, too?



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RC

posted September 28, 2005 at 8:12 pm


Jim’s right, Amy; enjoy the buzz and welcome the new readers.
Is Andrew’s reaction what is meant by the term “homosexual panic”?



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Jeff

posted September 28, 2005 at 8:14 pm


Let me turn the tables on Mr. Morrison, who–though he may not believe it–I admire. Let me ask him to look at things through MY eyes for a moment and that of many of his brother Catholics.
Go to this post on David Alexander’s Blog:
http://manwithblackhat.blogspot.com/2005/09/
critical-mass-when-is-indult-not.html
Open the comments section as you would if you were going to post a comment yourself. Look at the first comment. Click on the image at the upper right so that it is enlarged.
Now, Mr. Morrison, let me tell you what I feel when I see that image. I feel a sort of crawling disgust, a kind of horror and shrinking. There is a definite fear there, a “phobia” if you like. It’s a feeling that I don’t get looking at a lot of other kinds of horrible things. It’s the feeling I get when I encounter specifically homosexual eroticism.
Do you want to tell me that it is my reaction that is disordered? That it lacks charity? That I am in need of some sort of education? I don’t know if you do or not. But I certainly don’t think so. I think my reaction is natural and healthy.
My reaction is not just to the image, but to the mind or spirit that could find it sexually appealing. Is THAT uncharitable or wicked, do you think? Or am I right in finding something peculiarly depraved there?
I think that most people in the world have the same reaction that I do. The vast majority. Certainly the vast majority of Catholics, especially males, over time have and do.
I think there is something that in colloquial terms we would call “sick” about that desire. Soul sickness or moral sickness perhaps, rather than mere psychological “sickness.”
Now, I don’t accept the false notion that, if I think that persons who CHARACTERISTICALLY and pretty much EXCLUSIVELY (not rarely) have their sexuality focussed on people of the same sex, that therefore I am being uncharitable. Surely even you must admit that there are perversions of the mind or soul of such a kind and degree that we must treat those who have them with some care and perhaps in certain contexts a distrust. Isn’t that right?
Why should homosexuals get some sort of automatic exemption from that? If you address a person whose sexual imagination is almost wholly focussed on 3 year old girls, would it be uncharitable of you to suggest that maybe he shouldn’t be a priest? Even if he doesn’t give in and bravely struggles against his affliction? What if he says that you’re keeping him from the Gospel by not accepting him as a whole person? It doesn’t make sense, does it?
I admire you for struggling against your temptations, I do indeed. But I think you should understand if people are a bit wary of you and people who suffer from those temptations. It’s reasonable that they should be. And I don’t think you should be able to be a priest. I see no bigotry or lack of charity in that at all.



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PC

posted September 28, 2005 at 8:18 pm


‘Homosexual panic’ ? Andrew once sent me a reply to an email on the subject of the Boston abuse scandal. I blamed the gay priests (and Bishops for that matter)…his response included the words ‘sexual panic’. One wonders why these priests/gay men couldn’t relieve their sexual panic in the nearest bathhouse ?



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kathleen reilly

posted September 28, 2005 at 8:30 pm


Actually I think it’s fair to conflate Amy’s op ed with the assumption that the seminary visitation is about a gay problem. Amy discusses “public lewdness” “possession of child pornography” “embezzlement” and a case where the seminary didn’t accurately investigate the background of a seminarian. (And in that case, perhaps it’s possible that such problems arose from homosexual-related actions). I don’t think anyone can seriously argue that the visitation is meant to make some inroads in embezzlement prevention. Embezzlement is just as likely to be a lay problem as a clergy problem. As for “public lewdness” and “possession of child pornography”, imho that can be safely filed under the category of homosexual problems (call me crazy). Others disagree. I understand and respect their arguments in principle (heteros can possess child porn and be publicly lewd), BUT I stubbornly believe the child porn possession and public lewdness are largely (though not exclusively) problems of homosexuality — in part because *Sullivan himself* assumes the same thing and he knows more about homosexuals than I do. In other words, maybe it’s not narcissism that leads him to the assumption, just recognition of what is familiar.
I also conclude this because, in general, practicing homosexuals are far more interested in “sex for the sake of sex” than heteros. Hence the anonymous gay sex in public toilets (public lewdness), the high number of partners, etc. In Lolita, there was at least a relationship — a twisted, sick, relationship, but a relationship nonetheless. The fixation was on one person, not an anonymous series of hundreds of people. Whether one or the other is more damaging to the soul, I can’t say. I just think it’s reasonable to conclude the seminary visitors are not as focused on Lolita-esque relationships.



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Zhou De-Ming

posted September 28, 2005 at 8:32 pm


For your amusement, from the SF Chronicle: Gay Priest Evacuation.



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reluctant penitent

posted September 28, 2005 at 8:34 pm


‘But really, if you want to look at gross numbers of gross acts, the SSA/gay clergy are a drop in the bucket compared to the fornicating and drunken Catholic youth of America. I know. I live right next to a Catholic college. I’ve had to clean the vomit of my steps in the morning, and I’ve seen the sheepish boys buying their condoms at the local pharmacy. Shall we throw them out, too?’
Throw them out of the seminaries? Absolutely! But I doubt that these fornicating drunk Catholics buying condomns were seminarians. I still think that we should have higher standards for the priesthood than those that we have for mere membership in the Church. Not everyone who has barely escaped excommunication is fit for the priesthood.
‘Well, RP, it is not that I don’t know clergy who have fathered children after ordination and taking their vow of perpetual celibacy (I do, in my neighborhood), it is just that this is not the “hot topic.” ‘
Zhou you’re pulling a Nancy on me here. You cannot say that there was a time when you thought that all priests had illegitimate children. You did say that at one point you thought that all catholic prists are openly gay. There’s a reason for that. The reason is the scale of the gay priest situation. If all as many priests who are now openly gay had illegitimate children and as many priests who now have illegitimate children were openly gay we would not right now be discussing a rule excluding SSA men from ordination.



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reluctant penitent

posted September 28, 2005 at 8:36 pm


PS Zhou, Priests fathering illegitimate children is as newsworthy–perhaps even more so–than openly gay priests.



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HA

posted September 28, 2005 at 8:38 pm


Jeff, your link doesn’t work on my system.
I also want to make clear that in my case, it’s rampant promiscuity of any stripe that I’m opposing. Given the fact that seminaries in the US seem to have done a pretty good job of excluding rampant heterosexual activity (assuming no one here lives in the Jack Chick universe where rectories are connected to convents by secret underground tunnels), but a very poor job in some cases of stopping homosexual promiscuity, I can see why the focus is on homosexuality right now. But I would hope that those with SSA not already predisposed to dismiss what the Church is saying realize that the Vatican is not necessarily losing sight of the big picture. If the policy is poorly implemented or used as a way for bishops to pat themselves on the back and say the chastity problem has been solved, then obviously the effort will have been betrayed, but it doesn’t mean it was insincere from the start.



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Zhou De-Ming

posted September 28, 2005 at 8:41 pm


Hey, RP, Nancy and I do lunch.
But I am not Nancy.
No, there never was a time when I though all Catholic priests had illegitimate children.
But I still think that the great majority of Catholic priests I have met have serious problems. Some are gay and active. Some are heterosexual and active. Some are celibate and tortured. Some take every chance they get to spit in the direction of Rome. Some want to marry. Some want to be Buddhists. Some want to be Liza Minelli. Some are anal control freaks. Maybe a handful seem happy and reasonably well adjusted and, dare I say, spiritual.
In my honest opinion, the whole clerical machinery is majorly f*cked up, from seminary to bishop’s chair. Don’t get me started on megalomaniac permanent deacons. Or flaming feminist theologians arguing for women’s ordination. Or all the gay lay diocesan catechetial leaders and music ministers.
I tell you, if it wasn’t for Jesus, we’d be scr*wed.



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reluctant penitent

posted September 28, 2005 at 8:54 pm


Zhou,
Yes we all know about the carnival in Mahonia. But the the gay priest problem–discussed by liberal and conservative Catholics (in fact it’s one of the few points of agreement)–extends throughout the US, and into Western Europe as well. It is big and needs attention. If you deal with the gay priest problem the Priests-who-want-to-be-Liza-Minelli problem is likely to go away as well.



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Zhou De-Ming

posted September 28, 2005 at 9:01 pm

kathleen reilly

posted September 28, 2005 at 9:05 pm


Zhou, when it comes to clergy, I’ll take “celibate and tortured” any day. None of us has a major problem with celibate and tortured clergy, it’s when the clergy are making our kids non-celibate and tortured (or watching other kids get non-celibate and tortured) that it becomes a “hot” issue. With good reason. I’d be annoyed and disappointed if the seminary visitation didn’t address this.



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