Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The USCCB releases its document

Available here as a PDF file (thanks Amy).

I must say I haven't been this encouraged by a Church document in a while. Frankly, it brought tears to me eyes in a couple of places (and I am not really referring to the approving mention of Courage and Encourage in Footnote 44. Yeah, it might have been better to have been in the text, but I can't quarrel with such a relatively-empty formalism).

No, what brought tears to my eyes was this on page 6:

It is crucially important to understand that saying a person has a particular inclination that is disordered is not to say that the person as a whole is disordered. Nor does it mean that one has been rejected by God or the Church. Sometimes the Church is misinterpreted or misrepresented as teaching that persons with homosexual inclinations are objectively disordered, as if everything about them were disordered or rendered morally defective by this inclination. Rather, the disorder is in that particular inclination, which is not ordered toward the fulfillment of the natural ends of human sexuality. Because of this, acting in accord with such an inclination simply cannot contribute to the true good of the human person. Nevertheless, while the particular inclination to homosexual acts is disordered, the person retains his or her intrinsic human dignity and value.

I can't tell you how annoying it is to listen to pro-gay folks ignorantly (on this subject, that's an objective fact) saying "the church says I am intrinsically evil" or "I'm not objectively disordered," etc. No. It. Doesn't. The distinction is right there. Reject it if you like, but don't lie about what the Church teaches in order to boost up your Right-to-a-Hissy-Fit quotient.

And there was this on pp 6-7:

Many in our culture have difficulty understanding Catholic moral teaching because they do not understand that morality has an objective basis. Some hold that moral norms are nothing more than guidelines for behavior that happen to be widely accepted by people of a particular culture at a particular time. Catholic tradition, however, holds that the basis of morality is found in the natural order established by the Creator, an order that is not destroyed but rather elevated by the transforming power of the grace that comes to us through Jesus Christ.

And finally, this on pp 10-11:

One way in which the Church can aid persons with a homosexual inclination is by nurturing the bonds of friendship among people. In their analysis of human nature, the ancient philosophers recognized that friendship is absolutely essential for the good life, for true happiness. Friendships of various kinds are necessary for a full human life, and they are likewise necessary for those attempting to live chastely in the world. There can be little hope of living a healthy, chaste life without nurturing human bonds. Living in isolation can ultimately exacerbate one’s disordered tendencies and undermine the practice of chastity. It would not be wise for persons with a homosexual inclination to seek friendship exclusively among persons with the same inclination. They should seek to form stable friendships among both homosexuals and heterosexuals. . . . A homosexual person can have an abiding relationship with another homosexual without genital sexual expression. Indeed the deeper need of any human is for friendship rather than genital expression.

If you love someone of the same sex, nobody is saying that you cannot or should cease to love them. In fact, you can love them without sex (more authentically the Church teaches, but set that aside for now). If the gay-rights folks refuse to give up sex, it's an indication that sex is what they truly love. Functionally-speaking, it is their god. But they'll define it as the sine qua non of their loving relationships and saying "you can't criticize our sex without criticizing our love." It's the equivalent of Hezbollah, Al-Qaida or Hamas terrorists hiding behind Arab civilian populations, leaving Israel or the US the choice of not striking or putting civilians at risk. But it's based on a false understanding of Church teaching. The Church simply does not object if Adam and Steve live together in friendship, even if they might have same-sex attractions. What She objects to is Adam and Steve having sex; nothing more.

Would that every Church document be this concise, clear, on-point and comprehensive.


St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse said...

Maybe Elton John should take the time to read the new USCCB docs, to get his facts straight, if nothing else...

Joe Baby said...

I think that language re: friendships is very wise, especially on this issue.

CourageMan said...

Hey, jimbob ... I do the jokes around here.

St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse said...

Ok, you do the jokes, and I'll be the Straight Man. [cue rimshot]
Ladies and Germs, remember to tip your waiters and waitresses, and we'll be back at 9.

Seriously, the document is good, and I hope that it will be read and accepted in the spirit it is given.

midwestmom said...

I love you, CourageMan!

Just keep talking and stay the course with your message. The Church and the country need it!

John said...

"The Church simply does not object if Adam and Steve live together in friendship, even if they might have same-sex attractions. What She objects to is Adam and Steve having sex; nothing more."


I happened upon your blog via Amy Welborn, and am glad to have done so. Both of your posts from last week regarding the USCCB documents provided first-rate analysis and commentary.

I do have one question, however, regarding your remarks I quoted above -- one that I had not give much thought heretofore.

I guess my question boils down to this: All other things being equal, who would be the "ideal roommate", if you will, for a man living with same-sex attraction, but striving to live chastely?

It would seem that from a prudential standpoint, the argument could be made that it would be inadvisable for two persons of the same sex, both of whom have same-sex attraction, to live together, just as the argument could be made that it would be inadvisable for a heterosexual man and woman to live together (if for no other reason that it gives the appearance of impropriety).

Does Courage make any recommendations in this regard?

I admit, again, that I haven't given this matter much thought. Undoubtedly you have, and I'm hoping you could share your thoughts.

sattvicwarrior said...

great post. but sorry. that article from the church is not only STUPID its embarassing double talk.
thanks for sharing:)