Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"Act Like a Man"

One of the things Father Paul Scalia, our Courage chaplain, often appeals to, and tries to build up, is our sense of manhood (for whatever reason, and I say this strictly empirically rather than normatively, most Courage members are men). Father recently gave a broader talk on this subject as part of the Arlington Diocese's "Theology on Tap" series, titled "Act Like a Man." The Podcast of his talk and the Q-and-A is right here. (WARNING: The hyperlink is to a very large mp3 file -- 56Mb; so automatic downloads beware.) And here is the page with links to a menu of all this season's Podcasts, with some alternate formats.

I would say, RTWT, except that it's not a written text, so ... LTTWT. And as a bonus, if you ever wanted to hear a priest talk about his first date with a girl, this is your chance.

In Father's Theology on Tap speech, Topic H never came up, either in his prepared remarks or in any of the questions. But I could hear, between the lines with knowledge of what he says in his ministry to us, a lot of the same things, indicating that the collapse of manhood is the social problem, with the rising amount of and acceptance of homosexuality being merely a symptom. He says in his presentation that the title comes from one of the commonest things he tells men -- "grow up" or "be a man, not a boy," something he's said to me individually, with the caveat that "we are raised in a society that makes it difficult." That latter point is the focus of the bulk of his talk.

Father Scalia notes a crisis of manhood, citing the usual statistics -- the education-achievement gap, the overwhelming number of fatherless men in prison. He tells ToT that this is because boys have to be taught to become men (or in Camille Paglia's formulation, "a woman is; a man must become"), and have it done by other men. But our culture doesn't do that, instead keeping males as boys. Biology rebels though, so males not socialized to be men will try to become through other means, which accounts for the popularity of gangs and the "conquest" culture. In the past, he notes, every culture had some rite of passage, which while it often involved taking care of oneself, but it also commonly involved taking care of others. Malcolm X said something similar in his speech at Harvard about the difference between making babies, "which any fool can do," and being a father. Well, that's what Denzel said in the movie.

A father specifically, and other men generally, give a boy something to strive for, men to inspire us. "Every man here knows this," Father Scalia says. But in the absence of that, boys become prey to whatever comes along, a slave to their passions. Males want to sacrifice and be heroic, even in defeat -- it's what makes you a man. He cites examples from the Titanic to the Birkenhead, where men observed the code of honor -- "women and children first" -- even at the cost of their own lives. This is what men want and need, but the culture breeds it out of them. Even in defeat. The Spartans failed to keep the Persians from advancing through Thermopylae, but the 300 men stood in the face and did their duty in the face of overwhelming numbers. He also cited the Chosin Reservoir and Black Hawk Down battles. Father also cites how in boys' war games, everybody wanted to die the noble death, knowing that no greater love exists than to lay down one's life for others. "When boys play war games, they're usually not in the supply lines," Father jokes. But our culture is so phobic to this that even in the 1997 movie about the Titanic, the film-makers said they didn't show the "women and children first" nobility because "nobody would believe it."

Father Scalia says that males need to be called to manhood in three ways -- through the habit of sacrifice, reached in its highest earthly form by laying down your life as a priest or as a husband, but which encompasses even minor sacrifices (he cites the Three Young Men in Daniel as prepared by their observance of Jewish dietary laws); through friendship with other men, which he said all too often now takes the form of drinking buddies, rather than exhorting to and encouraging virtue; and through interaction with women, to make sure it is noble and worthy of a man.

On this last point, Father Scalia also says something that a priest has unique insight on, and he's not the only priest I've ever heard saying it. Namely that many women come to him with matters that really are for the father/husband to handle, or at most, by the priest with both of them there. "He's a good man, but he doesn't do the religion thing," Father Scalia cites the women as typically saying. In many respects, other priests say, these women want a man to listen to them. But, he told the women in his ToT audience, "If you want men to be men, you must not only allow it, but insist on it." He says that the reason for the old rules such as opening doors or pulling out chairs was not that women couldn't do these things for themselves (the feminist lie and absurd on its face), but to teach men both leadership and to equate leadership with service.

And he said we see these three callings exemplified most strongly in Our Lord, with the Cross as the ultimate model for sacrifice, the disciples as the model for friendship, and His relationship with Our Blessed Mother as how one relates to women. Father Scalia noted from "The Passion of the Christ," that every time Jesus looks ready to give in, he sees His Mother. And resolves to soldier on (his speech is filled with martial language even in not-obviously-martial contexts). "There's nothing more manly than being devoted to a good woman," Father concludes his speech.

Not bad for a celibate.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Scrupulosity or a legitimate concern?

I'm "out" to a certain portion of the world. I see no general point in keeping secret, among those one already knows well, the reason I have reached the age of 40 without marrying, and why I never mention "my girlfriend," in either the present or past tenses. And there's all my Courage brothers and those priests of the Arlington and Washington Dioceses lucky(?) enough to have heard my confessions or to have chaplained one of our meetings.

I see no reason not to joke about my SSA, if the audience is right. When I spoke to the pastor at my parish about joining, he said "we impose a time wait so that people can't simply register merely for the sake of getting married." I responded: "well, that won't be a concern you'll have with me." He laughed.

But sometimes I hold back, primarily because it's sometimes difficult to tell in advance the spirit in which a joke about sexuality will be taken, particularly when one's own is suspect. Earlier today I saw a news item about a PETA listing of the sexiest vegetarians (whatthe...???). Exactly the kind of "dumb fun" item that people pass around. I was going to send the link to a priest I know, who is the only vegetarian I know, with a short note to the effect of "you need to start campaigning earlier and harder, Father."

But I decided against it because ... well ... I'm not really sure (this is one of the few posts I've ever "thought out loud" about). It's not because I harbor sinful feelings about him; priests and my Courage brothers are desexualized in my eyes, in all but the most abstractly-intellectual sense. Nor because I think he'll wrongly take it as a declaration of interest, and in the worst case go all Jenny Jones on me. And in general, he has a good sense of humor. And this is not the first time I've held back on making a joke based on the potential for SSA-related misunderstanding.

I guess I'm holding to the standard of all the SSA-related jokes I want about myself (see here) and celebrities, but none at all about others. I can't also deny that I have been made hypersensitive by all the shit that good priests have had to take since The Situation went nuclear (see the anecdote recounted here by Father Brian Stanley; scroll down to 552pm or do a wordsearch for "Stanley" or "molest"). As I say ... I'm not really sure if I'm being excessively scrupulous (bad) or preferring to err on the side of discretion (good).

CM blushes

Online Dating

Was it just because I used the word "gay" 130 times? Oh ... and "penis" five times. No count on "faggot" though, so Virginia rehab clinics can rest easy. (HT: Barbara Nicolosi)

Where we are now

This case is exemplary and not in good way.

A male high-school student kisses another boy for a yearbook picture (and no, I've leaving this post unillustrated, except for one for the eggheads down below). The school blacks it out, but then backs off and apologizes. But it's the next detail that truly makes this item an envelope-pusher.
Andre Jackson, the student, said Monday that he was disappointed that the Newark schools superintendent had not delivered the apology face-to-face and in public. Because of that, he said he did not accept it as sincere.
"I would accept an apology — a public apology," said Jackson, 18.
Jackson said he learned of the apology through the media.
This says far more than all the robotically-learned "Polly wanna cracker"-cant we hear about homophobic this and anti-gay that. An *18-year-old* decides that an apology from the *schools superintendent* isn't good enough because it wasn't in person and in public. He doesn't want the vindication itself; he wants the ritual of public obeisance and to be seen to be cracking the whip.

If beggars can't be choosers, then choosers are indicating that they are not beggars. This student's behavior shows that he knows perfectly well that his homosexuality makes him not a beggar in the matter of public approval, but a chooser. (This is basically the dynamic Isaiah Washington is saying TR Knight is exploiting).

And one other point. This case proves (redundantly for the 46947876841st time) the emptiness of tolerance as a free-standing virtue and the essential unity of the public square. There is only one standard for public morality, since all must share the same public space. That standard, whatever it is, will be enforced on all and for all -- there is no "live and let live." If the morality of gays is what counts, then there is no reason for these sorts of pictures not to appear in the yearbook (or the daily paper). Thus they will do so, people who try to act contrarily will be punished for Badthought, and the image of two men tonguing each other (to speak only of the current picture ... there is, in principle, no limit) become a part of everybody's "Normal."

To Christians I say, walling yourself off completely and totally — I emphasize both those adverbs — is the only (purely theoretical) short-term option the libertine culture has for us. And there are no long-term options. To gays and other libertines, I say, don't patronize us with "don't look at it if it offends you." You act as any other cultural hegemon, and Gramsci would snort at your very innocent-sounding protests. There are no self-regarding actions, and no quarter or compromise is possible on the matter of the standard of public morality.

Boy ... the rehab REALLY didn't take

Now Isaiah Washington is saying that "they fired the wrong guy."

In an interview with Houston Chronicle, the fired Gray's Anatomy star said TR Knight should have been canned for stirring up trouble on the set in the hope of creating a public furor and increasing his own profile and salary. According to Washington, Knight did this by lying about whether Washington's first use of the word "faggot" was aimed at him (Knight was not publicly 'out' at the time).
"That's a lie," Washington said. "I used the word during a disagreement with Patrick [Dempsey, another cast member]. I apologized for that. We shook hands and went back to work."
Washington has since elaborated on the point
"[T.R.] has been working on a conspiracy to get Patrick Dempsey and myself off the show for the last year and a half," Washington claims, "using the incident of the so-called F-word... to blackmail the writers into doing his bidding, and it's not working. The producers...all think that something has gone awfully awry with the stability of T.R. Knight."
And in his first Chronicle interview, Washington noted the fact that first got me interested in this story -- that his second use of the new f-word was not a usage but a quotation to the effect of "I never called TR a faggot," which I called "the all-time low in the field of Stupid Public Obeisances to Political Correctness."

Washington says he was shabbily treated since then and is considering a lawsuit.
"My livelihood, my honor and dignity and my name have been so challenged." ...
"I was not fired for making homophobic slurs," he said. "I did everything I said I would do. I offered to go to counseling, to do a public service announcement. I wanted everyone to know I was remorseful."
"I did everything they told me to do, including not saying anything, and then they didn't renew my contract. That's not fair."
Some black homosexuals are taking his side in this "let's you and him fight" story, and Washington also took his case to BET's Keith Boykin. Washington also has been booked on the ultimate show for celebrities with an agenda -- Larry King. July 2. Set your TiVo. Washington's basic case seems to be "yes, I used the word, but not in the ways it's been portrayed, and TR Knight is using this whole thing as a power play." (Not an unprecedented script when charges of racism, homophobia and the only Seven Contemporary Capital Sins.)

As much as I criticized the Caveman for his use of the same word (although there was much, much else in that case and not this one ... a factor not unrelated to my different reaction), my sympathies are still with Washington on this one.

Yeah, Washington shouldn't have used the word "faggot" in the first place at all. But there is a difference between using a slur and calling a person by that -- the former is analogous to bad language like "fuck" or "shit" and should be forgivable with a handshake in most cases; the latter is a personal assault and may require temporal consequences. Particularly since Knight and/or ABC clearly left people with the impression that Washington had called him a faggot, which was apparently not the case. When you gild the lily about how you have been wronged, others are right to take the actual wrong less seriously.

UPDATE: Washington has played the race card, telling Newsweek that ABC fired him because he refused to play the "a mush-mouth Negro" role (though to be perfectly frank, I thought his post-second-comment reaction was rather servile).
"someone heard the booming voice of a black man and got really scared and that was the beginning of the end for me." ...
"My mistake was thinking black people get second chances. I was wrong," ...
His unwillingness to act like a submissive black at work was part of the problem, Washington said.
"Well, it didn't help me on the set that I was a black man who wasn't a mush-mouth Negro walking around with his head in his hands all the time. I didn't speak like I'd just left the plantation and that can be a problem for people sometime," he said.
This smells like it could get REALLY ugly.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Also for Father's Day

A few days ago, one of the lengthiest, densest comments ever received at this blog was posted in re my post earlier this year on my not getting the Prodigal Son parable. The post is now so old that I doubt anybody will read it if I don't attract attention to it. But it also makes for good Father's Day reading.

It's by a "non-Catholic follower of Jesus" (is there such a thing????) named Rick. It goes into some personal history on his part, but RTWT. This is the overall point.
So, the approach to Father's Day from the parable is to point out that the characteristic of the father's love toward his son is to be seen, in representative form, in our love for our children. So, the point is not so much to "honor" Father's as it is to challenge them to see what Fatherhood means from God's perspective.
Also, I want people to experience the depth of God the Father's unconditional, extravagant, even scandalous love for them.

Father's Day

I bought a Father's Day gift for my confessor yesterday. I have to admit now that I genuinely have come to love the man as one does a father and as an icon of God the Father. I know from how he acts with me that my confessor would have been a wonderful father had God not called him to the priesthood. For example, like a father and the Father who is both loving and a disciplinarian, a good priest is a tiger in the pulpit and a pussycat in the confessional. Father is demanding (see anecdote recounted here), but never harder on me than he needs to be (in fact, he has a reputation for wimpy penances). I'm hard enough on myself as it is; I don't think that is unrelated to his manner with me. In fact, only once has he so much as snapped at me; when I was getting ready to walk out of his office in a fit of despair, he said abruptly, "sit down."

In fact, I have to admit that in many respects large and small, I treat him as a father even though he is younger than I. For example, I don't ever call him by his first name, not just in direct address (I always call him "Father" or the more familiar "Padre"), but even in the third person. When I speak of him to other persons, when named at all, he's always "Father" or "Father [Smith]," never "[John]" or "Father [John]."

I also was corresponding earlier today with a different Catholic priest, Father Bryce Sibley of St. Blogs, Louisiana apropos of something else (he has a wonderful and timely sermon available as a CD here on the homosexual agenda and fatherhood). Anyway, I also got to wondering whether Father's Day is actually a lonely day for Catholic priests, given ... well, you know. Shortly before he retired his site, Father Sibley put up this baptism picture that people joked made him look so paternal, in the more-usual sense.

But I wished Father Sibley the following in parting, which I here universalize to all the good Catholic men who answer God's call to spiritual fatherhood:
And Happy Father's Day, Padre. Obviously, I know priests cannot be fathers according to the customary usage of the word, but thanks to you and all the rest of the good men who make the sacrifice you do, in order to be fathers to us all.
Thanks to all of you.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Two bits worth noting in re my Caveman posts. One correspondent wrote to me (reprinted with permission ... I guess I should note that I don't follow the popular Welborn Protocol. Private correspondence is usually private for a reason). I reprint my friend's words after the line breaks. They are all HIS words, including the first person usage:
A few weeks ago, I was invited to talk about chastity with the students at a local Catholic middle school. Most of the talk was addressed to things like the meaning of Christian marriage and the importance of modesty in dress and speech and things like that--the ABC's of Catholic teaching on the virtue of chastity.

However, the teachers had asked me to briefly address homosexuality, because they said that with all the news coverage these days, the kids heard about it and it would be good to give them at least the basics of the Church's teaching. So, I spent about five minutes explaining that (1) the Catholic Church says that homosexual acts are sinful because they go against God's plan, which is for sexual intimacy to occur within a marriage between a man and a woman; (2) that it is somewhat common for boys and girls to feel a certain amount of confusion about their sexual orientation during puberty, but that the vast majority of those who experience some homosexual feelings in their teen years will end up straight; and (3) that the Church does not condemn people for having homosexual feelings, and that the sort of teasing of homosexuals that often occurs in middle school and high school IS condemned by the Church.

After the lecture, a 7th grad boy came up to me with tears in his eyes, and told how he was constantly teased and beaten up for being a faggot. He had considered suicide because of this. He said he was attracted to girls, but as he talked about the bullying kept coming back to the worry that he might turn out gay--that maybe his fellow students were right. The fact that his peers saw him as a faggot caused him to doubt his sexuality, despite the fact that he was attracted to girls.

Fortunately, in this case, the administration seemed seriously interested in addressing his situation, and hopefully they will help to make the school a more supportive environment for him going forward.

The Church has a great deal of experience with the deceptions of the human heart, and her teaching is neither a mindless acceptance of the spirit of the age nor a mindless reaction against it. When she teaches that homosexual acts are sins, she also teaches that homosexual persons are created in the image of God, and that unjust discrimination against homosexual persons is to be condemned.

But wonder whether the Caveman really cares what the Church says. In this matter, at least, he seems to act like an overgrown 7th grade bully, more interested in yelling about faggots and talking about excretions than in understanding the Church's teaching or putting it into practice.

The second correspondent posted something in the combox, then wrote me a personal note, which he signed off with what I take to be his personal signature. But it's worth my reprinting as suddenly more relevant in this context (despite what I said above, no permission was sought here, but no sane man can think he has a proprietary or confidentiality right over a great saint's words):

First be purified and then purify others; first allow yourself to be instructed by wisdom and then instruct others; first become light and then enlighten others; first draw close to God and then guide others to him; first be holy yourself and then make others holy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

More with the Cavemen

The Catholic Caveman defends himself from my post a couple of days ago, accusing him of "counterproductive homophobia (yes, there is such a thing)," which has the effect of being objective counterwitness and of making the Church's task more difficult.

He posted in my combox down below and on his own site. To the first instance:
Allow me to remind you that the pic was chosen at random, to signify "The *I Hate The Caveman* Fairy". The fact that the individual was a homosexual, and a marcher at a so-called "Gay Pride" parade are purely coincidental.
C'mon, Cavey. Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining. The term "fairy" is the ur-insult aimed at homosexual persons. There is no way that is a coincidence. Pointing out the fact the word "fairy" has other uses too is the worst form of sophistic casuistry in this context, with a gay-pride photo and a deliberately disgust-inducing male body. It's like pointing out that there really are "camel jockeys," or that swimming does give you a "wet back," or that all one's Asian photo-caption references to "chinks" or "nips" are about armor gaps or chilly air.

Nor is it relevant that the Caveman says the fairy is an icon for those who Hate the Cavemen. Indeed, that indeed is the point -- "those who hate us are fairies." With a gay-pride photo. And a reference a couple of days later "to all the Evil Fairies out there," followed by a description of anal sodomy.

His second point defends this usage ...
THIS CAVEMAN will always fight against the soft-headed notion that some guy sloshing his penis around in another man's feces filled colon is "normal."
... with ...
As far as my description of the anal sex act... I used 100% correct medical terms. If anyone happens to find my description disturbing/disgusting... good! That's exactly what I'm after. The homosexual act itself IS disturbing and disgusting.
Bovine scatology. On so many fronts, it's hard to know where to begin.
  1. Disgust is neither a legitimate point nor the basis for the Church's teaching against homosexual acts.
  2. I could up with just as disgusting language to describe the marital act -- references to menstrual blood and the right locker-room terms, etc.
  3. Is it more "normal" for some guy to slosh his penis around in a woman's feces-filled colon? If it's just as bad, then the complaint is with anal sex, not homosexuality. If it isn't, then what does "feces" have to do with it.
  4. Is it therefore "normal" for some guy to slosh his penis around in another man's colon if it's not feces-filled? In other words, is there some point here other than 'the bottom should have the good manners to have an enema done first'? (Ironically, this view merely reinforces the lie that gay groups tell about the Levitical condemnation of homosexual acts being about ritual purity and cleanliness.)
  5. Is it more "normal" for some guy to slosh his penis around in another man's non-feces-filled mouth or just whack each other off? If the feces is the point, it would seem so. And they are far more common acts than anal sodomy, at least in my experience.
  6. What is there wrong with lesbianism, then?
Yes, my points 2-6 are dumb arguments standing alone and do not legitimate homosexual acts or the gay lifestyle. But they make eminent sense as rebuttals at the same dumb level to the dumb argument being made in this instance.

As for the post at his site, I'm really not sure what the point is. Does he think I have anything but contempt for the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence? Does he think I believe people should tattoo the word "faggot" on their shoulder? Well ... I hope not, because Cavey would be sadly misreading me. Do many practicing homosexuals do disgusting things, including acts of public exhibitionism, that demean both the Church and themselves? Absolutely.

But what does, or could, any of that have to do, other than "tu quoque," with the rightness of one's own conduct, including the deliberate inflaming of disgust and the use of demeaning language? I didn't do a thorough search of the site, else I would have mentioned this:
Marine General Tells Truth - Queers Throw Hissy Fit
Panties in a wad... film at 11. ...
he knew darn good and well that he'd have to apologize. Why? Because of so damn many queers in congress. ...
The bottom line is that Gen Pace did get his point across, even if it did piss off the homos.
If there's a point here other than "arguing by disgusting photo," I'm at a loss to see what it could be. The nearest I can hypothesize would be that somehow there is no such thing as "homophobia" and/or that "homotaedet" is good. I would be the first to acknowledge that the former term in the hands of the homosex activists is a mere term of politically-based abuse, a meaningless devil-word, a scare-term without real content. (Believe me, Cavey, I am a homophobe by the standards of any of these people.)

But I used a very deliberate term: "counterproductive homophobia," which is a real thing, just as "unjust discrimination" doesn't lose its meaning because of all the mewling antics surrounding "discrimination" from the NAACP, NOW, HRC, La Raza, etc.

It's "an aversion to homosexuals that turns them away from God." Or perhaps more realistically in the current climate: "... and/or rationalizes and confirms them in their having turned against God." What many "on the right" of the Church do not seem to grasp or are proud of not grasping is that there is such a thing as dislike for homosexual persons that turns us off (yes, I use the first-person-plural here ... that was my whole initial point), that turns us off of Christians as haters and/or off of Church teachings as a mere rationalization.

I quoted two of my Courage brothers extensively and referred to my own gut revulsion to the Cavemen's personae, which I think is objective counter-witness. Keep in mind who we are. Now imagine how active homosexuals read the words of the Cavemen.

For example, yesterday on Andrew Sullivan's site, he repeats the following lie that he told Jebbie-run America magazine 14 years ago.
"(The Roman Catholic Church) defines Gay people by a sexual act in a way it never defines heterosexual people..."
Now, that is simply not true, but it is a common trope among homosex activists. In fact Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, that noted liberal squish, said exactly the opposite in 1986.
What is at all costs to be avoided is the unfounded and demeaning assumption that the sexual behaviour of homosexual persons is always and totally compulsive and therefore inculpable. ...

The human person, made in the image and likeness of God, can hardly be adequately described by a reductionist reference to his or her sexual orientation. Every one living on the face of the earth has personal problems and difficulties, but challenges to growth, strengths, talents and gifts as well. Today, the Church provides a badly needed context for the care of the human person when she refuses to consider the person as a "heterosexual" or a "homosexual" and insists that every person has a fundamental Identity: the creature of God, and by grace, his child and heir to eternal life.
Saying the Church reduces homosexual persons to a sex act is completely and totally false. In fact, the Church doesn't even consider any person defined by "sexual orientation," much less by a sexual act. But that is exactly what the Cavemen does in his leering descriptions. Talk about penises sloshing around in feces is enabling and validating Sullivan's misperception and giving public currency to his lie. Now, it is probably true that the particular case of Sullivan, the individual man, is a very far-gone case. But it nevertheless so, as David, Ron and myself point out from our own experience, that "homosexual person turned away from the Church by being demeaned by Christians" is not an empty set. This is exactly why the Church, in its wisdom, condemns demeaning homosexual persons. Again from the modernist heretic Cardinal Ratzinger:
It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the Church's pastors wherever it occurs. It reveals a kind of disregard for others which endangers the most fundamental principles of a healthy society. The intrinsic dignity of each person must always be respected in word, in action and in law.
I see I've already written way more than I intended when I sat down to this post. Appearances aside, I really don't want either (1) a perpetual blog war with the Cavemen, whom I often do enjoy as very funny; or (2) to come across as a humorless PC scold. I just want he and others like him, those who think that "faggot," "fairy" and graphic descriptions of anal sex constitute some manly display of orthodoxy, that they think about how the Truth is not only what we say, but how we say it. Assuming no major escalation or position-shift from Cavey, this will constitute *my* last word on the subject, which he is welcome to have overall.

I may have a lawsuit

The Pentagon last week acknowledged planning to build a "gay bomb." Here is a PDF file of the contracting document itself.
Capability Sought and Uses to Which It Could Be Put
a. Chemicals that could be sprayed onto enemy positions or onto infiltration routes used by enemy forces. Three classes of chemical weapon are proposed ...
(3) Category #3: Chemicals that effect human behavior so that discipline and morale in enemy units is adversely effected. One distasteful but completely nonlethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical caused homosexual behavior ...
I *knew* it. THAT'S what happened.

I must have been downwind from the tests, like with the 50s A-bomb tests with the Bikini Islanders and the GI guinea pigs. It just so happens that 1994, the year of the funding, was the year I first committed a sexual sin. Coincidence? I think not. I think I need some compensation for the years of trauma the Military-Industrial Complex imposed on me.

I should note though, that I do not have halitosis.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Chastity prayer

Although I can't honestly call myself an intellectual fan of Thomism, I keep on my keyring at all times (in fact it can't easily come off, it's so small) a medallion with a cast image of St. Thomas Aquinas on one side and the words "Pray for us" on the other (as I say, it's very small). I don't even remember where I got it, now that I think about it, though I was able to find this image of the same one at eBay.

Anyway, St. Thomas had a famous chastity-preservation story that ends with angels protecting him for life. There's a specific prayer for chastity, that's attributed to the Angelic Doctor, so-called because he observed chastity as if he were an angel. Here it is:
Dearest Jesus!
I know well that every perfect gift, and above all others that of chastity, depends upon the most powerful assistance of your providence, and that without you a creature can do nothing.
Therefore, I pray that you defend, with your grace, the gift of chastity and purity in my soul as well as my body. And if I have ever received through my senses any impression that could stain my chastity and purity, I ask you, who are the supreme Lord of all my powers, to take it from me, so that I may with a clean heart advance in your love and service, offering myself chaste all the days of my life on the most pure altar of your divinity.

Christian shame

I criticize the homosex activists at this site a lot. But it does no disservice to the truth to note that I do react to some Christians in exactly the way they do, and so in that minor and temporary sense, some solidarity exists.

My newly-blogging friend David Morrison, a former gay activist, has said that whatever might be said about homosexuality, he knows that gay activists are made, not born (I can't find it on his site, so I may be recounting personal conversation).

How Christians act matters, and if Fred Phelps represents counterproductive homophobia (yes, there is in fact such a thing) at the level of being a virtual parody, other Christians do not. Another Courage friend, Ron Belgau, wrote here:
Under ordinary circumstances, I feel almost no identification with gay culture. But let me spend 15 minutes listening to various conservative voices speak their bit about the “gay agenda,” and I start thinking all sorts of defensive thoughts about “my people.” (Incidentally–and perhaps somewhat ironically–ex-gays and reparative therapists doing their “gay identity is evil” schtick have this effect on me in spades. Joseph Nicolosi does a better job of making me feel identified with the gay community than anybody associated with HRC, NGLTF, or any other gay pride group could possibly do.)
I've been spending my whole life deliberately not-identifying with homosexuality or gay activists, and for some of the reasons Ron cites at his initial note (it's an autobiographical matter for all, clearly, from the discussion there at DM's and with Eve). But similarly, I must acknowledge that some situations identify me with them and not my fellow Christians, shameful as that is to say.

Last week, I came across a Catholic blog where the author ridiculed the Rainbow Sashers by posting a picture of a fat guy in a fairy costume where the leotard barely started to cover his butt. I issued a mild protest, realizing I was a stranger at this site. A couple of days later, the author wrote:
To the Evil Fairies out there, know this... I don't care how long you people perpetrate The Big Lie. THIS CAVEMAN will always fight against the soft-headed notion that some guy sloshing his penis around in another man's feces filled colon is "normal."
And then in the same combox, when I noted that the case being cited actually pitted two of the left's favorite victim groups against each other ("let's you and him fight"), an Orthodox admirer responded:
feminazis vs. faggots. BWA HA HA HA!!!!
Tone is a very difficult thing to convey; different people have different blogging styles, blog premises and personal "voices"; there's the strangers-vs.-friends distinction; I detest linguistic protests from people with no sense of (toilet) humor; and I realize that there is a big element of exaggeration in the Cavemen's personae, which is largely comic, and is part of the fun (this, for example, is brilliant as is this).

But with all that, the words "faggot" and "fairy," the description of anal sex, the picture -- they produce an involuntary reflex in me, which I might as well call "feeling gay" (undoubtedly not le mot juste, but it isn't coming to me). Ron calls them "defensive thoughts about 'my people'." David and Ron had a kerfuffle with New Oxford Review a couple of years ago, where David made the point about how important it is for Christians to act toward homosexual persons:
When I self identified as a gay activist, if the only Christians with whom I had come into contact had been those who took the advice of the New Oxford Review as to how to treat me, I would still likely self identify as a gay activist today and remain dead in my sin.
I used to believe that Christians would treat me…well, much as the New Oxford Review appears to believe they should have.
I had a little box of prejudices in which I put “Christians.” Christians, I believed, hated and feared me. Christians would not want to have anything to do with me. Christians believed I could not be trusted with their children.
Essentially, I believed Christians were far more interested creating an icon of homosexuality at which they could throw insults or darts, than they would be in me as a human person ...
God knows I understand how satisfying name-calling can be, particularly vis those whom one already has "written off." But whenever I see Christians say the kinds of things about homosexual persons that the Cavemen do, my gut clenches. And I realize if that's MY reaction ... how much more difficult does that make saving the souls of those not already in the Barque.

Gay tolerance updates

I could blog about this subject forever. I don't see how any sane human being can any longer deny that the homosex-activist movement is about forcing all of society -- institutions and persons -- to believe, in speech, thought and action that homosexual acts are good. Here are two more examples of what we have done and what we have failed to do.

1. In Britain, the sexual-orientation regulations that I blogged about a couple of months ago and attendant anti-bullying rules are being used to argue for taking away from the Church the right to run schools. This report makes it clear that the preliminary steps in this direction are already happening. (HT: Ed Watch Int'l.)

The status quo (today):
Education Secretary Alan Johnson told gay activists that the government is preparing guidelines for schools to address what was identified in the report as “faith-based” homophobic bullying. At a meeting with Stonewall, the gay lobby group that brought about the notorious Sexual Orientation Regulations passed earlier this year, Johnson told activists that he hopes to make a presentation at the group’s upcoming conference in July. ...
“Whatever the setting,” [Jim Knight, Minister of State for Schools] said, “whatever the ethos, whoever the external partner to a school might be, school might be, if they have got one, be it the Catholic Church or anybody else. We should not tolerate bullying in any from, we should not tolerate people not respecting the difference that people have and I think that applies to homophobic bullying.”
The avant-garde (tomorrow):
The Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association (GALHA) says, "Such is the level of homophobia in the Catholic Church that its schools should be taken from it and returned to the community sector."
GALHA's secretary George Broadhead said, "We've seen homophobia in Catholic circles rising at a terrifying rate over the past few months. The Pope is almost hysterical on the topic and the British Catholic hierarchy is constantly agitating to retard gay rights. What chance have gay pupils got in schools which are run by an organisation that hates them?"
"For the sake of these children and for the community at large which should be protected from the promotion of bigotry in schools, the Catholic Church should be stripped of its educational establishments."
2. On this side of the pond, a case is being appealed to the Supreme Court to challenge Oakland's discriminatory treatment of gay speech and Christian speech. Oakland gives a gay city employees group access to the city's e-mail, for internal spamming and blitzing.

When some Christians asked whether an announcement of "Coming Out Day" was city business, a city councilman said that was badthought: a "celebration of the gay/lesbian culture and movement" was part of the city's role to "celebrate diversity." But as Camille Paglia has long pointed out, Diversitymongers pick and choose their diversity as snobbishly as a Proust duchess.

When Christian employees posted an introductory flier on the employee bulletin board, a lesbian worker complained to the city attorney's office that the flier made her feel "targeted" and "excluded," according to a deposition. The flier was removed by a supervisor because it violated the city's anti-discrimination rules. What did it say?
"Preserve Our Workplace With Integrity: Good News Employee Association is a forum for people of faith to express their views on the contemporary issues of the day." It said it opposed "all views which seek to redefine the natural family and marriage," which it defined as "a union of a man and a woman, according to California state law."
The Christians were told they could post bulletin boards that did not have "verbiage that could be offensive to gay people." But that's a Catch-22 standard because, as the lesbian co-worker indicated, the homosex practitioners and activists have made it abundantly clear that they consider any criticism of the gay lifestyle or their movement to be offensive and bigoted. It's what's known in First Amendment law as "the heckler's veto," and submitting to it not only denies the "heckled" party's free-speech, but incentivizes "heckling" and thus inevitably produces more "heckling" -- in this case, "offense-taking" by the actively-homosexual, plus the inevitable retaliation, chill and teaching effect on other groups, cf. "Islamophobia."

Hence today's continuous narrowing of free speech and assault on the free exercise of religion.

Some blog business

First of all, my friend David Morrison is back to daily blogging, no doubt jealous of my expanding readership. Last time I met him, I teased him about his losing so much weight. "There's so much less of you to love," I complained.

As long as he stays away from discussions of The Document, we'll be just fine. Oh ... and neither of us was at Washington's annual Celebration of Sodomy Gay Pride Parade. At least I know *I* wasn't.
Second, one of my Courage brothers read my recent posts about Tammy Faye Messner, whom he as a North Carolina native likes as much as I do. He sent me this link to an interview she gave Entertainment Tonight (there's more of it here).
"When they said there's nothing more we can do, for just about a minute I felt sorry for myself, had my little pity party. Then I said, 'I've got somebody bigger than the doctors, I know the Lord, Jesus Christ, and he can do something for it.' He's the only one that can, and so I just trust Him every day."
It'll be a sad day on Earth when she dies and a happy one in Heaven when she fully sees the Lord she loves at last.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Is heresy even a crime¹ any more?

What would the homosex-advocacy group Dignity have to do to have itself declared anathema, its members excommunicated and its status ended in every Catholic diocese that acknowledges it?

It looks as if Dignity is trying to be declared officially heretical, a la the Masons, the Episcopal Church or the Communist Party. The forthright statements that Church teaching on morals is wrong, plus the annual Rainbow Sash ritual -- they apparently will not be enough, so why not try to outdo oneself? Push the envelope as it were.

And so the New York chapter of this particular Sin Lobby will have its Gay Pride² "Mass" in a couple of weeks presided over by a "Priestess" (HTs: Curt Jester and Dom).
Dignity/NY, the LGBT Catholic group, will have a woman preside over its Gay Pride Mass for the first time on June 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square South. She is the Reverend Victoria Rue, a Roman Catholic womanpriest who was ordained by three Roman Catholic womenbishops in 2005.
I guess if they're gonna have pretend-Catholics attending a pretend-Mass, you may as well have a pretend-priestess. There is simply nothing to discuss here, on a teaching that has been constant for its whole history and reiterated as not even open to debate, all appearances and insistence to the contrary, just last decade by the Roman Pontiff himself (i.e., just last week, historically speaking). Women cannot be ordained, it's simply impossible. There's no discussion to be had, and if you think there is, your conscience has been ill-formed. It's backed up by this piece of intellectual lint:
"If we believe as Jesus did that all peoples are coequally created in the image of God, then let's stop the nonsense and get on with living this truth with justice for all."
"Coequal" doesn't mean identical. And where did the Lord in fact, *say* that? I don't think the word "coequal" or anything that can plausibly be translated thus even occurs in the New Testament? This is in some ways a good thing. Dignity is crossing yet another line, and maybe this will marginalize them further.

I also love the part from the Dignity USA FAQ on conscience that Jeff quotes:
Neither Scripture nor Tradition nor natural law theory nor human science nor personal experience convincingly supports official Catholic teaching about the immorality of homogenital acts. Accordingly, and after much soul-searching, many gay and lesbian Catholics have formed consciences that differ from official Church teaching and have entered into homosexual relationships. In this respect they are exactly like the many married Catholic couples who cannot accept the official teaching on contraception.
Of course they like to quote from Church documents that rightly teach about how those with same-sex attraction are to be treated. So if a Catholic went against Church teaching and decided his conscience allowed him to treat homosexuals as an "object of violent malice in speech or in action." I doubt they would consider this a valid following of conscience that "differ from official Church teaching." The following of a conscience formed outside of the Church if it proves anything, proves too much.
Exactly. In my experience, the very people who insist that the Church doesn't teach X definitively when X doesn't suit their loins become fire-breathing fundamentalists that the Church teaches Y definitively when Y suits them. Remember when I joked about the Feast of St. Russell Henderson or the prayers for the canonization of Venerable Aaron McKinney? That was awesome. These deeply devout men were validly following their conscience, despite its differing from official Church teaching. I bless it probalistically so in the name of the Parent, the Sibling and the Holy Sex. Amen.³

Moreover, when I read this ...
Neither Scripture nor Tradition nor natural law theory nor human science nor personal experience convincingly supports official Catholic teaching about the immorality of homogenital acts.
... I wonder what exactly, in principle, could ever constitute "convincing support." But the first three overwhelmingly do support Church teaching.

There's something desperate about the bland way that Scriptural passages are unconvincingly minimized or squirmed around; it reads like a bad lawyer's brief valiantly trying to support the pre-determined conclusion. I really do recommend the sections trying to argue away Tradition and Natural Law, which have enormous entertainment value. The first cites the tendentiously selective Boswell as an authority while neither citing nor addressing a single Magisterial document, referring only the secular-law practices. The latter gives you the expectation that it'll address Natural Law reasoning, but then simply says it's "inconclusive" as if any philosophy ever has been to people who don't accept it.

Nevertheless, I would agree that "human science" doesn't, but that's simply because morals and philosophical anthropology are not that field's competence (a thermometer would hardly support a teaching on the color of the sky, and that's about as relevant). And it should hardly be surprising if "personal experience" in the current social environment of ill-formation, secularization, poor-catechization, dissent-worship, faithlessness, authority-phobia and self-worshipping individualism should not support Church teaching. In fact, Dignity's very existence makes the poorly-formed conscience a self-fulfilling prophecy, by surrounding dissenters with others like themselves, thus affirming each other in their "personal experience." As always, heresy eventually becomes its own justification.
¹ By this, I of course mean a crime under Church law. That it has to be a canon-law crime seems as axiomatic to me as it not being a secular crime.
² What can you say about a lifestyle that is defined by one of the 7 Deadly Sins (Lust) and still finds the moral space to take one of the others (Pride) as its quasi-official slogan?
³ Moral personalism and the denial of the objective nature of morality should never be taken seriously. Nobody believes it except in the breach against some specific moral teaching he himself doesn't hold.

I guess the rehab didn't take

Or maybe there weren't enough ounces in that particular pound of flesh.

Isaiah Washington was fired from Gray's Anatomy last week, and not because of professional or monetary reasons, but because of his purported words about gay co-star TR Knight, according to this report in the New York Times:
The executive, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak for the production, said that the decision was tied to Mr. Washington’s comments regarding his fellow cast member, T.R. Knight.
Washington understandably wasn't happy, and went all Howard Beale on us.
I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore.
Remember when stars would have to hide their homosexuality or have fake marriages? And how homosexuals complain today that this was unjust. Apparently it wasn't about justice or the freedom to be as one wishes, but about turning the tables. Now "homophobia" (even dubiously-charged "homophobia," in this case) is the new "homosexuality."

Gay-rights advocacy is reaching its logical conclusion -- everybody must accept that homosexuality is moral and good, upon penalty of every consequence the homosex activists and their enablers can inflict. It's not, and in the long run never could be, about "tolerance."