Thursday, January 15, 2009

Father Scalia does ToT

Last week, our Courage chaplain spoke at the Arlington Diocese's Theology on Tap program, on "The True Catholic Teaching on Homosexuality."

The Podcast of Father Scalia's talk is here. It's an MP3 file, but it doesn't automatically download the file, just opens a browser window and plays the file, so it's quite safe. And here's the page that links to Podcasts of all the ToT speakers, plus the schedule for Monday nights at Pat Troy's Ireland's Own in Old Town Alexandria.

I believe I was the only person from our chapter; I certainly saw no others and neither did Father, though I can't exclude the possibility that some in the audience were struggling with this issue but have not come forward. Father begins with the overall Church teaching on sex as having meaning, and goes from there. Here's several of the key points.
  • "The Church does not have two different standards for chastity -- one for homosexuals and one for heterosexuals."
  • "Notice that both these groups (gay activists and Fred Phelps) make the same error. They collapse the person into the sexual attractions. They believe that sexual attractions define the person. The Church's view of the person is much deeper and broader than that. That sexual attractions are an aspect of the human person, an aspect of human sexuality, but they do not define the person."
  • "First [the Catechism talks about] homosexual acts, which the church teaches are 'intrinsically disordered' ... The church does not teach that persons are intrinsically disordered, it has never taught that. Second, the Catechism talks about homosexual attractions. Homosexual attractions the Catechism describes as 'objectively disordered.' They are not immoral in themselves ... feelings in and of themselves cannot be morally good or morally bad; they're simply feelings. They become morally charged when we act on them. But there are certain feelings lead us to the wrong things and certain feelings lead us to the right things."
  • "This is one of the boldest paragraphs in the Catechism. It calls those with same-sex attractions to holiness, not just to physical continence -- it's not just saying, 'OK, you've just gotta control yourself and that's it.' No, 'you have a particular weakness, an attraction that is not right, but you're called to holiness.' And as is true for everyone, it is the struggle against our sinful inclinations that makes us holy. We don't become holy despite the struggle -- 'gosh, if I just got over my human weakness, then I could be holy.' No, it is by struggling with our human weakness and availing ourselves of every opportunity for God's grace that we become holy. And that's the Church's message to those with same-sex attractions." And then a joke about the nature of Confession; I admit tearing up a bit at this point.
And he goes on to make a point I never tire of making, immediately and in the Q-and-A -- that the homosexual movement is simply applying the morality of the sexual revolution, which was mostly the fruit of heterosexual sins, most prominently contraception and divorce. (Stonewall came after the Summer of Love, not before. Or in Father's words "given that's the way [most heterosexual couple today] live marriage -- we can do that.")

The questions afterwards were sometimes pointed but always respectful. No ranting "WHY DO YOU HATE ME!!!!" types. My favorite Q-and-A moment was when one person asked something about "how does one rebut 'Gay Argument X'," and Father called that "playing defense" and said he was more interested in playing offense (I winced at where this metaphor could go) and explain the Church's teaching on sexuality, and the beauty of it and what's good about it. The Church is not the Ravens, who can win by relying on a great defense.¹

After the speech, owner Pat Troy said that night's audience was the most people ever to attend a ToT, even outdrawing one by Bishop Loverde (don't get a big head, Padre. I'm thinking that the fact the word "sex" was in the title may have had something to do with it).

But it'd be hard to imagine anyone ever topping it, at least in that venue. The bar was completely packed, and I would be stunned if there was no fire-code violations -- people were standing the aisles two-deep and the waiters and waitresses had to struggle to walk around.
¹ The fact Father said the Ravens, not the Redskins is proof of bona fides -- only a football fan could have said that. Though this Steelers fan hopes the Ravens defense, great though it is, comes up short this weekend against another team that plays great defense.


Dad29 said...

Really good stuff. I re-posted that with the comment that unlike legal opinions, Fr. S's remarks are compact, readable, and understandable.


Jasmine said...

Hey CourageMan, I just found your blog. I'm a homosexual college student rediscovering the Church. It seems like a pretty lonely world out there for Catholics with SSA, and I shamefully have had some despair and self-pity lately. Your blog is a Godsend, and I look forward to reading more. Thank you so much.

James H said...

Great post. I am downloading the audio now. I will link

James H said...

Ok a few thoughts here after I listened to Father Scalia's presentation

First on a very positive note how blessed you are to live in a Diocese that has this witness. I wish I was hearing this all over and more like Courage and they were available all over especially in the more lets say rural Diocese

Father Scalia reminds me again about how I don't need to buy into the oppositions agenda. How often do I without thinking about it buy into the "homosexual" agenda and buy their language and morph acts and person together.

What struck me was this was how MALE ORIENTED his talk was. In fact he admitted the COurage chapter was mostly male

Now we know that Lesbians exist and in fact there might be more more SSA among females than we realize. In fact it is sort viewed differently.

Do you think that for women that have varying degree of SSA that we must get more women involved in a Scalia like role. I guess that was what struck me

Is the sort of male populated courage chapters something across the board or is there for a lack of a better word more COED Courage Chapters elsewhwere.

Is male SSA different from Female SSA that one must tackle and we as laity make to support in funding and othewise different groups

Mephibosheth said...


Father Scalia rocks. We're getting him for a statewide Catholic men's conference this April.

I didn't make it to Stamford this year...were you there? Sorry I didn't get to participate in Courage Bowl III. Speaking of which, the other day I ran into Joe, the other berserker freak who did permanent damage to my shoulder--he was down here visiting his mum.

Oh, and keep me in your prayers. I am giving a witness talk on SSA to the Catholic Student Union at FSU next week. In the presence of my therapist and spiritual director. Holy crap.

A. Friend said...

Not much seems to be made of female SSA indeed. I don't know what to think of it.
One thing that I seem to believe (although I am not sure why) is that women probably have an easier time of it (sexuality) in general.

Lesbianism seems to somehow be more "flexible" and likely to morph over time because female sexuality is less tied to the physical than male sexuality.

Something like that anyway...

Anonymous said...

Nice to have the summary above for those that won't take time to listen to audio (always worth hearing with Fr. Scalia). His best line, I IMHO, was Q. Then what do you think of a man and a man living together and not having sex? A. Well, we call that Friendship.