Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What's a gay Catholic to do?

Mimi had an excellent post this morning; which I here abstract and ruminate upon.

From Fr James Martin of America Magazine:
Here's a real pastoral question to consider: What place is there for the gay person in the Catholic church? With the warning from the archdiocese of Washington, D.C., that it would pull out of social services in the city rather than accede to a bill that would afford benefits to same-sex spouses, a question, too long neglected, arises for the whole church: What is a gay Catholic supposed to do in life?

Imagine you are a devout Catholic who is also gay. Here is a list of the things that you are not to do, according to the teaching of the church. (Remember that most other Catholics can choose among many of these options.) None of this should be new or in any way surprising. If you are gay, you cannot:

1.) Enjoy romantic love.....

2.) Marry. ....

3.) Adopt a child. ....

4.) Enter a seminary. ....

5.) Work for the church and be open. .....

At the same time, if you are a devout Catholic who is attentive both to church teachings and the public pronouncements of church leaders, you will be reminded that you are "objectively disordered," and your sexuality is "a deviation, an irregularity a wound."

....What kind of life remains for these brothers and sisters in Christ, those who wish to follow the teachings of the church? Officially at least, the gay Catholic seems set up to lead a lonely, loveless, secretive life. Is this what God desires for the gay person?

Given all this, it's a wonder any gay Catholics are left. (Frankly I think most of them have become Episcopalian--a huge fraction of the GLBT Episcopalians we have met are RC refugees). Seriously. Has the RC Church really admitted that the only place it sees gay people is in self-loathing dark closets? Has the schismatic ACNA addressed that same question?

The whole post is worth reading, as are the comments, which alternately expose the heartache and pain, and the intransigent opposition, of actual Catholics.

One commenter writes,

And it continues to interest me that my brothers and sisters of the center, many of whom have long since accepted the use of artificial contraceptives in marriage, and have critiqued the ethical norms prohibiting that use (which are precisely the same as those prohibiting homsexual activity), remain silent about this challenge facing the churches. And about the ongoing pain of their brothers and sisters who are gay or lesbian, and who will no more go back to that unconvincing little world of ill-considered certainties about everything and misplaced interest in the afterlife than married Catholics using birth control will.

How do churches work themselves into places when such obvious cruelty appears holy?

On these lines, another blog addresses the question of why the bishops are putting their obsession with sex ahead of social justice. (H/T MadPriest for this one).
First they threatened to take down health-care reform over abortion coverage. Now they’re threatening services to the sick and poor of Washington, D.C., over same-sex marriage.

Edward Orzechowski is the president and chief executive officer of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington. At issue for the church, he said in a press statement, is that the committee drafting the measure in the city council had adjusted the language so that the church would be forbidden from discriminating against same-sex couples in either the adoptions it arranges for the city’s foster-care system, or in the employment benefits it offers to its own personnel.

Many of the people who work for Catholic Charities, Orzechowski told the Washington Post, hail from the LGBT community, so the church would be forced to violate its tenets if the anti-discrimination provision remained in the marriage-equality measure. Just so you have that straight: gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are good enough to work for Catholic Charities, as long as it’s okay for the church offer them a lower level of benefits than those conferred on heterosexual couples.
(my emphasis). I guess that's where the gay Catholics are: working for social justice. You know, what the Roman Catholic church used to be known for.

Honestly, Do you suppose those Bishops ever think this stuff through? How out of touch can they be? institutions are by their nature corruptable, of course, but this seems ridiculous, especially given the support of the Average Catholic for marriage equality. You also have got to wonder how many of the Bishops are deeply closeted gays who basically have achieved power through a Faustian bargain denying their own truth. Which is tragic at many levels.

Finally, much to their chagrin, I'm sure, a report commissioned by the Bishops finds no evidence that gay priests are more likely to abuse children. How long will we have to wait for them to apologize to the gay priests they have unfairly tarred?


David |Dah • veed| said...

IT, if I may enlist your aid in a thread at SFIF. This thread, unlike others, is not marked by rudeness and blather, but has remained respectful and for the most part intelligent. But I find that I am over my head when it comes to refuting the scientific claims of someone such as Theodora because I am unfamiliar with your organizations such as the APA and the machinations around its polity and how it arrived at its conclusions regarding being gay and mentally healthy.

the thread;

Word verification = lonele
IT I am lonele over there!

IT said...

Dahveed, they always say that it's a political decision.


I can't go over there, it's too toxic and insulting. But you might find this helpful.

THe American Academy of Pediatrics says that marriage equality benefits children.There is ample evidence to show that children raised by same-gender parents fare as well as those raised by heterosexual parents. More than 25 years of research have documented that there is no relationship between parents' sexual orientation and any measure of a child's emotional, psychosocial, and behavioral adjustment. These data have demonstrated no risk to children as a result of growing up in a family with 1 or more gay parents. Conscientious and nurturing adults, whether they are men or women, heterosexual or homosexual, can be excellent parents. The rights, benefits, and protections of civil marriage can further strengthen these families..

That same article points out that marriage equality is supported by The American Academy of Family Physicians' Congress of Delegates, The American Psychological Association (APA), The American Psychoanalytic Association, The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) , the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) , the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates , and the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) who all agree that same sex couples should have the same rights and responsibilities as straight couples.

IT said...

Further to that, the question of whether being gay is "normal" or not is the classic one about what is a variant to be accepted, versus what is a defect. Think left-handed or red-headed. Instead the opposition would think alcoholic or a pedophile. I don't know how to find common ground with people like that. They can't be persuaded or they wouldn't be in that venue.

Science is clear, however, there is no "pathology" here any more than we consider lefties to be defective.

TheraP said...

Seems the pope is even taking away power from bishops. So, while they may be "tempted" to think things through, they are no longer even trusted to be the ones who so much as can affirm liturgy translation changes! (something Vatican II "guarantees" them) They're becoming no more than puppets to a pope I now see akin to Kafka's Metamorphosis - the man who turned into a cockroach. I've been watching this, IT, and it's looking worse and worse and worse. At some point I may put up an analysis, which is working its way through my head (the image above being part of it) - because this situation is becoming absolutely intolerable. And akin to people staying in an abusive relationship. (The only thing I'm hanging onto is the monastic spiritual tradition and daily masses, where the homilies tend not to be about dos and don'ts. Forget about participating in a parish!)

If the bishops cannot act, without being censored (and the vatican is already planning to censor all media and institutions of higher learning which call themselves "Catholic") - then there's really a totally dictatorial situation going on, complete with the "secret police" and so on. A kind of caste system. And we are all lepers now. Untouchables. It's not just being gay. It's exercising one's free will and God-given intelligence!

I'm about ready to throw in the towel. But not sure what that means exactly. I'd love to see some kind of public boycott here. The way people burned draft cards and bras back in the 60's. But even that might be a futile effort at this point.

Watching this unfold is like watching torture. And that, itself, is torture!

Thus, it's not just "what is a gay catholic to do?" It's "what is a catholic who feels the compassionate love of God to do?"

My honest hope here? That ultimately, if the bishops recognize they too are lepers unless they accept puppet status, there will be some kind of revolt among the clergy. Because this "inside out and backwards" view of the message and life of Jesus is beyond belief!

dr.primrose said...

Another interesting development in the Ninth Circuit on federal benefits for same-sex married spouses.

Yesterday, I posted a comment about one of the most liberal judges on the Ninth Circuit ordering the payment of the cost of federal employment benefits to a federal employee's legally married same sex spouse on the grounds that the "Defense" of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. This was done in a published order, which is highly unusual.

Today, Chief Judge Kozinski, who is a conservative, entered a similar published order on behalf of another federal employee who had legally married her same-sex partner but denied benefits given to opposite-sex married couples. He also ordered published his previous order, from January 2009, which initially ordered that her spouse be granted federal benefits.

The new order that came out today is a blistering criticsm of the government's interference and non-compliance with his previous order. He is clearly very unhappy about the executive department's actively thwarting his previous order. He also considers these actions to be an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers between the executive department and the judiciary.

The January order can be read at . Today's order can be read at .

It will interesting to see how all this plays out, particularly if the defiance of his orders continues and people get hauled into court for contempt.

IT said...

TheraP, do you have info you can point us at for the Bishops being under the Vatican's thumb more than previously?

IT said...

Dr Primrose, thank you That is indeed MOST interesting.

IT said...

Primrose, I blogged this over at Daily Kos, with appropriate hat tip to you. Can you check for legal accuracy?