Wednesday, November 30, 2005

You really need to check these out...

My brother and friend Damien sends us a classic link link to Gay Church Schisms. The pertinent passage:
Meanwhile, this week the North Carolina Baptist State Convention has sparked its own gay controversy with a Tuesday vote deciding to expel any member churches that display queer-friendly tendencies. Among the dissenting minority was Rob Helton, a messenger from the Cherry Point Baptist Church in Havelock, NC, who challenged the convention to practice equal opportunity expulsion: writing policies for every sin in the Bible, and not just homosexuality.
You absolutely need to go to see Damien's images for this post here, too.

Damien also has a painfully honest reaction to the Catholic announcement about gays in the priesthood over here

Tom Scharbach issues a powerful challenge in the face of the Vatican's announcement over here. His post is a trumpet-call:
If the Vatican's finding is correct, then sexual orientation is a job qualification for the bishopric, and gay bishops are - to be blunt - unqualified and should be removed ... That being the case, I think that it is fair to ask each of our bishops, on the record, whether they are gay -- whether they lack an essential qualification for the office they hold.

So do ask.

I intend to ask my bishops, The Most Reverend Joseph Perry, the Auxiliary of Vicariate VI, and His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, the next time I am within earshot.

And I intend to get an answer, not an evasion.
I feel for them. After all, I know a little bit about not being wanted by the church that I'd devoted a goodly chunk of my life to. But for all the rejection I felt at the time, they never told me that I was "intrinsically disordered" (at least not to my face). But who knows what else they might have said...

To Catholics everywhere - gay and straight - I'm sorry for your pain. As I commented on Damien's blog, maybe it's time to find some parchment, a nail, a hammer, and a wooden church door on which to nail them...


Tom Scharbach said...

I think that it is important to remember what "intrinsically disordered" means within the context of Catholic teaching about sexuality.

It isn't quite what it seems.

Catholic teaching is that all sexuality is properly ordered to procreation. Sexual acts which are not ordered to procreation -- masturbation, oral and anal sex, for example -- are "disordered" because the acts are not procreative.

All that the Church means, in describing homoseuality as "intrinsically disordered", is that homosexual attraction, ordered as it is are to others of the same gender rather than to others of the opposite gender, is not ordered to procreation.

Within the definitional context of "ordered" and "disordered", the distinction makes sense.

Catholic teaching documents use a precise and arcane vocabulary at times. The problem with using a vocabulary of that kind is that few lay Catholics -- and fewer non-Catholics -- understand the technical meaning of the terms like "disordered", and are prone to give the terms a broader meaning than intended by the teaching document.

Michael said...

Tom's point at the end of his comment about the problem with using an arcane vocabulary needs to be emphasized. I wonder if one can even attribute sincerity to a document that uses words in a confusing way. Is Rome trying to tell us something or not? Does no one in the Vatican speak English? Why choose to speak in a way that is known to be unclear.

The use of obfuscation is either intentional, in which case it is cruel and manipulative, or it is a sign of stupidity, in which case one does not tend to believe the author has much of value to communicate.

Many of those trying to spin the document on gay seminarians do so by saying, "When Rome says X, everyone is supposed to know they mean not-X." This is crap. And by that I do not mean not-crap.