Jan 3, 2010

Response to Anyonomous

 An anonymous comment left on my previous posting asked me if I could find one Doctor of the Church or one Ecumenical Council which has not affirmed that homosexual relations are intrinsically sinful. The individual then went on to say that he had led an openly homosexual lifestyle for thirty years before 'returning to the Church. William Lindsey's response to this 'anonymous comment' can be found in the comments section of the posting below. Here is my very rushed response (I'm entertaining relatives at the moment, and taking my very Presbyterian cousins, Martha (74) and Anne (76) and Anne's gay son, Glen  (49), on a pilgrimage of leading Christian holy sites, much to their amusement.).

I found the 'anonymous' comment heartbreaking and sad, if true, that an openly gay man could be so seduced by false doctrine as to turn his back on his own God given and God-loving nature. How utterly sad and tragic, no wonder the individual feels such a need to project this darkness onto others. I would suggest that the real question to be asked is this. Can we find one significant teacher,  Doctor of the church,  bishop,  Pope who did not teach for hundreds of years that Jewish people were Christ killers and their refusal to accept Christ as their savior 'anything other than sinful'? This judgment then necessitated hording the Jewish people under Papal control into ghettos and requiring them to wear the yellow star, which was meant as a warning to Christians of the danger of contamination with these most sinful of God's creatures. Jews, gypsies, homosexuals - how frequently they have been lumped together throughout history and declared inherently disordered and sinful for one reason or another. How fallible and cruel the judgment of Church and society.

Or take the judgment that women were 'misbegotten males' and that the adornment of women is "not devoid of mortal sin. For whatever is contrary to a precept of the Divine law is a mortal sin. Now the adornment of women is contrary to a precept of the Divine law; for it is written (1 Pt. 3:3): "Whose," namely women's, "adorning, let it not be the outward plaiting of the hair, or the wearing of gold, or the putting on of apparel." Wherefore a gloss of Cyprian says: "Those who are clothed in silk and purple cannot sincerely put on Christ: those who are bedecked with gold and pearls and trinkets have forfeited the adornments of mind and body." Now this is not done without a mortal sin. Therefore the adornment of women cannot be devoid of mortal sin." Saint and Doctor of the Church, Thomas Aquinas, fulminating on the sinfulness of female adornment.
One would be hard pressed to find a single theologian or Bishop dissenting from Thomas Aquinas's view (during his lifetime) that female adornment was intrinsically mortally sinful.
I've simply chosen the most serious and the most trivial of churchly errors where 'sin' is concerned, though the list goes on and on and on. We are now at a point in history when the Church's scandalous error regarding the ethics of same sex loving relationships has become only too glaringly obvious. Hopefully, through the heroic efforts of gay theologians like John McNeill and James Allison, together with so many spiritual gay writers, no Catholic gay person may ever say again, "I lived as an open homosexual for over thirty years before coming back to the Church." Heartbreaking, the destructive power of such ignorance and bigotry.

I would like to end this very rushed reply with the moving words of Theologian Norman Pittenger spoken some forty years ago (quoted in John McNeill's The Church and the Homosexual)

"The primary spiritual problem that faces the Christian homosexual is his or her need, in Tillich's words, 'to accept divine acceptance': I should add that the homosexual who decided for a long relationship, as he may hope a life-long one, with another of his (sic) own sex, is almost certainly doing the very best thing that is open to him. Nor do I have the slightest doubt that God can and does bless the relationship. The basic question here for the homosexual is whether he will let the human love which to him is so wonderful find its grounding in the divine Love, in God himself. That it is so grounded I take to be a matter of fact, so far as Christian faith is concerned...

But to let it be grounded, to allow it to be consciously realized and felt, requires human surrender. So I should ask the homosexual: "Will you let God bless you? Will you let him work in your life and in your friend's life and in the life you share together?"

God made men (sic) to become true lovers; he wants them to be the best they can possibly be. To acknowledge this and try to base one existence and one's relationships on it, in full responsibility, gives that existence and that relationship a meaning and a dignity which otherwise they cannot have." 
 (The Church and the Homosexual, pg. 183).

As a concluding response, John McNeill: In my experience as a psychotherapist, I have found that the vast majority of (gay) people living out a life of abstinence do so for pathological reasons. Many have interiorized the homophobia of the surrounding culture and the Church and as a consequence hate and fear their sexual feelings. Frequently, these people are the most radical persecutors of other gays and lesbians. (The Church and the Homosexual, pg. 204).


Terence Weldon said...

Jayden, we can also ask this question on its head, and ask just which doctors of the church or saint DID teach that loving same sex relationships were seriously wrong?

Augustine, certainly, but he was so wracked with guilt over his own past that he deplored most sex, even inside marriage. For many centuries, his was a minority view, and many church leaders did not just tolerate gay sex, they practiced it.

The modern idea that homosexuality is clearly condemned in scripture, and contravenes "the constant teaching" of the church is false. The strong opposition dates only form the twelfth century, with the Third Lateran Council.

(I have placed a fuller statement of this in reply to the original comment)