Embracing God-given disorders

Embracing God-given disorders

It’s very convenient when you readers do my blogging for me. In a thread down below, Fr. Jim Clark exposits on today’s front page Boston Globe article that talks about churches struggling with the issue of homosexuality. He responds just like I would so I’ll just copy his response here.

As per usual, the Boston Glob has a pro-gay piece on the front page (masquerading, of course, as a hard-news article).  The scam begins, seemingly innocently enough, with this: 

“Many religious leaders and scholars agree that at the heart of the controversy over whether to ordain gays is a more basic question: Is homosexuality a sin or a God-given trait? The question may have been answered in much of secular America, they say, but it remains explosive and largely unresolved among religious groups . . . ‘If you make the decision that homosexuality is something God-given, that you get at birth and that therefore is to be accepted, everything else flows from that: gay unions, gays in the ministry, everything,” Ammerman [professor of the sociology of religion at Boston College] said. ‘If you decide homosexuality is a choice, or a bad choice, then all of those things go the other way, and you’re likely to reject gays as members, reject gay unions, and reject gays in the clergy.’”

Hello?

What about (as we Catholics have always said), it’s a DISORDER?

To call it “God-given” is disingenuous at best; it may be native to us, we may be born with it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it was INTENDED by God!

Take, for example—oh, pick another disorder—alcoholism.  Do we think it has or may have a genetic component?  Yes, it’s very possible.  But does that mean that those who have this DISORDER should engage in behavior that reinforces it, behavior that is self- and other-destructive?  NO!  We believe that this DISORDER, like all others, must be overcome by refusal to engage in the destructive behavior.

Do we think that asthma sufferers shouldn’t use inhalers?  Do we think that those with diabetes should indulge in sugary foods?  Can we, in fact, name one such DISORDER which we as a society urge its sufferers to gorge themselves on the instrument of suffering?

Why, then, should we do so with homosexuality?

. . . and further (and perhaps more to the point), do we think it is a good idea to ordain men to function in the person of Christ who are manifesting (reveling in!) behaviors that are disordered?

Do you think the priest who is a public drunk is a good example of Christ?

How about pedophiles?  They seem to have been born that way also?  Good idea to ordain them?

How about guys who go through seminary refusing to bathe regularly because they have an inordinate fear of soap and water?  Good model of Christ?

Then why active gays?

I’ve said the same thing many times before myself, but I’m glad to see someone else say it too. Good job, Fr. Clark.

Technorati Tags: Catholic, homosexuality, priesthood

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
20 comments
  • A remarkable article, considering it appeared before the stuff hit the fan all over the country (world, really).  I remember reading it before Boston and wondering if it could possibly be true……

    Guess so.  Yes.

    He must be very pleased to see Pope Benedict XVI exhibiting the courage needed to get us past this.  I am.

  • The guy is on the front lines spiritually and physically.  Fearless, manly.  And articulate, too.  We need a whole lot more priests like this! 

         

  • There is no way to do justice to Fr. Shaughnessy’s piece, for its breathtaking prescience and sheer power.

    Father does the founder of his order, St. Ignatius, very proud indeed. 

  • As per usual, the Boston Glob has a pro-gay piece on the front page (masquerading, of course, as a hard-news article).  The scam begins, seemingly innocently enough, with this: 

    “Many religious leaders and scholars agree that at the heart of the controversy over whether to ordain gays is a more basic question: Is homosexuality a sin or a God-given trait? The question may have been answered in much of secular America, they say, but it remains explosive and largely unresolved among religious groups . . . ‘If you make the decision that homosexuality is something God-given, that you get at birth and that therefore is to be accepted, everything else flows from that: gay unions, gays in the ministry, everything,” Ammerman [professor of the sociology of religion at Boston College] said. ‘If you decide homosexuality is a choice, or a bad choice, then all of those things go the other way, and you’re likely to reject gays as members, reject gay unions, and reject gays in the clergy.’”

    Hello?

    What about (as we Catholics have always said), it’s a DISORDER?

    To call it “God-given” is disingenuous at best; it may be native to us, we may be born with it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it was INTENDED by God!

    Take, for example—oh, pick another disorder—alcoholism.  Do we think it has or may have a genetic component?  Yes, it’s very possible.  But does that mean that those who have this DISORDER should engage in behavior that reinforces it, behavior that is self- and other-destructive?  NO!  We believe that this DISORDER, like all others, must be overcome by refusal to engage in the destructive behavior.

    Do we think that asthma sufferers shouldn’t use inhalers?  Do we think that those with diabetes should indulge in sugary foods?  Can we, in fact, name one such DISORDER which we as a society urge its sufferers to gorge themselves on the instrument of suffering?

    Why, then, should we do so with homosexuality?

  • . . . and further (and perhaps more to the point), do we think it is a good idea to ordain men to function in the person of Christ who are manifesting (reveling in!) behaviors that are disordered?

    Do you think the priest who is a public drunk is a good example of Christ?

    How about pedophiles?  They seem to have been born that way also?  Good idea to ordain them?

    How about guys who go through seminary refusing to bathe regularly because they have an inordinate fear of soap and water?  Good model of Christ?

    Then why active gays?

  • Me thinks the secular culture has embraced the therapeutic Gospel according to the APA (American Psychiatric Association), instead of a Natural Law understanding that homosexual behavior is disordered, let alone Catholic moral teaching. I suspect the influence of therapeutic thinking (and theory) is more readily accepted by the public as “reasoned and scientific”, and the Church as “dogmatic and backward”. I submit infuence and acceptance therapeutic theaory as truth has been profound both within today’s Church and without. Can anyone deny the role therapy has in encouraging individualism over a Common Good. I believe few challenge the errors perpertrated by the professional psychiatric community and more often then not get a critical pass. For a little background, look at the politics behind the APA’s, 1973 removal of deleting homosexuality from the it’s compendium of psychiatric disorders, otherwise known as the DSM. Much of the superficial public understanding of homosexuality stem from that fateful 1973 decision. Check out: 

    http://www.psych.org/pnews/98-07-17/dsm.html

    http://www.psych.org/edu/other_res/lib_archives/archives/197308.pdf

    http://traditionalvalues.org/urban/eleven.php

    http://traditionalvalues.org/pdf_files/APAHomosexualUrbanLegend.pdf

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diagnostic_and_Statistical_Manual_of_Mental_Disorders

  • As I said before..the secular culture has embraced the therapeutic Gospel according to the APA (American Psychiatric Association), instead of a Natural Law understanding of homosexual behavior as a disorder, let alone Catholic moral understanding. I suspect the influence of therapeutic thinking (and theory) is more readily accepted by the public as ]>

  • Since I don’t have the time to read all of those links, could you summarize them for us, Rob?

    Is there a particular branch or school of psychiatry that played a leading role in bringing about this change in the psychiatric view of homosexuality?

  • Carrie,

    While I’m generally not a proponent of conspiracy theories, the short answer was the APA was both infiltrated and hijacked by homosexual activists in the early 1970’s…Read on…from the APA’s own newsletter. What can one conclude?

    “Twenty-five (sic. now 32)years ago APA leaders, in the glare of a national media spotlight, took the controversial step of deleting homosexuality from the Association’s compendium of psychiatric disorders. That action launched APA on a quarter century of efforts to end discrimination against homosexuals and coincided with the increasing willingness of gay and lesbian psychiatrists to insist openly that APA must listen to them.

    A panel of psychiatrists who played crucial roles in the fight to end the stigma attached to homosexuality both within and outside the mental health field came together at the APA annual meeting last month to provide insiders’ perspectives on that initiative and more recent efforts to alter how psychiatry views gays and lesbians and their sexual orientation.

    Melvin Sabshin, M.D., a member of the APA Board of Trustees in the early 1970s and chair of the Scientific Program Committee at that time, described how the alienation gay psychiatrists felt from their APA colleagues led in 1970 to the start of a concerted push for APA to include them in decision making and address their concerns and those of gay patients.

    If there was an official kickoff for APA’s newly energized gay psychiatrists, it was the 1970 annual meeting in San Francisco, Sabshin suggested, where Gay Liberation Front activists along with political protesters in support of other social and political causes disrupted the meeting. “It was guerilla theater” at that meeting and the one held in Washington, D.C., the next year, he said.

    The onset in 1970 of a decline in psycho-analysis’s dominance of the field also contributed to the change of mood in psychiatry about pathologizing homosexuality, he noted.

    In 1972, for the first time, the annual meeting featured exhibits and discussions spotlighting positive aspects of the lives of gay individuals. Also during that year well-known psychiatrists such as Richard Green, M.D., Judd Marmor, M.D., and John Spiegel, M.D., began openly challenging psychiatrists’ attitudes toward and treatment of homosexual patients, Sabshin observed. Marmor, a psychoanalyst who would soon be elected APA president, played a particularly significant role in trying to bridge the chasm that existed between his psychoanalytic colleagues and psychiatrists who were convinced that homosexuality was not an illness.”
    (continued below)

  • (continued from above)
    “While many APA members welcomed the new openness and opportunities to reassess their thinking, the stubborn polarization and factionalism that dogged this issue did not suddenly retreat into a quiet corner.

    Sabshin credited the chair of APA’s Committee on Nomenclature in the early 1970s, Robert Spitzer, M.D., with playing a pivotal role in propelling the evolution of APA’s position on homosexuality. That committee was charged with revising the initial version of DSM, and Spitzer-armed with research showing there were no valid data to link homosexuality and mental illness-advocated forcefully for the strategy of deleting homosexuality from the disorders list and replacing it with a new one called “sexual orientation disturbance.”

    In a key vote in December 1973, the Board of Trustees overwhelmingly endorsed Spitzer’s recommendation. Opponents of the decision attempted to overturn it with a referendum of the APA membership in early 1974-just as Sabshin was beginning his 23-year tenure as APA medical director. The Board’s decision to delete homosexuality from the diagnostic manual was supported by 58 percent of the membership.

    At the same time the debates over sexual orientation and psychopathology were occurring, a small group of gay psychiatrists was holding informal meetings to explore forming an organization that would heighten their visibility and that of gay patients. This event, unthinkable two or three years earlier, explained Robert Cabaj, M.D., to the overflow audience, culminated in 1978 in the establishment of the organization that eventually became the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (AGLP), which now has more than 600 members.

    Also in 1973 APA passed a position paper calling on psychiatrists to advocate for full civil rights for gays and lesbians and to work to end the discrimination they endure, noted Cabaj, who is medical director of the San Mateo County Mental Health System and coauthor of a textbook on homosexuality and mental health. He hailed that paper as “the cornerstone of everything that has happened since” in APA’s relationship to homosexuality.

    SOURCE: Psychiatric News, 4/17/98

  • However, Dr. Spitzer has since learned that some homosexuals are able to change their orientation…

    Dr. Robert Spitzer’s study on reparative therapies
    Saturday, May 01, 2004 – 
     

    New Study on Reparative Therapies
    by Robert L. Spitzer, M.D.

    presented in New Orleans, May 9th 2001

    Robert L. Spitzer, M.D., is Professor of Psychiatry and Chief of
    Biometrics Research Department at the New York State Psychiatric
    Institute in New York City, USA. He has achieved international
    recognition as an authority in psychiatric assessment and the
    classification of mental disorders.

    Dr. Spitzer was at the center of the 1973 American Psychiatric
    Association’s (APA) decision to remove homosexuality from its list of
    mental disorders, the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual).
    Talking to former homosexuals at the 1999 APA annual meeting resulted in
    Dr. Spitzer’s new interest in studying the effectiveness of sexual
    reorientation therapies.

    “Like most psychiatrists,” said Dr. Spitzer, “I thought that homosexual
    behavior could be resisted, but sexual orientation could not be changed.
    I now believe that’s untrue – some people can dan do change.”
    In his new study announced May 9, 2001 at the annual meeting of the
    American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Robert L. Spitzer released the
    evidence for his conclusions. The print of his presentation is with
    courtesy of Dr. Spitzer:

    Slide 1

    This is a more accurate title for my talk: 200 Subjects Who Claim to
    Have Changed Their Sexual Orientation from Homoseuxal to Heterosexual.

    Slide 2

    Sexual orientation refers to a sustained sexual attraction, sexual
    fantasy, desire for a romantic, emotionally intimate relationship and
    sexual behavior with excitement, directed primarily to the same or
    opposite sex.

    Sexual orientation is multidimensional and each component is on a
    continuum.

    Slide 3

    There is a professional consensus that homosexual behavior can be
    resisted, renounced or relabeled. However, homosexual orientation can
    never be changed.

    Slide 4

    I certainly shared this viewpoint, so how did Bob Spitzer, who played a
    central role in eliminating homosexuality as a mental disorder from
    DSM-II in 1973, come to have doubts about this consensus? The answer is
    that at the 1999 APA annual meeting in Washington I talked to several
    people who were picketing the meeting and claiming that, contrary to a
    recent APA position statement, change of sexual orientation was possible
    and should not be discouraged and that they, personally had changed from
    homosexual to heterosexual. I started to wonder, could it be that some
    homosexuals could actually change their sexual orientation? After much
    thought, and realizing that previous studies claiming that such change
    was possible had all kinds of methodo-logical flaws, I concluded that my
    curiosity would only be satisfied if I conducted a study of my own.

    http://www.pfox.org/asp/newsman/templates/newstemplate.asp?articleid=66&zoneid=6

  • Does psychosynthesis and/or the teachings of Roberto Assagioli or his disciples play any part in this change to the list of disorders?

    And a related question, since Rob refers to the “therapeutic Gospel,” is modern psychology a science or a religion?

  • Thank you,Rob and Lynne, for giving us all that vitally important information!! I’ve heard that Dr. Robert Spitzer is being treated very badly by the APA leaders because of his acknowledgement concerning the success of reparative therapy. I’ve heard that the National Educators Assoc.(NEA) refused to allow any discussion about these findings at their annual conference. This is true regarding the national PTA conference,too.
    So our school children continue to be deliberately deceived into thinking that free will does not exist whe it comes to same-sex attraction and activity!

  • Carrie,

    When I referred to the “Therapeutic Gospel”, I do it in jest. Ironically, enough in the secular culture Ironically enough the soft science of Modern Psychology is nearly raised to being a tool of the religion of self. All too often we see it use in justifying human behavior long considered deviant and anti-social by most civilizations.

    An interesting read that is rather prophetic given it was published almost 40 years ago is:
    The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith After Freud, By Philip Rieff
    274 pp. New York, Harper and Row, 1966.

    Check out:
    http://theologytoday.ptsem.edu/jan1967/v23-4-bookreview5.htm

    http://www.uffl.org/vol12/strahan12.pdf#search=‘Triumph of the Therapeutic’

  • I’m so glad I can drive around without my glasses now. After all, I should embrace the myopticism God gave me. So should everyone else.</sarcasm>

  • Psycho-spirituality is a discipline that has emerged from C. G. Jung.  It seems to be a blending of religion and science.  One use that has been made of it is explained in a paper presented to the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association titled “Transgender Soul: The Psychology of Transgender Issues.”

    It has been established that C. G. Jung was an occultist, so this blending of religion and science uses a religion that is opposed to Catholicism.  As the writer of that linked paper states:

    “I was raised Catholic only to abandon mainstream Christianity for a perennial philosophy based in a Jungian psycho-spirituality.”

    Assagioli, it turns out, channeled psychosynthesis via the same disembodied spirit who dictated books through the Theosophist Alice Bailey.

    So my theory is that much of what modern psychology passes off as science is in fact occultism dressed up in a legitimate costume.  I’m looking for evidence that supports that theory.

  • Dr.Robert Spitzer wrote the following one week after the presentation of his study:  0
    post


    34129

    stephenzita@yahoo.com

    69.152.88.69
    2005-11-28 22:27:36
    2005-11-29 02:27:36
    Wow, I just read the whole thing and my first thought is, “wonder where Father Paul Shaughnessy is now?”  Very gutsy guy. 

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