Parents railing at Mother Church

Parents railing at Mother Church

Catholic parents of gay children protested on the steps of the cathedral in St. Paul, Minnesota, last week and called the Church’s teachings unfair. Unfair? Who said life was supposed to be fair? I think it’s unfair that the Red Sox aren’t going back to the World Series this year, but so what? The question shouldn’t be whether something is fair, but whether it is just.

The specific objection is apparently against the 1986 document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which said that homosexuality is “objectively disordered” and “evil.” Or did it? Here’s what the CDF actually said:

Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.

That’s somewhat different from the oversimplified version in the article.

“The effects of such language are profoundly dehumanizing and spiritually abusive of these persons and those who love them,” said Mary Lynn Murphy, reading a statement to the 75 people who attended. “Additionally, language of this kind fuels the fires of bigotry and places GLBT [gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered] persons in physical and emotional danger.”

 

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
31 comments
  • LOL Kelly, that was so creative!  I’ll be singing it all day now smile

    Dom, you’re right on – this myth spread into intellectual circles back in the beginning of the 19th century, with the economics of Thomas Malthus – whose misery index is still cited today (a geometric population growth vs. only an arithmetic means of feeding that resultant demand).  Even though the USA alone grows enough grain to feed the entire earth, such myths perpetuate as convenient political tools for arguments such as the need for abortion and laws limiting the number a family’s children (China these past several decades).  It’s not that the population is unmanageable, rather that economic opportunities don’t exist for hundreds of millions of poor due to political corruption and human selfishness. 

  • Dom

    You’ve calculated personal elbow room OK, but what about everything that’s required for life on this planet as we now now it.

    To name just a few things, we need space for our ecosystem to survive, to grow food, generate energy, etc and enjoy things like mountains, caves, different cultures.

    You’ve also made the assumption that all of Texas is perfectly habitable, and equally for everyone.

    You couldn’t really fit the world as we know it inside Texas, giving each individual a 345 x 345 sq metre cell. Then we really would be living on Coruscant.

    While I don’t disagree with your premise that the world isn’t overpopulated yet, I think you’re oversimplifying the issue and not treating it seriously.

  • That’s the point, Dale. Earth does not equal Texas. There’s no problem.

    Malthusian liberals always fail to factor in the enormous gains in agricultural efficiency.

    China, with its insidious abortion policy, now has a new problem. Chinese parents are aborting girls at astonishingly high rates. This is setting up China for complete population implosion. There’s no evidence that non-Chinese females will move there with Chinese husbands, in Asia, China is regarded as a crude, filthy hell-hole.

    If liberals are so concerned about over-population then the best course of action is for them not to breed.

    The second best course of action, of course, is to deport American & European liberals to China, starting immediately.

  • Interesting analysis, Dom.  I look forward to part 2, because Tom2 summed it up pretty succinctly – the problem is human selfishness.  As he says, the US grows enough grain to feed the world, but we don’t even try.  (Not a surprise with political leaders who say it is “the American way” and our right to use as many natural resources as we want to.)

    This is not a “liberal” vs. “conservative” issue.  Jesus said, “feed my sheep.”  How can we sit silently by when huge sections of the world population are starving?  It goes beyong sending grain which admittedly can sit in warehouses and rot before it is distributed, or sending money which admittedly can be misused by corrupt regimes.  These programs should not be abandoned, but the world has to figure out a way to act together to prevent things like the famine in Niger.  It was known years ago that crops were failing.  Had something been done then, millions wouldn’t be starving, and the cost would have been a fraction of what it will cost now (both in dollars and lives). 

    But I guess it isn’t a good news story until it’s a crisis.  And only then until a new one takes its place.

  • Thomas. You’ve missed the point. Dom was really saying that Humans + Texas != Overpopulation, and that this could be proved mathematically.

    The ‘mathematical Texas argument’ is a gross oversimplification of life on Earth. Until Dom does the actual maths, and correctly calculates the land mass per person required to sustain life as we’ve come to expect it on this planet then he can’t possibly discount a “myth”.

    Your agricultural efficiency and Chinese abortion policy issues have nothing to do with the mathematics that Dom proposed, or anything to do with my reply.

    I find your personal attacks on liberals, suggesting they ‘not breed’ and be deported, to be over the top. This is the same sort of hate-filled language I imagine has been used groups throughout history.

  • Often those—who are materially well of and comfortable—state we are facing an ‘overpopulation’ crisis point to others as the problem. And it is not deliberate for most concerned, but there a racial element to the debate.

    There was a UN report issued 7-8 years ago reporting that the planet can feed a far greater population than there is today, but there are a number of logistical, environmental and other issues to be addressed.

    Concerning commodity resources, we have barely scratched the earth’s surface, though huge questions remain on how we procede.

  • You think math is going to phase these people?  If they can convince themselves that a “foetus” is not a human being, then they can convince themselves that 2+2=5.  This argument *might* have worked with their “reason uber alles” Enlightenment forefathers, but now that reason has joined Faith on the scrapheap of history, mankind operates on emotion alone, and every one of modern man’s choices is based on what will give him instant gratification.  How can we even begin to converse with such people, much less fight them?

  • Dale,

    I have done a lot of math over the years.  I think Dom’s numbers are very instructive. 

    The land mass per necessary per person?  That is a dynamic number.  If there are more people demanding more food, farmers will grow more food per person, if they make money.  Doesn’t matter if the world population is stuffed into Texas or Tennessee.  It will happen, if someone pays for it.

    I think you are too harsh with TC.  One of biggest nuisances with “liberals” is that they are always proscribing behavior for others, and not themselves.  TC makes that point, in a dramatic but not hateful fashion.

    JBP

  • I did the same calculation myself when I heard this statistic and came up with 1140sqf.  I also compared that to what I I could find on Tokyo, whose density is one person per 802sqf.

    I think Dale missed the point that if the entire population lived in TX, the rest of the world was available for resources, either energy, food, recreation, etc.  If you assume no or little improvement in managing resources, you certainly may exceed the resources.  But, that’s what started us on this path we are on now.  We’ve done a decent job of improving food production, etc. to keep ahead.

    People talk about starving in Ethiopia, but I just saw someone down 3 Big Macs at a local McDondalds.  Did the Ethipoians really starve for lack of food in the world?  For that matter, there are people starving in our own country.  Is that also for lack of food?

  • Adrian raises another point on this issue.  A visit to any restaurant (fast food or first class) or any school cafeteria in this country reveals we throw out an enormous amount of food each and every day.

  • I hate to think what these ignoramuses in the city of St. Paul will do when they learn what Saint Paul himself said about sodomites -but at least then they will spend their time trying to change the city name to “Matthew Shepard City” and leave us alone.

  • To call the CDF statement “unfair” or even “unjust” is ridiculous: what matters is that the teaching is true according to the Christian understanding of man.

    The Church doesn’t teach these things in order to condemn people, but in order to help people be saved.

  • “Fair is where people ride on rides and eat lots of cotton candy”—My Executive Officer on my second ship.

    Are they really going to try to change the name of the city to Matthew Shepard City. Isn’t that like changing St Petersburg to Leningrad?

    by the way an objective disorder is nothing more than an inclination to sin. The average person has certainly more than one.

  • Why would a parent give their child a stone when he/she asks for bread? It looks like the St. Paul,Minn. parents know nothing about Courage/EnCourage. Perhaps this is because the Rainbow Sash organization in St. Paul, Minn. has been given the role of “educating”  these parents. In fact, when the Courage Conference was held at St. Thomas Univ., St. Paul,Minn., a few years ago, the Rainbow Sash organization, that is similar to PFLAG in calling same-sex sex acts a “gift” from God and the Catholic Church should bless their “union”, picketted the Courage members as they were entering the chapel to attend Mass.
    By the way, a Michegan member of EnCourage has distributed an article entitled: “A Label thet Sticks” by Paul Scalia
    that is well worth reading. It can be found on http://print.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0506/opinion/scalia.html  , Paul Scalia is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington,Virginia, and chaplain for the Arlington chapter of Courage. Courage offers bread, not stones!

  • To the contrary, it humanizes the gay person because it treats him as a spiritual and moral person, not as the sum of his sexual proclivities and inclinations. It says, ey want.

    It reminds me of the way a viral entity invades a host cell and harnesses the machinery of the cell to replicate more virus. 

    The virus causes the host to destroy itself in a sense. 

       

  • The Catechism (no. 2358) tells us that homosexual people “must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity.”

    Is it my imagination, or are respect, compassion and sensitivity almost universally lacking in the posts here?

  • Respect, compassion, and sensitivity is telling people the truth that will set them free, not telling them lies that make them feel better.

    I would expect a Catholic priest to prefer truth to lies.

    Show me one thing I said in my post that is lacking in respect, compassion, and sensitivity.

    I also note your selective quotation. What about what the rest of the Catechism, never mind the rest of Church teaching, says about homosexuality?

    I’m sick of hearing from certain quarters that tolerance is the highest good. It is not. Holiness and love is the highest good.

    As someone pointed out in another thread, Jesus didn’t dine with the sinners in order to tell them to continue on with their sins. He dined with them and told them they had to sin no more.

  • EVERYONE is to be accepted with respect, sensitivity, etc., etc.  Pedophiles and rapists and mass murderers, too.  That’s Christianity for you!

    But we get to condemn them, too, when they are insisting that their depravities be recognized as good things, instead of asking for forgiveness, compassion, and help.  Reacting against pushy people who demand to be treated, not with RESPECT, but ACCEPTANCE, is not prohibited. 

  • ” Respect, compassion, and sensitivity is telling people the truth that will set them free, not telling them lies that make them feel better. “

    I see!  It’s amazing the Catechism even bothered to mention respect, compassion and sensitivity since simply telling homosexuals the truth about their disorder IS the compassionate thing to do.  I mistakenly thought the Catechism might be implying that the truth be told respectfully, compassionately and sensitively.

    “I would expect a Catholic priest to prefer truth to lies.”

    I do. 

    “Show me one thing I said in my post that is lacking in respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”

    -Comparing the struggle some people have with sexuality and faith to the Red Sox and the World Series.

    -Contending that the Church’s teaching that homosexuals are worthy of human dignity, charity and love is “going overboard.”

    -Suggesting that these parents reject Jesus and the Cross and make a mockery of their faith.

    ” I also note your selective quotation. What about what the rest of the Catechism, never mind the rest of Church teaching, says about homosexuality?”

    Ah, selectivity was the point I was trying to make, Dom.  My observation is that many folks select only the language of disorder and evil, and ignore the advice regarding respect.  But you have set me straight on that already – I took too literally what the Catechism said about sensitivity.

    “Imeaning of “compassion” devolves into “niceness” or “blanket acceptance” in the minds of those already disposed toward “an intrinsic moral evil.”

    So, you’re the one accusing the CDF, Dom (and, I expect, me also) as walking away from the TRUE meaning of the Catechism’s teaching on persons with same-gender attraction disorder.  Tell us, then, exactly how YOU believe the Church is to proclaim to those sufferers (who don’t think they’re suffering) the extreme danger to which they expose their immortal souls?

    I’ll be extremely interested in hearing your response.

  • one other observation…considering that nations combined spend $1 trillion plus on weapons in 2004, and Americans spend $30 billion each for pet care and make up, it is hard to argue we do not have enough resources to feed the world’s population.

  • Of course who listens to Church teaching when the APA professional community (which includes Catholic clergy, academics and social workers) is not challenged on the errors it spreads by influencing the culture at large.

    Refer to:
    The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith After Freud (New York: Harper Torch Books, 1968)

    http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/education/ed0006.html

    http://www.catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=3911

    http://www.etherzone.com/2002/mors052902.shtml

  • “Tell me, how exactly does one tell another who is in grave danger about the reality of that danger?”

    I can assure you that I discuss the whole Catholic truth with gay and lesbian people whom I meet in my ministry.  But frankly, I’ve not yet met one gay or lesbian person who wasn’t already very much aware of exactly what the church teaches about the morality of their sexual orientation.  The pastoral minister seldom if ever needs to inform the gay or lesbian person of this teaching.  Thus, the minister is most often speaking to someone who is aware of church teaching, struggling with personal issues of sexual identity and morality, and very much desiring to remain Catholic.  It’s at this point that I believe the Catechism is right in counseling respect, compassion and sensitivity.  I don’t think such an approach is “going overboard.”

    I am not accusing Dom or you or anyone of walking away from the Catechism’s teaching.  I’m questioning the approach taken when providing Church teaching.  In the posts above I read the following:

    – a homosexual’s struggle with identity, faith and morality is compared to a Red Sox game

    – homosexuals live in a dehumanized state

    – in respecting the human dignity of homosexuals and showing charity and love, the Church is “going overboard”

    – the hops/skips/jumps in the following:
    “The flaw is that they believe that what they are now is necessarily what God made them to be. That

  • OK!  I get if folks! 

    You believe that the compassionate, sensitive, respectful thing is to speak the truth that a homosexual person’s sexual impulses are evil and objectively disordered towards dehumanizing predation, a kind of virus in the body of Christ and the human family.  More than this would be going overboard.

    You’ve made your point.  I hear you.

  • a homosexual personce you’ve answered that challenge, the next thing they’ll throw at you is that it’s not the land area we’re overpopulating, but the resources we’re using. But then that’s another stupid myth that needs to be deflated and I’ll leave that for another time.

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    kclark@mindspring.com
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    2005-10-16 20:40:18
    2005-10-17 00:40:18
    What better fate,
    To populate…

    (clap clap clap clap)

    Deep in the heart of Texas?

    Get in the groove,
    It’s time to move…

    (clap clap clap clap)

    Deep in the heart of Texas!

    Screw doom and gloom,
    There’s always room…

    (clap clap clap clap)

    Deep in the heart of Texas!

    No need to toil,
    (there’s so much oil…)

    (clap clap clap clap)

    Deep in the heart of Texas!

    The numbers show,
    There’s room to grow…

    (clap clap clap clap)

    Deep in the heart of Texas!

    With much aplomb,
    I thank you, Dom,

    (clap clap clap clap)

    Here in the heart of…Boston.

    grin

    P.S. And I wouldn’t mind that one thousand plus square feet, either!

  • >>Americans spend $30 billion each for pet care and make up

    Hm, I don’t spend any money on either, much less $30 billion—somebody out there must be spending $60B!

  • DANG, somebody’s spending $60B *each year* on pets and makeup?  We’re talkin’ Mimi Bobeck runs a shelter for homeless cats here!

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