My Photo

Insight Scoop

Catholic World News Top Headlines (CWNews.com)

The Curt Jester

JIMMY AKIN.ORG

Poor Box

Render Unto Us

Tip Jar
Blog powered by Typepad

« Saddam Hussein, 1937-2006 | Main | Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God »

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Comments

Tiger

I totally agree with what the pope said.

kbm

As usual, perfectly stated. God bless our Pope. Thanks for posting this, Thomistic.

carolg

And yet another great choice in art work to go with the story.

Central Valley Catholic

A M E N !!!!! Now, lets see how the american bishops follow up on this teaching....Not!

Carolg,

It looks like a street corner in West Hollywood.

Some Day

Thomistic nice post.
But I tell respectfully that you are constituting a moral risk and resposability with the pictures you put on these posts.
I feel I can't read the good stuff you post because you keep putting these pictures.
You know they are immoral. And don't say that there are many like those in the Vatican. Since you seem to like St. Pius X, you should know he ordered those nude statues and such to be clothed. He is the last pope that was a saint. That says a lot.
And you know that the moral risk is not relative in its severity. Maybe in its potential to cause a person to sin even graver is different for every soul. But it is a sin none the less.
Please heed this pleading from a brother in Christ.
Have a blessed year!

semperficatholic

I don't like the picture either; it is vile and not something I want to see when I visit an orthodox Catholic blog. Actually IMHO, it takes away from your post.

Continued Merry Christmas and Happy Feast of the Holy Family. Maybe you can honor the Holy Family by removing that picture...just a thought.

Denise

inhocsig

Why it's the album cover for Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell IV.

Patrick

Some Day and Semperficatholic,

Are you being facetious? Please tell me that you are not serious.

Andrew

The picture is a bit provocative. There is the possibility that those who experience those pictures may be lead to sin. And if you lead someone to sin, you're sinning yourself.

Of course, what the pope is saying is absolutely true.

All sin leads to death.

terry nelson

I think it's a great work of art - I stole it from you once before when you had used it. It is Dante and Virgil in the presence of the sodomites in hell. It shows the predatory nature of the sin of Sodom, without the eroticism - it is more akin to vampirism - sucking the life out of the soul - visciously.

I too receive criticism for showing certian works of art on my blog that illustrate a topic, everything is from public domain and are liable to viewed no matter what.

Some Day

The difference is that this website is generally considered safe from immorality.
I would really like a response from thomistic. He is usaully very good in responding to these issues. I hope he sees the reasoning. I thought the St. Pius X fact would make most of you agree. Well let us see. Please offer your Communion for me today please, I need it for a special intention. All the bloggers will be in mines.

Patrick

Someday,

I could cite you examples of saints and ascetics in the early church who believed that bathing yourself is a sinful indulgence (during the late Middle Ages many Catholic Medieval towns actually had communal baths shared by both sexes). The saints' lives are filled with examples of heroic virtue. They did what worked for THEM. But, it isn't a one size fits all deal. Some people are tempted to drink to excess and must avoid alcohol completely. Others, with bad tempers, must avoid situations where their tempers might flare. That is what it means to avoid the near occasion of sin. It is an individual thing.

If a person has a problem with the kind of nudity depicted in Classical and Rennaissance art (or the Dante painting above), then by all means avoid it. But, in general, the Church does not have a problem with it. The Church could have ordered destroyed all that Classical art depicting the human form, but we are not the Taliban. The context in which nudity occurs is the real issue. Sin starts on the inside. The painting is less about eroticism and more about depravity and where it leads.

Protestant Christians have always been a majority in this country. Certain Calvinist tendencies have had an effect even on Catholics. One of those tendencies is to regard "the flesh" as inherently evil. Catholics are not Puritans!

(The movie Babette's Feast is worth seeing to get a feel for the difference in world view.)

Aaron

Patrick:

Well said. I wonder what Someday would make of the Sistine Chapel. Adam! Put some pants on!!

carolg

Patrick - thank you for pointing out the context is key and Terry Nelson - thank you for explaining the context so well.

I know I wouldn't be led into sin by a painting of people sinning while a bat-winged grinning devil looks on, but that's me.

Some Day

And who is to say that the Rennaissance was not decadence? Well St.Pious X ordered to clothe those statues.
But enough. I won't plant a problem in your conscience with this.
One day the issue in question will come up again. In a better time.

A Simple Sinner

Some Day,

I don't want to pigeon hole you and yoru views as running with any certain "ilk" but to be terribly honest...

Well the same folks that are most enamored with St Pius X are so very often the same folks criticial of the very many saints canonized during the papacy of our Good Father JPII.

Either way, that there have not been more popes canonized in 100 years since then, how is this telling? That the later popes were not saintly? Or that their sanctity has not been affirmed in canonization as yet?

To get back to the point of the topic, there is certainly a sad but sure phenomina that has been witnessed by the West in the rise of new "deathstyles" Sadly, HIV is just the icing on the cake for those practicing same sex sexual activity.

With abortion has come greater breast cancer rates, multilple partners correlate to greater cervical cancer, same-sex sexual activity to greater STD infection rates... Single parent raised children seem to be in danger for a whole host of psychological issues. (**) Who would have thought that fidelity between a man and woman practicing an openess to life would be so healthy?

Could it be the Church is vindicated once again - that the harder way is the better?

(** I want to say right off, invatiably when this issue is brought up we hear about those awful alcoholic dads that seem to prove being raised by one parent is better. In the interest of time, spare me, that is a red herring.)

Teófilo

I don't read anywhere in this news report the Pope singling out homosexuals explicitly. Certainly, homosexual behavior should be included in those destructive behaviors which seek to emancipate man from his body, but also, all promiscuous sex and perversions, pornography, drug abuse, extreme body-building, and artificial contraception, all deserve equal mention as examples of man going against his body.

I think the headline was meant to hype a one-sided interpretation of the speech, which the Pope may have intended to include many other destructive behaviors, along with homosexual practice.

We should await for his entire address to be posted to determine what he really said.

PDS

I am so pleased with our wonderful Pope. I appreciate his speaking out on such important issues,such as homosexuality, and of going against the tide of our pagan world. He is doing his job!! Bravo for him!! Wish he could unite the bishops and Cardinals to follow suit.
As for the painting of "Dante and Virgil in Hell", it certainly depicts the evil and grotesqueness of the sin. If it upsets some, then it has achieved the artist's purpose of showing homosexuality in its ugliness, while showing the approval of the devil standing in the background.

joanne

I think the artwork does what it's supposed to do. It's too horrible to look at closely. The behavior to which it refers is awful to speak of directly. That says a lot, and it's a good thing to remember when our children are taught that such behavior is healthy and normal.

PAT

the one thing I noticed about homosexual priests is the fact they are too far to the left. It seems at their homilies they try and water down the Gospels on the miracles of Jesus. I remember one gay priest saying that on the sermon of the mount where Jesus spoke to 5,000 the miracle of the fish and loaves was just a mediphore. He said back then everyone brought food with them and they all shared with each other. I thought that is not what the Bible says and why share if everyone brought food.
my sons psychology text book reads that homosexual behaveor is normal. My son said the professor said they changed the texts about 15 years ago. I read a directive from the Pope saying it is disordered and wonder who is right the Pope or the liberal text books.
The biggest heretic though was a straight priest that did not believe in confession or holy water and took all the founts out of the church. They got rid of him but it took a year. Pat

Pat Smith

Why use provacative artwork like this to sicken people? Frightening images have little to do with the lives of gay christians and their families.

Just what would you have gay people do? Sexual orientation is not chosen, it's innate. Would you rather gay people pretend to be straight because YOU believe the God that made them as they are wills it? Would you have such a pretender marry your son or daughter?

I've seent he aftermath of such choices and it's terrible for all concerned.

I suspect this pope will have to answer to his God for the thousands of gay Catholics he has driven from God's church.

If you worry about the small percentage of people who are born gay, perhaps you should as your creator why he made them.

Perhaps, it was to teach you that ALL God's children have value.

Thomistic

Pat,

You're right. All God's children have value.

That's why I don't support enabling them as they destroy themselves.

Alcoholism has a genetic component, as do many disorders. Should we not "judge" and let people destroy themselves without a word of warning?

Is that loving, Pat?

I find it fascinating that you seem to understand the nature of human sexuality when scientists are nowhere near as certain as you pretend the matter to be.

You must be very intelligent to know more than any credible science can dare to say with certainty about the nature of human sexuality!

As for the aftermath of denying homosexual impulses, you ought to see the aftermath of giving them free reign – in this life and the next!

Pax,

Thomistic

Pat Smith

One poster wrote about "homosexuality in all it's ugliness", as though they actually knew what the day to day lives of all gay people entail.

I can tell you about my day.

I get up at 5:00 a.m. to feed the horses and clean out the barn, then feed the dogs and bird. I wake up my spouse, and we get the kids out of bed.

I fix lunches while she gets the kids fed, dressed, toothbrushed and halfway awake.

She takes our son and daughter to school and I go to work.

10 hours later I make it back home and grab the kids to go feed again. They love the horses and are a huge help.

We eat dinner, do all the homework together, along with the dishes and the laundry.

Some nights it's soccor practice, and others it's dance. Occasionally, we just hang out aroung the firepit outside and roast marshmallows, or we watch a movie with the kids before bed.

The kids are in bed by 9, and B and I finish whatever chores weren't done, and watch TV for an hour or two, then fall asleep.

That's my decadent gay lifestyle that you are all so afraid of.

I was raised a catholic, and appreciate the values instilled in me from a young age. However, I was also born a gay person, and tried for years to reconcile who I am at the core, and my religious belief.

It's a shame that fear and ignorance drives so many gay Catholics away from the church. No person should have to choose between leading a happy, productive, complete, fulfilled life, and their church.

Thomistic

Pat,

I'm sorry that you feel that what you've described is the highest possible fulfillment for you.

I hope you are wrong, but you may be right.

I'm not afraid of your lifestyle, but I will say that it is disordered and the sexual acts that are part of your lifestyle are portrayed as acts of grave depravity, not by any Church, but Sacred Scripture itself.

To choose what you've chosen is to reject Christ, whether you believe that or not.

Every human being is called to receive a gift of divine sonship, to become a child of God by grace. However, to receive this gift, we must reject sin, including homosexual behavior—that is, acts intended to arouse or stimulate a sexual response regarding a person of the same sex. The Catholic Church teaches that such acts are always violations of divine and natural law.

Homosexual desires, however, are not in themselves sinful. People are subject to a wide variety of sinful desires over which they have little direct control, but these do not become sinful until a person acts upon them, either by acting out the desire or by encouraging the desire and deliberately engaging in fantasies about acting it out. People tempted by homosexual desires, like people tempted by improper heterosexual desires, are not sinning until they act upon those desires in some manner.

The rejection of homosexual behavior that is found in the Old Testament is well known. In Genesis 19, two angels in disguise visit the city of Sodom and are offered hospitality and shelter by Lot. During the night, the men of Sodom demand that Lot hand over his guests for homosexual intercourse. Lot refuses, and the angels blind the men of Sodom. Lot and his household escape, and the town is destroyed by fire "because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord" (Gen. 19:13).

Throughout history, Jewish and Christian scholars have recognized that one of the chief sins involved in God’s destruction of Sodom was its people’s homosexual behavior. But today, certain homosexual activists promote the idea that the sin of Sodom was merely a lack of hospitality. Although inhospitality is a sin, it is clearly the homosexual behavior of the Sodomites that is singled out for special criticism in the account of their city’s destruction. We must look to Scripture’s own interpretation of the sin of Sodom.

Jude 7 records that Sodom and Gomorrah "acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust." Ezekiel says that Sodom committed "abominable things" (Ezek. 16:50), which could refer to homosexual and heterosexual acts of sin. Lot even offered his two virgin daughters in place of his guests, but the men of Sodom rejected the offer, preferring homosexual sex over heterosexual sex (Gen. 19:8–9). Ezekiel does allude to a lack of hospitality in saying that Sodom "did not aid the poor and needy" (Ezek. 16:49). So homosexual acts and a lack of hospitality both contributed to the destruction of Sodom, with the former being the far greater sin, the "abominable thing" that set off God’s wrath.

But the Sodom incident is not the only time the Old Testament deals with homosexuality. An explicit condemnation is found in the book of Leviticus: "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. . . . If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death, their blood is upon them" (Lev. 18:22, 20:13).

To discount this, some homosexual activists have argued that moral imperatives from the Old Testament can be dismissed since there were certain ceremonial requirements at the time—such as not eating pork, or circumcising male babies—that are no longer binding.

While the Old Testament’s ceremonial requirements are no longer binding, its moral requirements are. God may issue different ceremonies for use in different times and cultures, but his moral requirements are eternal and are binding on all cultures.

Confirming this fact is the New Testament’s forceful rejection of homosexual behavior as well. In Romans 1, Paul attributes the homosexual desires of some to a refusal to acknowledge and worship God. He says, "For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. . . . Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them" (Rom. 1:26–28, 32).

Elsewhere Paul again warns that homosexual behavior is one of the sins that will deprive one of heaven: "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 6:9–10, NIV).

All of Scripture teaches the unacceptability of homosexual behavior. But the rejection of this behavior is not an arbitrary prohibition. It, like other moral imperatives, is rooted in natural law—the design that God has built into human nature.

Fear and ignorance have nothing to do with knowing homosexual acts are acts of depravity. They are unnatural and incapable of pleasing God, because they are contrary to His plan for human sexuality, as well as the moral law.

Those opposed to homosexual behavior are often charged with "homophobia"—that they hold the position they do because they are "afraid" of homosexuals. Sometimes the charge is even made that these same people are perhaps homosexuals themselves and are overcompensating to hide this fact, even from themselves, by condemning other homosexuals.

Both of these arguments attempt to stop rational discussion of an issue by shifting the focus to one of the participants. In doing so, they dismiss another person’s arguments based on some real or supposed attribute of the person. In this case, the supposed attribute is a fear of homosexuals.

Like similar attempts to avoid rational discussion of an issue, the homophobia argument completely misses the point. Even if a person were afraid of homosexuals, that would not diminish his arguments against their behavior. The fact that a person is afraid of handguns would not nullify arguments against handguns, nor would the fact that a person might be afraid of handgun control diminish arguments against handgun control.

Furthermore, the homophobia charge rings false. The vast majority of those who oppose homosexual behavior are in no way "afraid" of homosexuals. A disagreement is not the same as a fear. One can disagree with something without fearing it, and the attempt to shut down rational discussion by crying "homophobe!" falls flat. It is an attempt to divert attention from the arguments against one’s position by focusing attention on the one who made the arguments, while trying to claim the moral high ground against him.

Many homosexuals argue that they have not chosen their condition, but that they were born that way, making homosexual behavior natural for them.

But because something was not chosen does not mean it was inborn. Some desires are acquired or strengthened by habituation and conditioning instead of by conscious choice. For example, no one chooses to be an alcoholic, but one can become habituated to alcohol. Just as one can acquire alcoholic desires (by repeatedly becoming intoxicated) without consciously choosing them, so one may acquire homosexual desires (by engaging in homosexual fantasies or behavior) without consciously choosing them.

Since sexual desire is subject to a high degree of cognitive conditioning in humans (there is no biological reason why we find certain scents, forms of dress, or forms of underwear sexually stimulating), it would be most unusual if homosexual desires were not subject to a similar degree of cognitive conditioning.

Even if there is a genetic predisposition toward homosexuality (and studies on this point are inconclusive), the behavior remains unnatural because homosexuality is still not part of the natural design of humanity. It does not make homosexual behavior acceptable; other behaviors are not rendered acceptable simply because there may be a genetic predisposition toward them.

For example, scientific studies suggest some people are born with a hereditary disposition to alcoholism, but no one would argue someone ought to fulfill these inborn urges by becoming an alcoholic. Alcoholism is not an acceptable "lifestyle" any more than homosexuality is.

Homosexual activists often justify homosexuality by claiming that ten percent of the population is homosexual, meaning that it is a common and thus acceptable behavior.

But not all common behaviors are acceptable, and even if ten percent of the population were born homosexual, this would prove nothing. One hundred percent of the population is born with original sin and the desires flowing from it. If those desires manifest themselves in a homosexual fashion in ten percent of the population, all that does is give us information about the demographics of original sin.

But the fact is that the ten percent figure is false. It stems from the 1948 report by Alfred Kinsey, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. The study was profoundly flawed, as later psychologists studying sexual behavior have agreed. Kinsey’s subjects were drawn heavily from convicted criminals; 1,400 of his 5,300 final subjects (twenty-six percent) were convicted sex offenders—a group that by definition is not representative of normal sexual practices.

Furthermore, the ten percent figure includes people who are not exclusively homosexual but who only engaged in some homosexual behavior for a period of time and then stopped—people who had gone through a fully or partially homosexual "phase" but who were not long-term homosexuals. (For a critique of Kinsey’s research methods, see Kinsey, Sex, and Fraud, by Dr. Judith Reisman and Edward Eichel [Lafayette, Louisiana: Lochinvar & Huntington House, 1990].)

Recent and more scientifically accurate studies have shown that only around one to two percent of the population is homosexual.

The modern arguments in favor of homosexuality have thus been insufficient to overcome the evidence that homosexual behavior is against divine and natural law, as the Bible and the Church, as well as the wider circle of Jewish and Christian (not to mention Muslim) writers, have always held.

The Catholic Church thus teaches: "Basing itself on sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved" (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2357).

However, the Church also acknowledges that "[homosexuality’s] psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. . . . The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s cross the difficulties that they may encounter from their condition.

"Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection" (CCC 2357– 2359).

Paul comfortingly reminds us, "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Cor. 10:13).

Homosexuals who want to live chastely can contact Courage, a national, Church-approved support group for help in deliverance from the homosexual lifestyle.

Pax,

Thomistic

The comments to this entry are closed.

Pope Benedict XVI Homilies & Statements

Codex of Catholic Blogs

Orthodox Blogs

Blogs From People We Wish Were Catholic