11 March, 2010

Prayer Request

Friends,
I ask for your prayers today.

The priests of the Pembroke Diocese meet today with our Bishop, +Michael Mulhall to discuss the recent spate of sex abuse cases that have erupted in our Diocese. The event is called in large part as a result of priests calling the Diocese with concerns that the victims who brought these charges, might be re-victimized again as they process through the various criminal and civil legal actions.

+Mulhall, concerned for the welfare both of these innocents and his priests, has called this day-long meeting so that the entire body of the presbytery might be able to share their thoughts and concerns with each other, and to him. He has also arranged for the presence of the legal firm that represents the Diocese in these matters so that they also might hear these same concerns. Clearly +Mulhall wishes that he (and by extension his priests) and the lawyers will speak with one, moral & just voice in response to this crisis.

Please pray too that the Bishop might also make clear to all concerned that this has not only a legal crisis. At its root, the entire sex abuse scandal that has enveloped the whole Church (from this isolated corner of Pembroke right up to the doors of the Vatican) is one of 'fidelity'.

-Fidelity to religious vows taken in liberty,

-Fidelity to virtue,

-Fidelity to our common obligations of baptism commitments.


Any damage wrought upon the church, either spiritually or financially sprouts directly from the poisoned root of its unfaithful Church clergy. As fellow brothers in the Diocesan family of priests, the sins of a few have visited shame upon us all.

The most fundamental life lesson that my father taught me from my earliest days was that the only valuable possessions that he passed along to me, was my family name. That I, as the latest progeny, shared in the merits and virtues of my predecessors; a treasure which is measured in the respect our surname carried forward to the next generation. So too, would all suffer the stain and denigration brought on it by those who were unfaithful to this familial obligation of the ages.  It may take much suffering and effort to re-burnish the name of 'Catholic', let alone the brotherhood of priests.

Please pray today or the Church of Pembroke  .  Please pray for her Bishop. Please pray for her priests.

Thank you.

Fr. Tim Moyle

Diocese of Pembroke

82 comments:

  1. your prayer touched me. I'm praying! I found this site helpful www.holylandprayer.com Check it; maybe it gives you a relief. God bless.

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  2. Hi Tim,

    I will offer you something more tangible than prayer. I offer you and your Church some advice as to how such scandals might be avoided in the future, or minimized in their negative impact for all concerned:

    1) Modernize your Church. Ordain women to the priesthood. Allow your priests in the Roman Rite the option of marriage. This is not a cure-all, but it will help to ensure that your priesthood is more reflective of the people whom it claims to serve. It will also help to break the culture of male secrecy that pervades the priesthood.

    2) Reform your theology regarding human sexuality. Bring it into the 21st century - ensure that it reflects good psychology rather than the simple-minded pious notions of the past. Remove the stigma of sex and sexuality so as to encourage openness and honesty.

    3) Drop the pretense that the Church has any greater understanding of the mind and will of god than anyone else. This will encourage greater insitutional humility. It will help guard against the Church's tendency towards hypocrisy.

    4) Enjoy life. Celebrate your individual and collective existence. All this dour focus on sin (especially sexual sin)is so yesterday.

    5) Perhaps you might also tackle (in joy) some of the real challenges facing humanity today - you know - things like the environment, poverty, social injustice.

    Just a thought...Cheers...Martin

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  3. Martin: Thank you for the suggestions. It is an agenda that has been presented before to Church. The Church must be open to the possibility of evolution in its understanding of ‘truth’ (for that is what we are arguing over: is there such a thing as ‘truth’ that can be discerned from revelation?’)

    So first off, let’s deal with the foundational argument first, for if we cannot find common ground here, I do not see how there can be a fruitful conversation that would produce more than ‘light & heat.’

    Is there truth that can be discerned via revelation (either divine or natural in origin)? I posit that everyone would have to agree. Whether it be the fractals and ubiquitous patterns of creation described by the natural sciences or the ‘divine imprint’ spoken of in scripture, everyone can agree that ‘truths’ (‘rules’ that can be found - rules of genetic, biological, chemical and physics sciences are good examples) exist.

    (continued next comment)

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  4. Therefore it is possible to posit that the sensible world is ordered with patterns or systems of rules that are knowable, at least as far as science is capable of illuminating the depths of creation. We have moved a long way from attributing the actions of our environment, or even our moods and aliments to ‘vapors’ and other unreal causes. (With the coming of the 17th, we of Irish heritage might lift a glass of green beer in a toast to the Leprechauns and fairies of the Emerald Isle - those mythical beings to whom many an Irishman attributed responsibility for everything from failed crops to the successes of his enemy.) We must also admit that there is still a great deal more to learn about what is ‘true’ in all fields of exploration, scientific and theological. Compared to the physical sciences, human understanding of the inner psyche of the mind has not advanced all that far from the days when pixies, fairies and the curses of the Parish Priest determined the humor of the common Irishman.

    Are you certain in the understanding of modern psychology that you believe we should fundamentally redefine the tenets of faith which undergird the RCC moral teaching? A reading of history seems to suggest that perhaps we should not do so. Have the deviations (NOT intended in any sense other than mathematical) from the moral 'standard' of scriptures improved the human condition? Divorce is at an all time high; mental illness ascribed is to more than one in ten people; children are more disengaged from parents, health or fitness than ever before - demographic realities are threatening our own futures... these are not signs of improvement.

    As you also point out, there are any number of other major social ills that also exist in today’s modern society. Clearly our global culture is experiencing trouble - is even more change the logical path to follow?

    The wisdom of the Church cannot be abrogated in such a facile manner as to convince her to jettison such fundamental dogma as you suggest. I appreciate that there are many parts of scripture that could be used to justify various social injustices (slavery, capital punishment, sexual discrimination etc) but these have been put through the winnowing processes of apostolic transmission, the application of the early Church Fathers and the major Ecumenical Councils which have removed these acts from what is permitted in a Christian society as "chaff" is separated from the kernel. It is difficult to get my head around the conviction that suddenly, after four thousand years of consistent interpretation of a moral act in one manner, to suddenly throw it off to be replaced with some ‘new’ or ‘modern’ re-interpretation pointing the 'right way' to go is a leap of faith that is too far for me.

    You may be right in the long run Martin. I’m just not sure that I’m ready to put all of my trust and faith in determining how to order or regulate our society into the dictates and knowledge of such an immature science as psychology.

    Tradition exists for a reason. It is the accumulated wisdom of major schools of thought (Hebraic/Greco/Roman) on how best to organize a society; a memory of social experiments from times past which have backfired and wounded the culture, sometimes mortally. To ignore this wisdom upon nothing more than some sudden new insight into human nature that had never been understood before, is a pretty egoistic and risky strategy - again given the social ills that trace their roots to the social experiments in societal and sexual mores which began in the 1960’s.

    Has the sexual revolution produced fruits that have benefited society in any great way? It has certainly contributed to an explosion of social and medical ills which menaces significant portions of the global population. Is the wholesale abnegation of sexual morality worth the costs it carries? Again, I don’t think so, at least not yet.

    Either way, thanks for the personal good thoughts that I know accompanied your comments. They are appreciated.

    Tim

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  5. Martin...
    I think women deacons would be a good start but I believe we are dealing here with very fragile male egos when it comes to having female priests in RCC.

    This person "constanceloveal" (on a trial membership, thus far 1 post to her credit) at Catholic Culture site pose this question to an Apologist:

    'What is the church's teachings on which life should be spared when mother or baby will die if the pregnancy continues or at the delivery of the baby? Has this answer changed at any time in church history?'


    A Fr. Vincent Serpa(Catholic Answers Apologist, a member there since May 4, 2004
    Posted 3,049 posts to his credit thus far.)

    Here is Fr.Vincent Serpa's reply to "constanceloveal" on Mar 8, '10, 5:15.

    Re: Death of mother or baby?
    'Hi!
    The Church teaches that every effort must be directed toward saving both. The direct killing of either is immoral.

    Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.'


    ---What does that reply mean? Does it mean if you are pregnant no matter what the danger to your own health is, no matter if its death to you the pregnant female one should be ready to die because to terminate the pregnancy for any reason even if it will save the female/woman's life it out?---

    No wonder many females and men use their common sense(for birth control, etc..) instead of listening to an all male hierarchy.

    Yes, I pray for all priest, clergy and the Pope. I also pray for a 3rd Vatican Council to come about.

    The morale is low among the clergy in the Pembroke Diocese...no wonder when one hears news like the abuse scandals all over the world and now even in the Pembroke Diocese. I pray all went well yesterday at that meeting with the Bishop and priests.

    Why do I get this gut feeling it was just another ploy to see how they can win the Catholic Parishioners confidence back, maybe just by blaming it all on the devil, it was not the pedophile priest doing but the demons. Just goggle it...News have it the devil is alive in the Vatican. A major Exorcist says so, a Gabriel Armoth.
    I think we got trouble right here in the Pembroke Diocese!!

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  6. Anon: The meeting was not publicized (except by me on this blog) and unfolded exactly as I suggested in the initial post. It is not a public relations act... it's a labor relations action to help educate and participate in the development of a right and just way to handle the settlements of the abuse cases. It was a sincere effort on the part of our Diocesan shepherd to strengthen his priests so that we could better minister to those of our parishes.

    Fr. Tim

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  7. Fr. Tim,
    I did re-read your initial post out of respect for you.

    Putting aside my post was address to "Cheers..Martin." After all, it is a free country(so far) and it is your blog Fr. Tim :)

    I was sincerely happy to read your post reply to me, 'that the meeting was a labor relations action to help educate and participate in the development of a right and just way to handle settlements of the abuse cases etc...'

    I am sure all you priests & the Bishop have good intentions for all the clergy abuse victims and all those that are involve including those working in the justice system.
    That does not change my opinion that you Fr. Tim Moyle is or I should say a Bishop's man!...for that matter, all you priests are Bishop's men.
    Your primary concern is protecting the Roman Catholic Church's image/power and the Roman Catholic Church's assets of perpetual wealth. In other words, you are going to do your part in finding a way to pacify your parishioners so you can make sure the money keeps rolling in the collection basket. That is my personal opinion of course.

    Fr. Tim, do not lose sleep over my post here because I am probably the only person in the Pembroke Diocese that thinks this way anyway.

    We are so bless that God is always in controlled!
    Sweet dreams Fr. Tim

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  8. Fr Tim,

    Wonderful response to Martin.

    The thousands of years of tradition and accumulated wisdom, oftimes gained at the expense of human error, points to the reality that God must be guiding his Church.

    What makes our generation so proud as to believe that we are much better than past generations?

    While it may be true that we have progressed in scientific knowledge and technological know-how, I believe that in many respects, humanity has digressed.

    Take for example the inability of highly specialized professionals to use logic-- I am not aiming this at anyone in particular. The lack of ability to reason is something I have observed over the years in dealing with colleagues.

    So while humanity may have advanced in some areas, we are sorely lacking in other perhaps more important ones.

    People no longer take the time to think, the time to be with family, the time to enjoy nature, the time to be with God. Even amongst the young, anxiety disorders are ever on the rise, perhaps due to having spent years (some from birth) hooked to electronic devices (slight exaggeration).

    Still, we cannot just throw away the baby with the tub water when speaking of the ills that plague our society (ergo, the Church). We need pondered wisdom and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to find positive solutions to the deeper underlying problems, not the least of which is the loss of the sense of who we are….

    And it is, I believe, the loss of the sense of sin that has blurred our true identity- For are we not daughters and sons of a loving Father who is ever anxiously watching and waiting for our return home?

    CA

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  9. Hi Tim,
    Thanks for your response. I think you have correctly identified a key question when you ask:

    “Is there truth that can be discerned via revelation (either divine or natural in origin)?”

    I think we can all agree that Truth, via Scripture alone, is impossible. If it were otherwise, there would be no disagreements among Christians. When we look around in the real world, we see absolutely no unanimity among Christians on any “truth” – yet all Christians use the same scriptures (more or less).

    I think we can all agree that winnowing truth from scripture requires adherents to refer to factors, information, or knowledge outside of scriptures.

    You claim that Tradition and the Magisterium are sufficient extra-scriptural resources to determine truth.

    Tradition is the weakest arbiter of the truth. Just because something has always been so, is no guarantee that it is true or correct. I don’t think it is necessary for me to cite examples to prove my point.

    The Magesterium also has a lousy track record on being an accurate arbiter of truth. Were it otherwise, the Magisterium would always be consistent in its teachings about what is true. I have already demonstrated that the Church’s teaching on ensoulment and abortion (key ‘life issues”) has been inconsistent for hundreds of years. If anyone has doubts about the truth of this statement, there are a plethora of other examples that I would be only too happy to cite.

    What are we left with as extra-scriptural resources? Well, reason and science are two excellent options. You may object that science and reason sometimes provide us with incomplete or provisional answers. This is true, however, I have no problem with that. If new facts emerge that more closely align with the real world, then only fools or bigots would ignore this truth.

    I suspect you have a problem with some provisional answers which science provides, because you must maintain the conceit that the Church has a pipeline to the mind, nature and will of god. But it is a conceit. If this conceit were true, you would be accurate over time in all your key truth statements. You are not. Refer to my point above regarding ensoulment and abortion.

    Cheers...Martin

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  10. Martin,
    The Church's role is not to determine science, but to listen to the scientific evidence as it is presented by experts and then make a moral/ethical pronouncement on human acts. I see no incompatibility there. We are constantly growing in our understanding of human nature (as is the Church). The only guarantee the Church has (which we as individuals do not) is that Christ promised that the Holy Spirit would guide her decisions. This does not mean that mistakes cannot be made. However, even if mistakes are made (due to human error), God takes these into account to accomplish His will.
    CA
    p.s. Sorry to intervene :)

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  11. As to ensoulment and abortion ….. it is not a religious but a scientific fact that at the moment of conception, the embryo has an independent genetic package. This has become obvious only once we acquired the scientific know-how to decipher it.

    From the moment of conception the emryo is human, autonomous, and alive. By autonomous, I obviously don’t mean in the same way as an adult, but yes autonomous in its biological mechanisms as long as it receives proper nourishment.

    That a human being can exist independent of its soul at any point in its development while still on this earth is highly unlikely. We can only deduce this from pure observation, as we never see soulless adult humans walking around town.

    However, even it were possible for a body to exist without its soul and still be alive, the killing of a so-called potential human would be just as wrong, or even more wrong, as it would not only be denying the embryo life, but also denying it the possibility of becoming human.
    CA

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  12. "As to ensoulment and abortion ….. it is not a religious but a scientific fact that at the moment of conception, the embryo has an independent genetic package."

    No. It's unique, but it's not independent. But what has that to do with anything? Unique DNA does not have anything to do with whatever this thing is that you're calling a "soul" -- the existence of which is definitely in dispute.

    "...autonomous in its biological mechanisms as long as it receives proper nourishment."

    No, not autonomous, even with "proper nourishment." It needs the complete support -- and therefore the permission of its host body - the woman.

    "...we never see soulless adult humans walking around town."

    Really? Would you care to describe someone's soul? What size/color/shape is it? What's it made of? Can you accessorize it? Style it? Does it sing or dance or do any other tricks?

    What, precisely, IS a "soul?" In your opinion.

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  13. Great points Lady Janus! By soul I mean "life force". Obviously, a "soul" cannot be seen, as it is spiritual. Without it, we would be corpes. This is what happens at death. Separation of body and soul.

    As to the embryo being "independent", I only meant in its purely instrinsic chemical processes. This has to be studied from the perspective of biological embryology at the cellular and chemical reactions level and is way too complex to explain on a blog.
    Yes, you are right, the DNA of the embryo is unique, and for this reason independent, meaning, not part of another's body, even though needing the other's body for nourishment. Our bodies are our own and unique right from the start, and the fact that we are alive right from the start, must mean that we have a life force, must mean that we have a soul.
    That is my only point, and humble opinion, but you are free to disagree.
    CA

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  14. Hi CA,

    My point was not whether there is, or is not, a soul. My point was not to discuss at what point in human development the soul allegedly enters the body.

    My point was to simply point out that the Church was inconsistent in its teaching on ensoulment. You illustrate my point perfectly when you now cite scientific knowledge as a reason to support the Church's current teaching - that ensoulment happens at the moment of conception.

    If the Church were truly the recipient of divine revelation, then it realy should have known this basic "fact" right from the start. Why would god leave his Church so ignorant on this basic "fact" for so very long (via scripture or some other vehicle of divine revelation)? Why would your god allow so many people to gravely sin when the stakes are so high?

    If the Church must look to scientific knowledge to justify its current teachings, then it is an implicit acknowledgement that divine revelation by itself is an insufficient basis for knowing the truth.

    The implications are clear: if the Church was wrong about ensoulment and abortion, then it can be equally wrong about other "life issues" i.e. the inherent nature of a homosexual person.

    If the Church was willing to correct its teachings on ensoulment and abortion by referring to scientific knowledge, then why is it reluctant to do so when it comes to defining the inherent nature of a homosexual person? Why is the Church's teaching on homosexuality inconsistent with psychology's findings on homosexuality? How do you rationalize referring to science on some matters, while ignoring it on other matters?

    Cheers...Martin

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  15. Martin,
    As far as I know, the Church has always maintained that abortion is a moral evil. The only thing that has changed is our understanding of biology and the fact that we are not just "blobs" of matter at conception. This does not change anything, except make the wrongness of abortion even more self-evident.

    As to homosexuality, our understanding of it is changing too. Whereas in the past people with same-sex attraction may have been put down as degenerates, today we have a clearer basis for questioning whether there may not be a psychological basis for the development of this attraction. I am less inclined than you are to believe that this attraction is innate. I say this because of the reading I have done, but perhaps you have a different experience.
    I am currently reading some material by Dr Satinover, and despite the fact that his name has been repeatedly maligned, his analysis of homosexuality is compelling. Basically, he distinguishes between the "movement" and "persons". As I have not yet finished the book, I cannot tell you more.
    Suffice it to say, that my tendency to believe his conclusion that same-sex attraction is reversible comes from experience I have dealing with someone who has been dealing with his "situation" as though it were a compulsion. If one cannot say "no" to sex, then there is a compulsion, and one is not entirely free. This leads me to believe that it is not entirely normal.
    CA

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  16. "...we are alive right from the start, must mean that we have a life force, must mean that we have a soul."

    I don't get how you go from A to 6 to blue. You still haven't defined what a "soul" is. I have a life force -- it's called a personality. I have no idea what you mean by "soul."

    And no, "unique" and "independent" are not interchangeable. When something is attached to, and completely dependent upon, another's body for its survival, it is NOT independent.

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  17. Lady Janus,

    I think you and I are not using the term “independent” in the same way. A 1 year old also is not “independent”, in the sense you mean, but his/her body continues to grow given the right nourishment and loving care.
    In the same way fertilization sets an entire genetically “pre-programmed” chemical and biological development in motion. Mind you, the embryo needs the mother’s body. Yet the same program could also be set in motion inside a Petri-dish, and someone could theoretically grow inside a surrogate Petri Womb.---

    Here is an interesting website on the inner workings of the embryo:

    http://www.indiana.edu/~anat550/embryo_main/

    http://www.indiana.edu/~anat550/genanim/latfold/index.html


    As to “soul”, there are different understandings of what it is that makes us who we are. Certainly our personality is part of who we are, but if you were to have an accident followed by a personality change, would you not still be who you are?
    The “soul” is a metaphysical reality. It is that “spiritual” part of us that remains unchanged as time goes on. It is the immaterial part of the person, and comprises the personality but is not limited by it. It is the invisible animating principle of the body.

    Thomas Aquinas would explain it much better.

    CA

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  18. Hi CA,

    You write: "As far as I know, the Church has always maintained that abortion is a moral evil. The only thing that has changed is our understanding of biology..."

    While the Church appears to have always claimed abortion is a sin, it has not always taught that it is a grave sin. You are wrong - more than our understanding of biology has changed over the years - your Church's teachings on this matter have changed as well. Why? Because the Church's teaching on ensoulment has ranged anywhere from 40 to 116 days. Your Church is ignorant of even the most basic spritual "facts". Hardly a portent of divine knowledge, wouldn't you say?

    So to recap this long thread, I presume we are all agreed on the following points:

    1. Scripture alone is unsufficient to determine truth;
    2. Tradition is a weak arbiter of truth; and
    3. The Magisterium are often wrong on matters of doctrine.

    Given all of the above, your only argument with me now appears to be your preference for Dr. Satinover's version of the homosexual nature of man versus actual peer reviewed social science.

    Now I call that progress!

    As for Satinover's hypothesis, I will not argue his views here. Whether homosexuality is "chosen" or innate is immaterial. Bottom line - homosexuals exist and they are no more inherently inclined toward moral evil than heterosexuals.

    Cheers...Martin

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  19. One last point CA - many religious folks want to tell homosexuals that they "choose" their "lifestyle". Besides being offensive, I presume this inclination to tell other people how they experience their sexuality is to either:

    a) make an argument that homosexuality is just a "behaviour" rather than an "orientation"; or
    b) to suggest that homosexuality is not an innate characteristic (like race) and therefore not worthy of protection under the law.

    My response is that religion is also not an innate characteristic (like race) and yet these same religious folks expect/demand that their religious choices be protected under the law.

    Homosexuals demand no less.

    Cheers...Martin

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  20. "A 1 year old also is not “independent”, in the sense you mean..."

    Yes it is. A one-year-old is not physically attached to a host body, so it is independent. That is precisely the sense I mean.

    "...if you were to have an accident followed by a personality change, would you not still be who you are?"

    You would be who you are, but the definition of "who you are" would have changed along with your personality.

    "Metaphysical" is not a good word to use when trying to nail down a definition of something: adjective: "highly abstract and over-theoretical." When the definition itself needs to be defined, you need to try again. I don't know what the word means to you, but it means nothing to me.

    As for "spirituality," I know that mine has changed and matured over the years, so if you're trying to define a soul as something that never changes, that's not it, either.

    And no, Aquinas didn't nail it down, either. But I will give you points for trying. ;D

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  21. Martin, I'd jump in and "help" with your discussion, but you're doing better than fine all by yourself! Very, very good points!

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  22. "As far as I know, the Church has always maintained that abortion is a moral evil."

    Ah...not true. The church of today might say that that is the way it has always been, but that would put the church of today in direct opposition to history. Not that that would surprise me in any way.

    A lot of confusion would be cleared away like underbrush in a tinder-dry forest if the church of today were to say simply, "Our opinions of the past are in the past; what we now think is _____, and this is why..." and go on from there. Instead of trying to amalgamate the past and present and then justify by claiming erroneously that that's the way it always was -- all evidence to the contrary -- what needs to happen now if the church is to survive is a clean slate, clear definitions, and specific and crystal clear explanations.

    People are not stupid, and we are creatures of habit. If they catch you in a lie once, they will assume you've lied before and will do it again.

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  23. Martin,

    If our main source of truth is peer reviewed science, we will often be feel disappointment if not betrayal in our search for Truth. I write Truth with a capital (T), because the sum of all truth cannot be reduced to scientific experimentation. There are transcendental realities that will never be captured under the lens of a microscope.

    For example, the morality of human acts can never be measured scientifically. Even behavioural science in itself is complex and cannot be reduced to mere experimentation.
    To reduce man to a biological entity is to deny that he has free will and the ability to change. It is to enslave him to genetic predetermination.

    Also, when it comes to scientific endeavour, today’s hypothesis is often tomorrow’s error. As the science surrounding human behaviour is complex, so is our understanding of human love and sexuality.

    One of the most beautiful books I have read is “The Return of the Prodigal Son” by Henri Nouwen. Only recently did I find out that he had to struggle all his life with same-sex attraction. His biography may be a worthwhile read.
    http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/4673.htm

    http://www.wedgewoodbaptist.com/pdfs/Nouwen%20biography%20BOOK%20REVIEW.pdf


    Jean Vanier has also written many beautiful things about human love and sexuality. He has said that the prevalence of loneliness and isolation in our society is fertile ground for sexual disintegration.


    Vanier’s experience can be affirmed both through personal experience and psychology.

    “ At the root of … disordered manifestations of genital sexuality, Vanier argues that there is a wounded heart that is crying out for a relationship. He says that to become fully human many human needs must be fulfilled. Specifically related to sexuality, which is at the core of man’s being, Vanier speaks of the need for friendships, boundaries, and real fecundity in one’s life (not just biological fecundity but, for example, service to others and the sharing and developing of one’s gifts). Other needs integral to the process of integration are a sense of belonging, a meaningful job or daily activity where one can share his gifts, a home to call one’s own, friends to share meals with, a community in which to share the spiritual dimensions of life, and meaningful times of celebration- celebration is at the heart of L’Arche. Fulfillment of these needs correspond to man’s heart in Vanier’s anthropology. Sexuality, for Vanier, has a real depth in man and therefore, many factors are involved in its healing and maturation. Without real friendships or personal projects which challenge the members of L’Arche to grow, Vanier has noticed that “violence erupts, and the desire for genital sexuality is manifested.”
    http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/may/heartofthings.htm

    I think the above can apply to any one of us. What I have been reading points to the fact that many men are initiated into the homosexual lifestyle by someone they trust at an early age. Emptiness and loneliness can also play a factor in sexual disintegration. Simply put, sexual gratification can be confused with the deep desire in the human heart to be loved and to love in return. And yet this desire will never be satiated in a physical manner, because its true source is spiritual hunger.

    Sorry for all the philo Martin. By the way, the Church has never been wrong on matters of doctrine in anything touching on faith and morals. We had Christ's promise, and so far He has kept his Word! :)
    CA

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  24. Sorry Lady Janus,
    But I will not be able to respond to all your comments (time restrictions). However, it surprises me that someone as smart as you ( you do claim to be a witch and master) would have a problem understanding "soul" as that which animates a living body.
    Also, while a 1 year old is not attached to a woman's body, if you leave him alone without proper care, that child will eventually perish. I did look up some of your preferred sites and noted the one called "Abortioneer". I presume you have an armamentum of arguments to justify the taking of innocent life?
    Do take care!
    CA

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  25. Don't bother apologizing, CA. If you're not going to answer my points then simply don't answer. You had enough time to start this; you'll either finish it or run away.

    I don't know what you think my being a Witch has to do with the definition of a "soul." Apparently you think you know what a Witch is, so you think you know what I know. Try again? Oh. Right. That time thing...

    A child is not attached to a woman's body, and is therefore independent of that body. I've never said anything about leaving him alone. That's your definition, not mine.

    And I don't need to "justify" anything, especially when it comes to a woman's choice. There is no "innocent life." If a woman chooses to allow it, there is a fetus. If she does not, there is not. Nothing to "justify."

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  26. Hi CA,

    You write: "If our main source of truth is peer reviewed science, we will often be feel disappointment if not betrayal in our search for Truth."

    As I have already stated, science is self-correcting over time. Science may make errors. I have no problem with this. If I obtain better facts, I would be either a fool or a bigot to hang on to my previous version of "truth". Why are you so relunctant to abandon foolishness or bigotry?

    You then state: "What I have been reading points to the fact that many men are initiated into the homosexual lifestyle by someone they trust at an early age."

    Kindly cite a source for this assertion. This has been a hypothesis for homosexuality which has been thoroughly discredited. You really do need to read material outside your comfort zone. If your primary sources are Satinover, Reker, and Paul Cameron, I am not surprised that you are unaware of what science knows about what causes, and does not cause, homosexuality.

    You also write: "By the way, the Church has never been wrong on matters of doctrine in anything touching on faith and morals."

    Wrong. As I have pointed out ad nauseum, the Church was wrong on ensoulment and abortion. These two related doctrines are allegedly the backbone of the "culture of life" within your Church.

    To cling to scripture, tradition, and the Magisterium as sufficient arbiters of truth is to invite constant disonance between reality and your Church's doctrine. For many of us, that is truly a source of "disappointment".

    Cheers...Martin

    ReplyDelete
  27. Lady Janus,
    OK don't get upset ... I really don't have much time ... but enough to say this:
    You say:
    "If a woman chooses to allow it, there is a fetus. If she does not, there is not. Nothing to "justify." "
    Now ... how scientific is that??
    CA

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  28. Martin,
    I don't think "ensoulment" is a matter of faith and morals. It is a hypothesis. When it takes place can never be proven by hard science. The Church has always maintained that abortion is wrong.
    As to homosexuality, if you are really open minded, I invite you to read up on the 1973 changes that were forcefully made to the psychiatric nomenclature EVEN before there were any studies to justify such a radical change. If "science" is dictated by political will rather than hard facts, then I believe it has become "pseudoscience", not science at all.
    Here is an interesting article for you...
    "Ex-homosexuals protest APA’s view of homosexuality"
    http://www.gofbw.com/news.asp?ID=6318

    The APA removed homosexuality from the list of recognized mental disorders (DSM) in 1973, a decision some suggest was motivated by pressure from homosexual advocacy groups without regard for accurate scientific research. See LifeSiteNews.com coverage: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/feb/06020902.html

    Martin, you probably will not be open to this. I wonder why?

    CA

    ReplyDelete
  29. Again, if you are truly seeking truth, check this out, then we can talk.

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2006/feb/06020902.html

    NARTH Report Shows Gay Activist Influence on Mental Health Organizations
    Says society that promotes homosexuality results in more self-identified homosexuals

    CA

    ReplyDelete
  30. "Now ... how scientific is that??"

    What does "science" have to do with anything?

    ReplyDelete
  31. Lady Janus,
    Again... you say:
    "If a woman chooses to allow it, there is a fetus. If she does not, there is not...."

    How can just "choosing" something make it real? If you are pregnant, you are pregnant, if you are not, you are not. Maybe I have just misunderstood what you are trying to say?
    CA

    ReplyDelete
  32. You absolutely misunderstand. I'm right now trying to figure out whether or not you do it deliberately.

    If a woman chooses to allow it, a fetus may remain in her uterus. Or not.

    Did you really need my drawing you a map?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Lady J,

    According to you, when exactly does a 'fetus' become a child ?

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi CA,

    You write: "I don't think "ensoulment" is a matter of faith and morals. It is a hypothesis."

    What a neat (albeit somewhat inept) dodge of the issue. Unfortunately, this is simply not true. Whether ensoulment occurs at conception, at 40 days, at 60 days or at 116 days has a material impact on when an abortion might be conducted without "grave sin". After all, your Church is making abortion a defining issue of what it means to be a Catholic in the 21st Century. Remember - I am not challenging the content of the Church's "hypothesis" in this area, I am simply pointing out that its teachings have been inconsistent over time. The Church's teachings on ensoulment and abortion cannot all be true. Logically, zero days does not equal 116 days. This is not spin on my part, but a fact grounded in reality.

    For you to repeatedly fail to address this point is a disservice to your arguments. For you to triumphantly declare that the Church is always right on questions of faith and morals, yet fail to reconcile this glaring contradiction, looks like intellectual dishonesty to me.

    To absolve your Church of this contradiction, you now seem to be suggesting that ensoulment and abortion are no longer matters of faith or morals. I am fine with that position, however, I gently point our that it logically and necessarily means that Catholics may ignore the Church's current teachings in this area in favour of their own consciences. In fact, it means that Catholics may comfortably discard the Church's arrogant assertion that it is somehow the recipient of divine revelation.

    As for your tempest in a teapot over how the APA removed homosexuality from the DSM in 1973, I offer some relevant observations:

    a) The addition of homosexuality to the DSM in the first place was never supported by credible science;
    b) Homosexuality was removed using due process established by the APA. That the losers in the argument are sore about this matter is hardly surprising.
    c) Repeated attempts to re-classify homosexuality as a disease since 1973 have never been successful because the supporting arguments have no scientific merit.
    d) If the anti-gay establishment wants to wage anything other than a propaganda war on this point, they will need real credible science.

    Moreover, most folks who actually know homosexual persons, intuitively understand that sexuality is not a mental disease. To your horror, more men and women are coming out of the closet and lo and behold: ordinary folks are discovering that homosexuals are our neighbours, our colleagues, our friends, our doctors, our nurses, our priests, our ministers, our bankers, our bakers, our elected representatives, our coaches and the loving and capable parents of their children.

    Because I am a reasonable guy, and because you have so gamely attempted to defend your Church's deplorable stance on homosexuality, I will offer you a hint on how you might advance your position: Make an appeal to Natural Law.

    Since you cannot establish scripture, tradition, or the Magesterium as reliable arbiters of Truth, Natural Law is the only other direction I can see available to you.

    I await your response.

    Cheers...Martin

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  35. "...when exactly does a 'fetus' become a child ?"

    Exactly when the umbilical cord is severed at birth.

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  36. "...folks are discovering that homosexuals are..."

    Er, you forgot to add, "their own children."

    There is nothing aberrant about homosexuality. Every know species of animal contains a certain percentage of sexual interraction between members of the same gender, particularly among the males. When arguing with someone who believes that God "created" everything, it's sometimes helpful to point out that since God created homosexuality, they are insulting their own god by denying and attempting to destroy one of his gifts.

    I did say that you were doing just fine, and that I wasn't going to "help," but I couldn't resist.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thanks Lady Janus. I should have written "own children".

    Cheers...Martin

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi CA,

    When arguing against Equal Marriage and civil rights for homosexuals in the public square, the Church invariably bases those arguments on “Natural Law”. There are some legitimate, and some less “charitable” reasons why this is so:

    On the legitimate side of the ledger – the Church is attempting to appeal to a wide audience who may or may not share its scriptural interpretations, or hold to the supremacy of the Church’s Magisterium. This is smart public relations. If I were to council the Church on a communications strategy, I would endorse such an approach.

    On the less “charitable” side of the ledger – the Church does not want to alienate Protestants who believe that scripture alone (sola scriptura) is sufficient to determine the truth. The Church knows that scripture is a poor arbiter of the truth and that it requires interpretation. Why open up old wounds and old theological debates over the issue of homosexuality? But the other reason that the Church does not wish to begin the debate with references to scripture, tradition, and the Magisterium is because they are afraid that the debate will focus on such things. This gives critics such as myself the opportunity to point out all of the flaws in believing that scripture, tradition, and the Magisterium are adequate arbiters of truth. It is much too messy to have the Church’s own historical record thrown in its face. This is precisely what I have done in repeatedly pointing to the Church’s inconsistent teachings on ensoulment and abortion.

    So what is Natural Law and why is it a good (or not good) basis to argue against the rights of homosexuals?

    Natural Law is a big philosophical construct that has many branches of thought. I cannot examine all of them in this blog entry, so I will focus on the version that the Church holds to – namely the version put forward by St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologica. Essentially, Natural Law is discernable by people when they examine nature, and therefore it has validity everywhere. It can be used to critique human laws. In other words, whatever is in accord with nature’s law is good or just. Aquinas believed that what is good (i.e. what perfects or completes the nature of man) is good, while evil corrupts or thwarts the perfection or completion of man’s nature. Aquinas’ primary precept is that we should seek what is good and avoid what is evil.

    This view of Natural Law has some big problems for the modern thinker. Firstly, it assumes that there is a natural law giver (for Catholics this is GOD). Anyone who is an atheist, an agnostic or even a strict deist will dismiss Natural Law because they reject the foundational premise – that there is a natural law giver who intends us to read His law in nature. In philosophy, we call this the “is / ought” problem or fallacy. Just because something “is” in nature in no way compels us to believe that this is how things “ought” to be.

    For the non-theist, Natural Law is simply a way for theists to smuggle GOD into the debate without the baggage and contradictions of scripture, tradition and the Magisterium.

    See part two

    ReplyDelete
  39. Part three...
    Let’s say that none of this matters to the Catholic believer. Let’s say that their version of Natural Law is their version – and that they will accept their Church’s interpretation of it and insist that secular society reflect this in all of its laws. After all, might is right, and if some Catholics can convince enough voters to go along with them, then democracy is satisfied and homos be damned!

    So how should the rest of us respond? Well, we might point out that the Church is inconsistent in its application of Natural Law. How so? The Church encourages and sanctions the behaviour of all kinds of people who break the Catholic understanding of Natural Law when:

    a) The Church marries infertile straight couples;
    b) The Church marries couples with no intention of procreating;
    c) The Church does not insist that straight couples outside the Church, who practice contraception, be banned from marriage;
    d) The Church does not insist that straight couples outside the Church, who are infertile, be banned from marriage;
    e) The Church encourages men and women to live in celibacy;

    All of these states and behaviours are also in contravention of the Catholic notion Natural Law.

    Bottom line folks – Natural Law is a nice theory, but it is just that – a theory. It requires a whole set of assumptions, beliefs and interpretations that are every bit as problematic as scripture, tradition and the Magisterium. It is not a convincing argument, but rather a cheap attempt to smuggle GOD and religion into the conversation about homosexuality without the burden of having to defend the contradictions of scripture, tradition, and the Magisterium.

    Cheers….Martin

    ReplyDelete
  40. Part Two...

    So let us assume for a moment that there is a natural law giver (i.e. GOD). How can we know which things perfect or complete our nature? Firstly, there is no universal agreement on what perfects the nature of man. This is open to interpretation, and one’s interpretation will unavoidably be coloured by one’s own culture, by one’s own world view, and/or one’s own religious beliefs.

    For example, some Catholics believe that marriage can only occur between one man and one woman and must be necessarily ordered toward procreation and the raising of children. Nature confirms this because the biology of men and women appears to accommodate the reproduction of children. Raising children in a stable family produces social goods…so all of this must be ordained by nature and by GOD.

    The counter-argument might be that nature also produces homosexual persons. If so, then what completes or perfects the nature of a homosexual person? A homosexual marriage stabilizes a homosexual relationship and provides the possibility for the nurturing of children (either by assisted reproduction, surrogacy, or adoption). This family also produces social goods…so all of this must be ordained by nature and by GOD (for it is also part of man’s nature to create and use symbols, tools, knowledge etc.. to improve his life).

    Some may object that homosexuality is not created by nature and therefore enjoys no blessing by nature. This is why so many anti-gay bigots insist that homosexuality is a behaviour or a choice – that it is not and cannot be an innate characteristic. They may well be right – we do not know for sure. At this point in time, all that science can tell us is that homosexuality may or may not have a biological basis, and that it may or may not be environmentally influenced.

    The homosexual might respond that homosexuality occurs throughout many animal species, and therefore it is entirely reasonable to assume that nature intends for homosexuality to be a natural variant of animal sexuality. If this assertion is true, then this lends incredible weight to acceptance of homosexuality. Ah….but the anti-gay bigot will claim that nature permits all kind of defects to exist in its creatures, and we cannot say that such defects or disease complete or prefect those creatures. And you know what? - IF homosexuality is a defect or a disease, then perhaps the antigay bigots are correct. And this is why we see folks like Dr. Satinover desperately trying to have homosexuality re-classified as a mental disease in the DSM.

    But what is a disease or defect? Essentially – something that harms, debilitates or kills the bearer of the disease or defect. Is homosexuality such a thing? Simply – no. There is nothing inherent about homosexuality that necessarily harms, debilitates or kills the bearer. Some activities of some homosexuals may be harmful to them – but this is also true of heterosexuals.

    See part three...

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  41. Martin...*wow*...that was elegant! I'm in awe...

    ReplyDelete
  42. Martin: Thank you. Your recent spate of posts demonstrate your intellect and charity and I am very grateful.

    Having said that, you know that I'm going to follow it up by saying that I disagree with some of what you write - and again you would be correct.

    1. The question of ensoulment is a red herring. Yes the Church has changed it position over the years on this issue. Yes this has resulted in a variety of positions on the question of abortion. However, the church has consistently said that once a human life is infused with a soul (whenever that is) the resultant being is granted an inviolate right to life. Do we agree on this point?

    2. The issue of God somehow infusing knowledge directly into the church is another nonsensical argument. You know that this is not how the RC Church has developed dogma. There is no one sitting by the 'God phone' in the Vatican waiting for the next installment of 'truth'. Your reference to natural law demonstrates that you understand the truth of this point as all.

    3. You are demanding a level of perfection of the Church's understanding that you do not demand of science or any other body of knowledge. Why? Is it because the Church claims to speak authoritatively on matters of faith and morals?

    4. On a strictly logical basis - homosexuality is not a biological survival strategy that works. IF one were to use Natural Law, the absolute impossibility of gay sex to procreate would seem in itself to it is a manifestation of a deviance strategy doomed to terminate the genetic lineage (please - you know I am not using this term in any moral sense and intend no insult - I ask you not to take offense with the term). Yes the church marries older (sterile) couples, but you neglect the fact that a valid and licit marriage requires the capacity of both parties to be capable of completing the sex act... thus maintaining the possibility (albeit infinitesimally small) of conception - remember the Abraham/Sarah and Zacharius/Elizabeth accounts of 'sterile' couples conceiving and giving birth from scripture.

    Enough for now. I eagerly await your responses

    Tim

    P.S. THANK YOU as well to CA for his/her role in this discussion. I'm sure you would want to congratulate him/her for her/his perseverance and depth of thought on these issues

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  43. Fr Tim,
    Other than the Immaculate Conception, I am unaware of any official Church teaching (Dogma) on ensoulment, though I could be wrong about this.
    Thanks for the kind words.
    CA

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  44. Hi Martin,

    Just a few last thoughts, and then I must to move on.

    I could tell from your previous posts that you must be very intelligent, which is why I did not bother with the natural law theory. I suspected that you knew it already and either agreed with it, and if not, could refute it. So no real use wasting my time.

    On another note, I really don’t understand why you must resort to calling people who disagree with your theories “bigots”. That is most unfair. We are not here to call each other names, and no one is accusing you of being an anti-RCC bigot for some of your remarks.

    Having said that, perhaps you have suffered greatly in life, because you sound quite bitter. I bear you no ill will.

    Martin, your original post, if you remember, was a query directed to any homosexual priest out there. Thus I suggested that you read Henri Nouwen’s works, and yet you seem uninterested.

    Just to clarify about Satinover, you will be surprised to know that he does not believe that homosexuality is a disease or illness anymore say, than “narcissism” or “nastiness” can be considered to have organic roots.

    The question Satinover explores in his book is whether or not same-sex attraction is a desirable trait. Some people with ss attraction are unhappy about it, but when they seek help, they are simply told that they have “internalized homophobia”. There is no scientific evidence for such a “condition”. Also, it creates circular thinking. “I suffer from ss attraction, but this is due to the fact that I have a phobia about having ss attraction”. It just does not make any sense.

    Moreover, Satinover looks at medical facts to support his thesis that homosexual acts are not desirable:
    --5 to 10 year decrease in life expectancy
    -- chronic potentially fatal hepatitis
    --esophageal cancer
    --pneumonia
    Etc etc .. Satinover lists a series of medical conditions, aside from HIV AIDS.

    All I can say, is that all the AIDS cases I saw while training in a hospital in the late 80s were young homosexual males, dying a horrible death of Kaposi’s Sarcoma. The only female case I witnessed was a young girl who had been an IV drug user.


    Satinover says that what surprised him and other healthcare professionals most was that even once it became evident that HIV AIDS was contracted almost entirely via anal intercourse, the homosexual lobbyists denied any link between homosexual acts and this horrible disease, and continued to push for the rights to promote this dangerous lifestyle.

    Satinover also explains something I had not considered. While he believes it was good that ss attraction was removed from the psychiatric nomenclature, that same nomenclature categorization did give the homosexual some protection against being harrassed about suffering from an entirely moral disorder.
    In other words, if the person could be said to be incapacitated by an “inability to choose” due to psychological factors, then it protected him from being accused of being morally depraved.

    You may ask yourself why I am so interested in this topic. I have a close relative whom I love dearly and who suffers greatly (I won’t say more).

    Martin, I don’t have time to look into all your other well-made points, but will only answer to this one:
    re: fertile Catholic couples who marry with the intention of remaining childless, the Church does not recognize this to be a valid marriage.

    Take care!!
    CA

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  45. CA,

    Most of Tim's commenters seem like interesting people. Of all of them, you are the one I would most like to meet in person and I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels that way.

    If you ever make it to So Cal, consider dropping me a line. We'll go downtown and sit in the Sun by the beach. I'll spring for a sandwich and beer.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Flattered reddog, but my full name is CA the Cat. :)

    ReplyDelete
  47. FR Tim,
    I need to rectify something I posted to Martin in my last post. When commenting on Satinover's writings, the disease risks Satinover lists first (and which I inadvertently copied) had to do with alcoholism:
    --5 to 10 year decrease in life expectancy
    -- chronic potentially fatal hepatitis
    --esophageal cancer
    --pneumonia
    He then makes a comparison between alcoholism (as being undesirable) and homosexuality also as being undesirable due to higher than normal risk factors for disease, which are:
    - 25 to 30 year decrease in life expectancy
    -chronic, potentially fatal, liver disease- infectious hepatitis, which increases the risk of liver cancer.
    -inevitably fatal immune disease including associated cancers.
    -frequently fatal rectal cancer.
    -multiple bowel and other infectious diseases.
    -a much higher than usual incidence of suicide.
    -a very low likelihood that adverse effects can be eliminated unless the condition itself is.
    -an at least 50% likelihood of being eliminated through lengthy, often costly, and very time-consuming treatment in an otherwise unselected group of sufferers....

    And he concludes... if you had a family member who suffered from such a "condition" no matter whether it involved some genetic factors or not, would you not want to help this person to change their behaviour?

    CA

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  48. Tim you write:

    "Yes the Church has changed it position over the years on this issue. Yes this has resulted in a variety of positions on the question of abortion."

    Then logically some of its teachings were wrong. They cannot all be correct.

    "The issue of God somehow infusing knowledge directly into the church is another nonsensical argument."

    I agree that it is nonsense that God infuses knowledge into the Church. There is no evidence that the Church's understanding of anything is greater than what humanity knows at any given point in time. In fact, the Church is often dragged kicking and screaming into modernity by new human understanding.

    "You are demanding a level of perfection of the Church's understanding that you do not demand of science or any other body of knowledge. Why? Is it because the Church claims to speak authoritatively on matters of faith and morals?"

    In short - yes. If you are going to claim that you are the recipient of divine revelation, then I am going to expect that this "fact" manifests itself in superior knowledge. If the Church is no better at arriving at truth than any other secular institution, then why should we believe its claims about being guided by divine revelation? After all, scripture tells us we are to know a tree by its fruit (no pun intended).

    "On a strictly logical basis - homosexuality is not a biological survival strategy that works. IF one were to use Natural Law, the absolute impossibility of gay sex to procreate would seem in itself to it is a manifestation of a deviance strategy doomed to terminate the genetic lineage..."

    Well celibacy is not a good strategy to esnure continuation of the species either. But homosexuals are not insisting the everyone be gay. And the Church is not insisting that everyone be celibate. There is room enough for many modes of being.

    Just because homosexuality does not appear to confer a reproductive advantage, does not imply that is necessarily a disadvantage either. Some variations are simply neutral - like brown hair instead of blond or red.

    "But you neglect the fact that a valid and licit marriage requires the capacity of both parties to be capable of completing the sex act..."

    I ignore it in a discussion about Natural Law because it is irrelevant to Natural Law. Nature does not tell us anything about licit marriages. It does not say that polygamy is inferior to monogamy, it does not tell us that property rights must be decided in manner A versus manner B. Marriage is a human construct. How you choose to define it is entirely rooted in your tradition and religion. That is one of the inherent weaknesses of a Natural Law argument - it is subject to interpretation.

    Cheers...Martin

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  49. CA writes:

    "Having said that, perhaps you have suffered greatly in life, because you sound quite bitter. I bear you no ill will."

    I have suffered no more and no less than others. I also personally bear you no ill will, however, I find some of your views reprehensible. Having said that, an otherwise good person may have some reprehensible views.

    You write: "Satinover says that what surprised him and other healthcare professionals most was that even once it became evident that HIV AIDS was contracted almost entirely via anal intercourse, the homosexual lobbyists denied any link between homosexual acts and this horrible disease, and continued to push for the rights to promote this dangerous lifestyle."

    Anal intercourse is also practiced by straight people, but I would never use that as an argument to argue that straight people should be denied rights, or considered inferior in any way.

    As for HIV/AIDS - while it disproportionately affects gay men in North America, it is overwhelmingly a disease that affects straight sub-saharan Africans. Again, I would never use the presence of this disease in that population to argue that they should be accorded fewer rights, or be considered inferior in any way.

    HIV/AIDS is transmitted by unsafe sexual practices, regardless of the orientation of the person engaged in the unsafe sexual practice.

    There is no sexual act committed by a homosexual couple that is also not performed by many straight couples. Just like hetoerosexuals, there are a great variety of sexual activities practiced. It might surprise you that all gay men do not practice or enjoy anal intercourse.

    While various sex acts may carry risks, you and Dr. Satinover try to demonize a sexual minority with the presence of these risks.

    For the record, I have never called you a bigot....but I certainly see some of your views as bigoted. Just like some Christians, I love the person, but I hate the bigotry. If that makes me bitter, then I suppose I am in good company...no?

    Cheers...Martin

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  50. Martin: Would you please contact me via my email address at your earliest convenience? I have a private matter that I wish to put to you for your advice and consideration.
    Thanks.
    Tim

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  51. I don't know if anybody has done any reliable studies on this subject but I've never found among homosexuals I have known that they have fewer children than heterosexuals or were less likely to spend considerable time engaged in marriages to members of the opposite sex.

    I'm not even convinced that Catholic priests have fewer children than the norm. Many manage to have considerably more. I bet the Big Pole had a slew, as did his friend Fr Maciel.

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  52. "...if you had a family member who suffered from such a "condition" no matter whether it involved some genetic factors or not, would you not want to help this person to change their behaviour?"

    Depends. Does the family member want to change his behavior? If he does not want to change, no, I'm not going to force it. And neither should anyone else.

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  53. Lady Janus,
    I couldn't agree with you more about the fact that no one should ever be forced to change if they do not want to. Sad part is, those who do want help have a very very difficult time finding anyone to provide that help, and this due to political correctness.
    I wonder why we do not put the same energy and skill into helping someone with sexual addiction as we do in helping an alcoholic overcome addiction to drink. Just wondering.
    Any thoughts?
    CA

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  54. Martin,
    I apologize... Perhaps because of some of your words I assumed you believed me to be a bigot, which I am not and hope to never be.
    I think you are reducing my statements to a "rights" issue, and this is unfortunate. I like to think of it more as a true “caring-for-the-person” issue. Does an alcoholic have a “right” to drink?
    Even if we reduce this to a “rights” issue, I see it very differently. You see the problem we discussed as a right to a certain lifestyle, while I see it a right for those who no longer want that lifestyle to obtain support and help to change their lives. While you may not see this necessity, I have met people who do. Problem is … there is no one who will dare to help. Support is scarce to null.
    Even if a person is told they are normal, the fact is, deep down some realize that there is addiction. And where there is addiction, there is no real freedom.
    As to disease, a far, far greater percentage of homosexual men practice anal intercourse than do heterosexual couples. This is for obvious reasons. Please do not take offence at this. It is just a reality that many more young men who practice homosexual acts die of AIDS at younger ages than their heterosexual counterparts.
    Glad you are not bitter -- see how we can misread people when we do not talk to face to face? :)
    CA

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  55. Hi CA,

    Your arguments are nonsense on stilts:

    "I like to think of it more as a true “caring-for-the-person” issue. Does an alcoholic have a “right” to drink?"

    This is a false analogy. Alcoholism is a defect because it necessarily causes harm, while homosexuality most certainly is not.

    "I see it a right for those who no longer want that lifestyle to obtain support and help to change their lives. While you may not see this necessity, I have met people who do. Problem is … there is no one who will dare to help. Support is scarce to null."

    The primary reason that anyone wanting to change their sexual orientation is going to find it difficult to find treatment is because respectable psychologists know that conversion therapies do not work, and that such treatments may in fact be harmful.

    For those who wish to "pray the gay away" they are certainly welcome to that strategy - and I am sure there is no shortage of pastors and priests who are only too happy to oblige.

    "Even if a person is told they are normal, the fact is, deep down some realize that there is addiction."

    You conflate sexual addiction with homosexuality. This is not correct. Sexual addiction (if it in fact exists) affects both gays and straights.

    "As to disease, a far, far greater percentage of homosexual men practice anal intercourse than do heterosexual couples. "

    Kindly cite your source for this statement. I have seen nothing that is methodogically sound that proves this point. Regardless, both straights and gays may practice anal sex safely with condoms and lubricants. Funny how anti-gay bigotry focusses on gay men, entirely ignoring lesbians who in fact have a extremely low incidence of HIV/AIDS.

    "Please do not take offence at this. It is just a reality that many more young men who practice homosexual acts die of AIDS at younger ages than their heterosexual counterparts."

    Again, kindly cite your source. I have seen no methodogically sound studies to support this assertion. In fact, with improved treatments, many people who suffer from HIV/AIDS live almost full lifespans.

    You have once again picked up all of the Republican/Anti-gay talking points while ignoring my central point:

    Why do you attempt to vilify homosexuals and deny them rights because you think that they suffer more diseases, but you do not argue for the curtailment of rights for straight sub-saharan Africans for the same reason?

    If the presence of disease in any population or sub-population is a rational reason to deny them human rights - then it must be applied consistently. Where is your animus towards sub-saharan Africans with HIV/AIDS?

    Where is it for Jews who suffer disproportionately from Tae Sachs disease?

    Where is it for balcks who suffer disproportionately from sickle cell amenia?

    Or for men with cardio-cascular disease, or women with breast cancer?

    If your animus towards homosexuals is principled, then logically you must want to curtail and dehumanize just about everyone?

    Cheers...Martin

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  56. "I wonder why we do not put the same energy and skill into helping someone with sexual addiction as we do in helping an alcoholic overcome addiction to drink. Just wondering.

    "Any thoughts?"



    Well, first of all, I don't see a lot of alcoholics being "helped" to stop drinking (you can't "overcome" an addiction). The ones I know of who have stopped have done so because they wanted to stop. The ones who haven't stopped are the ones who are content to keep drinking.

    And second, there is no such thing as an "addiction" to sex.

    ADDICTION: noun: being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming (especially alcohol or narcotic drugs).

    Some people like sex lots more than others and some like is lots less. Nothing abnormal about that.

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  57. Martin,
    Your comparison to other illnesses suffered by populations is unfair. AIDS is entirely preventable by limiting sexual activity to monogamous heterosexual sex.
    And you are right about addiction. It can be suffered by anyone of any gender.
    CA

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  58. Sorry Martin,
    If you really want stats to back up what I say I can provide them, but may take a while,as this is not a priority issue for me.
    Thanks for your understanding.
    CA

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  59. Lady Janus: On a COMPLETELY different topic... how do you use italics in your comments? I'm envious... and it's my blog (grin).

    Thanks.

    Fr. Tim

    ReplyDelete
  60. "AIDS is entirely preventable by limiting sexual activity to monogamous heterosexual sex."

    No it's not.

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  61. Tim, it's an html tag (you can Google that phrase for further information if I confuse you too much with this).

    Symbols and letters, when enclosed in the "less than" (<) and then the "greater than" (>) without spaces, "do" things with your writing.

    Enclosing the letter i between them will start the italics. When you want the italics to end, you enclose a forward slash in front of the i (/i). Or if you want to make your script bold, use a b instead of an i.

    I can't illustrate it -- if I tried to show it to you, all you'd see is a blank space on the page.

    ReplyDelete
  62. CA,

    You write:

    "Your comparison to other illnesses suffered by populations is unfair."

    If your objections to homosexuality are principled, then we should see you apply the principle behind your objection (a vector between disease and an identifiable population) in a consistent manner. Clearly you do not. Therefore, we may conclude that your objection is not principled and very likely based on bigotry.

    "AIDS is entirely preventable by limiting sexual activity to monogamous heterosexual sex."

    Equally true for monomagous homosexuals. So what is your point, if not to obfuscate?

    "And you are right about addiction. It can be suffered by anyone of any gender."

    And also by anyone of any sexual orientation.

    Seriously CA - I think we have exhausted this exchange. Two things are clear to me now:

    a) Your animus towards homosexuality is not principled; and
    b) You are confirmed in your views about homosexuals no matter what evidence to the contrary I (or anyone else) might provide. That my dear CA - is the very definition of bigotry.

    That you find words like "bigotry" distasteful is not surprising to me. No one likes to have their views labelled 'bigoted', none more so than actual bigots.

    I do not know you personally, and you seem like an otherwise good person, however, I worry for you and your loved ones. You have alluded to a person close to you that is a homosexual. I just hope you do not harm or damage that person by imposing such bigoted views on them. Believe me when I say that whatever bonds of affection might exist between the two of you - this affection might not survive the damage that you can wreak.

    Forgive my forwardness in offering a perfect stranger a bit of personal advice.

    Cheers...Martin

    ReplyDelete
  63. Martin,
    You have it wrong. You assume I am against homosexuality because homosexual acts are more likely to cause a life threatening illness. This is not what I said. Rather, if you have someone you love, say a child, would you not discourage them from doing something that could harm them? I do not understand why you think this has anything to do with bigotry. A bigot is someone who seeks to impose a view. I am NOT imposing, but proposing. Really, if you are unable to see the BIG difference, then I must submit that it is YOU who has the problem.
    Next, no, my relative is not homosexual. Compulsion of any type, however, is just that .. compulsion. If you have someone you know (or you yourself) suffer from a behaviour that you MUST do or die, then, my conclusion is that you are enslaved and not free. Bigotry? No .. just plain common sense my friend.
    And yes, really best to leave it at that.
    CA

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  64. p.s. Martin, not to throw this at your face, but note that you did call me a bigot, and note that it was only because we disagreed. This is the trademark of the Gay Movement, and is why we are unable to carry on a dialogue.
    CA

    ReplyDelete
  65. Hi CA,

    You have amply aired your views on this topic. And yes - your views are definitely bigoted. I make no apologies for telling you so. Neither do I "agree to disagree".

    From the very first exchange we had (where you linked homosexuality to beastiality and pedophilia) - to your latest assertion that homosexuality is inherently linked to disease - you have demonstrated your animus.

    You may not like the fact that I have repeatedly shown you where your statements contradict fact and logic. You clearly dislike that I have linked your stated principles to an inconsistent expression of those principles. But through it all - you return to your bigotry like a dog to its vomit (Proverbs 26:11).

    I have happily engaged you in your bigotry because it has allowed me to demonstrate to anyone reading this blog just how baseless such arguments are. You have provided all of us with a text book example of virtually every bit of anti-gay slander that exists.

    I sincerely thank you for this opportunity to shine the light of truth on your anti-gay bigotry.

    Cheers...Martin

    ReplyDelete
  66. Martin,
    Let us suppose that my views on this topic are erroneous, which you believe them to be. Does that make it right for you to be so intolerant towards my position, which is not only held by me but by many other people worldwide?

    This goes to show that ideologically motivated "tolerance" is not tolerance at all, and will eventually result in totalitarianism.

    All of society is supposed to believe with you that homosexuality is OK, or else go to hell.

    I have in no way treated you in the same inconsiderate manner, even though I believe your ideas to be incorrect.
    CA

    ReplyDelete
  67. "A bigot is someone who seeks to impose a view."

    Nope. Imposition has nothing to do with it. If the "view" (another word for opinion) is prejudiced -- whether or not it is imposed -- that is bigotry.

    And you have a prejudice. You think homosexuals are "unhealthy." That is not necessarily the case. And it is not contagious.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Lady Janus,

    Here is a definition of bigot from the online dictionary:

    bigot [ˈbɪgət]
    n
    “a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, esp. on religion, politics, or race.”


    So, now you tell me who is the bigot. I simply stated an opinion based on personal observation, as well as the observations of experts I have read. I am in no way forcing you to accept this view.--- am I?

    For the record, I never said homosexuals are "unhealthy". I said the lifestyle is unhealthy-- big diff!

    Studies on sexual behaviour in America show that on average, homosexuals have up to 50 lifetime partners, whereas heterosexuals have up to 4.

    A 1981 study revealed that less than 2% of homosexuals are monogamous- generously defined as less than 10 lifetime partners.

    A 1978 study found that 43% of male homosexuals estimated having sex with 500 or more different partners and 28% with a thousand of more different partners. Seventy- nine percent said that more than half of these partners were strangers and 70% said that more than half were men with whom they had sex only once.

    Now please tell me again that this behaviour is not risky and not dangerous for these men.
    CA

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  69. And here's another one: noun: a prejudiced person who is intolerant of any opinions differing from his own.

    The term "prejudice" is important in the definition of a bigot, and you keep trying to leave it out.

    I said you have a prejudice. You do. You pre-judge what causes you to be squeamish on a personal level, then you look for, accept, adopt, and cite the opinions of those others who express the thoughts you wish to convey.

    And a homosexual life style is not necessarily any more unhealthy than a heterosexual life style.

    Your "studies" are only opinions posed by interpreters of "statistics," which can always be twisted to express the view one desires. See Disraeli on statistics. I for one put no credence in "studies."

    ReplyDelete
  70. Hi CA,

    The statistics you cite are taken from respondents attending an STD clinic. I would expect that people who attend an STD clinic would have sexual practices that might be riskier than average.

    To then imply that this subset of persons (those attending an STD clinic) is representative of all homosexuals, is methodologically flawed "science". That you uncritically accept only information that confirms your own prejudices (no matter how flawed or biased) is more evidence of a biogted viewpoint.

    I have no doubt that your biogted views are shared by many, and that other anti-gay bigots are manufacturing "science" to give your bigotry a veneer of respectability. This is standard operating procedure for many among the "religious right".

    Cheers...Martin

    ReplyDelete
  71. CA complains "I have in no way treated you in the same inconsiderate manner, even though I believe your ideas to be incorrect."

    For the record, I have challenged your views and I have not attacked you as a person.

    Yes - your views are wrong...and I have shown you repeatedly why I think that this is the case.

    I am not a relativist. I do not think all views are of equal value. I do think that some views are better informed than others.

    The yardstick I use to determine the correctness of a view is how closely a view adheres to reality.

    Unfortunately, your views in many cases depart from any grounding in reality.

    Cheers...Martin

    ReplyDelete
  72. Lady Janus,
    I agree that studies can be sometimes be biased. Although I don't believe that these polls were, based on what some outspoken former homosexuals have testified with regards to the truth about the lifestyle of most, with perhaps minor exceptions.

    And I don't believe that I am any more prejudiced in my opinion than Martin is in his.

    No one thinks or lives in a "vacuum". Your values are necessarily formed by past experience and by the maxims in your life.
    CA

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  73. Martin: This is why I am so pleased that you hang around these parts. Not the occasional charge of bigotry, but the insightful analysis such as you gave to the STD study. I know I that I would not have thought of taking those factors into account in understanding the study. Our religious convictions do blind us sometimes by framing our argument based on our assumptions. You have reminded me of my obligation to keep an open mind to our ways of understanding issues of life, morals and values we need to live together in peace and authentic love for all.

    A great gift to receive on the day we celebrate the power of a symbol of torture and death in Palm/Passion Sunday; an unexpected twist in knowledge if ever there was one.

    Thank you very much.

    Tim

    ReplyDelete
  74. I too am trying to find truth. Please believe that!!
    Please have a look at this link, and tell me what you think. Obviously, the studies are going to be from STD clinics. But the fact that gays are more likely to be infected than heteros is significant to their lifestyle. Don't you think?
    CA

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/Newsroom/msmpressrelease.html

    " CDC Analysis Provides New Look at Disproportionate Impact of HIV and Syphilis Among U.S. Gay and Bisexual Men
    Martin,

    A data analysis released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention underscores the disproportionate impact of HIV and syphilis among gay and bisexual men in the United States.

    ReplyDelete
  75. The data, presented at CDC's 2010 National STD Prevention Conference, finds that the rate of new HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men (MSM) is more than 44 times that of other men and more than 40 times that of women.

    The range was 522-989 cases of new HIV diagnoses per 100,000 MSM vs. 12 per 100,000 other men and 13 per 100,000 women.

    The rate of primary and secondary syphilis among MSM is more than 46 times that of other men and more than 71 times that of women, the analysis says. The range was 91-173 cases per 100,000 MSM vs. 2 per 100,000 other men and 1 per 100,000 women.

    While CDC data have shown for several years that gay and bisexual men make up the majority of new HIV and new syphilis infections, CDC has estimated the rates of these diseases for the first time based on new estimates of the size of the U.S. population of MSM. Because disease rates account for differences in the size of populations being compared, rates provide a reliable method for assessing health disparities between populations.

    ReplyDelete
  76. "While the heavy toll of HIV and syphilis among gay and bisexual men has been long recognized, this analysis shows just how stark the health disparities are between this and other populations," said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. "It is clear that we will not be able to stop the U.S. HIV epidemic until every affected community, along with health officials nationwide, prioritize the needs of gay and bisexual men with HIV prevention efforts."

    For the purposes of determining rates of disease for MSM, CDC researchers first estimated the size of the gay and bisexual male population in the United States – defined as the proportion of men who reported engaging in same-sex behavior within the past five years. Based on an analysis of nationally representative surveys, CDC estimated that MSM comprise 2.0 percent (range: 1.4-2.7 percent) of the overall U.S. population aged 13 and older, or 4 percent of the U.S. male population (range: 2.8-5.3 percent). Disease rates per 100,000 population were then calculated using 2007 surveillance data on HIV and primary/secondary syphilis diagnoses and U.S. Census data for the total U.S. population.

    ReplyDelete
  77. The new analysis is the first step in more fully assessing the impact of HIV among MSM and other populations significantly affected by the disease. CDC is developing more detailed estimates of infection rates among MSM by race and age, as well as among injection drug users. CDC is also in the early stages of planning for estimates among heterosexuals. Ultimately, these data can be used to better inform national and local approaches to HIV and STD prevention to ensure that efforts are reaching the populations in greatest need.

    Research shows that a range of complex factors contribute to the high rates of HIV and syphilis among gay and bisexual men. These factors include high prevalence of HIV and other STDs among MSM, which increases the risk of disease exposure, and limited access to prevention services. Other factors are complacency about HIV risk, particularly among young gay and bisexual men; difficulty of consistently maintaining safe behaviors with every sexual encounter over the course of a lifetime; and lack of awareness of syphilis symptoms and how it can be transmitted (e.g., oral sex). Additionally, factors such as homophobia and stigma can prevent MSM from seeking prevention, testing, and treatment services.

    Also, the risk of HIV transmission through receptive anal sex is much greater than the risk of transmission via other sexual activities, and some gay and bisexual men are relying on prevention strategies that may be less effective than consistent condom use.

    "There is no single or simple solution for reducing HIV and syphilis rates among gay and bisexual men," said Fenton. "We need intensified prevention efforts that are as diverse as the gay community itself. Solutions for young gay and bisexual men are especially critical, so that HIV does not inadvertently become a rite of passage for each new generation of gay men."

    Preventing HIV and STDs among gay and bisexual men is a top CDC priority. CDC provides funding to health departments and community-based organizations throughout the nation to implement proven behavior-change programs for MSM and will soon expand a successful HIV testing initiative to reach more gay and bisexual men. Additionally, CDC is implementing an updated National Syphilis Elimination Plan in cities where MSM have been hardest hit by the disease, and will release an updated HIV prevention strategic plan within the next year to support the President's upcoming National HIV/AIDS Strategy. CDC officials note that the new analysis released today underscores the importance of the HIV and STD prevention efforts targeting gay and bisexual men recently announced as part of the President's fiscal year 2011 budget proposal.

    For more information on HIV or syphilis, please visit www.cdc.gov/hiv or www.cdc.gov/std."



    CA

    ReplyDelete
  78. CA: Clearly you too are seeking the truth! You wouldn't be participating in such an endeavor as this blog (not to mention your other internet activities - which too are appreciated) if you were not authentically seeking 'truth'.

    If our faith is reasonable, it must reasonably follow that it stand the test of reason (wow - that sounds strange). We enter into these discussions each with bodies of 'knowledge'. Clearly what we believe and what we know by reason must not stand in mutual contradiction for one, other or both would surely fail to give meaning and purpose to life and existence.

    I thank both of you for your postings and patience with each other (and me). Clearly truth is being served here by both of you - and to participate in such discussion and debate is good for us and those who read the blog and its threads each day.

    A Blessed Holy Week for you, and all who here take part in these discussions. You are all remembered in prayers of appreciation for gift you are to many.

    Fr. Tim

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  79. Fr. Tim,
    Thank you for providing a forum that permits open discussion on very contentious issues, and thank you for your prayers!
    A Blessed Holy Week to you as well.
    (and to Martin)
    CA

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  80. Welcome to 1978, CA. The link between unprotected anal sex, aggravated by the presence of syphilitic lesions, endemic within the Gay male community and HIV/Aids, was well documented about that time by a young UCLA medical student named Gottleib, who was active in the West side Gay community of Los Angeles at that time. He did the groundbreaking, if somewhat informal initial research on this subject, that has never been seriously disputed. It's not anything new, as far as I know. This work was done before the virus was even isolated.

    Are we supposed to believe that your opposition to anal sex on the part of the Gay male community is based on poor hygiene? I doubt it.

    Martin's assertion is that you are a bigot, which you certainly are. My interest in you is that your bigotry is of a much milder and more passive nature than is usually found in adult traditional Catholic men, especially if you are of a more mature age, which I have no idea whether is the case or not. I think that your milder levels of bigotry should be rewarded and encouraged, that it might grow and spread among the orthodox Catholic population.

    I worked at a large hospital on the West side with a big immune suppressed unit during the first big die off of the early 80s. A family member of one of the afflicted, who invariably suffered horribly and then died, who had the sort of enlightened bigotry that you currently exhibit, was always welcomed with open arms by staff and patients alike, into the society of the unit. It would have been considered unusual at the time. I, for one, will gladly trade a cross burner for a lyncher any time I get the chance. Who wouldn't?

    Whatever you and Martin hoped to get from each other in this interaction was clearly never going to emerge on either side. It was interesting to watch but seemed pointless. Maybe you two could enlighten me, what is it you each wanted?

    ReplyDelete
  81. Reddog,
    I am only interested in truth and so is Martin. We just do not see eye to eye on this issue, and he believes, as you do, that I am a bigot --because of my ignorance?
    If I had more time at my disposal, I would argue all his points. But I do not have that time or energy or desire, at least not right now.
    He makes very good points, but I can see that our starting points differ. His notion of compassion is not mine.
    I am trying to discover the truth and dignity of the human person, not as intended by man, but as intended by God.
    CA

    ReplyDelete
  82. One last point Reddog,

    I believe that there is no conflict between faith and reason. If there is a Creator,then he created not only our reason, but also our minds and bodies. The guidelines for "best use" are written in our nature. They are ours to discover, but not to manipulate. This is what I believe.

    I appreciate your taking the time to read the posts and give me some feedback. Thank you!
    CA

    ReplyDelete

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