Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Droppings from the Catholic Birdcage: World Meeting of Families "Greasing the Skids Under Gay Folks and Their Families" and Assuring Them Catholic Church Doesn't Want Them

EyeTee responds to David Gibson's report at National Catholic Reporter about the choice of the organizers of the upcoming World Meeting of Families to make Ron Belgau, a celibate gay man, the official face of gay Catholicism at its meeting:

Good luck with that. My experience is that LGBT people who are empowered to aspire to faithful monogamy live far healthier lives than those who are not called to celibacy but try to be celibate. I know one priest who commented he preferred non-partnered gay folk because they could repent if they fell off the wagon so to speak, but the problem with faithfully partnered folk is that did not admit they were in a state of constant sin. 
Think about that. Promiscuous anonymous sex okay, cause you can repent every time, but faithful partnered monogamy not. 
In any event, just another example of greasing the skids under gay folk and their families and assuring them the Catholic church doesnt want them. Fortunately, many other denominations do.

Note the kind of argument EyeTee is mounting here. It's one that begins with the graced experience of real-life same-sex couples, and then argues to sound moral conclusions on the basis of that experience. It is, in other words, a traditional Catholic natural law argument of the sort Margaret Farley discussed recently in the Commonweal panel discussion about what kind of church we want for the future.

Following natural law tradition, EyeTee argues that if we attend to concrete reality and pay careful attention to the experience of real-life LGBT couples who are faithful and monogamous, we reach the conclusion that faithful, monogamous relationships are more to be desired for gay people than is a commitment to lifelong celibacy — because what happens in their lives is healthier when they live in loving, committed relationships.

This argument implies that there's something exceptionally cruel about the official Catholic teaching which pretends that — unlike all people made heterosexual — human beings made homosexual by God are called to lives of lifelong celibacy, to lives that forgo intimate relationship. EyeTee's argument implies that, when it requires straight people to be celibate before they are married (but if we pay attention to concrete reality, how often do Catholic straight couples actually forgo sex prior to marriage?), and then gives them the option to marry, while it gives gay people no option at all to marry, the church is behaving in an exceptionally cruel way.

In fact, as EyeTee notes, if we query human experience and employ reason and observation of concrete reality to look at official Catholic teaching about these issues, we come to see that official Catholic teaching has ended up in a ludicrous place, one that does not compel moral assent of thinking, conscientious human beings. Catholic teaching has ended up preferring that gay folks have promiscuous one-night stands from which they repent as they hurry to confession, rather than one loving and committed monogamous relationship.

It's cruel in the extreme to wave this dysfunctional, unhealthy narrative of lifelong celibacy (or, in reality, promiscuous one-night stands, confession, and "repentance") before LGBT Catholics as the only church-sanctioned path for them, at a Vatican-approved world meeting on families from which all Catholic groups calling for dialogue about these matters have been ruthlessly excluded. In its behavior towards LGBT Catholics, the World Meeting of Families is showing to LGBT Catholics anything but a "field hospital" face: it's showing a demonic, hateful face to those who are LGBT.

And that face is, as EyeTee says, putting the skids under gay folks and their families and assuring that we hear, loud and clear, the message that we are not wanted. Not even in the church of the so-called "Francis effect."

We do hear, we gay folks. And we make our choices accordingly, just as EyeTee says. "Francis effect" or no Francis effect — since, as the World Meeting on Families script tells us all over again, there's clearly no mercy at all for us in the church of the "Francis effect."

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