It's taken me a while, but I think I'm beginning to understand how people think (or don't think) on the internet.
Yesterday I posted a very powerful movie that tells the true story of how an ex-gay porn star escaped the hell that the world of gay porn is. And I knew, I simply knew, what one of the comments would be, if I got any.
The comment would be, "Of course, this story is shocking and disturbing, but it's not typical! There are plenty of good things going on among gay people!" I really should have written the comment and posted it myself, saving Annonymous the trouble, who wrote ...
Sorry Kevin, but I think your approach to homosexuality is a perfect example of unreality in action.I think there's a temptation for us loyal Catholics to take Sciambra's experience as definitive for all gay people because it tells us exactly we want to hear.It would be difficult to deal with the gay issue if we had to acknowledge anything of value in the relationship of gay couples. Much easier to dismiss it all as lies, lust and demonic temptation.The trouble with this is that it pretty obviously isn't true. Happy gay couples are not logical contradictions, and insisting that this is the case only makes us look like fools.I think the Church's teaching with regard to gay people is perfectly clear - they must remain celibate. That may not be what many of them want to hear, true, but that's the deal if you want to be a faithful Catholic.I don't see why, in addition to that, we also have to insist that homosexual people aren't REALLY gay, they must never use that word and they also need to subject themselves to crank psychologists in order to heal themselves of their sinful desires.Read gay Catholics like Gabriel Blanchard, Melinda Selmys and Eve Tushnet - what makes their stories inauthentic? Did they not experience the REAL gay subculture, in the same way that because you or I have never attended a strip club, dabbled in swinging or picked up a prostitute we have never REALLY experienced straight culture?
The only thing Anonymous didn't do while insisting on the Good of Gay was to point out all the good things about pornography, and how we won't get anywhere as Catholics until we admit that porn has some good elements, the way Christopher West and his followers do. I wonder why Anonymous didn't do that. Is it because we're still ashamed of pornography and what it does to us? Is it because any normal person knows that there's a good in pornography that draws us to it - but that seeking that good in that particular shady and shameful way is nothing to brag about?
Of course there's good in both gay sex and porn. That's why people seek them. Catholic theology (and common sense) is clear on that. We seek the good in things, even things that are not, ultimately, ordered toward a greater good.
But I'll let the Ex Gay Porn Star himself answer the "gay Catholic good great gay hooray!" that Anonymous seems to be pushing - even while Anonymous is admitting that celibacy somehow trumps it. Anonymous brings up Eve Tushnet. Joseph Sciambria says of Eve Tushnet ...
I have serious reservations about how she has chosen to deal with her own homosexuality - and more importantly, what she is recommending to others.First of all, the problem starts right off in the title of the book itself: “Accepting My Sexuality..;” this is not “my sexuality,” and it is not your sexuality, it’s a wounded condition. In fact, it’s not a sexuality at all, as the Catechism rightly states - it’s a “disorder.” And, as the Sacred Congregation wrote, in its “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons:” the inclination itself “…is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder.” Therefore to “accept” homosexuality is to accept a moral evil.Secondly, Tushnet disturbingly writes: “I’m in no sense ex-gay. In fact, I seem to become more lesbian with time—college was my big fling with bisexuality, my passing phase…” While I completely understand her ambivalence towards embracing the Catholic ex-gay therapy movement, by the way - which I highly recommend (in particular: Dr. Joseph Nicolosi,) I am gravely worried by her admonition that she has become “more lesbian.”
He continues ...
I am proud to state that I found absolutely nothing “beautiful” in gay life. Now, there were moments when it seemed real and took on an illusion of beauty, such as when I held the hand of my dear friend dying at age 26 of AIDS, and his face became so peaceful and angelic after death, but later the certainty of it all hit me: the waste, the pointlessness of his death, and the continuing tally of other boys contracting HIV. In fact, I think Tushnet is fooled by the phantasms in gay culture because she has surrounded herself within a tiny enclave of intellectual gay elites who have all lost touch with the actuality of what it is to be gay in the modern world.
This is a man who paid the price, who followed the "gay culture" to where it actually and eventually leads.
For someone to have watched his video (which Anonymous may or may not have done) and to reply with, "Yes, BUT there's good there too!" is astonishing.
It would be like reading Uncle Tom's Cabin and saying, "But not all slaves were unhappy, you know!"
And yet ... this is the way the internet works. Because the internet merely reflects how Sin Makes You Stupid.
My friends, we are to love gays and to recognize that we are all sinners like they are. But we are all more than our sins. Our sins do not define us. Our "sexual orientations", our sinful inclinations, are not who we are. I am more than an "adulterer in my heart", more than a coward, more than an egomaniac, more than a man who has been at times very well acquainted with pornography. I am proud of none of those "orientations". They will all lead to misery on this earth and perhaps to a kind of hell both now and later. They are all sins or inclinations to sin, and they are all leading me to slavery. Yes, not all slaves are unhappy all the time, and good can be found anywhere.
But if we don't call a spade a spade, or a sin a sin, we're doomed. I have not lived through the hell that Joseph Sciambra has, but I have lived through other hells - and they were hells I built for myself through sin, and they led me to the kind of suicidal despair that Sciambra felt. I too know whereof I speak. And I can say with the authority of a dead man (for that stuff killed me), that to see sins for anything other than what they are is to invite disaster.
Let us have the courage to be men. And women. Let us stare the devil in the face and call that liar out for who he is. If we can't do that, we can never begin to love God or to love our neighbors. We can never begin to get real.
ADDENDUM - When Anonymous argues that gay sex no more leads to the hell that Sciambra describes than "straight sex" leads to strip clubs and swinging, he's being an Inconsequentialist. He's simply refusing to see the inherent consequences of an act that's ordered toward a greater good and compare them with the inherent consequences of an act that's not. One of the reasons the Church teaches that certain things are intrinsically evil or disordered by their nature is that they have built in hellish consequences, while acts that are not intrinsically evil or disordered do not have built in hellish consequences, unless these good acts are indulged in to a point that changes their nature (as when mere sexual desire, which leads to love, marriage and the family becomes lust, which leads to objectification, abuse, and hell on earth - such as the strip club culture) or are sought in circumstances that are forbidden or perverse (i.e., per-verse, turned-away from proper order - such as swinging). But can one even make a distinction like this with someone who is not arguing in good faith? Honestly, if Anonymous watched Sciambra's movie and can only reply, "It's not that bad", and proceed to lecture me for being "Unreal" in the face of the reality that Sciambra endured (as well as in the face of the reality of God's grace that rescued Sciambra), then Anonymous is not interested in clear thinking on the nature of actions and their built-in consequences. It's like listening to a beautiful symphony and complaining about the scuff marks on the trombonist's shoes. You can't understand basic moral theology if you've lost all perspective.
But, as I say, sin makes you stupid. And rationalizing sin makes you really stupid.
ADDENDUM 2 - In addition to the comments below (which are worth reading - for a change!), I try to articulate my argument more clearly here.