The National Catholic Review

I wonder if there are some Lady Gaga students and theological aficionados out there who can help parse the significance of her role in contemporary popular culture. I am late to the party, having been led to Gaga by my undergraduate students, who get her symbolic order on a more intuitive level than I do. But if her music and persona is important to them, I had better think about how the theological tradition might relate to her and to my students' fandom.

Michael O'Loughlin on this blog recently posted a defense of Lady Gaga as a contemporary prophet, but the post was capable of being read as so intentionally guileless that I could not tell whether it was parody worthy of Spinal Tappish sublimity. (And his post was met with the memorable dig in the comment box: "I will use this for meditation tomorrow after Mass.")

(For me, part of what heightened the Tappish archness of the post was O'Loughlin's reporting that Lady Gaga advocates celibacy -- followed by a link to a "60 Minutes" interview in which Gaga says that she prefers to be called by her real name during sex.)

There must be some who are tracking the theological contact (and conflict) points in her songs, videos and interviews, in the experiences her fans have of her music, or in the production of her persona and products. I wondered about this again when I was watching (not suitable for children) Episode 41 of her "Transmission Gagavision" series, in which she has an encounter (from her limousine) with a Christian protester at her concert, warning of the path to hell awaiting those taken in by her:

Gaga: "We really believe in God at my show."

Protester: "Well, your pervert ways don't quite equate to what God is all about, darlin'."

Gaga: "My pervert ways?"

Protester: "Yeah, you know, the homo stuff?"

Gaga: "The homo stuff?"

[...]

Gaga: "I went to Catholic school for thirteen years."

Protester: "That's probably most of your problem is you got raised in a screwy religion."

She then has a little trivial fun with the encounter with this man, who will no doubt live in a sort of infamy (or fame, depending) at least for a little while.

But I wondered about that "Catholic school" reply and his "screwy religion" retort, especially in regard to "the homo stuff," when I read about the recent report by the Public Religion Research Institute that according to their survey data, nearly three-quarters of U.S. Catholics are in favor of civil unions or marriage for lesbian and gay couples.

Presuming the data hold up over time, as Austin Considine reports in the New York Times, "Today's Catholics are the most progressive Christians in the country regarding gay equality -- and more open than Americans in general."

As countless commentators have observed, once a religion like Catholicism unleashes an idea like the presence of divinity in the flesh, it may just be that "the faithful" will take this in ways not intended (but surely imagined) by the official teachers.

Or as Fr. Gil Martinez of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in New York City is quoted in Considine's article, "Once you say that God is a human person -- I mean we're just so varied and diverse that way -- I think the real Catholicity of that is to acknowledge that and accept that."

We now have several post-Vatican II generations, many of whom went to Catholic school like Lady Gaga, representing the leading edge of this tolerance for and affirmation of sexual diversity. Could it be that a century from now, our culture's present preoccupation with "the homo stuff" will be seen generally in the United States to be as parochial as it now appears to (apparently) a great number of Catholics?

Tom Beaudoin

Hastings-on-Hudson, New York

Comments

BOB REGAN MR | 4/26/2011 - 11:23am
David Nichol:

As far as any teaching of the Catholic Church, a Catholic must have an informed conscience on the subject.

I too once questioned the teaching of the Church on homosexuality. But I started several years ago to study it extensively. I study the Catechism. I studied the Churches Scriptural teaching on it. I studied the Theology of the Body. I studied St. Paul's writings and comments on it. I studied the reason by the Church's "three legs of the stool" philosophy: magisterium, scripture, and tradition. I studied natural law and its arguments. I studied encyclicals and Doctors of the Church's writings on the subject. Over several years I went deeper, and deeper into the subject, and the more I studied, the more I understood the teaching and the more the beauty of the teaching flowered. It's a journey...............

Then I played "devils advocate" and studied the arguments for the gay lifestyle. Frankly David, the Church's position on homosexuality made far, far more sense, is far more build on a solid foundation then the arguments for the gay lifestyle. This moral teching of the Church, did become more (as you state) "comprehensible and persuasive."

Faith comes in to play that ultimately, all the teachings of the Church are based on faith and the promise of Christ to the Church that He "will be with it, till the end of time." As Catholics, we accept many teachings of the Church by faith such as the Resurrection, Christ's divinity, the Real Presecence in the Eucharist, heaven and hell. Understand that each of these positions I just mentioned were attacked over the last 2000 years by different heresies and defended by the Church. If I accept all of these beliefs of faith and morals as being the truth, why would I fall short and not believe definitive teaching of the Church on such a teaching as homosexuality?

gotta run, back to work! This is my last post! 

My advice is to study, study, study any teachings of the Church you have doubts on.............you might be pleasantly surprised by what you find!!!! I have found great joy and peace in discovering these Truths!

God bless and Happy Easter!

 
Anonymous | 4/26/2011 - 11:05am
David -

My mom used to say that everyone has their match.  No doubt there have been many men and women with same-sex attraction over the ages who have had good marriages, so I don't think the answer is to establish formulas as to who marries whom based on their current sexual attractions.  There are so many elements to marriage, sexual actraction being just one of many. 

Frankly, I think our society has been led astray by the sexually perverse minds of Freud and Kinsey and the Cultural Marxists of the Frankfurt School.  Society was doing just fine when the general consensus was that sexual relations were reserved for marriage and pre-V2 Catholics believed that procreation was the essence of marriage.  I honestly can't think of anything good that has come from the sexual revolution and notions of polymorphous perversity. 
Anonymous | 4/25/2011 - 11:57pm
Hey Bill F-

I have no haterd or animus toward homosexuals.  I feel sorry for them because they miss out on one of the greatest gifts of God: a partner of the opposite sex.  One of God's first acts after creating man was to create a woman for him; it is the only union of people that brings new life into the world.  Homosexual acts are an abomination.  Instead of embracing homosexuality and teaching our kids that it is acceptable behavior to be experimented with and adopted, I think we should be researching how we can prevent it and cure those afflicted with it who desire to be cured; the way we do with all other disorders.   

And what about the tax dollars that are being poured into the school systems to promote homosexuality?  It's ok for my tax dollars to support the teaching of sodomy to my kids but it's not ok for tax breaks to be given to a religious institution that performs great charitable acts - yes, even to homosexuals - the world over?  What good does homosexuality contribute to our society that it should be accorded special treatment and special protection?

If you're homosexual, Bill, give up those immoral acts and find yourself a nice woman that you can love and bear children with the way God designed you.  You can do that, Bill; you choose not to.
Bill Freeman | 4/25/2011 - 10:45pm
Thank you Michael Brooks, finally you clearly state where you are coming from.  You have hatred and animus for gay people.  Fine, that's your right.  Just remember two things, don't try to manipulate scripture to support your hatred and don't expect taxpayers to underwrite your beliefs.  That means if you take government funds to provide services (e.g., adoption, home care, healthcare), you can't discriminate against those you hire or provide services to.  If you can't deal with that, don't take taxpayer dollars.  Sounds eminently fair to me.
Anonymous | 4/25/2011 - 10:35pm
Matt asks, "Don't we all have more important things to do besides trying to imagine what consenting adults are doing with each other in the privacy of their homes?"

And the answer is, "Yes!"  So let's make it illegal for all radio broadcasts, TV broadcasts, films, books, plays, internet sites, etc... to portray the sexual acts of consenting adults.  As a parent of children teenage and younger, that would make my life a lot easier. 

I don't want homosexual children; sexual acts are learned behavior.  There is no good that comes from sodomy, homosexual or otherwise.  Keep your sex acts in the bedroom where they belong.
David Nickol | 4/26/2011 - 10:59am
Through faith, prayer, and study we must try and understand what the Church teaches, and accept it on faith! 

Bob,

I don't understand what study would be for if you must accept Church teachings on faith. Moral teachings, in particular, should be comprehensible and persuasive. I can see faith as accepting things you don't understand or don't have sufficient evidence to prove. But faith, it seems to me, cannot be a matter of trying to believe things you simply don't find convincing.
BOB REGAN MR | 4/26/2011 - 10:34am
Thomas Rooney:

When a Catholic receives the Eucharist, he/she says "Amen." Essentially, the communicant is saying "amen" to two things:

1. That they believe that the Eucharist they are receiving is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ.

2, That they are in "full communion" (agreement) with the teachings and doctrines of the Catholic Church. That what the Catholic Church teaches (such as homosexual acts of sodomy being intrinsically evil, artificial contraception being immoral, abortion being intrinsically evil) they agree with, believe, and follow 100% this teaching.

A Catholic can disagree with "disciplines" (such as should priests be married, for example) of the Church, but have to follow, believe, study, pray on, inform their conscience on matters of faith and morals.

The Catholic Church teaches that living out the gay lifestyle (sodomy) is intrinsically evil, and therefore immoral and a sin. If a Catholic disagrees with this teaching and says the Church is wrong on this, then that person is not in full communion with the Catholic Church then, are they?

Thomas.....this is not my personal thoughts and opinions. This is the teaching of the Catholic Church. Through faith, prayer, and study we must try and understand what the Church teaches, and accept it on faith!  There are many things in the Church that we accept by faith and don't fully understand such as the Trinity, the Ressurection, heaven and hell. But by faith we trust in the promise of Christ to His Church that what is "bound on earth is bound in heaven, and that the gates of the nether world shall not prevail against it."
David Nickol | 4/26/2011 - 10:20am
If you're homosexual, Bill, give up those immoral acts and find yourself a nice woman that you can love and bear children with the way God designed you.  You can do that, Bill; you choose not to.

What perfectly awful advice! 

Those who recommend celibacy to gay men have a rational position and, although I disagree with them, I am willing to take them seriously.

However, anyone who recommends heterosexual marriage to gay men can be dismissed out of hand as not having a serious grasp of the issues. Heterosexual marriage as a ''cure'' for a homosexual orientation is a preposterous suggestion and ought to be condemned.

Now, I did see an interesting article that in some Orthodox Jewish community, a rabbi arranged marriages between gay men and lesbians. Apparently it worked out rather well for most of them. But they entered into these unions with full knowledge and consent. And it strikes me that these were more religious commitments than conventional marriages.  
Thomas Rooney | 4/26/2011 - 8:47am
Bob writes in Post #8 -

"David Nickol's comments are the current problem with American Catholics. They read the Catechism, know the Church's teaching on homosexuality (and yes, it is considered 'intrinsically disordered' by the Church), but decide they don't need to follow that teaching. Essentially at that point, they are not Catholics anymore, but popes of their own version of protestantism."

Does this cover both active homosexuals and heterosexuals who don't agree with the teaching?  Technically I follow the teaching, in that I don't commit homosexual acts.  Have I become my own pope?

If I don't believe jaywalking is wrong...but don't jaywalk...do I still get a ticket, in other words? 
BOB REGAN MR | 4/26/2011 - 6:13am
Mike Barbieri: you are incorrect on usury, and the Catholic Church defining it as intrinsically evil.

As a matter of fact, the Church has never changed its teaching on usury. It has (and always will), condemn usury because usury is contrary to the divine and natural law. The nature of money has changed over the centuries, which is a much longer discussion for another time. But the Church has never changed its teaching on usury. See below:

 http://www.scripturecatholic.com/usury.html

The problem with the gay lifestyle/gay marriage is that you are then justifying sodomy. And sorry but, the Catholic Church has never (and never will) condone sodomy. It is against the natural law, it is against divine law. "Intrinsically evil" means that it is evil unto itself, and something that is evil unto itself can never some how flower in to a moral good. Yes, there are moral absolutes, and just because I want something to be "true" to fit my lifestyle does not make it necessarily true. As heterosexual man, I cannot wake up today and say that adultery and fornication are OK because I want to live that lifestyle. If that relativistic view of morality were true, then every behaviour is on the table: adultery, pedophilia, beastiality, etc. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If homosexuals want to morally justify sodomy, then how can then condemn someone else's sexual behaviour?
Anonymous | 4/26/2011 - 2:29am
This has become simply a game of semantics...would you please explain, Michael, exactly what you mean by "personal and relational sexual anthropology." 

Honestly, I find the idea that we are advancing towards some utopian sexual diversity or idea that the Incarnation can only be "fully" understood by modern sexual libertines absurd.

There have certainly been advances in the area of human right in modern times; however, there have also be terrible abuses and degradation and setback put forward in the name of progress and compassion...

You are presenting a strange appeal to historicism.



 

Chris Brune | 4/26/2011 - 2:19am
Dear Friends -

A couple of things to note:

1. For years Lady Gaga (don't know her real name) was a nobody journeyman keyboard player until she took off her clothes and adopted an outrageous public persona to re-make herself into a pop star. As one poster said, she is about ticket sales and downloads.

2. It is highly unwise to get your theology from pop culture figures.

3. Decisions by the APA and other medical associations re homosexuality were political, not based on science.

4. In our time, nobody wants to do the science on homosexuality because they are afraid of what they might find out.
Anonymous | 4/26/2011 - 1:35am
Dr. Robert Evans, who is CEO of Public Religion Research Institute, conducted the research to which you so often refer, i.e., "nearly three-quarters of U.S. Catholics are in favor of civil unions or marriage for lesbian and gay couples". Dr. Evans clearly has a vested interest in advancing the homosexual agenda. I would take his findings with a very large grain of salt.

See : "Catholic Groups Convene Capitol Hill Briefing on Diverging Views Among Bishops and Laity on LGBT Rights" @ The New Ways Ministry site. Dr. Evans was one of a group of panelits noted. It is a round up of the usual suspects and dissidents. New Ways was ordered to cease and desist, was it not?
Greta Green | 4/26/2011 - 12:00am
I find it amazing that the Catholic Church has very clear teaching on this issue and many others which some Katholics dissent from while there are many churches out there with their desired beliefs.  Why stay in the Church and dissent from everything?  You would seem to gain freedom by simply leaving.  Last time I looked there were about 25,000 christian faiths.  Surely some match your desired beliefs.  Of course that is also why there are that many out there.  those who dissent and leave will soon find that they also dissent from their new religion.  What they really want is to force others to change their belief as if they hold the truth and light. Seems like that is the sin of pride.  The Pope's and the Church has consistently taught that homosexual is a gravely disordered lifestyle in very strong terms.  The homosexual priest abuse of teenage boys scandal did nothing to help this matter along...of course despite the facts, the dissenters dissent from those facts as well. 
Michael Barberi | 4/25/2011 - 9:33pm
Bob Villano:

Usury was written in Scripture as Divine Law, proclaimed by two popes, three papal bulls, taught by bishops for centuries as intrinsically evil, but eventually reformed. It is now morally permissible.

BOB REGAN MR | 4/25/2011 - 9:05pm
Michael Barberi:

Give me an example of something in the past that the Church deemed "intrinsically evil" and in later years said it wasn no longer intrinsically evil? I will take a guess that you are probably confusing "doctrine" versus "discipline."
BOB REGAN MR | 4/25/2011 - 8:44pm
Bill, it's a simple question, that you never answered. You, I or the guy living down the street don't have the authority to interpret scripture fully and definitively without error.

Think about it Bill.........where did the Bible come from? Which came first.....the bible or The Church?

The Catholic Church gave us the library of codified scripture which today we call the Bible starting in 383 AD through four councils over approximately 20 years. Do you believe that the the 27 books, epistles Gospels located in the New Testament are the truly, God inspired books that belong in there (realizing that there were approx. 55 books floating around to choose from: The gospel of Hermes, The Didache, The discipline of the Apostles, etc.)? If you do, then thank the Catholic Church for being guided by the Holy Spirit to choose the correct books to be included in the bible.   

And if the Catholic Church was the Church that was guided by the Holy Spirit to correctly without err put the bible together, wouldn't reason dictate that the Church is also guided today by the Holy Spirit to be the authentic interpretors of the bible?

If the Church is not the authentic, infallible teacher on faith and morals of Jesus Christ, then that means that the Catholic Church taught in error for 1500 years before the protestant revolt. If that is true, then Christ abandoned His church for 1500 years and allowed it to teach in error. this makes no sense, especially in the light of such passages as Luke 10 where Jesus tells the Apostles: "He who hears you, hears me, and he who rejects you, rejects me." an obviuos guarantee by Jesus that through the apsotles and subsequent apostolic succession that the bishops of the Catholic Church speak for Christ.   


JIM MCCREA | 4/25/2011 - 8:41pm
Michael Brooks:  would you mind informing the rest of us how "My priest is obviously gay (as are many) -"?


I can't wait:  this will obviously be a good example of straight gaydar and how it works.


Have a go, mate!
Michael Barberi | 4/25/2011 - 8:34pm
Brett Joyce:

You need to study the Theology of the Body and Humanae Vitae before you make the claim that the unitive meaning of the martial act is personal-relational sexual anthropology. Nothing could be further than the truth.

The unitive meaning of the marital act, that you claim is personal-relational, has been defined by two popes as narrow of a meaning as you can get. Unitive self-giving love was never fully defined. It was defined as "gving one his or her their fertility" as in the negative side of this as "a martial act is not unitive when one hold back his or her fertilty."  How is this narrow definition personal and relational sexual anthropology? Consider the following:


    If sexual intercourse has a procreative meaning, is the marital act ipso facto unitive regardless if the other dimensions of unitive love are violated? If the answer is no, what are those other dimensions? If the answer is yes, then unitive love has only one dimension, namely, fertility, or fertility is the only dimension morally important. In the former case, the teaching is not complete. In the latter case, the teaching is unreasonable and unintelligible.
    It is in tension with other obvious unitive love aspects of sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse brings about other unitive goods such as relieving stress, improving intimacy, increasing the level of commitment, lowering feelings of insecurity, boosting self-esteem, decreasing irritability, keeping spouses connected emotionally and improving marital harmony.  It is also an expression of healing, appreciation, reconciliation and gratitude.
Bill Freeman | 4/25/2011 - 8:20pm
Bob Villano - As I have previously stated, you have closed yourself off from any discussion based on your proposition that only "the teaching of the Catholic Church . . . has the authority from Christ to interpret scripture correctly."  Therefore, you are not open to a discussion.  There is nothing more to say.
BOB REGAN MR | 4/25/2011 - 8:11pm
Question, Bill:

Did Christ start a visible Church, and which one is it today?

Did He give said Church the guidance of the Holy Spirit to not err in His teaching on faith and morals?

You mentioned protestant denominations having different teachings on homosexuality than the Catholic Church. I'll ask the same question that I've asked you several times that you have not answered: Considering all of these denominations were started by men anywhere from 1500 to 2000 years after Christ was on earth, where do these protestant denominations get the authority to interpret Christ's teachings? I could start a denomination tomorrow, but how will I know that I am not leading my followers in error when I explain Scripture to them?

There are over 30,000 protestant denominations in the United States. All of them teaching different interpretations to some degree of Christ's teachings. Many, as a matter of fact, differing greatly. If the Catholic Church is not the definitive teacher of scripture (therefore not containing the fullness of the truth of Christ's teaching), which one of the 30,000 denominations is, and how did you come to your conclusions?
Michael Barberi | 4/25/2011 - 8:09pm
To Bob Villano and Bret Joyce:
 

    John Paul II drew specific attention to the natural regulation of fertility when he urgently advised people to study biological regularity and apply it because it is the procreative plan of the Creator: “The document (HV) certainly presupposes biological regularity. Indeed, it exhorts competent persons to study it and to apply it in a still deeper way, but it always understands this regularity as the expression of the order of nature, that is, of the providential plan of the Creator, in the faithful execution of which the true good of the human person consists.”[1]

Some researchers have determined that the maximum fertility window is 5 days before ovulation and the day of ovulation, for a total of 6 days.[2] If we follow John Paul II’s exhortation and apply our knowledge of human biology to the virtue of chastity/- temperance in PC, Divine Law only requires spouses to abstain from sexual intercourse for about 6 fertile days per month and not more than that. Yet, every NFP calls for 10-14 days. What is God's procreative plan, 6 days or 10-14 days? Is it based on the language of the body or scientific capability?

Did God really want spouses to measure temperture and cervial mucus so that the 6 days God reserved for procreation is rendered useless, and sexual intercourse perfomed at a later time can be non-procreative? 

As for natural law, it is practical reason. The truth and the good is known by practical reason, participating in Divine reason, through connaturaity. An individual conscience and surely err, but the utterances of the papal magisterium is not always infallible and the absolute moral truth.

The point of my previous blog, is to poist that we are only now starting to understand the Word made Flesh. We are just starting to understand that God love us both as body and spirit, as a whole.

The term distortion, disorder, et al, can be applied to many things that were once thought to be intrinsically evil, but today because of better knowledge and scholarship, are irrelevant.


 


[1] John Paul II, “A Discipline that Ennobles Human Love”, (transcript of presentation to a general audience on August 28, 1984, Rome) accessed March 1, 2011 at http://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2tbind.htm
 


[2] Frederick R. Jelovsek, M.D., “Timing of Intercourse, Ovulation and Conception” accessed March 20, 2011 at http://www.wdxcyber.com/ninfer11.htm
 





ed gleason | 4/25/2011 - 6:52pm
Speaking about intrinsic evil...The Church has and is still teaching that birth control And  the Church is telling us that it is licit/moral and encourages us  to examine the viscosity of vaginal mucus so as to determine whether there are indications of possible  fertility. This is OK they say... This way a couple  can maybe avoid an unwanted pregnancy by abstaining. . [ Couples married 25 or more years usually had as may as 10-15 pregnancies in the olden days. How come there are not any of these couples around any more?] Is 99% of Catholic  married laity 'intrinsically' disordered?  Can anyone cite the biblical rationale and or doctors of the church whose authority speaks of the moral necessity of examining vaginal mucus? and the fact that we have to adhere to this bizarre notion??.. Has any Pontiff ever suggested this course of mucus examination?  If you do  not have citation's, my advice is you need  to re-think your notions of 'intrinsic evil' . Do you know that the failed Vatican roulette of the 40s and 50s is the major factor in the reason we are all up to our ears wirh the huge  population in the boomer generation? Say hello the Soc. Security and Medicare deficits. (-:  
Bill Freeman | 4/25/2011 - 6:45pm
Bob Villano - You have closed yourself off from any discussion based on your proposition that only "the teaching of the Catholic Church . . . has the authority from Christ to interpret scripture correctly." And, by the way, that is not what is meant by that biblical passage.  Further, how is it that other Christian denominations have come to very different conclusions regarding homosexuality - after careful study and reflection on the Scriptures - than the Roman Church?  Do you actually believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the only authority to validly interpret sacred scripture?   If you do, go back and read Dei Verbum.  
Bill Freeman | 4/25/2011 - 6:26pm
Brett - Your "citation" of Wikipedia is hardly biblical scholarship and further, it is off-point.
BOB REGAN MR | 4/25/2011 - 6:24pm
Bill:

I'm only paraphrasing the teaching of the Catholic Church that has authority from Christ to interpret scripture correctly.

Once again I'll ask you: where do you get your authority to interpret scripture, especially when your innterpretation is diametrically opposite that of the Catholic Church?
Anonymous | 4/25/2011 - 6:20pm
"Where did you get that the Adam and Eve mythological story was the prototype for marriage?"

That myth - call it Jewish intuition - explained human origins correctly thousands of years before modern science came to the same conclusion:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrial_Eve

Indeed, we should put away the things (ideology) of the modern child...
BOB REGAN MR | 4/25/2011 - 6:09pm
Pope JP II said "no sin is private." does the man commiting adultery trying to keep it private, not ultimately going to negatively affect his wife and kids? Gay marriage and gay lifestyle is not "private." Accepting immoral depravity as a culture only leads down the road of more and more immoral behaviour in society. Once the bar is lowered in society, everything (as far as immorallity) on the table as acceptable.
Bill Freeman | 4/25/2011 - 6:08pm
Bob Villano - Where did you get that the Adam and Eve mythological story was the prototype for marriage?  Why not do some biblical studying; check out a few commentaries.  The Catechism is not thinking; it is rote memory.  Also, the slippery slope argument assumes that thinking adults cannot make rational distinctions and connect things - bestiality, pedophilia, and polygamy - that are not connected.  Adult Christianity is graduate level stuff.  Why not "put away the things of a child?"  Just suggesting,  
Anonymous | 4/25/2011 - 6:07pm
"Much of Church doctrine based on a act-centered sexual anthropology, not person-relational sexual anthropology"

This is wrong as Theology of the Body focuses on both unitive (Persona-relational) and procreative (act-centered) aspects of human sexuality.

This exclusive focus (i.e., distortion) made in favor of only the individual, affective relationship is the domain of those seeking to justify the homosexual act as a pure good rather than a disorder.
Matthew Pettigrew | 4/25/2011 - 5:57pm
Hate the sin, but love the sinner. I wonder if that's a distinction that we're all able to make. For those who are having a problem with the sin itself, may I suggest that you don't think about it? Don't worry about what two adults are doing in their own bedroom. Whoever they are and whatever they're doing, there's a real good chance it doesn't affect you even a little bit. Don't we all have more important things to do besides trying to imagine what consenting adults are doing with each other in the privacy of their homes? Maybe they're just holding hands and watching television. Some worry about Lady Gaga's impact on pre-teens and teenagers, but maybe we should worry more about why so many adults seem to be obsessed with the sexual activities of other adults.
BOB REGAN MR | 4/25/2011 - 5:46pm
Michael Barberi:

What about the natural law?

What about Adam and Eve as the prototype for marriage?

"Why would the divine plan be soley confined for heterosexuality?" Let's play slippery slope.......proponents of beastiality, man/boy love, polygamy, etc.......can make the same argument.
Michael Barberi | 4/25/2011 - 5:37pm
In the past, intercourse was only for procreation, intercourse during menstruation was a mortal sin, intercourse during pregnancy was forbidden and intercourse had only one natural licit position – all of these were once common opinions of theologians and the Church Hierarchy but have since been abandoned. The same can be said for usury, the ends of marriage, and slavery.

Is our understanding of moral absolutes, like contraception and homosexuality, more conscious, more universal, and more complete than these obsolete principles?

Our "understanding" of the truth, as history has taught us, is progressive. This doe not mean that there are no moral absolutes, as in the deposit of faith. However, one must understand that sin and ultimately confession has been the center of Church thinking ever since Augustine. Much of Church doctrine based on a act-centered sexual anthropology, not person-relational sexual anthropology We are only now learning about homosexuality and how the body-spirit of humankind integrates into spirituality.

If you consider JP2's Theology of the Body, God's Procreative Plan is found in the language of the body, in the fertility-infertility nexus. If we apply this theology, which is sufficient for procreation, to other languages of the body, then what is morally wrong with homosexuality?  Would not homosexuality be one way God expresses his love? After all, homosexuality is not "chosen", it is given. Why would the Divine plan be solely confined to hetersexuality?

These are probing questions that motivate us to re-think what is written on our hearts by God.
BOB REGAN MR | 4/25/2011 - 5:18pm
Bill Freeman:

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (2357):

"Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that homosexual acts are intrinsically disorderd."

(reference 1 Cor 6 15-20, Gen 19: 1-29, Rom 1: 24-27 Tim 1:10

These passages, (as you say Bill) have to do with slavery and exploitation and not sexual sin? Where did you get (or from whom did you get)your authority to interpret scripture? How do you know you are correct, and the Catholic Church is wrong? The Catholic Church gets its authority to interpret scripture correctly from Christ Himself (Matt16: "You, Peter, are rock......Bound on earth is bound in heaven.")

Beth: as far as difficult matters of conscience, that conscience must be an informed conscience.
Anonymous | 4/25/2011 - 5:12pm
Oh, Bill, where do I begin....

Honestly, are advocates for homosexuality and abortion so obsessed with these issues that they really believe that this is really talked about in Church?  Once in a blue moon my priest mentions "life," in the anti-abortion sense.  My priest is obviously gay (as are many) so I can't imagine there's much fire and brimstone being spoken about that issue either.  Maybe this obsession is what the Church means by "disordered."
Anonymous | 4/25/2011 - 5:00pm
I don't see the big theological mystery of Gaga or any pop icon who professes that all behavior is morally acceptable and any authority that says otherwise is wrong.  It's exactly what self-absorbed, hormone-raging, rebellious pre-teens and adolescents want to hear.  This is Gaga's job; she's no prophet; she's profit, preaching to the choir who reward her with downloads and ticket purchases.  Big mystery.

The question is why do pre-teens and adolescents no longer respect their parents or have faith in the religion in which they were raised?
Bill Freeman | 4/25/2011 - 4:59pm
Again, if Roman Catholics didn’t have abortion, stem-cell research, and homosexual to rail against, how would you get attention or raise money?  Facts - remember, fides quaerens intellecutum - are very helpful here.  Human sexuality is hard wired. No one "chooses" being gay anymore than one chooses being straight.  The biblical dicta against sodomy has much more to do with slavery and exploitation.  Further, these ancients had no understanding of constitutional homosexuality as we do today. Every - yes, every - reputable psychiatric and psychological group understands that being homosexual is not aberrant but an acceptable variation in sexuality found in all civilizations and in all times. 
The scary thing for Roman Catholics here is that if being homosexual is not "chosen," - now gird your loins - there is no moral content.  The Church defended slavery by using the Bible and tradition; this is nothing more than another form of cultural bigotry. Sensus fidei - listen to the signs of the times as understood by the people of God.
Welcome to the 21st century! 
Beth Cioffoletti | 4/25/2011 - 4:55pm
Catholic moral theology teaches something called "Probablism" when confronting difficult matters of conscience.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Probabilism

BOB REGAN MR | 4/25/2011 - 4:53pm
Oops, forgot! How's that?! :)
Matthew Pettigrew | 4/25/2011 - 4:42pm
Common courtesy suggests that participants in this blog should sign their first and last names. Besides, the rules require it.
BOB REGAN MR | 4/25/2011 - 4:24pm
Agreed, Bill Mazella, but Christ never condoned unrepentant sin. He loved the tax collector and the woman caught in adultery, but He never accepted or condoned their sins. He did tell her to "Go.....and sin no more." He did tell us to "repent, and believe in the Gospel." A gay couple who marries thus in a sense is affirming their immoral acts and behaviour, obviously one would conclude has not repented of their sins.

BOB REGAN MR | 4/25/2011 - 4:17pm
........continuing on, love the sinner, hate the sin. The act of two men having sexual relations (sodomy) has always been considered gravely sinful by Christianity and the Catholic Church. If a major component that defines a marriage is the unifying bond of sexual relations, and in a gay marriage the sexual act (relations) which is being performed is sinful, then how can gay marriage ever be justified by Christians?
BOB REGAN MR | 4/25/2011 - 4:06pm
David,

Why then is a clear teaching on morality ignored (or flat out denied) by many Catholics? Part of it I believe has to do not only improper catechesis of many Catholics, but also our culture. The pope has talked about our relativisitc culture, maybe that has much to do with it.

Maybe the question should be framed to Christians whether they believe that the sexual act of sodomy is considered moral or immoral (sinful) by Scripture? Most would probably say that sodomy is considered sinful by Scripture. Therefore then, how does a Christian condone something like gay marriage? By condoning gay marriage one is then condoning the act of sodomy, which has for 2000 years been considered immoral by the Church, am I not correct?
Anonymous | 4/25/2011 - 4:02pm
Free will and the populist rebellion of the crowds does not negate the truth of these teachings - throughout the history of divine revelation, in both books of the bible, men have rejected the call for loving obedience to God in favor of following their pride and individual desires.
David Nickol | 4/25/2011 - 2:57pm
Bob,

I think everyone here knows the official position of the Catholic Church on homosexuality (and other sexual issues, such as contraception). The point is that most Catholics not only don't abide by the teachings of the Church, and apparently don't even believe them. The question is, what are we to make of this? Your answer would seem to be that the majority of Catholics are ''bad Catholics.'' Certainly you have a right to think that. But for many people (including people who are not themselves Catholic), that's not the only answer to the question. 
BOB REGAN MR | 4/25/2011 - 11:40am
Some Christian's say that living out the gay/lesbian lifestyle is morally acceptable. Other Christian's say that living out the gay/lesbian lifestyle is moraly unnaceptable, and therefore, sinful. Two diametrically opposite views on a moral subject. Which view is correct, which view is incorrect? Can both be correct (as subjective relativism says?) Is there a place where a Christian go to find out which view is correct? is there an institution (a church, perhaps) that has the teaching authority handed down from Christ to give Christian's the guidance on faith and morals to tell us which view (interpretation) on the gay/lesbian lifestyle (sodomy, if you will) is correct and clear up this confusion?? Yes, there is. It is the Catholic Church. Read the Church's teaching on homosexuality in the Catechism. It is actually beautiful and quite sensitive to the subject.
Matthew Pettigrew | 4/25/2011 - 11:25am
This is obviously just a guess, but I suspect I know, am friendly with, and am related to more homosexuals than a number of other commenters here.  And never, not once, has any of them said or done anything that could be construed as "promoting homosexuality [or] attempting to force or sell that particular viewpoint as cause célèbre." Each of them simply wants the right to do what the rest of do:  love, be loved, earn a living, raise families, and be full participants in society, including the religion of his or her choice.
BOB REGAN MR | 4/25/2011 - 11:13am
Read the Catholic Catechism on homosexuality and homosexual behaviour. David Nickol's comments are the current problem with American Catholics. They read the Catechism, know the Church's teaching on homosexuality (and yes, it is considered "intrinsically disordered" by the Church), but decide they don't need to follow that teaching. Essentially at that point, they are not Catholics anymore, but popes of their own version of protestantism. Does the Catholic Church have the teaching authority given by Christ handed down through apostolic succession with the ability to "bind and loose" on scripture and tradition? YES! I can't change Christ's teaching to fit my lifestyle, I must change my lifestyle to fit Christ's teaching, whether it is culturally accepted or not. Thank you Jesus, for the Truth of the Catholic Church to guide me back to you.
Stanley Kopacz | 4/25/2011 - 10:46am
Why is there homosexuality?  To this day, it remains a mystery in terms of evolutionary biology theory, according to which, it should disappear because it doesn't produce children.  There's no evidence it has any advantage to relatives of homosexual people, either, so that sociobiological theory doesn't work either.  The only thing I can figure is that mammalian sexuality is so complex in development that it is only 100% minus the percentage of homosexuals efficient.  The only other possibility is that theorized recessive homosexual genes might give an advantage, the way a single sickle cell anemia gene gives resistance to malaria.  Anyway, try reading "THe Sexual Brain" by a researcher Dr. LeVay, himself homosexual.  AFter reading that book about development of sexuality in mammals, I'm surprised anybody ends up heterosexual.
Stanley Kopacz | 4/25/2011 - 9:07am
I'm 62 now and I think I've reached the "don't ask, don't care" phase.  I've bigger problems with capitalist terrorists poisoning (fracking) the water supply of my state.

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