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Judging Gays

by Frank Schnittger Thu Jan 16th, 2014 at 08:39:00 AM EST

Why do religious gay bashers claim they are only preaching the Gospels when in fact they generally quote St. Paul rather than Jesus in support of their homophobia and misogyny?
McAleese and church stance on gays - Letters | The Irish Times - Thu, Jan 16, 2014

Sir, – Fr Patrick McCafferty (January 15th) states, “The church unequivocally proclaims the message of the Gospel ” and goes on to quote twice from Romans in support of his argument concerning homosexuality and church teaching. As he is no doubt aware, Romans is not, in fact, a gospel. Why is it that the opponents of gay rights generally quote St Paul rather than Jesus? Could it be because Jesus never actually condemned homosexuality, and indeed healed the centurion’s sick pais (male servant/lover)? – Yours, etc, FRANK SCHNITTGER

Former President Mary McAlease has stirred a bit of a hornets nest with her comments on the Catholic Church and homosexuality:


Ex-president McAleese criticises church's stance on gay people

Former president Mary McAleese, who has urged a Scottish cardinal forced to stand down last year to admit publicly that he is gay, has said "a very large number" of Catholic priests are homosexuals.

The Catholic Church has been in denial over homosexuality for decades, particularly since many priests are gay, she said. "It isn't so much the elephant in the room but a herd of elephants.

"I don't like my church's attitude to gay people. I don't like `love the sinner, hate the sin'. If you are the so-called sinner, who likes to be called that? We also know that within the priesthood a very large number of priests are gay.";

She also criticised words attributed to the previous Pope on this subject as being contradictory. "Things written by [Pope] Benedict, for example, were completely contradictory to modern science and to modern understanding, and to the understanding of most Catholics nowadays in relation to homosexuality.

"Nowadays, it is not something that is perceived as something that is intrinsically disordered. Homosexual conduct is not seen as evil," said Mrs McAleese.

Her remarks were made in Edinburgh to the Glasgow-based Herald newspaper last month, but only published yesterday. She made them before she spoke last month to the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

The former president, who has become increasingly outspoken about the church's attitude to gays, compared the church's stand to the "Christ killer" charge levelled against Jews for 2,000 years.

"I would have thought Cardinal Keith O'Brien, in telling the story of his life - if he was willing to do that - could have been of great assistance to gay people, not just in the church but elsewhere, who felt over many, many years constrained to pretend to be heterosexual while ... acting a different life."

The Scottish cardinal had to resign last year as an archbishop when it emerged that he had had a homosexual relationship with a young priest.

Her remarks are significant because she was always seen as something of a staunch Catholic who actually represented the Catholic Church as a member of the Catholic Church Episcopal Delegation to the New Ireland Forum in 1984, and a member of the Catholic Church delegation to the Northern Ireland Commission on Contentious Parades in 1996. She went on to study Canon Law in Rome after she stepped down and remains popular with all (or almost all) sections of Irish public opinion.

Priests, activists welcome McAleese's criticism of Church stance on gay people

Former president Mary McAleese's criticism of the Catholic Church's stance on gay people have been welcomed by the Association of Catholic Priests and a gay advocacy group.

Fr Tony Flannery of the association said he was "very happy" with the former president's remarks. She was bringing the issue out "into the open" as "it really does need to be discussed in the Church," he told Newstalk radio today.

In an interview published in the Glasgow-based Herald newspaper yesterday Mrs McAleese said the Catholic Church has been in denial over homosexuality for decades, particularly since many priests are gay.

Fr Flannery said it was "useful" that she stated this in public. The "percentage of priests who are of homosexual orientation has undoubtedly increased" in the last decade, he said. "Some of my best friends in the priesthood are homosexual," he said.

The Church's's teaching on homosexuality was "in serious need of reform", he said. "When a certain approach to moral issue is clearly out of tune with the catholic faithful I think it has to be rethought. In a good few areas of Catholic Sexual morality I think we are in that area now, he said.

He hoped there might be more "openness and freedom" under Pope Francis. Church doctrine had developed in "all sorts of ways" throughout the centuries because of the "developing understanding about humanity", he said.

However, as is to be expected, there has been the usual backlash from members of the conservative catholic pressure group, the Iona Institute. Breda O'Brien had this to say (in her role as columnist for the Irish Times):
Why I was so disappointed by Mary McAleese's comments on gay priests

That's why I was so disappointed in Mary McAleese's comments as reported in the Glasgow Herald. McAleese is an erudite, intelligent woman and a committed Catholic. It is hard to believe that she really thinks the church's teaching on sexuality, and in particular, on gay sex, stems from the fact that there are allegedly so many gay churchmen frantically trying to repress their sexuality. As someone with a qualification in canon law, she must know the church teaches that sexuality is ordered towards a certain goal, that of loving and mutual support that binds men and women together so they can best care for their children.

She might profoundly disagree with that teaching, as is her right, but why does she believe the alleged fact that so many priests are gay constitutes a "herd of elephants" in the room? I am not aware of any research that indicates real numbers, but even if 95 per cent of priests were gay, does that mean they are all repressed, stifling their sexuality, and self-hating homophobes as a result?

I know gay priests who manage to like themselves as much as anyone likes themselves, who radiate a hard-won and quiet contentment and who also accept and live out the church's teaching on gay sex.

So? No one is forcing those who wish to remain celibate to do otherwise. Not surprisingly her (strangely argued) article elicited 743 comment when most Irish Times articles evoke few or no comments. Apparently homophobia is not the sole preserve of the Catholic Church and so it is unfair to single it out for criticism. "We are all sinners", she goes on to argue, as if that means LGBT people are treated no differently from anyone else by the Catholic Church.

The one thing Christ does condemn in the Gospels is hypocrisy and denial. Perhaps the Gospel verses Fr. Patrick McCafferty might have quoted are Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged, and Let Him Who is Without Sin Cast the First Stone (Mathew 7:1, and John 8:7)...

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the church teaches that sexuality is ordered towards a certain goal, that of loving and mutual support that binds men and women together so they can best care for their children.

Since the same church exhibits forced celibacy as a magical virtue essential to priesthood, the church arguably does not teach that. Or not unequivocally.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jan 17th, 2014 at 02:21:52 AM EST
"Teach" here is a technical term to do with official catechism and such legalistic things. The church never "taught" about limbo (place, not dance) despite centuries of propagating the belief.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 17th, 2014 at 02:49:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Christianity succeeds because it's a meta-religion, and believers can rely on it to supply an argument from authority on almost any moral position.

So there's no point asking what 'Christianity teaches', because as far as individual believers are concerned, it teaches whatever they want it to teach.

Historically it's usually associated with repression, but that's because it's a plain old hierarchy of wealth and power, and you never get hierarchies of wealth and power arguing for social progress.

if it had been associated with limbo (the dance, not the place) it would have been more fun, but less successful.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jan 17th, 2014 at 10:50:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So who wins from the repression of gays?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jan 17th, 2014 at 01:15:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The hierarchy does. It gets to appear morally tough on an issue that it's easy to appear morally tough on, because there seems to be a base level of prejudice in many human populations about it.

I doubt anyone in the hierarchy things of it like that. But that's the effect.

If it took a moral stand on - say - fracking - that would be far more divisive. (And less profitable, since a key aim is to keep the cash coming in from the faithful.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jan 17th, 2014 at 01:40:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it is awfully ironic that while the church has been a refuge for homosexuals for yonks, because of the social homophobia they had to pretend it wasn't and that they abhorred their own ways.

now society has moved on and they can't come out of the gilded closet they themselves helped to fortify with their own sanctimonious hypocrisy.

meanwhile the cardinals swish around in the equivalent of lady gaga costumes, dripping fine jewellery round their unctuous jowls and rent apartments above gay bars for easy access.

the hilarious truth is that if they did come clean (sorry!) they would probably become the go-to roadshow for all those who are light in the (ferragamo) loafers.

these guys invented camp for christ's sake!

if they could all merrily get to bonking each other after vespers how meany people would really give a monkey's? (sorry vlad!) it's not shocking any more that men like to do the nasty all by themselves, er hello?

meanwhile their refusal to bend with the times is doing nothing but lose them 'clients' and tying them in moral knots, as the facade slowly crumbles that it wasn't a Cozy Old Boys' Club all along...

all that energy into the cover-up of what everyone knows anyway! must be exhausting.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jan 18th, 2014 at 06:36:42 PM EST
I think your observation that the church was something of an acceptable refuge for Gays - so long as their orientation was open or acknowledged is apposite. I suspect the Church would lose quite a few "customers" if it became known as a gay club in disguise. There is something to be said for any community to be completely blind about people's sexual orientation, regarding it as people's own private business. But when they then come out to repress all gays they hypocrisy becomes seriously self-destructive.  

It's a pity the churches never took the lead in embracing all humanity and made opposition to slavery, racism, homophobia, misogyny, and gross inequality a badge of honour, and embodiment of the Gospels - combined with an embrace of science, medicine, freedom of s  speech, democracy and public accountability. A few Churchmen did take the lead in those fields, but generally without challenging prevailing orthodoxies.

Instead they chose to embrace the Old testament and misogynists like Paul to justify slavery, oppression of women, and more latterly - gays. Pharisees in new clothes, if you like.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 19th, 2014 at 06:44:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The crisis of the church can be described as the breakdown of the "don't ask, don't tell" doctrine.

Caused trouble for the Marines, too.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Jan 30th, 2014 at 10:23:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's a reason the clergy's outfits are so fabulous.
by rifek on Thu Jan 30th, 2014 at 09:26:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Corollary : protestant clergy are drab; they are allowed to marry.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Jan 30th, 2014 at 11:56:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the conservative catholic pressure group, the Iona Institute.

Tangentially related (or you tell me if it's not just tangentially):

Man charged over chess killing remanded in Dublin mental hospital | World news | theguardian.com

A man charged with killing his landlord is being held in a Dublin mental hospital, a court has heard.

Saverio Bellante was unable to appear at Cloverhill district court in the capital on Friday where he was to face charges over the death of Tom O'Gorman, an advocate of traditional Catholic values in Ireland. The 39-year-old Italian was remanded in custody for a further two weeks.

O'Gorman's mutilated body was found at his home in the Castleknock area of north Dublin last weekend. Bellante had been lodging at the house for the previous few months. The killing is believed to have happened after a disagreement over a chess game.

...The murdered man was a researcher for the Iona Institute, which promotes traditional Catholic values in the Irish Republic. He had lived at the property in Castleknock with his mother until her death in 2012.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jan 20th, 2014 at 03:40:48 AM EST
I missed that connection and don't know if it has any significance. I have seen no reportage which challenges the narrative that the Italian tenant had a row with his landlord over a game of chess. His detention in a mental hospital would appear to add weight to that narrative.

The Iona institute is the "posh" academic face of conservative Catholicism, not a rabble rousing militant sect. It's main "work" seems to be through the media work of Quinn and Breda O'Brien and they are active (for example) in advocating continued state support for private fee paying religious schools, a cause which would have wider "posh" middle class support.

Other than that, I know little about them, but would be surprised if there was a darker violent or sexually repressive "Opus Dei" component to their existence. I'm not even sure how much support they get from the Catholic Hierarchy led, in Dublin, by Diarmuid Martin regarded by many as a relatively liberal and tolerant Archbishop especially when compared to his predecessors.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jan 20th, 2014 at 07:26:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Christianity has always quoted Paul to support its more authoritarian efforts.
by rifek on Thu Jan 30th, 2014 at 09:28:54 AM EST


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