Friday 23 May 2014

The Gay Identity (2)

A while back I posted on the Gay Identity, and realised at the time that there was more to say on the subject. So here, at last, are some further reflections.

As I have had occasion to remark before, this is not a subject that I particularly like to write about. However, it is important to do so, because it is at the forefront of the attack on Christian morality.

What has stirred me to get around to this follow up post is the CBCEW's (Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales) latest outpouring on the topic.

They write, inter alia, 'There are those lesbian and gay Catholics who have entered into civil partnerships in order to secure important and necessary legal rights...'  Stop right there.

Do you see what has happened?

Catholic bishops, no less, have accepted the notion of 'lesbian and gay Catholics' as being an accurate and legitimate descriptor.

I think that is immensely damaging, and betrays a complete corruption of thought.

My previous post explains why such identification is problematic at the level of ideas.  Here I want to turn to why it is harmful (apart from the fundamental Catholic understanding that any offence against veritas is by definition an offence agains caritas).

Imagine that I have a predilection towards adultery, for example.  Imagine further that I claim I was born that way, and that there is evidence of people with such predilection throughout history. In fact, I conclude, (to my own satisfaction at least) it is my identity, an essential part of who I am.  I give this new sexual identity a nice user-friendly name, let us say 'Cheery.'

Imagine further that I manage to convince others of this new Cheery sexual identity. Surprise surprise: many people will start to identify themselves as naturally Cheery, as well. This is no longer a temptation to be overcome, but an identity to be celebrated. In fact, those who disagree are clearly bigoted hate-mongers.  My Cheery behaviour doesn't stop them being monogamous, after all... well maybe it does, if I get my way, but only in a small number of cases...

And then imagine that the CBCEW issues a statement starting: 'There are those Cheery Catholics who have entered into civil partnerships in order to secure important and necessary legal rights...'

We would be shocked, and rightly so.

The recognition of the fiction of the Gay identity as though it corresponds to some ontological reality is not a victimless crime.

The victims, amongst others, are young people who, going through the complex emotional and psychological processes that accompany puberty and adolescence, are sold the lie that they are Gay; also the young people who are sold the associated lie that they are in the wrong body for their 'real' gender and have 'corrective' surgery (increasingly starting at unbelievably early ages); and so on; also those who do suffer from immutable same sex attraction, who are sold the lie that it is a moral good to indulge that attraction.

In fact we are all victims, when lies are enshrined as truth in our society.

Our bishops have a mandate to teach the truth, in season and out of season. In this regard, they are failing shamefully.

Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in proelio, 
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. 
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur: 
tuque, Princeps militiae caelestis, 
Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, 
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo, 
divina virtute, in infernum detrude. 


Lazarus said...

I completely agree with you on the misleading nature of 'gay' as far as it claims to be a description of our nature: it is, as you say, a modern construct. The problem is that, to modern ears, denying the description to those who have adopted it sounds, at best, delusional, and at worst, (genuinely) homophobic.

Cf. the identity 'Goth' (angsty teenager rather than Germanic tribe!). There'd be very little point denying that there are Goths even though it's clearly a constructed identity. And if you wanted to talk to them, it would actually be counterproductive to start the dialogue by that denial.

I confess I'm conflicted here. I'm more and more convinced that it's essential to get back to clear Thomistic teaching on human nature and the supernatural and natural ends of human beings: from such a viewpoint, talking about gay identity is seriously misleading and that does need to be said loud and clear. On the other hand, refusing to use the description gay in everyday discussions is also getting to be counterproductive certainly in soundbite discussions.

Fr Dickson said...

I am disappointed by the CBCEW statement; it gives a credibility to civil partnerships that they do not have in the eyes of God (if we take Scripture and Tradition seriously). By the way, your analogy of 'cheery' people is very good!
On the topic of identity, the term 'gender' has been remodelled by the social constructors to mean something other than it always meant: our biological sex.
Honestly, there seem to be no moral teaching left on sexual morality these days; only the 'social gospel' (with a small 'g').
Thanks for the post!

pattif said...

It is indeed disappointing that our bishops (assuming Abp Smith spoke for the wbole bishops' conference) have succumbed to the fiction that human beings are defined by one aspect of their personalities, instead of by their inherent dignity which derives from their creation by a loving God in his own image.

Ben Trovato said...


Thanks for your comment.

I agree, we should not necessarily pick up on and challenge the word 'gay' every time it is used; that is a prudential judgement based on context etc.

However, I would point out that the Church, in official documents, does not bestow the title 'church' on other groups that do not share the Apostolic Succession, for reasons you will understand - even though the term is in common use in such instances and is how many bodies describe themselves.

Instead, it has found other terms, designed to be respectful, which do not risk creating a false equivalence between the Church and such other bodies. The implicit teaching is, in that way, fully in accordance with Catholic truth.

I think the same considerations apply here: in official documents, the Bishops should not risk teaching, even implicitly, things which are contrary to the truth.

Ben Trovato said...

Father Dickson, Patti,

Thanks for your kind words. Always heartening to know that not everyone thinks I am a complete loon...