Thursday, January 16, 2014

Who are we to judge?, contextualized

Courtesy of Getreligion, the full context of Pope Francis' famous 'who am I to judge?' talk.
This is the answer. But I would like to add something else on this: I see that so many times in the Church, outside of this case and also in this case, they go to look for the “sins of youth,” for instance, and this is published. Not the crimes, alas. Crimes are something else: the abuse of minors is a crime. No, the sins.

But if a person, lay or priest or Sister, has committed a sin and then has converted, the Lord forgives, and when the Lord forgives, the Lord forgets and this is important for our life. When we go to confession and truly say: “I have sinned in this,” the Lord forgets and we don’t have the right not to forget, because we run the risk that the Lord won’t forget our [sins]. That’s a danger. This is important: a theology of sin. I think so many times of Saint Peter: he committed one of the worst sins, which is to deny Christ, and with this sin he was made Pope. We must give it much thought.

But, returning to your more concrete question: in this case, I’ve done the investigatio previa and we found nothing. This is the first question. Then you spoke of the gay lobby. Goodness knows! So much is written of the gay lobby. I still have not met one who will give me the identity card with “gay”. They say that they exist. I think that when one meets a person like this, one must distinguish the fact of being a gay person from the fact of doing a lobby, because not all lobbies are good. That’s bad. If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge him? The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this in such a beautiful way, it says, Wait a bit, as is said and says: “these persons must not be marginalized because of this; they must be integrated in society.”
You see here one reason that I'm sympathetic to Pope Francis: he's actually saying something that I was saying (to a lot of hostile reactions, I'll add) for a while. He's differentiating between 'the lobby' and 'the person'. He's citing the Catechism. He's doing everything I've long thought should be done, at least in this particular exchange.

24 comments:

BenYachov said...

Being Gay, that is having a disordered passion for intimate relations with persons the same gender as yourself is not the problem per say nor is it a sin.

Actually having sex with someone who is the same gender as yourself or having straight sex outside of marriage or with someone other than your wife, with yourself alone or with your wife or a member of the opposite sex in a manner that is un-natural those are the sins.

A gay dude who believes in the teaching of the Church and tries to live a chaste life even if he stumbles on occasion is in way better shape then some mostly straight dude who sleeps around with
girls and maybe even starts to experiment with dudes.

I think some gay people might have a natural spiritual side. Read some of Oscar Wilde's fairy tale stories(no giggling STOP IT!) they have strong
Christian themes(THE SELFISH GIANT move over CS Lewis).

But they look for love and intimacy in all the wrong places.

The Pope is telling people it's Ok to look for God.

Stop trying to be perfect before you meet him.

That never works.

Crude said...

The real point I think is important with the Pope is that he's doing something that is important to stress to people: he is differentiating between 'guy with same-sex attraction' and 'LGBT group'.

Eufrosnia D said...

Crude,

Why is it necessary to differentiate between a guy who is practicing homosexual (with no attempt to change) vs. the gay lobby? They both stand for the same thing.

So the problem with the talk I think is that the Pope does not say the distinction should be between the practicing gay man vs. the gay man who is trying to change his life around. NO, instead he says something else that seems to get rid of the distinction between a practicing gay man and a sincerely trying to stop gay man. It seems like a blanket call to respect both types of persons and try to integrate them in to society.

How do you integrate a man in to a Catholic Community (as an example) who thinks that being gay and practicing it and having rights and privileges associated with it?

Crude said...

Hey Eufrosnia,

Why is it necessary to differentiate between a guy who is practicing homosexual (with no attempt to change) vs. the gay lobby? They both stand for the same thing.

First, I think the Pope could reasonably be interpreted as saying it's important to distinguish between 'A gay man' and 'The LGBT lobby', rather than 'a practicing homosexual and the gay lobby'.

Second, I don't think they stand for the same things. A gay lobby - and I think most gay lobbies in general - do have official stances, standards, even behaviors. Those are pretty rotten. Gay individuals are... individuals. There are gays against gay marriage (see the French protests), there are gays against the Duck Dynasty fiasco, etc.

Now, I won't for a second pretend that most self-identified gays have a critical view of, say... GLAAD. I won't even pretend to think it's a sizable minority. It could be next to none. But I think it's still important to differentiate between an organization and people who the organization purports to represent - in part because that's the first step necessary in making progress against the organization, and at the same time helping those people. And I do think a lot of LGBT need help from the Church.

NO, instead he says something else that seems to get rid of the distinction between a practicing gay man and a sincerely trying to stop gay man.

I don't see that at all. If anything I think the Pope was highlighting the distinction between the gay man who was sincerely trying to stop engaging in one or another sin (like any other sincere Christians) and a GLAAD lobby which celebrates those things.

How do you integrate a man in to a Catholic Community (as an example) who thinks that being gay and practicing it and having rights and privileges associated with it?

You don't. But at that point you're dealing either way the lobby, or (the equivalent of) a lobbyist.

I don't think the Pope was giving a blanket call at all. He made a reference to the CCC itself.

Eufrosnia D said...

Crude,

Thank you for your reply.

I would like to focus on what we first agree one. You said

"First, I think the Pope could reasonably be interpreted as saying it's important to distinguish between 'A gay man' and 'The LGBT lobby', rather than 'a practicing homosexual and the gay lobby'."

I agree with you. So let us take this as a given.

The problem then is that when he makes the statement "who am I to judge?", or integrating an individual back in to a community, he has not made a different distinction. The only distinction that stands is that of the lobby vs. individual.

I would like to say it is a bit worse. According the words in the talk, there is no such thing as a lobby in reality. There is only an individual. So the statements made on who am I to judge and others must necessarily apply to all gay individuals.

I could state this in propositional form (which will make it easier for you to refute as well as for me to present).

1. Pope Francis makes a distinction between Gay lobby vs. Gay persons -- We agree

2. Pope Francis does not make a distinction in his talk between a practicing gay man vs. repentant gay man -- seems clear from the talk?

3. He immediately states after content in (1) that "If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge him?"

4. So since the Pope has only made a distinction immediately regarding individual vs. lobby, we must presume that this statement applies to all gay persons.

And conclusion (4) is problematic.

All of this ties back to the statement "I think that when one meets a person like this, one must distinguish the fact of being a gay person from the fact of doing a lobby, because not all lobbies are good. That’s bad."

The problem with that statement is that it makes the problem with a gay person in to one of lobbying for it. To the contrary, a gay man who does not lobby for his gay lifestyle is still in sin if he practices it. That important element too is missing in the Pope's comments.

Crude said...

Eufrosnia,

According the words in the talk, there is no such thing as a lobby in reality. There is only an individual.

I don't think that's right, really, if you mean you think the Pope is denying the existence of the lobby. I think he's just not identifying a gay person or gay people with said lobby.

Anyway, onto your points.

2. I think he attempts to make one, but he doesn't get blunt. And really, I think this gets tricky - 'practicing gay man'? What about a gay man who screws up at times, but tries on the whole to be good?

The problem with that statement is that it makes the problem with a gay person in to one of lobbying for it. To the contrary, a gay man who does not lobby for his gay lifestyle is still in sin if he practices it.

He is, and I think the Pope could be clearer about that. I don't think he's suggested otherwise.

The short of it is - I think social conservatives have, on these points, been failures. I mean they've been pretty good about pro-life causes (aside from the 2012 election debacle), but on LGBT topics they've been terrible. There is a tremendous amount of talking about 'the gays' and 'gay agenda' and all kinds of language that very easily is taken as 'All gay people are in on this and have these aims and goals', among other things. A lot of targeting people, rather than actions. (And part of that is bluntness. To this day most people freak out if you get specific about sodomy.)

If you're telling me that the Pope could have improved what he said, or that he left out important points, I agree. At the same time - what would you have said in his place? Because that, I think, is pretty key to understanding the tradeoffs involved with communicating what he's trying to communicate.

Eufrosnia D said...

Hello again Crude,

I think you make a good point that the best way to evaluate a saying or action by the Pope (or anyone else) is to evaluate the contrary and their most likely consequences.

In this case, the problem for me is that there is an overall push in the Church to normalize the concept of gay activity. One could say, the push is almost similar to creating a view of seeing a gay act in the way one sees an extra-marital or premarital heterosexual act.

Now the heterosexual extra-marital and pre-marital acts were shunned by society and looked down upon once upon a time. I would say that the Church has gone with the flow of the sexual revolution and somewhat normalized its existence. The social shunning of such individuals who engage in such acts without remorse is no longer part of the repertoire of a Catholic community.

It seems to me that in the same way, the Church is pretty much shaping to absorb the attitude regarding homosexuality.

So there is a sense today in the Church that if a gay man does not push for gay marriage or adoption, maybe its not a big deal. To me, that is what is reflected in the reply of the Pope.

I think its bad because I would rather he say the truth (homosexual acts are disordered) than sugar coat it. His popularity ratings will most certainly plummet but that is what a Pope must face as the Vicar of Christ. It just cannot be that the world as a whole rejects Christ (we know they reject Catholic teachings) but is in love with his Vicar.

I also see the implicit position of the Church as mislead. A gay man who does not push for marriage but sleeps around with the same sex is still committing a gravely disordered act. Considering the fact that they are most likely culpable and only kept from seeing the truth because of the lack of a clear voice calling out their sins (the media and society tends to put a positive spin on it), to see the Church follow suite with withholding the truth seems like an evil thing to do.

To me, reading the Pope's talk therefore only confirms the notion that the Church has divided the issue in her pastoral approach as "Gay marriage and adoption" - BAD, "Gay activity" - GOOD?/TOLERABLE?

Crude said...

Eufrosnia,

The social shunning of such individuals who engage in such acts without remorse is no longer part of the repertoire of a Catholic community.

I agree, and I think that is actually wrapped up with LGBT sort of issues to a degree many people don't appreciate. I also think that part of the problem is that the Church retains an attitude of 'That's a sin, but it's a forgivable sin' towards those things - and that's the attitude that's being built towards sodomy as well.

I think its bad because I would rather he say the truth (homosexual acts are disordered) than sugar coat it. His popularity ratings will most certainly plummet but that is what a Pope must face as the Vicar of Christ. It just cannot be that the world as a whole rejects Christ (we know they reject Catholic teachings) but is in love with his Vicar.

Okay. This I think gets at the heart of many complaints about Francis, and to a degree I'm sympathetic. At least, I'm sympathetic with the idea that there should be clarity in the teaching.

But while clarity is important... there's more to be clear about than 'sodomy is wrong'. It's also important to be clear that 'same sex attraction is not a sin', 'your sins can be forgiven', 'if you screw up, confession exists', 'you should not be condemned purely because of this desire', etc. And I think in some quarters there's been a real lack of clarity about this, with blame assignable on both the liberal and conservative sides of the divide. So I agree that he shouldn't place popularity over all else. At the same time, there's more to be clear about here than the sinfulness of the act(s) themselves.

I don't think the Church is silently accepting of either a gay man sleeping around or a heterosexual man sleeping around or a woman sleeping around, etc. No more than, say, the church is accepting of contraception. The Church is actually pretty clear about these things - what's taken a hit is what you've called that social shunning, which I think may not have been wisely implemented (at least at all times) in the past, and which also requires the public support of not just Catholics, but most Catholics. Which is a sticky problem itself.

BenYachov said...

Codg's sillyness and shortsightedness still don't fail to amaze me. I have to make myself not read his foolish analysis.

His latest on Cardinal Sean & that Methodist woman.

Is he oblivious to the fact John Paul II engaged in ecumenical prayer activities with Rowan Williams who was then Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury?

Williams has known liberal views on homosexuality & gay relationships, contraception and women's ordination.

He has one saving grace in that he professes to be Pro-life.

Plus the Popes refer to him as "Your Grace" which if you really want to be super-radtradish seems to be inconsistent with Leo XIII's ruling on Anglican Holy Orders.

I know this has been a sore point between us Crude & I don't want to have another vicious fight.

But I haven't really changed my view here.

BenYachov said...

BTW because I don't want to hijack this tread.

>The social shunning of such individuals who engage in such acts without remorse is no longer part of the repertoire of a Catholic community.

The "shunning" for the most part has devolved in an abusive way.

I remember reading the Desert Fathers on how they treated Monks caught in homosexual acts. I assure you they make Pope Francis look like Fred Phelps. Yet like Francis they didn't condone sin.

One Desert Father who witnessed a monk having sex with a male prostitute said "If the Lord God Almighty now does not see fit to burn them down to ashe with fire from Heaven who then am I to judge them?".

The Pope is emphasizing charity toward gays & I am 100% behind him. Fun part is it's not some novelty it is ancient.

BenYachov said...

Also in my experience growing up the "shunning" of gays was not motivated by piety.

It mostly came from young men who had no problem with faux lesbianism for their own entertainment & who had little problem with hetero fornication.

Fathers who winked at their sons if they caught them in their rooms naked with girls but if it was with another boy would throw them out of the house calling them "Faggots!".

That is just wrong! Send both to confession. I would not cast off my son if here where gay. Now if he said he was "pro-choice" I would rend my garments and throw his arse out of my house.

But Gay and Prolife well that is not ideal but it could have been worst.

lotharlorraine said...

While I don't agree with everything he says, I really like the Pope and I enjoy listening his Italian sermons.

I think his outstanding personality has brought many people back to the Church, even if this is not the case in France due to the strong secularism prevailing there.

Crude said...

Lothar,

In your view, what would be the most promising way to draw people specifically in France back to Church?

malcolmthecynic said...

Lothar, I hate to say it, but the comments section of your latest thread on homosexuality is a joke. Crude hasn't said anything remotely offensive and the LGBT brigade has already started calling for him to shut up.

Basically, you're a bigot and should be silenced just for HAVING dissenting views, which apparently are offensive just because they're dissenting.

I was going to comment but it looks like another case of casting pearls before swine, and anyway Crude has pretty much said it all.

Crude said...

It's par for the course, Malcolm. This is the universal response when engaging in these arguments - especially when someone like me starts arguing, because I'll speak bluntly about the actual topics of concern, which drives people up the wall.

But yeah, I'm amused that 'Shut up!' and 'ignore him!' are the responses there from a few. Typical.

malcolmthecynic said...

The general jerkassness under a veneer of righteous holiness is expected. Who should really be ashamed of are the people who are telling you to stop talking.

Crude said...

Well, mostly I think that's funny. The big emphasis on "stop talking, stop talking" is great - I especially loved "never tell anyone why these sexual acts are wrong because I guarantee we've heard every single argument ever and we're not convinced!"

The funny thing is, I bet you that if I was there raging and being a typical WBC sort, there'd be far less 'stop talking' moves. There'd be a whole lot of using me as a great example to condemn and lecture everyone regarding.

BenYachov said...

I sincerely wish to preface what I am about say with a declaration I don't wish to cause any trouble at all.

> - especially when someone like me starts arguing, because I'll speak bluntly about the actual topics of concern, which drives people up the wall.

But you do realize Crude I am just as blunt as you & you didn't find it all that pleasant when we went at it.

Granted part of my bluntness is if I am really confident I am right about something I might go to far to the point of seeming brute arrogance.

Not that I am accusing you of that Crude. But it is a good idea to point to this elephant in the room so we might both avoid it.

Also I didn't see your discussion on Lothar's blog so you may know I am not accusing you of anything.

I just thought it would be nice to state the obvious for our mutual edification.

Cheers brother.

BenYachov said...

BTW I just now read thew Lothar's post.


WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have never read such irrational self-distructive and self-defeating fundamentalism in my life.

This is objectively by an order of magnitude worst then any bullshit or trash talk I read about Francis on his blog.

It's just awful!

BenYachov said...

Just finished reading your replies Crude to the people on Lothar's blog.

They where sanity itself.

BTW Lothar if you are reading this I have no problem with my long time Muslim friend telling me Allah doesn't like it when I believe that He is a Trinity and that Yesua Al Mesin is Allah's Word Incarnate and thus Ibn Allah(Son of God).

The burden is on him to convince me to accept the Koran.

If I say gay sex is a sin then the burden is on me to convince the gay person God really said this and they should in obedience to Him make a good faith effort by His Grace to refrain from the same sex dude on dude or girl on girl Luv.

But your freaky hysteria that I am somehow harming a gay person by telling him I believe this and suggesting kindly s/he should too is pure fascism.

If this is where you are headed then champ there is no moral difference between you & your gay allies and Fred Phelps.

Repent your Gay Brownshirt Fascism Lothar! If only for your own sake & for the sake of not setting gay rights back 100 years with the predictable backlash your nonsense will generate among civilized Christians.

Crude said...

Ben,

But you do realize Crude I am just as blunt as you & you didn't find it all that pleasant when we went at it.

I think we've talked many, many times before, without issue. Last time was exceptional.

And I think Lothar is generally quite a calm, relaxed person to have a conversation with, even if I disagree with him. The recent post he put up was a post by a gay/lesbian Christian. I disagree with them strongly, and don't find their reasoning at all compelling.

malcolmthecynic said...

Ben, the problem had nothing to do with bluntness. It was that you missed the point Crude was making. Over and over and over.

BenYachov said...

>It was that you missed the point Crude was making. Over and over and over.'

I'd say we where both talking past each other. I think he & I have slightly different understandings of the term "propaganda". It is most likely a small difference but sometimes small differences lead to big misunderstandings.

BenYachov said...

>And I think Lothar is generally quite a calm, relaxed person to have a conversation with, even if I disagree with him. The recent post he put up was a post by a gay/lesbian Christian. I disagree with them strongly, and don't find their reasoning at all compelling.

It is a terrible post. If you are gay and you can't tolerate the Christian portrayed in the post and resolve to put him on the same level as the "God hates F...etc" morons then there can be no peace at all.

They are simply choosing to be unreasonable at all cost to bully people into excepting their lifestyle vs mere practical tolerance with is all anybody of strong opinions has a right to expect from anybody else of strong opinions.