You might not be aware, Gentle Reader, that other Gentle Readers write to me to ask what I think of what other Liberty's Torch contributors post here. (Then again, you might, especially if you've done so yourself.) That should be unsurprising. Though we have our several emphases and our several standpoints, I'm the "ringmaster" here, which makes it natural to wonder whether I approve of and agree with the positions the others take. My well known Catholicism and my oft-demonstrated stridency probably amplify the effect.
The mail becomes particularly voluminous when the subject is homosexuality -- and treble that when it's homosexuality within the Catholic Church.
Mark Butterworth's piece below on the corrupting influence of homosexuals within the Catholic Church is an unusually strong and candid one. If you haven't yet read it, please do so before continuing on here. As you can imagine, my email-box has overflowed with questions about that post: whether I agree with its premises, its conclusions, or both.
Ask and ye shall receive, Gentle Reader.
We already know that not everything we want is good for us. Given the large mass of evidence about the deleteriousness of male homosexual sodomy, it should be unnecessary for me to press that point any further. But Mark's piece is about homosexuality within the Catholic clergy, which is a special subject of special importance, especially to Catholics. As a Catholic and a thinker, it's most especially important to me.
Much that is not good for us is good for others. Consider indenture: If Smith is indentured to Jones's service, Jones may well profit greatly, while Smith is allowed bare subsistence for his labors. The injustice of slavery is obvious, but even voluntary self-indenture is extra-legal -- that is, unenforceable -- in the nations of the West.
Inversely, much that is good for us is not good for others. Consider burglary: the burglar (if not apprehended) profits at the expense of his victim. Again, the obvious injustice of the thing is why we criminalize it and similar acts against the property rights of others.
If we stipulate, solely for the sake of argument, that male homosexuals' consensual sexual conduct with one another is "good for them," nevertheless it does not follow that the Catholic Church should permit homosexual conduct among its clerics. Quite apart from its condemnation of homosexual conduct, the Church has decided that actively homosexual priests and nuns are bad for the Church and its communicants. Whether or not this is objectively true -- for the record, I believe that it is true, and strongly support the Church's position -- the Church, a private, voluntary association of individual communicants and their hierarchy of faith and doctrine, has as much right to its own personnel policies as any other.
A Place at the Table, Bruce Bawer's 1994 book on the acceptance of homosexuals in American society, was rather popular for a while. Bawer's core thesis was that all the American homosexual wants is "a place at the table" -- that he merely wants his rights, and his opinions, respected equally with others. Bawer, a graceful writer, made an eloquent, sometimes touchingly personal case for his position. All the same, he was wrong then and he's wrong now.
- Some homosexuals merely want to be left alone;
- Some homosexuals want "gay-Americans" to be a stakeholder group with a formally recognized special place in American politics, much like American Negroes;
- And some homosexuals demand special "rights" -- really, privileges and subventions -- that heterosexuals have never had.
In this regard, American homosexuals are a lot like American Muslims.
The activist-homosexual thesis rests in part on the assertion that homosexuality is both natural and involuntary. As everything that exists is in some sense "natural," the word has no objective meaning...certainly no meaning pertinent to politics. As for "involuntary," it's possible that some fraction of homosexuals cannot be relieved of the burden of their orientation. However, at least some homosexuals can be reoriented by therapeutic means; the movie I Do Exist testifies to that fact.
But how can it be a matter of uncontrollable reflex for Adam to shove his John Thomas up Steve's Hershey Highway? He might want to do so. Steve might even agree with the desirability thereof. But the behavior itself is a matter of volition.
Nevertheless, neither the "naturalness" nor the "involuntariness" of homosexuality bears on the Church's prerogatives to set its own standards of conduct for its clerics. Substitute any other behavior for "homosexual" and see where the argument leads you.
The question whether a confessed homosexual who vows to stay chaste should be admitted to Holy Orders is a separate one, and not easy for most laymen to answer. Some such applicants for the priesthood will be sincere in making that vow; others will not. Whether the Church should accept the vow as sufficient is a policy decision that must be based upon experience.
The Church's experiences with homosexual clerics here in America have all been very bad. Like it or not, the molestation of male children and teens by male priests -- the only sort the Church accepts -- is homosexual conduct, indicative of a homosexual orientation. The dalliances of homosexual priests with one another aren't nearly as great a scandal. All the same, and all by themselves, they have done the image of the Church a great deal of harm.
The experiences of the post-war decades strongly suggest that the Church should and must bar anyone who confesses a homosexual orientation, or whose past conduct provides persuasive evidence of homosexuality, permanently from Holy Orders. There's no more "right to be ordained" than there is a "right to marry."
Activist homosexuals hate the Church for its stance on their perversion. This is understandable; it's natural -- oops! There's that word again! -- to resent being told that something you want and enjoy is an offense against God and the dignity of Man. That makes it all the more understandable that homosexuals should seek to infiltrate the Catholic clergy and corrupt it from within; it satisfies three lusts simultaneously.
Whether the Church will react appropriately and adequately against this threat is entirely uncertain. The experiences of recent years provide evidence on both sides of the question. All the same, what the Church must do for its own well being -- its persistence as the conservator of the teachings of Christ and the home of those who believe them -- is perfectly clear. Homosexuals who claim that they have a "right" to become Catholic priests -- that the Church has "no right" to protect itself from the danger they represent -- haven't a logical nor a legal leg to stand on.
Concerning homosexuals' yearning for "a place at the table," there are many other tables, including some that are nominally Christian, to which they are welcomed with open arms. The one marked Catholic should be barred to them.
Please, God, make it so.