Saturday, January 4, 2014

Taking a “People First” Approach to Homosexual Attraction and Actions

I want to spend this, my first blog post of 2014, addressing how we think about the subject of homosexual attractions and actions. For what it's worth, much of this applies to heterosexual attractions and inclinations, as well. I think an overhaul in our thinking on the subject is long overdue. Hear me out, then let me know what you think.

Lothar Meggendorfer, illustration from
What Should I Be? (1888)
In a piece arguing against the use of the phrase “the mentally ill,” Carey Goldberg advocates for “people first” language, because it avoids defining people by their diagnosis:
Some newly minted peer specialists sat me down and re-educated me about the wrongness of using “the mentally ill” and the rightness of using “people first” language. A person is not defined by a diagnosis, they said. If you have a mental illness it doesn’t define you any more than your heart disease defines you if you’re a cardiac patient. A person is a person who happens to have depression or schizophrenia; the correct term is “people with mental illness.”

That’s the phrase I’ve used ever since, and I’ve come across “people first” language in other contexts. I once referred to patients as “diabetics” in a story about diabetes, but quickly converted it to “people with diabetes” when a specialist corrected me.

When I was writing recently about obesity and the increasingly widespread concept that it is a chronic disease, it made instant sense to me when advocates told me that I should write “people who have obesity” instead of “the obese” or “obese people.”

Yes, “people first” language is less concise. But a couple of added words seem a small price to pay for according greater dignity to people facing extra challenges.
As Goldberg notes, the AP style guide has tried to move towards such “people first” language in several areas. It explained its decision in this way:
The AP’s decision to stop using “illegal immigrant” is part of a larger shift away from labeling people and toward labeling behaviors. For example, the new entry on mental illness says to refer to people “diagnosed with schizophrenia” instead of “schizophrenics.”
The drawback of “people first” language is that it is clunky: adjectives typically precede nouns in English, so it can be cumbersome to reword. Plus, much of the “people first” language is obnoxiously euphemistic, like referring to people with mental illness “people with mental health experiences,” an apparently-meaningless jumble of words (do people without mental illness not have “mental health experiences”?).

Still, while the approach is not without its drawbacks, it's a healthy reminder of who we are at heart. Most fundamentally, we are persons, not “the obese,” or schizophrenics, or “illegal immigrants” ... or “homosexuals.” 

There's a reason that the Catechism uses the phrase “men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies” (CCC 2358) instead of “gays,” and it's not because it sounds better. It's because, just as it's not fair (or accurate) to define a person by their weight, or diagnosis, or immigration status, neither is it fair to define a person by their sexual attractions or orientations.

Here are three reasons to reject the standard way we speak (and more importantly, think) about sexual orientation:

(1) The popular view is reductionist, and defines us as our sexual impulses.

Fr. Paul Scalia put this brilliantly by arguing that GLAAD and the Westboro Baptist Church are, in many ways, two sides of the same coin. Both take a reductionist view of the human person to a bundle of sexual impulses. Instead of being men and women who are attracted to the same (or opposite) sex, we're “heterosexuals” or “homosexuals” (etc.), and we're not fully ourselves unless we're expressing this “identity,” by acting upon these sexual impulses and attractions.

This has obvious implications, of course. If we are our sexual urges, then we're not really “us” unless we're acting on those urges. And you'll hear this sort of loose language thrown around: people defending their lifestyle choices by saying that they have to “be themselves,” etc.

But a few moments reflection will show the absurdity, even insanity, of such a view. Within this view, the person most fully themselves is the person who mindlessly indulges all of their sexual impulses, without regard for their actions' impact on others – or indeed, on themselves.

And the implications of such a view are particularly troubling: the American Psychiatric Association recently caused a stir by listing pedophilia as a “sexual orientation,” a decision it quickly walked back. Surely, we can all agree that some people have urges that shouldn't be acted upon, right? If so, it certainly seems that a view that defines us as our urges is dangerous and wrongheaded.

(2) This reductionist view obscures the distinction between attractions and actions

“'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone,
'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'”

Peter Newell, illustration to
“Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There” (1902).
In the words of T.S. Eliot, “Between the idea / And the reality / Between the motion / And the act / Falls the Shadow.” Terms like “gay,” used as nouns, tend to bridge this chasm between attractions and activities through a sort of slight of hand.

Does it mean a person who is attracted to members of the same sex? Or does it mean a person who acts upon that attraction? For example, does it make sense to speak of people living a celibate life as “gay” (or, for that matter, “straight”)? Conversely, would a male prostitute who engages in homosexual actions, but is not same-sex attracted, be considered “gay”?

Often, it seems to simply mean whatever it is most politically expedient for it to mean. So, for example, when Human Rights Campaign says that “being gay” is not a choice, I trust that they're not claiming that all homosexual activity is rape. Rather, they are claiming that homosexual attractions are innate. So “being gay” is about one's attractions, right?

Not so fast.

When Human Rights Campaign claims that a principal was fired for “being gay,” they don't mean that she was fired for her attractions. They mean that she was fired after board members raised concerns about her “lifestyle,” that is, about the decisions she made in response to her sexual attractions. They're using the same term to mean two radically different things.

This obfuscation is widespread, but surely, the distinction is incredibly significant when speaking of the morality of homosexuality. Our inclinations are often outside of our control, and to that extent, aren't within the realm of moral analysis. But our actions, to the extent that they are within our control, are within the realm of moral analysis.

(3) This reductionist view treats it as impossible to love the sinner, and hate the sin.

One of the common reactions to Phil Robertson's recent comments on homosexuality was that his “homophobia clearly extends beyond the 'love the sinner, hate the sin' framing that opponents of LGBT equality use to sugarcoat their bigotry.

This sort of reaction was widespread, and it shows that many people who disagree with the Christian view of homosexual activity simply don't believe us that we still love people who are same-sex attracted (and indeed, people who engage in same-sex behavior).

Anonymous, Drunken Old Woman (c. 200 B.C.)
Part of this is probably our fault: that we haven't done a good enough job of expressing that love, or showing that our opposition to homosexual activity is precisely because we think it's dangerous and harmful to the individuals involved. Our opposition to the lifestyle is based upon our love of the individuals involved, and our concern for their well-being. When we fail to express that underlying love, our opposition looks incoherent and hateful.

But part of the reason that message is hard to convey is because of our culture's muddled thinking about same-sex attractions and actions.

With a “people first” approach, the distinction between sinner and sin is plain, because it distinguishes between individuals and their actions and attributes. After all, you agonize over your uncle's excessive drinking precisely because of your love for him. You worry about your pastor's obesity because you want the best for him. You plead with your son to get health insurance, because you care about his well-being. You confront your husband about his adultery, because you love him.

Your hatred of alcoholism, obesity, being uninsured, or adultery doesn't translate into a hatred of the people living these lives. Rather, hatred of the situation is born out of love of the people. If you didn't care about them, you'd let your uncle drink himself to death. You'd take the easy road, and indulge your pastor's obesity. You'd avoid mentioning your son's lack of insurance or your husband's lack of fidelity.

Of course, you wouldn't be doing them any favors with your silence or indulgence: you'd just be taking the easy road. The truly loving response is to intervene, to address the situation that needs addressing, even if it damages your relationship with the ones you love.

But to the extent that people with homosexual attractions are defined by those attractions, to hate the attraction looks like hating the individual. We wouldn't dream of doing that with any of the other cases. We wouldn't use, for example, one's genetic predisposition for alcoholism or obesity as a justification of a lifestyle that aggravates those predispositions. We wouldn't accuse anyone anti-alcoholism or anti-obesity of hating the individuals struggling with (or indulging) excessive food and drink.

For that matter, if your husband acts upon his sexual orientation by cheating on you with another woman, you don't praise him for “embracing his identity.” You (hopefully) challenge him for embracing a destructive and unhealthy lifestyle.

So the reductionist view imagines that loving people means that we have to support the decisions that they make, an assumption that we rightly reject in every other area of area of our life.

Alternative: A People-First Approach to Homosexual Attraction and Actions

A healthier approach, a “people first” approach, to homosexual actions and attractions starts by rejecting the lie that people who are defined by their sexual urges or history. Reject the narrative pushed by GLAAD and by Westboro Baptist, because it's a fundamentally false one.

This rejection probably should involve eschewing terms like “gay,” since they are reductionist, and obscure more than they express. Admittedly, most other terms (“persons with same sex attraction,” etc.) sound clunky and clinical, so I understand the hesitation with making the shift. But it's worth the effort, because words matter.

As a friend of mine said: “it is the underlying attitude which is most important, but I believe that is best expressed through proper terminology, and I am not a "gay man who is celibate," but rather a Catholic Christian man who has same-sex tendencies. And, for the most part, I am simply a Catholic man.” Of course, it's even more important to make the mental shift: to keep that distinction clear and present in your mind, and not to fall into the trap of obfuscating inclinations, actions, and individual identities.

Jacopo Pontormo, Madonna and Child with Saints (1518).
Welcome to the family.
But this shift is more than a rejection, much more. Most especially, it involves an affirmation: that what defines us is that we are sons and daughters of the Most High God. As 1 John 3:1 says, “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

That is, there's something much more important, much more exciting, about you than your sexual preferences: you are a child of God. The world doesn't tell you this, and doesn't see this about you, because it doesn't know God. But once you come to see this – once you learn more about God, and about yourself – this fact should be the bedrock of your identity.

Do you have attractions and temptations towards a lifestyle contrary to what's fitting for a child of God, contrary to what's pleasing to God? Join the club. Have you fallen, done things you know displeased God, things which harmed you and those you loved, things you desperately wish you could take back? Do you continue to struggle with sins? Again: join the club.

We're not children of God because we're so good. We're children of God because He's so good.

Of course, this isn't a call to go “sin boldly.” It's a call to turn our lives over to God, to give Him even our sins, that they may be burned up in the fire of His Mercy.

Always remember that you are loved by the All-Powerful God of the Universe. But more than that, you are a child of this God, and have been promised a divine inheritance and eternal life with Him, if you but persevere through the tough times (Romans 8:15-17):
For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!”it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Your lifestyle should reflect this. You should live in a way that reflects your royal status: “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming” (1 John 2:27).

That's who you are, at heart, and that's what you're called to. Never let anyone tell you otherwise.

22 comments:

  1. I would be honored to share the first comment on this excellent post, as I too am from that background and can relate so well to the words you wrote, with both compassion and clarity. May we learn to follow these same principles on all levels, whatever the sin or fault, and to remember that we are indeed not the sum total of our struggles--we are so much more because we belong to a Christ who took every one of those pains upon Himself at Calvary. Beautiful and loving article. Thank you so much.

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  2. Stands up and applauds. This is exactly what I say to people. I must speak out against a wrong action because to do so would be unloving. I can't bear to see a person inflict harm on themselves. The problem there in lies when a person does not see it as self harm. And then I get called a bigot. At that point the conversation is pointless. They simply dont believe me. I try the alcohol dependent or depression examples. But it doesnt work because often they dont see the comparison not even from my point of view. There the dialogue is at an impasse.

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  3. “The drawback of “people first” language is that it is clunky:”…. NO! the drawback is that it obscures reality.
    There is no cache of “sins” somewhere that exists apart from a human being. Sins are attached to the human that entertains them and do not depend upon one or more overt, open actions to make that human a “sinner.” This has been true for many thousands of years (Prov. 23.7; Mt. 5.27-28; among other places).
    In this modern world is it possible and trendy to divorce one’s actions from one’s persona and expect others to “hate my sin” but love me (who gives safe harbor to that sin). While it may be satisfying and politically expedient to say “I have a deep seated tendency to prevaricate,” it likely does not make people who know me tend to trust me. It only obscures my sins (from me) and does not produce a desire for repentance and reconciliation. And, sadly, I may believe I have the love of Jesus but I have not forsaken my favorite sin and replaced it with His Graces (Ro. 13.14 and Gal. 3.27). Sad because lacking such Graces I am still a liar, or a fornicator, or an adulterer, etc. and my end is certain (1 Co. 6.9-11; Gal. 5.19-21).
    No, “people first” language is a smokescreen, a placebo, a distraction – indeed, it is self-flattering foolishness and self-deceit.

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    1. While this reply is specific to Fran, it also applies to much of what Michael P and I am not Spartacus have argued:

      1) You claim that the drawback to “people first language” is “that it obscures reality.” I disagree. I think that the greatest distortion we face in this area is that people who engage in these sins become defined by them. That is, they're not just an attribute, but an identity.

      Surely you would agree that their identity should be founded elsewhere, right? For example, their being made in the image of God, or their being children of God?

      2) You also said, “In this modern world is it possible and trendy to divorce one’s actions from one’s persona and expect others to “hate my sin” but love me (who gives safe harbor to that sin).” I don't particularly care if it's popular. What I do care about is that it is Biblical, and what we are called to by the Church (and always have been).

      St. Paul must have been at the forefront of this “trend” when he distinguished himself from his sins in Romans 7:13-20. And if you want to know what it looks like to love the sinner while hating the sin, look no further than Romans 5:6-11:

      “While we were yet helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man—though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received our reconciliation.”

      We are called to love likewise: “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (1 John 3:16).

      By the way: St. Augustine, not “the modern world,” is where we get the phrase “love the sinner, hate the sin.” It's a paraphrase of his prescription in Letter 211, calling for “due love for the persons and hatred of the sin, in observing, forbidding, reporting, proving, and punishing of all other faults.”

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    2. 3) You're worried that “people first” language will lead us to excuse sins. I don't see remotely how this is the case. If I say, “I'm a person who steals,” how does that excuse my behavior?

      I think that you're conflating “people first” language (which is good) with euphemistic language (which is negative). Certainly, some expressions are both, like referring to people with mental illness “people with mental health experiences,”  but there's no reason that either one implies the other.

      More to the point, I think you've got things exactly backwards: when people define themselves by their sexual orientation or activities, they can use this as a justification to wave away accountability for their actions. Lady Gaga's song “Born this Way” perfectly encapsulates this lie: people are not accountable for this behavior, because they're “born” that way. It's this notion that we are made in such a way that we must act on our sexual impulses, or else we're repressing who we “really are.”

      If you want to see which of us is right, see who you can find who uses “I'm a person who engages in homosexual acts” as an excuse for those acts. Then see how many people you can find excuse their behavior by saying “I'm a homosexual” or “I was born gay” or some variation.

      What I'm arguing for is that we speak in such a way that acknowledges that we are people who are responsible for our actions.

      I.X.,

      Joe

      P.S. I realize that Scripture uses language like “sinners.” But there's a world of difference in how those terms are used. When St. Paul calls himself “the foremost among sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15), he's not excusing himself by saying “this is who I am,” or “this is how I was made.” He's saying the opposite. But all too often, when people say that they're “gay,” they mean precisely that. So I'm not objecting to nouns, as is hopefully clear. I'm objecting to defining someone as their sins.

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  4. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2013/07/just-christians-there-is-no-such-thing.html

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  5. http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=18-10-036-f

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  6. If you are actively participating in a sin, then you are a sinner. What type of sinner? Well, the sin describes what kind of sinner you are. A homosexual person is one that actively participates in homosexual acts. A person that does not act on this sin, is not sinning and is not a homosexual person. They have rejected this lifestyle and cannot be identified by it. We are defined in a handful of ways and our place of birth (American) and what we do for a living (Physiologist) are two of them. A person who works on cars is known to be a mechanic. A painter paints things. This is the reality of things. Most mechanics or painters or other professional people do not have a problem being labeled as such. Homosexuals are the ones that identify themselves with their vice because they truly believe they have no choice in the matter and they are being who they are, as God created them (if they believe in God). Now, when it benefits them, they would rather us detach the label from their person. If we agree to do this, then we must use this approach in every other area. So we would have to say, there are no more sinners, since that would not be "people first" language. We must say, we are "persons" that sin. In my opinion, if we have to educate people by letting them know they are persons, then we are well beyond any repair. This piece of information should be quite easy to determine. I agree with FranR. And the first link by I am not Spartacus was very good also.

    This is quite easy. A person that is active in any same sex relationship is a homosexual. If they stop, then they are not a homosexual. A person that is not but has SSA, is not a homosexual because they don't engage in the "work". They can no longer be defined by the lifestyle. When a lawyer quits practicing law and loses their law license, they are no longer a lawyer. They were a lawyer.

    And the CCC will need to be edited.

    2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

    I appreciate you bringing this topic up for discussion and reflection.

    God bless.

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    1. Michael,

      Much of what you've said is covered by my comment to Fran, above, but I did want to directly address your points on terminology.

      1) I was struck by your example of lawyers, since I no longer practice law, but still have a law license. Does that make me a lawyer? If not (since I'm not actively practicing at the moment), what about an ordinary attorney, after hours? How much time must lapse between actions for the term to cease to apply?

      2) My point is that terminologically, there's much more gray area than your comment acknowledges. So, for example, is someone with SSA who lusts (but takes no other action) a homosexual? Do you see how quickly that line gets blurry?

      3) Your solution to the problem also doesn't overcome one of the central problems: you're insisting that the term "homosexual" refers only to those who engage in homosexual acts, but that's not how the term is used. As you've alluded, the Catechism, in CCC 2357-2359, distinguishes between homosexual acts from homosexual attractions, tendencies or inclinations. And the Catechism is far more careful than most commentators, who (as I've suggested above) conflate attractions and actions. I don't see how your alternative really solves for this.

      4) I'm baffled by this particular point: “homosexuals are the ones that identify themselves with their vice because they truly believe they have no choice in the matter and they are being who they are, as God created them.” Isn't that a good argument to eschew identifying them with (or as) their vices?

      Wouldn't that be a good reason to switch towards speaking of them as people who engage in these acts, to distinguish who they are from what they do?

      I.X.,

      Joe

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  7. I continue to use the word, sodomite. About that word there can be no doubt. There are seven deadly sins and it ought go without saying that it is persons who commit them (No, the peacock really isn't prideful) and those who sin via Lust in the perversion of sodomy have a special category in Catholic Tradition already - Sins crying to Heaven for Vengeance.

    You don't love me is the manipulative language of the Lustful and trying to please though who reject objective morality is a game one is sure to lose.

    Notice that there are never, and I do mean never, any attempts to create special language to assuage the guilty feelings of those who commit the three others sins crying to Heaven for vengeance.

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    1. Using proper language and terminology is not an attempt to assuage guilt of sinners. The objective of this is to properly communicate the love in which all people, all sinners, can receive from God. If you label people as gay, or LGBT, or sodomites, you are casting them out of your life. What you should be saying is, "please stop sinning because I love you, as a person, and want you to experience what I experience, the true abiding love and peace of Jesus."

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  8. I'm not sure my comment yesterday came through...but it said something to this effect...

    This is a beautiful post. Rarely do I run across something written that significantly impacts my thinking, and therefore all of my life. This will turn out to be such a post. Thank you for teaching me about "people first" language as a means to deal with all sin, and specifically the very contentious issue of homosexual sin. I needed a total "reboot" in this area, and you have given it to me.

    As far as all of the naysayers go above, I think they are missing the heart of your message, or do not see their own struggles with sin clearly enough to appreciate the great grace with which you speak, grace that we should extend to each person, as it has been extended by Jesus himself to us.

    Bless you!

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    1. Thank you, Elisabeth! Glad to hear that I could help you with your "reboot."

      I.X.,

      Joe

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  9. Dear Kipp. Sorry. I not only do not speak like that, I never would. It is definitely not masculine rhetoric; at best it is epicene.

    Reminding a man or a woman submerged in Lust that Sodomy is a sin crying to Heaven for vengeance is exactly the type of language he requires. It it weren't, then the praxis of Catholicism has been wildly wrong since time immemorial.

    Why do those who live in such wildly corrupt times imagine that they are immune from being corrupted and so are capable of setting right what the Saints of the Church apparently got so wrong since time immemorial?

    You err in imagining that a reform of rhetoric would be an effective appeal to the sodomite when it is the case that if a sodomite is sinning it is due to his having refused Grace.

    A man must be disposed to the reception of Grace and speaking to the blind one rhetorically paints with bright colors and in speaking with those deaf due to lust, rhetorical yelling is necessary (see Flannery O'Connor "Mystery and Manners")

    A major part of the homosexualisation project is to get normal men to change their speech rather than the sodomite being told to change his behavior; that is, for the modern world, speech is not only crucial, it is far more easily changed than is behavior.

    The assuaging of guilt is on the part of sodomites demanding we talk to them differently. Well, give them their due, they keep the normal on the defensive.

    As Dr. E. Michael Jones observed, there exists what he describes as The Dimmesdale Syndrome (Scarlet Letter) which is the simultaneous need to confess and conceal and the modern example of that is the despicable Gay Pride marches and PFlag and all of that other modern post-Christian rot.

    Me? I ain't cooperating in any way with the homosexualisation of America.

    Finally, what Holy Mother Church should be doing is encouraging a return to Lent as a time of fasting and abstinence for the great Dom Prosper Gueranger was correct when he noted that a decline in abstemiousness led directly to an increase of effeminacy.

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    1. I agree & don't wanna cooperate either! I just need to explain this to some teenagers today who have been brainwashed by the public school system into accepting this as 'normal' but I need a good article that explains it to them in a loving, kind but firm way! I already know of one teen who doesn't want to go to church anymore because of 'the church being against gays'! How do I get them to understand it's wrong & sinful without pushing them right out the door, Forever!! a soul lost to Satan Forever! I don't want that! It scares me to death! How can I help? What do I say?

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  10. Here is something I wrote previously:

    I think it is a mistake to proclaim indifference to the immorality of others as though what they do has no effect on our own selves, our own families, or even a Divinely-Designed Church.

    I am thinking of the fetid wounds left on the Body of Christ after it was scourged by a cohort of queer clergy and how their continuing presence in the Body of Christ has excised its masculine heart and replaced it with a sulphurous epicene sepulcher and I am thinking of how Holy Mother Church contributed mightily to its own, arguably, avoidable scourging at the pillar of perversion when it applied the modern sacramental of defenestration to the Iron Law which holds that a decrease in mortification ineluctably leads to an increase in effeminacy.

    That all of this would have come to pass was the predictable result of the virtual abandonment of bodily mortification after liberal laxity had supplanted righteous rigor. Here is the great Dom Prosper Gueranger in, The Liturgical Year,:

    It was with this intention that Pope Benedict XIV., alarmed at the excessive facility wherewith dispensations were then obtained, renewed, by a solemn dated June 10, 1745, the prohibition of eating fish and meat, at the same meal, on fasting days.

    The same Pope, whose spirit of moderation has never been called in question, had no sooner ascended the papal throne, than he addressed an encyclical letter to the bishops of the Catholic
 world, expressing his heartfelt grief at seeing the great relaxation that was introduced among the faithful by indiscreet and unnecessary dispensations. The letter is dated May 30, 1741.
We extract from it the following passage:

    ‘The observance of Lent is the very badge of the Christian warfare. By it we prove ourselves not to be enemies of the cross of Christ. By it we avert
 the scourges of divine justice. By it we gain strength against the princes of darkness, for it shields us with heavenly help. Should mankind grow remiss in their observance of Lent, it would be a
 detriment to God’s glory, a disgrace to the Catholic religion, and a danger to Christian souls. Neither can it be doubted that such negligence would become the source of misery to the world, of public calamity, and of private woe.’

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  11. More than a hundred years have elapsed since this solemn warning of the Vicar of Christ was given to the world; and during that time, the relaxation he inveighed against has gone on gradually increasing. How few Christians do we meet who are strict observers of Lent, even in its present mild form!

    And must there not result from this ever-growing spirit of immortification, a general effeminacy of character, which will lead, at last, to frightful social disorders? The sad predictions of Pope Benedict XIV. are but too truly verified. Those nations, among whose people the spirit and practice of penance are extinct, are heaping against themselves the wrath of God, and provoking His justice to destroy them by one or other of these scourges - civil discord, or conquest. In our own country there is an inconsistency, which must strike every thinking mind: the observance of the Lord’s day, on the one side; the national inobservance of days of penance and fasting, on the other. The first is admirable, and, if we except puritanical extravagances, bespeaks a deep-rooted sense of religion; but the second is one of the worst presages for the future. The word of God is unmistakable: unless we do penance, we shall perish.

    But if our ease-loving and sensual generation were to return, like the Ninivites, to the long-neglected way of penance and expiation, who knows but that the arm of God, which is already raised to strike us, may give us blessing and not chastisement?

    Laxity has, slowly but surely, gained the whip hand over The Body of Christ and even our Non-Catholic neighbors have experienced the negative consequences of our violation of that Iron Law and we Catholics bear partial blame for what has happened to even non-Catholics and so we simply can not claim that we are indifferent to the Cross of a perverted Lust that they bear for they are bearing that Cross in metaphorical china shops all over the place and causing grave destruction.

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  12. I did learn something in this article, so thanks!
    I can only imagine if 'the sin' we struggle with the most or our worst sin was tattooed on our foreheads & that became our identity!
    Wow! Can you imagine???
    Here comes the:
    Slut, Thief, Masturbator, Liar, Fornicator, Adulterer, Blasphemer, Glutton, Greedy, Lazy, Selfish, Envious, Gossiper, Porn Watcher, Aborted My Baby, Homosexual, Sodomite, Gay, Lesbian, Cross Dresser, Rapist, Contraception User, Tired My Tubes, Had a Vasectomy and the list goes on but, really how many of us would go outside the house without a hat on or get in the communion line? but, then again once you go to Confession it would be wiped away but how many still go? of course, that would be a Sacrilege the worst of sinners printed on your forehead! What if, it only appeared on the way back from communion? OUCH! now i'm getting scared! lol . . . this article has made me think! I liked all the arguments too! I need to find a good article that explains how wrong the sin of sodomy is, in a loving, kind, but firm way! It's hard to explain this to any teenager today who has grown up thinking that it's normal . . . anyone know of a good article?

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    1. Most articles I've read on the subject are tailored to adults. When I taught teens, I was more matter-of-fact about it. The Bible and the Catechism explain it succently. After that teens have a hard time dealing with the love aspect. That's when you start talking about heterosexuals and chastity and marriage. Always pointing back to the fact that there is always a sacrifice to made in every station of life. Married people can't sleep around. And then biologically that sex is for procreation and bonding between married couples. Gay couples can't procreate. It's hard for them to grasp because we live in a society where marriage is focused solely on love as a feeling instead of love as a form of sacrifice, a gift, and a choice. You have to route the subject matter to that. Explaining that society has it all wrong. It's difficult for them to believe that when they get frequently get the wrong messages, but using the Bible and the Catechism as a source won't steer you wrong.

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  13. Thanks for this article. The time has come for Catholics and Christians to stop labeling themselves as gay. It is one thing to be struggling with same-sex attraction, it is another to explicitly or implicitly support the gay agenda. Homosexuality is more serious than the majority of people are making it out to be. Check the Book of Revelations. The die is cast. {www.prophetamos.com]

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    1. should read: www.prophetamos3m.com

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  14. Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, [10] Nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God.

    Paul was a person who had not yet been learnt the finer points of person centered rhetoric.

    And one could quote the Saints advising those who read them that it is important to identify what your major passion is and then learn how to control it.

    How ever did those men get by without the counsel of the counseling profession - for this is right out of the antiChristian quackery of psychiatry and we all know what Freud was about - supplanting his own self for the Confessor and that is one reason he and Jung had a falling-out - Jung wouldn't confess to Pink Freud.

    I do enjoy the writing of Mr Heschmeyer though. He is always patient with those who disagree with him.

    A litte self-disclosure. I was a Psych Social Worker who had to endure this waste-of-time reeducation over twenty five years ago.

    I wish the Church would go back to the Bible and the Saints rather than allowing itself to be misled by the Messias-Denying Psych Profession. Don't forget that it was the Shrinks who convinced the Bishops to send the queer clergy back into MInistry after they were caught committing sex crimes against adolescent males - not children - adolescent males.

    Do they ever apologise for their criminal actions? Nope. And we still let them have sway over who will and who will not be admitted to seminaries

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