Most book reviews boil down to: he didn’t write the book I would have written. Such is the case for reviewers of Father James Martin’s “Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity.” His reviewers dwell in hopeless predictability, with the expected publications publishing reviews which you swore you read in its pages the week before. Reviewers and critics tend to have one-track minds that tell same story over and over again, only trading out names of antagonists. Eve Tushnet provides an exception to the rule in the Washington Post. But otherwise the reviewers write stale and predictable critiques. Continue reading “Reviewing Fr. Martin’s Reviewers: The LGBT Community and the Catholic Church”
One of the most difficult aspects of entering into the Church’s present conversations on sexuality is the imprecision of language. Many people write about proper and improper uses of sexuality, its ends and proper means to those ends, its features and attributes. But there currently exists no set definition of “sexuality” from “the Catholic perspective.” Continue reading ““Homosexuality”: The Church Doesn’t Know What She’s Talking About”
Some old(ish) reflections on gay Catholic dating…
As it stands, I don’t see anything inherently wrong with two gay Christians going on dates, at least under official Catholic teaching (i.e. catechism). Of course, one can present the presumptuous dating-is-for-marriage-and-gay-marriage-isn’t-real argument, etc., etc., etc. Unfortunately for this argument, dating is a modern institution developed to have a variety of purposes, one of them being to discern whether someone might be a suitable life partner, one of them being to just get to know someone better, and one of them to discern whether someone is a good marriage partner. For my purposes, I’ve been calling dating “data collection.” Continue reading “If A Guy Asked Me Out…”
A friend recently told me that same-sex dating was bound to “end in either sin or heartbreak.” This view was unsurprising, and I held it for a while myself. But as I’ve explored this question, I’ve become increasingly concerned that it promotes harmful and theologically unsound views of human sexuality. Continue reading “Gay Catholic Dating: Sin or Heartbreak”
In a recent interview, Father James Martin voiced a common concern over the catechism’s language on homosexuality. He said:
“I’m no theologian, but I would say that some of the language used in the catechism on that topic needs to be updated, given what we know now about homosexuality. Earlier, for example, the catechism says that the homosexual orientation is itself ‘objectively disordered.’ But, as I say in the book, saying that one of the deepest parts of a person — the part that gives and receives love — is disordered is needlessly hurtful. A few weeks ago, I met an Italian theologian who suggested the phrase ‘differently ordered’ might convey that idea more pastorally.”
I would be open to changing (or “updating,” as Fr. Martin has put it) the catechism’s language on homosexuality. But, contrary to Fr. Martin’s commentary, not because I believe the language is incorrect or out of touch with reality, but because almost no one uses or understands this language in its proper context. The language is not wrong. It’s misunderstood. And this leads to some of the worst pastoral approaches to the issue, from both the right and the left. Continue reading “Is the catechism homophobic? Depends on who’s reading it”
Yesterday, I shared a letter I wrote while unable to find a job after law school. I struggled with feelings of insecurity, in the face of my classmates’ apparent successes.
“I have a job, sort of. I work with a legal temp agency, where law firms hire me to come in and sort documents for their lawsuits. I’m more or less an administrative assistant in law firms where my classmates work as associates. I remember one day walking into a law firm and instantly feeling embarrassed as I saw a former classmate. She’s doing her dream job. I sort documents for her coworkers.”
The letter went on to describe the value of perseverance, and the refusal to give up, the commitment to keep working towards my goals even if they didn’t materialize immediately. I decided I’d share this letter on perseverance after I finally got that legal job I’d been working towards, and I did.
But I have one addition to and one regret from this letter. Continue reading “In Praise of “Lame Jobs,” and Against Prestige”
Several months ago, as I was struggling to get a job as an attorney, I decided to write a letter that I would share when I finally got one… Continue reading “Dear Future Person in my Current Position”
If you’re interested, you can now order a collection of some of my old writings on faith and sexuality on Amazon. Click here!
About the book: “When Christopher was twenty-one, he started writing on Catholicism and sexuality. A year later, that work expanded quite a bit when he came out as gay, and over the next few years he explored through writing what it means to be gay and Catholic, drawing largely from personal experience, but also grappling with Church teaching and history. This book is a collection of that work, his public writings from when he was about twenty-one until he wrote a significant piece, a sort of second coming out, at twenty-five.“
In my previous post I discussed how Post-Enlightenment understandings of truth have led us to seek salvation in notional knowledge and to prize analytical-technical reasoning over the more comprehensive human experience disclosed in story telling. In her essay against “healthy homoerotic desire,” Dr. Lu presents “clear explanation[s]” as the “only” response to today’s confusions over human sexuality and criticizes the Spiritual Friendship project for its supposed lack of philosophical precision. I disagree. Story telling is a far more appropriate response to the present situation. Continue reading “Dr. Lu on Same Sex Attraction: Stories and Embrace”
In my previous post I discussed how mimetic opposition might cause us to take on the spirit of those whom we oppose. We unconsciously adopt their modes of thought and action as we seek to overcome them, adjusting our own approaches in ways that make us begin to resemble our opponents. This resemblance can be masked by the fact that we still maintain certain tenets of our opposition, however, allowing us to delude ourselves into believing that we are engaged in the same project with which we began. I worry that Dr. Lu’s argument against “healthy homoerotic love” operates within this delusion, both in its approach to “homoerotic desire” and also in its approach to truth. This post will address the question of truth.
Perhaps the most remarkable—and most distinctively modern—claim made by Dr. Lu comes in her proposed solution to Christians’ insensitivity towards those with “SSA” (same sex attraction). She argues, “But the appropriate corrective can only be a clear explanation of Catholic sexual morals and their relevance to the issue of SSA.” As a preliminary matter, it is significant that she limits the issue of insensitivity solely within the realm of sexual morality, rather than advocating a comprehensive and multidimensional approach. In this way, her approach mimics the specialization and fragmentation characteristic of modern academia. A deeper issue can be found, however, in this statement’s more general approach to truth. Continue reading “Dr. Lu on Same Sex Attraction: Rival Versions of Truth”