Summary: The Friend chapter 4, The Body of the Friend (part two)

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here fore more chapter summaries from The Friend.


Sixteenth century humanists may appear to “put aside such bodily gestures with disdain,” but Bray argues that “one need only lift a corner of its rhetoric to see how much it still drew on them and their continuing vitality.” This is illustrated in the paired portraits of Peter Gilles and Erasmus, which the two sent to Thomas More in 1517. In them, Erasmus looks up while composing his Paraphrase of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, towards the book to which Gilles is gesturing, More’s Utopia. “The book projects beyond the frame of the picture, and the gesture draws the unseen observer, More himself, into the intimacy of these two friends seated in Erasmus’s study.” Continue reading “Summary: The Friend chapter 4, The Body of the Friend (part two)”

What’s Next for Love and Marriage?

The following column was published in The Observer on Thursday, December 11, 2014.

The first dozen times I came out I cried. For many of my friends, it was the first time they had seen me cry. Ever. A high school friend once told me that I had two emotions: happy, and more happy. She was wrong. I felt a lot of things, but I had to hide them.  Continue reading “What’s Next for Love and Marriage?”

Homosexuality: From Tolerance to Love (audio)

I recently gave a lecture at the University of Notre Dame as part of its Theology on Tap series, sponsored by ND Campus Ministry. You can listen to the audio by clicking here.

Here’s the event description:

Join us for Theology on Tap, a Catholic speaker series for undergraduate and graduate students of all ages, single and married, to share in food, fellowship and faith. The Oct. 29 session will be hosted by Chris Damian, JD Candidate from the University of St. Thomas. This talk will consider the Church’s teachings on homosexuality in the light of God’s love for all his children. In a loving Christian concept of justice, a true Christian view of homosexuality must extend past mere tolerance (which allows for keeping others at arm’s length) to self-giving love. The talk will be hosted at Legends at 8 p.m. All students are invited to attend. Students must be 21 or over to drink. ID required. To see the full schedule of Theology on Tap events, please visit

This is Me

This blog was originally posted on, which I have recently joined as a contributing blogger. Don’t worry, I’ll keep blogging here, but many of my thoughts related to sexuality, vocation, and friendship will be posted there. You should follow!

For a time now, I have been engaging in intense self-reflection, considering the direction that my life seems to be taking and the ways in which I can develop as a Catholic and as a human being. It seems to me that many Catholics today are confused about their relationship to the Church and its teachings about sexuality. Many are unsure of whether they can find a place in the Church. They feel alienated by misunderstandings, confusions, misrepresentations, unjust caricatures, and unfounded discriminations.  Continue reading “This is Me”

A Theory of Sexual Attraction: Part 2

So, based upon my first post in this series, our “sexuality chart” might look something like this, with a different chart for each person:

Screen Shot 2013-07-07 at 3.46.30 PM

(If this chart doesn’t make sense to you, you may want to go back and read that first post.) In that first post, I divided off “same-sex-attraction” from “opposite-sex-attraction” and then further subdivided by context/time/development, individual persons, and attractive qualities. I ended up with a rather complex (and perhaps confusing) view of human sexuality. In this post, I will discuss some possible implications of the theory proposed in my first post on how we (and especially Christians) can view “homosexuality.”  Continue reading “A Theory of Sexual Attraction: Part 2”

A Theory of Sexual Attraction: Part 1

Over the years, various theories have been proposed as to how we might classify human sexuality. In popular discourse, a gay – straight spectrum is commonly used, such as this one:

That is, people are “scored” as to how “gay” or how “straight” they are, with bisexuality in the middle. This is a sharp divergence from the belief that people are either “100% gay” or “100% straight.” In 2012, Io Tillet Wright traveled around the country and asked people who didn’t identify as “100% straight” to give a percentage as to “how gay” they are. The majority of people said 3-20% and 70-90%. What this reveals is that most people who don’t identify as “100% straight” don’t identify as “100% gay” either, and that the human experience of sexuality is much more nuanced than many popular theories suggest.  Continue reading “A Theory of Sexual Attraction: Part 1”

The Problem of “Catholics for Equality”

I have many Catholic friends who don’t understand how self-proclaimed Catholics can identify as “pro-choice,” “pro-marriage-equality,” etc, etc, etc. How can such incompatible beliefs as Catholicism and “pro-marriage-equality” be held within one person? How can one claim a religion as his or her own, while holding views that are directly opposed to the teachings of that religion, teachings that do not appear to be liable to change? Continue reading “The Problem of “Catholics for Equality””

Newman, and the development of Catholic teaching on abortion and homosexuality

“… and old principles reappear under new forms. It [a great idea] changes with them in order to remain the same. In a higher world it is otherwise, but here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.” So goes the argument of Blessed John Henry Newman‘s Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. Like any great idea, doctrine must change in order to remain the same. Only dead doctrine cannot change, for “a power of development is a proof of life.” Continue reading “Newman, and the development of Catholic teaching on abortion and homosexuality”