But if it smells like a marriage…

After a certain point, Catholic criticisms of my decision to “date” another dude come down to, “Well, yes, you say that it’s not something directed towards marriage, and that you ascribe to Catholic views of sexuality. But you shouldn’t do it, because it looks too much like dating between men and women. And its just… It’s just not.”

Along similar lines, some have criticized civil unions between persons of the same sex. They’ve argued that Christian values preclude same-sex couples from entering into civil unions, because these unions look too much like marriage and should thus be forbidden.

In the end, this strikes me as the same perspective which brings about same-sex marriage in the first place. Continue reading “But if it smells like a marriage…”


Dr. Lu on Same Sex Attraction: Stories and Embrace

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”

Artists in Love: A Defense of La La Land, and a Critique of Us

Casey Chalk’s recent review of La La Land can be summed up in his statement: “Pity that for all of its well-deserved accolades, the movie’s main characters choose wrong.”

As I exited the theater after seeing La La Land for the first time with one of my friends, she said the same thing. She wished the characters had foregone professional pursuits in order to be with each other. I had an entirely different reaction. I thought the ending, in which Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) imagine a life they could have shared while accepting, almost whimsically, a full and vibrant life apart from each other, was an achievement in a culture that undermines marriage through its particular obsession with the institution. Continue reading “Artists in Love: A Defense of La La Land, and a Critique of Us”

Audio: My current research on marriage, love, and friendship

This week I complete my M.A. in Catholic Studies, with my Master’s Thesis titled: “It Is Not Good for Man to Be Alone: Love, Marriage, and Friendship in the Catholic Tradition.” The paper is still undergoing major revisions and additions, but I recently gave a brief presentation on my work. If you’re interested, you can listen to the audio from my presentation below. Continue reading “Audio: My current research on marriage, love, and friendship”

The Emotional Affair of John Paul II

A couple of years before he became Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla wrote to a Polish woman: “God gave you to me and made you my vocation.” The letter was one of more than 700 saved letters between he and Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, a Polish-American philosopher he met in 1973. The year before Wojtyla’s letter, Anna-Teresa had supposedly written that “she desired to be in his arms and remain there in happiness.” He gave her a scapular he had received from his father at his first communion. She sent him pressed flowers and photographs from her home. Their deeply intimate relationship lasted his lifetime, continuing as she read to him on his deathbed. The whole time she was married to Harvard economist Hendrik Houthakker. Continue reading “The Emotional Affair of John Paul II”

My Friend the Carmelite

This fall, a friend began her life as a Carmelite nun. Becoming a cloistered nun is, in a way, like choosing your death. Though she’s just reached her mid-twenties, I may never see or hear from her again. She can only receive visitors a year after her entrance, six years after, and 25 and 50 after. In between, time stops, and our last contact gives a final imprint, our lasting memory of each other. Continue reading “My Friend the Carmelite”

Love in the Landfill

My education at Notre Dame focused significantly on the ancient and medieval world. More than fifty of my 132 credits were on languages, cultures and ideas prior to the modern era, and these classes shaped the way I viewed my own life. I suspect the ways in which I lived and spoke were countercultural, not necessarily deliberately, but because many of my intellectual categories and contexts for thinking about life predated those of the contemporary world by millennia. Continue reading “Love in the Landfill”

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?”

A Love that Fills, and a Love that Opens

This piece was originally published at Spiritual Friendship on June 22, 2014.

Some friends of mine were recently married. As a part of their wedding ceremony, they included the prayer:

“For those suffering from broken hearts and homes, from loneliness or the dread of it; and for all called to the generosity of the single or celibate; that they might inspire [name of bride and groom] by their conformity to Christ, and always find in them fiercely devoted friends, and in their house a second home.”

This is a rather odd prayer for American weddings, which are often primarily (or purely) celebrations of a “filling love” between the husband and wife. We often celebrate marital love as a love in which the man and woman are seen as fulfilling each others’ deepest desires, creating an insular community in which the couple is viewed as “enough” for each other. The couple is seen as creating a home for themselves, but not a home for others. Continue reading “A Love that Fills, and a Love that Opens”

“Just Get Married” and Other Uncaring Advice

This piece was originally published at Spiritual Friendship on May 7, 2014.

When some of my gay friends talk about the struggles of living celibate lives, they are occasionally told by their more progressive friends that they should “just go get married.” I suspect that the speaker believes he is being compassionate, caring, and sympathetic. But he’s not. And neither are the churches who preach this simplistic message to gay Christians seeking to live celibate lives. Continue reading ““Just Get Married” and Other Uncaring Advice”