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 http://campusministry.nd.edu/about-catholicism/theology-on-tap/.

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…

The rest of this post can be found in my book, “I Desired You: An Intellectual Journal on Faith and Sexuality.” You can order a copy here

“The Gay Issue”: Objections and Clarifications

This is my seventh post in a series on understanding same sex attraction. The other six posts are: –On Terminology
Within Catholicism
Newman and Michelangelo
Broadening Same-Sex-Attraction
Learning from the Pro-Life Movement
Notre Dame’s Plan

As I have been writing for this series, I have received a number of excellent criticisms and comments about my posts. Here, I will address some of them. These are certainly not all of them, and I look forward to more thoughtful critiques in the future. Continue reading ““The Gay Issue”: Objections and Clarifications”

“The Gay Issue”: Learning from the Pro-Life Movement

This is my fifth post in a series on understanding same-sex-attraction. The previous four posts are:
On Terminology
Within Catholicism
Newman and Michelangelo
Broadening Same-Sex-Attraction

In her book Unplanned, Abby Johnson discusses her first day as a volunteer for Planned Parenthood. She recalls, “As I waited, I was caught off guard by a few protesters on the other side of the fence. One fellow was dressed up as the Grim Reaper–he even carried a scythe. A woman took a spot outside the fence and began waving a huge placard with a picture of an aborted fetus on it–a grotesque image… Every now and then she’d shout out some antiabortion slogan.” Continue reading ““The Gay Issue”: Learning from the Pro-Life Movement”

“The Gay Issue”: Broadening Same-Sex-Attraction

This post is the fourth post in a series on understanding “same-sex-attraction.” The three previous posts were:

One very complex concept that I have discussed is the idea of “attraction.” Defining and understanding the idea of attraction can be very difficult. What does it mean for a person to be “attracted” to another? What does this attraction consist of? What are its limits? By now, it should be obvious that when I use the words “same-sex-attraction,” I am using them somewhat differently from how most people use them. Most people use the words “same-sex-attraction” as the Catholic Church defines homosexuality, “relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex.” In particular, they understand same-sex-attraction as a desire for sexual pleasure with or from someone of the same sex. For these people, same-sex-attraction may also be called same-sex-lust. If this is the proper understanding of same-sex-attraction, then same-sex-attraction is intrinsically disordered. Continue reading ““The Gay Issue”: Broadening Same-Sex-Attraction”

“The Gay Issue”: Newman and Michelangelo

This is my third post on understanding “same-sex-attraction.” The previous two posts were On Terminology and “same-sex-attraction” Within Catholicism.

If Christians wish to call any kind of same-sex-attraction intrinsically disordered, one must say that many great Christian figures, including Michelangelo, John Henry Newman, David and Jonathan, Saints Sergius and Bacchus, and others suffered great disorder. Their same-sex relationships were fraught with struggles, and their same-sex friendships were constantly under attack by disordered desire. No source texts have affirmed that these men engaged in same-sex sexual activity, but many sources attest to intense emotional and physical attraction to other men.

The rest of this post can be found in my book, “I Desired You: An Intellectual Journal on Faith and Sexuality.” You can order a copy here