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Monday, March 15, 2021

Pope Francis Nixes Gay Unions


Last fall, as I reported on this blog, for a moment it seemed that Pope Francis was smiling on same-sex unions; but I was mistaken.  Today the Pope signed off on a Vatican declaration that even in a committed union, homosex is a SIN, and since "God cannot bless sin," neither can the Church.  Excerpt:

It is not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex. . . . [Blessing such unions] would constitute a certain imitation or analogue of the nuptial blessing invoked on the man and woman united in the sacrament of Matrimony, while in fact “there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family”.

[This teaching] declares illicit any form of blessing that tends to acknowledge their unions as such. In this case, in fact, the blessing would manifest not the intention to entrust such individual persons to the protection and help of God, in the sense mentioned above, but to approve and encourage a choice and a way of life that cannot be recognized as objectively ordered to the revealed plans of God.

What pompous bullshit.  Since I'm an Episcopalian (lapsed), not a Catholic, this slanderous ruling has no direct relevance to me - but of course it reflects and encourages the same thinking in all other churches that hold to this antediluvian view of life and love.  When it comes to the gays, that is.  When it's about the straight boys and their spermatic proclivities, oh well, there's all kinds of loopholes, winks, and nudges, aren't there?

The truth is, there is nothing glorious, notorious, or ridiculous about homosexuality, which has occurred naturally and spontaneously throughout human and animal populations since the dawn of recorded history.  I have no desire to change anybody's church; I just want to be left alone, neither glorified nor vilified nor ridiculed.  And I insist upon the right to the equal protection of the laws, with the same human rights and dignity as anyone else.  

This is not too much to ask; nor will it cause the world or the universe to collapse, despite hysterical religious claims to the contrary.  You straight people have already done more than enough, collectively, down through the centuries to merit the wrath of God, if it comes to that, so quit trying to shift your guilt onto the gay scapegoats.

[A lot of boring pontification omitted here.]

As for Pope Francis, I still respect him as a kindly, magnanimous leader who is doing what good he can for the world in other ways - but I now unsay my remark in that earlier post about considering him a gay ally.  

The Supreme Court of the United States ruling on marriage equality, June 26, 2015

God bless America!



Frank said...

I heard the news about Pope Francis and his admonition to priests not to bless same sex unions. As a gay man who was brought up Catholic and who suffered many of the childhood indignities that you did, as well as the unbearable guilt trip laid upon us by our religion, I did not, however, have much of a reaction.

Mine was more of the "Oh, well." and "There's no news there." Because, with some understanding of Catholic dogma and theology, I realize that nothing has changed with Pope Francis even though some of his statements have had the conservatives riled since his election. He is caught, as are every moderate and progressive Catholic cleric, between the Rock of Dogma and the softer place of compassion.

The dichotomy is telling: in this convoluted theology I can have gay sex, confess and be forgiven, but if I live in a loving relationship with another man, I am living in sin and cannot be absolved until I cease my sinful life.

While I often play the apologist for the Church, especially on such LGBT news blogs like "Joe.My.God." where the anti-Catholic sentiment is often viscous, in practice, the Church is mostly irrelevant to my current life. Yes, there are elements that I still find lovely and nostalgic (my recent comment about the Ave Maria and Gregorian Chant) but its inability to integrate scientific knowledge and insights about human sexuality has relegated it to a pre-Galileon era. So, it will likely take another 300 years for the Church to sort it all out.(https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg13618460-600-vatican-admits-galileo-was-right/)
Obviously, I don't have time to wait it out. I will trust that my/our truth is as immutable as any.

Yes, I too, at times, have envied the straight boys who take for granted their position of unconditional acceptance by the church and society. I've talked about all this in my memoir, of course.

But now, in old age, comes another "stigma" if I can call it that: not being in the "grandfather" club. So many of my neighbors and age-mates talk about their grandchildren with pride. And of course Italian families thrive on the breath and width of their family trees and how many of several generations are seated around the table at Sunday dinner.

And, when you get to the bottom line, the Church, marriage, Italian families, sex: it's all about baby-making, isn't it? We are outsiders. And I guess that's OK.

(P.S. I may use this comment as a post on my blog as well)

Russ Manley said...

You made many good points, Frank, and I'll try to respond to them briefly. I did think about your memoir while I was writing this rant, and the similarities of our experience as gay boys trying to make sense of things.

You know, the straight kids have a path already mapped out for them (if they listen to their parents and priests): dating, engagement, marriage, children, then repeat with the next generation. It's like a script. And there's nothing wrong with that at all: for most people it's a valuable help and keeps them from running off the rails - and for obvious reasons, stable families make for a more or less stable society. In the process, the accumulated wisdom of many generations - life lessons - gets passed on too, so young people don't have to figure out how to invent the wheel all over again.

It all makes sense if you are 100% straight, and it makes a lovely picture in the mind - rather like "It's a Wonderful Life." Nothing wrong with that as an inspiration, a guide, an ideal. It’s beautiful – IF you fit in.

But we gay folks get kicked out of the stork bag with no warning and land in a trackless wilderness we have to grope our way through by trial and error. Maybe we will develop a script of our own eventually now that marriage is legal everywhere. My theory is that groups and societies tend to seek equilibrium, and reward conformity. But then what to do with people who simply can't fit in? Like teh gayz.

Maybe as you said in 300 years the Church(es) will also acknowledge they were wrong about gaiety - like you, though, I don't expect to see it myself, but maybe our generation has laid the foundation for it. If the world itself can keep rolling on that long!

I totally get what you mean about the beauty and sentiment of certain sacred songs. I love Schubert's Ave Maria - M.P. is partial to Gounod's. Funny thing is, that nice little Jewish girl Barbra S. did the best rendition of Gounod's version ever, in my book.


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