"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them" (Gen.1:27)

Friday, December 11, 2009

"To live is to change...."

"In a higher world it is otherwise, but here below, to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often." [emphasis added]
-- Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (1843)

I've read this quotation from Newman before, but stumbled across it recently while reading some of the writings of another learned John, John T. Noonan, Jr.(A Church That Can and Cannot Change: The Development of Catholic Moral Teaching). Newman's declaration seems particularly relevant today in discussions of same-sex marriage and whether or not society should enact laws that recognize and support such unions. One of the oft-heard arguments from those who oppose such recongition is rooted in the antithesis to Newman's statement: the assertion that marriage has never changed, that such laws would 'redefine marriage,' and that marriage has always and everywhere been between one man and one woman.  Despite the clear historical inaccuracy of the "one-man, one woman, always and everywhere" argument, the first claim is accurate:  yes, same-sex marriage laws would re-define marriage, but that's what societies across time, culture and geography have always done. Doing so now would only advance the cause of justice by providing societal support to loving unions between those whom God created gay or lesbian.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Miss Manners and Verbal Vomit

I love Miss Manners!

Her December 2nd column includes the story of gay man asking how he and his partner should respond when they are publicly confronted or attacked for having adopted a child (whose birth mother, by the way, was a heroin and crack addict). They have been told in public and by strangers that they are "not a real family, " are "evil" and doing "an injustice" to the child. Seeking Miss Manners's guidance on how to respond politely, she replies:

"A gentleman of Miss Manners's acquaintance was once subjected to a barrage of unwarranted insults. Outraged on his behalf, she asked why he did not trouble to defend himself. His reply (and please forgive the inelegance for the sake of vividness) was: 'If someone is throwing up on you, you get out of the way. You do not stay around to examine what is coming up.'

There is nothing you can say to people who, whatever they may think, see fit to hurl crude insults at you, even in front of your son. A stiff 'I'm sorry you feel that way' is all you can utter before turning your back." 

"Violence," "not a real family," and "evil" are descriptions shockingly familiar to anyone who has read "official" Church pronouncements about gay men and women. (If you doubt this, see the blog by James Martin, S.J., What Should a Gay Catholic To Do?) Although these pronouncements are presented in ways that seek to heighten their significance, the fact remains that the medium is not the message. Verbal vomit -- whether spewed forth from a complete stranger in the street, from a Fred Phelps fanatic, or even from a Vatican document with a papal seal -- is still verbal vomit.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Lost Art of Catholic Drinking

From The Lost Art of Catholic Drinking, by by Sean P. Dailey at InsideCatholic.com

"Here we encounter Catholic drinking. Catholic drinking is that third way, the way to engage in an ancient activity enjoyed by everyone from peasants to emperors to Jesus Himself. And again, it is not just about quantity. In fact, I think the chief element is conviviality. [emphasis added] When friends get together for a drink, it may be to celebrate, or it may be to mourn. But it should always be to enjoy one another's company."

Words to live by!