Friday, December 02, 2005

The Church

Eve Tushnet has been writing some tough things about the Catholic Church and homosexuality. This post is a good place to start:
More crucially, one of the most beautiful and hopeful doctrines of the Catholic Church is the distinction between behavior and worth. You aren't valuable because you have never screwed up, or because everything you do and believe is right. You're valuable because you were created by a God Who loves you, Who cherishes you and longs for you. If you take every chastisement based on behavior as an attack on your personal worth, you are a) a Pelagian (believing people get saved because they're so cool and special) and/or b) rejecting the possibility that God sees past your behavior, sees down to the core of you, wants you, loves you, but doesn't ever agree that everything you do is right. God is not an idolater. God's constant lament to His beloved is, "Baby, don't be that way!"

A political and (more importantly) cultural movement has sprung up to convince those of us with strong (I guess the word this season is "deep-seated"; it's the new black!) homosexual attractions that God couldn't possibly want us not to act on those attractions. Because it hurts too much to give it up? Because it seems so necessary or central to our identities? If those are the reasons people resist, I guess I just want to remind them that people every single day embrace varying kinds of sacrifice--slow or fast, honored or humiliating--and if you want anything resembling a functioning culture (let alone a Catholic one) you need people who can say that "It hurts" isn't an argument. Every functioning culture relies on a core of people who can accept that life, or God, or whatever they believe in, will ask them to do things they would never have believed possible; and they do them. Every day. Policemen and policemen's wives; soldiers and soldiers' husbands; saints and martyrs; pregnant women in desperate circumstances; everyone who suffers and whose suffering would be eased by just a little wrong action, just a small palliative sin.

But this post is really something of a marvel. For all my caterwauling about bloggers talking too much about themselves, this is the exception to the rule; it's a simple, beautiful, and honest piece of witness:
I know I find it relatively easy to believe the Church about homosexuality, as vs. believing the culture in which I was raised, in large part because I never for a moment believed I was intrinsically good. I never believed that the fact that I really, deeply wanted something made that thing good. I found the Catholic understanding of the Fall--that we are neither good nor bad, but Fallen--astonishing and hopeful.

Read that again. It's important.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That is the clearest expression of thought on the issue I have ever heard. It really gets to the heart of the matter (and most other concerns of the human condition as well) Thanks.