Friday, November 4, 2011

Same-Sex Attraction, 'the Devil Made Me Do It,' and Getting a Grip

Daniel Avila used to be an adviser to the U.S. bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. He's resigned, and the bishops accepted his resignation.1

Before giving my take on the flap over same-sex attraction, Satan, and American culture, I'd better make a few points:
  • I've got the authority of "some guy with a blog"
    • I don't speak for the Church
  • The last I heard, there isn't a consensus opinion on why some folks are sexually attracted to
    • People of the same sex
    • Animals
    • A pillow
"A pillow?!" I'm not making that up. I've discussed an American legal/cultural issue, and a fellow who married an animated pillow:

'The Devil Made Me Do It'

I think that Daniel Avila's assertion that Satan is at the root of same-sex attraction is interesting. I also think debating how many angels could dance on the head of a pin is interesting.

But "interesting" doesn't mean "important." Or "sensible."

Particularly when a topic that's got so many folks so emotionally worked up is involved. As I've said before, emotions and reason don't play well together.2

Make that "topics." Avila's op-ed combined same-sex attraction and Satan. Both are real: but there are so many cockeyed assumptions and unconsidered beliefs associated with both, that combining the two is a little like tossing a lighted match onto an open pool of gasoline.

Right now, one of the things America does not need is hotheads from the wacky end of both the secular and religious subcultures to get the idea that folks with homosexual inclinations are supposed to be "Satanic."

That's worse, I think, than the daft "the Devil made me do it" excuse that inspired a few gags, back in my 'good old days.'

Hate, Love, and Getting a Grip

I put a very sketchy outline of what the Catholic Church has to say about the hornet's nest that Avila's op-ed stirred up, under Background, below.

As a Catholic, I'm not allowed to hate people. Any people. I must love people. All people. But, as I've said before, "love" isn't "approval."

Related posts:
In the news:Background:
  • Emotions
    (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1762-1775)
    • Are
      • Neither good nor evil by themselves
      • Good or evil require involve reason and the will
      • Must be governed by reason
        (Catechism, 1767)
    • Hating people is not allowed
      (Catechism, 1033)
  • Homosexuality
    • Homosexual acts
      • Are not good
      • Cannot be condoned
        (Catechism, 2357)
    • People with homosexual tendencies
      • must be accepted with
        • Respect
        • Compassion
        • Sensitivity
      • "Are called to fulfill God's will in their lives"
      (Catechism, 2358-2359)
  • Love
  • Original Sin
    (Catechism, 388-390, 396-409)
  • Satan and fallen angels
    (Catechism, 391-395)
    • Satan
      • Had a "disastrous influence"
        (Catechism, 394)
      • Seduced humanity
        (Catechism, 391-393)
      • "Is only a creature"
        • And therefore finite in power
        (Catechism, 395)
    (Not an exhaustive index)

1 Excerpt from the news:
"Adviser resigns following column linking same-sex attraction with devil"
Catholic News Service (November 4, 2011)

"A policy adviser to the U.S. bishops has resigned following a controversy over an opinion piece he wrote suggesting that same-sex attraction could be the work of the devil.

"Daniel Avila, policy adviser for marriage and family to the U.S. bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage since June 20, offered his resignation Nov. 4 and it was accepted, effective immediately.

"Avila's opinion piece was published in the Oct. 28 edition of The Pilot, Boston's archdiocesan newspaper. It also was posted online before being removed Nov. 2 and replaced with an apology by Avila who previously worked as associate director for policy and research at the Massachusetts Catholic Conference in Boston.

"Terrence Donilon, spokesman for the Boston Archdiocese, told Catholic News Service the column was pulled because Avila 'retracted it and apologized and because it simply should not have been printed/published in The Pilot.'

"'It is not the position of the archdiocese or the church and is simply wrong,'" he said in a Nov. 3 email.

"Avila has written several columns for The Pilot during the past year and has been a contributor to the newspaper for at least seven years, according to Donilon. The most recent column, which generated reaction in the blogosphere was titled: 'Some fundamental questions on same-sex attraction.'

"In the column, Avila attempted to answer the question about what causes same-sex attraction. He pointed to possible explanations such as 'random imbalances in maternal hormone levels' which he said could have 'disruptive prenatal effects on fetal development.'

"But he said Catholics need to look for spiritual answers to this question. And as he sees it, 'the ultimate responsibility, on a theological level, is and should be imputed to the evil one, not God,' he said. 'Applying this aspect of Catholic belief to interpret the scientific data makes more sense because it does not place God in the awkward position of blessing two mutually incompatible realities -- sexual difference and same-sex attraction.'

"In Avila's retraction and apology statement he said his column did not represent the position of the USCCB and was not authorized for publication. 'The teaching of sacred Scripture and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church make it clear that all persons are created in the image and likeness of God and have inviolable dignity. Likewise, the church proclaims the sanctity of marriage as the permanent, faithful, fruitful union of one man and one woman.'

"He continued: 'The church opposes, as I do too, all unjust discrimination and the violence against persons that unjust discrimination inspires. I deeply apologize for the hurt and confusion that this column has caused.'...

"...Mercy Sister Mary Ann Walsh, director of media relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement: 'While the general population has debated whether it's nurture or nature that leads to a homosexual inclination, the church has not posed any theory in that regard.' "
2Emotion and reason don't play well together. At least partly because of the way our brains are wired:

No comments:

Like it? Pin it, Plus it, - - -

Pinterest: My Stuff, and More


Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store

Popular Posts

Label Cloud

1277 abortion ADD ADHD-Inattentive Adoration Chapel Advent Afghanistan Africa America Amoris Laetitia angels animals annulment Annunciation anti-catholicism Antichrist apocalyptic ideas apparitions archaeology architecture Arianism art Asperger syndrome assumptions asteroid astronomy Australia authority balance and moderation baptism being Catholic beliefs bias Bible Bible and Catechism bioethics biology blogs brain Brazil business Canada capital punishment Caritas in Veritate Catechism Catholic Church Catholic counter-culture Catholicism change happens charisms charity Chile China Christianity Christmas citizenship climate change climatology cloning comets common good common sense Communion community compassion confirmation conscience conversion Corpus Christi cosmology creation credibility crime crucifix Crucifixion Cuba culture dance dark night of the soul death depression designer babies despair detachment devotion discipline disease diversity divination Divine Mercy divorce Docetism domestic church dualism duty Easter economics education elections emotions England entertainment environmental issues Epiphany Establishment Clause ethics ethnicity Eucharist eugenics Europe evangelizing evolution exobiology exoplanets exorcism extremophiles faith faith and works family Father's Day Faust Faustus fear of the Lord fiction Final Judgment First Amendment forgiveness Fortnight For Freedom free will freedom fun genetics genocide geoengineering geology getting a grip global Gnosticism God God's will good judgment government gratitude great commission guest post guilt Haiti Halloween happiness hate health Heaven Hell HHS hierarchy history holidays Holy Family Holy See Holy Spirit holy water home schooling hope humility humor hypocrisy idolatry image of God images Immaculate Conception immigrants in the news Incarnation Independence Day India information technology Internet Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jesus John Paul II joy just war justice Kansas Kenya Knights of Columbus knowledge Korea language Last Judgment last things law learning Lent Lenten Chaplet life issues love magi magic Magisterium Manichaeism marriage martyrs Mary Mass materialism media medicine meditation Memorial Day mercy meteor meteorology Mexico Minnesota miracles Missouri moderation modesty Monophysitism Mother Teresa of Calcutta Mother's Day movies music Muslims myth natural law neighbor Nestorianism New Year's Eve New Zealand news Nietzsche obedience Oceania organization original sin paleontology parish Parousia penance penitence Pentecost Philippines physical disability physics pilgrimage politics Pope Pope in Germany 2011 population growth positive law poverty prayer predestination presumption pride priests prophets prostitution Providence Purgatory purpose quantum entanglement quotes reason redemption reflections relics religion religious freedom repentance Resurrection robots Roman Missal Third Edition rosaries rules sacramentals Sacraments Saints salvation schools science secondary causes SETI sex shrines sin slavery social justice solar planets soul South Sudan space aliens space exploration Spain spirituality stem cell research stereotypes stewardship stories storm Sudan suicide Sunday obligation superstition symbols technology temptation terraforming the establishment the human condition tolerance Tradition traffic Transfiguration Transubstantiation travel Trinity trust truth uncertainty United Kingdom universal destination of goods vacation Vatican Vatican II veneration vengeance Veterans Day videos virtue vlog vocations voting war warp drive theory wealth weather wisdom within reason work worship writing

Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.