Correspondence

CORRESPONDENCE Letter on homosexuals Brooklyn, N.Y. To the Editors: The Vatican letter on homosexuality mentioned in your edito-riaH"Back of the Hand," December 5] is so bad that it is good. If...

...In the same statement printed elsewhere, he also called them, "a vicious political attack," and indeed, they are...
...but certainly, the facts of biology do lend much credence to the view that heterosexuality and not homosexuality is natural, normal, and the morally acceptable lifestyle...
...This distinction has been employed by Catholic moral theology with a certain sense of self-congratulation for at least a quarter century, and reached something of a high point in the American bishops' pastoral letter, To Live In Christ Jesus, 1976, a document and distinction reaffirmed by John Paul II...
...In attempting linguistically to shift the grounds of discussion, the Vatican is taking a majestic leap back into a medieval world of philosophical language and distinctions...
...the bodies of a man and a woman seem designed for union with one another...
...In the Catholic church it is sufficient to repeat the teaching of the church ("our teaching on sexuality stands"), and to point out that challenges to church teaching contradict the teaching of the church...
...Such is not the case...
...The career described may be "exciting" and "fulfilling" and all that, but what seems to be more "relevant" is some indication as to what kind of spiritual instruction and leadership the chaplain is being trained to give to the young Catholic men and women beingprepared right now to commit acts of war which, as Vatican II had it, are "offenses against God and man himself.'' GORDON C. ZAHN Nicaraguan church Paris To the Editors: The article by John C. Cort ["Raised Voices in Nicaragua," November 21], a well-meaning and honest observer of the Nicaraguan church, was to me, a French woman, a most valuable source of information about a situation which for outsiders is so difficult to grasp...
...Homosexuality is . . . filled with . . . destruction, mutual defeat, exploitation of the partner and the self...
...Cur-ran's lengthy and detailed clarifications...
...HAVEN BRADFORD GOW A case of loyalty Binghamton, N.Y...
...Its studious avoidance of the word "orientation" throughout most of the document, in favor of' 'condition," "inclination," and "tendency," is no innocent linguistic sleight of hand...
...Clearly, it would be a mistake to argue from biological fact to "what ought to be," that is, from "is" to "ought...
...I do not object to a military chaplaincy as such...
...However, with each week's repetition of the "Aim High" ads for the Air Force Chaplaincy, I feel obliged to write...
...The tone and content of the Vatican's recent document on homosexuality is intemperate, blatantly hostile, and vengeful...
...REV ROBERT J. SULLIVAN Rejection & alienation Barstow, Calif...
...It can't be the pivot of his concern...
...One does not recognize in either of them the true face of Holy Mother Church...
...Homosexuals are making it that, defensively, in a church that has refused to acknowledge their existence...
...from the military establishment...
...Beyond the church's tangential mean-derings, its basic truth subsists...
...Homosexuals will have to frankly admit that their love is deficient...
...These are essential contributions but will only be effective if implemented by a spiritually renewed membership...
...To do otherwise would be neither caring nor pastoral...
...With great sadness, I have decided I can no longer be a member of the Roman Catholic church...
...To the Editors: As a regular recipient of Commonweal'& appeals, I recognize the attraction any regular advertisement must hold for you...
...Recall Cardinal Ratzinger's cavalier dismissal of Fr...
...This has been a personal struggle marked by such pain I could term it "agony," after working in and for the Catholic church for over forty years...
...The small truth remains that the 190 homosexual's natural, human, affec-tional life must be "disposable" just as everyone else's, before the greater transcendent love of God...
...A fourth assumption is that the members of the hierarchy have a duty to make church teaching and policy credible to all who are entrusted to their pastoral care: not only to the "simple faithful," but also to educated and informed people who, in good faith, acknowledge various inadequacies in particular church teachings...
...One is only teaching if someone is being taught...
...On the other hand, the validity of such reasoning does not depend upon logical argument proceeding from sound premise, but upon the authority of those who propound it...
...My conscience leads me to ask how I can morally offer financial or other support to an institution whose official documents preach hatred...
...On the one hand, the church does not deal in taboos...
...Christ assured us that all sexuality, homo- and hetero-alike, will one day pass away and we shall "be like the angels...
...It is the supreme Catholic virtue...
...In this particular case, given the 1983 peace pastoral and its teachings, one would hope some attempt was made to discover how Air Force chaplains handle the principles set forth by the bishops...
...As long as there are Christians who can reconcile a military career with the principles of their faith, they deserve and need the spiritual services chaplains provide...
...9), will radicalize even the moderates...
...Too often in the past, pastoral letters taught little, not because they said nothing, but because few were listening...
...Latin men'' here no longer stay outside of the church during the Mass (except perhaps in the countryside...
...About one thing, however, you are absolutely correct: if they find out who you are, you'll get an ecclesiastical footprint impressed on your backside faster than you can say "homophobia...
...I have a feeling it is more or less the same in Italian cities...
...Thank you for Commonweal, a journal which does not quite have a counterpart in France...
...There is no connection between sexual instinct and the choice of sexual object...
...Therefore, the bishops' first duty is to make their pronouncements credible to the people at the Vatican...
...Today I am much more excited about the varied efforts at spiritual renewal in the parishes, retreat houses, prayer groups, and other groups working toward spiritual growth...
...To the Editors: As one of your more persistent gadflies, I thank you for the piece by Stephen Elred ["Gay Rights/ Gay Plight," December 26...
...As you see, it's not that simple...
...For example, male and female sex organs complement each (Continued on page 189) 162 (Continued from page 162) other...
...BILL McTAGGART Recruiting ads Cambridge, Mass...
...To the Editors: Regarding your recent debate on homosexuality and gay rights ["Gay Rights/Gay Plight," December 26], the Vatican rightly reaffirmed the traditional Judeo-Christian teaching that homosexuality is unnatural, abnormal, and immoral...
...I must say with Martin Luther, "Here I stand...
...It will disaffect fair-minded people, counselors, teachers, and confessors everywhere who have come to understand and appreciate a generally useful distinction between sexual orientation, whether heterosexual or homosexual, and subsequent sexual behavior...
...To the Editors: This is a response to the exchange between Stephen Elred and Cardinal Bernardin ["Gay Rights/Gay Plight," December 26...
...Dear Stephen, Your letter to Cardinal Bernardin is 189 based on several faulty assumptions...
...Schism has always seemed sad to me...
...I just want to add a piece of better news . . . about the church in France...
...They should be mature enough to not let it drive them into self-hatred...
...Arlington Heights, 111...
...I mean, about as many men as women and young people as compared to pre-Vatican II times...
...According to C.W...
...This is too involved a subject to cover in a letter, but there are fundamental moral questions that I hope are discussed before Commonweal decides to devote space to a military recruitment effort of any kind...
...And I don't think that assuring homosexuals jobs, places to live, health benefits, and the normal legal protections of an American citizen "compromises the normativeness of heterosexual marital intimacy...
...Now schism which might lead to an American Catholic church in my lifetime seems a grace and gift I will pray for...
...If may well do for "homosexuals" what Humanae Vitae, the encyclical against artificial contraception, did for the "birth controllers...
...Again this is not how we do things in the Catholic church...
...KEVIN GORDON Brooklyn College, CUNY A mother's conscience Cleveland, Ohio To the Editors: I was deeply touched by Fr...
...To this mother of a gay son, loved as much as his three straight siblings, the guidelines are the final straw in a personal struggle of conscience...
...acts are immoral not because they are "forbidden," but for reasons that can be grasped by the intellect...
...As Bishop James Malone said himself in his recent outgoing speech as president of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops: "Teaching is, after all, not a unilateral activity...
...The outcome, I believe, will have to be special dispensation, as theologically possible...
...In the Catholic church, however, loyalty to the Holy Father takes precedence over all else, including intellectual integrity and concern for oppressed minorities...
...I can do no other...
...Committees and conferences can only provide directions and signposts along the way...
...Theological snarls aside, God is what we are all about, not the world...
...there is a reproductive dimension to sexuality, which is its essence, which is distorted and blunted in same-sex expression...
...They are an incitement to violence and hatred from an institution supposedly founded to practice and teach the love of God and neighbor...
...RUSS COLE One small step Logansport, Ind...
...There were also obvious difficulties.....The church has traditionally confused homophobia with holiness...
...1 will not deprive myself of meaningful Eucharistic celebrations, nor can I at this point, join another church...
...In the cities, there is now a "normal" crowd at church on Sundays...
...A second assumption, closely related, is that, because the church's teachings on homosexuality are based on philosophical reasoning, and not on divine revelation, it is appropriate to subject the church's philosophical reasoning to that same careful critique with openness and objectivity...
...NAME WITHHELD What is natural...
...So, as you see, Stephen, some of your assumptions lack crucial support from both history and theology...
...Its withdrawal of support for gays' civil rights and its collusion in anti-lesbian/gay violence (para...
...The Curran and Hunthausen affairs were tragic enough, but perhaps could somehow be justified in terms of church discipline...
...At the same time I am convinced of a need to demilitarize the chaplaincy by separating it completely (no rank, uniform, etc...
...The facts of biology buttress the contention that heterosexuality is prescrip-tively natural and normal and that homosexuality is prescriptively unnatural and abnormal...
...To the Editors: As a lay participant in the grassroots efforts that led to the Call to Action, I read Commonweal's tenth anniversary commemoration [December 26, 1986] with a good deal of pleasure and fond nostalgia...
...Unfortunately, those levels are essential preliminaries of sexual expression, maybe the most important physical aspects of love...
...I am convinced that the Mystical Body of Christ is the sum of its parts, namely the individual members, and as we grow in grace, the church reflects this strength and beauty...
...10), together with it's exploiting of the AIDS health crisis (para...
...All true believers and lovers of the church need to participate in the church's own sexual redemption by standing up to Peter in nonviolent truth-telling...
...Socarides, a professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, "Homosexuality, the choice of a partner of the same sex for orgiastic satisfaction, is not innate...
...A third assumption is that if you muster arguments against a particular church policy (as distinct from church teaching), and invite the proponent of that policy to respond to your arguments in an appropriate forum, the proponent might accept the invitation...
...They're wrong in doing that...
...Cardinal Bernardin's reply was reassuring...
...Such an object choice is learned, acquired behavior: there is no inevitable genetically inborn propensity towards the choice of a partner of either the same or opposite sex...
...First, there is the assumption that if one articulates logical, carefully nuanced arguments against the fundamental rationale of the church's tenets, one's arguments deserve to be taken seriously: that their logical consistency and the foundations on which they are based should be subjected to a careful critique with openness and objectivity...
...In retrospect the resolutions seem to respond to mainline Catholic concerns...
...John McNeill's response "No Time for Silence," [December 5] giving excerpts from his statement responding to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith guidelines on homosexuality...
...In view of the papal visit to the U. S. in the fall, 1987, and since the American bishops will not put in place a consultative process on sexuality like that they used so effectively on nuclear war and economic justice, all those millions of people in diverse situations who love the church, but suffer the oppression of its inadequate sexual ethic, need to create coalition mechanisms to air the issues nationally over the coming months...
...This strategic move renders an already violent and unconscionable document, ultimately irrational and irrelevant...
...It was an excellent run-down of the homosexual's situation, if a bit overcrowded...
...MRS...
...In fact, it is sad news that there is a definite split in the church between sleepy conservatives and excited "revolutionary" progressives...
...FREDERICK BREYDERT 191...
...Those who mistakenly think homosexuality is natural and normal fail to make significant and much needed distinctions: between human beings and mere animals, between prescriptive and descriptive normality, between (what Emerson termed) "the law for man'' and "the law for thing...
...As an erotic and affectional preference, homosexuality is commensurate with heterosexuality, but only on erotic and affectional levels...

Vol. 114 • March 1987 • No. 6


 
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