Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Catholicism as Counter-Culture

This isn't the usual "woe is me, everyone around me is sinful" tripe-post that seems to crop up whenever a mother sees two gay men at the park or so on, because the internet has enough of those, and it would be easier to simply link you to any of a dozen others than to write one myself. Having said that, the frequent trend among bloggers in the Catholic community needs to be addressed, and since the stones are already flying, I don't feel the need to worry about whether or not my soul is any more tarnished than anyone else's.

This morning, the lovely Cam over at A Woman's Place, which is a truly fantastic and heart-warming bit of literature, provided a link to one of these posts, as offered by Stacy Trasancos of Accepting Abundance (Article Linked). While I encourage everyone to read the whole work, in case I am somehow misrepresenting Ms. Trasancos, the issue revolves around public displays of affection by same-sex couples in her community, the impression it leaves on her children, and the overlying theme of the sexual immorality of our time.

Like Ms. Trasancos, I would hope to be able to raise my (admittedly hypothetical) children without exposing them prematurely to any sort of improper behaviour, and I share her view that homosexual sex is sinful. I also agree that every voice in the community gets a say in how that community behaves and endures. I disagree, however, with the "woe-is-me, the atheists (not sure how they got in here) and the LGBT community are mad at me for disliking their lifestyle choice" attitude that both the original post and Cam's repost seem to take up. I apologise to both women in advance for disagreeing there, and no offence is meant by it.

The main argument, to me, seems to be that the LGBT community considers teaching on that facet of sexual morality to be "hate speech", but has no problem lobbing insults back at the Catholics who give voice to that reality. However, as Saint Benedict taught us, we must listen with the ear of our heart. Why do they call it "hate speech"? Is it possibly because to them, it actually sounds hateful?

I wasn't born into Catholicism. My mother's family has Catholic roots, that's true, but my parents are agnostic. I've dabbled in other faiths in my youth and studied all manner of different dogmas before coming to rest in the Church. I know how annoying it is to hear "(such and such a behavior/object/discipline) is sinful" because I've heard it myself. Of course the conversation turns vitriolic. Sin is vitriolic!

You can't say "No offence but it's wrong that you and your same-sex partner have sex," for the same reason you can't say "No offence, but that dress makes you look fat." It will offend people to hear that they are mistaken. It will be a matter of contention. Ever get in a fight with your parents about whether or not it was okay to learn karate/get a tattoo/dye your hair blue? You were pretty cheesed when they said no and put their foot down, right? Same basic concept.

If the LGBT movement is going to consider itself counter-cultural despite being relatively mainstream, than Catholics should do the same. A commenter on the Accepting Abundance post suggested that Catholics form their own ghettos... maybe it isn't such a bad idea. After all, we already become close-knit through our parishes. Why not make that closeness literal as well as social?

The best thing any Catholic can do for any gay person is threefold. First, pray. Whatever devotional it is that you like, or even something as simple as an utterance on your way back into the car. Second, live. Saint Francis commanded his followers to "preach always, and when necessary, use words". Live good, moral lives, and don't be ashamed to answer when people ask. Third, and above all, be kind. If you meet a gay man, do not be afraid to be his friend. You never know who you're going to meet in life. I wouldn't have even become Christian without meeting my darling, never mind Catholic. It wouldn't have occurred to me to give it a second look.

Know, however, that, when you take up whatever country you're in and its rights to free speech, your enemies can do the same. Once those stones start flying, boy, then it's best you're prepared to catch one or two.

My dad used to tell me that it's alright to get pissed, as long as you realize that the other guy is probably pissed too.

No comments:

Post a Comment