Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-02-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

VIEWS Gay and Catholic?!: Eros chained
Open To Thinking, a recurring column
by Nick Patricca
2013-05-01

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


I am often asked: "How can you be Gay and Catholic?" Sometimes I want to respond by saying: "How can I be a philosopher and Catholic?"

For me both of these questions are essentially related because at their heart they both ask how a thinking person can belong to a community of faith. To my questioner I most often respond: "The real question for a Catholic is not 'How can you be Gay and Catholic?' but how can you be a Catholic and have sex at all?" I don't mean this response facetiously or rhetorically. I really mean it!

The teachings of the Catholic Church on human sexuality are not primarily based on the Christian Scriptures. Rather, they are based upon the thinking of Stoic philosophers and upon the experience of the early Christians with the obscene sexual practices of Roman society.

Contrary to Hollywood fantasies, the Romans were sober, puritanical folk. Roman epicureanism, for example, does not endorse indulging the senses or luxuriating in bodily pleasures. On the contrary, it is an ethical system for disciplining the senses in order to avoid pain and create tranquility. Roman stoicism, as can be seen in the writings of Cicero, likewise champions the heroic harnessing of desire to benefit the common good.

The Roman poet Martial (1st century C.E.) satirized the Roman stoical hostility to masturbation in an oft-quoted passage in which he accuses his friend Ponticus of weakness of character and mass murder when he holds his ejaculate in his hands. (Roman stoics believed that semen carried 'little men,' homunculi, in its fluids.)

Perversely, Roman philosophical stoicism was contradicted by Roman sexual practices. By the Second Century of our Common Era (C.E.), Christians lived in a Roman society that slaughtered the newborn, especially female babies, that sexually abused slaves, that employed abortion as the primary form of birth control, and that, simply put, understood and used sex as power, as a way to dominate and exploit another person. In this context, the Roman Church developed a deep suspicion of human sexual desires and a low tolerance for any abuse of the gift of life, steadfastly opposing all forms of genocide and infanticide, and, in the process, conflating masturbation, birth control, and homosexual acts with un-natural behavior.

This philosophical suspicion of human appetite was matched by the religious ideal of the martyr who through chastity and celibacy gives witness (the original meaning of the word 'martyr') to the imminent coming of the reign of God, whether in one's heart or in heaven or on earth. At the time of Jesus and of the early Christians, even Judaism (which today proudly embraces a positive attitude toward human sexuality, procreation and life-in-the-world) was riddled with eschatological and apocalyptic sects that separated themselves from the world and preached a life of chaste celibacy and rigorous asceticism.

The Roman Church fused the religious ideal of the martyr with the stoical ideal of the philosopher saint into the Catholic ideal of the celibate monk who free of distraction contemplates God and works for the common good. In Western Christianity this ideal became the norm for all Christians. Not just monks.

This reactionary posture to human passions in general and to human sexual desire in particular so dominated Western Christian thinking that Augustine of Hippo, putatively the greatest Christian thinker of early Western Christianity, had a hard time accepting the idea that sexual intercourse, even within the sacred constraints of Christian marriage, was NOT tainted by sin. Augustine's suspicion of sexual intercourse was so profound that he even theorized that 'original sin' is somehow communicated to the conceived child in the act of sexual intercourse.

Unfortunately, this chaining of eros, based in fear and reaction, has shackled Catholic thinking in sexual ethics. The idea that every act of sex must intrinsically and without any obstacle lead to the possibility of conception has prevented the formation of a truly Christian and truly human understanding of our sexuality, based on a scientific and rational study of the human person (both animal and spiritual) and on the principles of the Gospels.

Nick Patricca is professor emeritus at Loyola University Chicago, president of Chicago Network and playwright emeritus at Victory Gardens Theater.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Windy City Times Election Guide, candidate interviews and printable chart 2019-02-13 - PRINTABLE CHART ONLY For the printable chart only, please follow the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/2019chartsforweb.pdf . INTERVIEWS AND ELECTION NEWS For all candidate ...


Gay News

THE AMAZON TRAIL How to celebrate Valentine's Day 2019-02-13 - Valentine's Day is one of those do-it-yourself celebrations. There are no parades or feasts or family gatherings. When I was single, I ...


Gay News

LETTER Miscarriages of justice 2019-02-13 - Dear Editor: The lenient sentencing of Jason Van Dyke for his murder of LaQuan McDonald calls to mind the White Nights from ...


Gay News

LETTER Darkness 2019-01-30 - To the editor: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is a local parish in the heart of Chicago's Boystown. It is situated between Halsted ...


Gay News

SCOTUS upholds trans military ban with 'no-blanket ban' 2019-01-30 - With a mostly conservative Supreme Court—Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and ...


Gay News

Letter to the editor, Miscarriages of justice 2019-01-22 - Dear Editor: The lenient sentencing of Jason Van Dyke for his murder of LaQuan McDonald calls to mind the White Nights from ...


Gay News

THE AMAZON TRAIL A poem and a plant 2019-01-16 - The day was typical for the Pacific Northwest. The brightening sky had stopped sputtering its fine dewdrops for the moment, the wind had ...


Gay News

What 5,000 phone-sex calls taught me about gay men 2019-01-09 - The number might be a little low. Over the course of my "phone fantasy." career in the 1980s, I spoke to as many ...


Gay News

LETTER Saying goodbye 2019-01-09 - Dear friends: Dec. 28, 2018 Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 says, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose. A ...


Gay News

An evening with Michelle 2019-01-02 - Former First Lady Michelle Obama swept into Boston recently as part of the national book tour promoting her memoir Becoming; the event was ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.