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 2018-01-17
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

GUEST COLUMN I Don't Mind Your Asking 2018-01-17 - This question, again, was asked of me recently. Good naturedly, with love, and with sincere caring ... but always unexpected. It caused me, ...


Gay News

King's dream of 'the beloved community' extends to yours, too 2018-01-17 - KThis year is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It's a painful and necessary anniversary ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINTS Putting it to the test, 23andMe 2018-01-10 - More than 2 million people have taken part in genetic testing by 23andMe, a company founded in 2006 by CEO Anne Wojcicki. The ...


Gay News

VIEWS Words have consequences 2018-01-03 - Words matter in science—and in politics. We recently heard deeply troubling stories about the possible censorship of words at the Centers for Disease ...


Gay News

MOMBIAN 2017: Good news, bad news for LGBTQ families 2018-01-03 - Was 2017 a good year for LGBTQ parents and our children? The political situation in the United States was grim, but we also ...


Gay News

GUEST COLUMN Are you tired of male sexual privilege? #metoo 2017-12-27 - In 1978, I left Temple University's PhD program after I had an interaction with a professor on my orals committee. "I want to ...


Gay News

For Black women, being Dems' 'backbone' is no compliment 2017-12-27 - Black women voters in the recent Alabama U.S. Senate race are being thanked for "saving" the state from Republican candidate Roy Moore, a ...


Gay News

The fairy gardener 2017-12-26 - There was snow on the ground here in Chicago in early December. Did you get all your bulbs in? If not, pot them ...


Gay News

VIEWPIONTS The New Jim Crow targets LGBTQ Americans, too 2017-12-20 - Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for the case Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The case—which has many of ...


Gay News

A Different World: Why We Owe the Cosby Accusers an Apology 2017-12-15 - "The sins of the fathers. They just fucked it all up. We had the best family. We had it all. We had it ...


 



Copyright © 2018 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

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 produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.