Hello, for the last year or two I’ve been struggling with an issue that’s left me feeling cut off from God. I’m sure all of you here know that feeling and it’s one that has been tearing me apart. I’ve tried to figure this out on my own. I’ve tried to decide how I feel about it, but appearantly I’m not able to make this call. So I’m asking for help.
I’m a happily married Catholic girl who happens to have a couple of gay friends. I was told all my life, being gay is wrong, but from watching them, it just doesn’t seem like the horrible sin I was told. I mean when you look at a murderer, you can see the damage, but when you look at two homosexual people, they look relieved and freed of some horrible burden. I’ve been conflicted between the morality I was given as a child and then one I’ve developed myself from doing nothing but observing.
Can anyone tell me, just tell me for certain, why is it wrong? Why did God tell us it is wrong? It doesn’t appear dangerous. It doesn’t seem to be hurting anyone. So why did God say not to do it? Is it just because they can’t produce children and be fruitful? God loves the priest who has the ability to produce children and be fruitful even though he chooses not to. God loves the virgin who has the ability to produce children and be fruitful, so why doesn’t he love the homosexual?
I’m so conflicted and I’ve come down to my last length of rope, so to speak. I just don’t understand, and I want to understand. I’m not happy being told to just have faith on this, just trust God, just listen to the scriptures. We are down here to learn about our faith and about God and to puzzle out complicated issues. This, for me, is a complicated issue that is tearing me up from the inside out and I just need someone to sit down and explain this to me in a way that really shines some light on it. Appearantly I’m not able to do this on my own. I really need help.
This is just my opinion on it, you folks probably won’t agree…
At the time when the bible was written people didn’t understand germ theory, and homosexual sex (especially between guys) is very dirty and rather effective at spreading various illnesses. Back in the day it was noticed that a lot of homosexuals were getting sick. They probably took it as a sign from god that homosexuality was wrong and should be condemned.
Also in those times pagans tended to me more open towards various sexualities and as you all know the church has always been rather anti-pagan…so that could have something to with it.
Honestly, what NichJake said was one of the things I wondered about. Although not that the people wrote that, but that God himself ordained it because HE understood the whole germ thing. Just like it’s wrong to have sex with a woman on her period by His decree and probably for the same reason. Back then, people just couldn’t be nearly as clean as we can today and they didn’t have the health resources, but if that’s the case, wouldn’t it be fine to do today when we have condoms to make the practice safer?
This is why I find myself wondering so much. This is why I’m so conflicted. I’m trying to figure out what makes this so wrong. I’m trying to understand the WHY. Why does God dislike it so much to put it on par with murder? Why?
Thank you, Catholic90, for reminding me God doesn’t hate my friends because of their sin. It was hurting me to think he hated them.
There are many ways to reply to your questions. I think one thing to remember is that we all are sinners. That does not mean we each overlook grave sin. All sin, public or private, affects the mystical body of Christ.
I think there is a tendency to look at sin from a legalistic vantage where we only perceive evil if we perceive some immediate physical threat like murder. If that is the case then the standard of conduct would be not to be as Christ but to not be like a Hitler. That is no standard to be found in the Gopel. The lodestar is Christ not a mafia hitman. Can you see my point? We are called to be holy, not just to refrain from murder or bank robbery.
Why are homosexual acts a sin?
Providing a basic plan for understanding this entire discussion of homosexuality is the theology of creation we find in Genesis. God, in his infinite wisdom and love, brings into existence all of reality as a reflection of his goodness. He fashions mankind, male and female, in his own image and likeness. Human beings, therefore, are nothing less than the work of God himself; and in the complementarity of the sexes, they are called to reflect the inner unity of the Creator. They do this in a striking way in their cooperation with him in the transmission of life by a mutual donation of the self to the other.
In Genesis 3, we find that this truth about persons being an image of God has been obscured by original sin. There inevitably follows a loss of awareness of the covenantal character of the union these persons had with God and with each other. The human body retains its “spousal significance” but this is now clouded by sin. Thus, in Genesis 19:1-11, the deterioration due to sin continues in the story of the men of Sodom. There can be no doubt of the moral judgement made there against homosexual relations. In Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, in the course of describing the conditions necessary for belonging to the Chosen People, the author excludes from the People of God those who behave in a homosexual fashion…
-Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
-knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for
kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing
that is contrary to sound doctrine, (1 Timothy 1:9-10)
-‘Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.’ (Leviticus 18:22)
-Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. (Romans 1:26-27)
Those were a few Bible quotes. Here is some additional explination.
After creating Adam and Eve, God told them to be fruitfull and multiply. They were given the ability to participate in the creation of new, eternal, human lives. People called to live forever with God. That gift of sexuality, allows us to join in the creating power of God and join in creating eternal human lives.
To use that sexuality – which is holy and powerfull – purely for our own pleasure and in a way closed to the creation of new human life (such as homosexual acts, use of contraception, etc) is to pervert (use in a way differently from how it is supposed to be used) this awesome powers, and is an insult to the dignity of man, and is a miss-use of the trust God has placed in us.
The fruit of sexual acts is new life.
The fruit of homosexual acts is pleasure. In homosexual acts, we are using a person’s body – which is called to be a Temple of the Holy Spirit – and subverting its natural use – that of generating new life – and using it for purely selfish purposes (ones pleasure and the pleasure of one’s partner).
The sexuaility of hetrosexuals creates life; the sexuality of homosexuals does not. Homosexual take God’s gift and – rather than using it to do God’s will – use it to do their will.
I read that too, Chrysostom15, but that just wasn’t telling me the why I needed so badly, so much as God ordering it. I wanted to know why he ordered it.
Fix, Fix you hit something I hadn’t thought about. Our bodies were meant to be together, but it’s that we were clouded by sin that homosexuals came into being. I never thought of that. Originally, men were made for women and women for men…and the reason there are homosexuals is sin tainted our minds and bodies. That really, honestly, didn’t occur to me. I know it sounds silly, but sometimes the most obvious answers are right under your nose. God really didn’t mean for there to be homosexuals.
Now I have another question. God hadn’t meant for humans to eat meat originally either. So why is it okay for humans to eat meat after the original sin but not for them to be homosexual?
I may be answering my own question or I may not be, but is it because needing to eat meat was a punishment and homosexuality wasn’t? Just trying to finish figuring this out…
I am glad Fix was able to answer your question. As I read your first post, unity was where I was going to focus in answering. “Two become one” is such an amazing thing to ponder. Theology of the Body focuses on that which is written on our very bodies and souls. This beautiful teaching helped me on my path of understanding. It helped me to love my friends, who were struggling with homosexuality, in a truly authentic love. I had been loving them from the subjective outer image instead. What they were in “looked” like love. Since that surface love seemed enough for them, that was all I was willing to offer. Since studying Theology of the Body, I have come to love them even more deeply in an authentic understanding of their dignity as beautiful creations of God.
We all sin. We must all repent of our sins and draw closer to Christ. God loves all of us and wants us to live with Him forever.
(I don’t have a good answer to your meat question because I am not sure where you are coming from. You may want to start a new thread and go into more detail there. The thread title has a big impact on who reads the thread.)
Will you tell me a little more about your friends? Maybe you can help me understand where you stand and I can follow by example.
How do you perceive your friends, LittleDeb, from a Catholic standpoint? Why do you think their homosexuality is bad? I ask because you are clearly still their friend…and my main question is and will always be, what makes homosexuality bad? Why is it a sin? I’m not looking for just the passages in the bible. I’m looking for people to really dig into that question and explain it to me, all of it.
The *morality of acts *is defined by the relationship of man’s freedom with the authentic good. This good is established, as the eternal law, by Divine Wisdom which orders every being towards its end: this eternal law is known both by man’s natural reason (hence it is “natural law”), and — in an integral and perfect way — by God’s supernatural Revelation (hence it is called “divine law”). Acting is morally good when the choices of freedom are *in conformity with man’s true good *and thus express the voluntary ordering of the person towards his ultimate end: God himself, the supreme good in whom man finds his full and perfect happiness…
So, our acts are not good when we act contrary to God’s law. You may ask why is God’s law as it is? I am sure many can explain this theological point but we know those acts are definitely contrary to what is good, no matter how mistaken folks are in their subjective feelings. My point is we each do not decide what is right or wrong based on feelings or emotions. We understand there is a moral law outside ourselves that we conform to for the good of all.
I think the problem is we fail to grasp right and wrong because we start from a wrong premise. We often start our reasoning by claiming something is "good’ because we feel it is loving or because we do not see immmediate danger to our physical lives or we do not become emotionally hurt.
Why? Because a man and a man cannot be married sacramentally nor a woman and a woman or a man and a dog, etc. Marriage is a sacrament which binds two people together for life with the intention of producing offspring and furthering the Christian Faith. So, we can take this a step further… and because two men or two women cannot get married, it is considered pre-marital sex and homosexual pre-marital sex is just as wrong as heterosexual pre-marital sex. There’s no discrimination here. Homosexual tendencies, while intrinsically disordered, are not necessarily sinful unless there are other factors involved. Thus, two homosexual men, if they live together as brothers are not committing sin.
Have you heard of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body?
for Catholic teaching, which is based on a thousands year old Judeo-Christian tradition based on scripture and natural law, search similar threads, CA homepage articles, and cuf.org, Catholics United for the Faith Q&A.
for a response to OPs statement, you are making a common error in judgement by using a particular experience or observation of one instance, to make a global judgement. You are also making the error of judging by appearances, as you perceive them, rather than the total reality of the particular situation, which you are not privy to (nor should you be).
We all know couples who appeared to be happily married who divorce suddenly, and none of their friends and family saw it coming. they were judging by appearances, not the underlying reality of the couples’ relationship, which they could not know or see.
We have all seen or known about notorious criminals, thieves, organized crime lords, etc. who to all appearances have happy, normal, successful lives with strong happy families, and who do not appear to be suffering any consequences of their crimes. This is one plot premise behind the successful Sopranos TV series.
The consequences of sin, especially habitual sin that has become a “lifestyle” are only partly observable by the sinner or those who know him. 90% of the damage is internal, spiritual, psychological, and of course in some cases, physical as well. If I persist in a diet of fatty meat, refined starches, harmful additives and artificial foods, no fruits and veggies, the damage I am doing to my system will go on for years inside before there are outward signs. You can see my weight gain, and perhaps complexion change, but you cannot see the damage to my arteries, kidneys etc.
Sin always has an individual dimension, and a communal dimension. There is no such thing as a sin without consequence to the sinner, to his immediate circle, and to the larger community, and to society as a whole. Our current global culture of death is the cumulative result of individual sins against life, against our human God-given nature, and against God’s will for individuals, families and communities.
You simply cannot make a judgement about the objective morality of say murder, adultery, theft on the basis of observing the outward behavior, demeanor and conditions of one person whom you assume may have committed that offense. You do not know all their is to know about their condition, and you are not in a position to assess the ongoing damage to themselves, their relationships, and to society as a whole. You can however study what has happened to society as a whole in the years since first contraception, then large scale sexual immorality, then abortion, euthanasia and other evils that have mushroomed since the so-called sexual revolution.
Individual homosexual acts are sinful because they distort the God-given human nature of the participants. Simply open a good biology book, study the structure and purpose of the human reproductive system, and that conclusion logically flows from the laws of nature. Yes it is physically possible to perform such actions, no that does not follow that it is either natural, beneficial, or safe to do so for the organism. I can stick a fountain pen into my ear, but it is not going to be good for my ear, and probably won’t do the fountain pen any good, either.
Because of our natural state of alienation from God, which creates disorder in all the passions of our body, we all have desires one way or another which, if indulged, would displease the Lord. Homosexuality is, I believe, one of those. That’s why merely having same-sex attraction is not itself a Sin, but dwelling on it deliberately or acting upon it, would be.
We all have concupiscence, and it manifests itself in different people in different ways, homosexuality being just one of them.
These are great questions and I am happy to answer them.
My friends’ homosexuality is not bad. In fact usually I refer to it as Same Sex Attraction, or SSA for short. Their SSA as a state of being is no more sinful than my OSA (opposite sex attraction) is. It is the actions that matter. For a lot of years I behaved in a promiscuous way. I had a lot of reasons, none of them terribly good mind you, for my rotten behavior. During those years my friends (mostly through theatre) were “there for me.” Some were straight, many had SSA. They were as loving and supportive as it was possible for them to be. Yet they never really called me on my behavior. They perceived that I was “happy.” They wanted me to find “true love.” They loved me on the superficial level that I loved everyone else.
The trouble was, they couldn’t define “true love.” Neither could I at the time. I had this understanding that love was a feeling and that you couldn’t “choose who you loved.” I saw the same thinking in myself and all of my friends regardless of sexual orientation. We decided that sexual love was the be all end all of what love could truly be. Those who appeared happiest seemed to be claiming to have the most sex. For our thinking that worked. The only “celibates” I really knew at the time were dour and old, and generally frowned on my wild outgoing ways. At the time I used the terms ‘celibacy’ and ‘chastity’ interchangeably. I honestly thought they were the same thing!
My friends were and are great people. The sad part is that they are still unable to define true love. They struggle in their relationships with their “partners” their children and their co-workers. I have found that they tend to view themselves in an object fashion. They don’t see themselves on a deep level being capable of love. It is always a search for them. They struggle with internal complementarity and it shows in most things they do. They see masculine/feminine as a thing defined by society instead of something written into their very being. They struggle with authentically being themselves because of it. We have had many discussions on the prevalence of SSA within the theatre community. Many have admitted that even though they are accepted by society that they still feel a need to portray other characters. We say in theatre that if you need to be on stage, you don’t belong there. In discussions it was often noted and sometimes conceded by our SSA crowd, that the BEST actors are almost always straight, frequently happily married and close to their children. (Jimmy Stewart being a prime example.) So why is that? Why is a marriage so important to being our authentic selves?
Two become one. How is that really possible? It was in exploring that simple phrase that I came to understand my friends more deeply and more importantly, myself. The only way sex works for humans is in a bond as one. Otherwise what is it we are doing? We have both body and soul. Angels have no body of growth. They cannot be in physical union with another. Animals have no salvific soul. They cannot be in spiritual union. Only humans have both. How do two become one? What is marriage? What is chastity? What is union? Christ is one. He is the groom and His bride, the Church is one. Are Christ and His Bride two? Two become one. Nuns are married. Priests are married. They are married to Christ, to His Church. Two become one when they take their vows. Those who would argue that same sex couples can become one will usually argue that an opposite sex couple can be one through contraception. Why is neither so? Because of two become one.
So that is the long answer. (Sorry, the VERY long answer.) The short answer is this. I view my friends with same sex attraction as I view everyone else: As those I pray for and love. Since studying Theology of the Body I now have a real understanding of LOVE. Thank you John Paul The Great!
Oh aye, I understand that, Jaypeeto3, the question is WHY is it bad? WHY does it alienate us from God? There has to be a reason. Someone out there has to know it. Fix seems to have a good, strong grasp on reasons I hadn’t seen before and I’m learning a lot.
PuzzleAnnie, you touched on some things I hadn’t thought about before that Fix already started me down the road of understanding and seeing. This is why I came here. This is why I asked for help. I needed people to shine light on the paths I wasn’t seeing. I felt like I was only holding half the chips. Yeah, you can tell someone to believe something until you are blue in the face, but if they desire to know the reasons behind why they should believe it, that information should be given freely and without aggression.
Don’t hate me for asking a question. I’ve spent over a year not going to church, feeling torn from God, feeling tainted, feeling as if I shamed Him. So I’m doing something about it. I’m asking questions. I’m asking for information. I’m asking for the why because I want to be a good Catholic. I want to follow God, but the only way I can is if I accept everything he tells me. That is hard for me with this. I’m asking for help. As another Catholic, you should rejoice that I am. You should rejoice I didn’t turn away from my faith when it got hard. You should rejoice that I desire the truth.
So please, if you answer me any more on this, be not hateful towards me. I’m a lost sheep seeking the path to God again. I want my heart to be fully opened to Him. I am nitpicking at myself and my faith. I am trying to unbar doors that I am mentally shutting because I don’t understand. Pray for me, PuzzleAnnie. Pray for me, Semper Fi. Pray for me any who read this. Pray for me and rejoice that I didn’t fear opening myself up to prosecution by you, my brothers and sisters in faith, as admitting I don’t understand why a sin is a sin could very well land me prosecution.
I’m honestly looking for an answer that will ensure I never question this again. I’m honestly looking for an answer that will make me feel like I’m following God truly and completely, accepting him and being humble. I’m admitting to all of you that I’m faltering with this. I’m failing God. I’m sinning by not simply accepting him with a childlike adoration and trust, but forgive me this, pick me up, and help me figure this out. Help me by giving me the facts and opening my eyes. Be not cross, but loving, because in the end I AM trying, okay?
Oh and…thank you for the links. They are going to help me a lot as I travel down this path. I really do need links, books, anything. I want to figure this out and I want to get this dealt with because it is barring me from my God. It is putting this huge cavern between me and my God. It makes me feel untainted and unworthy and as repulsive as a leper. So here is my chance to fix that…and I’m going to need a lot of support and guidence and people willing to dig deep into our docterines and beliefs to explain it to someone who really is just not understanding it…and I’m sorry. I am sorry for this fault. I wish I could say that I just trust God on this, but I’d be lying to you and myself and my problem would stand, drawing me ever farther from the man who means everything to me in this life. I need my God, so…help me?
coughs I’m so sorry for how long this is. I’m trying to express there is a good person behind this keyboard, someone who isn’t trying to be fresh.
LittleDeb, you blew me away with your answer. I see these things in my friends. I can also tell you, that my husband and I don’t have sex very often even though I’m 24 and he’s 28. Oh but do we love being with eachother. His every movement. His every being. I love him, whether we have sex or not. I just want to be with him…and when we do have sex I often cry afterwards because it feels so right and so pure and makes me feel so close to him. I feel touched on more levels than one person could ever handle.
Things you said, they made a lot of sense. They are also things I hadn’t considered. So now I need to ask, if becoming one isn’t a matter of their bodies fitting together (and I use that statement loosely mind you), how does a couple become one? Only through the sacroment of marriage? What happens if you end up deserted on an island with no priest and the desire to be married? Will God honor your will to be married and inability to have a priest do it? Thank you for your patience. I really need to get that book. It sounds like it might be all the answers I’m looking for.
Another thing I’ve been noticing is a lot of people seem to say that the body was definately created for only a man and a woman’s body to fit together. So while two men obviously fit together and if you consider fingers two women, it isn’t nearly as fullfilling. I have that right, right?
If I’m following you, the sexual side of a man and a woman being together feeds their soul. It bonds their souls together. So it’s not just a mating of physical bodies but of spiritual souls as well. You are saying that two men and two women can’t achieve that because our bodies were only meant to achieve that when a man and woman do it together.
So even if someone is homosexual, even if someone honestly loves that other person with all their heart, they will never feel the spiritual mating of souls that a heterosexual couple will feel? If I’m right and understanding you right, that explains exactly why God doesn’t like us doing it. It really would be harmful to us and our souls both. We would be baring ourselves from being able to do something we were meant to do, just like not eating any food damages us because we are supposed to eat.
We certainly cannot confuse a clear moral teaching about choices, words and actions, with a condemnation or judgement on our part against individuals whom we assume to have done those things. We do not end friendships and relationships on such a basis, and while we are called to make objective judgments based on moral teaching, we are never called to judge the interior spiritual condition of any individual. We are called to witness in our own lives, especially to friends and relations, our own beliefs and practices, and that is the best way we can evangelize. You cannot witness to someone whom you have shut out of your life.
On the other hand, someone strugglingwith a temptation to any immoral state or action, is not going to be helped by lies in the name of “acceptance”. If someone I love is bent on using illegal drugs, I am not going to encourage and enable such actions because I don’t want to offend their sensibilities or hurt their feelings. Sometimes the only person telling the truth to a person struggling with SSA is the person who sees their entire human worth and potential as a child of God, made in God’s image and likeness.
For one thing, women who experience same-sex attractions are more likely to identify themselves as bisexual, to change their own definition of their sexual identity periodically, or to have had intensive, long-term relationships with members of the opposite sex. This suggests, though it doesn’t necessarily prove, that same-sex attractions in women may tend to be the result of less fundamental wounds, or that it may result from personality developments that occur later in life than those that typically lead to homosexual feelings in men.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of the research that has been done surrounding homosexuality deals with men, often under the assumption that the basic causes are more or less the same.
Considering the intimate relationships between sexual identity and gender, and also the differences reported by clinical psychologists working with lesbian patients, this doesn’t really seem to hold true.
Taking this into account, we can know for certain that same-sex attractions, in both men and women, are the result of psychological wounds that directly affect sexual identity.
In the case of men, these wounds are often the result of distorted paternal relationships. Those working in therapy to help men with same-sex attractions achieve a heterosexual orientation say that one of the most common factors is a father figure who is weak, distant or disapproving. As a result of this, many (not all) men with same-sex attractions feel that they are inadequate or disappointing in the eyes of their fathers. In order to escape from this, they try to find other male figures (usually lovers) who will accept and affirm them.
This has two important consequences: First, it reveals that homosexual men are often committed to the homosexual community for reasons that go beyond mere sexual fulfillment. (This is also why so many gay activists become insulted when their sexuality is treated merely as a sexual perversion — their experience of homosexuality is one of personal acceptance, not merely one of sexual pleasure.) Secondly, it suggests that many homosexual men will tend to reject Catholicism, or indeed any major monotheism, because they will subconsciously equate God the Father with their own father, and therefore they perceive him as an unappealing, judgmental figure who expects more of them than they are capable of giving, and who rejects them without understanding — or as a distant, unapproachable person who has little to no interest in them or their affairs.
Another common factor is a failure to form proper associations, especially in childhood, with members of the same sex.
Complementarity is central to sexual attraction — we are designed to seek out those who are different from ourselves. When a young boy or girl is unable to identify themselves properly with members of their own sex, especially if they do find it easier to identify with the opposite sex, the sense of mystery and desirability that usually leads us to seek out members of the opposite sex can be misdirected, leading to same-sex attraction.
A child in this position usually feels fairly lonely and isolated, and is also more likely to suffer paternal rejection (see above), especially if they are a boy who is too “sissy.”
Their desire for acceptance, love and inclusion among members of their own sex leads to sexual desires, which are then cemented when, at last, they find that there are other people who are of their sex and who will accept them: namely the gay community.
Again, you have a massive, and very real, psychological need being fulfilled by the gay community, and so, again, you have the perception of homosexuality as being something that goes beyond the confines of mere sex.
[FONT=Arial][size=2]This is not only a community that accepts them as persons with same-sex attractions, it is also the first community where they feel that they really fit in at all.
The fact that many (again, not all) persons with same-sex attractions have experienced this sort of isolation points out the importance of being compassionate and understanding when dealing with persons with same-sex attractions in the Church and in the community. The Church must, first and foremost, be a place where they feel that they are loved and accepted. If they do not feel this way, not only will they not come, they will also not be open to the Church’s teachings on homosexuality.
Rather, they will feel that they are insensitive and simplistic dogmas handed down by a group of homophobes who don’t understand or care about them.
A third factor that may come into play is a history of pain associated with heterosexual relationships. This is less common among men (though it is sometimes a factor), and more common among women — especially amongst lesbians who were previously married or in a long-term relationship with a man. The homosexual community usually tries to laugh off the idea that homosexuality can be caused by bad experiences with the opposite sex, but, at least within the lesbian community, there does seem to be a fairly high incidence of women who were deeply emotionally (and sometimes physically) wounded by a man in whom they placed a great deal of trust.
Retaining their desire for an intimate relationship, they therefore seek out another woman who will be more nurturing and maternal, easier to understand, easier to get along with, and generally less dominating. As a result of this, women with same-sex attractions tend to seek relationships that are more exclusive, more committed and less centered around sex.
In many cases, they are an attempt to achieve the intimacy and love of a marriage while reducing the emotional risks involved.
This explanation may seem a little unlikely, particularly since many self-identified lesbians are highly masculinized, apparently invincible and frighteningly outspoken. It can be difficult to associate the wounded, vulnerable woman I described above with the short-haired, irate feminists that scream “pro-choice” slogans at Christians who protest abortion. What we must keep in mind is that the anger that fuels this sort of feminism must, necessarily, be derived from fear — no one can hate an abstraction like “patriarchy” so much that it turns them into an abuse-hurling lunatic unless their hatred is fueled by a genuine and deep-seated terror of real men.
In some cases, this is the result of a particular trauma — spousal abuse, sexual molestations, etc. In others, it has less clear and less spectacular origins — and the fear may not be extended to men in general, but only to men with whom one tries to have relationships.
In my own case, I know that from a fairly early age I was emotionally reserved, and that by the time I reached high school this had developed into a positive terror of being emotionally vulnerable. As a feminist, I cemented this with the ideological conviction that dependence, vulnerability and emotionalism were all just forms of weakness that men, in their desire for superiority, had labeled “feminine.” I enjoyed male company — I actually vastly preferred it to female company, because men are much more likely to accept emotional reservation in their friends. Romantic relationships were, however, an entirely different story.
Men like to be friends with women who are intelligent, independent and emotionally undemanding, but they expect more emotional involvement from a woman whom they’re dating. For the most part, they are more willing to let down their guard and be emotional under these circumstances, and, for obvious reasons, they expect that their own emotional vulnerability will meet with corresponding trust and openness from their partner.
This, for me, was completely terrifying.
Men were my intellectual competition. They had the natural emotional strength that I desired and wanted to imitate. The idea of being vulnerable around them seemed not only impossible, but even demeaning. This meant, of course, that my relationships with men were entirely doomed to failure.
So what made relationships with women different?
For one thing, women weren’t a threat. I wanted romantic relationships, of course, but I didn’t want them to compromise my independence or my control. I always perceived my relationships with men as a power struggle. The complementarity inherent in such a relationship demands mutual self-giving, and that self-giving seemed to compromise my sense of self.
With another woman I could always easily perceive myself as stronger, more intelligent and less dependent, and so there was no need for a struggle. I could have my romance, and still keep my distance.[/size][/FONT]
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