Struggling Alone


#1

He came out to me in an email. I’ve known him for years, long enough that I can’t remember when we first met, and we were recently emailing back and forth about our lives, our futures-the kind of stuff separated friends discuss. Along the way he mentioned, in an aside, that he had some - lingering troubles he had to work his way through. My reply asked for an explanation-and that’s when he told me.(1)

It is a sad fact of the preeminent fashion in apologetical circles today that some Christians are willing to ignore not only sound science, but Tradition and Sacred Scripture in their destructive support of those sad individuals who have addled themselves with same-sex desires. The obsequious flattery using such buzzwords as “courageous” and “brave” abounds in reference to those who embrace an ethic of sexual suppression, imagining this to be a virtue. The article linked to here is yet another example of this twisted fawning some are wont to lavish on those with same-sex attraction, apparently ignorant of the reinforcing effect it has on the pathology.

In the article, writer Ryan T. Anderson relates the story of an individual he refers to as “Chris.” Chris, it seems, experiences same-sex attractions to the point that they have found a target in an old friend from high school. Chris claims never to have acted on these desires but that he is nevertheless beset by “fantasies and lusts he didn’t want.” (2) Anderson makes a point of Chris “[crying] daily for the first two years of his same-sex attractions,” (3) in a naked attempt to arouse in the reader the misguided sympathy that he himself has fallen victim to. At this point Anderson condemns, among other things, ”the lack of support the Church provides,” and laments the tragedy of his friend having to endure his struggle in solitude. (4)

Anderson ought to be reminded that “homosexuals may seek or provoke situations in which they can experience themselves as tragic heroes.” (5) Encouraging this sort of behavior by acknowledging it in an article awash in tear-jerking depictions of its subject does nothing to aid that subject’s progression along his “unique path to holiness” (6) but rather enables and may do far more to hinder it.

Then there is the twisting of the chastity that Anderson engages in as a way of constructing a platform upon which to praise his friend. For the orthodox, “chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being.” (7) One cannot integrate a sexuality perverted against its design into the unity of man anymore than one can incorporate blasphemy into the mass. Further, by linking chastity with his friend’s decision merely to suppress the sexuality Anderson encourages a sort of unrealism about the nature of the sexual drive. Indeed,

. . . one of the most dangerous forms of this unrealism is to think that one can live without sexuality. This is the old heresy of manicheism or albigensianism which long ago led to terrible sexual excesses on the part of those who sought to be absolutely pure. These misguided heretics are a reminder that one of the most dangerous sexual unrealisms is the pretense that humans can be angels. (8)

Further, in contemplating his friend’s claims not to have indulged his sick sexual appetite, Anderson ought to bear in mind the inherent attraction to dishonesty that lies at the heart of same-sex attraction. “[T]he homosexual who wants to overcome his seeking homosexual contacts [lies] to his therapist and to himself.” (9) This grim reality of the nature of same-sex attraction merits a healthy dose of skepticism from the orthodox.

This pathetic individual that Anderson introduces us to needs to be told to grow up and to stop fixating on his own imagined trials. He must come to realize that telling anyone about crying every day for extended periods of time is nothing more than a way to garner sympathy for himself. He should have been told to stop blubbering like an infant and become the man God created him to be: the man whose appetites conform to the design of his body; the man who bears his difficulties in silence with the virtue of patience; the man who will accept the grace of God so that his errant attractions cease.

(1) Anderson, Ryan T. “Struggling Alone.” First Things. Feb. 2007. First Things. Available online at: firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=5413

(2) Ibid.

(3) Ibid.

(4) Ibid.

(5) Aardweg, Gerard van den. The Battle for Normality: A Guide for (Self-) Therapy for Homosexuality. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius, 1997. p. 65.

(6) Anderson.

(7) Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1993. ¶ 2337. Available online at:
vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P85.HTM

(8) Groeschel, Benedict J. The Courage to be Chaste. Mawah: Paulist Press, 1985. p. 35.

(9) Aardweg, Gerard van den. p. 59.


#2

:confused:


#3

Yeah, well you try having attractions you don’t want and living a good Catholic lifestyle when the world says otherwise. You try feeling called to religious life but feel that because of these, it’s probably not an option. You try also wanting a marriage with someone of the opposite sex (and being attracted to them as well) but feeling like no one will want you if you struggle with this. You try having people tell you all the time that “no one is born with this, they choose it” when you know that if you could choose otherwise, you would. You try telling only your best friend because you have no idea how family will react, or how other friends would. You try fearing everyone will use this against you and say, “She claims to be Catholic, but look at the skeletons she has in her closet.” You try fearing you’re a second-class Christian just because of the way other Christians act.

It’s a spiritual battle and a heavy cross and you seriously underestimate the pain people go through. It’s not something they like to make a big deal about, in fact it can take years to tell someone or even admit it to yourself. And it STINKS.


#4

It’s not that I am underestimating the pain those with same-sex attraction go through. It’s that I recognize all such pain is an illusory product of their crippled psychology. Why a Christian ought to prefer one form of self deception over another is beyond me.


#5

I “ditto” your confusion and add that, through my confusion, I did sense the opening post to be decidedely judgemental, unloving and un-Christ like.

And now I am carefully backing out of this thread…


#6

wondering why she’s bothering

To be addled is to be confused. Ignoring the context of word usage, why do you feel that anyone would choose to confuse themselves? It is an unpleasant state to be it. I would greatly appreciate never having to be confused again (so long as I was always right).

These people are genuinely confused by their same sex desires. These desired mimic a natural function: the union between a man and a woman. Just as a grass hopper confuses its pray by mimicing a twig, this sin disguises itself as a good and natural thing.

All people want to love and be loved. Most desire an intimate relationship and this is biblically blessed. For those who experience same sex attraction this desire for intimacy can only be expressed through their desire for the same sex. This linkage makes it very difficult for someone who is homosexual to understand initially why acting upon their orientation is a sin. Rather than been “homosexuality is bad” it is understood as “intimacy is bad”. Understanding and accepting that these are two separate issues is incredibly difficult and confusing.

The obsequious flattery using such buzzwords as “courageous” and “brave” abounds in reference to those who embrace an ethic of sexual suppression, imagining this to be a virtue. The article linked to here is yet another example of this twisted fawning some are wont to lavish on those with same-sex attraction, apparently ignorant of the reinforcing effect it has on the pathology.

In the article, writer Ryan T. Anderson relates the story of an individual he refers to as “Chris.” Chris, it seems, experiences same-sex attractions to the point that they have found a target in an old friend from high school. Chris claims never to have acted on these desires but that he is nevertheless beset by “fantasies and lusts he didn’t want.” (2) Anderson makes a point of Chris “[crying] daily for the first two years of his same-sex attractions,” (3) in a naked attempt to arouse in the reader the misguided sympathy that he himself has fallen victim to. At this point Anderson condemns, among other things, ”the lack of support the Church provides,” and laments the tragedy of his friend having to endure his struggle in solitude. (4)

Anderson ought to be reminded that “homosexuals may seek or provoke situations in which they can experience themselves as tragic heroes.” (5) Encouraging this sort of behavior by acknowledging it in an article awash in tear-jerking depictions of its subject does nothing to aid that subject’s progression along his “unique path to holiness” (6) but rather enables and may do far more to hinder it.

How does ignoring someones struggles help them? More it tells them they and their struggles are not worth your time because they are worthless.

Then there is the twisting of the chastity that Anderson engages in as a way of constructing a platform upon which to praise his friend. For the orthodox, “chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being.” (7) One cannot integrate a sexuality perverted against its design into the unity of man anymore than one can incorporate blasphemy into the mass. Further, by linking chastity with his friend’s decision merely to suppress the sexuality Anderson encourages a sort of unrealism about the nature of the sexual drive.

How is someone who experiences same sex desire and chooses to live a celibate life not chaste?

In a world which is awash in the glorification of sexual sin we should be praising all who choose to live a chaste life. Especially in an area where there are so few visible role models.

In my life I can think of numerous straight people who lead moral sexual lives (be they married or single). Those who experience same sex desired and do the same? Not one - because there is too much shame in admitting to these desires within the church, and too much shame outside the church for not acting upon them. Homosexual christians need positive role models in overcoming this sin. The closest that exists (IMHO) is that we can point to the religious to show that it is possible choose to chastity for the rest of your life.

(I am not suggesting these homosexuals do not exist. I know they do. I just can’t point to any others in the ‘real world’.)

Indeed, Further, in contemplating his friend’s claims not to have indulged his sick sexual appetite, Anderson ought to bear in mind the inherent attraction to dishonesty that lies at the heart of same-sex attraction. “[T]he homosexual who wants to overcome his seeking homosexual contacts [lies] to his therapist and to himself.” (9) This grim reality of the nature of same-sex attraction merits a healthy dose of skepticism from the orthodox.

Are you suggesting that it is not possible for someone who expriences same sex attraction not to act upon this? And therefore if they make this claim they are liars?

Protestants use that same argument against the celibacy of the priesthood. Priests are men and it just isn’t possible for a man to choose not to have sex.

Hogswash.

And also contradictory to the first paragraph. If a homosexual can not but help to indulge themselves, yet also desires a strong committed relationship to the Lord… would that not be a very confusing situation to be it?

Or is it simply impossible for a homosexual to want to be commited to the Lord? Is this the unforgiveable sin?

This pathetic individual that Anderson introduces us to needs to be told to grow up and to stop fixating on his own imagined trials. He must come to realize that telling anyone about crying every day for extended periods of time is nothing more than a way to garner sympathy for himself.

Anyone at all? So if someone is so troubled by something, they are not allowed to seek the support of a few select persons? Ever? What if this refers to an issue other than homosexuality?

I have seen many a thread (and support group off the internet) for many common struggles. Drug and alcohol abuse, pornography addiction to simply life matters like not been able to meet next weeks rent or buy tonights dinner. Should people struggling with these issues (and I would imagine someone who is contemplating their kids going hungry and losing their home next week would be doing a lot of crying at night) also not allowed to seek help?

Telling someone “I have cried every night over this for two years” is not a cry for sympathy. For me it can be one of two things. A cry for help, or a chatisement for not helping. Both are very much appropriate when our brethen are struggling (or have struggled).

At the separation of the sheep from the lambs the Lord asks the following questions: When did you feed me? when did you cloth me? When I was sick or in prison, did you visit? We are to help those in need.

He should have been told to stop blubbering like an infant and become the man God created him to be: the man whose appetites conform to the design of his body; the man who bears his difficulties in silence with the virtue of patience; the man who will accept the grace of God so that his errant attractions cease.

Take the stick out of your own eye first. Christ has called us to love each other. There is no love in this post.

I hope anyone who reads this thread and struggles with this sin knows that there is love in the church for the homosexual. The Lord died for all of us - not just the righteous who don’t need him.

Rachel J.


#7

Rachel J - Bravo, you said everything I wished I could have said, amazing post! :thumbsup: :slight_smile:


#8

It seems to me that you are confusing a saccharine-sweet sort of interaction with the deep virtue of love that Christ calls us to. Pointing out the truth, as I have here, is the purest expression of love especially when that truth is painful to hear. Ignoring these grim realities as a way of mollycoddling those with same-sex attractions does nothing to help them in their struggle to overcome their same-sex desires. Indeed, it exacerbates the confusion you yourself concede they have fallen prey to.

The nature of this confusion renders all of the same-sex attracted person’s associations suspect. He may say that he wants intimacy when what he means is that he wants orgasm. Again, Christian love means pointing out in no uncertain terms that his desires for friendship, intimacy or relationships are nothing more than a fraud, a disgusting perversion of the appetite for social interaction that God has gifted to man.

How it is that you imagine that I have advocated “ignoring” any of the struggle behind this is beyond me. My point in the original post was to point out very often Christians themselves are ignoring the grim realities of what same-sex attraction is and the hurdles that must be overcome by those who have fallen prey to it. Such Christians do so as a means of flattering themselves with what they imagine to be Christ-like behavior. People with same-sex attractions need to grow up and playing the role of the sycophant does nothing but inhibit that development.

As far as chastity and celibacy are concerned, let’s be clear about the nature of both. Celibacy is a state of life in which a man or woman makes a positive choice to give up the goods of marriage and family in anticipation of the Kingdom of God. It is a sacrifice. Possessing no legitimate desire for either marriage or family, those with same-sex attractions can only give up that which is intrinsically evil in their decision to refrain from genital stimulation. Thus there never is a legitimate sacrifice and those with same-sex attraction can only counterfeit and parody the celibate life in the same way that they desire to counterfeit and parody the married life.

Chastity is the exercise of the sexuality in accord with the moral law of God. In order to conform to the moral law, the appetites aroused by the sexuality must conform to the design God has given the body. When there is a disconnect between those two principles, as in the case of those with same-sex attraction, the “chastity” involved is nothing more than pantomime. The amount of energy consumed by this project of fakery is bound to exhaust the reserves of even the most accomplished of actors leading towards a backlash of sexual excess as Father Groeschel referred to in my previous citation.

You lament that those with same-sex attraction have no positive role models but seem unaware of all that this implies. A quick look at the saints the Church has canonized over the years would reveal those who have succumbed to every sort of villainy and indulged in nearly every vice populate that list. One would be hard-pressed to find a more perfect brood of vipers. Yet nowhere do we find even one instance of a saint who has struggled against same-sex desires. If your proposed ethic of “chastity” and “celibacy” had any truth behind it, surely the Church has the tools to find just one example in the nearly 2,000 years of her existence of an individual who lived that ethic and now enjoys the Beatific Vision. In fact, she hasn’t and I submit to you that she never will because none can exist.

My position is that those with same-sex attraction have an obvious path to follow, not that they are hopelessly reprobate. This path is one in which they let go of their same-sex desires and allow the opposite-sex desires inherent to them by virtue of their creation to flourish. To reach out for Christ and be healed, as the woman with the issue of blood, instead of holding back and endlessly whining about how hard they have it. I do not say that those with same-sex desires are incapable of having a relationship with God, only that when they do have that genuine relationship, they will not have those desires.


#9

Eric,
You really should seek some professional help.

If you weren’t a self-described “lapsed Catholic”, I would strongly encourage you to seek counsel with a holy priest. I just can’t imagine what one might say in response to the very twisted theology you have created for yourself regarding this issue.

If you hadn’t already admitted in other threads that you have never known a homosexual, nor would you ever wish to, I would also recommend that you seek to do some volunteer work with groups like Courage. But I would not want to see such good people subjected to your hatefulness.

And I don’t use that word lightly. Or the word “homophobe”. That word is misused in the majority of cases. But in your case, I do believe it applies. And, in all charity, I really believe you need spiritual and psychological therapy.

For all those who are unfortunate enough to stumble onto this thread, be advised that the OP does NOT speak for the Catholic Church.


#10

It is true that I do not know any people with same-sex attractions. How this is an indictment of my position, I do not know. Similarly, I do not count among my associates any rapists, pederasts, murderers or cannibals. This failure to associate with these sorts of people does not and should not prevent me from stating the obvious about the evils they have succumbed to nor does it render me completely inept about how such people ought to be dealt with.

Your charge that my views do not represent the views of the Church truly baffles me. As you well know, in this and other threads, I have vigorously backed up my position with direct citations to relevant Church documents as well as apologetical materials often endorsed by the staff of this very website. As such, I find nothing remarkable in that you are at a loss as to how to respond to me. The contrary position lacks any credible scholarship and seems to be nothing more than a series of platitudes mortared together with fact-free emotions.

On other matters, I would point out that speculating about my psychological health, impugning the quality of my faith and/or dredging up emotionally charged labels to affix to me do not make good substitutes for cogent argument.


#11

Eric,
I haven’t FAILED to respond to you - I REFUSE to respond to you anymore. We have engaged enough on these forums and frankly, your tirades are boring at this point.

For the sake of others, however, I will say that the Catholic Church, from which you are lapsed, does not agree that:

  1. People with SSA are the equivalent of “rapists, pederasts, murderers, and cannibals.”

  2. You extract selected citations OUT OF CONTEXT and paraphrase to make your point. You deliberately attempt to confuse folks with your endless bibliographies, but when one actually looks further, the truth is evident.

  3. The Church does not teach that chaste homosexuals can not attain salvation nor does she teach, as you assert, that true chastity is impossible for the homosexual. The Church does not teach that someone with SSA MUST seek reparative therapy and “become” straight.

You have twisted Catholic theology and have come up with your own, somewhat hateful, bigoted, and very determined dogma on this issue.

Seek help.


#12

In never fails to amaze me the lengths that people will go to in order to flatter themselves by visions of their own magnanimousness. Always for the benefit of others, they style themselves vessels of God’s own Truth against which no argument, reason or logic can, in good taste, contradict. You will, of course, forgive me for failing to recognize your office as God’s mouthpiece as I confront each accusation of yours one by one.
[LIST=1]
*]In drawing an analogy between those with same-sex attractions and those with more serious impulse control issues, surely you recognize that my aim was not one of strict equivalence but one demonstrating that all of us condition our associations on correct forms of behavior. Homosexuals, or any other group of sinners are very much the equivalent of rapists, pederasts, murderers and cannibals in one important and glaring respect: the malignant pride that animates their deviation from the moral law.
*]The point that I have taken my citations out of context is one that is often made, especially when the argument is one that some are loathe to agree with. As yet, no one has been able to provide the full context that they imagine contradicts my position nor marshal any evidence in support of the accusation. Instead, it seems, they believe that the accusation is evidence enough and then offer, as you have here, a series of vague references to “the Church” and “Catholic theology.”
*]I have not said anything about the Church teaching salvation is impossible for those with same-sex attraction nor have I said the same about chastity. What I have said is that the virtue of chastity means specific things. It is not, as Christopher West explains in his talks, a process of crumpling up the sexuality and casting it into the dustbin as so much refuse. To do such a thing is contemptuous of God’s gift of sexuality and since “sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul,” (1) it also constitutes an insulting ingratitude for one’s own creation.[/LIST]I challenge you to read the Scriptures, the Catechism, the Theology of the Body and the various promulgations of the Magisterium. Perhaps then you will recognize that my own “twisted theology” has much more behind it than your vague assertions. At the very least, you might come away from that experience being able to offer an argument that consists of something more substantive than your own say-so.

(1) Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1993. ¶2332. Available online at: vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P84.HTM


#13

I would encourage anyone reading this thread who may be confused by the assertions made by the OP (including the very misleading title of this thread) to look at some of his older posts on this issue. You will find that not only has he been effectively debunked, but proven again and again, to have some bizarre interpretation of Catholic theology.

To the OP: seek counsel.


#14

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