What is the good homosexual life, a life that is complete, fulfilled, and happy?

I recently read Dr. Michael Sandel’s book “Justice” and was intrigued by his position on gay marriage.

“Can you decide whether the state should recognize same-sex marriage without entering into moral and religious controversies about the purpose of marriage and the moral status of homosexuality? Some say yes, and argue for same-sex marriage on liberal, nonjudgmental grounds: whether one personally approves or disapproves of gay and lesbian relationships, individuals should be free to choose their marital partners. To allow heterosexual but not homosexual couples to get married wrongly discriminates against gay men and lesbians, and denies them equality before the law.

If this argument is a sufficient basis for according state recognition to same-sex marriage, then the issue can be resolved within the bounds of liberal public reason, without recourse to controversial conceptions of the purpose of marriage and the goods it honors. But the case for same-sex marriage can’t be made on nonjudgmental grounds. It depends on a certain conception of the telos of marriage — its purpose or point. And, as Aristotle reminds us, to argue about the purpose of a social institution is to argue about the virtues it honors and rewards.

The debate over same-sex marriage is fundamentally a debate about whether gay and lesbian unions are worthy of the honor and recognition that, in our society, state-sanctioned marriage confers. So the underlying moral question is unavoidable.”

If you accept this, then it becomes a question of morals for both sides. Now anyone who wants to can check out John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and mount a strong defense for the Church’s position of homosexuality. But what I would like to do is to flip the argument a bit. There are several Catholics on these forums who do not accept the Church;'s teachings. I notice the forums they participate on often get closed because of the heated arguments that ensue.

If we can lose the heat for a moment, may I enquire that if you were to mount a moral argument for homosexuality, what would it involve? Granted the following is a tad obtuse but here is the question in all its philosophic neatness (as posed by Fr. Jose Noriega):

"The originality of the moral perspective consists in locating homosexual inclinations and behavior in relation to the human telos, the ultimate perfection to which each person is called, and in trying to evaluate the “goodness” of the inclination and behavior from this angle.

Within this framework, we can appreciate the density of the fundamental question that will guide our reflection: Can homosexual behavior and the inclination at its origin be ordered toward the good life, a life that is complete, fulfilled, and happy?"

Now Church teachings answer that but many of you seem to think differently. But to broaden it out, where is the goodness of homosexuality as you see it?

I look forward to your response and any who would like to support me as I attempt to play devil’s advocate (actually God’s advocate, if I could be so brash) for some of what is generated here.

A more complete statement of the problem (in the context of the Prop 8 Controversy) is here:

payingattentiontothesky.com/2010/08/17/discussing-prop-8/

Thanks

dj

In my opinion it is not the “goodness” in homosexuality, but the lack of sin and evilness. IMO it is neutral, just like heterosexual marriage. If they choose to adopt, they saved an unwanted child from an orphanage. If they don’t adopt, then they don’t have kids like some heterosexual couples.

I just find it to be morally neutral. They aren’t hurting anyone IMO. I know that I have read on these boards that the legalization of gay marriage will lead to the end of the world (someone actually wrote that :D) but I don’t see the big deal. Taking religion out of the argument and there is no argument against it.

There is only one good ‘homosexual life:’ that of celibacy.

Homosexual acts are mortally sinful, and it is a heavy Cross to bear. We are in no way helping them nor showing real love by treating them as though they were meat machines without souls.

Perpetuating gender and sexual disorders is very damaging to individuals, to families, to children and to society.

I agree with you there. Taking our Catholic religion out of it, pretty much makes it all irrelevant.

However

Are you aware that there are thousands (I’ve seen no count on this so that is just my guestimate) of souls who struggle to overcome same-sex attraction and are horrified by the gay culture.

Here is an article about some of them:

payingattentiontothesky.com/2009/08/18/faith-and-sexual-identity/

Who speaks for our gay brothers and sisters in faith when you so graciously abandon the field here and declare a neutrality on the issue? Do you have a son or brother? If they suddenly announced that they “thought they were gay” wouldn’t you like them to speak to priest or a counselor who might talk to them about sexuality and the fact that may so-called “gay” young people are just confused and often switch back? The head of Wellesley Colleges Gay and Lesbian Group went straight a few years back.

Talking about these things with Homosexualists gets nasty right away but there is no way to avoid that. I guess my question to you is do you really want to choose this false neutrality? You are parting ways with your Church, just as a pro-choice Catholic does when they vote for Obama.

It ain’t pretty. Hope you don’t mind me double checking here…

dj

I would like to separate religious marriage (r-marriage) from legal marriage (l-marriage). Gays who wish for an r-marriage can go to the MCC, very liberal Synagogues etc. if they so wish. Men who wish to r-marry up to four wives can go to a mosque or to a Fundamentalist Mormon temple if they want more than four. There are many different forms of r-marriage available from different religious groups, a few of which allow same-sex r-marriage. However, this post is not about r-marriage, it is about l-marriage, since it is legal recognition rather than religious recognition of same-sex relationships that is the question.

What are the underlying moral issues about same-sex l-marriage? Dual taxation is not really a moral issue. Insurance arrangements similarly. The ability to visit one’s significant other in hospital is a minor moral argument in favour of same-sex l-marriage. The legal effects of same-sex l-marriage do not seem to me to have great moral weight. Obviously the moral arguments around r-marriage are more substantial but in this case I am talking about l-marriage only because all proposed legislation concerns l-marriage and not r-marriage which will remain the province of religious groups.

I do not see that there are big moral issues with the legal side of same-sex l-marriage. Given that very little evidence for actual harm caused to heterosexual marriage (r- or l-) by same-sex marriage has been produced I do not see that there is enough weight on that side of the argument to forbid same-sex l-marriage. Vermont has same-sex l-marriage. Is there any evidence of harm in Vermont or any of the other states with same-sex l-marriage? Is there any evidence of benefit in California since the ending of same-sex l-marriage there?

In the absence of evidence of practical harm I do not see any big moral arguments against same-sex l-marriage.

(Swiftly retreats to bunker and nervously awaits response.)

rossum

In the Michael Waldstein translated “Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body” there is an introduction that includes Immanuel Kant’s basis for marriage being a mutual using of the partner instead of the true relationship being a self sacrificing gift of one’s self. This using is the basis for much of what we see today, that is outside of the Church’s moral, theological, and philosophical teachings.

Since the philosophy of Descartes and Francis Bacon we have the denial of the medieval and scholastic philosophy based on the Aristotelian four causes: material, efficient, formal, and final. Today the formal and final causes are denied thus causing a detriment to thinking in the modern mind and stunts the ability to come to a complete truth. Man is in today’s philosophy only worth what he is materially and what he can produce, his efficiency as a material being only.

The lack of final end and of a perfecting form of being what a man (male or female) is results in a “good” based only on extrinsic matters, that which can be added materially or selfishly, and on “now”, gratification without a thought to the eternal consequences. This using of the partner is part and parcel of this stunted philosophy and is at the heart of a homosexual lifestyle and its acceptance but is not limited to homosexuals as seen in the divorce, contraceptive, casual sex, abortion, euthanasia, culture of today.

What we Catholic’s announce is a better way seen from right thinking to the Gospel of Jesus and acceptance of God’s Grace. As man can know of God by His Creation (Rom 1:20) one must discard the unity of His Creation and deny the wholeness of it and oneself to arrive at a selfish, self centered worldview. This is one’s own choice to make as God gave us the ability to make that choice, but to bring it to the public square in the form of changing the meaning of marriage or influencing children by adopting them into a gay home environment thus influencing future society, then we who know this better way must stand up and fight against this selfishness. Gays may play at being married and entertain the notion that God doesn’t condemn those actions by His revealed Eternal Law, but to make it a “Good” that is based in God as its source, is wrong and will not be tolerated by those who love God, fear God, and love these homosexuals based on our love for God.

Just the sort of inflammatory rhetoric I’m seeking to pull the plug on…

dj

Thank you Earnest. I’m going to steal some of that.

dj

Can someone point me to where it is written that our mortal lives prior to paradise are SUPPOSED to be happy and fulfilling by natural law? Homosexual or not?

There is much emphasis (in the USA anyway, where I live, and can vouch for), that we’re all supposed to be granted these wonderful fulfilling, happy lives without suffering, illness, catastrophe etc., as if it were some sort of right. Even if you strip away the fact that many of us at this website are Catholics, and hopefully are at least trying to understand the joy and redemption and fulfillment to be found in suffering for Christ, and our brothers and sisters, and simply look at the United States Constitution, (since I think what’s at issue here in these life questions are argument slanted towards the civil and temporal rather than the spiritual and eternal), then you seem to have the legal justification in the USA for the right to PURSUE happiness.

Just as Pilate asked “what is truth”, he could have very well been asking “what is happiness” as well, for they both ultimately have the same answer. Jesus Christ.

I believe the egocentricism inherent in modernism is likely the culprit for the justifications we’ve applied to our moral slippage, but I’d Iike to hear all the more mature theories going around out there, since I’m kind of new to this philosophy and theology game.

I remember when all the self actualization, and self help, and self this and self that stuff started really taking off in the 70’s. Even then, as a Buddhist rather than a Christian, I thought uh oh…

I’m okay
You’re okay, (to quote a famous self-actualization book of the time)

but I fear WE’RE in pretty dicey shape.

I do have a son, and if my son told me that he thought he was gay I would tell him it was ok and I would love him either way.

To be honest I parted ways with the church a while ago. This forum definitely has made my opinions of the Catholic church MUCH, MUCH worse. I think that most Catholics would feel the same way if they read these forums.

Why are you on a computer then? Why don’t you just become a complete ascetic beggar and live on the street? Why not suffer for Jesus as that is obviously your idea of happiness?

Or structure the question differently: what if the Holy One’s idea of happiness FOR us is different from our idea of happiness for ourselves?

I don’t think the government should concern itself with marriage. Marriage should neither be carried out by, nor defined by, the government. Today, people in the US are first married by the government, than married in a church (you cannot get married in the Catholic Church until the government issues a marriage certificate). The government should stay out of it, and merely be informed of a marriage.

I’m morally opposed to sexual unions between two persons of the same sex. However, defining marriage in a way not compatible with that is for the Church to do, not government.

I just wanted to address this as a side issue.

There really are people who are genuinely homosexual (meaning that they actually experience predominant erotic attractions to others of their own sex). Someone who is merely confusing emotions is usually not genuinely homosexual (even though he may think is). If someone can merely choose to switch, than it’s likely a case of confusion, rather than genuine homosexuality. In such cases a person is probably heterosexual or kind of undirected (beginning puberty, and erotic feelings haven’t been completely directed toward the opposite sex yet).

Actually changing one’s sexual orientation is a different thing, and it only brings a near-complete change of one’s sexual orientation for only a small percentage of homosexuals. Most homosexuals who attempt to change their sexual orientation with good help experience some but little change, or virtually no change.

I’m not entirely sure that you’ve gotten the point of my post, but that would most likely be my limited ability at expressing complex ideas in writing. You certainly have every right to attack my post.

I was venting a bit. I’m always happy to provide a springboard for someone to do the same.

I’ll review my post in light of charity, but there wouldn’t be much I could do about it. You can only edit for a minute or two.

May God bless and keep you,

Steven

Thank you. I like that. I went over the top as usual, but at the heart, this is something close to what I was trying to say.

God Bless You,

Steven

Unless I missed something, I didn’t find you over the top. You’ve posed an excellent and thought- provoking question.

There is a one sentence summary that puts my pontifications to shame. Thanks Barbkw.

dj

Not to mention the perpetrator himself.

Those who insist, “But they’re not HARMING anyone” forget that they are harming themselves as well as aggrieving their Savior.

Whoa, don’t need the bunker, Rossum. I would only inquire as to how big the “man is created in the image of God” and the Church’s teaching on Genesis is to you. This is one of these issues that touches upon huge basic concerns. Something akin to saying the U.S. should no longer be a democracy.

Do you think a homosexual is “created in the image of God?” Are you content with generations of children growing up with that idea? Are you content with the “Heather has Two Daddies” view of marriage? Don’t you think that somewhere down the road something jumps up and bites us all in the xxx?

Do ideas have consequences?

dj

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