Gender Bending

Androgyny.Portrait_of_a_boy,_ca._1800

Portrait of a Boy c. 1800

One problem with modern society is labelling and stereotyping without seeking to understand the profound dimensions of things. With a hat tip to Deborah Gyapong (Foolishness to the World), I came across an article on gender identity by Monsignor Tony Anatrella.

We are indeed caught between various types of totalitarianism. Though I am not qualified in political science or sociology, I detect some in common between all totalitarian ideologies – notably the subordination of the human person to the collectivity. This is something we will find in common between various forms of Marxism and of what is commonly called Fascism. It is all about labelling and stereotyping people in order to gain control over the collective.

It seems that this Monsignor is French and a psychoanalyst. I had never heard of him, but it would be worthwhile reading some of his work to understand the ideas he is trying to get over. I would be careful about overrating him. He has studied social sciences and psychology and does not appear to be qualified in medicine. He is a priest of the Archdiocese of Paris and a teacher. He is a consulter for the Pontifical Council for the Family, so is likely to tow the party line faithfully. His theories about homosexuality reflect the positions taken by the Vatican since the 1960’s, identifying it with narcissism and express very little that is original. He even associates homosexuality with Marxist and Nazi ideologies, and this may serve somewhat to dampen his credibility.

I think one assumption we can reasonably make is that we are all males and females, and even those born with certain genetic defects (Kleinfelter’s Syndrome, etc.) are fundamentally one gender or the other. On the other hand, how do we live the role assigned to us on account of our being male or female? Stereotyping, as is more the tendency in the USA than in Europe, leads to other ideologies and the constantly banging drum of the conservative agenda.

I will probably to unfair to this cleric, not knowing all his work, but I will give my take on what I see written here. One first thing to know is that there is confusion in the idea of “sexual identity”, whether it is a question of whether a person is a more competitive or more compassionate kind of person, whether he or she wants to identify with the opposite sex (or its caricature) or have a sexual relationship with the same or opposite sex.

I have grown tired of conservatives who bang the same old drum and make the issue of same sex relationships the yardstick of Catholic orthodoxy. They go on and on as if it is all about sex and regulating people’s private lives. When we read the reams and reams of stuff against homosexuality and abortion, one would almost be tempted to see some good in the 1960’s revolution! We are faced, as usual with a binary dialectic – You’re either for us or against us. I agree that the family is the ideal base of human society, but it is a model that can so easily fail. Not everyone is made for conforming to the classical roles like in 1950’s commercial advertising for cars and household appliances!

Does that mean that we have to approve of homosexuality? The answer is rather simple. We can take over the country where we live, set up a dictatorship like Hitler, and round up all homosexuals to throw them off buildings or put them in prison – a great theocracy as many conservative Protestants and Catholics would love to have (and be in charge of). On the other hand, we can respect that the society in which we live is no longer (or never has been) Christian and we have to respect people in their ways of life. Nowadays, most western countries are intolerant of those who are intolerant, and there are other ways to propagate God’s word and the Christian way of life. Monsignor Anatrella is not wrong that we are finding ourselves in societies that are going totalitarian with their intolerance of intolerance. In the end we can’t fight a wrong with another wrong. There has to be another way.

I have given quite a lot of thought to the question of androgyny, which has to be distinguished from homosexuality. Many androgynous men are heterosexual and happily married to women, and many gays are “butch” and hyper-masculine with buzz cuts. There is psychological androgeny and there are physical conditions like Kleinfelter’s Syndrome. At a level of personality, androgyny is valued in some cultures, and certainly is considered by some psychologists like C.G. Jung as something positive for self-knowledge and individuation. However, androgyny can make of a man or a woman a caricature of the opposite sex, manifested in behaviours like transvestism or undergoing medical and surgical treatment to become a “transsexual”. Most of us find such an idea repulsive, since most of us live as men or women according to our different characters, personalities and tastes of things like appearance and clothing. To want to put all men into a common mould of clothing, hairstyle, occupation and spare-time occupations like sports is unrealistic and prejudicial to the more sensitive and “artistic”. The same thing with women – I find short-haired “butch dykes” a complete turn-off! Should such behaviours be made illegal and punishable? I think not, but each person needs to live in society and judge the consequences of what he or she does.

A big problem is created by stereotypes and rigid gender roles. It is the status quo from which the “gender benders” reacted. It is important for people to be themselves and not conformed to a competitive / caring binary dialectic. I look back at my own life, my preferences for music and art rather than competitive sports like running or football, my solitary tendencies and attitudes in life. I have recently been spitefully called an “androgynous Anglican”. I had never really thought of it quite like that, but the person who said that was not far wrong. I always looked younger than my actual age and “softer”. It is only recently in my life that I decided to overcome the taboo and grow my hair long. At the same time, I am biologically a male and totally uninterested in playing female caricature games. There are degrees and exceptions to the labels and stereotypes. My wife has a unique slant on it, and sees my sensitivity as an asset, something with which she can relate. There are difficulties we have to overcome, but much is acquired. If I were of the hyper-masculine stereotype, she would not have been interested in me. It also gives me a different basis of living the priestly life.

I know little about the so-called “gender theory“, but I think it is essential for us all to reconcile our animus and anima, what is masculine and feminine within us regardless of our physical gender. The so-called gender theory seems to consist of another kind of aggressive stereotyping and “us and them” dialectics. The way I see things, I can’t see why a certain blurring of the traditional roles would cause a desire to limit births of children through contraception and abortion. I would even suspect that the “culture of death” comes more through the exaggeration of gender stereotypes rather than their blurring or reconciliation with each other in symbiosis.

I also find this prelate’s analysis quite akin to conspiracy theories. He blames everything on feminist and homosexual political agendas. Anything made into a political agenda can be nasty and harmful. I don’t personally relate to femen extremists and gay pride. Are they the cause of all ills? Would society be better off if we went back to the days of the Marquis of Queensberry and when Oscar Wilde was sent to prison? At the same time, political correctness and absurd legislation to treat intolerance with intolerance is evocative of the Reign of Terror under Robespierre. That kind of thing rather reminds us of the quip about health and safety authorities removing all the fire extinguishers from a building because an untrained fire-fighter might hurt himself!

The Church to which I belong has a clearly conservative position as regards feminism, homosexuality and sexual morals. There are objective foundations, but I think many of these issues need to be dealt with in the confessional, not the pulpit. People live in so many extremely diverse ways of life that we cannot imagine on the outside. I would refuse to “marry” a same-sex couple (I would also be in serious trouble with my Bishop if I tried it), but in private circumstances I might decide to bless a friendship on the basis of the love between the two persons independently of carnal lust. A priest has to be pastoral as well as insisting on moral standards rather than “anything goes”. Much of feminism is the kind of caricature I described earlier, and is most distasteful and fails to respect the sensitivities of the rest of us. Empathy is a strength, not a weakness – and women who are making a caricature of masculine competitivity are quite grotesque. We have had a lot of trouble in France with “femen” women committing sacrilege in churches and violent acts against innocent folk. Lack of taste may not be sinful, but lack of concern for other people is!

How we live our lives and sort out our own psychological and spiritual health is our own problem, and something that is kept in private. Monsignor Anatrella notes that children brought up by same-sex couples always suffer. That is not always true objectively. As a lawyer’s secretary, my wife has seen many examples of balanced children who have been brought up by same-sex couples. I’m not saying that I condone it, but I think the question of the stability and health of the children is a weak argument. Children can truly suffer from abusive heterosexual parents, and there are more cases of rape, incest and excessive punishment than one would like to imagine!

As for psychiatric therapy to “correct” homosexual people to make them heterosexual, some methods are recognised to be ineffective and harmful – even considered as methods of torture. Some people are really messed up and counselling is sometimes very helpful, but will involve more than telling them to what sort of personality profile they should conform. Again, we find the old confusion between gender identity and to which gender a given person is sexually attracted, when it suits the ideological conservative, serves an agenda that is no less harmful than feminism and “gay pride”.

Monsignor Anatrella rightly notes that the Church is called to accompany persons in their discovery of God’s word and the way to holiness.

Certainly, pastoral care for homosexual people is particularly difficult and demanding. It requires experienced, welcoming priests, but with specific studies behind them. Love and truth should be combined without simplifications. Mercy cannot mean justifying sexual habits in contrast with the moral doctrine of the Church.

It is not a bad conclusion. In this journey of redemption and transfiguration, the Church’s ministry cannot be limited to diatribes about what is right or wrong, but the work of holiness begins with experience of God’s love and a profound spiritual life rooted in prayer and the liturgy. Even that precedes the long work of catechesis and spiritual accompaniment. We priests should not forget that many of our colleagues have discredited such a ministry by taking advantage of vulnerable people sexually and to the extent of preying on children. Hypocrisy is a hard one to get over, and the work of honest and moral priests is made twice as difficult. This is the kind of work that is done in private and suited to the person – not a profile or type.

The real subject of this piece is not sexual activity between persons but identities of single persons. This is a different question. I would be more sympathetic of the kind of humanity that made the music of Mozart, the literature of Oscar Wilde and the countless acts of kindness and empathy by those some would consider effeminate. Psychological androgyny (nothing to do with opposite sex caricatures) can bring something very positive in terms of emotional health and a sense of identity and creativity. In life, we encounter many unique persons, each of whom are beautiful in their own way. We all in one way or another cross boundaries without going “over there” for good, and none of this offends Christian sexual morality or undermines the fabric of society.

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31 Responses to Gender Bending

  1. Patricius says:

    I am a sexual pervert (or in to-day’s parlance, a homosexual) but I strive to live a decent life. I do not engage in homosexual activities or condone same-sex marriage. But then I am a minority within a minority. Basically, I am a person.

    • I have no doubt that you are a person, Patrick. I’m all for discretion about private lives because the world is a big, bad, intolerant place and you can become unstuck for a “yes” or a “no”. One of my purposes about this article was for us all to live without identifying with stereotypes, and we would all be happier and holier.

      • Patricius says:

        One of the things people don’t realise about Quentin Crisp is that, after the 1950’s, he lived a life of chastity, and always (even after the success of the John Hurt film) lived austerely. He did not approve of “gay liberation,” for which he was lampooned after his death by Peter Tatchell, and said publicly that AIDs was a fad and another sob story for homosexuals, who are so renowned for their many sob stories.

        But ask anyone to-day who Mr Crisp was and they invariably say, “he was that gay bloke, weren’t he?” It’s sad.

      • This is why I make such a clear distinction between the androgynous man and sensitive artist, on one hand, and the man who feels a sexual attraction to the same sex. As I said in my article, many gays are “machos” and many androgynous men are heterosexuals or celibates.

      • Stephen K says:

        That’s a curious juxtaposition, Father: many androgynous men are heterosexuals or celibates”.

        Of course, it sounds strictly true, but it’s a little like saying “many Europeans are black-skinned or citizens”. There’s a kind of category dissonance. After all heterosexuals can be celibate or non-celibate, and celibates can be either heterosexual or homosexual. And as we have just learned, Quentin Crisp was, apparently, three: (1) a man; (2) homosexual; and (3) celibate.

        Your use of the term “androgynous” in regards to yourself also intrigues me. I’m assuming you mean that have high levels of both stereotypically masculine and feminine habits and interests and modes of acting [cf http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Androgyny%5D. There doesn’t seem to be anything “campy” about you, but your whole manner of writing and thinking is sensitive, if that is taken to mean “considerate of others”, “temperate”, “undogmatic”, and so on. Besides you are a musician, and this presupposes a high degree of “sensuousness” (aka ‘sensitivity’; i.e. in the literal sense). But your sailing and practicality and such skills attest to a definite physical robustness, of a kind that we generally associate with ‘masculinity’ and not with that caricature we recognise as “macho”, which is merely code for posturing, quick-temper and disregard for anyone’s honour but one’s own insecurities.

        I myself prefer to reject any notion that there is a ‘superior’ caste called the ‘androgynous’ male (or female). Traits are observable habits that are formed by the mysterious alchemy of nurture and nature. One’s formative environments can teach us models of virtue to practise as well as mere affectations to imitate. We thus all end up a pretty mixed bunch! Education and environment can encourage – and mostly seem to affect – changes to language, both accent and vocabulary, and these are potent markers in society for ‘pigeon-holing’ people, ranking them up and down the social scale, and feeding our various prejudices. In reality, and to the sensible person, Bronx or Cockney can come forth from a virtuous man or woman, and posh can spew from a nasty piece of work. It just depends!

        I myself don’t want to know what other people’s sexualities are; they should be personal. My sexuality is for sex, whether I have it or not. On the contrary, I feel I should be able to respond to other people on other grounds, like, are they a nasty piece of work or are they kind and honest and things like that. I’m turned off by bullies (male or female) or bitches (male or female), or those who, in caricaturing the opposite gender, reveal malice of any such kind.

        In my view, virtues are sexless. Sexuality is meaningful in one’s psycho-sexual attraction – however developed – and everything else is limited only by the prevailing social and legal and cultural conventions from which we cannot, at any given time, escape or overcome.

        Thanks for another thoughtful and worthy article, Father.

      • I too am very dubious about people identifying with a label of any kind and considering themselves to belong to some superior category of humanity. It is natural because we all like to believe ourselves to be privileged in relation to the “mass” of humanity. From what I have been reading about androgyny, there are some very feminine looking boys and men, but who are biological males and not suffering from Kleinfelter’s Syndrome. In some cultures like Japan and I think also in China before the Cultural Revolution, this “anomaly” was valued. As in every aspect of humanity, everything comes in shades of grey between very feminine men to very masculine men, both physically and psychologically, and the same thing with women. The interest of this reflection to me is not what I am as a man – but a study of the complexity of humanity and how some men have more “feminine” preoccupations like the family and the arts than competition, business, politics and sports.

        I appreciated your observation about sailing, but I am interested in dinghy cruising, the non-competitive version of sailing. It takes a certain amount of strength to launch and recover a boat, and manhandle it off and onto its trailer. Most of the time, sailing in moderate conditions is not very demanding physically. If you shorten sail when the wind gets up, that limits your having to hike out too much!

        I think also that the big concern about the homosexual and feminist lobbies is that people are identifying with labels in order to get some kind of vengeance against the society that oppressed or penalised them. Gender is what we are born with, and sexual “orientation” is something each person needs to discover and keep in his or her private life.

        We have to arrive at a balance between being ourselves and integrating into the society around us. I think “minorities” will be better tolerated if they do not self-identify with their “label” strongly and aggressively.

  2. ed pacht says:

    Thank you, Father. I don’t think I’ll access the article you reference, as it sounds much like so much I’ve already read. I am a same-sex attracted celibate male, not terribly drawn to the things that supposedly make one a “real man”, and am content to be who I am. Your statement is a valuable one to which I take little exception (if any at all). Again, thank you.

  3. Neil Hailstone says:

    For people with same sex attraction to live in a celibate manner is honourable and fully in accord with catholic faith. Personally I see no bar whatsoever to celibate christian men with same sex attraction entering the three fold Apostolic Priesthood.

    I do not believe that the state has any right to pry into the bedrooms of the nation to condemn what consenting individuals do in private. I do not of course extend this comment to cover rape, paedophilia or unlawful violence.

    I’ll slip on the flak jacket now in anticipation of incoming. Most hetrosexual christians, myself included, have committed sexual sins. Thankfully forgiveness is available through confession either privately, in the General Confession or in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

    In the light of the Incarnation we have confidence that God is merciful.

    Gay and Lesbian christians , (plus the rest of the alphabet shown on equality sites) including new converts should be fully aware that their sexual sins are similarly forgiven upon repentance.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the paragraph above in which dealing with sexual sin is advocated as a matter for pastoral care. I agree with the entire paragraph in fact. What is written fully accords with the views of a priest, a friend of mine to this day, who was for many years my Confessor when I lived up country. It also sets out my own personal views which have evolved over the years.

    • nonvivamultra says:

      That’s not true for the gay Catholic. Homosexual activity is a “sin which cries out to heaven for vengeance”, second only to bestiality in gravity amongst sexual sins (ST II.ii 154, art.xi-xii), the worst of all sins and deserving of the lowest place in Hell (St Bernardine of Siena), from which even devils flee in disgust (Chrysostom, but also Catherine of Siena). And God’s mercy, in the Catholic tradition, is far more limited than it is said to be by most writers today. And this, before we mention the recent private revelations at e.g. Akita.

      (Heterosexual) self-abuse, use of pornogaphy, adultery, fornication, even rape, by comparison, are merely mortal sin, which while evil, is still natural. You are a fallen human being, I am an unnatual pervert. There is nothing “just the same” about it.

      • I am approving these three comments because they don’t seem to show an intention of trolling. However, the e-mail of “nonvivamultra” is on the moderated list, and I will be watching future comments carefully.

        First of all, speaking in these terms about homosexuality is off-topic, because the subject of this posting is criticism of the so-called gender theory. The question of homosexuality as a moral question is only secondary. I will not have my blog used either for defence of homosexual practices or this kind of violent language to condemn it. I will be clear about this. Neil Hailstone said nothing objectionable or against faith or morals.

        In targeting Mr Brandt, the thought comes into my mind that The lady doth protest too much, methinks. “Nonvivamultra” seems to have a problem sticking out like a sore thumb or an 800 pound gorilla. I’m not making any accusations, but I do wonder when I read this intemperate language.

        Finally, before I pass any more comments from “nonvivamultra”, I would like more information about this person. I brief introduction would do.

      • nonvivamultra says:

        I’m sorry Father. I misinterpreted the topic. I didn’t intend to target or attack anyone. If my language is violent, it is how I think about myself. I am a postgraduate at a university in the north of England. I am in my twenties. I was brought up (Roman) Catholic. I am still going to Mass regularly. I am also gay (or “same-sex attracted”, or homosexual, or whatever). So yes I have problem like an 800-pound gorilla in the room.

      • Thank you for your kind comments. Your youth explains much. Do you have an activity like sports or music, anything that gets you out of yourself? That will help you to turn over a page and not keep thinking about your “old life”. You can’t do that through ranting or using the kind of language that no “mainstream” people use nowadays. You need to go forwards and upwards.

        We all know what Freud said about repression. I hope you will make friends, travel, get further university education or professional training, get involved in sports, hobbies, music, literature, anything. Religion on its own will not make the “demons” go away, nor will going on a crusade.

        I say all this to be helpful, as someone who is probably older than your father.

      • nonvivamultra says:

        When I say “I was brought up (Roman) Catholic”: I still go to Mass. I don’t know what I believe at the moment, but I am still celibate, and only a handful of people “know” about my “800-pound gorilla”.

      • nonvivamultra says:

        I do have some activities that get me out of myself, but they don’t work well. I’m physically pathetic and badly malcoordinated, so sports aren’t an option. My “old life” is still my life, inasmuch as I’m still (just) in the Church. I don’t want to burn forever, but I can’t believe in the “God of love” (who will torture you without end if you don’t give him everything he demands), and I am worn out with trying to believe it and live it as if it was coherent or bearable. I can’t move forward or back. I’m not on a crusade, and I don’t mean to rant. I describe myself in these terms, because this is the frame of the theology I grew up with, and part of me still holds to.

        Thank you for your kindness, and your advice, Father. I have friends, but none know about my vileness, and I can’t tell them because almost none would understand my ‘choice’ to remain alone, and the internal pressure against that is already too much to bear.

      • “Homosexuality. The question is not at all whether it is natural or unnatural, since this question is generally inapplicable to fallen nature, in which —and this is the point— everything is distorted, everything, in a sense, has become unnatural. Is it natural for man to devote himself totally to money or Russia or anything else? Created to give himself to God, man perverts his nature, his essence, by giving himself to some other thing, by transforming this “other” thing into an idol. Therefore, the point is not in making homosexuals “normal,” or liberating them by agreeing that theirs is a different “life style.” The point is, must be, in the acceptance by a homosexual, as well as by any other human being, of a total appeal, and of an appeal to integrity, addressed by God to each man. Homosexuality is a manifestation of the “thorn in the flesh” which tortures in various ways, but tortures everyone. In the fallen world nothing can be “normalized,” but everything can be saved.”
        The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann 1973-1983, p. 174

  4. Dear Fr. Chadwick,

    Thank you for your thoughtful and insightful posting. For my part, anyone who can single-handedly sail a small vessel off the Normandy coast is far more of a man than most. And anyone who has done the work that you have, both pastorally on your weblog, and scholarly with both Sarum Chant AND Dom Alcuin, is a gentleman and a scholar. I believe that you have no need to defend yourself on any of those scores.

    I would also agree with you, and with those who have so far commented on that posting, that it is an honorable thing for one who has same-sex-attraction to live singly and chastely. I will go one step further, and say that such individuals should not be prevented from going on to the presbyterate or the episcopate (if they are male, and otherwise qualified).

    What I believe to be the 800 pound gorilla in the room, which few in the Christian or Catholic blogosphere are willing to point out, is the extreme likelihood that, in the Roman Catholic communion of Europe and North America, between 30 and 50 percent of the priesthood and the episcopate are sexually active, closeted gay males. And it would seem to appear that no one in the RC hierarchy, the present pontiff included, is willing to do anything about it.

    While this has nothing to do with your Church, or its communion, I offer this as one among many reasons why RC traditionalists, such as the one who attacked your masculinity, are so irate. It may also be a reason why so many lay folk are leaving the RC communion.

    • Patricius says:

      Bernard, the attitude of RC traditionalists to homosexuality is totally hypocritical as far as I’m concerned. They seem willing to turn a blind eye when it suits them, or if the “perpetrator” is one of their own, but not so when there is cause to get rid of someone they don’t like. I speak from personal experience.

    • Many thanks for your heartfelt comment, which has touched me. I have also felt for you as you describe the sufferings of your mother and wife. My own mother passed away suddenly two years ago, though she had bad lungs from decades of smoking.

      It did me good to take up sailing and the gentlemanly pursuit of dinghy cruising (Roger Barnes defined it as using a dinghy for anything other than racing). Navigation at sea is a vast game of special perception and anticipation, at least when close to the coast. In a dinghy, navigational errors (drift and current) are easily corrected and compensated with only occasional checks with a bearing compass. One can learn to handle a boat single-handed in just a couple of weeks, but it takes a long time to acquire experience. That being said, I know some excellent women sailors including the president of my sailing club who sails both dinghies and ocean-going yachts. Learning in a dinghy is the best way. If you can sail a dinghy, you can sail anything!

      One point that I make is that having very masculine men in the priesthood is no guarantee against corruption or weakness of character in regard to one’s commitment to marriage or celibacy. It is not because we have soft faces and long hair that we are predators devoid of conscience or care for other people’s integrity and innocence. Perhaps the contrary in some cases.

      I fear for the future of the Roman Catholic Church, at least in its present form. In the 16th century, the Reformers were Christians even if they threw the baby out with the bathwater. Daesh and Al Qaeda would go that much further as they have shown the outraged world in Syria and Irak. Some traditionalists talk of going to war like “real men”, but they will just end up in orange jumpsuits kneeling in front of some psychopaths with knives and black rags around their heads!

      Yes, people are leaving churches in large numbers, and I fully understand why. Yes, like in the 16th century, a large proportion of the clergy is corrupt. Also, there is too much of a gap between culture and what are perceived as old myths, which if read literally, stand out in people’s minds as nonsense.

      I pray for something like in the early nineteenth century with Romanticism, a yearning for something else than modern materialism, a new seed from which something can grow and be nurtured by man’s most sublime thoughts and aspirations. Things were pretty low in France and England in the 1820’s, and the new movement started by men like William Blake was something completely unexpected. Many noble souls came from movement: Guéranger, Newman, Lamennais, Pusey, Schliermacher, Göthe, Schelling, Schegel and so many others. There was also Pugin in England with a whole social vision that went with his architecture. Could there be a new movement of this kind is a world that is just as much of a spiritual desert as when the Enlightenment had run its course?

      In the end, the sign will be that of Jonas who spent three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, a symbol and prophecy of Christ’s Passion and Resurrection. It is the fact that the disciple is not above the Master.

      • Dear Fr. Chadwick,

        I would like to thank you, both for your kind words, and for the sympathy which you have expressed for my mother and for my wife.

        I would also agree with you in your concern for the Roman Catholic Church. I, too, fear that it is falling apart, or more to the point, is eroding from within. As you have no doubt read from my weblog (in which I have expressed as well my concern for my wife and mother) I have begun to examine what I believe to be the causes of the RCC’s decline. I shall continue to do so, in the hopes that I might somehow be able to help in its restoration.

        But in the meantime, I too pray for something that may help in a rebirth, or a renaissance, of that Church. It is my hope that your work in Sarum Chant and Rite might somehow help. In that hope, I would ask that you continue your good work.

        I fear that we are only tilting at windmills. But, in the motion picture of the same name, “They might be giants”. We can do no other than what we are doing.

      • Indeed, some of us care about the liturgy. Patrick’s idea is not far off, but I think his efforts would be better spent in doing liturgical research and “keeping it going”. We need to be persevering witnesses, whether priests or laymen. Laymen can pray the Office and encourage get-togethers in home to say or sing offices together. I plan on doing videos of Mass on some of the feasts, perhaps with a word or two after the Gospel.

        I’m afraid that the only future I see at present is materialist totalitarianism and Daesh style barbarianism, perhaps World War III. Then again, we might be spared to continue human history and turn over a new page.

    • “between 30 and 50 percent”. That seems rather a lot. Have you any evidence for that estimate?

      • ed pacht says:

        My thought also. To say that there are a lot of them seems fairly obvious. but to put such an astoundingly large numerical value upon it would seem to require extensive documentation.

      • As a matter of fact, yes. Try starting with this:

        http://www.amazon.com/The-Changing-Face-Priesthood-Reflection/dp/0814625045

        or, if you prefer not to spend the money on Fr. Cozzens’ book, try this:

        http://americamagazine.org/issue/387/article/church-and-homosexual-priest

        Unfortunately, there is a lot of hearsay going on concerning this subject, with a large number of priests doing what they can to hide their sexual identities, or to muddy the waters.

        What can not be hidden, however, is the disproportionate number of priests who have been discovered to be male on male paederasts: five percent of that cohort’s population, or one out of twenty, according to The Jay Report and other studies.

        As only one percent of the general male population has been found to indulge in child abuse, and only one third of one percent indulges in male on male abuse, this disproportionate number of ‘priestly’ offenders indicates that something else is going on. The Family Research Council has gotten a lot of flack by gay advocates because it has shown a number of studies indicating a relationship between male on male paederasts and the larger gay population. A link to that survey can be found here:

        http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=is02e3

        But if it is the case that three percent of the male population is gay, and that one-third of one percent of the male population is male on male paederast, and if there is a relationship between male homosexuality and male on male paederasty, then it follows that there is a one in ten ratio between such paederasts and the gay population.

        Thus, if the male on male paederast population is five percent of the cohort of Roman Catholic priests, and the ratio between paederasts and gays is one in ten, then the gay population would be ten times that number, or fifty (50%) percent.

        Quod erat demonstrandum

      • ed pacht says:

        the extreme likelihood that, in the Roman Catholic communion of Europe and North America, between 30 and 50 percent of the priesthood and the episcopate are sexually active, closeted gay males

        Please, Mr. Brandt, what in the America article supports such an extreme statement? I can’t comment on the Cozzens book, not having read it, but can you find specific passages to support your statement? As you say, there is too much hearsay in such matters. Your attempt at extrapolation from partial statistical studies just doesn’t do It. If we are to accept such inflated figures, we need cold hard facts. Even if it be determined that there are such huge numbers of SSA priests, where is the evidence that justifies your accusation that they are “sexually active.”

        This is the very kind of discourse that feeds the fires of the “Gay Agenda” — so patently weak and prejudicial that it becomes easy to claim that ALL criticism of the gay experience is, on its face shaky at best and deliberate calumny at the worst. Give us some hard facts or be content with your rather good expression of principles, without such shaky ‘support’.

    • nonvivamultra says:

      It is not “honorable” at all. It is the minimum requirement. Or to put it differently: a priest or monk who lives celibately exchanges a good (marriage) for a good (ordained life). A gay exchanges a grave moral evil (homosexual activity) for what is, at best, a neutral state (celibacy; though in practice this means isolation and loneliness, and “it is not good for man to be alone”. But at least it doesn’t run the risk of sodomy.). This is not a free choice between goods, and we don’t gain merit in heaven by merely not doing evil (Hebrews I think, but can’t find the reference).

      • nonvivamultra says:

        In saying this, I pass judgment on myself.

        As for 30-50% of the priesthood being gay, that seems an unjust and uncharitable assumption on the basis of some limited statistics, and I doubt you can “scale” statistics in that way and retain accuracy. How would you test it, anyway, and what difference would it make if it was true?

  5. Mr. Pacht,

    I can cite texts for you; I can not read them for you. Were you, however, actually to read the America article, you might find the 30 to 50 percent figure cited. And were you to read Fr. Cozzens’ book, you might find the bases upon which various sociologists have come to those figures, including, but not limited to, surveys in which large numbers of priests were asked, and answered, such inconvenient questions as their sexual personae. Whether you do read them is, of course, entirely your own business.

    As to why I believe that that 30 to 50 percent are quite likely sexually active, that is because of two sets of inconvenient facts: 1) the usual distribution of pederasty in the U.S. is 90% male on underage female to 10% male on underage male predations, but the Jay Report indicated that priestly sexual abuse was 90% male on underage male activity; 2) the usual percentage of minor abuse in comparison with the general U.S. population is 1/10th of one percent, or one in one thousand, and the percentage of male minor abuse is 1/30th of one percent, or one in three thousand; but the Jay Report indicated that in the cohort of priests in the U.S., the percentage of male on male child abusers was five percent, or one in twenty. In short, the level of abuse in the priestly cohort was ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY TIMES the number of the general U.S. population!

    The only explanation that I have for these disproportionate numbers is that there was a larger number of sexually active gay priests who condoned active homosexuality, and who were either subject to blackmail because of their own behavior, or who were sympathetic to the behavior of the priestly pederasts, and helped to conceal them from exposure or arrest. Perhaps the best example, or ‘poster boy’, for this process could be found in the downfall of the unfortunate former Archbishop of Milwaukee, His Grace Rembert Weakland.

    Of course, Mr. Pacht, if you should have an alternative explanation which fits the facts better, I would be happy to hear it.

    Nonvivamultra,

    As to your characterization of my assumptions as “unjust” or “uncharitable”, that would depend upon whether those assumptions are true or not. I have explained just why I believe those assumptions to be true. If you have the means of falsifying them, please do so. Otherwise, I shall continue to hold them.

    As to how my assumptions could be proven, it seems that one way would be for lay groups to hire private investigators to examine the private lives of their priests. In fact, it seems that some in Europe have begun this process.

    As to what difference my assumptions would make if true, I have to ask whether you are jesting or not. Canon law is clear that offences against the Sixth Commandment on the part of a priest are cause for that priest’s suspension or expulsion from the priesthood.

    • nonvivamultra says:

      Not being able to enter the priesthood, I don’t know its canon law very well. I’m sorry if my tone offended. I simply meant that if they’re sinners, they’re sinners, and it won’t change anything in respect of doctrine or practice.

      As to using private investigators, I have seen the websites of those who gather this sort of material. It’s difficult not to see a certain malevolence in their crowing. I’m sorry, but I don’t see that pursuing it would necessarily lead anywhere – except shut parishes, perhaps.

  6. nonvivamultra says:

    Given what the topic is (and isn’t)…. the (Roman) Catholic Church is in grave danger, at least, on this topic. If it denies the possibility of a man born with all the accidental properties (potentially down to the genetic level) of a woman, it could well tie itself up in knots (if it hasn’t done so already). Nothing about the idea of a person’s gender being separate from their biological sex necessarily contradicts traditional doctrine that I can see.

    But in a period when it seems a narrowly proscribed “manliness” is on the rise in some parts of the (Roman) Catholic world, when and the Liber Gomorrheanus is being reprinted, and conferences on “manliness” are being held within and without religious communities, perhaps it’s unlikely that subtle argument, common sense, or even clear distinctions are going to matter much, if they ever did.

    “Gender theory” seems to divide into broadly two camps, from what I’ve seen: those who think “gender”, “sex”, and “gender identity” are distinct (and may be in conflict), and those who take from this that all three are to a greater or lesser extent a matter of personal choice. I can’t see a good argument for saying the former is necessarily wrong (other than proof-texting Genesis). I don’t begin to understand the latter position.

  7. No, nonvivamultra, you did not offend me. You raised several issues. I addressed those issues. That’s all; at least, that was all for me.

    And no, I’m not attempting to emulate Peter Damien’s little screed (i.e., the “Gomorrheanus”). Nor am I advocating getting P.I.s to check out whether Fr. Fatuous is attending the local gay bar. If you’ve read my weblog, you’ll know that I’m rather more concerned with the fact that most priests are unqualified, by the standards of both Vatican II and current canon law, to be priests. And I’m more concerned that it appears that 30 to 50 percent of RC priests have likely broken their vows, than in the sordid little details of just how they have broken those vows.

    • nonvivamultra says:

      That was all to me, as well. I didn’t read your post as advocating the kind of (in my opinion) paranoia of Peter Damian, or necessarily of advocating fo private investigaton. I haven’t read your blog until now. I now see what you are saying.

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