Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-03-03
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

VIEWS Gay and Catholic?!: Eros chained
Open To Thinking, a recurring column
by Nick Patricca
2013-05-01

This article shared 3697 times since Wed May 1, 2013
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


I am often asked: "How can you be Gay and Catholic?" Sometimes I want to respond by saying: "How can I be a philosopher and Catholic?"

For me both of these questions are essentially related because at their heart they both ask how a thinking person can belong to a community of faith. To my questioner I most often respond: "The real question for a Catholic is not 'How can you be Gay and Catholic?' but how can you be a Catholic and have sex at all?" I don't mean this response facetiously or rhetorically. I really mean it!

The teachings of the Catholic Church on human sexuality are not primarily based on the Christian Scriptures. Rather, they are based upon the thinking of Stoic philosophers and upon the experience of the early Christians with the obscene sexual practices of Roman society.

Contrary to Hollywood fantasies, the Romans were sober, puritanical folk. Roman epicureanism, for example, does not endorse indulging the senses or luxuriating in bodily pleasures. On the contrary, it is an ethical system for disciplining the senses in order to avoid pain and create tranquility. Roman stoicism, as can be seen in the writings of Cicero, likewise champions the heroic harnessing of desire to benefit the common good.

The Roman poet Martial (1st century C.E.) satirized the Roman stoical hostility to masturbation in an oft-quoted passage in which he accuses his friend Ponticus of weakness of character and mass murder when he holds his ejaculate in his hands. (Roman stoics believed that semen carried 'little men,' homunculi, in its fluids.)

Perversely, Roman philosophical stoicism was contradicted by Roman sexual practices. By the Second Century of our Common Era (C.E.), Christians lived in a Roman society that slaughtered the newborn, especially female babies, that sexually abused slaves, that employed abortion as the primary form of birth control, and that, simply put, understood and used sex as power, as a way to dominate and exploit another person. In this context, the Roman Church developed a deep suspicion of human sexual desires and a low tolerance for any abuse of the gift of life, steadfastly opposing all forms of genocide and infanticide, and, in the process, conflating masturbation, birth control, and homosexual acts with un-natural behavior.

This philosophical suspicion of human appetite was matched by the religious ideal of the martyr who through chastity and celibacy gives witness (the original meaning of the word 'martyr') to the imminent coming of the reign of God, whether in one's heart or in heaven or on earth. At the time of Jesus and of the early Christians, even Judaism (which today proudly embraces a positive attitude toward human sexuality, procreation and life-in-the-world) was riddled with eschatological and apocalyptic sects that separated themselves from the world and preached a life of chaste celibacy and rigorous asceticism.

The Roman Church fused the religious ideal of the martyr with the stoical ideal of the philosopher saint into the Catholic ideal of the celibate monk who free of distraction contemplates God and works for the common good. In Western Christianity this ideal became the norm for all Christians. Not just monks.

This reactionary posture to human passions in general and to human sexual desire in particular so dominated Western Christian thinking that Augustine of Hippo, putatively the greatest Christian thinker of early Western Christianity, had a hard time accepting the idea that sexual intercourse, even within the sacred constraints of Christian marriage, was NOT tainted by sin. Augustine's suspicion of sexual intercourse was so profound that he even theorized that 'original sin' is somehow communicated to the conceived child in the act of sexual intercourse.

Unfortunately, this chaining of eros, based in fear and reaction, has shackled Catholic thinking in sexual ethics. The idea that every act of sex must intrinsically and without any obstacle lead to the possibility of conception has prevented the formation of a truly Christian and truly human understanding of our sexuality, based on a scientific and rational study of the human person (both animal and spiritual) and on the principles of the Gospels.

Nick Patricca is professor emeritus at Loyola University Chicago, president of Chicago Network and playwright emeritus at Victory Gardens Theater.


This article shared 3697 times since Wed May 1, 2013
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

The Amazon Trail Covid 19 Pioneer 2021-02-13
- Now that President Biden and Vice President Harris are in office, I've been able to have my first Covid 19 vaccine shot. It was no big deal. I went to our county fairgrounds expecting to be injected through my car window, ...


Gay News

GLAAD: Senators vote against response to riot but introduce anti-trans bill 2021-02-10
--From a press release - Five of the eight senators objecting to Electoral College votes and voting against the second Trump impeachment trial have cosponsored a new bill targeting transgender youth, adding to history of anti-LGBTQ votes and views GLAAD: "More ...


Gay News

LETTER Federal anti-discrimination protection? Inevitable 2021-02-06
- =The astute can predict the future—with more than a modicum of confidence—by examining history. Nate Silver did this last year at fivethirtyeight.com, as did Vegas oddsmakers, in predicting the victory of President Joe Biden over der ...


Gay News

OP-ED Gorman's inauguration poem has Black women talking 2021-01-26
- Amanda Gorman mesmerized a nation with her inauguration poem "The Hill We Climb." The beauty of her presence and the power of her words captured a country battle-scarred and looking for a lifeline. "After four years ...


Gay News

Letter: Greed overrides common sense 2021-01-25
- Jeffrey Sanker, founder of the White Party concept decades ago, is now at the center of brewing online civil war in the gay community. It was reported by some online LGBTQ media news outlets such as ...


Gay News

LETTER: Unnecessary legislation 2021-01-19
- To the Editor: At a time when Illinois lawmakers should be supporting healthcare heroes who are working tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic, we instead receive unwelcome new legislation that will drive up the costs of practicing ...


Gay News

OP-ED: New Year's Eve circuit parties go on despite COVID-19 travel concerns 2021-01-08
- This past New Year's Eve, thousands of gay men flocked to Mexico to attend a New Year's eve "White Party" hosted by long time party promoter Jeffrey Sanker—the host of the annual white party in Palm ...


Gay News

OPINION Where do we go from here (redux)? 2020-12-28
- The year 2020 has been a stressful one. With George Floyd's death as an inflection point about race and racism in America, an unprecedented presidential election and social unrest during an ongoing pandemic with a rising ...


Gay News

VIEWS Taking care of your mental health during a COVID holiday season 2020-11-26
By Adam Ouanes - This holiday season is unlike any before, and it leaves many people feeling unsure about how to get into the holiday spirit. It's not unusual for many people to find this time of year overwhelming, but ...


Gay News

The Amazon Trail: Rats fleeing a sinking ship 2020-11-14
- I've heard the idiom "like rats fleeing a sinking ship" often lately, and while the metaphor is apt for what's going on in the United States, at our house it's even more befitting. Merriam Webster notes, ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Harris stands on shoulders of giants 2020-11-09
- The struggle to get President-elect Joe Biden to the finish line first with 270 electoral college votes was unquestionably an epic battle. However, Biden's battle wasn't a century-long one like women finally winning the right to ...


Gay News

Lilly Wachowski: Refuse Fascism, at the Ballot Box and in the Street 2020-11-02
Video below - In a rare, public and political statement, filmmaker Lilly Wachowski (co-creator of The Matrix trilogy, V for Vendetta, Sense8) published this personal essay on the literary website, LitHub.com, calling on people to "Refuse Fascism, at the ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT Is Pope Francis' support of civil unions just lip service? 2020-10-29
- Pope Francis has expressed support for civil unions in the Catholic Church. Once again, the pontiff has sent shockwaves across the globe to 1.3 billion of his followers with another LGBTQ- affirming statement. However, this one ...


Gay News

LETTER Thank you, Pope Francis 2020-10-22
- I never thought I would live to see the day when a pope would endorse civil rights for LGBTQ couples. Praise God for His Grace. Also, the many Roman Catholic individuals and organizations who worked so ...


Gay News

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Nomination of Amy Coney Barrett 2020-10-22
- Women-Church Convergence, a coalition of Catholic-rooted organizations including DignityUSA, deplores the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. We have serious concerns about the judgment of any nominee ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.