Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Positive Word from Pope Francis

On the flight back from Brazil, the Pope held a spontaneous and unprepared exchange with the journalists on board the plane.  He was asked, point blank, about the gay lobby in the Vatican.

Io ancora non ho trovato nessuno che mi dia la carta d’identità, in Vaticano. So far I have not found anybody willing to give me the gay identity card, in the Vatican.  

The question of a gay identity card is, in my experience, a peculiarly Italian thing.  To get into any gay venue you need to have the Arcigay identity card.  It is striking that he Pope is informed about this.

Dicono che ce ne siano. They say that there are some.

Meaning that there are guys in the Vatican that have the Arcigay card.  But the Pope seems keen to show that this does not bother him.

Ma si deve distinguere il fatto che una persona è gay dal fatto di fare una lobby. Se è lobby, non tutte sono buone. You have to distinguish between people creating a lobby and the fact that a person is gay.  Lobbies, (pressure groups), are not always good.

Se una persona è gay e cerca il Signore e ha buona volontà, chi sono io per giudicarla? Il catechismo della Chiesa cattolica dice che queste persone non devono essere discriminate ma accolte. Il problema non è avere queste tendenze, sono fratelli, il problema è fare lobby: di questa tendenza o d'affari, lobby dei politici, lobby dei massoni, tante lobby...questo è il problema più grave. E la ringrazio tanto per aver fatto questa domanda. Grazie tante».  If a person is gay and is seeking the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge him.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that these people are not to be discriminated against but welcomed.  The problem is not having these tendencies, they are our brothers, the problem is creating a lobby, a lobby about this tendency, business lobbies, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies, so many lobbies…this is the problem, a more serious problem.  I am grateful to you for having asked this question.  Thank you so much.

The key phrase in that is “If a person is gay and is seeking the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge him.”  This seems to say that the Pope leaves to the individual’s conscience what he does about his gay practice.  This would be a truly Catholic position, but one that is rarely adopted by the majority of Catholics, who read the Catechism and its statement about the disorder of homosexuality and go on from there to judge, condemn, all homosexuals as an abomination rather than brothers.  The Pope, significantly, makes no allusion to this part of the Catechism statement.

This transcript of what the Pope said comes from Corriere
della Sera.  For my part, I am grateful to a reader of this blog who drew my attention to these remarks of Pope Francis.

Monday, July 29, 2013


My attention has been drawn to the attitude the Russian government has taken to homosexuality recently and with threatening overtones towards the Olympic competitors and personnel for 2014.  Dave commenting on my post on the Middle East referred to the situation forcefully.  I have taken the opportunity to inform myself better on the subject.  My first thought was that Putin, in the position he has taken, could be inspired by narrow Orthodox thinking and would certainly find an ally in the Russion Orthodox Church.

In fact, in the article in the Guardian, I read: “The ban on "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations" is part of an effort to promote traditional Russian values over western liberalism, which the Kremlin and the Russian orthodox church see as corrupting Russian youth and contributing to the protests against Putin's rule.”

I am tempted to focus in on the terminology of the Russian law about non-traditional sexual relations and say that there is one long tradition about men having sex with men.  Perhaps somebody should do a study of the history of sexual practices in Russia down the ages.  There is a book called, Homosexual desire in Revolutionary Russia, by Dan Healey.  I leafed through it and saw this statement on page 48: During the late Imperial era a Russian, urban, male homosexual subculture developed from indigenous patterns of a traditional mutual masculine sexuality.  The male homosexual world was not alien to the national body, but was a vigorous and resourceful part of society.  It is heterosexist and nationalist chauvinism to claim that in tsarist Russian or in the USSR, this homosexual subculture was imported from abroad or created by Communist misrule.” So there is a start.  But I could be arrested in Russia for making such innuendos.

Further, it is hard to think that those macho gay-exciting military Cossacks did not, at some time in their history, know how to share their masculinity with one another.  Now they are being called upon by certain members of the Russian 
governing body to whip gays.  This for some of them could be very sexually fulfilling.  But, of course, if they are repressed they might not know what they are experiencing.
Dave gave some statistics about the frequentation of gay porn websites by guys from the Arab World.  I have observed with some interest how my blog gets visitors from some remarkable countries, like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Republic, Egypt, Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan and the latest new country to register on my flag counter was Iran.  This probably shows that guys have their interior struggles there as well between what their religion tells them and what they feel in the make up of their own being.  We should all pray for each other.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Married Men Who Have Sex With Men.

Somebody wrote to me asking for information.  He wrote like this: “I was reading some of the articles in your blog and didn't see anything about this subject. You say that having sex with a man is much like masturbation. What about married men, of which I am one. Is it committing adultery for a married man to have sex with men, or is it just like a married man having experiences with enhanced masturbation?  I have a long history of secretly meeting with men for sex and suffer an unbelievable amount of guilt. I try to stop and am successful for short periods of time, but the lust and desire for a man's cock take over after a while of living in denial and I keep going back to my guilty pleasure. It is so hard to always be punishing myself for something that feels so good and natural.”
My reply was as follows: “Thanks for writing and sharing your questions and reflections.
I think there are moments where I touch on the subject of married men who are also enhanced males, in common parlance, bi. You will certainly find repeated in my posts that all sex between men is only a type of masturbation. What makes the difference, morally I suppose, is the likelihood, openness to procreation. So I am all in favour of married men having sex with men. If masturbation is good and healthy and morally kind of neutral, masturbation together with other men, this includes fucking and sucking, is no different. It is difficult to think that what is not a sin done individually can become a sin when two people do it together.
Sex is always good. But how it effects other people is where Christian morality must come in. So sex between men needs to be between consenting adults, for example. A married man engaging in sex with men needs to avoid upsetting his wife and destroying his marital relationship. In the ideal sex-positive world women would understand and accept that their men were going to have sex with men. This may have been the case in certain classical societies. In the culture we live in, it would be rare to find a woman who accepts that her husband is going to have sex with men and not feel threatened by it. The situation needs to be taken into consideration. At bottom, though, the only true infidelity to marriage for a man is adultery, that is sex with another woman with the risk of bringing children into the world that cannot be parented properly.
In fact, as I write these things here, I realize that I have already dealt with them somewhere on the blog. But a blog is a day to day thing and part of it is just about saying the same things in today's light which is different from yesterday's.
I am sure you should go with your desires and needs for sex with men, provided you can do so without damaging your marriage relationship. Guilt is an insidious thing. I know of no other way of dealing with it other than getting quite clear on the intellectual level what you think is the truth and then taking no notice of the feelings. Guilt is a feeling. We have to live by our convictions not by our feelings. This is far from easy. Living by convictions rather than by feeling arises in many other areas of life, of course.”

Saturday, July 27, 2013

No Teaching

Patrick and Dave commenting on my post short-circuit advocated taking no notice of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.  I agree entirely, but enhanced males who read this blog are going to be struggling with what the Church says about homosexuality.  People in their entourage will have waved it at them, threatened them with it.  May basic stance is that there is no teaching on homosexuality in the Church.  We enhanced males have got to put our Christian-Gay policy together for ourselves.  There is no teaching in what the Church says because, when analyzed out, the Catechism is simply saying that homosexuality just did not ought to exist.  The acts of enhanced masculinity are, for the authors of the Catechism gravely disordered, the tendency towards them is a tendency no one ought to have.  This is just stupid and lacks all pastoral sense.  We, enhanced males, have got to develop the sense of dignity and beauty and fulfilment of what we do with each other as men and reverence our very attraction to each other.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Don Marco Bisceglia

Arcigay is the Nationwide Association in Italy that looks after all the interests of the gay community.  In particular it campaigns for gay rights and freedoms and fights homophobia and bullying.  I discovered only recently that it was founded by an out gay priest, Don Marco Bisceglia.   

It seems that this devoted priest was suspended from his ministry, not because of his gay connections, but because he befriended and preached communist ideologies and liberation theology.  After about 10 years of working with Arcigay he developed AIDS.  At that point he took up his ministry again as assistant priest in a church on the periphery of Rome, until he died five or six years later.  His story encourages me in two ways.  
 First, because he was an openly gay, sexually active priest.  Secodly, the fact that he was received back into the ministry without there being a problem about his gay involvement.  Probably the Church in Italy had by that time got over its communism-phobia and felt it owed it to him to re-habilitate him as a priest.  A new book has been published about the life of Don Marco - Troppo amore ti ucciderà, by Rocco Pezzano.