Thanks to another reader of this blog, I had an email exchange with Jack Scott. He reckons he has taken a turn for the better and hopes soon to get back to writing on his blog. He seems to have been experiencing that the treatmenat can be worse than the disease and to have sailed pretty close to the other shore. Thanks be to God for his recovery, and my it continue to miraculous heights.
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Don Gallo examines the way marriage was presented in theology when he studied it 45 years before. It was dogmatic that the purpose of marriage was procreation. That was the primary aim of marriage. Don Gallo’s comment was that it was incredible to think, now, that marriage was looked at like that.
He then points out with even greater incredulity that the secondary purpose of marriage was as a remedy for lust. Then, the love of the spouses was seen as an added benefit, a kind of optional extra. Nowadays, observed Don Andrea, Catholic morality puts first the love of the spouses. In the sacrament of matrimony it is the consent of the spouses that constitutes the sacrament.
That means that love is at the centre, according to Don Gallo. For him the love of the spouses can express itself in responsable parenthood, but, he says, not only. There is love in a homosexual relationship.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Don Gallo’s interviewer expressed the fear, once, that he would get himself excommunicated for his views on gays. He said he got phone calls from protesting bishops but did not think they would go that far. Don Andrea shared that they had made a great festival in the community when he had baptised a forty year old gay man and heard nothing from the bishop of Genoa, who was Cardinal Tattamanzi at the time. Don Gallo’s only regret was that the Cardinal did not turn up to join in the festivities!
He also expressed this wonderful point of view that there is a dynamic in sexual morality. It moves on. Theologians and moralists are reflecting on the theme of homosexuality and drawing new conclusions. That, actually, is what this blog is an amateur attempt at doing, though I claim the title neither of theologian nor of moralist.
To illustrate how thinking can change and move on Don Gallo recalls how he could remember it being absolutely de rigueur for women to have their heads covered in church. Nowadays nobody even thinks about it. What I say is: roll on the days when nobody thinks twice about men having sex together. I reckon that thinking on sexual morality has moved en since Dom Gallo’s time. We are now exploring sexuality as a value in itself and its expression in just plain sex as a separate activity from procreation.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
There is a point at which Don Gallo expresses passionately his love for the Church, but challenges the Church he loves so. He wants it to take stock of the situation. Does the Church want to understand and start listening? He reflects that there are a load of perversions to be found in the heterosexual domain, according to both civil and ecclesiastical statistics. Don Gallo invites everybody to get to the bottom of things. He proposes a reading the the letters of Saint Anselm. There, he says, you find an abbot writing to his brothers in terms that are clearly homoerotic.
He seems to suggest that the demonizing of homoerotic sex needs a type of parallel treatment to that given to the use of certain types of drug. In the East they had been connected with cultic rituals that could be suspect. The result is that the West sees them as demonic. That, for Don Gallo, puts innocent people in a very difficult sitiation. It is easy to make the transfer to the way society regards homosexuality. Asked point blank whether he would support gay marriage, Don Gallo, said: “Certainly. You have to leave people free to choose.” He said that his love of the Church brought him to this conclusion and no matter if the same Church reproached him for it.
I admire this as a manifestation of a strong sense that the Church is the people that make up the community and not the institution. It is the people, homosexuals included, that God became incarnate in order to stand beside. We need to be courageous and acknowledge that our Christian faith tells us that God is with us. He is with us as homosexuals who live out the gift he has deposited within our make-up.
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Asked about the Catechism’s precription that all homosexuals should practice chastity, which in the context means sexual absence, Don Gallo recognizes that the point at issue is whether or not affective and sexual acts between people of the same sex are permissible or not.
Don Gallo recalled that there are things we do not think about any more that were considered mortal sins by the Church only decades ago, like charging high interest on loans. Don Gallo says that scientific research has shown that human beings are born sexual, either heterosexual or homosexual. He says that if a minority turns out to be homosexual this is according to God’s plan. Personally he said he welcomed them and respected their privacy, trusted them and tried to help them form their personal conscience, centring everything on the sense of personal responsibility.
For me that precisely hits the nail on the head. Nobody in the Church really wants to trust homosexuals and their sense of things and that they know what they are doing and have weighed things up in their conscience. The next bit of what I am reading about Don Gallo treats of his hope that the Church will move onwards. I noticed that the Pope, this morning, in addressing the new Cardinals dwelt on the point that we must exclude all discrimination. The emphasis on excluding "all" made me think that he had to be including there discrimination against homosexuals.
Friday, February 21, 2014
Our gay guru at Queer Heaven said a wonderful thing a week or so ago. He wrote:
“Once in awhile I get slammed from a reader or two in an email for promoting all the sex I do. I understand we are all intitled to our opinions. And I respect them. But to be clear here, I do not spend time posting these daily blogs to show off and look like some special guy,just because I seem to have more sex than you do. Am I wrong to think that those who deride me for the amount of sex I have, are really guys that are just too shy or too backwards for not going not going out and fulfilling their destiny as a gay man? Often in the Gay community guys talk about the empty feeling of one night stands and lots of random sex. Maybe I am just different. Sure I have had sex that was not great, we all have. But never have I felt empty. But mostly sex has been totally fun and fulfilling. Since we as gay men do not procreate… then what other purpose is sexing, but to feel good and have fun.”
I like that whole approach. In particular I like the idea that our destiny as gay men is to get out and have sex with each other. That talk about the emptiness of casual sex just does not add up for me, either, in the context of enhanced male sex. Most of my sex has been casual, but I have always come away with a sense of wonder at the experience and a strong sense of male bonding however transitory.