“Marriage now tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will. But the indispensable contribution of marriage to society transcends the feelings and momentary needs of the couple.”—Evangelii Gaudium (via confessionsofsomeoneanonymous)
“Pursuing God is about realizing more and more that He has been pursuing you all along, and slowly waking to this reality. It’s knowing that every ounce of effort you’ve made towards Him has been His wooing grace, beckoning you ever closer.”—J.S. (via jspark3000)
How to date right so you don’t get left by Nic Davidson
"Just pay attention to the first step… if you don’t know who you are, if you don’t let HIM inform you as to who you are, then I guarantee the person across the table will inform you as to who they want you to be… That’s when all hell breaks loose."
I can’t begin to describe how awesome this is. AMAZING.
“The problem is that sex is profoundly expressive and interpersonal, and it can’t mean what it naturally means when it’s disconnected from other considerations. If you get rid of the natural function of sex as a guide, and therefore the natural ordering of the relation between man and woman, that relation becomes a matter of shifting and conflicting desires, and we end up in the crude and manipulative world that has grown up around us.”—CWR: Sex and Public Order http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/2611/sex_and_the_public_order.aspx#.UlBCY4bBPSg
“[Christian marriage] is a real vocation, just like priesthood and religious life are. Two Christians who marry each other have recognized in their love story the Lord’s call, the vocation to form one flesh, one life from the two, male and female.”—
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over again.”— F. Scott Fitzgerald (via gipsycompatible)
“Never tire of firmly speaking out in defense of life from its conception and do not be deterred from the commitment to defend the dignity of every human person with courageous determination. Christ is with you: be not afraid!”—Pope John Paul II (via in-their-midst)
“Some times are better for prayer than others. The worst times are “later on”, “tomorrow” and “I should have yesterday”. The perfect time to enter the prayer life is now – right now.”—(via thatcatholicguy)
One of the things I’ve particularly wanted to do with Mudblood Catholic is communicate something of what it feels like to be a gay Christian to straight Christians. I want to do this for a number of reasons, one of which is, naturally, narcissism. But I think there are better reasons for bothering to write about this so often and in such detail:
1. This is quite possibly the hot-button issue for the churches in America in this generation. That doesn’t mean it will be in the future, but we are not yet in the future. Christians should most certainly be wary of having our agendas dictated to us by the World, which can almost be forgiven for not having the best interests of the Church in mind; yet at the same time, if we do not meet this challenge competently, it may mean ruining our credibility with this particular generation.
2. Theologically, there’s a lot at stake. I unhesitatingly espouse the doctrine of the Catholic Church on this subject. That being said, it doesn’t take traddie fanaticism like mine to see that, whatever theology you hold on queer issues, it’s important. Human relationships and happiness, the spiritual significance (if any) of gender and sex, the sacrament (or not) of marriage, the right methods of interpreting Scripture, and, in the last analysis, what role the historical beliefs of Christianity play in defining doctrine, all hang in the balance. Just not answering the relevant questions, or providing only tentative answers, will not serve.
3. People are getting hurt. This is such a commonplace that we are approaching desensitization. Segments about anti-gay bullying and teen suicides are a staple of the news; Christian magazines and blogs are spattered with pieces on homophobic theology and hypocritical pastoral decisions. The agony of being trapped in the closet and unable to admit whom you love, or, alternately, the intense suffering of an unexpected and lonely celibacy — these things are bordering on becoming memes. (Give George Takei a few days, and he’ll probably have a legitimately hilarious take on both of these archetypes.)
And now, to help deal with all three of these important social issues, I’d like to ignore them completely for a moment.
My name is Gabriel and I am twenty-five, living in Baltimore. I come from California originally — I mean, to the extent that I come from anywhere: my dad was in the Navy, so we moved around a lot. We’d moved six times before I turned eighteen; I’d visited four continents and been in seven countries. I’ve always been extremely bookish, not that that’s exceptional in my family — I have a particular liking for fantasy, poetry, theology, and literary criticism (for all four at once, try almost anything by the brilliant and neglected Charles Williams, such as The Descent of the Dove; I’m rereading The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers at the moment, an excellent sic-fi/fantasy fusion novel, while waiting for another of his books, The Stress of Her Regard, to be delivered by all-knowing Amazon). I’d like to write for a living myself; I’m working on a Gothic novel at the moment, and a collection of poems. Most of my writing deals, directly or indirectly, with the conflict between my religion and my sexuality; I realized I was gay around age thirteen, and then converted from Calvinism to Catholicism about seven years later. Neither aspect of my life has resolved the other, and oddly enough, I’m not sure I want them too — the tension causes suffering, obviously, but it can produce a lot of beauty, too. I thought for a long time about becoming a priest, and/or a monk, but those callings aren’t really for me. I’m also a music fanatic — I have a particular turn for electronica and indie, as well as their roots in prog rock and so forth; just recently I managed to vastly expand my collection of Pink Floyd, thanks to my dad; and I suddenly found myself getting into blues and soul and their descendent genres recently — I’ve always loved Billie Holliday, to whom Nina Simone, Carly Simon, Aretha Franklin, Amy Winehouse, Fiona Apple, and Rachel D’Arcy have more recently been added. (Seriously, even if you ignored all the others, watch that Rachel D’Arcy video and then reflect on the fact that this is her singing without any of the protective layers of technology habitual to the industry, because she is gorram amazing.)
Why the autobiographical detour here? Well, I wanted to introduce you to some gay people. I am the gay man I know best, so I introduced you to me. And why? Because there’s no point in paying attention to any of this unless you do so in a personal context.
Society is made up of people and the decisions they — we — make. It isn’t made of anything else. Whether you want to reform society, or conserve society as it is, or to reform some parts of it and conserve others, nothing whatsoever can be done unless it is done by people and about people. Trends, statistics, movements, they’re all useful fictions. They are really useful; but they are, also, really fictions. There is no person whom you can authentically relate to through general ideas. There is no ideal gay, no ideal lesbian, no ideal American, no ideal Christian, no ideal Catholic. There are only the women and men that you meet. Get to know them. Get to know the useful fictions only as it helps you interact with real, living, breathing, drooling people.
I mean to spend this series explaining some of the fictions that I think are most useful — which means exactly one thing: the fictions that I think are realities for most LGBT people, or most Christians, or most Christian LGBTs. But none of these rules of thumb will mean anything —anything — unless preceded, and trumped, by actually knowing and caring for the people here concerned. And you can’t do that by reading a blog. Or a book. Or a tweet. All this stuff can help; that’s why I’m writing this. But you can only relate to people by going out and doing it.
I’ve called it Raw Tact because that brings together the two things most badly needed in Christian-queer dialogue: total honesty (instead of ideology, half-truths, equivocations, don’t-ask-don’t-tell tactics, and the like), and extreme sensitivity (instead of moralizing, unimaginative sympathy, and so forth). Both are needed by both sides. It is an incongruous turn of phrase, which I think is good; it’s hard to hold raw honesty and tactfulness together. But it’s high time we did. I don’t think we’ll make any progress until we do; otherwise we are left to choose between an honesty so brutal that it won’t help anybody, and a compassion so undisciplined that it can’t figure out how to.
You probably know this already, but I’m celibate, because I’m Catholic. You will not hear me talking about When Oh When Will The Church Get With The Times, because that kind of talk is boring nonsense. Guys, the whole point of having the Church is having one thing, just one!, that you can depend on to always be the same. Thank God for that.
If you want a church that constantly changes to fit in with whatever’s fashionable this decade, there are a bazillion options, and you’re bound to find one that is custom-tailored to your particular set of prejudices. Happy shopping.
In response to the Steubenville, Ohio teen rape case, West Virginia U.S. Attorney William J. Ihlenfeld is launching a program to teach high school athletes not to post evidence of rape online.
It’s called “Project Future,” and his goal is to teach teens how to avoid getting in trouble with the law by using cell phones, cameras, and social media “responsibly.” Instead of teaching teens not to rape, the U.S. Attorney wants to teach them not to get caught.
This is rape culture at work: The very people who are in charge of enforcing our laws look at a cruel, brutal attack on a young girl and think, “If only the teens hadn’t posted photographic evidence online.”
“Non-Catholics (and even most Catholics) don’t really seem to grasp that this is not a matter of ritual impurity, like a Jew being forced to eat pork, or a Muslim being compelled to touch a dog—or a Jehovah Witness refusing a blood transfusion. Rather, it is that the Church teaches (and has always taught) that contraception is contrary, not to the ceremonial law of the Old Testament (which has been fulfilled and therefore retired in Christ), but to the moral law (which has been preserved and elevated to the law of love in Christ). Because of this, the Church teaches that artificial contraception is harmful, not just to Catholics, but to all human persons. So though she is not trying to legislate what dissenting Catholics and others choose to do in the civil sphere, she does draw the line at being forced to help facilitate what she insists is gravely evil for both spouses and their children.”—Mark Shea
We would often prefer to suffer in our misery than entrust ourselves to someone who might be able to help us. Instead, we hide our pain under the cloak of denial while the spiritual cancer eats away at our souls. Some of the best among us cloak this condition through good works, keeping busy by serving the Church and engaging in other positive activities. All the while, the sickness of a particular soon what imperfection chips away at our bridge of grace to God until one day we turn to find the bridge weak and impassable.
Navigating the Interior Life: Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God