LBGT

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

I imagine that everyone knows this final verse of William Henley’s poem. For me, it is the summary of Stoicism – which arguably has influenced the Church over the last 2000 years.

Of course, it comes from the Greeks. The very word stoic (Stoa Poikile) means the painted porch — where Zeno of Citium taught his philosophy, around 300BC. We tend to use the word to describe a temperament sufficiently hardened to enable us to put up with pain and disaster. But that is to sell it short.
Stoicism holds that the cosmos consists of determinate, passive, matter which is penetrated by active divine reason. It is built on logic, physics and ethics. Our own reason is a spark of divine reason.

Since the cosmos is entirely rational and interdependent everything in it is organised by divine wisdom for the best. Human reason is a spark of fiery divine reason. To live in accord with the cosmos is to be happy and virtuous, for these two are the same. Since we cannot avoid “bad” or “good” circumstances, our aim is to accept them. Our objective is not to change the cosmos but to change ourselves so that our reason harmonises with divine reason.

Round about the first century the Romans took up Stoicism as a way of life. Many of you will know (emperor) Marcus Aurelius’ book Meditations, which he originally wrote in Greek, at the end of the second century. It is still revered as a literary monument to Stoicism. I keep a copy by my bedside.

Stoicism was of course a gift to the Christian Church as it developed its moral theology. Here was divine reason in the guise of a creator God – constructing the rational cosmos, piece by piece, over six days. It was possible to develop moral theology by the use of reason, just as Aristotle had developed social morality in his Ethics.

Inevitably, Stoic natural law has had its major practical effect on sexual matters – partly because these involve high emotional elements, but more strictly because they are biological by nature – a biology directly created by divine will, and therefore obligatory. Issues like sex outside marriage, artificially preventing conception and homosexual activity were clearly contrary to divine creation. They are evil per se and can never be justified. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor made this abundantly clear.

But, as we have recently discussed, the issue has been brought to the fore by Pope Benedict’s article, blaming the clerical sexual abuse crisis on the sexual revolution of the 1960s, and dangerously liberal theological ideas eroding morality after the church reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

As I write, a Vatican paper, Male and Female He Created Them, is being much discussed. It condemns the modern view which sees personal gender as a matter of choice rather than a matter of biology. The paper is based on pure natural law.

A question remains: should our moral values be settled by Stoicism or should our moral judgments have a broader, deeper nature than simply the natural law?

About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

64 Responses to LBGT

  1. Nektarios says:

    I can agree with the argument in your preamble, ‘a Vatican paper, Male and Female He Created Them, is being much discussed. It condemns the modern view which sees personal gender as a matter of choice rather than a matter of biology.’

    LGBT arguments can be easily tested. They should all face an independent medical examination and blood tests to determine whether male or female.

    Doctors and surgeons, let alone the Law should not promote it, whether by hormone therapy or gender reassignment.
    Any doctor or drug company should be barred from any further practice and struck off. Politicians promoting such abuse should be barred from ever holding office again.

    That may seem draconian measures to some, but it is the consequences one needs to look at with all the implications.
    There is nothing new in any of this, and it means only one thing when seen it on the large scale today.
    It means the demise of a nation and as it is, apart from a few countries, the demise of humanity.

    Being stoical about such matters with all that is at stake when what is required is action, otherwise, if we capitulate to their demands is to descend into madness.

  2. Alasdair says:

    Nektarios expresses the view that a large percentage of the population undoubtedly believe. Unfortunately if they expressed that view in public, or worse still in the workplace, they would be condemned in the media and disciplined at work, possibly losing their jobs. Let’s face it, freedom of speech, as it relates to certain topics has been consigned to history.
    In the ongoing situation at the Anderton Park primary school the parents have been condemned for their stance and since, allegedly, death threats have been directed at members of school staff, the entire demonstration has been presented as extreme – effectively silencing any voices of conservative reasonableness.

    • David Smith says:

      The West is living under the undeclared dictatorship of a cultural establishment who inherited their political beliefs from the student radicals of the sixties, who inherited theirs from a long line of thinkers stretching back through at least the eighteenth century. These are starry-eyed materialists who believe themselves chosen by nature – because of their ability to excel at school work – to rule the world, and to make it over in their own image.

      The puzzle here is how this particular group rose to power. They are not natural leaders; really, they’re much more natural troublemakers. I suspect they got where they are mainly through the leverage that democracy naturally gives to troublemakers.

      It’s abnormal and unhealthy to have powerful nations run by troublemakers. I suspect that their time in the sun will be relatively brief. It will probably end when groups of barbarians – real leadership types – will walk through the gates, elbow them aside or toss them over the battlements, and take over.

      What follows will be both much better and much worse. Those inclined to roll with the punches – the Stoics? – will just keep on muddling through.

      • Alasdair says:

        “ The puzzle here is how this particular group rose to power. They are not natural leaders”.
        They are not natural leaders in the accepted sense but they are highly skilled and they know how to lead by dominating modern platforms such as the media and social media which they have infiltrated completely. They also know how to deprive other opinions of their platforms, and how to deploy ridicule to maximum effect.
        They have run rings around the rest of us. We have become lumbering dinosaurs if not already fossils buried under hundreds of meters of sediments and shales.

      • Martha says:

        I would probably qualify as a fossil and I often think why does all this have such a high profile? What happened to accepting masculine women and effeminate men, and not knowing or being very interested in whether couples are living in a platonic or sexual relationship?

      • David Smith says:

        Martha writes:

        // What happened to accepting masculine women and effeminate men, and not knowing or being very interested in whether couples are living in a platonic or sexual relationship? //

        Amen.

        I suppose what happened was newspapers, then radio, then television, then the sixties, then the Internet. Harmless cranks suddenly found themselves with millions of followers. Fundamentally potty ideas that once wouldn’t have made it out of Hyde Park became the secular gospel of entire nations and were taught in universities as the unquestionable truth. And almost all of this happened in only three or four generations.

  3. David Smith says:

    Quentin writes:

    // should our moral values be settled by Stoicism or should our moral judgments have a broader, deeper nature than simply the natural law? //

    Rephrasing: Should we be accept life as it is, or should we try to change it? Both, of course. In what proportion? That’s an individual choice.

    The statements Quentin slips in:

    • Is accepting life as it is a morally cowardly thing to do? No.
    • Is natural law a narrow, outmoded view of existence? The question is unclear.

  4. GD says:

    Stoicism could presumably be used to state that any particular change in ‘evolution’ is of Natural Law, and any attempt to alter it, wrong? Others that see that particular change as ‘unnatural’ could presumably use stoicism to say it is a consequence of ‘the fall’ and a perversion of Natural Law?

    Either criteria of ‘ because we can, we should ‘ : ‘ because it’s always been, we shouldn’t ‘ as justifying or denying anything as Natural or Unnatural, good or evil, doesn’t make sense to me. Both seem to stem from prejudiced logic. (And takes personal sovereignty away from individuals).

    Stoicism is one of many tools of discernment, yes, but is it a justification for what ‘Natural Law’ actually is?

    But then i’m prejudiced. I can often see ‘Natural Law’ in the irrational – Divine logic in quantum mechanics (energy/matter) unity in diversity (Spirit/physical), wholeness in paradox (Creator/created). …. and don’t really know ‘Stoicism’ anyway.

    • GD says:

      One last ‘pondering’ all speculative!! But not beyond possibility! …… ‘God said, “let us make man” (collective ‘mankind’) …. in the image of God … male and female … Such were the origins… created ‘ . As God is unity so was Mankind in the first creation account. Is that ‘Natural Law’?
      Only in the second account are woman & man separated. … Why? … Written to appease Man’s (patriarchal) logical needs for a ‘rational’ explanation of this physical existence ‘separated’ from God, and one another, maybe?
      Is ‘Natural Law’ more akin to the first ‘logic defying’ account – Male & Female united in one Mankind – as God’s Unity is imaged? Is Mankind evolving towards the ‘Natural Law’ in that united image, via homosexual/bisexual tendencies? A mere stage, eventually leading to an asexual race, that will cast off this ‘mortal coil’ (no reproduction) and return to the unity of Spirit? If we don’t destroy the Earth & everything on it first that is. Where do hermaphroditic children being born fit into the picture – Natural or Unnatural? … (Therein lies a good dystopian sci-fi film me thinks!).
      ( Pope F should have said ‘Lead us away from temptation’).

      • Nektarios says:

        G.D.

        Is God’s creation of Man in His own image Natural Law? I would answer, no. The reason is, Man was a separate creation from the Earth and the Cosmos, and unique. The fact that Adam was made from already created dust of the earth, but it was lifeless, till God breathed into His nostrils ( that which is uncreated) breath of spiritual life and Man became a living soul. After all, God is a life-giving Spirit.

        No, G.D., God created Eve out of a rib from Adam. The reason was as Scripture relates, God saw that it was not good for Man to be alone. Man was not separated from God due to the Fall at that point, it was to relate, to be at one with each other, and in the plan of God, be fruitful. Consider, pre-Fall there was no such thing as the need for patriarchal, logic or reason as they both possessed that in a way perfectly and unknown to a fallen world.

        You then ask – ‘Is ‘Natural Law’ more akin to the first ‘logic-defying’ account – Male & Female united in one Mankind – as God’s Unity is imaged?’

        What a question. What has God got to do with Natural Law? Adam and Eve are of the same breath of God that was breathed into Adam when he became a living soul. God planned it than they would desire one another, seek one another, live together and be fruitful.

        You go on to ask – ‘Is Mankind evolving towards the ‘Natural Law’ in that united image, via homosexual/bisexual tendencies? A mere stage, eventually leading to an asexual race, that will cast off this ‘mortal coil’ (no reproduction) and return to the unity of Spirit?’

        The short answer is definitely NO. We cannot attribute to God the Creator of Man such tendencies. But homosexuals and LGBT always blame God. We cannot help it, they say, God made us that way. It is a lie and utterly false and we all know who the father of lies is?
        God declares all such who would continue unrepentant in their sins shall not enter the Kingdom of God.

        Lastly, you ask -‘Where do hermaphroditic children being born fit into the picture – Natural or Unnatural?’
        We live in a Fallen world and from time to time there are genetic malformations such as hermaphrodites. It is neither natural or unnatural, something that happens in a fallen world.
        The person who is a hermaphrodite will major in either being a male or a female if left do do so. Unfortunately, they are not and leads to unnatural sexual activity usually.

  5. John Thomas says:

    This is very interesting and informative, Quentin ( … didn’t know about the painted porch … fascinating …). However Stoicism was at first, or as it first came into the Church, if it did (as you say) lead to such an attitude as found in the Henley lines (“I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”) personally, I disagree with it strongly, and feel this is non-Christian – God determines our fate (except maybe in the everyday/this-worldly), and a Chrisdtian should strive to make Jesus the captain of his/her soul). Stoicism, as you describe it, errs on the side of “I am (the world is) as God made me (it), therefore I must do as my nature commands me, follow my immediate instincts, etc.” No. Taking the things you refer to: I don’t think our sex is just a matter of choice (though in a fallen world, such ideas may artise), and I totally agree with Benedict that modern sexual “liberation” is the root cause of the bad things which happened in the Church (I not long ago heard about a seminary in the US which had the local nickname of the Pink Palace because of the well-known ubiquitous sexual activities of the (male, of course) ordinands and staff – could such a thing, situation, have come about in, say, a 19th century seminary? I very much doubt it).

  6. Nektarios says:

    I am not particularly bothered about liberals, what I am bothered about is the way they are loud, and with ease, it seems to control the narrative. This is not only true of LBGT but also the homosexual lobby, not to mention various other religions adapting the same tactics.
    Fortunately, the Right is waking up and fighting back as they see their liberties and free speech being eroded.
    The same thing applies to mass immigration not only in the UK but in other countries too.

    If we look at the three-pronged approaches by all these groups; 1. they have been radicalized to think and act as they do. 2. They appear to overwhelm the natural order of things, flooding the system and controlling the narrative by shutting down free speech. 3. Diseases, like Ebola, TB, and other diseases.
    All this has been thought up and put into practice under the UN and their globalist agenda who are dictating to nations what they should do. Governments are doing what they are told in these matters by the UN with the backing of Goerge Soros billions.
    But many people around the world are at last waking up, seeing what is happening and fighting back.

  7. galerimo says:

    The Stoics focused on the physical and biological structures given in nature.

    It was pure materialism, pointing to what was written in nature as the source of morality.

    Alternatively the “order of reason,” (Aristotle, Cicero, and Gaius), focused on the human capacity to discover in our experience what befits human well-being.

    In this theology St. Thomas accepted both views.

    Contemporary morality does not look on nature as a finished product that demands a fixed moral response.

    Nature, after all is evolving.

    Human reason and freedom can intervene in our world to bring about something new. We are constantly challenged by difference, the new and the unexpected.

    So we are not subjected in a fated way to the inner finality of nature.

    So yes, our moral judgments should have a broader, deeper nature than simply the natural law.

  8. pnyikos says:

    Quentin, aren’t you confusing Stoicism with the various forms of Gnosticism? It was the latter which emphasizes the predominance of spirit over matter. Augustine’s rigid views on sex probably stemmed from an incomplete reaction to Manichaeanism, probably the most successful form of Gnosticism. It is to Augustine, isn’t it, that we owe the idea of sex, even within marriage, for any other reason being clearly contrary to divine creation.

    Gnosticism’s disdain for the body as the creation of an inferior being, the Demiurge, led to both extreme libertinism [“My body is like a suit of clothes, and I can treat it in whatever manner pleases me”] and extreme puritanism directed ultimately towards the extinction of the human race via the banning of procreation.

    In re the natural law: as far as I know, the claim that suicide violates the natural law is due to Augustine. Many people, both Christian and Manichaean, desirous of entering heaven as soon as possible, were committing suicide, and Augustine, so I’ve read, came up with this appeal to natural law to dissuade them.

    I believe this absolute prohibition of suicide needs to be re-examined. Catholic morality acknowledges the right of people to kill in defense of their own lives. But if those lives are characterized by unrelieved suffering, why should it be a mortal sin to end them?

    Apart from such “hard cases,” however, I believe the case against suicide needs to combine appeals to the natural law with a deep understanding of the words Jesus spoke to the devil: “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” It is presumptious to assume that God will look kindly upon someone who is selfish enough to try to gain a shortcut into heaven. Where the natural law comes in is the issue of why God created humans in the first place: the suicide is short-changing any purpose God may have hadi in making him or her a human being rather than a seraph enjoying heavenly bliss from the beginning.

    • pnyikos says:

      I meant, the prohibition of sex for any reason besides procreation being contrary to divine will, according to Augustine. He even enjoined sex, even for procreation, during Lent — so I’ve been told by a priest.

  9. ignatius says:

    “That may seem draconian measures to some, but it is the consequences one needs to look at with all the implications.There is nothing new in any of this, and it means only one thing when seen it on the large scale today.It means the demise of a nation and as it is, apart from a few countries, the demise of humanity…”

    Yes I completely agree…lets crucify a few…make them wear pinko liberal armbands at least… or how about confiscation of their property with castration to follow??

    As to the Stoics and their biological determinism…perhaps the gall bladder stood for bitterness? Was there a gland involving the secretion of Mercy or had it, like the appendix, withered to the degree that Mercy became classed as an irritant… to be cut out of the system as soon as possible as soon as the rot set in?

    • pnyikos says:

      Ignatius, I suppose your entire comment here was meant satirically. However, with satire that is this heavy-handed, it is really difficult to have even a general feel for what the satirist is in favor of.

      I am in favor of enlisting as many people as possible to resist this possible demise in a way that makes it clear to any disinterested person that we are on the side of reason and humanitarianism. With the LGBT crowd increasingly abandoning all pretense at being on that side, this should be a reachable goal. But it will require convincing a great many people of the wisdom of words widely attributed to Edmund Burke and paraphrasing some things that he was known to say very closely:

      “All that is needed for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”

      Peter Nyikos
      Professor of Mathematics
      University of South Carolina
      Columbia, SC 29208

  10. David Smith says:

    In an important way, I think, terms like “natural law” and “stoicism” muddy the issues we try to clarify for ourselves as we discuss them. Just a glance at the Wikipedia article on natural law suffices to demonstrate that there is no one definition of the term, that, like any other shortcut term for an immaterial object, it is used by some people at some times in one way and by others, at other times and in other contexts, differently. Best, perhaps, not to use them without first declaring, clearly and concisely, up front, exactly what we mean by them. Better, perhaps, to avoid them altogether.

    • Alasdair says:

      Agreed. I also had trouble unpicking the various parts of Quentin’s introduction and seeing past labels, I also resorted to Wikipedia – never a bad thing however – I now know the source of these lines which I had often heard:
      “I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul”
      And by extension I now know why Prince Harry’s games for disabled ex service people is called Invictus!

    • FZM says:

      It seems like there is some lack of clarity Quentin’s original post about what is being discussed; the *Catholic* Natural Law tradition which I guess will be informing the Vatican paper on transsexuality and gender ideology, or the Stoic idea from classical times. Describing one as identical to the other is going to create a certain amount of confusion from the beginning.

      The Wikipedia article does start to clarify how they are different.

      A question remains: should our moral values be settled by Stoicism or should our moral judgments have a broader, deeper nature than simply the natural law?

      Should our moral values be settled by Divine Revelation in the Bible plus the use of reason applied to the world God created and whose activity God directs (the Catholic, even Christian, Natural law tradition), or should we discard these things because they aren’t broad or deep enough?

      • Nektarios says:

        FZM

        If we are intent on God will, then we turn to the Holy Scriptures for that Divine Revelation.
        Reason is not rationality, but a philosophical construct, therefore human Reason alone cannot be our guide.
        Scriptures were written in such a way, by inspiration of God and through the holy apostles in particular, by way of arguments appealing to the mind. As Children of God, we have an understanding that produces a fight within us. We find a law in our members that does not choose God’s will, but that of the flesh. But every Christian has something else, the life of the Spirit. Such alone have this new life and that will always choose the will of God.

        Will the Christian fail, fall down now an then? yes of course, but thank God He will not leave us there. Then we have the emergence of true morality in tune with the will God.

        You are quite right, for a child of God, morality, based on natural law tradition is nowhere near high enough or perfect enough or powerful enough.
        Mere stoical and natural law tradition is a man-made morality which is not salvific and has been corrupted.

  11. ignatius says:

    “In an important way, I think, terms like “natural law” and “stoicism” muddy the issues we try to clarify for ourselves as we discuss them…”

    Yes. There is an excellent article by Karl Rahner on the relationship between ‘Christianity’ and ‘Ideology’ which is well worth reading. As soon as we begin to interpret the former in terms of the latter we come into dangerously muddied water teeming with monsters.

  12. GD says:

    Or the waters are muddied when the life giving ideologies presented by Jesus’ life death and resurrection, interpreted ONLY via literal (biblical fundamentalism?) & logical (intellectualising meaning?) reasoning, are seen as monsters in the dark.

    Either way Natural Law & Stoicism become partisan weapons, rather than unbiased tools for embracing evolution (of morality specially). ….. Again, prejudice for ‘my view point’ rules (even if unconsciously) and ‘spirit’ becomes subservient to the ‘flesh’; while masquerading as ‘God’s Law’.

    (Wonder if that is why sexual morality produce the most vehement and exclusive of conclusions?).

  13. galerimo says:

    When The Congregation for Catholic Education, expressed it’s wishes to offer reflections as a guide and support for those who work in the education of young people, it issued a document last week entitled –

    “MALE AND FEMALE HE CREATED THEM” TOWARDS A PATH OF DIALOGUE ON THE QUESTION OF GENDER THEORY IN EDUCATION. Dated 2 February 2019, and signed by Giuseppe Cardinal Versaldi (Prefect) and Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani (Secretary).

    The shape that the Congregation gave this “path to dialogue” document was set out in its method of LISTENING, REASONING AND PROPOSING.

    The publicity that announced this courteous invitation to educators was along the lines “Pope Francis Condemns Cross Gender”. And many who should know better joined in the fake.

    Taking a position within a reasoning (Natural Law influenced) dialogue that seeks to respond to its gift of Divine Revelation is an honest and open study deserves to be presented truthfully.

    Our young live in a fast world where a broad range of ideas is constantly given to them to deal with.

    “Condemnations” attributed to Pope Francis come from assassins who keep their cross hairs focussed on him personally rather than the message that people, especially young people need to hear from the church.

    Two things I did hear the Pope say that I found very valuable this week.

    At his General audience on 12th June he talked about the Lord’s Prayer and referred to the original Greek (πονηρός) and how it evokes “the presence of evil that seeks to grab hold and bite at us, and from which we ask God for delivery.”

    Hearing this I felt inspired to be constantly attentive to the value of my prayers and how I say them.
    No matter now habitual and ancient they are.

    And then speaking to oil company executives last Friday he actually said, “For too long we have collectively failed to listen to the fruits of scientific analysis and ‘doomsday predictions can no longer be met with irony or disdain’.”

    On hearing this I felt confidence when support for action on climate change as a real problem in our real world was coming from the Pope.

    What a difference between what is reported and how it is reported and what is said.

    It is the difference between truth and manipulation of the truth.

    I wonder what Jesus actually said about LBGT?

    • John Nolan says:

      I wonder what Jesus actually said about climate change?

      He did have something to say about false prophets, which is certainly germane to the whole political debate concerning anthropogenic climate change.

      As for Pope Francis, I have no confidence in his pronouncements regarding faith or morals, let alone his half-baked opinions on global warming. And I am not alone.

      • Nektarios says:

        John Nolan
        I tend to agree with you. An often mistake however is global warming and climate change is not the same thing. There are plenty within the IPCC who are doomsday false prophets. One cannot have accurate climate measurements by computer modelling which the ICPP depend upon, and control the narrative.
        It is not although the science on climate change is not out there it is, but it does not fit the IPCC narrative.
        Yes John, concerning Pope Francis recent opinions, and that is all they are, you are not alone.

    • Alasdair says:

      As Christians, never mind for the moment what Stoics and suchlike other pagans would have us believe. What indeed did Jesus actually say about LBGT – or perhaps more broadly what does God tell us through the holy scriptures? There are a number of well-known and often quoted passages which we need to revisit. But these need to be viewed through the lens of “what was the context of the passage?” and “whom was the prophet/evangelist/apostle addressing in the passage” so that we can judge whether the passage speaks directly to us in our contemporary LBGT world or not.
      If that approach does not inform our opinion, then and only then, let us conclude that God is directing us towards other sources of wisdom.

      • Alasdair says:

        Just noticed that I’ve found myself agreeing with Nektarios’ post of 14 June “If we are intent on God’s will ——- etc”.

  14. Nektarios says:

    galerimo

    You bring up some interesting points as usual.

    Concerning the Congregation for Education, it seems disingenuous for them as representatives of the Catholic Church to be speaking out on such matters, no matter how laudable in the light of all the revelations on sexual matters in recent years and days.
    Secondly, on this, the idea of the Roman Catholic Church is really listening to anyone, reasoning and proposing as some sort of dialogue, as I say is disingenuous.

    The confusion that has been sown, being a Globalist agenda, with the use of drug therapies is a great evil, not a choice, the brainwashing of the young and not so young.
    Such groups are not interested in any narrative that is different from their own and will seek to close down free speech and any real dialogue that opposes them. It is doomed to failure eventually.

    On the Lord’s Prayer – we can use it as a prayer, but rather it was a question to the Lord, teach us how to pray? They were brought up with prayers, but something was deficient in them.
    So our Lord told them (His disciples) and us, in what order to pray. What our approach to God should be like.
    It what manner we ought to pray to Him and for what reason, if we are to have our prayers answered.
    Then we are to pray for ourselves, asking the Lord to forgive our many sins in word and thought and deed. Knowing now that if we would have our prayers answered it is on our forgiving others who have sinned against us.
    Then we pray for our daily sustenance, realising that our work is involved, but we receive everything from our Heavenly Father’s hand.
    The Doxology at the end of the Lord’s prayer is praise to God concerning His Power, His Glory forever.

    Climate change as I have said on previous occasions is not according to dire, fear-mongering computer modelling predictions by the IPCC and controlling the narrative, who along with the UN and others want to shut the West down, blaming all climate change on us, when very little or nothing is happening out of the ordinary with the weather as they would like to claim, They have shut down free speech on the matter as though their computer modelling predictions where not to be questioned. It is all too political and paying for it with dire consequences for our economy.

    Concerning LGBT what did Jesus say? Well through His holy Apostles He has told us, Such things should not even be mentioned among you, for those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

  15. ignatius says:

    Regarding this kind of approach:

    ” Concerning the Congregation for Education, it seems disingenuous for them as representatives of the Catholic Church to be speaking out on such matters, no matter how laudable in the light of all the revelations on sexual matters in recent years and days.
    Secondly, on this, the idea of the Roman Catholic Church is really listening to anyone, reasoning and proposing as some sort of dialogue, as I say is disingenuous.”

    “Concerning LGBT what did Jesus say? Well through His holy Apostles He has told us, Such things should not even be mentioned among you, for those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God…”

    Actually the article by the Congregation for Education is excellent:
    http://www.vaticannews.va/en/vatican-city/news/2019-06/vatican-document-on-gender-yes-to-dialogue-no-to-ideology.html

    What we may possibly dare to say about how Jesus might have reacted to individuals caught in a tangled web of suffering, pain and ostracisation is that somehow, some way he would have healed them.
    By this I mean healed the cause of misery and brought TRUTH. I capitalise the word lest anyone think I might be mistaking it for partisan and vindictive opinion. Sometimes, and this is one of those times, I genuinely fear for this blog and its pharisee like tendencies. To even begin to grasp that Christian encounter is not ideological requires a degree of stripping away of self which places ‘transgressors’ and ‘transgressed’ on the same plane, standing next to one another, side by side.
    So unless we are prepared to stand alongside the dispossessed and the stranger in respectful and committed dialogue… then quite frankly we should simply hold our peace. It is one thing to brandish our own personal, brutishly ideological and demonising aggression towards others – but it is completely and dangerously another to do so in the name of Jesus.

    • Alasdair says:

      Respectful and commuted dialogue is always good and even holding one’s peace can be good. However it will only be a matter of time before starry eyed LGBT couples begin turning up at their local parish church expecting to receive the full sacrament of marriage. Are we expecting our clergy to hold their peace and get on with it? Will parish priests carry out marriage preparation courses including LGBT couples? If that is not acceptable to us then holding our peace is simply burying our head in the sand.

      • Alasdair says:

        Just as the Church of Scotland General Assembly had a respectful and committed discussion, opted to hold its peace, and split the church!

      • ignatius says:

        Alisdair,
        Could you even begin to articulate precisely what a ‘starry eyed LGBT couple’ might actually consist of in your view, other than an expression of disapproval that is. What do you mean? If you mean a homosexual couple asking to be married in the eyes of the church, is there any evidence of this process taking place within the Catholic church at the moment? To hold ones peace does not mean to avoid difficulty it does mean the shying away from shrill controversy and of not taking the name of the Lord ‘in vain’ as did, for example, Peter did when trying to preserve ‘his’ Jesus from suffering. In doing so Peter rightly received a severe rebuke.
        As to splitting churches well it was ever thus..as has been said:
        “The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity”
        The splitting of churches is, in my own experience, mostly a matter of religious error mixed with personal pride.
        Regarding the actions of clergy well this remains to be seen. If it comes to the point when to refuse the sacrament of Marriage to Homosexual couples becomes an imprisonable offence in the eyes of the State then I shall expect to have less difficulty enticing priests into the prison where I work than I do now 🙂

  16. David Smith says:

    Ignatius writes:

    // Alisdair, Could you even begin to articulate precisely what a ‘starry eyed LGBT couple’ might actually consist of in your view, other than an expression of disapproval that is. What do you mean? If you mean a homosexual couple asking to be married in the eyes of the church, is there any evidence of this process taking place within the Catholic church at the moment? //

    It’s fascinating to see how the power of progressive sexual enthusiasms have completely upset the meanings of truth and morality throughout the Western world in just the past few decades. And clearly, that movement has carried large numbers of Catholic laymen, clerics, and hierarchs along with it. The world, for both good and evil, has become an interconnected whole. What moves the media moves minds, and the media have convinced the reigning establishments and power structures that these changes are right, and long overdue, and far from complete. There is a lot more yet to come, Ignatius. The pipeline is full.

  17. ignatius says:

    ” There is a lot more yet to come, Ignatius. The pipeline is full.”
    Ha ha!!! Yes there is something in what you say and I agree that the ‘blood dimmed tide’ is not yet in full spate! It is also true though that what lies behind the forceful promulgation of these ‘enthusiasms’ is often a simple desire for ‘fairness’ and ‘equality’- regardless of the issue at stake.

    I agree about the ‘lot more to come’ as well. Though I think it may be the case that this media driven period of peculiarly lascivious fascination may be abating inn the face of other rough beasts lurching over the horizon for us to obsess over…the rough beast of nationalism for one.
    As to what we will do when the various issues come along armed with clubs to confront us, well that will be down to individual decision in much the same way as at Gethsemane. But I do not think that the answer lies in the construction of walls made impregnable by the barbed wire of selective scripture.
    This whole thread was supposed to be about Natural Law. As far as I understand it The catholic church (of which I am an ordained minister) formally assumes the right and responsibility to speak authoritively into such formations of thought. So it should and this responsibility is not undermined by the stumblings and failures the church finds within her midst.

  18. FZM says:

    It is also true though that what lies behind the forceful promulgation of these ‘enthusiasms’ is often a simple desire for ‘fairness’ and ‘equality’- regardless of the issue at stake.

    Sometimes it is driven by rage, hatred and authoritarian tendencies as well. I believe psychologists have recently come up with criteria for identifying left-wing authoritarian personality traits, to counter balance the well known ‘right wing authoritarian personality type that has been around since the early 80s.

    The problem around trans issues seems to be that lately they have become highly politicised, there is more ideology and it is becoming institutionalised in an (increasingly?) coercive way. I think this was even perceptible in the way the document we are discussing was reported. Compare, say the BBC reporting with the Vatican news link above. From the point of view of trans-activists the document will likely be identified as a form of violence and oppression, not something that should be looked at by anyone.

    Though I think it may be the case that this media driven period of peculiarly lascivious fascination may be abating inn the face of other rough beasts lurching over the horizon for us to obsess over…the rough beast of nationalism for one.

    Well, problems are already starting to emerge within the intersectional stack because of the Birmingham school protests Alasdair mentioned earlier. Muslims belonging to ethnic minorities are supposed to be the natural allies of LGBT activists because both are oppressed and marginalised. Then it turns out is Islam is a religion and not a post modern identity label, which could cause the stack to implode.

    • David Smith says:

      FZM writes:

      // problems are already starting to emerge within the intersectional stack //

      Interesting. I’d not read of that. But I doubt they amount to anything that can’t be rationalized away. Humans believe what it’s comfortable for them to believe.

      Even so, the recent ideological about-face in the thinking and talking and emoting and legislating and punishing of the chattering classes has been a stunner. I wish I could live to see whether it is a generational aberration or a permanent change in the Western way of thinking. I’m very much afraid it’s going to be the latter. When the chatterers dropped the traditional Christian God, they were left with nothing to replace him but the fancies of their fevered imaginations.

  19. Nektarios says:

    I can see generally from the postings above that we are really in agreement concerning LGBT as it is manifesting itself today.

    If anything the whole Christian Church, Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestants, on this, should be standing together shoulder to shoulder against it, seeing it for what it is. Unfortunately, they are so pre-occupied with their own petty myopic guddling, they can’t be of one mind. If all the Churches stood together on this, Government and the media would change their narratives.

    To get Church leaders to really focus on this LGBT or other important issues, will let you into a little secret. This blog only serves to demonstrate we really know very little or anything about them, but their influences are being felt by the Christian Churches and elsewhere. So to come together start there, we know little or nothing about LGBT. That is the truth. From that, move forward together on this. Can we?

    • Alasdair says:

      Nektarios, may I congratulate you on your most appropriate use of that excellent Scottish word “guddling”.

  20. Iona says:

    That’s an interesting read, Quentin.

  21. FZM says:

    There is an interesting article and link on this Ed Feser’s blog commenting on another philosopher’s argument that there can only be two sexes:

    https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2018/11/byrne-on-why-sex-is-binary.html

    Interesting because it brings in natural law perspectives and their basis.

    Also the original article has some interesting references to where the idea that there are 5 or more sexes has come from.

    And Feser on Byrne on gender identity is also good (from the perspective of trying to understand what the basic claims are):

    https://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2019/03/byrne-on-gender-identity.html

  22. Nektarios says:

    FZM

    Thank you for Edward Feser on gender identity. In case some may be busy I copied the important
    issue he mentions.
    (a) Everyone has a gender identity, and for “cisgender” people it matches their sex,

    (b) “Transgender” people have gender identities that don’t match their sex, and

    (c) This mismatch causes gender dysphoria.

    Could not improve or define it better.

  23. Nektarios says:

    David Smith

    Well, David, the topic mainly on LGBT is not the most edifying to a Christian, but informative.

  24. ignatius says:

    // I can see generally from the postings above that we are really in agreement concerning LGBT as it is manifesting itself today.//
    No. I cannot see any definition of what ‘it’ is on this blog..just an unspoken assumption that “It” whatever “IT” is, is definitely and abhorrently, dirtily, and best not spoken about- WRONG. What I can see here seems mainly to be a kind of sullen and self righteous resentment of something no one wishes to identify or speak clearly about. I meet with deeply troubled homosexual and transgender individuals on a regular enough basisto know that the last thing these issues need is a kind of prurient blanket condemnation. I see here, apart from Quentins link, no attempt to bring mercy or even the light of understanding/ clarity to any situation Quite frankly some of this debate above is shameful.

    • FZM says:

      Quentin’s original post seems to be about Gender Theory vs. Natural Law. Specifically the kinds of Gender Theory that defend the idea that biological sex is a social construct, or that gender is a social construct, that there are dozens of different sexes or gender identities, that might defend the idea that there is no difference between a transgender woman with a penis and a cis-woman. Another concern seems to be that to question or reject these claims can get people into trouble with the police or their employers, (especially, it seems, feminists and lesbian activists).

      I see here, apart from Quentins link, no attempt to bring mercy or even the light of understanding/ clarity to any situation.

      Arguably that link brings no clarity to this debate; the definition of sex that the article uses isn’t defended from an obvious counter example, the article says nothing about how the biology relates to the wider issue of gender (because the link between sex and gender, behind biology and gender identity is highly controversial in itself).

      No actual argument has been put forward as to why Natural Law (which is the basis of Catholic teaching about all areas of ethics and morality) needs to be discarded in favour of something unknown (but which presumably fits in better with the postmodern/social constructivist philosophy which underpins Gender Theory).

      It isn’t even clear that homosexuals and transsexuals will necessarily agree with the more unusual claims of gender theory, many transsexuals seem to reject the idea that there are multiplicity of sexes and gender identities, that sex is a social construct, that you can choose and alternate your gender identity and so on.

  25. Nektarios says:

    Before I get into what Ignatius and FZM say, I want to relate something I heard two ladies in Church discussing together.
    The ladies were discussing LGBT. One lady turned and said to the other, “Well I guess we just have to go with the flow.”
    As I thought about that comment, which they both agreed upon, I wondered why they said it in the first place?
    It seems those leaders in the Church, had the same idea when it came to LGBT and other groups such as transgender, homosexuals and lesbians.
    It does not take much to see that these dear folks had no voice to say anything about it in Church without being thought to be troublemakers.
    They were rendered powerless by their priests and hierarchy. I wondered about the effects all this assault on their spiritual liberty in Christ, when rather than serve God as Christians, they would go with the flow and so they were spiritually powerless, at least in this situation.

    I thought about the long history of humanity, how it lived and how it behaved. How it settled down and prospered for a while, only to see it now breaking up and becoming destructive.
    Doing nothing about it, as one of the ladies said, “Well I guess we just have to go with the flow” is a comment about their powerlessness they feel today.

    So to what Ignatius and FZM say. I wonder if they feel powerless to and just going with the flow too? The narrative is not that LGBT and other sexual orientations are deeply troubled at all, but strident in their arguments and propaganda that has politicians and lawmakers in their sense of powerlessness, like those two ladies saying, “well I guess we just have to go with the flow?”

    FZM perhaps thinks that we should have a complete or do have a complete understanding and descriptives of our biology. It is far more wonderful than we can imagine. Our biology especially that of woman has preoccupied biologist, scientists, doctors, philosophers, religious and artists for a millennium or more.
    Now some people want to play dangerous games with their sexuality and their biology. When God created it, it was a body to dwell on this world, but that is not all. He made the body to house our spirit/life without which the body is dead.
    We have some think a great deal of understanding about our biology and it is, but as to the totality
    of it working in harmony with our spirit/life we have little or no understanding generally speaking.
    What I do say in conclusion, LGBT and other sexual orientation groups are not living or understanding their biology on the one hand, on the other hand, they take no cognisance of their spirit/life and so in a sense are dead while they physically for a short, oh so short a life span live, and then comes death.

    • ignatius says:

      //It seems those leaders in the Church, had the same idea when it came to LGBT and other groups such as transgender, homosexuals and lesbians.
      It does not take much to see that these dear folks had no voice to say anything about it in Church without being thought to be troublemakers.
      They were rendered powerless by their priests and hierarchy. I wondered about the effects all this assault on their spiritual liberty in Christ, when rather than serve God as Christians, they would go with the flow and so they were spiritually powerless, at least in this situation//.
      So these two dear folk had no free will then Nektarios? They had not a moral thought in their bodies nor any capacity whatsoever in their tiny little minds but were just supinely manipulable according to the whim of their naughty naughty Church leaders? Gosh what utter drivel you do spout at times. Also, how, from a tiny fragment of overheard talk, were you able to immediately jump to the conclusion these poor defenceless two were being ‘ assaulted on their spiritual liberty in Christ’? Oh.. of course, I forgot..its your illuminati mates again oh mighty one… with their piercing gaze into the heavens and all that jazz.

      • Nektarios says:

        Ignatius

        I did say,’ in this situation.’
        What you went on to say, dear Ignatius bears no relation to what I actually posted.
        Castigating me as some person with no first-hand knowledge and understanding
        how people relate to those who are in positions of authority is to be naive.

      • pnyikos says:

        I have been very busy with numerous issues on the Argument from Design for the existence of God this past month, so this is very late, but better late than never.

        Ignatius, people are judged very harshly for things that are perceived to be politically incorrect. While Nektarios may be judging too much from what you think to be an out of context sentence, I can personally vouch for the draconian sanctions that are put on people in universities for perfectly innocent comments made with the best of intentions.

        Also on the internet, it takes tremendous fortitude in some politically charged forums to stick to even the most modestly “politically incorrect” points of view. I have been virulently assailed and misrepresented by several people as “wanting to take away basic human rights from gays” because I believe all same-sex couples should have a license with a disclaimer like the following:

        This license of civil union grants all the rights and privileges of marriage to the couples it joins, but is not a marriage license.

        I keep pointing out to them that this applies to ALL same-sex couples, including heterosexual ones who have no sexual attraction to each other but have no marriage prospects but need some of the perks of marriage, such as the automatic right to a permanent resident status (“green card”) and especially the right to be supported on the social security of the “spouse” in the event of the death of the latter. And I point out that the First Amendment to the US constitution gives same-sex couples the right to claim in informal conversation that they are married, the above wording notwithstanding.

        All in vain. My words are twisted to say things that I never meant to imply.

        As a professional educator, I have weighty reasons for wanting such a license. Nowadays it is grounds for similar “ostracism” to say anything favorable about the treatment of ANY slaves, even by masters who treat them like their most beloved children.

        One result is that I had to visit the Joel Chandler Harris museum in Georgia to obtain a DVD of “Song of the South,” the classic Walt Disney film which includes three cartoons of Br’er Rabbit. Because it shows slaves who are happy with their lot despite the unequal treatment that they get from the children of the master, I doubt that Disney studios will ever release the film for general distribution.

        With this in mind, can you imagine how the thousands of generations before the middle of the 20th century would be viewed a few generations from now, if the current indoctrination of our children on LGBT issues continues unchecked?

        How many children of the 22nd century will be told that almost everyone in all those generations assumed that the word “marriage” referred BY DEFINITION to people of opposite sexes, just as “rooster” referred to a male bird by definition? And that we therefore cannot fault those generations for not extending the word the way it got extended around the beginning of the 21st century, the way we rightly fault the generations where slavery was institutionally protected.

        With the dumbing down of teaching everywhere, I suspect very few children will get that message.

      • David Smith says:

        pnyikos writes:

        // This license of civil union grants all the rights and privileges of marriage to the couples it joins, but is not a marriage license. //

        Seems reasonable, but these folk feel the wind at their backs and believe – evidently correctly – that the cultural establishment that rules throughout the West is inclined to grant them everything they demand. The speed with which the rebel children of the sixties, once in power, turned two thousand of years of moral understanding on its head was breathtaking. Black is now white, water is dry, and good common sense is nonsense.

  26. Alasdair says:

    Setting aside the specifics of LBGT, but regarding more generally “going with the flow”, “putting up with”, stoicism, call it what you will – how readily we lose our grasp on the truth we once held dear. We let it slip away in order to PUT UP WITH false doctrine, often at the very first bidding!
    Remember that “He (Satan) said to the woman, ‘Did God really say that —–?'”
    And in 2 Corinthians 11 (with the tagline “Paul and the False Apostles”).
    ” I am afraid that —— your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, YOU PUT UP WITH IT”.
    I case anyone is in doubt, Paul intends this as a rebuke.

  27. ignatius says:

    Nektarios,
    You are right that the issue of transgender is one being fought as ideology and the ‘;official narative’ if we can call it that is quite vociferous at the moment. But as FMZ notes there is considerable disquiet and disagreement in the LBTG movement as to political stance.

    Personally speaking I am not in favour of gender switching proceedures, either surgical or hormonal, on account of their irreversibility. Even though puberty can be stopped then kick started later the process has biological and emotional cost. As you may also be aware there is increasing dissent in medical/ psychiatric view points on these issues as they arise and make their demands on medical ethics. My own disquiet is due to the awareness that post operative trans gender individuals have been known some time later to ask for their operations to be reversed which tends to ‘go against the flow’ of self choosing gender being anything like an objective fact of identity.

    As to what to do over these issues, its simple, find out a little about the issues and develop a clear and honest perspective on them. I haven’t yet joined the primary school protests in Birmingham but have been quite tempted and may yet find time to get over there simply because I think parents should retain a voice regarding what is taught to their children- despite the disruption and political mess being caused.

  28. Nektarios says:

    Ignatius
    Glad we are generally in agreement. I do however have a question, after gathering the information, what will you do with it? Will it be as you say, “As to what to do over these issues, it’s simple, find out a little about the issues and develop a clear and honest perspective on them?” Then what?

    I have listened to quite a few people, doctors, clinical psychologists, notably Jordon Peterson, philosophers, one or two religious and listened to some of the views of LGBT people. The latter has not furnished me that they have really grasped what they are doing. They are mostly spoilt and angry.
    I get it that they want to be accepted in whatever term they want to call themselves be they homosexuals, lesbians, transgenders or some LGBT indeterminate sex in the morning, different in the afternoon and something different again in the evening. Crazy!

  29. ignatius says:

    Nektarios,
    This is the point. In the course of my work I spend some time with individuals suffering deep seated personal difficulties some of which involve sexual dysfunction of one one form or another. I do this enough to know that problematic sexuality is a real genuine difficulty causing deep distress. This means that to simply ideologise the issue, religiously or otherwise, is to abuse those already in difficulty. What this means for me personally is that neither a strident secular libertarianism or a crusading pseudo religious perspective are in anyway to be lauded, a careful reading of the gospels will go to demonstrate that Jesus did not carry a soap box.

    The problems you vaguely hint at when you go banging on about LGBT are to a degree issues of civil liberties and law and as such are genuinely wider, deeper and more complex than immediately appears, that should be obvious from the current situation in Birmingham where an injunction has, I believe,now been taken out against the protesting parents outside Parkfield School.

    So, in terms of what to do, Nektarios, the answer remains a simple one. Once convinced of the rightness of a particular cause, in a dispassionate and civil manner, put your shoulder to the wheel and join the relevant action and protest groups. The thing NOT to do, Nektarios, is to demonise real human beings who, like it or not are precious in the eyes of God, despite your demonising of these individuals they are made in the image of God.. just like you.

    • Nektarios says:

      Ignatius

      You are not understanding what I am saying, Ignatius, if you think I am demonizing these LGBT or other people with sexual issues or not recognising they too are sinners, they too Christ came and provided the way of Salvation for.

      I am aware of the complexities that exist, hence I gave you something of what I have researched on these issues.

      Have you watched, as I have, all these so-called Protest groups often descending into violence with the police or other members of the public?
      I have noticed this when the homosexual lobby have their gay pride marches, now the LGBT are having theirs. I will use an analogy for you. What is the sense of marching up and down, beating up people, screaming their heads off when they don’t realise they are marching behind the prison walls they themselves have erected?

      We must, in our wanting to reach others with the Gospel not go on our own charges thinking we have the power to do anything, that is when one gets overwhelmed, or attacked by the enemy big time. We can only do what the Lord sends us to do, even if it is to witness or preach the Gospel, which is the only answer to man’s problems.

    • Alasdair says:

      With respect Ignatius, I can see why you hold strong views, but I think you are confusing two issues. I don’t believe any of us are demonising the individuals who you are working with or anyone similarly affected, don’t wish to add to their distress which you describe.
      The issue at hand is much wider. Or at least I formed that impression from my reading of Quentin’s introduction. Namely, for example, are we willing, stoically, to be forced to accept changes which completely overturn our view of how the world works. To give one example, are we to accept that gender is simply an outmoded society construct which must be discontinued and everybody can simply self-define. Even if I did eventually get around to accepting that, I would object to being forced- call that pride if you will

      • Nektarios says:

        If I may add a postscript to your and Ignatius posting.
        I will use the illustration of someone with dementia who wants to go out to visit her mother who has been dead for years. Such a person is living in a fantasy world and needs to be diverted back to the real world.
        Similarly, those living the fantasy world concerning their sexuality, need help to divert them back to the real world of their biological sex.

  30. Alasdair says:

    “Do not be conformed to the ways of this world” Romans 12:2
    To quote the Christian author and academic, Derek Prince
    “As long as we think the way this age thinks we cannot discern the will of God”
    “Many Christians share the world’s values, motives, priorities, and standards. God does not reveal his will to such minds”.

    • ignatius says:

      Thanks, Alasdair,
      I am pretty familiar both with Derek Prince and with the book of Romans. What precisely are you trying to say here? Plain English will do nicely thanks.

  31. ignatius says:

    Thanks Alasdair,
    I am pretty familiar both with Derek Prince and the Book of Romans. What exactly are you trying to say here? Plain English will do nicely thanks.
    ignatius

    • Alasdair says:

      OK so in plain English:
      Let’s not forget we are christians – if indeed we are.
      We must not be blown along by the winds of social change within society (LBGD or other) simply because it is expedient, going with the flow, stoic, or whatever.

  32. ignatius says:

    Oops..glitch..sorry for the duplication.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: