But if it smells like a marriage…

After a certain point, Catholic criticisms of my decision to “date” another dude come down to, “Well, yes, you say that it’s not something directed towards marriage, and that you subscribe to Catholic views of sexuality. But you shouldn’t do it, because it looks too much like dating between men and women. And it’s just… It’s just not.”

Along similar lines, some have criticized civil unions between persons of the same sex. They’ve argued that Christian values preclude same-sex couples from entering into civil unions, because these unions look too much like marriage and should thus be forbidden.

In the end, this strikes me as the same perspective which brings about same-sex marriage in the first place. Continue reading “But if it smells like a marriage…”

The Blessing of “Same-Sex Unions”

German Catholic bishops made headlines recently, in calling for the establishment of Catholic blessings for “same-sex unions.” Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabruck recently said in an interview,

“I’m concerned with fundamental questions of how we deal with each other; although ‘marriage for all’ differs clearly from the Church’s concept of marriage, it’s now a political reality. We have to ask ourselves how we’re encountering those who form such relationships and are also involved in the church, how we’re accompanying them pastorally and liturgically… Same-sex relationships are generally classified as a grave sin in the Church, but we need to think how we can differentiate a relationship between two people of the same sex. Is there not so much that is positive, good, and right that we have to be fairer? For example, one can think about a blessing – which should not be confused with a wedding ceremony.” [1]

Bishop Bode kept his remarks on this topic brief, but several American news outlets have picked up the story. Some have praised his comments, and others have condemned them (you can easily guess which publications took which stance…). One area of concern from some critics is his ambiguity as to whether such couples would be expected to live by–or at least attempt in good faith to live by–Church teaching. Of course, in classic German bishop shadiness, Bishop Bode did not attempt an answer this question. To be fair, he may answer this question at a later time, and an interview is not the place to give a theological discourse. Nonetheless, this question is important for Catholics looking to consider these questions, not only at a pastoral level (the level at which he made his comments), but also at a theological level. Continue reading “The Blessing of “Same-Sex Unions””

The Victim I: Who are the Victims?

“Irony’s gone from liberating to enslaving. There’s some great essay somewhere that has a line about irony being the song of the prisoner who’s come to love his cage.” -David Foster Wallace

I sat in his armchair, while he sat at his desk. We were having what would end up being our break-up conversation. Exasperated, he told me, “You do this thing, where you constantly make yourself the victim! It’s exhausting!”

“What do you mean?” I asked him, utterly bewildered.

He looked at me seriously, sternly, incredulously. “When we spoke about your past, and you started to—“ Continue reading “The Victim I: Who are the Victims?”

I Have a Boyfriend. Want to Talk About It?

Many Christians fear LGBTQ issues. They just do. And while I don’t know all of the nuances of this fear for other Christians, I’m intimately familiar with the insecurities running through American Catholic Christianity. How do I love someone without compromising Church teaching? How do I challenge others without being unnecessarily judgmental or condemnatory? How do I create spaces for mutual, open, and honest exchanges with someone whose experiences and perspectives differ from mine?

I don’t have all the answers to these questions. We can only truly answer these personal questions at the personal level. But, for my Catholic friends (or for friends of friends) who struggle with the fact that I’ve decided to be in “a relationship” with another guy, I suggest considering: Continue reading “I Have a Boyfriend. Want to Talk About It?”

If A Guy Asked Me Out…

Some old(ish) reflections on gay Catholic dating…

As it stands, I don’t see anything inherently wrong with two gay Christians going on dates, at least under official Catholic teaching (i.e. catechism). Of course, one can present the presumptuous dating-is-for-marriage-and-gay-marriage-isn’t-real argument, etc., etc., etc. Unfortunately for this argument, dating is a modern institution developed to have a variety of purposes, one of them being to discern whether someone might be a suitable life partner, one of them being to just get to know someone better, and one of them to discern whether someone is a good marriage partner. For my purposes, I’ve been calling dating “data collection.” Continue reading “If A Guy Asked Me Out…”

Artists in Love: A Defense of La La Land, and a Critique of Us

Casey Chalk’s recent review of La La Land can be summed up in his statement: “Pity that for all of its well-deserved accolades, the movie’s main characters choose wrong.”

As I exited the theater after seeing La La Land for the first time with one of my friends, she said the same thing. She wished the characters had foregone professional pursuits in order to be with each other. I had an entirely different reaction. I thought the ending, in which Mia (Emma Stone) and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) imagine a life they could have shared while accepting, almost whimsically, a full and vibrant life apart from each other, was an achievement in a culture that undermines marriage through its particular obsession with the institution. Continue reading “Artists in Love: A Defense of La La Land, and a Critique of Us”