Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Chill Out, Dude! An Open Letter to Andrew Sullivan

Hey Andrew,

It's obvious that you are deeply upset by the cardinals' selection. But I don't think you're being fair to the Church or to the new Pope.

Life is about free will and choices. The modern Church realizes this, and realizes that while they cannot force everyone to live according to Catholic doctrine, they do have a choice in how they view those whose behavior is not acceptable according to Catholic doctrine. It's somewhat foolish to think that the Church's positions are based upon ignorance, or stubbornness... that if the Church hierarchy would just be willing to listen to your perfectly articulated talking points they'd slap their collective foreheads in amazement at how wrong they are. Do you not believe that many brilliant people, including the newly-elected Pope, have put much thought and effort into ensuring that the Church's positions are logically aligned with Church principles?

I understand that you are a Catholic, although we would both agree your lifestyle is at odds with the Church's teachings. What I don't understand is why you insist that the Church change, and accept (no, embrace) you and your choice (lifestyle, orientation, whatever). That isn't going to happen. More important, the vast majority of Catholics don't want it to happen (not because they're bigoted homophobic rat-bastards, but because they believe the Bible says what it says), so it can't happen without destroying the Church. The Bible, Judeo-Christian teaching, and two millenia of dogma run counter to the condonement of homosexuality, Episcopalian equivocating notwithstanding.

I guess what I don't understand is why you don't get it. It's not a matter of intelligence; you are obviously very intelligent. I think it's a matter of pride. You disagree with the Church's finding that a homosexual lifestyle is not "a morally acceptable option":

7. The Church, obedient to the Lord who founded her and gave to her the sacramental life, celebrates the divine plan of the loving and live-giving union of men and women in the sacrament of marriage. It is only in the marital relationship that the use of the sexual faculty can be morally good. A person engaging in homosexual behaviour therefore acts immorally.

To chose someone of the same sex for one's sexual activity is to annul the rich symbolism and meaning, not to mention the goals, of the Creator's sexual design. Homosexual activity is not a complementary union, able to transmit life; and so it thwarts the call to a life of that form of self-giving which the Gospel says is the essence of Christian living. This does not mean that homosexual persons are not often generous and giving of themselves; but when they engage in homosexual activity they confirm within themselves a disordered sexual inclination which is essentially self-indulgent.

Okay, fine. Why, then, do you think the Church has gone off the deep end when they pick a Pope who also believes that a homosexual lifestyle is not a morally acceptable option, and who is not inclined to keep revisiting the issue? Andrew, I think the problem here is that you and many (most?) gays aren't looking for tolerance, or acceptance. You are demanding approval. You seem especially angry at the Church because it is not inclined to change its position on homosexuality and the choice of Cardinal Ratzinger emphasizes the Church's return to its principles and the abandonment of its flirtation with relativism, a return that started under John Paul II.

The mainstream Catholics (those folks who go to Mass regularly, who donate to the Church, and who raise their families as Catholics) don't want a Church whose values 'evolve' with the times. Religious people value adherence to beliefs, and dislike relativism. Look at the founding of the Anglican Church: the result of a King who wanted his immoral behavior (dumping his wives because his venereal disease made them sterile) blessed by a priest. Look at the origins of Protestantism: believers who were upset by what they saw as the Church's straying from the Path. The Catholic Church isn't going to change on a fundamental position just because a vocal minority are upset by that position, especially when the Church has examined that position fully and found it to be in alignment with Christian principles. That's just the way it is, and all your beating your head against the wall accomplishes is to leave you bloody. If you want what the Church offers, you are going to have to agree to try to adhere to its beliefs.

I'm sure this is an important issue with you, but please... take a deep breath, and chill out. Your one weakness (in my opinion, of course) is that you tend to get stuck on certain viewpoints and while stuck all of your writing is skewed by that viewpoint. How much time did you spend bashing the Iraq War and George Bush, and why did you endorse John Kerry, and was it because you had a problem with George Bush and his views on gay marriage? Now, the whole Pope thing has got you going batty because your eye is stuck to the eyepiece of the gay agenda telescope.

I want to end this on a positive note: your article on Ashley Smith is beautifully written. This is the kind of work you are capable of, when you let go of your obsessions. Release your inner demons. Let them go. Relax. Chill out. And have a good day.

Note: More articles written in response to posts by Andrew include this one on his view of Hillary Clinton's move to the center, and this one on the mindset of those in the military.