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Love, Tolerance, and the Making of Distinctions

Tolerance

I recently wrote a piece on Bruce Jenner’s transformation into Caitlyn Jenner. I argued that the manner in which Jenner spoke of his transition reflected a Gnostic anthropology, which is repugnant to a Biblical view of the human being. I didn’t say a word about Jenner personally; I urged no violence against him/her; I didn’t question his/her motives. I simply made an observation that the moral and spiritual context for transgenderism is, from a classically Christian standpoint, problematic.

Not surprisingly, the article garnered a fair amount of attention and inspired a lot of commentary, both positive and negative. Among the negative remarks were a number that criticized me for fomenting “hatred” against Jenner and against the transgender community. Though I’ve come to expect this sort of reaction, I find it discouraging and the fruit of some pretty fundamental confusions.

My great mentor Robert Sokolowski long ago taught me—in one of those lapidary remarks that strikes you immediately as right and important—that philosophy is the art of making distinctions. He meant that what brings together Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Kant, Hegel, and Wittgenstein is a gift for clarifying how this differs from that, how one aspect of an idea profiles itself against another, how seemingly similar concepts are in fact distinct. In executing these moves, the great philosophers made muddy water clear. What strikes me so often as I listen to the public conversation regarding moral issues is the incapacity of so many to make the right distinctions.

Some of the muddiest water surrounds the concepts of love/hate and tolerance/intolerance. In the spirit of Sokolowski, I would like to make what I hope are some clarifying differentiations. For the mainstream of the Catholic intellectual tradition, love is not primarily an emotion, but an act of the will. To love, Thomas Aquinas says, is to want the good of the other. Consequently, hatred is not primarily a feeling, but desiring evil for another, positively wanting what is bad for someone else. Given this, when is hatred called for? When is hatred morally permissible? The simple answer: never. God is nothing but love, and Jesus said that we are to be perfect, as our heavenly father is perfect. This is precisely why he told us to love even our enemies, to bless even those who curse us, to pray even for those who maltreat us. Does this mean that our forebears were obliged to love Hitler and that we are obliged to love ISIS murderers? Yes. Period. Does it mean that we are to will the good of those who, we are convinced, are walking a dangerous moral path? Yes. Period. Should everyone love Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner? Absolutely, completely, unconditionally.

But here is where a crucial distinction has to be made: to criticize someone for engaging in immoral activity is not to “hate” that person. In point of fact, it is an act of love, for it is tantamount to willing good for him or her. Once the sense that there is objective good and evil has been attenuated, as it largely has been in our society, the only categories we have left are psychological ones. And this is why, in the minds of many, to question the moral legitimacy of transgenderism is, perforce, to “attack” or “hate” transgendered people. A very real danger that flows from the failure to make the right distinction in this regard is that moral argument evanesces. If someone who disagrees with you on an ethical matter is simply a “hater,” then you don’t have to listen to his argument or engage it critically. You are permitted, in fact, to censor him, to shut him down. Sadly, this is what obtains in much of the public arena today: the impugning of motives, the questioning of character, and the imposition of censorship. Just a few weeks ago, two Princeton faculty members, Cornel West and Robert George, had a public debate regarding same-sex marriage, West arguing for and George against. What was so refreshing was that both men, who are good friends, actually argued, that is to say, marshalled evidence, drew reasoned conclusions from premises, answered objections, etc., and neither one accused the other of “hating” advocates of the rival position. May their tribe increase.

Distinctions are called for, furthermore, regarding the word “tolerance,” which is bandied about constantly today. Typically, it has come to mean acceptance and even celebration. Thus, if one is anything shy of ecstatic about gay marriage or transgenderism, one is insufficiently “tolerant.” In point of fact, the term implies the willingness to countenance a view or activity that one does not agree with. Hence, in the context of our wise political system, each citizen is required to tolerate a range of opinions that he finds puzzling, erroneous, repugnant or even bizarre. There are lots of good reasons for this toleration, the most important of which are respect for the integrity of the individual and the avoidance of unnecessary civil strife, but it by no means implies that one is obliged to accept or celebrate those perspectives. Thus, one should certainly tolerate the right of a person to become transgendered without feeling, at the same time, obliged to exult in that person’s choice.

The ethical conversation has become, in the last fifty years, extraordinarily roiled. It would serve all of us to adopt an intellectual instinct of Thomas Aquinas. When he was confronted with a thorny question, he would typically begin his response with the comment “distinguo”(I distinguish).

Bishop Robert Barron

Written by

Bishop Robert Barron is Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He is an acclaimed author, speaker, and theologian. He’s America’s first podcasting priest and one of the world’s most innovative teachers of Catholicism. His global, non-profit media ministry called Word On Fire reaches millions of people by utilizing new media to draw people into or back to the Faith. Bishop Barron is also the creator and host of CATHOLICISM, a groundbreaking, 10-part documentary series and study program about the Catholic Faith. He is the author of several books including Thomas Aquinas: Spiritual Master (Crossroad, 2008); The Strangest Way: Walking the Christian Path (Orbis, 2002); and Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith (Image, 2011). Find more of his writing and videos at WordOnFire.org.

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  • Abandon Window

    It's your campaigning against equal rights that is intolerable, not your opinions.

    • That's your opinion.

      • cminca

        Abandon is "hating the action, loving the person". Isn't that what you Catholics preach?

        • Interesting point. I say Abandon is making an accusation as fact, and I say it is his or her opinion and not fact. From here it gets into what is opinion and what is fact. If there are only opinions, then can some opinions be more valid than others? From here it always boils down to the Mother of All Questions "How do we know what's true?" and I don't have time to discuss that today. I do, however, speak from practical experience because I do (and teach) analytical problem solving which is related to finding "truth" among opinions and I need to get back to work now. Peace.

          • Abandon Window

            I haven't made any accusations. The Church has worked tirelessly to try to prevent equal marriage--that's a fact. Opposition to their campaign is not intolerance.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Maybe you should say you find the CC's campaign against SSM intolerable. I find the campaign for SSM intolerable. That does not mean you have to find me intolerable or I you.

          • Abandon Window

            I've only called the campaigns intolerable.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            So, "intolerable" is one of those words like "disordered."

            Intolerable can mean "believed to be wrong and so to be opposed" as well as, "evil and to be utterly suppressed."

            "Disordered" can mean "not in accord with human nature and, so, harmful" or it can be taken to mean "sick, perverted, icky."

          • Abandon Window

            I don't begrudge Catholics their view of gay and transgender people as being 'disordered.' I think they're wrong, but it's their opinion and they're entitled to it. It's when they attempt to make their view into laws that non-Catholics must abide by that they are to be opposed.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            How quickly we forget.

            In the US, Catholics have not made any of those laws you deplore.

            Supreme Court justices--whether at the federal or state levels--have largely legislated against those laws by striking them down and finding rights that did not exist before. Your side has attempted and been successful in making your views into laws. The biggest champion at that, right now, is ironically, supposedly a Catholic: Kennedy.

            So do you mind Kennedy making his views into laws that all the rest of us are supposed to abide by or can we oppose them?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            So the Catholic Church is in favor of allowing gays to marry civilly, even if they do not think it is moral?

          • Kevin Aldrich

            No. My point is, don't blame the Church for those laws you don't like because Catholics did not make them.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            But the Church supports the laws that we do not like. In democracy, they receive blame for that.

          • Abandon Window

            It's not for lacking of trying that the Church has failed to stop equal marriage--they've spent millions of dollars trying to keep gay couples from receiving the same benefits as straight couples. As for the Supreme Court: the Justices did their jobs. Funny how conservatives are questioning whether they should have the power they have now that a decision hasn't gone their way.

            The difference between my views and those of conservative Catholics' is that mine don't involve preventing straight people from getting married. If the conservatives had gotten their way, gay couples would still be without the rights afforded to heterosexual couples.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            a) Not "disordered"? Then to what are they ordered?
            b) You realize that marriage was what it was long before Catholics came along?

            c) The ones attempting to make their views into laws have just won a major judgment in the Supreme Court.

          • Mike

            But 2 gay people have always married: many many many "gay" men have married women and many "lesbians" have married men?

            Or do you mean RE-DEFINE marriage?

          • cminca

            Marriage--the civil contract that legally recognizes the pair bond.
            No re-definition necessary.

          • Mike

            i don't think you now the definition of re-definition sorry.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Nah. They've simply said that it isn't in fact marriage. But in a world in which everyone is a rent-seeker looking for a spot at the government trough, the idea that something might actually be defined other than by a governmental decision is enough to gobsmack the fuzzythinkers.

          • Abandon Window

            From Human Rights Campaign: "the church spent nearly $2 million in 2012 toward unsuccessful campaigns against gay marriage in four states"

            That's a lot of money just to 'simply say' something.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Well, the Late Modern tendency to impose the Triumph of the Will over reason really ought to have someone raise the flag before the Age of Reason goes completely down the tubes.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            $2MM is not really much money when you are talking about getting a message out to a national audience. How much do you imagine, say, CBS spends per day to broadcast the news? How much money do you think was been spent to promote SSM in 2012?

          • Abandon Window

            It's money that could've been used to help people in need. Instead they spent it trying to keep people from getting married. This is what boggles my mind about gay Catholics: they give money to an organization that's actively fighting to deny them equality.

          • Michael Murray

            But people in a homosexual lifestyle are risking eternity separated from God! Even if the $2 million spent saved one such person when you weigh eternity in one hand and a few people in need in the other surely the answer is obvious? In any case the people in need can offering up their suffering to God. So it's a win-win. It's really unfair to deprive them of that by relieving their suffering.

          • Alexandra

            What was the money specifically used for? Do you know?

          • Michael Murray

            According to

            https://strangenotions.com/love-tolerance-and-the-making-of-distinctions/#comment-2129375894

            it was "toward unsuccessful campaigns against gay marriage in four states"

          • Alexandra

            Yes, I knew you were referring to what Abandon Window said on the thread. I read it too. I was wondering how you verified the information?

          • Michael Murray

            I haven't verified the information. A quick google search suggests the original source is here

            http://www.hrc.org/nomexposed/section/the-catholic-hierarchys-devotion-to-fighting-marriage-equality

          • Alexandra

            I had tried to verify the information, and I did go to the website.
            It was too difficult to verify quickly with the information given.

            That's why I was wondering why you characterized the Catholics the way you did. I couldn't find information for their side of the story.

          • Michael Murray

            I based my, admittedly slightly sarcastic remarks, on discussions I have had with Catholics here over the last year or so. No idea if it was the opinion of the Catholics who spent the money but definitely the opinion of some people who call themselves Catholics. I was sort of surprised it wasn't removed. But moderation seems to be at an all time low.

          • Alexandra

            I have no quarrel with you, Micheal. I like you, especially because you are witty, (even if it's usually at the Catholics expense ;) ) and you have always treated me with consideration.

            But, on just the word of an Athiest, you not only caricatured Catholicism (just let poor people offer it up), you mocked an entire group of people you know nothing about, just because they are Catholic.

          • Michael Murray

            I mocked a certain collection of attitudes to suffering not the people who hold them.

          • Alexandra

            Yes, you most certainly did.

          • Michael

            From what I've observed, gay Catholics provide financial support to the gay friendly parishes which they attend, not necessarily to the diocese or the Church at large.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Telling people the truth and advocating for laws and policies that promote the common good *does* help people in need.

          • Abandon Window

            Yeah, keep telling yourselves that.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Yeah, and my mudda wears combat boots.

          • William Davis

            I agree it wasn't much money. It wasn't enough to do anything but make the Church look bad and be willing to meddle in secular affairs. I have no personal problem with an individual Catholic to donate for any political cause he/she sees fit, but the Church itself doing it seems, to me, to have been a very serious tactical mistake, if nothing else.

            In my view it sets a precedent...Church meddles in government affairs, why shouldn't government meddle in Church affairs? I think that's bad for everyone.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            That Catholic Church and each of her members have a perfect right to be involved in civic affairs and it is entirely up to them to decide what involvement is prudent.

            Are you an American? Do you support and defend the Constitution? Have you ever read the First Amendment?

          • William Davis

            There is plenty of room for the government to meddle with the Catholic Church within guidelines of the constitution. I think Catholic Charities getting 62% of it's money from the government violates separation of Church and state, and there are many other violates that get ignored for the common interest. We do not have to ignore these violations. I find you "are you American" rhetorical dull and repulsive. I simply said it was a tactical mistake, and I'm certain I'm correct. You lost the battle, after all, and the 2 million could have went to the poor. The way you lost the battle could have additional repercussion in the future. All of us perceive separation of church and state in different ways, but I'm sure you think your way is the "correct" way...how narrow minded.
            http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=680583

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Separation of Church and state is not in the Constitution. The federal government is prohibited from establishing a state church and from meddling in the affairs of any religion. ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof".)

            When Catholic Charities gets money from a governmental entity it is to carry out some work on behalf of the government for the poor. Catholic Charities has to carry it out according to the directives of the governmental agency and it does. There is no violation happening.

          • David Nickol

            Separation of Church and state is not in the Constitution.

            The phrase "separation of church and state" is not in the Constitution. The concept is.

          • J_Bob

            Then why did Jefferson recommend the passing of the Kaskaskia Indian Tribe Treaty of 1803, in which the Federal government paid priests to minister to the Indians?

          • William Davis

            I've seen this repeatedly on conservative shows, but the concept of separation of church and state is definitely there. Not only that, but the constitution makes the supreme court the sole interpreter of the constitution, and it has definitely interpreted it in light of the concept of "separation of church and state".
            I'm not saying that I, personally, have a major problem with the governments use of Catholic Charities, but I would, in principle, agree that it's a violation of the principle of church and state. The concern is something like this being used by the Church's political enemies...that is the point of it being a "tactical mistake."
            I would say, at a minimum, there should be competition in award these types of contracts.

          • William Davis

            Interestingly enough, there are a lot of conservative Catholics who agree with me about the federal funding. Again I'm not trying to bash Catholic Charities, but their concern about the government telling Catholic Charities what to do is a real one.

            https://www.au.org/church-state/october-2009-church-state/people-events/conservatives-criticize-catholic-charities%E2%80%99

          • Ged Eduard Narvaez

            We don't prevent "marriage". We continue what was from the beginning. It is an eternal union. For us it is sacred. It is called Holy!. It is called Matrimony!

          • Michael Murray

            So why are you fussed about the paltry certificates the government hands out? What challenge can they make to the eternal Catholic union of Holy Matrimony?

          • Ged Eduard Narvaez

            It does not depend if you think holy matrimony is for you insignificant or not. I guess you can answer your question? It's negative and promote the appearance that it's OK.

          • William Davis

            It's negative and promote the appearance that it's OK.

            My generation already believes it's ok. At this point 73% of people born after 1981 (the year I was born) think it's fine. Look at the numbers you've lost this battle in popular culture a long time ago. As the older generation dies off, your position will look sillier and sillier. Just the facts.

            http://www.pewforum.org/2015/06/08/graphics-slideshow-changing-attitudes-on-gay-marriage/

            I'm fine with you maintaining your position, however. It just shows how irrelevant Christianity is with regard to morality. This will be filed under the same heading as usury, Jewish intoleration, slavery, treatment of women, ect.
            Anyone with strategic sense would have realized how big of a mistake the Church's meddling in secular marriage has been. You lost, and now you meddling is forever written in the history books for the enemies of Catholicism to bring up over and over. Nice planning ;)

          • Ged Eduard Narvaez

            Yeh, you may be right in saying that they already believe it's ok in 'their thinking'. But how can i say it, majority does not mean correctness.
            If i lost, the problem was not at me, but the end they will also (a real loss). Yeah cooperate on!

          • Steve Roberts

            What exactly is your definition of "Equal Marriage"? or "tolerance" for that matter? Marriage has always been defined either by word and mostly by action throughout all of human history, all cultures, all religions as man and woman. Jesus Christ who referred to Himself as "the Way the Truth and the Life" also defined marriage as it was suppose to be from the beginning till the end of time. "A man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home and the 2 shall become as 1". If you speak of 'marriage equality' It is left to arbitrary opinion to decide, especially given there are polygamists, those who practice polyamory, and even NAMBLA that will have there own opinions as to the definition. When I bring up these types of relationships, they are quickly dismissed as to say they are not "Tolerated". Tolerance only means somewhat reluctant acceptance of something you do not necessarily believe in. Just as I tolerate my sister's alcohol addiction, I do not approve of it because it is destructive to her and her children. So if I were to have a "campaign" to stop someone who wishes to accept alcoholism as a norm in order to appease her and alcoholics like her, my campaign according to your logic would be "Intolerant". In the case of the Church's campaign, it is a campaign against an unnatural and offensive affront to something that had already been defined through natural law AND how its complimentary to our faith, reason and to society as a whole. Children deserve a biological father and mother and THEIR EQUAL RIGHTS have not even been considered as a factor for those who scream tolerance and equality! This new social experiment only screams the word Relativism as a small part of humanity screams out loud.....not truth, but their Perceptual judgments!

          • Aliquantillus

            Equality is a cultural disaster. It is an entirely nihilist slogan without any real philosophical analysis of what is right or wrong objectively. Before they have "equal rights" It is the tactic of the evilmongers to demand them and they call this "justice". As soon as they have gotten their "equality" they demand you surrender to them because they are "right" and you are "wrong". "Marriage equality" is just a totalitarian power grab in order to destroy the last remainders of Christianity and the cultural tradition of the West.

  • Michael Murray

    Hence, in the context of our wise political system, each citizen is required to tolerate a range of opinions that he finds puzzling, erroneous, repugnant or even bizarre.

    And indeed here we are. Tolerating a range of opinions we find puzzling, erroneous, repugnant and bizarre.

    • Ladolcevipera

      It's the price we pay for democracy. Freedom of speech is one of its great principles.

      • Mike

        Not when it demeans the LGBTQ for "who they are"...the church ought to revise its metaphysics renounce its first principles and re-write the cathecism to suit them!

        Sarcasm on.

        • Ladolcevipera

          Freedom of speech means that any person can freely express their opinion, even if this opinion hurts or insults other people. I do not say that it is always very wise to do so. I think on the contrary that people should take into account the sensitivity of certain groups for certain matters. I refer to the Mohammed cartoons and Charlie Hebdo in France. Violence only leads to more violence. The only way to solve problems is to reason with each other. Insulting each other is counterproductive.
          Religious freedom is something else. A Church is an organisation with her own rules based on a metaphysical interpretation of the universe. Whether she is right or wrong in this interpretation I do not intend to go into this now, but I think interpretations change in the course of (a very long) time. Whether the RCC will change her standpoint on LGBTQ I cannot tell. Whether she will change her standpoint about women-priests I cannot tell either. So the choices are: patiently going on reasoning while disagreeing with the (present) teaching or leaving.
          No sarcasm intented.

          • Mike

            damn it i agree with you again.

    • I'm curious, Michael, do you think Mozilla tolerated Brendan Eich's opinions about marriage?

      • cminca

        You are conflating opinions with actions, and opinions with the publics reaction to those actions.

        Eich's actions damaged Mozilla. The market told them so. Their employees told them so.

        Eich stepped down. He was hurting the company (and his financial interest in it.)

        Michael Griffin worked at the Holy Ghost Preparatory School for 12 years teaching French and Italian. Everyone knew he was gay. He was fired when he got married.

        I'm curious Brando, do you think the church tolerated Michael exercising his opinions (and civil rights) about marriage?

        • Jack Napier

          Michael Griffin chose to violate the terms of his contract. If Mr. Griffin did not understand the terms of his contract, or the meaning of the teaching of the Catholic Church in regards to Same-Sex Marriage, then perhaps Mr. Griffin had burdened himself with an unreasonable expectation of what the consequences of his actions would be.

          Your straw man argument may dismiss itself from the premises, please.

          • cminca

            Jack--did you read his contract?

            How did the contract spell what constituted acceptable behavior in Mr. Griffin's off hours?

            What was the language that outlined Mr. Griffin's required adherence to "the teachings of the Catholic Church"? Was Mr. Griffin required to attend mass? TIthe? Go to confession?

            Get back to me. I'm fascinated that you know the inside details.

      • Mike

        All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others!

      • Michael Murray

        You will need to give me a link Brandon. I don't follow all US news.

  • SattaMassagana

    To love, Thomas Aquinas says, is to want the good of the other.

    You presume to know what is good for everybody? I don't. If Bruce can lead a happier, more fulfilled life as Caitlyn, I'm going to call that "good."

    • Ladolcevipera

      So "good" is a purely subjective feeling?

      • SattaMassagana

        It's subject to states of human flourishing and well being, so it's not arbitrary, if that's what you mean

        • "It's subject to states of human flourishing and well being, so it's not arbitrary, if that's what you mean"

          Two natural follow-up questions:

          1. How do you define "human flourishing and well being"?

          2. Is your definition subjective (i.e., your personal opinion) or objective (i.e., true for all people, at all times and places, regardless of human opinion)?

          • SattaMassagana

            1. Any answer I give would be trite compared to the volumes written on it. But since you asked, my personal definition would be along the lines of health, both physical and mental; safety, both private and societal; and participating in fulfilling interpersonal relationships.

            2. It's subjective, but not subject to me: My opinion/definition is shaped by my culture, biology, neurology, psychology and so on, it seems to be largely shared by the rest of my species, so it's not arbitrary. I do not think it's "objective" by your definition, due to the clear amount of variance over time and culture.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            along the lines of health, both physical and mental

            Careful. That might be a buried microagression.

        • Ladolcevipera

          Suppose I am a very successful person . I enjoy being immensely wealthy, exploiting people, watching porn or abuse children, etc... I am flourishing and feeling very well. You'll agree that this is not "good". So what is "good" depends on a specific image of man, and that is a normative idea, not a personal appreciation.

          • SattaMassagana

            We're a social species. Your example is quite anti-social. We call that antisocial behavior. So by all means, go ahead, and the rest of society is here to try to stop you.

          • Ladolcevipera

            That is exactly my point. Society will stop me because there is a shared idea of what "good" means, and that is not individual happeness.

          • SattaMassagana

            I agree, it's largely shared (but clearly can differentiate among cultures over time). I simply hold that it's because we have common biology, neurology, psychology and so on due to our evolutionary history

          • Ignatius Reilly

            We should seek both our individual happiness and the happiness of others.

          • Ladolcevipera

            That is correct. But one not at the expense of the other.

          • Jack Napier

            "The rest of society?"

            Your appeal to authority argumentation tactic is noted and denied. How dare you make me feel bad about my exploitation of Chinese factory children! I want my !@#$ing iPhone 7, and I want it now!

          • SattaMassagana

            "appeal to authority"

            I don't think you know what that means. Maybe you meant
            Argumentum ad populum?

          • Jack Napier

            Don't tell me what to do! I want my iPhone 7, and I want it NOW, mother!@#er!

            Work harder, little Chinese brats! Daddy needs to make some sex tapes to post to Tinder!

            DON'T JUDGE ME!

          • Ignatius Reilly

            That is a poor analogy.

          • (The parent comment was deleted - you should add context to your post because it looks horrible.)

          • Jonathan Brumley

            We are social creatures, and we have an obligation to help each other. But we need an objective definition of what is good for the human person in order to do so. Four examples:

            1. The person who is clinically depressed, without hope, and believes that her well-being will be improved if she kills herself

            2. The father who believes his sick child's well being will be improved if the child is put to death

            3. The drunk and starving person on the side of the road. Is it better to extend a handout, take the person to a shelter, or go on because this person should lift himself up by his bootstraps?

            4. The mother who believes her unborn child will have a better life if she chooses to end that life rather than give birth and give up the child for adoption?

          • SattaMassagana

            We need an objective definition of what is good to address your examples? What do we do if we don't have access to, or agreement on, an objective definition? Are we hopeless? or do we do our best to work it out anyway? I think these complicated examples are why we do moral philosophy and study metaethics, but I'm unaware of the objective handbook of objective good, that would save a lot of time.

          • Jonathan Brumley

            I cannot see how any amount of moral philosophy will help resolve these questions if we cannot agree on an objective set of first principles which can measure what is good and just. As first principles become more and more subjective, moral philosophy comes up with more and more answers.

    • "If Bruce can lead a happier, more fulfilled life as Caitlyn, I'm going to call that "good.""

      It sounds like you think subjective happiness is the criterion of the "good". But, for instance, would it therefore be good to give my children chocolate for every meal because it would make them happy and more fulfilled?

      • SattaMassagana

        would it therefore be good to give my children chocolate for every meal because it would make them happy and more fulfilled?

        Is that really a comparison you want to make to Bruce's situation? If you're serious, we know quite a bit about health, which is a very large part of well-being, so it's easy to say no.

        • Mike

          but do you honestly believe that there is such a thing as Gender? i mean there is Sex but Gender we've been told for ages is a Social Construct.

      • Abandon Window

        A trivial and dismissive comparison. It's about what I've come to expect from those who seek to suppress the rights of others because they think they know better.

        • Alexandra

          Who is trying to suppress the rights of others because they think they know better?

          • Abandon Window

            Christians who don't want homosexual people, bisexual people, and transgender people to have the same rights as heterosexuals.

          • DJ Wambeke

            except that Christians do want homosexual, bisexual, and transgender people to have the same rights as heterosexuals.

            You are presupposing a certain definition of what human nature is and what rights actually flow from that, and that definition is what is in disputed between you and Christians. So please stop with the "Christians want to strip people of their rights" narrative. No one of good will wants to take away someone's rights.

          • Abandon Window

            I'll stop when ya'll do.

          • DJ Wambeke

            So you don't think we're just wrong, you think we are acting in in bad faith. Am I correct?

          • Abandon Window

            I have little reason to consider Catholics as a whole to be people of good will. Individual Catholics I know who've demonstrated that they are such people? Absolutely. But those in organizations like CatholicVote.org? Nah. People like that, in my estimation, are acting in bad faith.

          • DJ Wambeke

            Do you think it's possible for someone to believe that the essence of marriage requires gender complimentarity without acting in bad faith?

          • Abandon Window

            Yes, I do.

          • DJ Wambeke

            ok, so what's the difference between CatholicVote/Brandon/Fr. Barron and this hypothetical person acting in good faith who nevertheless believes marriage requires gender complimentarity?

          • Abandon Window

            The person acting in good faith doesn't actively campaign against equal rights.

          • DJ Wambeke

            But if it's true that the essence of marriage requires gender complimentarity, then no one has any "right" to call something marriage that isn't a marriage. And therefore no one is campaigning against anyone's rights.

          • Abandon Window

            It certainly hasn't been proven true that the essence of marriage requires gender complementarity, so Catholics fighting against equal marriage are merely attempting to impose their religious views on others at the expense of same-sex couples.

          • DJ Wambeke

            As a Catholic I have zero desire to impose my religious views on others. Listen to the exchange mentioned in the OP between Cornel West and Robert George. Dr. George relies on philosophical argument, not faith. He may be wrong; what he is not is attempting to impose his personal faith on others or otherwise acting maliciously.

          • Abandon Window

            I've already stated that I believe Catholics can oppose equal marriage in good faith, so what purpose is the example of Robert George supposed to serve?

          • DJ Wambeke

            Then perhaps I'm not understanding your distinction.

            I'm understanding you to be saying that one can recognize the necessity of gender complimentarity to marriage personally in good faith but the second one crosses over into wanting it to be a public and universally acknowledged idea then one has entered "bad faith" territory.

            Robert George is currently one of the more prominent voices in America promoting traditional marriage. So if I have your distinction correctly, surely Dr. George would be every bit as bad a person as those at Catholic Vote, no?

          • Abandon Window

            If he's campaigning against equal marriage, then yes he is. If you're working to prevent gay couples from receiving the same benefits straight couples receive in marriage, you're certainly not doing good.

          • DJ Wambeke

            Well, then add Dr. George to your list of Bad People.

            But again the determination of who is "doing good" is all dependent upon what "good" actually is.

            If I accused you of acting in bad faith because you are trying to deny children the right to have a mom and a dad, you would rightly bristle at that would you not? Because even though I believe kids have that right, you don't think there is any such "right". You're not acting in bad faith; you're just following your intuitions about what marriage is for to their logical conclusion and advocating public policy based upon that. You're actually pursuing what you believe to be good.

            Just like all those awful Catholics who have been advocating for traditional marriage.

          • Abandon Window

            I don't have any such list. You asked, I answered. And I never said Catholics were awful (I'm still a Catholic myself, according to the Church)--I think I've made it pretty clear that what I oppose is the cause some Catholics have taken up. I think I've had enough of you trying to paint me into corners. Have a good weekend.

          • DJ Wambeke

            Very sincere apologies to you if I misread you.

            Fr. Barron's point in this article was basically to create space for the understanding that disagreement, even about contentious issues such as this, did not come from a place of malice. And it seemed to me that you were not buying it.

          • cminca

            IMHO - Fr. Barron IS coming from a place of malice he just thinks his position gives him the authority to claim otherwise.
            And that everyone should accept the lie.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            You may be erroneously thinking that "marriage" is something invented and defined by a State, whereas historically it is simply a condition of life that States have by necessity regulated solely because canoodling often causes children and States (and Chiefdoms and Tribes) have an interest in ensuring that such children are brought up.

          • SattaMassagana

            If it's true that marriage has an independently existing "essence" then my metaphysics are totally wrong. If you can just demonstrate that, this conversations would be a whole lot more interesting

          • Mike

            Do you mean that the human species is not essentially male AND female? only accidentally male and female?

          • SattaMassagana

            No, I mean that marriage is concept that has no "existence" of its own outside of our brains.

          • Mike

            what about keeping the dad with the mom as we always know who the mom is but often not the dad...would that warrant setting up a social instit. called marriage to try to stabilize the life of the child?

          • SattaMassagana

            Marriage exists as concept, in our brains. The specifics of what that includes clearly seems to have changed over time and culture, ranging from property arrangements between men, to child rearing, to the modern notion of an expression of romantic love. So your reason, among others, seems perfectly valid and valuable to me. I'm married, for love and child rearing. My friend is married, and has no intention of having children(snip snip). My mother in law remarried late in life, to a loving partner while they were incapable of having children.

          • Mike

            aha so in principle at least there's nothing to stop say 3 person marriages or whatever...i am not trying to score points i really am just interested in your view of marriage as "fluid".

          • SattaMassagana

            There already are! and they call themselves married, their churches and communities recognize them as married, and yes, I guess I would consider them married too. Will the US law catch up to this? I don't know

          • Mike

            Interesting.

            yes i think that a free ppl can choose to redefine marriage as they see fit...i would of course prefer that that be done directly via legislation rather than courts but that's another matter.

            for what it's worth i don't think that we'll see 3 person marriage unless we see more group parenting in which case these families will want the "dignity" of marriage as well.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Marriage exists as concept, in our brains.

            That's pretty radical idealism. Is it totally out of touch with empiricism?

            As an exercise, trace the origin of the term "marriage" and see what reality it applied to.

          • DJ Wambeke

            just to clarify I'm not suggesting marriage has an independently existing essense in that sense.

            Humans are the ones with the essences, but that essence determines what rightly-ordered relationships are.

            At any rate I'm sure your metaphysics is quite different from my own (very teleological) metaphysics, which is why you & I don't agree on what marriage is. Which is kind of the point I've been trying to make here. Our conclusions are invariably tied to our presuppositions. And it's really unfair to dismiss people whose conclusions differ from ours as being malicious when they are just operating from a different metaphysics.

          • David Nickol

            then no one has any "right" to call something marriage that isn't a marriage

            And yet millions upon millions of Americans who were validly married (in the eyes of the Catholic Church) have divorced and "remarried." If the Catholic Church were consistent on recognizing only those marriages that it considered valid, then it would not bother me so much that the Church was so fiercely opposed to same-sex marriage. But if there is any resistance at all from the Catholic Church to recognizing second, "adulterous" marriages, I don't know of it. Do Catholic adoption agencies refuse to allow couples who have been divorced and remarried to adopt children on the grounds that children should not be adopted by adulterers? Do Catholic organizations that hire "non-Catholics" refuse to pay spousal benefits to couples who are in "adulterous" marriages?

          • Alexandra

            But if there is any resistance at all from the Catholic Church to recognizing second, "adulterous" marriages, I don't know of it.

            Yes, there is. They are not allowed to receive Holy Communion.

          • David Nickol

            I think the questions I asked make it clear that by "resistance," I am talking things that take place in the "public square." If the only campaign by the Catholic Church against same-sex marriage was to refuse communion to couples in same-sex marriages, I would say the Church was well within its rights.

          • Alexandra

            Well, it's a separate and larger debate on what the definition of marriage is.

            As you probably know, Catholics have a sacramental definition of marriage, in addition to theological and natural law definitions. (In the public sphere natural law arguments are emphasized because there can be common ground.)
            What I want to emphasize to you is that our principles are consistent, comprehensive, and there is no intention to single out homosexuals. It also explains why we are against divorce, contraception, polygamy, and cohabitation before marriage. Unfortunately, there is no debate- we are called bigots, and will be continued to be called bigots.

          • David Nickol

            To the very best of my knowledge, Catholic organizations who hire non-Catholic workers do not take it upon themselves to determine if married couples are married "in the eyes of the Church." And consequently, they accept civil/legal marriage as sufficient for such things as insurance benefits for spouses. What seems to greatly frighten many Catholics is the prospect of being required to accept legal, same-sex marriage for things like spousal benefits. Why is it not discrimination to say to a same-sex couple who is legally married that their marriage doesn't count for employment benefits, while saying to the divorced and remarried that their legal marriage does count, even though in the eyes of God they are living in adultery? Why is that not discrimination? Why recognize some marriages but not others?

            No one (or almost no one, I am sure) is intent on the Catholic Church changing its doctrines to allow "sacramental" marriage between same-sex couples. All that is wanted is that the Church, for legal, non-religious purposes, recognize all civil marriages as valid. That the Church recognizes some and not others is, by its very nature, discrimination.

          • Mike

            remarried catholic will not call the media and parade and picket and say there's nothing at all wrong with remarrying 4 times.

            "gay" catholic will call the media try to shut down the school fire the principal scorch the earth and stand up and declare defiantly there is nothing wrong with what i do in my bedroom.

          • Alexandra

            Since this a new law, I am sure Catholic organizations will find a way to comply with the law without violating their consciences. Catholics have not discriminated against legal marriages (and are in compliance with law). The Church recognizes all legal marriages as legal (barring something immoral like coercion) even if they don't follow proper form ( thus not valid in the eyes of Church).

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            A divorced and remarried person is still married; just not in the eyes of the Church, which has always opposed such things as ditching the old lady for a trophy wife.

          • David Nickol

            A divorced and remarried person is still married; just not in the eyes of the Church . . . .

            I don't get your point here. A validly married, divorced, and "remarried" person (with the spouse from the first marriage still alive) is indeed married—to his or her original spouse. Such a person cannot enter into a second marriage, so the second union is adulterous, in the eyes of the Church. Such divorced and remarried people are legally and civilly married to there second spouses. What the Church is being asked to do in the case of same-sex marriage is to recognize same-sex marriages as legally and civilly valid, although not married in the eyes of the Church. If the Church can acknowledge second marriages as legally and civilly valid, then the Church can acknowledge same-sex marriages as legally and civilly valid, which they now are in the United States.

            No one is asking the Catholic Church to give up its definition of marriage. What is being asked is that the Catholic Church recognize same-sex marriages as legally and civilly valid the same way they do "adulterous" second (alleged) marriages.

          • cminca

            You think anyone is denying Newt and Callista Gingrich communion? And she was his mistress while he was cheating on wife #2.

          • Alexandra

            I don't know.

          • DJ Wambeke

            You actually have a pretty good point here vis-a-vis the seemingly assymetrical response by Catholics and Catholic organizations to other violations of marriage (as understood from the "natural law" perspective).

            If marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life, then it would seemingly be just as wrong to acknowledge a "marriage" after a divorce as a gay "marriage". Yet we don't seem to see the same intensity of conviction on that as we do on the gay marriage issue.

            I don't have a particularly strong answer for you why except to say a few things:

            1) Because of the possibility of anullments (even civil anullments - although does anyone even bother to do that anymore? Those laws seem to be a practical anachronism these days), it would be a little more practically difficult in a given situation to determine whether the individuals had been divorced.

            2) There is a pretty widespread understanding in the American Church that no-fault divorce was a big mistake to let slip in our culture through without a robust debate. The Church was largely asleep at the wheel on that one.

            3) And so, permit me, a complete non-sports guy, to nevertheless make a very imperfect football analogy. Sometimes when you are on the 50 yard line your defense isn't paying attention very well. And then when you get pushed back on your own 10 yard line suddenly you get very attentive and play like you suddenly mean it. Because you know darn well that once those points are on the board they aren't coming off. Well, it would be a mistake to somehow say in that situation that the defense doesn't care about holding the 50 yard line. They just missed the opportunity, and are trying to hold ground where they're at. Culturally this is alittle bit like where the Catholic Church is at.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            What are you talking about? The Church *does* only recognize valid marriages as marriages. A declaration of nullity is a judgment that a putative marriage was not valid because of some impediment at the time the consent was given.

          • David Nickol

            What are you talking about?

            I am talking about Catholic organizations (such as Catholic Charities) that hire "non-Catholics" and provide employment benefits such as health insurance that cover spouses. They do not seem to mind covering "spouses" in second marriages, who—in the eyes of the Church—are not spouses at all, but partners in adultery. Also, Catholic Charities does not refuse to place adoptive children with parents who are divorced and remarried. However, Catholics are now terrified that they will be forced to recognize that legal same-sex marriages are marriages. Why have they not objected to adulterous second unions that are no more marriages in the eyes of the Church than same-sex marriages?

          • Kevin Aldrich

            Do you know something about the mission and the hiring policies of Catholic Charities, USA and the hundred of local affiliates or are you just making assumptions?

          • Jonathan Brumley

            This is a good point. Is the Church being inconsistent in offering benefits to some civilly married couples, but not others? Here's three counterpoints:

            1. The Church acknowledges that divorce can happen in natural marriages. It is only sacramental marriages which must remain permanent.

            2. In any natural marriage, there is the possibility of biological children, and if not biological children, adoption is possible. So spousal benefits make sense as long as there is this possibility. The Church believes all children should have a father and mother, so it does not extend this benefit to same sex relationships which could adopt according to civil laws.

            3. In cases where a married couple does not currently intend to have children or adopt, there is the very real possibility that they could change their minds.

          • Phil

            Hey David,

            I haven't come across a priest that would allow someone to attempt to remarry who is still in a valid marriage.

            In the end though, same-sex marriage is much more cut and dry because two men or two women simply can't be married. There is absolutely no potential for a valid marriage to form in the first place.

            And yes, it is very true that the breakdown of actual marriages is what has led us to this point. When we don't have good images of what true marriage is, it becomes much easier to change what we think marriage actually is, i.e., to redefine marriage.

          • Mike

            Precisely.

          • cminca

            It is also true that neither you, nor the CC, gets to define the word "marriage" in a secular, pluralistic, democratic republic.

            My definition of marriage may be "the civil recognition of the pair bond" which has nothing to do with either gender or children. The definition is as old as yours. It is every bit as valid as yours.

            Yet my definition does not deny tax paying, law abiding citizens the same civil rights as other tax paying, law abiding citizens simply because of sex discrimination.

          • DJ Wambeke

            I don't get to define marriage in a pluralistic, democratic republic, and neither do you. Which is why everyone (including the catholic church) can bring rational arguments to the table.

            You can argue that "civil recognition of the pair bond" is every bit as valid as my definition, but the one thing you can't argue is that it's as old as mine. Marriage as merely a societal endorsement of one's romantic preference is a specifically modern phenomenon.

            I do note though that your definition DOES deny tax paying, law abiding throuples the same civil rights as other tax paying couples. Simply because of discrimination in favor of a pair bond.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Personally, I prefer modern conceptions of marriage. It is more civilized.

          • cminca

            So you are saying that civilizations DIDN'T recognize the pair bond of couples? I can and DO argue it is as old as yours.

            You want to play the polygamy game? Sure.

            One of the most important things marriage does is it defines who speaks for you when you cannot speak for yourself. This was the entire basis for the Supreme Court's decision in the Terri Schiavo case--when she couldn't speak for herself, it was her spouse that did.

            Polygamy muddies the waters in a way the state has a legitimate interest in. Who speaks for you? The first wife? The last? Democratic vote among them? Who's entitled to benefits? Which children? The state has a reason for limiting the number of people in the civil contract called marriage.

            Now--before you want to bring up your dog, your couch, or your car--I say when they can give informed consent and sign the marriage license I will wish you both a long and happy life.

          • DJ Wambeke

            Not at all saying civilizations didn't recognize the pair bonds of couples. I'm saying they didn't recognize them as only a pair bond. There was always a recognition that there was more of a purpose there than just romantic entanglement.

            I'm honestly not interested in polygamy, which tends to have clear inequities about it. I am, however interested in polyamory, which (according to its proponents, anyway) is far more freely chosen and equitable.

            My own view of course is that marriage is essentially conjugal, being ordered both to the union of a husband and wife as well as to the healthy formation of any offspring that come from their conjugality. But if that isn't the definition of marriage, and if it's merely a societal blessing upon a private emotional bond, then frankly as long as any inequities and lack of consent is scrubbed from the situation I don't see any valid reason for limiting it to two. Two seems totally arbitrary in that case.

          • cminca

            I gave the reason before.
            One of the most important things that the legal recognition of the pair bond does is it defines who speaks for you when you cannot.

          • DJ Wambeke

            There's no reason the law couldn't specify that, at the moment a triad enters into the marriage contract, they specify the order in which power of attorney and other similar responsibilities are doled out, is there? That would seem to meet that need.

          • cminca

            And, in this country, they are free to petition for that. That is how our laws work. Good luck with it.

            But the FACT is that the state has a particular reason--a legitimate reason--for limiting marriage to two people.

            And you aren't arguing the point because you perceive an injustice--you are arguing the point because your bigotry wants to define marriage by the ability to procreate.

            So I'll ask you---are you looking to legislate that all marriage licenses be limited to people who are fertile? Are you ready to deny marriage to women beyond child bearing? Should a marriage be immediately terminated once a woman cannot reproduce but the husband declares a desire for more children? If an army vet has his testicles destroyed in battle--is that a reason to deny him a marriage license?

            Because when you produce documentary evidence that the ABILITY to reproduce is a REQUIREMENT to the license process here in the US than I will cede the point.

            Looking forward to your response.

          • DJ Wambeke

            This conversation doesn't appear likely to achieve any agreement, so this will be my last post, just to clarify my position on a few things so you don't leave with the wrong idea of where I stand.

            1) You're right, I don't perceive any "injustice" in denying civil marriage to polyamorous triads, since I don't think what they have is a marriage. I do however perceive illogic in doing so, given the understanding of the question of what marriage is that you have put forth (assuming I understand you correctly), which is that marriage is a romantic/emotional bond between people that has the social purpose of them being able to stick up for each other when need be. Given this understanding, I truly think the "pair" adjective is arbitrary, since three or more people can do the same. (whether or not there will actually be a movement in this country to petition for that, I have no idea. My point only being if it would happen, there would be no substantive argument against it.)

            2) You are quite understandably misunderstanding the "ability to procreate" thing. No, I would not wish to prevent infertile or post-menopausal women from getting married. Why? Because actually achieving fertility is not the criteria for marriage; it's conjugality; that is, the one-flesh, complementary union of opposites. You will undoubtedly say that an infertile couple is the same thing as a same-sex couple because neither will achieve conception. Yes, same effect, but completely different underlying reality. One is intrinsically open to union and new life (even if it doesn't actually happen) in a way that the other, categorically, cannot be. [Side note: this particular point seems to be one of the main sticking points in achieving any sort of understanding, much less agreement, on this issue; where the intuitions of those on your side of the fence and the intuitions of those on my side are fundamentally irreconcilable]

            3) Per #2 above, I won't attempt to fulfill your request for documentary evidence that US marriage laws require proof of fertility, because there isn't any (and my point was never that there were). But it's worth noting that several US states have laws on the books explicitly requiring consummation for a marriage to be valid (in the absence of consummation the marriage can be annulled without having to file for a divorce). "Consummation" requiring, of course, full conjugal union. These older laws are obviously at odds with the vision of marriage that you & others today advocate, but they do show that it's really just a recent innovation in society to redefine marriage away from its physical and biological reality and into something that is basically just a psychological category.

            Ok, I'm finished. You may have the last word, if you wish.

          • cminca

            So to you marriage boils down to "post A fitting into slot B".
            Sorry if some of us are more evolved than that.

          • ben

            ...pair bond... is a red herring
            >power of attorney (noun)
            the authority to act for another person in specified or all legal or financial matters.
            Durable power of attorney: A type of advance medical directive in which legal documents provide the power of attorney to another person in the case of an incapacitating medical condition.

          • cminca

            You meant "advanced health care directive" not "durable power of attorney.
            It was estimated that a gay couple with children needed to spend up to $300K to replicate the legal protections you get from a marriage license.
            The red herring? That marriage is "all about" children.

          • David Nickol

            Forgive the same old argument, but some of the greatest figures in the Bible were polygamous (or polygynous). The old Catholic Encyclopedia says,

            Neither polygamy nor divorce can be said to be contrary to the primary precepts of nature. The primary end of marriage is compatible with both. But at least they are against the secondary precepts of the natural law: contrary, that is, to what is required for the well-ordering of human life. In these secondary precepts, however, God can dispense for good reason if He sees fit to do so. In so doing He uses His sovereign authority to diminish the right of absolute equality which naturally exists between man and woman with reference to marriage. In this way, without suffering any stain on His holiness, God could permit and sanction polygamy and divorce in the Old Law.

            People who oppose same-sex marriage because they think it sets up a slippery slope to polygamy ought to be reminded that polygamy was once permitted, that it is still rather widely practiced, and that there are still possible (though extremely unlikely) circumstances under which it would no doubt be considered moral and desirable. Say, for example, there were a plague that killed only men, and there was an extreme imbalance between the number of men and women. Say that it threatened the very continuation of the human race. I don't think the Catholic Church would oppose polygyny under the circumstances. "Neither polygamy nor divorce can be said to be contrary to the primary precepts of nature. The primary end of marriage is compatible with both." Under the unlikely but possible circumstances I have imagined, in which procreation became a serious overriding concern, I think the moral arguments against polygyny would disappear. There is nothing intrinsically evil about a man having multiple wives. It is not against "natural law." (It is, in modern society, a bad idea, in my opinion, and I would not advocate legal polygyny, but it is not morally unthinkable. According to Luke's genealogy of Jesus, he is descended from David and Bathsheba, the latter, as we all know, not David's first or only wife.)

          • DJ Wambeke

            On this I have to disagree vehemently. Polygamy, under the strictest reading possible, may not violate the primary end of marriage but it most certainly violates the secondary end, that of unity. The sexual act is the embodiment, in the flesh, of the spiritual union of the spouses. That doesn't change just because the human race is in risk of dying out.

            I don't have a magisterial quote off-hand (there may not be one) that addresses this directly, but I can quote you this from JPII's Love and Responsibility which I think makes the point:

            The abolition of polygamy and the re-establishment of monogamy and the indissolubility of marriage are a necessary consequence of the command to love, understood, as we have understood it all along, as an embodiment of the personalistic norm. If all relationships between men and women are to be on this high level they must develop in accordance with and embody the principle of monogamy and indissolubility, which also throws light on other aspects of the coexistence and association of man and woman. The commandment to love, as it occurs in the Gospels, is more than the 'personalistic norm', it also embodies the basic law of the whole supernatural order, of the supernatural relationship between God and man.

          • DJ Wambeke

            Forgive me if this is a duplicate but I think my first reply didn't go through.

            ---EDIT--- removed duplicate - i see my first one DID go through!

          • Ged Eduard Narvaez

            So as long as you don't actively campaign "against" equal "rights", you're the one who is in good faith? (What is good faith after-all!)

          • cminca

            You are free to believe anything you want.
            YOUR ACTIONS ARE HARMING OTHERS.

          • DJ Wambeke

            My actions are harming others, according your your worldview.

            I can only reply thus:
            You, too, are free to believe anything you want.

            But YOUR ACTIONS ARE HARMING OTHERS, according to my worldview.

            Thus the cultural impasse we find ourselves in.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            But YOUR ACTIONS ARE HARMING OTHERS, according to my worldview.

            How so? Who did Jenner harm?

          • DJ Wambeke

            Himself, perhaps? Of course its the definition of "harm" here that is the real question.

          • Rosita Tornquist Solanet

            Truth offends people. Don't edit truth with falsehood. As a woman, I can tell you that Bruce Jenner is not like me. He might think so, but there is a huge gap between the feelings of someone and the reality.

          • David Nickol

            Truth offends people.

            Didn't you mean to say something like, "Truth offends non-Catholics"? Or, "Truth offends people who aren't as enlightened as I am"? Apparently you are not offended by truth.

          • William Davis

            I'm male and Bruce is not like me either. He is only "like" other people with gender confusion in that regard. These people make up their own class. In my view, that is an important part of the truth.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Jenner thinks she is helping herself. We allow people to make their own choices, provided they aren't hurting anybody else.

          • DJ Wambeke

            We're actually rather schizophrenic about that. We allow people to make a lot of choices that harm themselves but certainly not all. And some things (like smoking) we allow people to do but we throw up large barriers (i.e. cigarette taxes) to them doing so to encourage healthy behavior.

          • cminca

            Your actions attempted to deny the right of same sex couple---tax paying, law abiding couples--to the same civil rights, benefits, and privileges as other tax paying, law abiding couples. Based on their sexuality. This did material harm to the couples and their children.

            Now--tell me PRECISELY how my actions--in working towards those rights--are materially harming you or others.

            (And please--no bakers or florists. I'm sorry but Christians don't get "special rights" to ignore the anti-discrimination laws everyone else is subject to.)

          • DJ Wambeke

            One of those rights is the rearing of children. Unless you specifically proscribe surrogacy for gay couples (maybe you do and would be willing to limit it to adoption; maybe you don't, I dunno) you are encouraging the intentional creation of human beings that will be reared apart from (and likely not even know) at least one of their biological parents. In my view that is a miscarriage of justice toward children. Please note that I'm not accusing you or anyone else of malice; just that I think, objectively this action is wrong.

          • cminca

            Since there is no objective study showing that two SS people raising a child is any better, or worse, than two opposite sex people I'd say you haven't raised a rational question.

            Look up Jed Maddalon. Look up Ham Family Phoenix. Tell me if those kids are in a "miscarriage of justice".

            Sorry--you cannot make sweeping generalizations about surrogacy, parenting, or anything else. As one judge put it--if we concerned about what was ideal for children we'd limit marriage to suburban Asian couples in the mid-west.

            And you can't base marriage law only on children unless you start requiring fertility tests as a basis for a license, banning all contraception, letting men annul their marriages upon their wife's menopause, and outlawing infertile and aged couples from the same.

          • David Nickol

            you are encouraging the intentional creation of human beings that will be reared apart from (and likely not even know) at least one of their biological parents.

            Why oppose same-sex marriage because some same-sex couples might make use of ART (assisted reproductive technology) when you can simply oppose ART?

            Why does the Church not launch organized, well funded campaigns against in vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, and all forms of ART (all of which the Church opposes)? Why does the Church speak loudly about what may not be done with frozen embryos from fertility clinics, but fail to speak in a loud, clear voice against fertility clinics themselves? Why aren't fertility clinics picketed like abortion clinics?

            I think the reason is that the official Catholic Church (the bishops) does not have the courage of its convictions and knows it would be very unpopular to try to ban technology that helps tens of thousands of (mostly heterosexual and married) couples each year have babies.

            The percentage of people who are gay and will get married is always going to be a fraction of the heterosexual population who will get married. Why in the world oppose same-sex marriage for fear of artificial insemination or surrogacy among, say, 3% of the population, and do nothing about the other 97%?

            I don't think opposition to assisted reproductive technology is a good reason to oppose same-sex marriage. I think it is a lame excuse.

          • cminca

            David--thank you.

          • ben

            artificial insemination requires the male to masturbate to produce his sperm - a mortal sin. Artificial insemination results in numerous fertilized eggs being destroyed, i.e. murdered - a mortal sin in each instance.

            What this whole thread is dancing around is the FACT of mortal sin. The Church's mandate is to teach what Jesus taught. You are free to reject it; there are consequences. To co-operate with sin is a sin.

          • David Nickol

            One of those rights is the rearing of children.

            Everyone has the right (in fact, the duty) to rear the children the bring into the world or otherwise take on responsibility for. You do not have to get married to have children.

            The out-of-wedlock birthrate in the United States is now over 40% (and over 70% in the African-American community), and of course it would be higher than that if 21 percent of all pregnancies did not end in abortion. And further, by the time they reach 18 years of age, 50% of children born to married couples will see their parents divorce.

            Perhaps gay people should be flattered that Catholics seem to be ever so much more concerned about the lives and well being of potential children of same-sex couples than about children of married and unmarried heterosexual couples!

          • DJ Wambeke

            I will say this, David - you sure are a stickler for moral consistency. :-)

            I'm not ok with the divorce rate and neither is the Church. Any child who grows up out-of-wedlock or otherwise in a divorce situation has, IMHO, had something good deprived from them. That's not to say they can't succeed in life; it's also not to say that their parents were bad or that there weren't substantial reasons that it turned out that way. It IS to say there was an ideal there that they should have received but didn't.

            Maybe the Church should be more concerned with remedying that than with fighting gay marriage, I don't know. It's certainly thorny, given the ubiquity of divorce in our culture and the fact that the Church sees its job to pastorally meet people where they're at.

            On the other hand the Church has been one of the lone voices (enduring a lot of hostility in the culture) upholding a sexual ethic (i.e. don't live together before marriage) that, if followed, would actually cut way down on the out-of-wedlock and divorce rate.

          • ben

            The out-of-wedlock birthrate... Intercourse outside of marriage is a mortal sin. The Church is required by the Lord Jesus to point out activities that offend God. You are free to reject the warnings but there are consequences.

            Same sex "partners" cannot produce any offspring. A woman living in a sinful relationship with another woman can get pregnant, but it requires her to commit adultery against the relationship with a man (mortal sin for both since they are not married to each other).
            Adoption requires that the child be the result of a sinful union of male and female (who lusted for sensual/animal gratification), or, else, it requires a catastrophic event in the child's life leaving him a orphan.

          • cminca

            I will tell you that when Fr. Barron calls Caitlyn Jenner repugnant (oops--her "reason" is repugnant) he is acting in bad faith in his Christianity, his original post, and his defense.

            If I wanted a "my remark was taken out of context" lesson I'd watch Republican politicians defending their equally bone-headed remarks.

          • Alexandra

            And do you include Brandon among this group of people?

          • Abandon Window

            Yes, I do.

          • Alexandra

            Would it include me? (I'm a Catholic.)

          • Abandon Window

            Depends on your views. Lots of people who call themselves Catholic believe in lots of different things, so just saying you're Catholic doesn't tell me a whole lot.

          • Alexandra

            Ok. How do you know Brandon "thinks he knows better" than others?

          • Abandon Window

            Because I've been reading articles and his comments under them pretty much since this site launched.

          • Alexandra

            And how do you know the other Christians you referred to "think they know better?" (This will be my last question- thanks for your patience).

          • Abandon Window

            Because they attempt to impose their religious views (from Human Rights Campaign: "the church spent nearly $2 million in 2012 toward unsuccessful campaigns against gay marriage in four states") on others at the expense of those whose identities and relationships aren't approved of by their religious leaders.

          • William Davis

            That 2 million could have quite a few poor and hungry people.

          • Alexandra

            Many of these people are poor and hungry because of the lack of respect for marriage and the consequential disintegration of families. This is one of the many reasons we defend marriage.

          • William Davis

            To think that divorce and irresponsible parents are due to a "lack of respect for marriage" is way off base, in my opinion. These things are due to a lack of respect for oneself, other people, and especially one's children. Let's address the real problems, not the result of the problem.
            I got married young (I was 21, wife 18). We have stuck together through thick and thin because of mutual respect and obligation to each other and our children, not "marriage." 11 years later we both agree that gay people should be able to get married, and our marriage is going strong. Honestly I'm very thankful we are not Catholic or even Christian, so we don't have to deal with the unnecessary cognitive dissonance that you do in this situation.
            That 2 million would have been much better spent on helping those in need, or at the very least, encouraging people to respect themselves and their children. I really do think I occupy the moral high ground here in a variety of ways.

          • Alexandra

            Instability in families and abandonment by a parent contributes to poverty. Stable families where the parents are married is a good. We care tremendously for the poor. It is one of our primary callings as Catholics and a social responsibility for us.

          • William Davis

            Instability in families and abandonment by a parent contributes to poverty. Stable families where the parents are married is a good. We care tremendously for the poor. It is one of our primary callings as Catholics and a social responsibility for us.

            I agree, and I just demonstrated what I think (and I would expect most thinking people would agree with) is the cause behind that problem. There is no justification here for spending money on a campaign against SSM.

            Like you I think the instability in families and abandonment of children is a major problem. Let's be allies and focus on that real problem, not the imaginary problem of gay marriage. Gay people getting married just doesn't hurt anyone, and they are not the one's abandoning children, they can't even have them...

          • Alexandra

            Certainly we agree. It seems to me common sense that marriage is important (or at a minimum, prevalent ). And it can for example contribute to a societal good like the reduction of poverty.

            So the next question is- what exactly is marriage?

            So then who would you say best explains your definition of marriage?

          • Phil Rimmer

            "Instability in families and abandonment by a parent contributes to poverty."

            It may be rather more the reverse.

            Financial stress more than anything contributes to conflict within marriages.

            http://ncsu.edu/ffci/publications/2008/v13-n1-2008-spring/Washburn-Christensen.php

          • William Davis

            I give marriage a completely secular definition as a contract between two people to take care of each other. I married my wife primarily for legal reasons (end of life care, inheritance, financial simplicity, insurance reasons), we didn't have a fancy ceremony (I get disturbed by some of the things I've seen on shows like Bridezilla...turning marriage into a consumerist show of getting deep in debt). Before I got married, I was already bonded to my wife in a romantic way. To me it's this pair bonding that has the most meaning in my life, and it seems completely optional how much I associate this with the marriage contract. I have seen many who are married, but do not share that bond, and their marriages tend to be unhappy. Thus I prioritize the bond over the contract.

            I would be cozy in a world where the word marriage didn't exist. Pair bonding is fine by me, but there are many reasons to prefer a lifelong pair bond (as opposed to a short one). Of course, a heterosexual bond is the only one that can produce children, and I consider myself blessed to be heterosexual. I don't see how holding sexual orientation against people with regards to the marriage contract is helpful in any way. I'd be fine with civil unions if those involved were not sometimes denied rights that are granted to married people, but in the end it's just a word to me.

            No doubt for Catholics, marriage takes on a bigger meaning. It's a sacrament, an important one, so I'm told. But this importance only exists in your Catholic worldview, thus imposing it at a secular seems narrow minded in my view. I don't mean that to be offensive, I just mean Catholics fail to take into account the viewpoint of non-Catholics. Marriage is a symbol (a word specifically) that means very different things to different people. For homosexuals, their inability to marry not only creates real world problems (no say in hospital care of loved one, no inheritance, ect.) but is a symbol of historical discrimination that often was very nasty. In view of this history, I support their claims to the contract and the word, even though the word itself has relatively little meaning to me. If you wanted to call my relationship with my wife a civil union (but didn't alter the legal ramifications) I wouldn't blink an eye. I hope that answers your question :)

          • Alexandra

            Thank you for your response William. :) Take care.

          • William Davis

            Thank you too for the pleasant discussion :) You take care as well.

          • Phil Rimmer

            Post religious countries build in child welfare into the very fabric of their societies. In hyper religious USA the results for children are shaming.

            http://internationalcomparisons.org/intl_comp_files/sheet030.htm

            Every act of charity represents a societal failure.

            Keeping up appearances when families are truly broken hurts children disproportionately. Societies have learned from these mistakes and moved on.

          • ben

            According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the last time the countries of the European Union were reproducing at replacement levels (that is, slightly more than two children per woman) was the mid-1970s. In 2014, the average number of children per woman was about 1.6. That’s up a hair from the nadir in 2001, but has been falling again for more than half a decade. Imagine a world where many people have no sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts or uncles. That’s where Europe is heading in the coming decades.

          • Phil Rimmer

            As I have been discussing, people are increasingly in the last decades been getting married simply because they fall in love, not because they want to have children. This is a kindness all around. Children should be had by those who will really sacrifice many of their own self interests for the sake of them, they, after all asked for none of this.

            So families with children will be smaller, but also families with no children but other relatives and non relatives will become more numerous. (Famulus referred to a household servant! A family of parents and children only is a comparatively recent invention.)

            This state of affairs is our own fault for not taking care of matters earlier. Meanwhile the birthrate in the richest African country Nigeria is over 5 and Africa as a whole is heading for the most spectacular catastrophe of quadrupling its population by 2100. Brothers, sisters and untold misery aplenty.

          • Alexandra

            Thank you for the information. Regarding your first paragraph: I don't the religion has anything to do with this. Primarily, correlation does not necessarily imply causation and there are too many variables involved when analyzing countries so a lot more evidence would be needed to support your conclusion.
            When looking through the data, one comparison I did was mortality rate of children under 5 in first world countries sorted by percentage of the Catholic population of the country.
            (I even made you a table but alas my computer crashed and I lost the data :( )
            I saw no distinction between the mortality rates of the Catholic and non Catholic countries. However there were two anomalies: 1) Countries with extremely low populations had the lowest rates. The country with the highest population had the highest rate. 2) Primarily Great Britain and all it former colonies had a higher than average rate. It was distinct as a group.

            Since the USA had the 3rd largest population in the world and a former British Colony - it's rate was much higher than average. The USA is an outlier and not useful as a direct point of comparison to the other countries. I think it should not be used as the example of what occurs in religious nations because of the anomalies. But when you compared most of the first world countries, other than the British colonies, there were no statistical variation related to religiosity.

            (I appreciate your other comments, but will leave it at this as it's an already long response.)

          • Phil Rimmer

            I am sorry your computer crashed. We may never know the true state of affairs out there now.

            I have to agree the UK is pants and way below its European neighbours.

            The obvious mechanism is the creation of a sufficient welfare state, after all its objectives are to deal exactly with these matters in a more egalitarian fashion.

            All nations were hugely religious once, the question is why religiosity evaporated far more quickly in European states than in American ones. Left leaning (in American terms) European states instituted welfare reforms, that were mostly welcomed rather than sniped at for ideological reasons. One strongly proven correlation is that less fair countries have higher religious take up. The ultimate insurance policy and its hope against hope promises bring some mental respite to their world's outrageous fortunes.

            I certainly don't single out Catholicism from other religions, but acts of charity not matched by acts of political outrage at the deficiencies of national welfare performance only further lock the country into its under-performing condition. I do fear the American Catholic Church deeply wants to be the state agent in these matters rather than be decently relieved of the need by an independent, thoroughgoing, welfare apparatus.

            Now, Liberation Theology might deliver......

          • Alexandra

            I think it quite decent of you that you care. That you take the time to evaluate social ills and its causes. That you speak out against injustices. When you said every act of charity is a failure, - what an exceptional thing to say.
            Know in these respects we are not opposed. Love your neighbor as yourself.

          • Phil Rimmer

            "in these respects we are not opposed."

            :)

          • Alexandra

            I agree with you that no one should impose their religion on someone or pass judgment on persons.
            That's why I'm grateful I'm Catholic. We are opposed to such things.

            A viewpoint should not be discounted simply because it comes from a religious perspective. It should evaluated on its merit, truthfulness, etc.

            Who would you say best explains your viewpoint on marriage?

          • Abandon Window

            I don't know who would explain my viewpoint on marriage other than myself--it's not like there's an Atheist Magisterium, you know? And truthfully, I don't really have much of a viewpoint on marriage--I've simply never seen any good reason why gay couples shouldn't have the same rights as heterosexual couples.

          • Alexandra

            But it's not just advocating for same legal rights as heterosexual couples- it's also advocating calling it a marriage. On what basis/principle is it marriage?

          • Abandon Window

            I couldn't care less about marriage, myself. As far as I'm concerned, Christians can define marriage anyway they want inside their churches. All I care about is equal rights.

          • Alexandra

            Fair enough. Thanks for the chat.

          • Abandon Window

            Thank you. Have a good weekend.

          • cminca

            "I agree with you that no one should impose their religion on someone, or pass judgment on persons. That's why I'm grateful I'm Catholic. We are opposed to such things"

            Sorry Alexandra--but the last 1300 years of Western history contradicts your statement.

          • Alexandra

            You don't have to go back 1300 years. I'm sure you can find Catholics right now that violate these principles.

            But they are absolutely part of our foundational principles and tenets of our faith.

            Judgement on others:

            John 8:4-11
            Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middlThey said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.
            5 Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women.* So what do you say?”b
            6 They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger.*
            7 But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them,c “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”
            8 Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.
            9 And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him.
            10 Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”d
            11 She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin any more.”]e

            Mathew 7:1-5

            1 Stop judging,* that you may not be judged.
            2 For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.c
            3 Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?
            4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye?
            5You hypocrite,* remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.

            Imposing religion on others:

            Mathew 10:13-14

            11[Jesus said to the twelve Apostles] Whatever town or village you enter, look for a worthy person in it, and stay there until you leave.
            12 As you enter a house, wish it peace.
            13 If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; if not, let your peace return to you.*
            14 Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words—go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.

          • cminca

            Sorry Alexandra, but what Catholics and the Catholic Church SAY, and what they DO, are often pretty far apart.

            And when you point it out they deny it.

          • Alexandra

            Not the saints. Not the good faithful people who are striving to be Holy. They exist.

          • Alexandra

            Did you edit your comment? It's not what I responded to in my inbox.

          • Abandon Window

            No, I didn't edit that comment.

          • Alexandra

            Thanks. The part in parenthesis didn't appear. Wierd.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            Which rights? Natural rights like life, liberty, property? Or civic rights like voting?

        • Jonathan Brumley

          This is the perfect reason to support the argument that clinically depressed people should be able to kill themselves.

      • cminca

        What I'd say, Brandon, is that my opinion on what you feed your children is none of my business.

        And what Caitlyn Jenner does is none of Fr. Barron's.

        I'd also argue that, while Fr. Barron likes to think his statements are "thoughtful musings on philosophy" his OPINIONS are loud and clear.

        " simply made an observation that the moral and spiritual context for transgenderism is, from a classically Christian standpoint, problematic."

        No--Fr. Barron--you said HER reasoning was "repugnant".

        • Raymond

          cminca, I think your final point is very useful. The complete quote is "I argued that the manner in which Jenner spoke of his transition reflected a Gnostic anthropology, which is repugnant to a Biblical view of the human being."
          The statement is in keeping with Fr. Barron's professed objectivity right up to the word "repugnant", which is a pejorative term that indicates personal feelings. Biblical Views do not find things repugnant. They either coincide with a person's views or they do not. His use of the word "problematic" in the next sentence is much better.

          • cminca

            He does it constantly.
            His distain and derision drip from his Cheshire grin as he calls people with differing opinions "loopy" while talking about tolerance!

      • Yes, if it did make them happy and fulfilled. But it wouldn't, it would make the, unhealty, sick and unhappy.

      • Phil Rimmer

        Caitlyn is a child? She can't yet distinguish between the superficial happiness of candy and an abiding contentment, after living the greater part of her life?

        Patronising.

    • Kevin Aldrich

      > If Bruce can lead a happier, more fulfilled life as Caitlyn, I'm going to call that "good."

      But that is not how modern life operates. First we do it, then we find out by experience if it is any good. We don't try to find out what is really good for people at the outset.

      • SattaMassagana

        I agree, maybe she'll really regret it, and learn from her mistakes as we all do

        • Kevin Aldrich

          If so, don't forget all the people who do it because society presents it as good and a human right, regardless of what harm it will actually do them.

          • David Nickol

            First, Caitlyn Jenner has not done anything irreversible. He/she still has male genitals and has no plans to surgically alter them.

            Second, whether you think they are misguided or not, transgenders are not acting on whim. Gender identity is very deeply rooted. You may consider a person who believes his/her anatomy is out of synch with his/her "real" gender disturbed, but such persons do not arrive at their conclusions lightly and are not frivolously taking up some fad.

          • Mike

            There are 15 year olds and indeed 8 year olds undergoing chemical treatments to "change" gender!

          • David Nickol

            Yes, so? Gender identity is fixed long before age 15. And anyway, why do you care? What is your solution to situations where people (including young people) have a deep, unshakeable feeling that they are in a body of the wrong gender? What would you have them do?

          • Mike

            how do you know any of this when many doctors have no idea if there is even such a thing as gender in the first place?

            plus sociologists by far believe gender is a social construct.

            i think it's child abuse and these kids should be taken out of the home.

            i would treat them with psychological therapy and help them to love their bodies...many doctors even today, even in secular liberal colleges think that that is still what's best before the age of 18.

            After 18 ok but that young i think it's child abuse.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            I did not mean to imply it is a whim or fad, but given human nature, it will be for some.

            Lots of things are "deep rooted" and no group of people uniformly arrive at their individual conclusions as the result of deep pondering.

          • David Nickol

            Lots of things are "deep rooted" and no group of people uniformly arrive at their individual conclusions as the result of deep pondering.

            I think every transgender person is responding to deep inner feelings. It is not a matter of rational thought. And certainly every person who has "genital reconstruction surgery" (which Jenner has not had) is deeply, emotionally motivated.

          • materetmagistra

            @David Nichol: "You may consider a person who believes his/her anatomy is out of synch with his/her "real" gender disturbed...."

            "...his/her anatomy is...."

            versus this

            "...'real' gender......"

            Used to be that "disturbed" meant you denied objective reality......

          • Kevin Aldrich

            I did not know this (not that I wanted to) but then, why is it supposedly bad to refer to Jenner now as a he?

          • ben

            According to surveys, 4.6 percent of the overall U.S. population has self-reported a suicide attempt, with that number climbing to between 10 and 20 percent for lesbian, gay or bisexual respondents. By comparison, 41 percent of trans or gender non-conforming people surveyed have attempted suicide.
            (http://www.vocativ.com/culture/lgbt/transgender-suicide/)

          • Doug Shaver

            don't forget all the people who do it because society presents it as good and a human right,

            Maybe you can imagine some people actually doing that. I can't, but maybe that just proves how unimaginative I am.

          • William Davis

            This could only apply to bisexuals (I think at least) which are less than 1% of the population, at least so far as we know. Being highly heterosexual, I can't really imagine it either, but bisexuals clearly exist.

    • William Davis

      I personally found this quite amazing...

      The Iranian government's response to homosexuality is to endorse, and fully pay for, sex reassignment surgery.[19] The leader of Iran's Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued a fatwa declaring sex reassignment surgery permissible for "diagnosed transsexuals."[19] Eshaghian's documentary, Be Like Others, chronicles a number of stories of Iranian gay men who feel transitioning is the only way to avoid further persecution, jail and/or execution.[19] The head of Iran's main transsexual organization, Maryam Khatoon Molkara—who convinced Khomeini to issue the fatwa on transsexuality—confirmed that some people who undergo operations are gay rather than transsexual.[20]

      Thailand is the country that performs the most sex reassignment surgeries, followed by Iran.[20]

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_reassignment_surgery#History

      Iran a world leader in sex reassignment...who would have thought.

      • Mike

        Islam is really much more tolerant than Christianity if you really look into it ;)

        • William Davis

          I don't know about that, but Iran a world leader in transgender surgery?

          • Mike

            i wonder if that has anything at all to do with their "will of allah" / denying secondary causality beliefs in which case there is no human nature, no male nature no female nature iow no universals but only "the will of allah".

          • Michael

            Rochelle Terman wrote an excellent article about the issue that can be read here.

  • I don't consider myself a philosopher, although I have a degree, because I am basically self-read, but perhaps you will allow me to make a 'distinction'.

    Quote: For the mainstream of the Catholic intellectual tradition, love is not primarily an emotion, but an act of the will.

    When it comes to acts, thought, or deeds of tolerance, how can we distinguish what is based on emotion, (including ore-judice, and other forms of 'rationalized' thought, from 'what is willed'?

    I will not speak specifically to the issue discussed in this post, but will merely ask, (in the hope of receiving further eradication from others) how and when it is possible, feasible, necessary or appropriate to determine what 'should/ought/is' the 'will of another'.

    I also ask in this regard, whether it is always/ever possible to distinguish the rule/principle from the specific observations, not only of what is observed, but from the point of view of having an awareness of the basis of the observation, made by the person who is 'making the judgment'.

    There is much attention paid to whether or not 'free will' is a reality, (metaphysical or an aspect of acknowledge necessity within a physical determinism), but in what way can these possibilities be reconciled with the assessment of actions which are 'presumed?' to be based on the 'free will of another?

    Are we always aware as individuals whether our states of tolerance, and/or exclusion of others is based primarily on some emotive factor, rather than a comprehensive understanding what of constitutes the proper framework of what w/could be conceived as acting within the freedom of will, either assigned to ourselves or to another. I would in such cases, and generally, inquire into how much awareness exists within the individual, as to whether his/her judgment, be it tolerance or intolerance, is based primarily on emotion or 'reason', external mandates, including social norms and consensus, or conclusions reached by the individual's assessment of the situation, within the particular context, and 'free' of external pressures on one's 'judgment'..

    I am still thinking, for instance of conundrum I fell into while thinking over the last post, as to what Nietzsche might have been thinking of in his famed saying: 'beyond' good and evil.
    Discounting, in what I hope to be an understanding of his rejection of 'improper' usage of abstraction or transcendental perspectives, I have thought that perhaps this saying, (interpretation of 'beyond') could be limited to the ability to 'see the fact', and have 'acceptance' for it, whether good or evil, without prejudice, emotion, whether or not the 'judgment' is laudatory or condemnatory.. In other words, tolerance, in many cases, could boil down, with respect to 'my judgment' at least, simply as some kind of imperative, (within the compass of whether it affects me, socially or individually) to simply 'mind my own business'!!!

    Does anyone have any objection,or argument for or against this perspective as it might relate to Christian doctrine/dogma? i.l.e. whether or not this 'distinction' would have any bearing, and indeed acceptance within orthodoxy, on the subject of tolerance, generally, and whether or not there is, or whether this involves any comprehensive and consistent understanding/agreement with respect to the issue of what constitutes 'free will'? Thank you.

  • I want to highlight what seems to be a positive aspect of this article:

    Hence, in the context of our wise political system, each citizen is required to tolerate a range of opinions that he finds puzzling, erroneous, repugnant or even bizarre. There are lots of good reasons for this toleration, the most important of which are respect for the integrity of the individual and the avoidance of unnecessary civil strife, but it by no means implies that one is obliged to accept or celebrate those perspectives. Thus, one should certainly tolerate the right of a person to become transgendered without feeling, at the same time, obliged to exult in that person’s choice.

    I think this is a great attitude, and hope that all people, religious and not, learn to practice it consistently into the future. Don't exult in the decision or accept the perspective. But do acknowledge the decision as a legitimate decision. People don't need to accept people's gender choices, but they should recognize and respect these choices.

    I think that's the important distinction.

    The other positive thing I noticed:

    I didn’t say a word about Jenner personally; I urged no violence against him/her; I didn’t question his/her motives. I simply made an observation that the moral and spiritual context for transgenderism is, from a classically Christian standpoint, problematic.

    I notice Fr Barron didn't call Jenner simply 'him'. That's a great sign.

    • Mike

      Yeah but "caitlyn" jenner is still a MAN and always will be.

      A 65 year old man i might add.

      • We don't need to respect what we don't think is true?

        You can call Caitlyn a man because you think he's really a man.

        When I run into Pope Francis, I'll say "Hey Frank!" because I don't think there's anything all that special about being a pope.

        Someone who thinks the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon can go with that label.

        I don't think that's what Mr/Fr Barron is trying to say in his article here. Maybe we can call people what they want to be called, not because we literally believe the words, but because those are the words they've asked to be called, and we respect that.

        • Mike

          i know and i agree but it's just so frustrating to hear ppl insist that bruce is really now only caitlyn...my conscience just won't permit me to say out loud that 1+1 does not equal 2.

        • materetmagistra

          @Paul:"When I run into Pope Francis, I'll say "Hey Frank!" because I don't think there's anything all that special about being a pope."

          But, you would recognize him has holding a certain office, being a head of state , eh? Or, do you indeed have no manners?

          • I don't really see it as a legitimate state, personally. And I don't think he's especially holy. He's a good guy, from what I can tell. But not all that holy.

            But I'd call him His Holiness, if I got the opportunity, because I respect him. I respect his title and office, as far as it goes, even though I think it's all pretty-much made up.

            I'd call Robert Barron Father, even though I think the priesthood is a farce.

            You don't think Jenner is a woman. Fine. I think you should call Jenner a woman anyway. Or do you indeed have no manners?

          • materetmagistra

            He is what he is, a confused human male. However, should I ever have the misfortune of having to greet him in public, I would have manners enough to call him by his name, whatever that may be at that time.

          • I would have manners enough to call her by her name, whatever that may be at that time. (edited for accuracy)

            I'm very happy to see you say that. I think that's all that should be expected in society. People shouldn't be forced to change their beliefs about reality. That wouldn't be much of a free-thinking society.

            I think you're wrong, and I hope you realize someday you're wrong and freely change your mind. You probably hope the same for me. :)

            should I ever have the misfortune of having to greet her in public...

            Why misfortune?

          • materetmagistra

            @Paul:"I think you're wrong, and I hope you realize someday you're wrong and freely change your mind."

            Wrong about what?

          • Word use, for one (note the quotations above). The misunderstanding of gender that word use implies.

            Now please answer my question. Why misfortune?

          • materetmagistra

            "...misunderstanding of gender...."

            Is it not scientifically demonstrable that Bruce Jenner is a human male? The "misunderstanding" is not mine.

            ...misfortune....

            My eyes delight in the true, the good, and the beautiful.

          • Now that attitude I have no respect for.

            Everyone is beautiful in their own way, however ugly their beliefs or actions.

          • materetmagistra

            What do you mean by "that attitude?" My deference to science regarding the pronoun 'him'?? Of all people, I didn't peg you as anti-science.

            Yes, humans are endowed with beauty. Some do choose to mutilate that gift, however.

          • Phil Rimmer

            humans are endowed with beauty. Some do choose to "mutilate" that "gift", when they are "gifted" also a non-matching brain.

          • materetmagistra

            In your world, how does one determine when the "non-matching" brain or physiology or dysmorphism crosses the line into a health condition that needs to be treated? In your example, a brain that presents such anomaly would indicate something out of order, quite possibly something harmful during development. At what point world we say, well, babies aren't supposed to be born without limbs....what the heck is causing this?!?

          • Phil Rimmer

            "Illness is whatever mental or physiological condition causes distress."

            That 40% of transgenders attempt suicide strongly suggests illness. For a small number, they are happy with their lot. I am happy not to call them ill as they don't view themselves as ill.

            In some countries transgenders are recognised and have positive cultural roles to play. They are far from ill.

            Aspies are either ill or brilliant depending on how at home they feel in the world. Gays shunned and then accepted. Ill and then well. But even now they feel terrible in fundamentalist families and agree to being medicalised.

            Acceptance, most especially when nothing is to be done or needs be done from a personal perspective and no third party harms accrue, is all the treatment most off-the-median folk need. And we are all off-the-median about something.

            The transgender problem (40% attempted suicide rate) drives much research into the issue. Acceptance and amelioration might not be the total answer for all.

          • materetmagistra

            "Illness is whatever mental or physiological condition causes distress."

            Where'd you get that from?

          • Phil Rimmer

            It was from memory of Professor Marshall Marinker (founding Professor of General Practice at Leicester University) and someone extrapolating from him. The closest of his quotes I can find is-

            "Illness … is a feeling, an experience of unhealth which is entirely personal, interior to the person of the patient. Often it accompanies disease, but the disease may be undeclared, as in the early stages of cancer or tuberculosis or diabetes."

            This is entirely different to its eighteenth century connotation of evil from which the word is derived. Illness has moved from observation as of a disease to a feeling. I am ill. You have a disease. This reflects how people visiting doctors use language.

          • materetmagistra

            So, one can experience feelings of wellness (or "un-illness") even though one truly has disease and is truly ill; and one can experience feelings of un-wellness (or "illness") when one is truly without disease or truly not ill.

            Therein lies the problem. True healthy operation of the body can objectively be known - and treated. Feelings are subjective and when they do not coincide with the objective reality of the body (or any other objective reality) - that signifies unhealthy thoughts/feelings or mental illness. Bruce Jenner needs help, not enablers and codependents!

          • Phil Rimmer

            Transgender's feelings of dysphoria are indeed matched with objective (unexpected) fMRI scans, pheromone tests and the like. You muddle where I am here. The point, if you cannot fix the mis-matched brain and body you can at least reduce the subjective lack of wellness. Part of that as, with all brain related eccentricities, where they represent no harm to third parties is to not insist upon "disease". I am mentally diseased (by some accounts) and so are most of my friends. We are built by our genes with remarkable variability. Apart from the dyslexic who was beaten repeatedly by his mother for what seemed a wilfull disobedience, most of us don't think of ourselves as ill. We live in rich cultures that make use of us.

            This hyper-anxiety of yours to label everyone with their failures to conform to some racial ideal, can't be normal....

          • materetmagistra

            @Phil: "The point, if you cannot fix the mis-matched brain and body you can at least reduce the subjective lack of wellness." & "This hyper-anxiety of yours to label everyone with their failures to conform to some racial ideal, can't be normal...."

            Aren't you the one claiming a "mis-matched brain" that doesn't "conform to some 'ideal'"? According to my view, the brain Bruce Jenner has must either (a) be simply part and parcel with maleness, as it does exist within a male, or (b) be a brain affected by pathology of some sort. So, either we simply accept his natural brain (and body) as normal or we treat it as being diseased.

          • Phil Rimmer

            I would never use the term ideal only median. I find great value particularly off the median.

            Who is to say whether brain or body is the erroneous one. Both are fabrications wrought by gene expression. Pain is ultimately in the head...always, but being hopelessly complicated it is only decent to act on bodies at present as a last resort.

            Recently interviewed neuro-surgeon Henry Marsh reminds us that the only tool available to neuro-surgery is precise destructiveness. No rewiring or patching up yet. His job is to make things less bad by destroying the harmful and damaged bits of brain. Plastic surgeons have long reconstructed...

            For those in the UK.

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06085ck

          • materetmagistra

            Don't you mean to say that "certain archaic beliefs are beautiful in their own way"?

          • Archaic beliefs aren't people.

          • Phil Rimmer

            Transexual brains are noticeably different. The first results of fMRI scans in 2011-

            http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20032-transsexual-differences-caught-on-brain-scan.html#.VaFB1_lViko

            Other tests show-

            "Consider an obscure brain region called the forceps minor (part of the corpus callosum, a mass of fibers that connect the brain's two hemispheres). On average, among nontranssexuals, the forceps minor of males contains parallel nerve fibers of higher density than in females. But the density in female-to-male transsexuals is equivalent to that in typical males.

            As another example, the hypothalamus, a hormone-producing part of the brain, is activated in nontranssexual men by the scent of estrogen, but in women—and male-to-female transsexuals—by the scent of androgens, male-associated hormones."

            "My eyes delight in the true, the good, and the beautiful."

            How sanitary of you. And all your children were beautiful until you found the one with the unexpected brain. Well others will simply delight in her, even if you can't.

          • materetmagistra

            These "differences" do not change the male into a female. Bruce Jenner is a biological male, demonstrable through quite basic science. Or, your way, a male with an "unexpected" brain.

            And, for your info, I dutifully and lovingly adore and protect all of my children, even the one having the genetically "unexpected" cells/brain/physiology.

            You want to claim this quality, beauty, to be anything anyone wants to declare it to be - in effect turning it into nothing specific. However, that is not our experience - each of us is able to discern that which makes 'comfort settle into our bones...that makes us feel calm "as if the sun is smiling down on me and the world has suddenly become a sweet, safe place to be." That makes us "feel good about life―about myself. And it's hard not to want to be near someone who, just by their very nature, makes you feel that way.” '

            If Bruce Jenner does that for you, so be it. However, do not force those of us who aren't quite stroked that way to abide by your feelings.

            The topics of good, truth, and beauty have been considered by man for ages. I for one cannot pretend these concepts are formless and undefinable.

          • Phil Rimmer

            "These "differences" do not change the male into a female."

            Sadly not. There is the problem. A more female brain in a male body, this is the scientific reality.

            "The topics of good, truth, and beauty have been considered by man for ages. I for one cannot pretend these concepts are formless and undefinable."

            Indeed not. Which is why I don't doubt you would love and protect your own (notional) Caitlyn, you may, yet, not delight in her.

            Personally, I think you might. I have found all Catholics to be better than their faith. And when you know that fully 40% of all transgendered people attempt suicide, mostly from their treatment from an "un-delighted" populace, you will wish your own dear child to delight all that meet her.

          • materetmagistra

            Methinks you assume wrongly about the "unexpected" nature of my daughter. I certainly do "delight" in her and she certainly is a "delight" to those she meets, but that does not mean we must refrain from identifying her "unexpectedness" as the disease that it is, and that we cannot correct what is possible to good health and to normal functioning. But, in order to do so, we must first understand what is good health and normal functioning, eh?

            Bruce Jenner has fathered children, yes? Obviously he functions just fine as a biological male.

            And the claim : "....mostly from their treatment from an "un-delighted" populace..." is simply speculation. Heck, how can you rule out that such an impulse does not originate in that "noticeably different" brain activity?

            When all is said and done, however, your claim of beauty being fluid to the eye of the beholder simply means you have nothing to say about another's view - each view is simply one among many.

          • Phil Rimmer

            The undelighted populace observation is drawn from a myriad of self-reports given to psychiatrists and gathered together for analysis.About a year and a half ago I researched UK psychiatric best practice in the field for a debate similar to this. I'll try and dig it up again for you.

            Treatments for various dysmorphias and dysphorias are not hugely effective. Brain surgery is not possible because the risks are huge and there is nothing ostensibly wrong in the brain, just odd in the particular body. Distress is maximally reduced at least by giving priority to the brain's way of seeing things, crossing dressing and using hormones to better harmonise body sense. Re-assignment surgery is only attempted in the UK after an extended period of living as the other gender and counselling. If the distress remains, physical re-assignment surgery at least remains less risky than any brain surgery.

            Normal? I don't really believe it to be in any sense a useful concept with people. Half of my very bright friends have some mental peculiarity. We are all, fortunately, "blessed" by some eccentricity or other.

            Illness is whatever mental or physiological condition causes distress. Simple acceptance of transgenders and what they are helped to do to relieve the dysphoria can make a lot of this go away. This is your choice here.

            No one is pan-beautious. Simply choosing not to notice the large facial birth mark, will suffice to take delight. Someone living passionately and fully despite such a birth mark is delightful.

          • Phil Rimmer

            “Many young trans people experience discrimination, intolerance, bullying, rejection and violence from several spheres. First at school, a place where gender norms are enforced and policed, where you’re told by teachers and other pupils that boys do x and girls do y. Within the family there can be rejection, verbal and physical abuse, and then also at street level, in the media and in the workplace. Together this can render people unable to see a future for themselves. It is no wonder suicidal thoughts are so common."

            from

            http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/nov/19/young-transgender-suicide-attempts-survey

          • Phil Rimmer

            Apologies. Double posted.

          • Alexandra

            Dear Mater, I will keep your children in my prayers, especially your daughter. May God bless her always.

          • Phil Rimmer

            I hope you are aware we have been discussing notional daughters here?

          • William Davis

            Issues with discussion aside, I'm sorry to hear about your daughter.

          • Alexandra

            Why do you think the "priesthood is a farce"?

        • ben

          [quote]You can call Caitlyn a man because you think he's really a man.[/quote]

          When I run into Pope Francis, I'll say "Hey Frank!" because I don't think there's anything all that special about being a pope.

    • materetmagistra

      @Paul Brandon Rimmer: "..But do acknowledge the decision as a legitimate decision. People don't need to accept people's gender choices, but they should recognize and respect these choices. I think that's the important distinction."

      "Respect"???????

      Yes, "recognize" the personal decision. But, not all things a person decides to do are worthy of "respect."

      • Ladolcevipera

        "Respect" is to understand the reasons, the pain, the despair why a person does something, without necessarily agreeing.

        • materetmagistra

          So, you "respect" wife-beaters, child molesters, and rapists?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            And how are these three things different from sex reassignment?

          • materetmagistra

            Not taking the bait, IR. Keep to the context. (Trained in modern journalism by chance?)

          • Ignatius Reilly

            According to Fr. Barron, Catholic theology is all about making distinctions. He should have added an exception for strawmanning, bad analogies, and slippery slope fallacies, which are all prominent tools in the apologist kit.

          • Ladolcevipera

            Wife-beaters, child molesters, and rapists are persons who act out of evil motives. They have a particularly despicable motivational structure: they desire their victims' suffering for their (the perpetrator's)pleasure; they take pleasure in doing wrong.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Wouldn't we still try to understand the reasons why they behave as they do?

          • Ladolcevipera

            True, but in their case there can be no respect for what they do.

          • materetmagistra

            Back to your original comment, Ladolcevipera: "Respect" is to understand the reasons, the pain, the despair why a person does something, without necessarily agreeing.

            "Without necessarily agreeing" with what?

          • Ladolcevipera

            Respect depends on what someone did, on why s/he did it and on whom the act affects.
            If a person commits suicide because s/he feels desperate (a feeling we all have at some point in our lives) s/he only harms him/herself. It is this person's own decision to kill him/herself. I respect that decision although I do not agree with it. I think there are other ways to solve a problem.
            If a person feels desperate, goes outside with a gun and shoots a number of people I do not respect that because the victims did not decide to put an end to their lives, they were forced to undergo an act they would never have committed themselves. The perpetrator is knowingly doing wrong to others, a wrong that can never be put right.

          • Ged Eduard Narvaez

            When respecting something, You will stand for the something. Respecting without action is no respect at all. Is this your idea because it does not affect you? How about when a man in this world motivates greatly in this world how suicide is not at evil (it's a murder by the way). That your child was convince he was right? What will kind of respect will you show to your child Ladolcevipera? (e.g. Yah! Go ahead, but i do not approve) Sounds like lukewarm, isn't it? What loose respect that was.

          • Ladolcevipera

            When respecting something, you stand for that something

            "Respect" has more than one meaning. You are referring to the first, I am referring to the second:
            1. to feel or show admiration for someone or something that you believe has good ideas or qualities.
            2. to accept the importance of someone's rights or customs and to do
            nothing that would harm them or cause offence.
            Making distinctions is very important for sound reasoning.

          • Ged Eduard Narvaez

            it does not answer the question (just stating). But you well built walls for the 2 definition. ;)

          • Ladolcevipera

            Could it be that your question is not very well formulated or that you are intentionally violating the cooperative principle?
            In my example of the mass murderer there can be no question of "respect" because the murderer has no (moral nor legal) right to kill other people.
            In the case of someone who teaches that moral evil is right, you respect their right to express their opinion, but you oppose them with strong arguments. You explain to your children why something is wrong. But (young adult) children have a mind and a conscience of their own. If one has taught a child to the best of one's ability and if they commit a serious moral offence anyway, it will hurt a parent very badly, but a child has the right to make his own mistakes (and has to bear the responsibility for them).

          • materetmagistra

            @"If one has taught a child to the best of one's ability and if they commit a serious moral offence anyway, it will hurt a parent very badly, but a child has the right to make his own mistakes (and has to bear the responsibility for them)."

            But, up above you note a murderer "has no right" to do immoral acts. Isn't that the same with one's child- that they do not have a right to commit immoral acts? Yes, your child may have the power or ability to commit immoral acts, but he no more "has the right " to do such things than the murderer does. Parents have no obligation to "respect" such choices of their children; and quite possibly have the duty to prevent immoral acts.

          • Ladolcevipera

            I respect the right of a child to make his/her own decisions. That is not the same thing as saying that I always respect (or accept) WHAT s/he decides. I would of course try and prevent an immoral act but I also know that this may not always be possible. People have a mind of their own.

          • materetmagistra

            Do you have a right to do all in your power to prevent your child from hurting themself?

            At what point is Child Protective Services justified to step in?

          • Ladolcevipera

            If it is a minor and if we are talking about bodily harm, yes. I certainly would physically restrain a 3 year old from jumping into a river or from playing with knives etc. . It is forbidden by law to hit your children or to give them other corporal punishment. If parents are powerless, they will get parent support or, in extreme cases, the (violent) child will go to an educational institution. If you neglect a child to the point that it will suffer severe (mental or bodily) harm the CPS will take over the parental duties. They do not do it lightly.
            If we are talking about adult children (18+), well the question is: what is within your power? Obviously CPS won't step in. You can argue with your children until you are blue in the face, if they won't listen to you there is little you can do since violence is not an option.You can always tell them to leave home and take care of themselves, but I think that is an extreme measure.

          • materetmagistra

            Yes, words oftentimes have several meanings. What is the common understanding and use of the word "respect"?

            Admire......Approve....Praise.......

            It also can refer to recognizing a right...deference to certain rights. We respect the Natural Human Rights of others.

            You are trying to push and pull that second meaning into something to suit your opinion. I would agree with you that someone who kills deserves no respect or admiration. And, I would say that this person has no right to kill others, therefore there is nothing to respect in that regard. When it comes to suicide, certainly that is no admirable or praiseworthy act, I think you could agree. But, we differ in regards to being obligated to "respect" or give a nod to, such a choice - I do not feel as if this is a natural right we hold unto ourselves, as we did not give ourselves life. But, actual rights, these are gifts...and need be acknowledged and recognized as such.

            In terms of Bruce Jenner, one certainly need not "respect" or recognize his choice to mutilate and abuse his body. Simply because he has the power to do so does not mean he has a natural law right to do so.

          • Doug Shaver

            In terms of Bruce Jenner, one certainly need not "respect" or recognize his choice to mutilate and abuse his body.

            I don't respect mutilation or abuse, but I see neither in what he did.

          • Ladolcevipera

            But, we differ in regards to being obligated to "respect" or give a nod to, such a choice

            We certainly did not give ourselves life, we are saddled with it whether we like it or not. In this sense you could say that for some people it is a poisoned gift. Who are we to look into another person's head? For some people life is hell. I would do anything within my power to prevent a suicide, but the final decision is theirs, not ours. In that sense, I respect their decision without agreeing with it. That is a completely different attitude than "giving a nod".

          • materetmagistra

            Like I said, we differ in our take on suicide.....whether it is a natural law right or whether it is not. If it is a true right, we should respect it, as natural rights are good. If it is not a true right, we ought not "respect" it, as it would not be a good.

            If you are correct, suicide helplines would be working against the good. If I am correct, suicide helplines would be good to have.

          • Ladolcevipera

            Doesn't it depend on how one defines "natural law"? Several interpretations are possible. One could stress the biological functions (as is the case in christian sexual ethics) or one could stress the characteristic that is exclusively and essentially human: reason. An ethical system that respects man's nature is a system that is based on reason. What is "reasonable" is not a fixed given; it changes with our progressive insight in how and why humans act as they do. Such a system creates room that takes into account the specific circumstances, motives and consequences of an act.
            P.s.: We have a lot of experience with suicide helplines. They help people to analyse their feelings and help them to find a solution to their problem. They never push them in one direction or other. The final decision lies with the person who seeks help.

          • materetmagistra

            @"...with our progressive insight in how and why humans act as they do."

            We may come to understand teleology better over time, but biological human nature is what it is - it hasn't changed.

            P.S. Hopefully tax money does not go to suicide helplines that have poor success rates!

          • Ged Eduard Narvaez

            I will also do anything within my power to prevent a suicide (the suicide and the final decision to suicide).

          • Ladolcevipera

            Well, then we agree that we would try and prevent a suicide, but this is alas not always possible.

      • Respect is a tricky word. According to the Google definitions, it has two meanings. "(1)admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements."
        "(2) have due regard for (someone's feelings, wishes, or rights)."

        When I use the word, I mean (2). You don't need to agree with the decision. You might think it's the complete wrong decision. But you respect their right to make it. You take the decision into account.

        Now, some actions are immoral or uncalled for, such that they deserve no respect. Someone's decision to keep calling Jenner a man, to choose a not-so-random example, gets no respect from me at all.

        • materetmagistra

          @Paul: "Now, some actions are immoral or uncalled for, such that they deserve no respect."

          Precisely. Bruce Jenner's is that.

        • Ged Eduard Narvaez

          What about your laws, wherein man have this or that rights... the word man to include woman...Will it get your respect at all?

  • Mike

    Excellent father. I run into the same issue when i point out that some specific ASPECT of a person's personality or behavior say is not what it could be and am accused of "hating" them or "not appreciating" them...i know it's crazy but real and happening more and more often it seems.

    People can't discuss anything w/o one of them yelling "HATER" 5 seconds into the convo.

  • Kraker Jak

    Should everyone love Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner? Absolutely, completely, unconditionally.

    There are lots of good reasons for this toleration, the most important of which are respect for the integrity of the individual and the avoidance of unnecessary civil strife, but it by no means implies that one is obliged to accept or celebrate those perspectives.

    • Ignatius Reilly

      Doublespeak is strong here.

  • I think what Fr Barron fails to recognize is that even intentioned statements made out of his subjective intention of love can be hurtful and harmful and are properly viewed as immoral when they are targeted towards a group that has a been subject to unjust historic prejudice and marginalization.

    There is a fundamental disagreement between the catholic theology and other world views and mainstream several mainstream human rights. Generally human rights states that there are some characteristics that people should not result in anyone suffering a detriment compared to those who have different characteristics in the same category. These are, for example, race, sex, religion, ethnicity, disability, and more recently some have added sexual orientation and gender identity to this list.

    Societies generally protect people from detrimental treatment based on these characteristics in employment, services, contracts and housing. Freedom of speech generally allows you to act discriminatorily privately, but I would say that conduct is immoral.

    I don't know if Catholicism thinks that sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity should be on that list. But I do and I am prepared to say why.

    Comments like transgenderism is "problematic", even when shielded by the words classical Christianity, single out this group based on this characteristic. It is negative treatment that should not be illegal but is immoral. This is drawn out by considering how the phrase if you replace the word "transgenderism" with "Mexican" or "black".

    Now, there can be a defence to such conduct in that, it is accounting for the actual circumstances and needs of the individuals targeted. For example to say that granting the blind drivers licenses would be problematic would not be discriminatory because it correlates to an objective fact about safety and ability.

    But to call an entire gender identity "problematic" even from some haughty theological standpoint, cannot make this defence. I know you think to is justified based on your theology. But your theology is wrong and you misunderstand the reality that gender identity is just as real and important as religious identity.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      Yes, the world today is filled with special snowflakes. Where does One-Hand Jason fit into this perspective? At what point ought we defer to the reality-based faction?

  • Ignatius Reilly

    I argued that the manner in which Jenner spoke of his transition reflected a Gnostic anthropology, which is repugnant to a Biblical view of the human being.

    I wouldn't call it gnostic. Whether or not it is repugnant to the Biblical view, probably depends on your interpretation.

    I didn’t say a word about Jenner personally; I urged no violence against him/her; I didn’t question his/her motives.

    Are we supposed to congratulate you for basic human decency?

    I simply made an observation that the moral and spiritual context for transgenderism is, from a classically Christian standpoint, problematic.

    I think part of the reason for the backlash is Fr. Barron's original article was not very substantial.

    But here is where a crucial distinction has to be made: to criticize someone for engaging in immoral activity is not to “hate” that person.

    This really depends on how one criticizes. It also depends on the content of the criticism, the attitude of the criticizer, and the intention. It seems many Christian criticisms don't come from a place of love, but rather a place of disgust. Christian love often seems more like condemnation and hatred.

    It is really beyond the pale that you think you know what is moral and best for everyone, while transgender folk have not idea what they should do to make themselves happier. It would be best if you spent more time defending and explaining your morality than judging the good for others.

    Once the sense that there is objective good and evil has been attenuated, as it largely has been in our society, the only categories we have left are psychological ones.

    Please....Many of us till believe in good and evil, we just reject your outdated conceptions. You are the one causing pain and unhappiness with your immoral teachings. You may think you are looking out for the good of others, but in your hubris you are simply causing great amounts of harm.

    And this is why, in the minds of many, to question the moral legitimacy of transgenderism is, perforce, to “attack” or “hate” transgendered people.

    Or perhaps to the minds of many, your philosophy is mere sophistry. Perhaps we grow tired of your discrimination and maltreatment of those who do not live proper Christian lives.

    The Christian west has historically discriminated against LGBT folks. Those doing so have quoted all sorts of moralizing passages from scriptures and philosophers and other dead thinkers. Why should we separate the philosophy from the hatred, when we have good reason to believe that they are usually together.

    A very real danger that flows from the failure to make the right distinction in this regard is that moral argument evanesces. If someone who disagrees with you on an ethical matter is simply a “hater,” then you don’t have to listen to his argument or engage it critically

    This is where you write a blog actually making an argument, instead of whining about the behavior of your opponents. Still waiting......

    You are permitted, in fact, to censor him, to shut him down.

    Nobody is censoring anybody. You may be on the receiving end of a little mockery and ridicule. The best way to stop that is to make better arguments.

    Distinctions are called for, furthermore, regarding the word “tolerance,” which is bandied about constantly today. Typically, it has come to mean acceptance and even celebration. Thus, if one is anything shy of ecstatic about gay marriage or transgenderism, one is insufficiently “tolerant.”

    Actually, we just ask you not to discriminate. Really don't care if you are happy about that or not.

    Thus, one should certainly tolerate the right of a person to become transgendered without feeling, at the same time, obliged to exult in that person’s choice.

    You don't really tolerate it though. If we were a sufficiently Christian nation, I would bet gender reassignment surgery would be illegal. Besides, many believe that the transgender will be condemned to hell for all of eternity, which is very tolerant of them.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      I wouldn't call it gnostic. Whether or not it is repugnant to the Biblical view, probably depends on your interpretation.

      Of course, it's gnostic. It regards the soul as entirely distinct from the body. (Otherwise, how could he "be" a woman when material reality is to the contrary.) And it regards the body/matter as inferior to the will, to be manipulated and altered.

      Gnosticism was rejected pretty thoroughly by the Chrisitans back in the day. So it's not just Fr. Barron.

      Are we supposed to congratulate you for basic human decency?

      No, although one may pause to recollect how this became "basic" human decency. Fr. Barron mentions it because way too many Late Modern fuzzlethinkers are unable to make clear distinctions, and did in fact confuse his analysis of the gnostic underpinnings (via Descartes) with criticism of Jenner personally, and confusedly thought it as urging violence against him. IOW, he is simply pointing out one way in which Late Modern thought fails.

      • Ignatius Reilly

        Of course, it's gnostic. It regards the soul as entirely distinct from the body. (Otherwise, how could he "be" a woman when material reality is to the contrary.) And it regards the body/matter as inferior to the will, to be manipulated and altered.

        Gnosticism adds a disdain for the body and the material world that is not present in those who seek sex reassignment surgery.

        Gnosticism was rejected pretty thoroughly by the Chrisitans back in the day. So it's not just Fr. Barron.

        Which means that one cannot be a gnostic Christian? Or perhaps the Christians who rejected Gnosticism were at least partially wrong. Barron's argument can be reduced to this:

        1) Gender reassignment implies a belief in Gnosticism.

        2) Gnosticism is irreconcilable with Christianity

        3) Christianity is right on ethical concerns

        Therefore gender reassignment is wrong

        This is not a sophisticated argument, especially considering the weak justifications that Barron uses for his premises, which he never bothers to state, but can only be surmised. Regardless, premise one is trivially false. The other two are false as well. One can believe that Jesus is God and be a gnostic Christian. And Christianity is often wrong on ethical concerns.

        If these are the articles Barron is going to write, than he should expect some mail. If one expects substantive critiques, one should write a substantive article.

        Fr. Barron mentions it because way too many Late Modern fuzzlethinkers are unable to make clear distinctions, and did in fact confuse his analysis of the gnostic underpinnings (via Descartes) with criticism of Jenner personally, and confusedly thought it as urging violence against him. IOW, he is simply pointing out one way in which Late Modern thought fails

        Descartes is the founder of modern philosophy. He is the arguably the first great philosopher since antiquity. Descartes was not gnostic. He may have shared some ideas with gnostic thought, but that is where it ends. I realize questioning everything isn't particularly popular in Catholicism, but in the end Descartes was right.

        I still have no idea what you mean by Late Modern. Many people born in the modern age make excellent distinctions, we just don't agree that all of the distinctions that Barron may wish to make are actual distinctions.

        The words Barron uses to describe Jenner are pejorative. If he wrote substantive articles, I would bet that his interlocutors would reply in kind. Instead he uses pejorative words and claims moral superiority.

        • cminca

          "The words Barron uses to describe Jenner are pejorative. If he wrote substantive articles, I would bet that his interlocutors would reply in kind. Instead he uses pejorative words and claims moral superiority."
          BINGO!

  • to criticize someone for engaging in immoral activity is not to “hate” that person. In point of fact, it is an act of love, for it is tantamount to willing good for him or her.

    So in other words...

    The Gospel According To Barron (13:35)
    "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another that looks on the outside indistinguishable from hatred."

    Be wary when constructing semantic arguments that justify behavior people find morally objectionable.

  • philosophy is the art of making distinctions ... In executing these moves, the great philosophers made muddy water clear.

    Distinctions can obfuscate as well as they can clarify. The same philosophers also muddied the waters by inventing distinctions in ideas that don't correspond to external realities. You see this all over in Aquinas' Summa, for example, where he concocts ad hoc distinctions to avoid conclusions he dislikes.

    There are always distinctions that can be invented to distinguish any two things. That's a generic feature of how human languages work. We make the fewest distinctions possible given the context, but we can make more. If the context is a conversation in which one person made an analogy and you disagree with it, you always have the option to reject the analogy by pointing out a hitherto unmentioned distinction in the analogized things. Similarly, if the person made an argument and you disagree with it, you always have the option to reject the argument by pointing out a distinction between things that the argument had referred to under a common term.

    Because distinctions are always available, they are equally effective against true arguments and false arguments. They cannot distinguish truth from falsehood. Thus, argument by distinction is a rhetorical fallacy, an error in rationality. The error in the argument by distinction happens in the moment when someone automatically discards and ignores the first alternative term simply because they've chosen a second alternative term. Merely using a more precise term does imply an improvement in accuracy any more than using a smaller hammer makes it easier to hit a nail!

    The right way about it is, first, to keep both versions of the argument, with both terms, pending some good reason to abandon one. Second, go ahead and abandon terms (one, both, or neither) if and only if they don't correspond to real things that have relevant properties in common. Third, give more weight to the arguments insofar as they use broader terms (i.e. simplicity) and insofar as the terms correspond to things with more properties in common (i.e. similarity).

  • For the mainstream of the Catholic intellectual tradition, love is not primarily an emotion, but an act of the will.
    ...
    to criticize someone for engaging in immoral activity is not to “hate” that person. In point of fact, it is an act of love, for it is tantamount to willing good for him or her.

    Barron made a distinction between alternative definitions of "love". One version corresponds to wanting the good of the other as an act of willpower, and the other corresponds to human emotions of attachment to other people and all that flows from that. We can call the distinctions "theological love" versus "humane love".

    Then Barron pointed out that his disrespectful criticism of Jenner is (theological) love, not (theological) hate. That correct as far as it goes. But he neglected to recall his distinction! That was only one kind of love. Why ignore the other kind? What he's calling (theological) love is also, at the same time, what human rights activists call (humane) hate.

    If your argument is all about making a distinction, then don't conveniently forget that you've made a distinction.

  • Mike

    1.) I believe that Fr. Barron points out the need to define terms. I've found that whenever I've engaged with someone in an argument it seems to require 10 minutes of defining and agreeing upon certain terms before an effective conversation can take place.
    2.) I always find it helpful to think of (non-romantic) love as Fr. Barron describes. For example if I had a family member who was morbidly obese and only purchased healthy foods, they may think I'm mean, but from my point of view I'm taking that action out of concern for them.
    3.) I've spent the entirety of my adult life on academic campuses, and find that tolerance is misused often. For example those who preach tolerance most aren't even self-consistent. They ask others to tolerate points of view when they disagree with their position, but seem quick to call hate speech (wolf) when they disagree with someone else's point of view. True tolerance at a minimum requires a disagreement.
    4.) I've noticed that many I encounter don't just want tolerance, but affirmation of their life choices from society. This always surprises me because many times I could care less what society thinks of my choices. From my perspective Fr. Barron is correct that celebration of life choices is necessary for those who preach tolerance.

  • David Nickol

    But here is where a crucial distinction has to be made: to criticize someone for engaging in immoral activity is not to “hate” that person.

    What is the immoral activity Caitlyn Jenner has engaged in? And how willing are those who pontificate on Catholic morality willing to listen to the psychiatrists, psychologists, endocrinologists, and other health professionals who actually deal with transgender issues, and also willing to listen to parents of transgender children as well as transgender individuals themselves?

    • Phil Rimmer

      Barron beats Jenner with the fantasy stick of Gnosticism. (Jenner somehow proposes a female spirit in a male body.) This is a gross, trumped-up charge, that allows the manifold hatreds of disgusted Catholics to rest easy in the demure shade of a concerned Godly Love for a wrong 'un.

      We are badly made in no-one's image by a set of sequenced fabrication instructions, that magnify early errors and lead us to a premature birth so we can finish brain wiring in a wide variety of cultural environments. (Men, particularly FWIW, are low tolerance product of their genes, having no back up copy X chromosome.)

      We turn out all sorts of ways. The strict gender (and other) conformalisms of many religious faiths is one of the most politically noxious and reductive. By contrast, cultures have only thrived on the rich stew of diversity.

      Female spirit indeed.

      • William Davis

        This is a very good point. The false belief that we are somehow "designed" is obviously at work here. It is directly at odds with biology.

        • materetmagistra

          @William Davis: "It is directly at odds with biology."

          Wrong. A biological male who thinks he is a female would be "directly at odds with biology."

          • William Davis

            You aren't worth a response.

          • materetmagistra

            Yup. There is no response to your absurd claim.

          • William Davis

            I've had dealings with you in the past. You don't understand what is said, you misrepresent people's claims. You are either irrational or a deeply troubled person. I'm willing to talk about everything that is wrong with you, to you, but that is all. I'll save my conversation time for thinking adults.

          • materetmagistra

            Simply rephrasing most of the things you say, William, so that you can see your ideas in a different light, or see where they lead. That you find the rephrased ideas absurd should tell you something.

          • William Davis

            Lol, if that is what you think you are doing, simply rephrasing ideas, I feel sorry for anyone who has to deal with you in real life. At least here in cyber world, you can be easily ignored. I enjoy talking to some Catholics here, and some are very insightful even though we disagree on many things. I talk to them.... Feel free to add more nonsense if you wish.

          • materetmagistra

            @"I enjoy talking to some Catholics here, and some are very insightful even though we disagree on many things. I talk to them.... Feel free to add more nonsense if you wish."

            Is the idea to politely talk past each other simply to be "chatting"? Or, is the idea to get to the truth of the matter - “The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid.” -GKC

          • Phil Rimmer

            “The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid.”

            Chesterton, possibly at his most crass.

            He does have insightful moments of transcendent truth, however....

            "Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese."

          • William Davis

            I will, at least mention that you came up over at estranged notions. It was a very good comment (still not interested in conversing with you about it, however).

            materetmagistra says: "Used to be that "disturbed" meant you denied objective reality......"

            Not much more than a century ago, women could be committed to insane asylums for denying their objective reality as women by wanting to pursue careers or get a university education or work in a non-gender-traditional field or not get married or manage the number of children she would bear or objecting to legalized physical assault by their father or husband or even to wear pants! That was considered "denying objective reality."

            Children who did not conform to their parents' will in all behavior and speech, in education or apprenticeship, in working in the family's fields or business or sex work or begging, in friendships, or even by masturbating were beaten and physically bound or committed or disowned for "denying objective reality."

            People of lower social standing who made efforts to live beyond their station could also be committed or effectively exiled or jailed -- such as for wearing attire not proper for their class, even if they could afford it. That was considered "denying objective reality."

            Slaves who strove to escape or otherwise obtain freedom for themselves or their children were often severely punished, including the selling off of their family members for "denying objective reality."

            People of non-white races, and the Irish, and the Jews, and the Eastern Europeans who imagined for themselves the status or privileges of white people found their wishes blocked at every turn -- not allowed to live in certain places, not allowed an education, not allowed to get business or education loans or financial support -- and were often punished (beaten, jailed, ostracized, committed, exiled, lynched) for even trying to achieve these desires for "denying objective reality."

            Similarly, folks of higher station were punished if they pursued "low" careers or education or diversions or mingled with the "wrong" people for "denying objective reality."

            Etcetera, etcetera etcetera...

            Striving for different options than those that surround one at birth is, striving to exert oneself in any or all of one's powers, and seeking maximal flourishing is not denial -- within the context of respecting the same by others in the social contract. These are basic human rights.

            http://outshine-the-sun.blogspot.com/2015/07/estranged-notions-love-tolerance-and.html#comment-2129240071

          • materetmagistra

            Those are not examples of "objective reality."

          • David Nickol

            A biological male who thinks he is a female would be "directly at odds with biology."

            What, exactly, is a "biological male"? And even more problematic, what, exactly, is a "biological female"? If you know, please tell the various sporting organizations that have been unable to answer these questions satisfactorily.

          • materetmagistra

            Bruce Jenner has male DNA and has had fathered children. What sporting organization would be confused with that?

          • David Nickol

            You didn't answer the questions I asked,

          • Phil Rimmer

            You seriously need to learn about how genes make bodies and brains. They are not a map or body plan, but a sequenced list of fabrication processes, open to great variation in the final outcomes. Our neotenous nature, the facts of epigenetics and selection pressures affecting gene expression further detract from your simplistic vision of robust body and brain types.

            "directly at odds with biology" indeed!

          • materetmagistra

            How successful will a colony of trans-gendered be if they "lie down with" those of the same biological sex?

          • Phil Rimmer

            What? You are going to round them up?

          • materetmagistra

            You can - it is your point to prove.

          • Phil Rimmer

            Variability can aid evolutionary problem solving, but it can additionally aid directly.

            So, how can non reproductive kin aid their own genetic reproductive fitness?

            Have you any idea how much of a burden our effectively premature and helpless off-spring are compared to all other mammals or primates even?

            We are the only species to trust even non-kin with the safeguarding of our children, so pressing is the need for childcare.

            Before grandparents were invented (quite suddenly during the Aurignacian about 40,000BCE ish) any non reproducing adult kin would be the ideal. first choice. By which service they do pretty well for their own (shared) genes too. Nepotism and mini dynasties do very well for their genes in energy sparse environments, like the past.

          • About as successful as a colony of priests and nuns.

          • William Davis

            Touche, lol!

          • materetmagistra

            Love the little quips which add nothing of substance.
            I did not make the claim that "priests and nuns" increase the evolutionary fitness of humanity.
            The idea that gender-confused individuals add fitness is absurd, as evolution is predicated upon reproduction......

          • No one said that transgendered people increase evolutionary fitness of humanity either. No one would justify it on that basis. Many people are born in ways that, of all humanity was like that, we would not continue. Some are infertile physically, others have no interest in sex, some have no interest in heterosexual sex. Some are born with both male and female genetalia. Others choose a lifestyle that prevents them from reproducing, such as monasticism.

            None of these are of any assistance from a natural selection point of view. Nor should we care. We should care about what is really going on physically and psychologically with people like Caitlynn Jenner, which is that they really are people of a different gender than is manifest in their anatomy. If you're interested in that, don't look here for the information, it is elsewhere. Truly ask yourself, what if what these people are saying is true? Their re-assignment is usually a really good thing, which is why the medical community supports it, and so does society at large.

            The only people who object are those with religious issues or transphobic ideas about the natural order. These objections are very upsetting and harmful to people who deserve to feel included on who they are, not what their gender is.

          • Alexandra

            Hi Brian, Would you please walk me through your reasoning as to how you know Caitlyn is a woman? (Not the reasons to how Caitlyn knows she is a woman, but what are your reasons.)

          • what do you mean by woman?

          • Alexandra

            I am trying to understand your perspective. I know my point of view, I think I generally can describe Caitlyns point of view. What is yours? Are there limits to your understanding (there are in mine)?

          • Thanks for asking. My point of view sex is distinct from gender. Sex has more to do with one's anatomy, and is generally one of two sexes. The number of people born without a clear sex is in the tens of millions. Are these people men or women? are they "confused"? You see how this gets complicated.

            It gets more complicated when we look at the influence of hormones. These are extremely powerful chemicals and how they work. They have enormous biological effects. Men will grow breasts, women, facial hair. Can have different levels of these hormones.

            So even biologically, when it comes to sex, things are not so clear. Generally people with penises and who produce sperm are what I would call the male sex, those who can have babies, the female sex. There is also a spectrum of in-between.

            Gender is related to sex, but not the same thing. Gender has to do up with sexual anatomy, but also socialization. We attribute certain social and physical characteristics with male and female sex. Why? This is unclear. I think a lot has to do with evolution. Men have developed to find certain things attractive in females, body shapes that suggest fertility and health. Women seem to prefer strength and security. These are stereotypes, but I think there is some evolutionary force behind them. But we have thousands of years of culture and artificial selection among ourselves which is not independent of out biology and history. Because of social forces, we associate many more things to the sexes too. Men with work and power, women with homemaking and caring. Men with authority, women with subservience. These also are probably related to biology and evolution to an extend.

            But we have slowly discovered that what we may have taken for granted as a pretty uniform distinction dividing men and women, has deprived one or the other sex pin many meaningful ways. Women are just as capable of working outside the home and being leaders and technicians as are men. What's more many want to do these things. Similarly, men can be great care givers and so on. We find that there actually is no meaningful reason to associate most of these things with one gender or the other.

            This has progresses to the extent that there really is no stigma legitimate stigma to women working and acting in roles traditionally occupied by men and depressing accordingly. We see women wearing jeans and a leather jacket as a legitimate choice of expression. Women who do so are no longer considered transvestites and fashion has caught up in a way that things like pants and suits are commonly designed and worn by women. Women who dress like this are not considered less female and may play much more feminine gender roles at times or more traditionally masculine.

            This hasn't worked the other way round, and men do face enormous stigma if they wear dresses or make up. This, I think is largely due to sexism, men and culture generally fine femininity to be negative, in a way that women don't for masculinity. So women can generally play male or female, but most men cannot. There is a real debate over whether such things as high heels, make up are inherently sexist and bad, or whether they are just choices and only bad when men impose them as a norm. It gets complicated.

            All this is to say that sex has to do with biology and reproduction. Gender has to do with gender roles and I do think of this as role playing. Role playing that is serious in many ways and can be intergral to someone's identity and dignity.

            So "sex" has to do with sexual reproductive anatomy. You can be a man or a woman or intersex from this perspective. Gender has to do with the roles you play in the realm of fashion, and behaviour. There is a mix of different perspectives on this. Some people of one sex will identify as the other in terms of gender, they may dress in this way all the time or some of the time. Others, usually gay men, will dress in drag and play the role of women for fun and satire. This is all in the world of transgender. I would call anyone with male sex organs a woman if they so identified, but I would think of them as transgendered in terms of gender identity.

            My understanding of people who have sex re-assignment surgery is that they are not playing gender roles but really do and have usually always felt that their sexual anatomy is wrong. That they shouldn't or should have a penis. My wife tells me that actually these people often have phantom feelings of penises, as do amputees, it is that real. For people who genuinely are this way, I don't think they feel confused. Many will be raised in situations where these feelings must be repressed and are very strenuously cultured to feel that it is a psychological or moral fault.

            But I take them at their word. I know that people who undergo reassignment do so in the course of a long and involved medical and psychological process to make sure they consent and it is right for them.

            So at the end of the day, unless I am going to have kids with you or I am your physician, it really doesn't matter what your anatomy is, what you were born with or what gender role you play. Because of linguistic traditions I will still use gendered pronouns and make guesses based on traditional names and fashion expression. (My real name is a traditionally female name and I am often called Miss in letters, who cares?) if you want to be referred to by a different pronoun fine.

            My position on this is that we should not worry about it, not say any dress or role in life is inherently female or male, remove stigma from people with different sexes playing different roles.

            So what is Caitlyn Jenner? She is a woman, she is infertile because she was born without female sex organs. Her gender is female, or transgendered. Her sex is female transsexual.

          • Alexandra

            Thank you for your response. This is helpful to me.

          • Uh! I don't want to be provocative - I ask this merely as a question regarding definition. Your last sentence? Her sex is (possibly) male (has she been operated on?) transgendered???? if we are talking 'biology' here.

          • Kraker Jak

            Considering all of the things that BGA said....I think the only conclusion that one can come to is that if God, the creator or designer of the universe and evolution...ie God is behind it all....is that God f*cked up royally in the process. And that we should not treat people, no matter what their gender or none. or chosen gender as anything but human beings with the same rights and respect that we would expect for ourselves.

          • I just watched the acceptance speech by this individual. When she spoke it was what I identified as a male voice, which does not surprise me, as I have a transgendered friend, who has also qualified to be a United Church minister. I feel that here thinking is also more male oriented than mine, no matter how much effort I put into philosophic/analytic thought, etc. You see from the 40's I may still have some prejudices with respect to the norms of sex/gender, even with respect to my own identity.
            What I am uncomfortable with however, is that although I am most happy that this bias/prejudice/stigma is being overcome, it is not necessarily the case when it comes to people who bear the problematic of being labeled with some kind of mental illness. I mentioned this on a comment with Dave. Now we have Mad Pride, as well as Gay pride, but I wish, (and ironically Carolyn used the word courage with respect to those who are 'labelled' transgendered, etc.) - that people would also recognize what I believe is real courage within the lives of those whose thoughts may not be understood within a context of 'sanity' by others.

          • Not sure what you are asking. i didn't say her sex was male. I said it was female, transsexual. Transgender has to do with her gender, not sex. The word male and female can refer to both gender and sex which is confusing. I would prefer we not make gender distinctions, but that just is untenable, given language culture and tradition. Maybe one day.

          • Yes, I have the same concerns with respect to 'confusions' regarding such characteristics as schizophrenic, manic-depressive, catatonic, dual-personality, etc. etc. I may be confused if the definition of sexuality is not explicitly based on biological characteristics, such as having breasts that can produce milk, depending on circumstance, having a vagina, or alternatively a penis, (and I have heard of cases where I have been told both have been in evidence, at least potentially) having a voice that registers in a lower vocal range, such as I identified with Caitlyn when she spoke, and which is also characteristic of a dear friend of mine who is in a similar state of being, etc. etc. So perhaps I understand now, that female is both her chosen gender and her biological sexual choice, (even though she may not exhibit such characteristics physically) and thus the prefix- trans is identified both with gender and sexuality to provide clarity to the issue, - the differentia I believe it is called with respect to humans generally being defined as -homo- sapient. So she is homo- transsexual-transgender. Although the mad man woman has no opportunity to refer to a chosen criteria as being 'trans-sapient'. (I hope you appreciate my humor. It is hetero-serious.)

          • Phil Rimmer

            " None of these are of any assistance from a natural selection point of view. Nor should we care."

            Nor should we care.

            But we don't have to conceed anything, either, if the concern is gene fitness in a real world cultural context of sub optimum energy supply. Non reproducig uncles and aunts (and spinsterhood, for instance, was very common centuries ago) serve their own genetic fitness in supporting their nephews and nieces. All jolly natural.

          • I don't know what you're talking about. The issue is not gene fitness or fitness of any kind.

            The issue is discrimation against trans folk.

          • Phil Rimmer

            Mater said-

            "The idea that gender-confused individuals add fitness is absurd, as evolution is predicated upon reproduction......"

            You reasonably replied-

            "No one said that transgendered people increase evolutionary fitness of humanity either. No one would justify it on that basis."

            But nor need we conceed that they are unfit. I was just heading off what may be mistaken for a concession in-

            " None of these are of any assistance from a natural selection point of view."

            They may be, in fact, of some assistance.

            You said-

            "The issue is discrimation against trans folk."

            I agreed, "Nor should we care."

          • Well from a natural selection point of view, any inability to reproduce will not be selected for. So in that sense, of a population of people who have had sex re-assignment would not survive and would not be fit in that sense. But there are no such populations and transsexuals are no more of a danger to human survival than are anyone else who cannot reproduce. But of course, and we agree this has nothing to do with moral fitness, or the value of such individuals.

            Catholics see transsexuality as being a choice, I suppose, as they may with homosexuality. It is not the fitness from an evolutionary point of view that is their problem, but that it is a choice that diverges from their god-imposed purpose which is to pump out babies. If such a god exists and Catholicism is true, they're right!

            Which is why we should focus on that rather than on whether trans, gay or DINKs are immoral or unfit and so on.

          • Phil Rimmer

            " a population of people who have had sex re-assignment would not survive"

            As agreed this is a ludicrous concept. Catholics are against non-reproducers. If they raise issues of fitness as in genetic fitness, they are, however, in the matter of this wide group, sunk, utterly. Would that they railed against the more numerous group of maiden aunts.

          • Phil Rimmer

            "Catholics see transsexuality as being a choice, I suppose, as they may with homosexuality. It is not the fitness from an evolutionary point of view that is their problem, but that it is a choice that diverges from their god-imposed purpose which is to pump out babies. If such a god exists and Catholicism is true, they're right!"

            No. Maiden Aunts may be a gift from God. God working through the actuality of a gene centred creation may be jolly happy that Robert Trivers is correct and close kin (non reproducing) may assist the flourishing of genes mostly like their own, allowing the propagation of non reproducers.

            Religions that better comport with reality will produce less damaging dogma.

          • Phil Rimmer

            Removed

          • materetmagistra

            @"We should care about what is really going on physically and psychologically with people like Caitlynn Jenner, which is that they really are people of a different gender than is manifest in their anatomy."

            His anatomy is what IS. He is a man. You cannot deny that reality. He claims to "feel" like a woman - which makes him a man (still a man) with confused feelings. Some have pointed out that 'trans-gendered' men and women have certain observable and un-ordinary brain chemistry/physiology...but, that does not make the case for denying the evident physical gender. What is evident is that they are a man or woman with certain thoughts...thoughts which cannot change their physical gender, thus, they are and remain a man or a woman.

          • A person's anatomy is just that, anatomy. But gender is not the same as anatomy and it is not a binary question. Gender is not a physical issue, or at least not simply a physical issue. Gender is a subject that engages social, psychological and biological issues.

            People who have sex re-assignment surgery are not generally confused. I don't have much information to tell you about why some transition. I think the best way to learn is to read a good biography of someone who has had the surgery, and try to understand what their experience of life is.

            I don't see what the big deal is. Your comments of about confusion, UN-ordinary brain chemistry, suggest you are ignorant of what is really going on.

            How much time have you spent investigating this issue? How open is your mind to the claims made by people who transition?

          • materetmagistra

            @"Your comments of about confusion, UN-ordinary brain chemistry, suggest you are ignorant of what is really going on."

            Those comments are coming from others on this very discusion.....shows the lack of reason involved with trying to support irrational ideas. Either both extant factors, mind AND body, are equally important or equally unimportant. Many on here acknowledge one (mind) and deny the other (body.)

  • Doug Shaver

    I argued that the manner in which Jenner spoke of his transition reflected a Gnostic anthropology

    I didn't catch that when I read the original article.

    I have read much about gnosticism and much about anthropology, but I had never seen any reference to gnostic anthropology until now. I see there are some websites devoted to it, but the emphasis seems to be on reinterpreting anthropology from a gnostic perspective.

  • Joe Aboumoussa

    It almost seems as though some who resort to such grievous ad hominem tactics don't even see the irrational approach they're taking - they're being dishonest with themselves as much as with whom they disagree - although many probably know exactly what they're doing: character assassination to assert the will to power rather than rational discourse. The Church has always been under attack and made into a straw man, called everything from the devil to the "Whore of Babylon", but it's no different for these modern, "progressive times". Peacefully dissent from Roe v. Wade and loaded terms like "misogynist", "anti-choice", or "anti-medicine" will be predicated to you. Dissent from Obergefell vs. Hodges and you're a "bigot" or "hater" who is against "equality" or "civil rights". All of these are red herrings that claim a moral high ground without using any reasoned argument or good will.

    Another part of the confusion is the presumption that the Faith and reason de jure are in conflict or that religion cannot offer a free rational opinion rooted in logic and natural law to the state or public sector on what best action to take for the common good. It's very clever propaganda that paints Catholics, Christians, and other ethicists as knuckle-dragging fideists or worse, enemies of the common good. Too bad some Christians have fallen into the secular trap of thinking that loving heretics means loving heresies. We're all in need of rehabilitation of the mind and will. "The Christian doesn't think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because he loves us." CS Lewis. Even virtue is not the end in itself, but a union with Love itself, which does not tolerate evil that harms the beloved.

  • Jeff Manning

    The Vatican made our duty as Catholics in these times clear at the beginning of the century. Father Barron is just being a faithful priest. People who can't make distinctions between loving the sinner and hating the sin need to read Christ's parables about sexual sin and good and bad judgement: the woman caught in adultery and the prodigal son: https://www.facebook.com/uCatholic/photos/pb.123119221038808.-2207520000.1436631068./1134200523264001/?type=1&theater

    • David Nickol

      Father Barron is just being a faithful priest.

      How will he be a faithful priest on this issue, as summed up in a headline from the New York Times?

      In Fiery Speeches, Francis Excoriates Global Capitalism

      • Alexandra

        I'm sure he will take the time to reflect on the Popes words instead of reading hyperbolic newspaper headlines. ;)

        If someone is an "outsider looking in" I can imagine Catholicism may seem overwhelming and even baffling. Fr. Barron does an amazing job of explaining the faith in clear way. He represents Catholics well. So I always recommend his website to those want to understand Catholicism more. No worries about him not being a faithful priest!

  • Joe Aboumoussa
  • Joe Aboumoussa
    • David Nickol

      How many times, when doctors deliver a baby, do they say, "It's a woman!"

    • David Nickol

      Pope Francis Grills Burgers On Balcony Of St. Peter’s Basilica

  • David Nickol

    In Matthew, Jesus is given a hypothetical scenario of a woman who marries and is widowed a total of seven times, and he's asked who will be the woman's husband after the resurrection.

    Jesus said to them in reply, “You are misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels in heaven.

    What does it mean to be "like angels in heaven"?

    • Alexandra

      Hi David, Angels are purely spiritual beings (no corporeal form, i.e. bodies), and thus would not physically unite in marriage like a man and woman do.

      For more on Angels from the catechism:
      http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p1s2c1p5.htm

      • David Nickol

        Thanks for the link. The question remains, though. In what way will men be like angels? Will men become purely spiritual beings? It seems to me that is the implication. That is not the Catholic belief, since Catholics believe in the resurrection of the body. But it seems to be the meaning here. Jesus could just have said there will be no marriage in the afterlife

        • Kraker Jak

          Thanks for the link. The question remains, though. In what way
          will men be like angels? Will men become purely spiritual beings? It
          seems to me that is the implication. That is not the Catholic belief,
          since Catholics believe in the resurrection of the body. But it seems to
          be the meaning here. Jesus could just have said there will be no
          marriage in the afterlife, but he went farther than that. He said, "At
          the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels in heaven."

          I think that it is time for all those who are trying to be open minded, tolerant and patient, those of us who are/were clinging to some kind of hope in Catholicism, to finally let it go. That is not to say that hope in some sort of god concept or afterlife must be extinguished. There is Deism in it's various conceptions to be considered. But I do think that we have run the gamut of Christianity and Catholicism.

          • Alexandra

            To be truly open minded is to not automatically reject the things that you find ridiculous or implausible. It's much easier to say you are "open minded" when you are not challenged.

          • David Nickol

            I am at a loss to guess what your point is, and especially what it has to do with what I said. In any case, you jumbled the material you quoted from my message and included something in your quote that I didn't write (i.e., "Will men become like angels?").

          • Kraker Jak

            Become angels....or become like angels.....phfttt.....small distinction....splitting hairs. And as far as my point....it was included at the end of my previous comment. It may be time to let go of the strict legalistic, triumphalistic, brand with its' dogmas.

            That is not to say that hope in
            some sort of god concept or afterlife must be extinguished. There is
            Deism in it's various conceptions to be considered.

          • David Nickol

            Become angels....or become like angels.....phfttt.....small distinction....splitting hairs.

            So when Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven," it would be splitting hairs to argue whether he meant "become like children" or "become children"?

            Surely there is a very clear distinction between saying "become like angels" and "become angels." I don't think you could find anyone who understands English to disagree with that. Your real point would seem to be that analyzing the sayings of Jesus is not going to yield any useful information about ultimate questions regarding the existence of God or the nature of an afterlife (if there is any). So why don't you just say that?

          • Alexandra

            You know KJ, you are right in a sense. (And I thank you for your comment since it helped me appreciate this). Say there is someone who has never heard of Christianity, and I start telling them there was a Virgin birth , and a man rose from the dead, and miracles, and there are Angels and Devils....you are right, common sense would probably say - Run Away!

            Yet there are people of faith.
            So what are Catholics seeing and experiencing that you don't? Is there something more?

          • Another possibility, Kraker Jak, with respect to some possible correspondence between scripture/revelation and Hellenistic philosophy. I like to think of angels, merely within even a secular context, as the way these philosophers, and even prophets back in the OT, visualized some of the thoughts they had or could have. The extension of the idea of angels came from the consideration that there had to be some sort of bridge between the limitations of humanity and the perfection of God. So of course, we are, as they say, the highest of the animals and the lowest of the angels. I have considered the hierarchy of angels within such as context, with the top three, knowledge, and love, and thrones, or humility as being the most abstract. The middle level I have visualized as having to do with science. The dominions of mathematics, the virtues of scientific method, and the powers of theoretical 'speculation?' the lowest sphere of course, - the principalities and rules - well that is obvious, they are obviously talking about the Donald Trumps of this world, and the archangels of course are all the true professionals. And the angels that guard us. Shall I think of the soldiers, the sailors and the singers, and all the rest of the remaining populations of hard working celestial beings, whose thoughts may at times be more down to earth and have more common sense than they are given credit for?

        • Alexandra

          ROFL (for your last sentence), and I love this comment. :) Lots of good thoughts David.
          ((I'm picturing some adorable, bespectacled, Catholic theologian in a deep dark underground Vatican basement (with a long corridor to get there of course) taking years writing an entire thesis on whether we will have clothes in heaven ;) .))

          I'm not certain if there is a consensus on the meaning of the Bible passage about Angels that you are asking about. I'd have to get back to you on that one.
          The theological field for questions about Heaven and the afterlife is called "eschatology".

          "I think Catholicism views men as 'fatherlike' (whether they are fathers or not) and women as being 'motherlike'".
          That's a fantastic comment. I think that could really be fleshed out. I've heard it described as masculinity and femininity.

          For me, when I think about what Heaven will be like, I look around the world I know. There is so much that is so marvelous, so beautiful, so good. Just to think about of the sheer number of stars in the heavens, or the the enormity of the universe, or how amazing it is we are able to breathe and move, or the beauty of a child's view of the world -you can't help being amazed. What more is in store for us? I can't wait.

        • Michael Murray

          Imagine being a fashion designer after the resurrection and having to come up with new styles for an infinite number of seasons!

          Surely they would do what they do now and just repeat everything periodically. So every decade, for all eternity, you would have to wear flairs and ponchos. I wonder what hell is like ?

      • Ladolcevipera

        Should I take all this literally? And if so, does it mean that devils also exist?

        • Alexandra

          Devils are fallen Angels.

          Keep in mind we are not talking about
          the images we have of Angels with halos and wings or Devils that are red with horns. Those images are fantastical.

          What we are acknowledging is that there is a reality beyond our material world. Angels are part of that's reality.

          For me, I have no problem thinking angels exist in the same way I have no problem thinking all the dinosaurs existed even though I have never seen one. Do we really know what any dinosaur looked like? No. We also have an image for them - but we don't know the whole reality nor what they actually looked like too. But we acknowledge a reality that consisted of dinosaurs.

          But we don't have any angel bones, do we? Well, you are a spiritual creature. You are body and spirit. As you start to understand your own spirit, it can help to understand God (and the Angels) who are pure Spirits.

          • Phil Rimmer

            "Do we really know what any dinosaur looked like? No."

            Yes. In detail. Many of them.

            This one has feathered wings.

            https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e8/Archaeopteryx_fossil.jpg

          • Alexandra

            Not in detail. Only some aspects. Not the whole reality. I'm making an analogy. How do we understand things we have never seen? What evidence do we use to form the picture? (That"s a very lovely fossil image, however.)

          • Phil Rimmer

            It is lovely, isn't it?

            We know lots and lots of details about how it looked because it is the direct antecedent of birds and the bone details show the size and positioning of all its muscles from their attachment sites. Further scientists can model this information and create articulated models that can be flight tested.

            Here's what this dinosaur probably looked like-

            https://www.museumwales.ac.uk/media/20381/archaeoptryx-dino-birds.jpg

          • Alexandra

            Phil. We don't disagree about dinosaurs. They're pretty amazing right?

          • Phil Rimmer
          • Alexandra

            That's awesome.

            Things that exist leave traces. So true. Agreed. It's what Catholics keep trying to explain to atheists. :)

          • Phil Rimmer

            I await your linked images eagerly...

          • Alexandra

            Lol. Very clever. :)

          • William Davis

            Our problem, in general, is that there are so many "traces" with regard to religion. There are still Jews (don't believe Jesus was the messiah), Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Shintoists...over 4000 religions. If the standard of evidence is the claims of the religious, then all have "traces".

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_religions_and_spiritual_traditions

            To make it worse, there are 44,000 denominations of Christians, and my reading of the Bible demonstrates beliefs of Jesus and Paul that do not jive with Catholic teaching (except in very loose ways), and different Gospels even have differing views. This is my problem at least. If there were only one religion, things would quite simple ;)

          • Phil Rimmer

            "This is my problem at least."

            Its not mine. There is documentation aplenty for most of these Abrahamic religions particularly the Nicean fabrications, editings and spin doctorings. Horse trading for consensus and the myriad schisms and new coinings after.

            My problem is not religion (for which accounts are psychologically easy), it is detecting any actual traces of God, and of a supernatural world at any level outside of the laws of thermodynamics that may act as channels of transmission of information of and from Her.

          • Alexandra

            Hi William, What you are saying is very true, and I sympathize with someone who has to sort out which faith tradition holds true. There are many people who have been in your position, and have shared their stories of how they found that Catholicism is true.
            Our journey towards God, and our understanding of God, is unique, personal, and can be pretty amazing. (God has a sense of humor ;) ). It can take time (a very long time!) to know truth and to grow in faith. In the meantime, we all do the best we can to be good, loving people, and seek Truth.

          • Ladolcevipera

            I have no trouble acknowledging that there is a reality beyond our material world. The problem is that we have no idea at all what this (spiritual) reality is like. I am always baffled when intelligent people take stories literally. I went to a catholic school from the age of 6 till 18. From the very first moment everything went wrong as far as my "catholic education" was concerned. I took all the stories as symbolical representations of a particular view on the universe. I was of course a child then and I thought like a child. I could not use these wording but I knew instinctivily that something wasn't right. I have thought a lot since then and my views haven't changed.
            I do not believe in angels nor in devils. But just for argument's sake: How can angels fall? They have a free will that was created good. As I argued somewhere else on this forum: what causes a will that is good to choose something that is not good? Whatever apologists may say, God is ultimately responsible for evil.
            I have a question with regard to these fallen angels. Lucifer went to hell for his sin. His sin was that he disobeyed God, but maybe for good reasons. Is forgiveness possible for him or does he haveto stay in hell forever?
            I think one of the most beautiful,powerful sentences uttered by a fallen angel is: "The mind is its own place. and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven". You'll find it in Milton's Paradise Lost, Book I, 254. I fully agree with it.

          • Alexandra

            Thank you for your comment.
            The stories are icons of a deeper reality so I am not sure why you thought they must be read literally. The teacher should distinguish what the faith holds true about the stories from what can be considered allegory by also teaching you the truth and principles of the faith.

            As to the questions about evil I humbly submit that I don't know. The Church explains God with full awareness of how little we actually understand. We are limited creatures when it comes to understanding God, but through God's grace, we are giving insights- sufficient enough to be in relationships with Him and grow in faith. (Even the Apostles who spent years with Christ were confused by many things he did.) The Catechism is a good source for what the Church says about Fallen Angels, and so forth.

            > God is ultimately responsible for evil.
            I can think of an example where God wouldn't be responsible. What if humans were the sole source and creators of Evil? Then God would not be responsible for the evil existing, but allowing you freedom. In other words, you would be responsible. And you could also end it. So then God neither creates or is responsible for Evil, but allows it to exist.
            The idea holds for Devils too. For example, Angel could end the Devils Evil- a spiritual battle. And explains the difference of Evil caused by humans vs. the devil. So then, God allows Evil caused by humans but eradicates Evil caused by Devils. Which would make sense why the Devils would want to tempt humans into committing Evil. Edit to add: And God would want you to stop your own Evil, otherwise you are just like the Devils- lost with no redemption.

            But honestly, I don't know.

            > what causes a will that is good to choose something that is not good?
            > His sin was that he disobeyed God, but maybe for good reasons.

            You will know the answer to how a being chooses not to do good if you have ever sinned. Humans also choose not to do good.
            Understanding your own sinfulness and goodness gives insight to the nature of Evil. And you would know there is never good reason to sin.

            > "The mind is its own place. and in itself can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven".
            I agree the mind can do this but it comes from a place of despair. Anyone who struggles with addiction can have a sense of this.

          • Ladolcevipera

            Your answers are undoubtedly very sincere from your point of view but they cause me to despair of ever making a believer understand that citing from or referring to the Bible is NOT the way to convince a non-believer. I'm sorry to say you sound very preachy...

          • Alexandra

            Ok. Lado...be well. :) If you ever want to discuss the idea that God is responsible for evil again, I think it a very interesting discussion. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.

          • Kraker Jak

            Devils would want to tempt humans into committing Evil.

            How do devils tempt humans? Has god given them the power to access our minds, and thoughts? Do they have the ability to plant ideas or thoughts in our heads thereby exerting influence to do evil? Do they know what we are thinking? can they read our minds and influence our thinking or actions?Can the devils actually see and know what we are thinking and doing? can the saints and loved ones in heaven see and know what we are doing at any given time?

          • Alexandra

            Hi KJ, I was giving a hypothetical example, but I think all your questions are really great and interesting. If an OP related to your questions comes up I will try to write to you.

          • William Davis

            I can think of an example where God wouldn't be responsible. What if humans were the sole source and creators of Evil?

            As usual, there is no explanation for natural evil...viruses, earthquakes, volcanoes, accidents, the vast majority of "evil" or random things that result in senseless death and debilitation. If you try to use the fall, you probably won't like my response (just warning you :)
            Out of curiosity, do you think God really brought the Genesis flood?

          • Alexandra

            Dutifully warned William. ;)

            I humbly submit that I do not know the nature of evil.

            Nevertheless, your example could fit my model. It could be fitted into devil caused evil. And we also know that it is not human caused evil. In others words, your example doesn't contradict my hypothetical model.

          • William Davis

            I'll have to think about it. I'll try to come back to you

            Fair enough :)

          • Alexandra

            Thanks William. I am trying to follow Rule 6 of the commenting guidelines, so when an OP on Evil comes up again I'll make sure to write to you.

          • William Davis

            Sounds like a plan.

          • Kevin Aldrich

            For sensible answers to your questions, read Maritain's very short book "St. Thomas and the Problem of Evil." Maybe I'll try to write an OP summarizing his insights.

          • Ladolcevipera

            I'll be looking forward to your OP! Since you are a Thomas and Maritain fan and I am not, I doubt whether we'll ever agree on something. I'll try and read Maritain.

    • Since 'angels' are not incarnate mind, this analogy of being like an angel following the 'last judgment' would seem to contradict the 'idea' of the bodily/physical resurrection. I won't go into speculation that to avoid the contradiction some hypothesize could be developed where the idea of a 'glorified' body would overcome any difficulties with respect to either sex or gender.in any decision as to who shall be the spouse of the widow.

  • David Nickol

    Of all people, Senator Lindsey Graham made a statement about Caitlyn Jenner that I find praiseworthy:

    “If Caitlyn Jenner wants to be safe and have a prosperous economy, vote for me. I’m into addition," he said during an interview on CNN's "State of the Union." "I haven’t walked into her shoes. I don’t have all the answers to the mysteries of life. I can only imagine the torment that Bruce Jenner went through. I hope he’s -- I hope she has found peace."

    "I’m a pro-life, traditional marriage kind of guy," he added. "But I’m running to be president of the United States. If Caitlyn Jenner wants to be a Republican, she is welcome in my party.”

    If only people like Father Barron could say, "I don't have all the answers to the mysteries of life." But they can't say that, because they think they do! Now, people like Father Barron could say, "I haven’t walked into her shoes. . . . I can only imagine the torment that Bruce Jenner went through." But religious opponents of LBGT concerns don't seem to be strong on empathy for the people they see as adversaries.

    • cestusdei

      We don't rely solely on emotions and feelings for determining the truth. But homosexuals certainly have no empathy or tolerance for those who disagree with them. I feel their hate daily.

      • David Nickol

        But homosexuals certainly have no empathy or tolerance for those who disagree with them. I feel their hate daily.

        Well, where do you encounter the homosexuals with whom you disagree? If it is on the battlefields (of which Strange Notions is one) of the culture wars, then fighting it out is pretty much what it's all about. But I think in "real life," most gay people have to deal with family, friends, and co-workers who are not necessarily militantly pro-gay rights, to say the least. I think in "real life," gay and straight people usually peacefully co-exist, and gay people do not go around preaching hate against people who are not their biggest fans.

        I would have to say that personally, I understand how people, especially older or more conservative people, might be stunned and aghast by the progress of the gay-rights movement. But (as Bob Dylan said) the times, they are a-changin'. And it is not as if there is no hate coming from those who criticize gay people.

        • cestusdei

          Right here for starters. We see people losing their jobs, businesses, getting death threats...All because they refuse to agree with you. Why don't you just leave us alone? Because you do hate us with a passion.

          • David Nickol

            Why don't you just leave us alone? Because you do hate us with a passion.

            Who is the "us" you are speaking for and asking be left alone? And whom do you mean by "you"? I don't think of myself as either a leader or a follower in any well defined movement. I can't think of any group I hate with a passion.

            You sound very angry, and I don't think there is much profit in trying to have a dialog with an angry person. But maybe you will surprise me.

        • I have watched this movement grow since my familiarity of such practices as 'daisy chains' among my friends in the sixties. - through the antics of David Bowie, the empowering through 'Gay Pride', and the resultant, and expected movement towards more conservative behavior which was predicted as being an outcome of success with respect to stigma and opportunities available within society. This success I believe has been achieved as a result of at least one factor that is not present within those who are stigmatized because of mental health issues. Indeed, this group of people have even adopted the slogan Mad Pride. Hopefully, they will have comparable success in the future, despite the possibility that their creativity, imagination, and intelligence will not necessarily have the impact it has had, within the advancement of the 'gay' community. There's is a march based on courage, I submit, that they indeed can be truly proud of.

      • Doug Shaver

        I feel their hate daily.

        If all the homosexuals in your social circle are so consistently hateful, maybe you need to find another social circle to hang out in.

        • cestusdei

          Nice way to avoid the point. We both know the vile hatred aimed at Christians exists and seems to be gaining approval in the media. Legal persecution is arriving and you are cheering.

          • Doug Shaver

            Nice way to avoid the point.

            What point was there to avoid? Hatred doesn't exist where you say it does because you say so.

            We both know the vile hatred aimed at Christians exists

            Every group is hated by some members of at least one other group. Christians are not the least bit special in that regard.

            and seems to be gaining approval in the media.

            Not so I've noticed.

            Legal persecution is arriving and you are cheering.

            You say so.

          • cestusdei

            Hatred doesn't exist? Ask Eich or the Memories Pizza owners.

            Yes, we are hated and are being persecuted.

            I know so.

          • Doug Shaver

            Hatred doesn't exist?

            I didn't say that.

          • cestusdei

            It does exist and we Christians are on the receiving end from the homosexuals.