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Old 12-29-2009, 07:02 PM   #46
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Given that the Vatican has officially pronounced homosexuality an 'ideology of evil', I don't think I buy the notion which you seem to be postulating (correct me if I'm wrong) that Christianist homophobia is largely a US evangelist Christian issue and not a particularly noteworthy feature of the Church of Rome.
Actually my experience in Catholic churches was similar as Kieran's. I don't really remember them railing against homosexuality; abortion, on the other hand was a favourite topic alongside poverty, charitable relief, etc.

Though it should be noted that I haven't actually been attending church (aside from some Christmas masses and funeral masses) over a decade so it's possible that things have changed.
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:10 PM   #47
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Actually my experience in Catholic churches was similar as Kieran's. I don't really remember them railing against homosexuality; abortion, on the other hand was a favourite topic alongside poverty, charitable relief, etc.
same here. after attending saturday mass nearly every saturday for almost two years a while back, i don't recall ever having a sermon about how homosexuality is wrong or anything. however, this church puts many, many crosses on their lawn every year, one for each abortion performed in the city.

while i wouldn't be surprised to find out there are catholic churches out there devoting whole sermons to the "sin" that is homosexuality, it's not the case here, anyway.
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:12 PM   #48
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Actually my experience in Catholic churches was similar as Kieran's. I don't really remember them railing against homosexuality;
Right. But the priests might water it down as so many of them are closet gays. It doesn't change the essential wrongness of the Vatican's position.

Bascally this is not an organisation worthy of my support in any way, even tacit. As a committed doctrinaire atheist, the funerals and weddings thing is tricky for me. I would hope I will never attend mass or confession again (and indeed haven't done for years) but if I stopped going to funerals or weddings it could be deemed offensive by the type of people who put a lot of store in these rituals.
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:25 PM   #49
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I think the point I was making was simply that, whatever the Vatican might like to think, worldwide Christiandom is not an analogue of its medieval predecessor. We do not march in lockstep. And at the local level you'd be surprised how little bearing the controversial stuff has on what gets done.

The priests might 'water it down' because it just isn't the main game.
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:30 PM   #50
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The other point I would like to think I was making is that so much of this stuff strikes me as culture and place specific. Just as the more notorious sexual preoccupations of the Catholic elite have as much to do with their long and unwieldy stew of tradition and scripture, so the societies of Ireland, Australia and middle America are not the same as each other. Honestly, the US fundy stuff that sometimes crops up on this forum is utterly alien to my understanding of the faith.
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:32 PM   #51
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It seems to me you're making things too easy for yourself. You run the risk of being accused of turning a blind eye to bigotry, because, hey, the Church of Rome does good stuff too.


New Rules Affirm Pope Benedict's Stance Against Gays - washingtonpost.com
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:37 PM   #52
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I run the risk of speaking only for myself, mate.

If you expect me to answer for the Vatican, you will be left waiting, I am afraid.
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:42 PM   #53
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There are Christian churches that do not promote homophobia:

Blessing of same-sex unions in Christian churches - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:43 PM   #54
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And if you want to accuse me of bigotry, and not merely leave me open to such a charge, then do go ahead.
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:48 PM   #55
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No, my point is more that:

(1) The Catholic Church has an official position that is homophobic by any reasonable standard
(2) Being an organisation with some influence in the world, The Catholic Church's official position on homosexuality can (and most likely does) lead to actual homophobia in practice.
(3) By remaining within the Church of Rome ordinary Catholics are at least enabling said theology, even if they do not personally agree with it.
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:52 PM   #56
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No, my point is more that:

(1) The Catholic Church has an official position that is homophobic by any reasonable standard
(2) Being an organisation with some influence in the world, The Catholic Church's official position on homosexuality can (and most likely does) lead to actual homophobia in practice.
(3) By remaining within the Church of Rome ordinary Catholics are at least enabling said theology, even if they do not personally agree with it.
Think of a church as being a little like a political party. It becomes easier then. Of course political movements can and do splinter. If and when the pressures become great enough. The Anglican church appears to be in the process of tearing itself apart over just this issue. At this stage, for whatever reason, the Catholic church appears more stable. I'm not entirely sure why, but you should be assured that it is not because all Catholics comfortably regard homosexuality as evil.

Mostly, I find your argument, not wrong exactly, it has a certain relentless logic to it, just not much nuance. People aren't simply automatons. And my political party analogy is intended to touch on this. Pick any broad based political party that you're familiar with. Within its ranks you will find major figures who can barely stand to be in the same room with each other. And yet (until and unless they don't), they stay.
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:02 PM   #57
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Think of a church as being a little like a political party. It becomes easier then.
One with, in this case, 'una doce, una voce' as its guiding principle, perhaps. It seems to me that there is no toleration of serious dissent, as shown by the current Pope's record as "Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith".

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At this stage, for whatever reason, the Catholic church appears more stable.
Is it because it is based on a profoundly undemocratic patriarchichal hierarchical authoritarian system?
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:30 PM   #58
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I should perhaps come clean and say that I am unofficially lapsed in so far as it is the faith, not the organisation, that I support. That might explain my failure to loudly condemn at the appropriate moments.

And so it is in political movements. You have your elite, your powerbrokers, your foot soldiers, and then you have all the rest who respect the vision and avoid the rest. It's a little like... if I was a citizen of the US, I would vote reliably Democratic, but on no account would I seek office in that party.

Look, the Catholic church is trapped by its own tradition. Two thousand years, beginning in Rome, later dominating medieval Europe, later mugged by modernity and the Enlightenment. Where its less defensible elements clash with the teachings of Jesus - and you had better believe I put the gay issue in this category - then frankly, I know which side I come down on. That was what I meant earlier when I alluded to our local priest who I knew for some years. I honestly have no idea what he thought about homosexuality or the ordination of women, because he talked about the type of stuff that often gets associated with the left in Australia... social justice type stuff. In fact, time was when the Catholics in Australia were being bashed from the right, often as not. It wasn't a matter of going along with hatred of homosexuals because, well, nice things were advocated for the poor... it was a matter that the primary, the only message was to love your neighbour as yourself, and that the last shall be first, and all the rest.

No, I am not pleased about the vocal ultra conservative elements that we seem to hear from all the time these days. This is, however, the same church that sat through Vatican II in the 1960s. They're pretty atrophied but all institutions are forced to change at some point.
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:43 PM   #59
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There are Christian churches that do not promote homophobia:

Blessing of same-sex unions in Christian churches - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Are you saying that the refusal to bless same-sex marriages is synonymous with homophobia?
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:49 PM   #60
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No, my point is more that:

(1) The Catholic Church has an official position that is homophobic by any reasonable standard
(2) Being an organisation with some influence in the world, The Catholic Church's official position on homosexuality can (and most likely does) lead to actual homophobia in practice.
(3) By remaining within the Church of Rome ordinary Catholics are at least enabling said theology, even if they do not personally agree with it.
Wow. I just can't get behind this at all.

I believe that Republicans are dead wrong in their ideology and practice of running a government. I actively work to keep them from getting what they want, but that disagreement with beliefs and lifestyles doesn't meant that I'm bigoted towards republicans.

In the same manner, I have plenty of friends that would identify themselves as Christians that would never "bless" a same-sex marriage in the confines of their faith, that would never say that homosexuals don't have the right to follow their hearts in this area and "marry" the person that they choose.

It is far too easy to label those we disagree with rather then understand the nuances of their position. I believe our media is partly to blame for this in that they rarely give voice to well reasoned people on either side of this debate, but rather put the most flamboyantly gay person on the screen right next to the most obnoxiously bigoted "christian". There is a lot of intellectual ground in between those two poles.
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