Andrew Sullivan on Being Gay In The Catholic Church.

If you care about this issue, if you’re processing through it at all, Sullivan’s book Virtually Normal is a must read. It’s far and away the best I’ve read on this issue yet it seems hardly anyone I’ve talked to has read it.

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8 thoughts on “Andrew Sullivan on Being Gay In The Catholic Church.

  1. I wonder what it means to be Catholic, or Christian for that matter but decide that pieces of it aren’t congruent with your worldview. At what point do you cease to be Catholic? How many of these issues must you reject before you are just fundamentally not Catholic anymore? One can say they are virtually anything if that statement doesn’t have to be a holistic one. I could be an atheist except that I disagree with their stance on the existence of God. That’s an obvious exaggeration but I do think the fundamental question is a good one, how much of a particular philosophy/theology/worldview do you have to agree with to legitimately self-define?

    There is a particular application for me as a pastor obviously as I interact with lots of people in my church who self-define as Christians but would essentially reject significant historically Christian theology, ie. the exclusivity of Christ, the need for repentance, the scope and depth of sin or a particular view of eternity. At what point are they simply not Christians?

    I get that people are in process and that nobody agrees on everything. I just got an email today from a guy who became a Christian after 2 years of attending our church so I know he has gradually come to believe these things but what about the person who is static and has no intention of pursuing a more historically orthodox view of things?

    Have we lost the ability to accurately self-identify? Does it even matter that Andrew Sullivan calls himself a Catholic? Are we really that post-modern? Why have I used so many question marks??

  2. So a person can’t sincerely call themselves a Christian because they differ from “the tradition” on the interpretation of a handful of passages regarding an issue Jesus never directly addressed? Interesting. I bet there are Churches that still force women to wear head-coverings and they might say the same thing about you. Either way, good luck in San Francisco with your criteria you got going on.

  3. Come on Zach, are we not past the point that you would grossly mischaracterize my comment? As you well know the Catholic Church is based far more on tradition and the authoritative teaching of the church than any other denominations. So he is going against the teaching of the church and that means something significant for Catholics.

    Besides, my comment had nothing to do with the issue of homosexuality. I asked a legitimate philosophical question about how much a person has to agree with a particular dogma in order to identify yourself with said dogma. So not only did you completely mischaracterize my comment, you completely also my actual point. Is this not a blog that someone can air a dissenting opinion?

  4. You certainly can air any opinion you want but don’t think it’s just gonna be given a free pass. This post is about homosexuality in the Church so I apologize for assuming that was the context in which you wrote your comment.

    So do you believe that someone can share Sullivan’s view and still be a Christian? If I’m wrong in assuming you did not, I apologize.

    In response to your point, I guess it is all depends on the degree to which someone places the issue of homosexuality in relation to the other doctrinal issues. For some, Sullivan’s view is a deal-breaker but for others, it’s akin to Paul’s mandate for all women to wear head coverings in Church. What is considered “cultural” and what is considered “trans-cultural”?

  5. Sure I get this issue in particular but honestly I was looking at it philosophically. How much of a faith does one have to adhere to in order to still believe it. I actually think the hell issue is a better example simply because it has been so historically consistent. It’s just becoming so common so call oneself a Christian while denying pretty core historical doctrines like I mentioned above, I’m curious your take. Let’s just st Sullivan disagreed with the church on homosexuality, hell and the exclusivity of Christ, can he still be Catholic?

    Let’s say a Hindu denies two of the five pillars or a Buddhist doesn’t believe in Karma? Are they still Hindu or Buddhist or are they something else altogether?

  6. Well, I guess the answer to your various questions would all depend on the eye of the beholder. I can’t speak for Sullivan but I have what could be understood as, to some degree, alternative views on all those issues and I still consider myself a faithful Christian. It seems likely, based on what I know about your beliefs, you would disagree. (If I’m off base here then my apologies) As Christians, it seems pretty clear that you and I have different priorities. While we might disagree with each other on a host of issues, I wouldn’t consider questioning your sincerity as a self-professed Christian. Honestly, I don’t really put much thought into these kinds of who’s-in-or-out distinctions. If someone tells me they are a Christian and they are seeking to follow Jesus, I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt despite potentially differing viewpoints.

  7. Oh and to your statement about my take on your faith, I have no idea man. We have never even met. I assure you that my comments are in no way meant to call anyone’s faith specifically into question, even Andrew’s but especially not yours. I just wonder if words have meaning anymore.

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