Audio: Homosexuality, From Tolerance to Love

I recently gave a lecture at the University of Notre Dame as part of its Theology on Tap series, sponsored by ND Campus Ministry. You can listen to the audio by clicking here.

Here’s the event description:

Join us for Theology on Tap, a Catholic speaker series for undergraduate and graduate students of all ages, single and married, to share in food, fellowship and faith. The Oct. 29 session will be hosted by Chris Damian, JD Candidate from the University of St. Thomas. This talk will consider the Church’s teachings on homosexuality in the light of God’s love for all his children. In a loving Christian concept of justice, a true Christian view of homosexuality must extend past mere tolerance (which allows for keeping others at arm’s length) to self-giving love. The talk will be hosted at Legends at 8 p.m. All students are invited to attend. Students must be 21 or over to drink. ID required. To see the full schedule of Theology on Tap events, please visit http://campusministry.nd.edu/about-catholicism/theology-on-tap/.

24 thoughts on “Audio: Homosexuality, From Tolerance to Love

  1. Hi Chris,

    Great talk. I just have a question for you. In the Q&A part of the talk you were ask about celibacy being imposed on gay people… It was the first question. I wonder if you would consider as an answer that gay people also have access to marriage if they find an opposite sex person that they would want to share their live with. I’m not proposing this as a “solution” to being gay. But it remains true. And being here at spiritual friendship I have known many of you who are married. It seems to me that dismissing the possibility of marriage for gay people are doing a dishonor to these married gay people… They are getting ignored and overlooked as if their choice was nonsense… Do I make sense? Am I explaining myself? I don’t know…

    • You are referring to poster/blogger Daniel, I think. He is bisexual heteroromantic as I understand it (from reading some of his blog). This is an important distinction from just purely gay/homoromantic. It would be very dangerous for those to get married to opposite sex partners.

      • You are wrong. I’m not referig to him exclusively. There are many in SF that identify themselves as homosexuals and are married.

      • Wow, that’s a long name for me! “Bisexual heteroromantic.” I’ll just stick to “Dan”. But yes, I am attracted to women as well as men, though the attraction to men is more visceral.

        As for the claim that it’s dangerous for gay people to get married to opposite sex partners, I don’t see why that would be the case unless gay people (a) are incapable of chastity, or (b) deceive their spouse. Now, I don’t believe gay folks are incapable of chastity, and no one should deceive their spouse in such a way. So I don’t see a problem with gay people marrying the opposite sex.

        I agree that it is often a good idea for gay people not to marry. But why do you think it would be “dangerous”?

      • Daniel,

        Sorry for the delay in response.

        I am glad I nailed the name. And I can still call you Daniel – bisexual heteroromantic is just a designation for you based off what I have seen and it seems accurate by your own description (attracted to both but for men it is more visceral/physical in nature than emotional). Try not to take it as me insulting you – for me referring to you as Daniel the heteromantic bisexual gentleman is no different from me referring you as Daniel the blogger gentleman.

        As for the danger, it lies in risking the emotional and potential spiritual well being of a woman and potential kids for an experiment in chastity. For you, this works because you can love a woman – the heteroromantic part. For me, I cannot, so for me it would amount to me using a woman for making kids, testing faith, and the like. Nothing good. Women and the potential children deserve better than that.

      • Hi Nathaniel! Thanks for your response. 🙂

        To be clear, when I said my attraction to men is more “visceral”, I didn’t mean that it was *only* visceral. It’s reasonably textured and diverse, even if it never involved the desire for romance.

        Your comments about marriage involving harm to a potential wife gloss over, to some degree, the wife’s ability to agree to marriage. Agreeing to marriage with anyone involves laying down your life, and taking up a cross. I agree that it’s wrong to do an experiment with another person’s life, but I’m not sure why it would be wrong for someone else to voluntarily join in an experiment.

        In my book, men and women are complementary — not just straight men and straight women. I haven’t seen evidence that goes against my view, but I’m open to it.

        The complementarity of men and women doesn’t mean that it would be wise to marry just anybody, obviously, and it doesn’t mean that everybody should get married. Some people serve the kingdom of God better by being unmarried.

      • Daniel,

        It isn’t about whether she is willing to enter into this experiment with me, really. Sure, there is her, but beyond this there are children. Whether you believe that marriage is about raisiing kids or not, with man and woman kids are a possibility.

        Straight men and bisexual men can compliment women well enough but I can’t. Every broken family where dad ditches mom to marry uncle Steve that dots news and personal stories is all the proof I need to see what a foundation of sand that is.

        It may work for you but for me it is playing roullette with the lives of innocents. I am better served by being a supportive uncle to my sisters kids or adopting the unwanted ones should finances allow.

      • Nathaniel,

        Are gay men not capable of being chaste? Are they not capable of resisting the temptation to destroy their own marriage?

        There are promises it is not wise to make, but I’m quite sure that most gay men would be at least *capable* of keeping a promise to their wives and/or children. Whether they *choose* to keep that promise is up to them.

        But then again, it’s up to me, too, even though I’m bisexual. Faithfulness is not easy for any man with a strong sex drive.

        Again, I’m not saying marriage is for everyone. But a psychologically healthy gay man would not pose a danger to a wife and children, if he was up front about his attractions with his wife. Probably about 95% of the cases you’re mentioning don’t involve that sort of honesty.

      • Daniel,

        I suppose you are right that a gay man could remain chaste and keep his promise easily enough. I can’t imagine a woman who would agree to marry a gay man if she knew before hand unless she suffered from untreated depression or severe self esteem issues it could work. A guy in Asia married a pillow with a picture of a Japanese cartoon character on it so being of sound mind is not a prerequisite for marriage.

        That said, not ideal all the same.

      • “I can’t imagine a woman who would agree to marry a gay man if she knew before hand unless she suffered from untreated depression or severe self esteem issues it could work.”

        This sentence confuses me, grammatically. If you put a period before “unless” and a comma after “issues”, I agree with you. If you just put a period or a comma after “issues”, but no period before “unless”, I don’t agree at all.

        A woman would be foolish to marry a man who expressed no romantic or sexual interest in HER. But if he expressed some interest in her, but no generic interest in “women” as a category, that sounds like a potentially workable relationship. Maybe not ideal, but workable.

      • Daniel,

        Sorry for the confusion – typed on my phone. The word ‘could’ should read ‘couldn`t’. Also, I find your response puzzling. A gay man can’t show interest or a romantic or sexual nature to women. If he can, he ceases being gay in my view.

        What you are describing is Biromantic Gray Asexual. If we are discussing a biromantic grace then I can definitely agree with you. That is a mixed orientation relationship that can work.

      • “A gay man can’t show interest or a romantic or sexual nature to women. If he can, he ceases being gay in my view.”

        You act as if “gay” was some inflexible rule coded into the fabric of a person’s nature. But the fact is, people are often attracted against the grain of their ordinary attractions. If we apply your purism about what it means to be gay to heterosexuality, we find that almost no one is straight — and that’s a bizarre result. Almost every straight person has been attracted to someone of the same sex, from time to time. And almost every gay person has been attracted someone of the opposite sex. These things are not rare, but quite common.

        Does that attraction often become something that could sustain a marriage? I don’t know.

        (Note: I’m not trying to say that those gay people who are occasionally attracted to the opposite sex are somehow “healthier” or “better”. I’m just saying that they don’t lose their “gay card” just because they feel some romantic attachment to someone of the opposite sex. “Gay” is a convenient approximation, not a fixed reality.)

    • Rosa,

      Sorry, I didn’t get any response for this post when you replied to me. When I say it is dangerous, I mean it is dangerous in that a straight woman deserves better than a gay husband (and the same is true for a gay wife and straight husband). I am gay and I cannot provide for the emotional needs of a woman like a straight man can. I am not emotionally complimentary to a woman. For me to use some poor woman as a means to an end – a way to test my chastity – is not only dangerous for her but is unthinkably selfish for me.

      You say that marriage is not about love, romance, and so on but about raising children. But isn’t the relationship between the parents important to creating the foundation for those children? You are a woman with a heart, wants, needs, emotional and otherwise. You deserve to be with a man who respects you, listens to you, and compliments you fully – not merely physically but emotionally and spiritually as well.

      I recognize I could never be this for a woman. Some LGBT folks can. Daniel isn’t the only one, of course, as Mixed Orientation couples are not super uncommon, but I would never use a woman to try and save myself. I would never bring children into this world unless I was certain I could be with their mother for life and compliment her fully as a husband must. And that is what makes it dangerous.

      • Nathaniel that’s a good question. It is easy to say what marriage is not about. It is harder to say what it truly is about. Please allow me a couple of days and I will answer you.

        Thanks

      • Hi Nathaniel,

        In regards to your question… In Genesis the goal of God in creating woman was to provide help to man. Therefore the first intention of God is for man and woman to share each other and serve as company and help to each other. This is the first goal. But what does it mean to help each other? We shouldn’t confuse this with what the world calls “self-realization”. Marriage is also a Christian vocation and as such it must draw us closer to God, thus a man and a woman sealed in matrimony must help each other to grow towards God. This is TRUE self-realization and not the false self-realization that the world offers.

        In the Catholic Church marriage is a sacrament, which means it is indented to make us holly. So as we share ourselves with our spouse we must help them in their path to holiness.

        You can accomplish this with or without having sex. You can accomplish this in a mix orientation marriage, with or without sex.

        Only as a reflection of this goal, the goal to help each other to bring us closer to God, man and woman become one flesh and thus open to procreation. But, even when the couple is opened to procreation (open to life), there are marriages without children. These are true marriages just like sexless marriages are true marriages too.

      • Thanks for the well thought out response.

        You maybe surprised to learn that my view of marriage is almost identical to yours, actually. I too see it as a means of binding two together to help one another, spiritually and corporeally. Where I differ is on whether gender is all that important.

        I don’t believe it is important, of course, but barring that trifling difference it is remarkable how much we agree here.

      • It is a huge difference. I base my response on the will of God as expressed in Genesis and you don’t. Big difference.

      • I don’t think that is a fair statement. I also believe I am staying true to the spirit of Scripture including the Hebrew creation parables in Genesis. Our interpretations vary but the spirit of our viws are the same when it comes to how we define the ultimate purpose of marriage.

      • Nathaniel,

        There is a huge difference between your interpretation and mine. But I’m not going to provide any more arguments. Let the readers decide whose interpretation is unbiased and uncompromised.

        Thanks and God bless

  2. Awesome message Chris, it’s wisdom that all of Christendom should hear…a fresh challenge to step-out of ourselves and sacrifice in love to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Yours and others’ contributions to SF makes a lighthouse for those who could drift for years or decades before discerning the outlines of authentic Christian community. As a celibate guy, I’m stoked for the adventure of reaching-out in service to my church community, even as I fearfully and painfully become more transparent and vulnerable to them. I hope your message overflows to many many of us evangelicals too, we need it at least as badly as anyone.

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