Saturday, November 04, 2006

In defense of the CMA

Over on the Whispers in the Loggia blog, Rocco Palmo noted an article in Newsday (scroll down to the one entitled "More from the Fall Classic") about a Long Island pastor who pulled a brochure from his parish church's rack. Why Newsday thought it was worthy of a story is beyond me.

Oh, wait a minute. The brochure is entitled "Homosexuality and Hope" and was authored and published by the Catholic Medical Association. That's why a pastor removing it is so important (though he did it after only two people complained about it). Apparently, he also had the support of the Bishop, William Murphy.

The Newsday article claims that the priest and diocese thought the content of brochure contained a lot of speculation and that its theories on the development of same-sex attraction were outdated.


The people who wrote that brochure are all professionals working in the field of psychiatry and psychology and have many years of experience of dealing with people who struggle with same-sex attraction. They have studied, from a Catholic perspective, what the causes of that attraction are. Their conclusions, based on their lived experience and success in treating these patients, indicate that these unwanted attractions are not genetic, but lie in various other sources, including difficult parent-child relationships, sexual abuse, and/or difficult relations with same-sex peers while growing up.

Simply because two people complained about the brochure doesn't mean it doesn't belong in the rack nor that it was in error. Either the brochure presents the truth or it doesn't. So rather than saying its theories were outdated, they should have said (if this is what they are claiming) that it was untrue.

However, I don't think that's what they were claiming. I think they're like too many priests and bishops who lack backbone and were afraid of a couple of people's reactions, who would then turn to the media who would write the pastor and bishop up as the ultimate intolerants, and they would, in turn, experience a lot of grief. (Something about "Do not be afraid to suffer hardship for the sake of the Gospel" comes to mind at this point.) So rather than saying "it's untrue," they make themselves more media friendly by stating, "it's outdated."

But the last time I checked, truth is timeless. If it isn't, then the bishop and pastor are wearing some pretty old-fashioned clothing and leading people in an ancient ritual that has absolutely no relevance for today.

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