Sunday, July 25, 2010

Is it Ethical to be Catholic? Queer Perspectives (1 of 15)

Here's James Alison on the topic, who seems a bit nonplussed by the question itself! He's been involved with religion for too long, obviously; he doesn't understand in what low regard the Christian church is held by gay people too many to number.

There are around 6-8 separate 10-minute JA videos, all of which can be found together here - but things seem to be out of order somehow, or perhaps it represents the debate back-and-forth format. I haven't figured it out yet, anyway - but I'm still listening myself. This conference seems to have happened fairly recently (EDIT: it was in 2006; JA has written about this previously); the videos were posted in June of this year. I really like the "undoer of knots" thing - something I'd never heard about before....

(EDIT 2: I've just finished watching JA's part of this discussion; it was very beautiful. Now the first "respondent" is speaking; he's upset that JA did not actually address the question itself - but of course, the question itself was not in any way well-defined, and - in my opinion - was framed merely for shallow and sarcastic shock value: to turn the church's claims of morality on itself. The respondent, Vincent Pizzuto, argues that JA does not recognize that there are other forms of Catholicism - and then does the same thing himself, by focusing only on Rome. Well, I'm still listening, though, so maybe there'll be more and better coming.)

(EDIT 3: Respondent 2, Julie Henderson, is now speaking. Actually it's clear that all these perspectives are valuable; however, Henderson's contention that Alison's approach is "irresponsible" and that he's "not living up to the challenge" is ridiculous, considering all he's written, done, and said about this issue. I find her argument to be immature, to be honest - but then, she is immature; she's a sophomore in college. Likewise, Pizzuto's argument that the Catholic Church is unethical because it hasn't "addressed the real problem" that led to the abuse of children - while not ever articulating what this "real problem" actually is - is half-baked. But I do understand - of course! - the anger.

What's really interesting to me is, actually, that James Alison found relief in his embrace of Catholicism - which tells you how awful his fundamentalist background must have been for him. Of course, this may have something to do with his English background, and the fact that Catholics have definitely been seen as second-class citizens in that country, even (I think) within his lifetime; perhaps empathy was the result of that kind of suffering.)

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