The Gadfly Vol. XVII Iss. III
“To persuade and reproach” - Socrates, The Apology
April 18, 2013
Why Homosexuals Should Be Allowed Civil Unions That title alone is enough to scare off even the most adventurous reader, but bear with me as I explore the repercussions of denying homosexuals civil unions that grant similar rights as a heterosexual marriage. First, let‘s define a few key terms here. Marriage is a sacrament defined by a church to recognize the union of persons who are fit to be married in that church. In the Roman Catholic Church, only a man and a woman who have not been previously married can marry. In the Episcopal Church, a man can marry a man and a woman can marry a woman. In the Mormon Church, a man can marry two or more women. Likewise in Islam. Matrimony – as taken from the Latin roots Mater and Monium – is literally the process of making motherhood. As the Catholic understands matrimony, it is the union of man and woman for the purpose of creating motherhood. Contract Law states that any agreement entered into by consenting adults of sound mind and body will be recognized by the government and enacted by law. This is based on English Common Law, as most laws in the United States are. Civil Unions are a contract entered into to recognize two people as a way of combining two people into one household. When a Catholic couple goes through the marriage ceremony, a civil union contract is signed into effect under the name of a marriage license. Civil unions can be entered into without a religious ceremony, as well. Consider the idea of a common law marriage, where a couple is
considered to be married if they live together for five years or more. Separation of Church and State: The first amendment does not keep the government from being influenced by religious institutions. The first amendment grants religious institutions protection from the government. ―Congress shall not establish a religion, nor prohibit the free exercise thereof.‖ Nowhere does it say ―congress shall not prohibit the free exercise of traditional religions,‖ or ―congress shall protect traditional family values.‖ Civil unions between homosexuals are much less of a threat to our worldview of marriage than a government that thinks it can define marriage in a way that is binding on the churches. If the government (the same government that thought that mixed-race marriage was evil 40 years ago) wants to tell the Episcopal Church ―No, you cannot allow two men to marry,‖ they are prohibiting the free exercise of religion. The government‘s duty is to say ―You as a church married these people, we will recognize their commitment.‖ A government that tells a church that two men cannot marry can also tell a church that two carriers for a recessive genetic disorder cannot marry. It can also tell a church that a man and a woman below a certain IQ cannot marry. It can tell a church that two people who are overweight cannot marry. An even scarier prospect is the government defining the most basic family unit: a married couple. After they have defined the most basic family unit, they can move up to
defining the next step of the family unit: a man, a woman and two children. And after your second child, if you get pregnant, you get shot. We focus entirely too much on the moral argument to the exclusion of other arguments. When we consider what is legal, moral and just, we must support the rights of homosexuals to enter into civil unions. We must stand with our homosexual brothers and sisters for their right to enter into the same contract from their religious ceremonies that we enter into with our religious ceremonies. This is the new civil rights movement. Just as we Catholics stood with blacks in the sixties, we must now stand with the gays. We so also have a responsibility to admonish the sinner. Yes, homosexual acts are disordered and unnatural. So is divorce. So are masturbation and fornication. All three of those pose a greater threat to the sanctity of marriage than homosexual civil unions, but do not garner anywhere near the amount of scorn from the religious right. This is the moral argument against homosexual civil unions: that they must not come from a ceremony in our church. Homosexuals cannot enter into matrimony, holy or otherwise, because there is no motherhood. For now, all the homosexuals are asking for is a government structure that grants the same rights as the ones granted to heterosexuals. There is no reason not to give them that. ~A.J.M.
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Letter From the Editor:
Dear Readers, Business Manager: Alexander Pyles (A.S.P.)
This is one of my last letters from the editor, possibly my last. I want to let you all know that it has been a pleasure to be your guide, for what little I was able to do. I have chosen a successor that will hopefully be able to devote more time to The Gadfly than I have been able to this year. I was ill last semester as you may remember, and this semester has been fraught with papers and wedding plans and other demands upon my time.
Emily K. Rolla (E.K.R.)
I do want you all to know that I have not abandoned The Gadfly in my tenure as Editor in Chief. A good deal of my work has been streamlining the publication, making it easier to produce and more consistently of the same quality.
We are still trying to find people to fill the following spots: Business Manager and Layout Editor. If you or someone you know is interested in these offices, send an email to Notestothegadly@gmail.com to express your interest.
Olivia Sielaff (O.S.)
Editor-in-Chief: A.J. Miller (A.J.M.)
Lastly, Please write to us. We live on your submissions and without them, we will die. Please sound off on any topic that strikes your fancy. There will be a final issue for reading day if there are enough submissions, but if not, I will not be able to print. The deadline will be April 25, no excuses and no disintegrations. In Christ, A.J. Miller
** Please note that the views held in the individual articles are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily express the views of the whole staff, nor the University administration. **
Letter to the Editor: Dear Gadfly,
Interested in writing for The Gadfly? Email us at email@example.com
~Mission Statement~ The Gadfly is an attempt to “bite the sleeping horse” in the spirit of Socrates. It is a student publication whose purpose is to facilitate discussion concerning campus and cultural issues as they pertain to students of Franciscan University. It aims to be a forum for open, well-thought out, and honest discussion towards the end of knowing and loving truth in its most robust sense.
Advisor John R. White, PhD
I have a response to an article in your last printed publication, entitled Andy Warhol: Gay and Catholic, an article written by the esteemed blogger Marc Barnes. What Marc has written is a fascinating, well-written argument that compels the reader to sympathize with Catholics who struggle with same-sex attraction. He uses the life story of Andy Warhol as an example of one such man who deserves our sympathy. I would like to remind the reader that while we should all agree that Andy Warhol, and all those who identify with the temptations he dealt with, deserve our respect and sympathy, we should not forget that homosexual inclinations are disordered. (CCC 2358). While this article does not have any implicit statements that are contrary to this understanding, there is a tone carried throughout the piece, and several phrases, which could cause some confusion on the subject. It should be noted especially that the phrase ―gay and catholic‖ is a misleading one. One should not think that it is helpful, or right, to label one‘s self as ―gay‖ because one has gay thoughts. Men do not need to be constantly told that they are thieves because they think about stealing things or because they have stolen things. A Catholic who struggles with the temptation of same-sex attraction needs not call himself ―gay,‖ even though he may deserve it. And I should hope that those who read this do not say to themselves, ―Ah, he is simply arguing semantics. If we do not say ‗gay‘ then we should say some other word such as ‗potato.‘ This man stands upon straw.‖ This is not a reminder about what the politically correct word for a person who suffers such-and-such a temptation is. This is a reminder that those who proudly label themselves (or others) as ―gay‖ are comfortable with their disorder, and do not in fact think it is a disorder. Only a man who likes to steal things calls himself ―a thief‖ with pride. A man who struggles with the sin and despises it calls himself ―a miserable sinner before God,‖ and despises the label of thief (even though he deserves it). We should not call our brothers and sisters who suffer from these temptations ―gay,‖ even if they deserve it. Such labels are unnecessary and confusing. Rather say that they are ―miserable sinners before God.‖ Because that is what we all are, and there is no shame in that.
The Death of Socrates;
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"“Art thou mad, old fellow?” AKA the original, “U mad bro?”
The Thing With Writing... As a Writing Major, I could not say how frustrating it can be sometimes to hear that writing is an easy thing to do. Sure, most people groan around campus about that dreaded five or even 10 page research essay each semester. I would say that I tend to be an oddball, since I look forward to writing that essay or paper, though it has to be on a topic that I enjoy. Yet, there is also that annoying person that purports to say that writing is easy and that anyone could really write as long as they tried. In some degree this is true, yet in another sense this is completely wrong. Honestly, writing is a pain in the a**. Like seriously, it‘s a pain in the a** at times. Sure, I mean, I enjoy how flexible the English language can be at times, but trying to write (most of all trying to write well) can be the most difficult thing to do. I mean, sure any craft can be. But speaking from personal, hand-cramped experience, writing can suck. So, that‘s a reason to be lazy at it or not do it at all. I‘ll be the first to admit that fact. I sadly was not born with one of those insanity drives that makes a person stay up until 5 a.m. If I‘m tired I‘ll either go to bed or I will play a video game, because my mind is too tired to do anything else. The thing that I have realized though is that if I‘m going to get any good at this thing called writing, I actually need to write a lot, and I mean A LOT, more than I do. Yet, I hope that I can amidst the rough create diamonds that my readers can take away and treasure. I think that‘s the real reward for a writer and not so much writing for him/herself. The reward, I believe, lies in writing for others and the expression that comes out
through that writing, in whatever medium the person chooses. The fact of expression leads to one of the beautiful things that I find in writing: how the writer can paint images and experiences in words and pass them on to others. It appeals to my philosophical interests in how you can transcend the experience and then translate it in symbols which take the form of stories or mythos. I find that so incredibly beautiful and meaningful that writing can achieve such a lofty goal in art. This is partially what drives me to be a writer in the first place. Sure, I have stories to tell and I want to share with persons, but in all honesty there are experiences and words that are written on my heart and soul that I would like to share with people. Expression is always on my lips when I write something for class or even The Gadfly. I have sorrow, love and joy to take and share (hopefully) through my stories and other writings. Yet, it takes time to grow in skill with writing and for it to finally bear fruit after taking root in a person‘s soul. I feel as if most writers do not understand that in essence, writing is for others. It is at its core something to be shared. Reflecting on writing can be a beneficial thing at times, as in any sort of reflection. I think this is more or less the first time I have ever truly stated what my mission for writing is or why I have such a passion for writing at all. Maybe it‘s taken me this long to think it out or to even feel it out. Maybe, I just had to realize it. At least I have finally found it. ~A.S.P.
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The Church Young People Actually Want Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on the blog “Bad Catholic,” run by Franciscan University of Steubenville student Marc Barnes. This article is printed with the author’s permission.
We ―reach teens‖ by way of ―relevance.‖ As Annie Selak points out in her wonderful opinion piece, ―The church young Catholics want,‖ young people ―want the church to ask the questions we are asking, rather than ones that seem trivial at best and irrelevant at worst. Young people are human. If we understood Catholicism can recover from mistakes, but one thing the church cannot recover from is this reality we wouldn‘t have crappy youth being irrelevant.‖ ministry programs, worse catechesis, politiQuite the claim. But what is relevance? cians on Twitter, the wild success of Ke$ha, The popular conception of the word springs and a bored and banal culture. But we do suffer these tortures, for we are from a moronic sense of etymology. ―Relevant‖ comes from the present particiconvinced that being young and able to naviple of relevāre, which means to raise or lift up. gate Facebook transforms the human person into a locus around which the universe turns, But when we say ―relevant‖ we really mean ―relatable.‖ (So our author frowns at the ―new the deciding, haloed blueprint for the contranslation of the Roman Missal,‖ for what struction of culture, religion and politics. relation does that have with the experience of The Youth Vote, the Young Voice, the young Catholics? (We don‘t even go to You-are-the-future speeches, the desperate Mass.)) refashioning of event, creed and tone for the Behold the ethos: All things must be relatasake of ―reaching teens,‖ the impulse which screams ―if it‘s too loud, you‘re too old‖ — this ble to teenagers, because teenagers, man. Kids like funny things — let‘s perform skits at is the Cult of Youth. Its liturgy is weird and their youth groups, make shirts with Jesus its prophets are idiots. Its condescensions puns, and hire those Catholic speakers that demean young people into something subhuman. It deserves every sullen, selfish, apathet- crack everyone up with just how goofy they are! (See? Faith can be fun!) ic and uninterested teenager it haphazardly Teenagers like pop music — why else creates in its frenzied effort to be relevant.
would it be popular? — so Christian music should sound like pop music! Four chords, four-on-the-floor, uninspiring lyrics, uninspired song! Relate, da**it. ―Young people are all on Facebook‖ — the phrase deserves some sort of award for being the most abused during ―reach the teens‖ meetings of any kind — and thus there is the inevitable and awkward shift of every ministry, event and slice of human reality to the non-event and non-reality of the Facebook page, the Twitter account and the Tumblr. I do not believe that the skit or the Facebook page are inherently bad ideas, but I do believe that relevance is the worst factor for determining the goodness of a thing since we dunked witches in the river to see whether they‘d float. If relevance is the true measure of worth, then youth ministry events should feature pixelated porn, an atmosphere of diverted boredom, and a self-imposed speech impediment that negates every fragment of syntax bold enough to make an actual claim with the words ―like,‖ ―I feel like,‖ and that everpresent plea for affirmation, ―ya know?‖ That‘s what teenagers relate to, but rele Cont. on facing page
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Cont. from facing page vance does not imply value. Relation is not always good relation, and that something is related to teenagers does not mean it ought to be. Which brings me to my point. Teenagers are humans. As humans, our fundamental desires are for the good, the true and the beautiful. These three transcendentals are analogies for our Transcendent God, and through them we meet Him. The transcendentals are the truly relevant, in the sense that they are raised up before us. They are not valuable as pop music, flash mobs and t-shirts are valuable — related to us by accident, incident or the semi-conscious absorption of a bored culture. No, they have value in themselves as the natural ends of everything we do. Truth is that which is sought by our intellect, Goodness by our will, and Beauty by our emotion. But we are frightened to give teenagers the transcendentals because we are frightened to treat them in any way that might end their fun, and thus have them leave the Church. And let me be absolutely clear: The transcendentals hurt. They call the human person from where he is to where he is supposed to be, and thus amount to a wrenching, a tearing, and a purifying fire. The truth that I will suffer and die before or after watching my loved ones suffer and die is hardly skit material. The doctrine of Hell is something difficult to convey in a K-Love escapade into the miraculously relevant
realms of G, C, Em, D, repeat. I may react against Mozart‘s Requiem in favor of dubstep. I may react against the truth that the use of contraception is detrimental to the human person. Goodness, Truth and Beauty are not necessarily relevant, to reuse our modern misuse. But this is the fault of the teenager. A rejection of the transcendentals is not the result of a lack of relevance, it is the result of sin. We deny the Truth, avoid the Good, and reject the Beautiful, because — for various reasons and under the protection of various excuses — we suck. The Good reveals to us our evil. The Truth reveals to us our ignorance. The Beautiful reveals to us our mediocrity. The question of the ―church young Catholics want‖ is utterly meaningless compared to the question of what Church young Catholics need. Relevance is ridiculous in the face of transcendentals. It should be killed. And so I disagree in all fervor with Annie Selak‘s ―The church young Catholics want‖ for it is a work of fear, hiding beneath the banner of relevance. Selak critiques the Church in her claim that the ―Vatican has repeatedly shut down any dialogue surrounding the ordination of women and church teaching on homosexuality‖ and insinuates that the young of the Church are on her side, demanding ―dialogue.‖ I‘m calling her bluff. Not only has the Church had a far more intellectual, consistent and conclusive dia-
logue on both of these issues, but it has told the truth about these issues. Women will never be priests, and homosexual actions will always work against the nature of the human person. Granted, dialogue is relevant to our dear, beloved youth insofar as we never shut up. We live in the age of the comment box. What isn‘t relevant is coming to a conclusion, actually saying something, arriving at the end of discussion with words of authority — awful words that separate Truth from falsehood regardless of popular sentiment. We can‘t relate to that. And so the relevant coddles while the transcendental hurts, but the Truth is needed and gasped for. It alone contains within itself the power to fulfill the human person, and it is precisely what the Church offers us. Selak‘s discontent is not that the Church hasn‘t engaged in dialogue over these issues, it is that the conclusions of the Church are entirely counter-cultural. Continued talk would be far more comfortable, a forever vague and fuzzy dialogue that goes on into Hell itself is sick of it, but we were not made for comfort. We were made for greatness and declarative sentences. Kill relevance, seek transcendence. ~Marc Barns
Say “No” to Catholic Escapism As I, a member of the senior class, prepare for graduation, I want to take a moment to remind my fellow classmates and underclassmen of a very important point. Franciscan University is not real life. A household sister of mine informed me that a priest she confessed to told her it takes about two to five years to get out of the Franciscan mentality. In my experience, when graduating, you have two options: You can move to super-Catholic hubs found in the localities of major orthodox Catholic universities, get married, have 10 kids, and live out your remaining days in a pleasant Catholic homeschool community where everyone loves Jesus and you have time for daily Mass and you have only all-Catholic friends, or you can live your life in reality. Now, I have nothing against homeschooling, or strong Catholic communities, or any of that. Where I take issue is the retreat from reality that Franciscan graduates tend to have when they remain in such a bubble. When you graduate and get a job, there is no more Catholic Disneyland. We are called to be in the world and not of the world– but I hope you realize that means we need to be in the world. And this world is
a broken one at that. You will probably have gay coworkers. You might have coworkers who swear. You might have coworkers who donate all their money to Planned Parenthood and think abortion is the most basic right. You might have a coworker talk openly about their Fifty Shades of Gray style-sex life. Some of these coworkers might claim to be Catholic despite living in open opposition to Church teaching and what‘s worse– horror of horrors– you might discover that these people are generally good at heart, and you might befriend them. Generally, when it comes to Franciscan, there are two responses to discovering sin: the crash course on apologetics against that thing, and ignoring it. But I don‘t mean ignoring it in a ―live and let live,‖ kind of way. I mean turning around, avoiding that thing and running for the life of you because you don‘t want to get sucked into the lies of that sin and it‘s no good to be in that atmosphere because garbage in, garbage out. You don‘t want to spend time on hardcore apologetics with these people, either. You‘ll just be the face of those ―intolerant Christians‖ and you will probably sound conde-
scending and you will probably push that person further away from the Church. I know this because I have done it myself plenty of times. In the Gospel read last Sunday, Christ asks Peter three times, ―Do you love me?‖ In the original Greek, Christ asks if Peter loves him with the term ―agape,‖ which you may or may not know, means unconditional love. Peter responds by saying, ―Love I love (philia) you,‖ referencing a brotherly love. The third time Christ asks Peter this, He asks, ―Do you love (philia) me?‖ He comes down to Peter‘s level, because Peter is not yet ready for unconditional love of Christ. Chances are, you aren‘t either. So I encourage you not to run away from or endlessly lecture your brothers and sisters living openly sinful lives and labeling themselves Catholic. You sin too, don‘t you? Perhaps they are just like you– desiring Christ but unable to truly respond with agape. Let‘s show them the same mercy Christ showed Peter and learn to love them where they‘re at. ~E.K.R
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Published on Jan 6, 2014
The April 18, 2013 edition of the Gadfly. Features: "￼Why Homosexuals Should Be Allowed Civil Unions," by A.J. Miller, "The Thing with Wri...