Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In Memoriam

I found out the other day that one of my best friends had died. From what I've gathered, he died of an aneurism. He was 20 years old.

Conrad Gardner, you were and are one of my closest and dearest friends, and I never said it to you enough. I love you and will love you always. You're in my prayers man, and I'm raising a glass to you.

There will be a Mass said for him at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, May 1st, 2010 at 5:15pm. I'm going to be singing "Perfect Day" by Lou Reed from now until the pain goes away, because it expresses exactly what I would want to say to Conrad.

Just A Perfect Day,
Drink Sangria In The Park,
And Then Later, When It Gets Dark,
We Go Home.
Just A Perfect Day,
Feed Animals In The Zoo
Then Later, A Movie, Too,
And Then Home.

Oh It's Such A Perfect Day,
I'm Glad I Spent It With You.
Oh Such A Perfect Day,
You Just Keep Me Hanging On,
You Just Keep Me Hanging On.

Just A Perfect Day,
Problems All Left Alone,
Weekenders On Our Own.
It's Such Fun.
Just A Perfect Day,
You Made Me Forget Myself.
I Thought I Was Someone Else,
Someone Good.

Oh It's Such A Perfect Day,
I'm Glad I Spent It With You.
Oh Such A Perfect Day,
You Just Keep Me Hanging On,
You Just Keep Me Hanging On.

You're Going To Reap Just What You Sow,
You're Going To Reap Just What You Sow,
You're Going To Reap Just What You Sow,
You're Going To Reap Just What You Sow...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Communist Revolution today

This has little to do with being gay or catholic, but I wrote it just now for Facebook and thought I'd share it here.

Copy and Paste--you're my friend!

So I'm sitting in SEL between classes and decided to visit my old favorite website, Gotta love the extensive library they have. And all for free! In the purely communistic spirit of communal ownership of the intellectual endeavors of the people, you can read whatever you want concerning class struggle, militarism vs. passivity, etc. It's wonderful. But I started reading Rosa Luxemburg (I am such a Luxemburgist) as I am wont to do, and settled into her article "The Militia and Militarism." (You can find it here: And now I'm going to discuss the conditions of our country that mimic the conditions of Germany at the end of the nineteenth century when she was writing. Ahem.

Rosa Luxemburg as do all socialists from this period talks a lot about the working man. Specifically, she is discussing the issue of establishing a German militia, giving every man a gun, and how the Reichstag denied this possibility because it wouldn't be able to pay for it. Rosa's critique is primarily critical of privileged taxation, as the Spartacan League was advocating at the time for a graduated income tax that would tax more heavily the wealthy. The Reichstag didn't even entertain this idea. In America we do have a militia (called the National Guard you right-wing Second Amendment gun nuts!) and it is paid for by the graduated income tax. The issue here is that even with the graduated income tax, wealthy Americans generally do not pay the full amount according to law, and the insanely convoluted tax code of the American system is to blame.

This leads me into the usage of "working man" in today's American economy. We no longer have an economy of the wealthy vs. labor. Instead we have an economy that is predominantly service-oriented, one that generates enormous amounts of wealth for a lot of people. One could almost argue that the American dream is that which allows anyone to tap into this enormous amount of wealth regardless of background. But is it really so easy?

I am currently in dire straits as far as funding for my schooling is concerned. I was on academic probation because I was an idiot and failed a few classes. I did everything that was asked of me in regards to getting off probation, but instead of getting a 2.0 I got a 1.993. Now my financial aide is in jeopardy. Attending Ohio Wesleyan, I was privileged to watch some of the wealthiest children of the wealthiest Americans pay for their schooling in cash...and reap the rewards of the vast amounts of scholarships and grants given to them because of their parents' alumni status. Many of them were investors in the university as well. Given this, I can only assume that other schools, notably state universities that have less liquid income generally without donations and legacies, would have a bigger issue with this. Anecdotally, I have heard stories of this same exact thing happening at Ohio State.

So, the working man is no longer based in a factory, but is instead based in the lower-income brackets of American service industries. They work diligently to send their children to school so they can have an easier time of it later. But their children are discriminated against because their parents are not a) alumni or b) beneficiaries of the university at which their children are attending. So financial aide becomes paramount and the policies of FDR and other rather socially-minded administrations comes into play.

The Federal Government legislated that federal aide is given to students who need it. Universities set standards of academic performance and punish those who fail to meet them. The question is, when does punishment administered by an institution include withholding governmental awards?

When the person in question is poor, without connections, and lacks any chance at academic nepotism. The problems of the class system that were so obvious in Luxemburg's day have become hidden by the shadowy promise of a university degree. Foreign students have a higher tuition to attend, but they receive grants and scholarships that are paid for by the poor students' taxes. Yet a poor student who genuinely wishes to learn but has no way to pay for his schooling outside of financial aide is denied even after he meets the basic requirements of lifting his punishment. The class struggle suddenly becomes much harder to pinpoint because this could be anyone who has lapsed in his academic rigor and suddenly finds his future being held hostage over less than a hundredth of a percentage point.

Luxemburg advocated the application of the parliamentary system to all institutions, especially those funded by the state. Universities are notoriously anti-democratic, even as they champion the cause of student governments. The board of trustees controls the money and the policies, student government pretends to influence these decisions. When student government comes in conflict with the trustees, the trustees know they only have to wait a few years for the troublemakers to be gone. And if it's undergraduate student government, they can pay even less mind to the little upstarts.

As an analogy, the trustees can be thought of as the gentry of pre-republican Europe, and the student government the local organizations of labor and students. The former is content to keep things the way they are and the latter is the primary cause of agitation. Just as the labor organizations and peasants made the money for the gentry, the students who are present in student government (along with the rest of their peers) make the money for the university. The trustees are paid out of our tuition, the university is maintained with our tuition, and the football team (which I loathe with such a virulent passion) is paid for, maintained, and kept in part because of the university's all-pervasive sports worship. This trickles into the community and draws in extra-university funds into the university. So the trustees which represent the university to the larger community are doing things to appease the wealthier gentry outside the board and ignoring the plight of many within their hallowed halls.

Here, again, we see a muddling of the class struggle. Who amongst the student body is feeling the persecution of the ransom of financial aide? Who amongst the student body feels the tensions between trustee and student? Who amongst the student body realizes that they, as the primary source of university income, have almost no say in how the university is run? Parliamentarianism in the university would do away with the trustees and have an institution for the students of the students and by the students. Does it not make sense that a government that is supposedly a vox populi should be the model for all other institutions? If the customer is the driving force behind corporations and commercialism in general, why is the student not considered the driving force behind his education? The failure of the university to realize where the power should lie contributes in large part to the poorest sections of our society failing to even attend university, and further propagates the larger class struggle outside the university walls. Those of us within the university are so intermingled its hard to distinguish those who are unfairly profiting from the system from those who are unfairly being hindered by it. This miraculously successful tactic keeps discussion of these issues at a minimum and prevents too much agitation from reaching the ears of the trustees.

Even now we see the ongoing riots at UCLA and UCS over tuition hikes, in which hundreds of students were arrested after several buildings on their respective campuses were taken over. There the students have shown how little control they actually have in the day-to-day management of their education which they have to pay for. But why do students only get upset over tuition hikes? Why do they not get upset at the system itself? Because angering the system endangers this idyllic future that is promised by that degree. Unfortunately, as the percentages of degree-holders go up, it becomes harder and harder to achieve that idyllic goal without even more degrees, more schooling, more money, and more slavish devotion to a discriminatory system. Much in the same way that the Jews in Nazi Germany failed to rise up against a system hell-bent on destroying them, students feel no compunction in assimilating into the system that is actually designed to mold a supposedly free-thinking individual into the perfect model of the status quo.

Socialism in Luxemburg's time was easier to define as Marxism has inherent in it an us vs. them mentality. But when it becomes incredibly difficult to determine who is us and who is them, how then are we to agitate for socialism in the very place it was born? I'm at a loss on how to go about figuring out this problem. I've advocated free education before free healthcare for a while, but apparently, nobody in this country wants that, least of all the philandering politicians. Instead of arming everyone with guns, lets arm everyone with an education. How are we to pay for it? Simplify the tax code. Be done with owing taxes and be done with getting refunds. Everyone pays according to their tax bracket and that's that. Make the wealthy pay their share. Make the poor pay their share. Alleviate the burden on the only class that actually pays--the lower middle. This is a concept that is revolutionary in the fact that those with the power to enact it have never thought of it, just as the Reichstag could not conceive of a graduated income tax in Luxemburg's time.

So I guess if we were to continue our parallel with Luxemburg, we'd say "The Intellect and Intellectualism." Arm everyone with an education. Pay for that. Then, when we're all living our idyllic degree-granting fantasies, we can afford to offer free health care without tax increases. Everyone gets what they want, and the trustees can rest easy knowing that their agitated student bodies are placated for a while longer.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Changes in the Mass

Catholic Answers is possibly my favorite site for getting new and amazing information about what's going on in the Church. Click the post title to go to's appraisal of the changes about to appear in the English translation of the Mass.

As many probably are already aware, the English translation of the Liturgy is going to change beginning at Pentecost, 2011. That's just under a year from now. It's a revision of the current Liturgy, bringing it closer to the original Latin. Being one who prays his rosary in Latin, I was naturally very curious when I first heard this. And I was excited as it coincided with a renewal of the Tridentine Mass being practiced in many more parishes throughout the world. However, the more I paid attention and the more I read, the more I began to question what's going on.

Most Catholics of my generation aren't aware of what happened in the immediate aftermath of Vatican II. Latin was discarded, altars were turned around, etc. etc. We all know this. But what we don't know and what our parents probably try to forget are the insane amount of liturgical abuses that entered into the Mass. Priests were empowering themselves to change wording and prayers and a lot of people left the Church. Well, by the time my fabulous self rolled out of the confessional for the first time, I was pretty aware of a rather standardized form of the English Liturgy. With family in various parts of the country, I had the opportunity to attend Mass in many states, and apart from some slight almost imperceptible differences, the Liturgy was almost universally the same.

So...why the hullaballoo? According to Catholic Answers, it's the "traditionalists" versus the "progressives," something anyone who listens to Catholic Answers Live on St. Gabriel Catholic Radio or pays attention to the forums would get bombarded by all the time. You have the traditionalists on the forums ranting against the Novus Ordo and the progressives ranting against outdated traditionalism such as limbo and the passivity of the Tridentine Mass. It's exhausting to go through the Traditional Catholic forum and read what people say to each other. But I digress.

The United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) was nice enough to give us a preview of some of the approved textual changes. You can see them here. While looking at my mom's old missal, I can definitely see an almost direct translation from the Latin, but I have to agree with the National Catholic Reporter when they say that it is awkward and often grammatically incorrect in English. Latin is just one of those languages whose grammar and syntax does not translate directly into English. Being a Russian language major, I'm aware of the difficulty in maintaining purity of meaning while at the same time keeping the text clean in translation. Often times you have to simply get the closest approximation and leave it at that. I mean, how long have we been bickering over what different passages of the Bible mean? It's proof of the difficulty of translation between languages that are separated by centuries in their development.

While I like the idea and the intent behind this change in the Liturgical language, I'm not happy with the way it's happening. The USCCB which originally had jurisprudence over this kind of thing is having to have Papal sanction on the translation. This seems more appropriate concerning the sanctity of the Liturgy, but if Vatican II was supposed to make the Mass available to the people and created the USCCB in the first place, why in a post-Vatican II atmosphere is the Mass being rearranged at the highest level? According to NCR, it's because the traditionalists have finally trounced the progressives (the NCR is generally opposed to the traditionalists and rather biased in favor of the progressives--an obvious bias at that). I think it's that no one really anticipated the long-term impact of what Vatican II actually did, and now that the generation that came of age during Vatican II is in charge of the various councils and diocese, they're trying to revise some of the less desirable effects of Vatican II.

"Reform the reform" in a way is the message of the Papacy of Benedict XVI. He has revived many trappings of the Papacy that had long been discarded (I still want to see him adorn the Papal Tiara), he has revived the Latin Mass, and he has continued John Paul II's work in reigning in the regional CCB's and rebuilding central authority within the Church. But now he's going further and targeting one of the most progressive regions within the Church--the US. Revise the Liturgy, revise the Missal, revise the way the message is sold and received. That's what's going on here, and it's not necessarily a bad thing. In an earlier post I discussed how politicized the American Church really is, and it's really unfortunate that American Catholics have to feel pressured to merge politics with their faith. Faith should inform politics, not the other way around, and sometimes it seems that Americans allow their politics to inform their faith (how many remember the people during the height of the sex-abuse scandals saying that it had destroyed their faith? Poser Catholics if you ask me). This is a noble exercise by the Vatican in an attempt to reign in a problem area, but I'd be interested to see what Roman Rite Liturgies in other non-Romance language-speaking countries look like. It's easy to translate Latin into French and Italian. Not so easy to do so for Welsh or Gaelic or English or Russian (though the Russians are usually Eastern Rite if they're not Orthodox, which is based on the Greek Liturgy). So what does the Roman Rite look like in Finnish? Are there similar problems that need to be addressed? If so, why aren't they being addressed? If Liturgical errors exist only in the English translation, then there's not a problem. But my suspicions lead me to believe that this is largely in response to the politicized American Church, and it is being targeted by traditionalists primarily because of how progressive the American faithful tend to be. If this is so, then the motive is wrong and I can't support any changes made in the name of this "reform of the reform." If there are no Liturgical errors elsewhere or they have already been dealt with, then there's no problem.

The problem is that I haven't seen anything discussing German, Polish, or Latvian errors in the Roman Rite. Given that Vatican II was a complete dismantling of the universality of the Liturgy, I would expect there to be some. But, apparently, there aren't. So we'll see what comes out of the woodwork in 2011. It'll be interesting watching some of the more liberal Bishops' responses to this reigning in from Rome. Rome is always calling her faithful home. Let's see how we respond.

Jason Frisbee Rocks my Socks

Recently I met one of the most wonderful people in the world--Jason Frisbee. I be friends with him on Facebook. By the way, congratulations to him for getting his grant to study at OSU. Hooray! He apparently read something here or on Facebook where I ranted about people believing that sexuality is a choice because he posted on my wall that I have as much choice about my sexuality as he does about his skin tone. Then he suggested we go to confession and seek to do penance for these obviously sinful choices.

I don't have much to put here except that I am absolutely in love with Jason. =) BFFs for ever. Sass and sarcasm will get a gay man anywhere!

Proof against being last! I was starting to fret...

So, once again, I was trolling and stumbled across the "definitive proof against being born gay!" Oh joy! My beloved brothers in faith don't even accept me when the Catechism explicitly states that there is no choice involved here. I believe the responses to this ranged from "Hey, guys, what does it matter how they are gay, when the Church says we should love them anyway" to "homosexuality is a sin" to various shades of gray inbetween. My favorite was when someone said "it's a mixture of genes, environment, and some choice."

First, they have not found a genetic "cause." Second, environment hasn't really been definitively identified as the primary agent of a personality (nature vs. nurture anyone?) and third, yes, choice was involved. The choice to accept oneself for who they are and attempt to share that identity with others. Yet people who are not theologians, biblical scholars, geneticists, psychiatrists, or any other type of trained professional in any field that would have any bearing are passing judgment against a segment of their own Church's population as though they were such professionals.

My thought is why does it even matter? The Catechism says that homosexual behavior is disordered, not homosexuality. The Church hasn't taught homosexuality as a sin for quite some time, which is actually fairly progressive of them. They predated all that sensational election of gay Presbyterian and Methodist bishops, because the current Catechism came out in the '80s. But for some reason, apparently, the laity have missed the message of tolerance altogether and are currently swamped in a pre-Vatican II idea of vengeful God and punishment for sin. And don't mention anything about confession. This same virulently anti-homosexual group of people like to say "well, it wouldn't be a valid confession because they went into this behavior knowing it was a sin and they wouldn't really be sorry."

If you can't tell, I'm a little bitter and passing sweeping judgments of my own. But at least I can be honest about it and not appear hypocritical.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Three posts in two days. Neat!

Ok, so I'm wrestling with a wee bit of a conundrum.

My place of employment is rather homophobic. It's a bunch of straight men loading boxes into trucks all night with the occasional gay man thrown into the mix. I've been very guarded about my sexuality, with only a few people whom I trust knowing. The rest are allowed to assume whatever they wish. However!

Tonight in conversation with one of my higher-ups we were bantering back and forth in that ridiculously abusive manner that twenty-something year olds tend to do to each other. To preface, it takes a LOT to offend me. Derogatory remarks rarely get under my skin, and I'm one of those that will say "that's gay" when I really mean "that's messed up" or "that's stupid" or "ridiculous." You get the point. I'm of the generation where "gay" unless you are truly talking about sexual orientation has nothing to do with sexual orientation. So, the throwing about of such derogatory comments back and forth seemed to dominate the conversation. Then, some how, we actually got into a legitimate discussion about sexual orientation.

I had a chance to tell my manager, with whom I have a great report, that I am in fact gay. What happened was I froze up and continued talking about the subject in general without any direct reference to myself. Have I become so guarded at work that I've returned to my days of guilt and shame before I came out? It's really nobody's business unless I choose to allow them the privilege, but when I have a clear and easy chance to just say "You know that I'm gay right?" and instead I freeze, it makes me wonder. Was it fear? Or was it that I am not actually completely comfortable with myself? The issue in Maine, Ohio's ban on gay marriage (followed closely by ratifying a gay hate crimes law. Weird.), and other instances of intolerance in the secular world are only reaffirmed by my own Church's stance on how I should live my life. I know that what I do with a boyfriend in the privacy of my home is considered sinful in the eyes of the Church. But I have never thought that I was so affected by the dichotomy between my behavior and what my Church has deemed sinful. Or am I affected at all?

I'm a little confused about my own behavior tonight and I probably won't have any answers for a while, if ever. I'm also not going to do one of those "I'm just going to man up and tell him on Monday!" because that's ridiculous, too. Maybe it was just my gut telling me it wasn't the right time to tell him. In any event, I find it serendipitous that I started this blog just before this incident happened, as its this kind of question that I hoped to address with this blog.

For now, I'm just posing the question. Later, maybe, I'll have some real concrete thoughts. I will be addressing that thorny issue of the Church recognizing homosexuality as benign but homosexual behavior as sinful and how ridiculously razor-edged it is eventually, but it's almost 4:30 in the morning and I'm tired so I'm going to go to bed.

By the way, I'm ranked the 2574th most fabulous man in the world according to :) See if you can find me under "Catholic," "Blogger," and "Pianist."

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Homeless lose their funding.

I came across this article on the forums. Basically, a homeless shelter in Maine is being denied funding by the Diocese because the group that runs the shelter has supported a ballot issue that would overturn a ban on gay marriage. My question is this: when did politics become more important than charity?

Yes, the political issue in question deals directly with one of the big stickers of Catholic moral theology, that of fornication vs. procreation (all homoeroticism is by definition fornication and sinful according to Catholic theology). And yes it's a hot-button issue, especially as California, Massachusetts, and D.C. celebrate gay marriages all over the place while Ohio, Maine, and several other states interdict bans on gay marriage into their state constitutions. So a charity receiving funding from the Church takes a stance that is opposed to official Catholic teaching. What does the Diocese do? There are two choices, ignore it and continue funding the charitable works of the organization, or penalize the organization and all the people they serve to prove a point.

I'm leaning in the direction that petty politics should not be the vehicle of getting the Church's point across. The responses to this article at go back and forth between "supporting sin is sin. The Church cannot do this." to "charity comes before politics." There's never any resolution because everyone in cyberspace is a bully, but it shows how thorny this issue really is.

From a theological standpoint, every Catholic is charged to be charitable to all. "Embrace the sinner, not the sin" and all that. Clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit the prisoner, etc. These are all noble ends that, I feel, few of us in the United States and Europe pay much mind to. I'll be honest in that I am incredibly jaded to the people asking for money near my campus. I have yet to give any of them money over the past couple of years. I am obviously failing to live up to the expectations given me by Christ when he charged his Church with her mission on earth. But, is the Church also failing in her obligations when she puts a political stance before her mission to help the homeless?

This group is not a Catholic group. The Church is not obligated in any way to continue funding it or to have funded it at all. But the group is obviously doing good work. The Church doesn't fund groups that are going around killing babies in their spare time. The Church obviously felt that this work was important enough to support. Until the leadership of the group said "let's support gay marriage." Whether a charity group focused on the homeless should be making such a stance is a completely different discussion, though I personally feel they shouldn't have been making political statements to begin with, but the Church's obligation is first and foremost service of the lowliest of men. By denying funding to this charity, what is really being accomplished? The Church is once again affirming her position against marriage outside the model established by Adam and Eve. Kudos. The Church also reaffirmed her position dozens of times against witchcraft (FYI, the Italian Inquisition has never been dissolved. It's now called the Office of the Defense of the Doctrine of the Faith[sic]). The Church still does not support witchcraft or in any way condones it, but they weren't pulling funding left and right or making a big hullaballoo when Gardner and his Wiccans pushed for recognition as a religion in the United States and Europe. So what is going on with this particular issue? The answer is the USCCB--the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The USCCB and the Catholic League have for a long time been very politically vocal. They were lampooned in Southpark with the leader of the Catholic League assassinating the Pope in his attempt to squash the Hair Club for Men and the "real" successor of St. Peter (a rabbit. The Easter Bunny to be precise). For whatever reason, the temporal rule of the Papal States did not die with the occupation of Rome. It simply moved to a politically-charged religious atmosphere in the United States. Religion has often been used as a political weapon in the US despite our beloved separation of church and state, and it's seeing a major resurgence with such figures as Glenn Beck and the Tea Party in addition to the Catholic League and the USCCB. While I am in support of the devoutly religious function of the USCCB, when a Bishop in a Maine Diocese puts politics before charity, I have to raise my eyebrows as to how far we've come since the heady days of the Reformation and the Counterreformation. Is political power and influence so important that the Church has to sacrifice its mission of charitable works to maintain a position of moral superiority? Or would moral superiority and majesty be maintained by chastising the political opposition but continuing to support the needy? I'm leaning in favor of the latter. I'm not quite ready to doubt the wisdom and grace of the Church as one poster on stated, but I am going to question the wisdom and grace of this particular Bishop as much as we all had to question the wisdom and grace of Cardinal Law in Massachusetts.

Hello world! And God gets offended....apparently

Ok.'s 9:30 AM and I just got home from work (hooray night shift!) and decided to throw my weight around on the blogosphere because of something that was said to me. But, first, some introduction to this idea before I get into the nitty gritty.

I am Catholic. Roman Rite. To a non-Catholic, all the Catholics are probably the same. But there are several rites and that is why I specify that I am Roman Rite Catholic when putting this stuff in print. There are other rites but this is the one to which I belong. I'm also gay. Surprised? Yeah, not a lot of gay Catholics out there. Note, sarcasm. This is precisely the little conundrum that has landed me in this blogging endeavor. Because there is still some prejudice against us homosexuals (on both sides of the gender divide) and a LOT of misunderstanding concerning Catholics, especially in our teachings on sex and sexuality, I figured it might be nice to have a little resource for those of us without many resources. I haven't done a google search yet (Oh how I love you, Google!) for similar blogs or websites, but I will surely post links as I come across them. In short, this blog is for my thoughts on how the world affects a gay Catholic man. And also how my fabulously Catholic ways affect the world. So, without further ado, let us address the main point of this particular post.

A friend of mine is a non-denominational evangelical Christian. Given the type of work I do, there is precious little social time unless you sit out in the parking lot between shifts (we work three hours at a time) and gab away. But then there are those rare moments when someone hops in the same trailer as you to help you load and conversation is sparked. Tonight, my evangelical friend (we'll call him Tom) hopped up in my trailer and we started talking about what we always talk about: religion.

Tom forgets sometimes that I'm Catholic and he needs a refresher. "You're Christian right? Oh wait, no, you're Catholic. That's right." Every Catholic hates this response to their demonym. So I responded, "Well, I am Christian. Catholics are Christian." To which was a hearty "Yeah, but I mean a real Christian." Again....we Catholics absolutely hate being lumped in with the posers. You know, the Methodists (please don't throw stones, I'm only joking!)

So I moved past this awkward part of the conversation and we began talking about sexuality for whatever reason. Oh, right, because our other friend who happens to be Catholic had said that Catholics are the whores of Christendom. Which, if you've ever come across a rigorously devout Catholic girl, you generally know that she's either destined for a nunnery or she's going to go to college and let her hair down. ALL the way down. Not bashing, just a fact. A clever inside joke for many of us, though I'm fairly sure I'm offending someone right now. Anyway....moving on....he asked what the Catholic stance on sex before marriage was, and I was kind enough to explain it to him.

"We believe that sex is the primary vehicle for procreation, and that sex outside of the spiritual union of marriage is simply fornication and sinful. This is also why we don't believe in birth control, because sex for pleasure is denying the central function of coitus."

Blah blah blah, we're in agreement on that one, and then he asked "Well, what about those gay priests?"

At first I wasn't sure what he meant, then I remembered that the buzz is all about a German priest who has recently been found to have been shuffled about after many abuse accusations. So I continued.

"I can't speak authoritatively for the Church, but I'm fairly certain that we're pretty against what he did. Actually, I KNOW we're against it."

And this is what got me and why I decided to revive the blogging: "Well, you're gay. Aren't you afraid of offending God?"

And then it hit me. Tom was more concerned about a person's sexuality than the possibility of them performing horrendous acts of abuse against a minor. For one, I don't think God can very easily get offended when Catholics view Him as love itself. For an all merciful deity as this, it is illogical for Him to be offended or even get angry. The Old Testament is full of God's tantrums, but luckily for us, He got all that out of His system when He suddenly had a family. Now He's a pretty chill dude.

So, I had to explain the Catholic position on homosexuality, which Tom wasn't really accepting. To him, it became quite apparent, sexuality itself was a definitive sin, not what we choose to do with that sexuality. So the conversation petered off and Tom left my trailer shortly thereafter. I finished the shift and went to the next one (which Tom works on as well) and then came home. All this time I've had a lot of time to think about my sexuality and my religion and how not only is it hard for a gay man to have a loving relationship with another man within the context of his own religion, it's even harder to explain this to an outsider, let alone get them to understand what's going on.

So I'm going to post not only my day-to-day experiences, but also posts where I wrangle with the big questions of sex, sexuality, and the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church and how they all affect each other. Hopefully someone reads this and finds a little bit of joy, enlightenment, or information. If I get flaming emails concerning my jokes about school girls becoming nuns and whores I'll post them for laughs. Just because I can and I'm one of those snarky gay men.

So, with love,