On Skepticism

Earth warming enthusiasms and Supreme Court decisions are, I confess, making a sceptic out of me. It is a skepticism that naturally arises in a world gone mad. Proposals to tear down all statues of Lee and Jackson appear alongside of ISIS’ destroying Christian Churches and Assyrian monuments. Is there any real difference between the two? Both actions stem from abstract ideas imposed on reality, which has its own distinctions and order.

Our famous Constitution can now be – and indeed is – made to say almost anything, except, perhaps, to reaffirm that children are to be begotten, in a family, by their known father and mother. When the Supreme Court decision was announced, President Obama said it was one more step to his goal of “equality.” If achieved, as it might well be, enforcing it will produce the greatest soft tyranny the world has known, all on the basis of abstract ideas.

In The Man Who Was Thursday, Chesterton spoke of that “final skepticism which can find no floor to the universe.” The phrase “final skepticism” haunts me. My newfound skepticism affirms that a floor to the universe does exist and is known. What we are witnessing is its systematic, voluntary rejection. The “no floors to the universe” thesis, evidently, allows or even requires us to set up our own arbitrary floors even if they have no foundations other than themselves. To be a sceptic in my sense means to doubt the validity of the newly established “floors” based on nothing but the deliberate rejection of reasonable standards about how we ought to live.

In Orthodoxy, Chesterton spoke of two types of skepticism. One maintains that everything begins and ends in matter. But a more “terrible” form of skepticism is found: “It is the idealism that rejects a reality external to itself.” This latter form of skepticism is seen as worse than dogmatic materialism. The phrase to “reject a reality external to itself” is worth much thought.

At risk: the statue at Lee Circle, New Orleans
At risk: the statue at Lee Circle, New Orleans

Christianity, along with Plato and Aristotle, holds that a reality external to ourselves exists. Whereas an Augustine, when looking into himself, could find God already present, modern man insists that, on looking into himself, he finds only what he wants. He constructs the world on this basis. We do not begin from what is outside of ourselves, say, the conceived baby, and ask: “What does it need to be what it is?”

We postulate rather that we are “equal.” Our equality, our “rights” trump anything outside of ourselves. A real baby forces parents outside of themselves, to its and their good. Any baby needs the father and a mother that begot and identifies it in this world. To deprive a baby of this natural need on the basis of an “equality” and “right” to have what one wants, is to allow no reality external to oneself to define how we look at another existence, whose being we have nothing to do with.

The Court’s decision did not ask about the baby but about the “rights” of people incapable by nature of having children. Marriage, in fact, cannot be “redefined.” The reality of marriage remains what it is. What we can do, and are doing, is to lie about it. And in this lie, we impose an unnatural agony and disorder on the lives of innocent children who become victims of someone else’s imagined “rights.”

Where does this leave the skepticism of those like myself who sense here a disorder of soul of world-historic proportions, to steal a phrase from Hegel? We will soon find out. Indeed, we have already found out. We are not simply dealing here with a harmless play of weird ideas. We are dealing with solemn men who don’t laugh much, a worldwide inner-worldly mission spread before them. Only their ideas will be allowed to be spoken. Only these “inner views” of the world on ecology, marriage, and equality will be allowed external existence.

We once thought our Constitution would protect us. In this post-Fourth of July season, we are now learning that it won’t. A universalism is implicit in the Declaration that seemed to provide hope for all peoples, a “floor” – under God – on which to ground human dignity. But this “floor” is now found in an egalitarian-ecological idealism that is untouched by reality itself. It replaces reality with the imagined worlds of unfettered minds, intent on imposing upon us all theories quite contrary to what we are and are intended to be.

We will soon enough find that not only will we be unable to avoid these things, but that we will not even be able in public to doubt their validity. The “final skepticism” today is not the one that sees no floor to being or no reality but ideas. The final skepticism is the one that doubts the truth or goodness of such ideas now being imposed on us, often with our consent, if not with our agreement.

James V. Schall, S.J.

James V. Schall, S.J.

James V. Schall, S.J., who served as a professor at Georgetown University for thirty-five years, is one of the most prolific Catholic writers in America. Among his recent books are The Mind That Is Catholic, The Modern Age, Political Philosophy and Revelation: A Catholic Reading, Reasonable Pleasures, and, new from St. Augustine's Press, Docilitas: On Teaching and Being Taught.

  • On Evil - Tuesday, February 28, 2017
  • John Willson

    There is no answer to this sense, which once was common in our western world. Thank you, to the great Fr. Schall.

  • John Paul IV

    I think it’s safe to say, “to hell with the Constitution, it means nothing!!” And we can tear it off!

    There is no point for school and college kids to learn anything about American history and her Constitution because, at the end of the day, it’s not the Constitution that counts, but the PERSONAL, selfish, biased, political and social opinion that changes whimsically according to trends of the Courts and especially of the Supreme Court.

    And since kids are brainwashed anyway to be politically correct, to obey the government, to be always nice to evil, since bad became good and good became bad and since what’s wrong is now considered acceptable and right, then what is the point of Religion to begin with??

    What is the point of a high moral code?… You see where it is going?

    The purpose is to eradicated religion, i.e. God, from America.

    And the Atheists, the Globalists, the Earth Worshipers, the Gay Mafia, with the help of the Catholic Church which is mum about all this because She is bribed by the Government, and especially the Pope who didn’t say one word about sodomite marriage, all of the above-mentioned groups are succeeding.

  • Michael Dowd

    Great column Fr. Schall. Truth is now what we say it is, not what is. God is ourselves; there no other god. Folks who disagree with this are enemies of the people. God help us all.

  • Peter Simpson

    The Constitution was never the solution. It was the problem. 1787 was America’s counter revolution. It set up a powerful central government that lacked any of the real checks and balances that the Articles of Confederation had (and don’t accept the myth that the Articles were too weak; they were too strong — too strong against control by elites at the center; that’s why the elites got rid of them). It’s all in the documents and histories if you care to read them. Time for a new Constitutional Convention to restore the Articles.

    • Tarzan

      The problem with the Constitution is that is implicitly assumes that the elected officials and the judges would be virtuous people who understood natural law and were thoughtful in applying it. Instead we have Machiavellian officials and judges who believe in the will to power and act willfully, not thoughtfully. I don’t know that the Articles would be any better in protecting us from such a class of people since the general populace seems to like the free sex and goodies they get from the government.

  • Rich in MN

    Fr. Schall, thank you for this brilliant analysis. When those who support gay marriage, or support Bruce Jenner using the women’s showers and restrooms, are challenged on the coherence of their position, they generally respond not with arguments but rather with labeling and ad hominem attacks: the challengers are “haters” who do not value “inclusion,” “diversity” and “tolerance.” What is particularly interesting is watching the reaction GLBT supporters (which mostly amounts to their ignoring the elephant in the room) when someone like Rachel Dolezal gets “outed” for not being black and is forced to resign her position at the NAACP. Dolezal, of course, is not black, but she says she is black; she identifies as black. I think she causes the same kind of cognitive dissonance for the gay and “transgender” rights crowd as Kermit Gosnell caused for Planned Parenthood: they each in their own way unintentionally reveal doublespeak as doublespeak — they “out” doublespeak (so to speak).

    Thank you, again, for your analysis.

  • When Chesterton tried to capture the absurdity of the modern world in The Man Who Was Thursday, I don’t think he could forsee where we are today. He structured his novel as a comedy; if he were to write it today he would have to structure it as a tragedy. You are right Fr. Schall, we can’t rely on the Constitution any longer. There is no foundation any longer. The center, to quote Yeats, cannot hold.

  • givelifeachance2

    Why would one believe a Constitution that failed to protect the liberty of slaves or the life of the unborn would protect the rights of a child to be procreated rather than procured?

    The only constitutions I respect nowadays are called Humanae Vitae, Familiaris Consortio, and the Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality.

    • Steven P Glynn

      It maybe just a tad unfair to claim that the Constitution failed to protect the life of the unborn, when in actuality it was 5 men who extrapolated that nonsense 150 years after it was written. I don’t think the Founding Fathers anticipated us sinking to a level that required an amendment specifically protecting the unborn.

  • Tarzan

    It strikes me that the American experiment was founded on the notion that liberty meant the freedom to be a “grown-up” and take on the responsibilities of adulthood as a rational and prudent person. To decide for oneself what vocation to pursue, where to live, and how to contribute to the common good. There was a common understanding that this meant exercising self-control of the sexual appetites and providing for one’s spouse and family. It further meant freedom for good leading to God. In other words, freedom for responsibility.

    Today, our popular leftist culture views liberty as freedom from responsibility. Have as much unbridled sex as you want, and expect to be protected from the consequences of your decisions by the government. The problem with this is that someone has to produce the food, clothing, and shelter. The leftist elite’s solution is to punish the productive with taxes to take care of the unproductive class who then continue to vote or riot them into office. Eventually this system breaks as the productive become skeptics and give up or move.

    Well, we have run out of places to move to.

  • Tamsin

    We are dealing with solemn men who don’t laugh much, a worldwide inner-worldly mission spread before them. Only their ideas will be allowed to be spoken. Only these “inner views” of the world on ecology, marriage, and equality will be allowed external existence.

    In 2015 we redefined marriage to exclude either a mother or a father; in 1973 we redefined children to be less than human if they were less than born.

    That lie, from 1973, that unborn children can be killed by their mothers, has been kept pretty well hidden from young children. And it can be kept pretty well hidden — there are no children’s books written for Mommy to read to her child to celebrate Mommy’s freedom on the death date of a conceived sibling. But this new lie, from 2015, that children do not need either their mother or their father, will not be kept hidden from children. In fact, it must be celebrated in books read out loud to kindergartners by their teachers in our government schools, and nothing to the contrary.

    • Steven P Glynn

      Brilliant comment Tamsin, frightening, but brilliant.

  • Kathy

    Thank you Fr. Schall for a commentary that reflects what many Catholics are feeling right now. I remember, 40 years ago, as a student at a Catholic university here in Pittsburgh, taking a course called “Situational Ethics.” I thought the course would explore what we would do as Catholics in various situations. What I came to soon discover was that our ethics should change depending on the situation. I was taught that there is no ‘floor to the universe’; no right and wrong. Needless to say, my papers in that class were handed back to me covered in red comments. I knew at the tender age of 19 that I was a round peg that would never fit into the square hole of moral relativism. We have no moral compass any longer.

  • Rene

    “What we can do and are doing is to lie about it.” How true! And lies is what we hear more and more, even within the Church. Let’s remember what happened during the Synod on the Family last October and what is likely to happen next October. We know, however, who the Father of Lies is. We know from where these lies come from. It is refreshing to read an article from a true Jesuit.

  • Bro_Ed

    I may be fighting above my weight here, but I have trouble grasping the difference between a skeptic and a cynic. I thought a skeptic was merely unsure, and demanded further proof before they believed. A cynic has no positive belief system and always expects the worst of everyone and everything. In the Chesterton example, are we confusing the two? Wasn’t he really talking about the cynic?

  • lwhite

    What strikes me is how so many Catholics find this new attack against God as something strange or unforeseen.

    The U.S. was not born out of reality at all but born out of the philosophies of the enemies of Christ. And a continuation of the Protestant revolt against the Catholic religion and thus, a new revolt against the Truth.

    God is the Supreme Authority over man but the framer’s of the U.S. Constitution rejected this truth and instead, gave men authority over other men. Rulers who, outside the rule of God, could do nothing other than conform to the will of the people, which when the people’s will is not based on eternal truths, will always be defective. Outside of the Truth, men’s passions will always rule.

    Things went along quite well for the time that the will of the majority still reflected the moral teachings the Protestant’s inherited from Catholicism but as time went on, the people began rejecting those moral teachings as they prospered and turned into themselves and were consistently taught that materialism and “freedom of choice” were their natural rights as citizens of the U.S.

    This false notion of freedom has simply expanded over time. And as the Constitution clearly does not point to God, the Creator as Supreme Authority over man, the people have taken to the extreme their claim that they, themselves, are the rulers of their destiny (as Justice Kennedy clearly agreed with) and therefore, have the right to do as they please with whomever they please.

    Why, therefore, should the people restrict the contract of marriage to one man and one woman? There is no ruler above the individual. Nothing man wishes for himself should be restricted by others. Living outside of the Natural and Divine Positive Laws of God, man is free to do anything. There is no thought, no concern about eternity. All that matters is the here and now and the pleasures of the day.

  • Guillermo Gini

    Certa bonum certamen fidei!

  • cminca

    Tell me–do the children born to parents who don’t want them deserve a family? A normal, secure, happy existence with people who love them?

    Or do they deserve to be in an institution or foster care until a heterosexual couple wants them?

    Because I can name 5 SS couples–off the top of my head–that adopted “special needs” kids that no one else wanted.

    And then there is the Ham family in Phoenix. 2 fathers, 14 kids. All of them dumped on the system by parents that didn’t want them or couldn’t take care of them. And these guys have so many kids because they wouldn’t allow families to be broken up.

    You don’t like the decision–OK. But what this screed is essentially saying is the gay people are fundamentally incapable of providing loving, caring, supportive homes for children. And that is demonstrably false.

    (And if you want to claim that it isn’t in the “best interest” of the child–then, as one judge stated, we would have to limit marriage and child rearing to Asian suburban couples in the Midwest.)

  • Stanley Zylowski

    Mark Steyn’s article from July 7th is worth reading:

    “The Stupidity of Sophisticates”

  • lwhite

    Catholicism has never taught that man has a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the same way as the founder’s understood these terms.

    The Church teaches that life is a gift from God-not a right.

    The sense of liberty within the Constitution is the Protestant/humanist/naturalist view (religious liberty, liberty of conscience, moral relativism, a rejection of Catholicism, the view that man can perfect himself in this life, etc. ) which Justice Kennedy clearly adopted in his language when deciding to legalize abortion that everyone has a right to determine for themselves their own meaning of life, the meaning of the universe…while the Church has taught that liberty exists in allowing man the freedom to know God and to serve Him in the ways that will please Him and allow man to work towards his eternal salvation in this temporal home.

    The only way to pursue happiness is to set one’s mind on the Truth, who alone is Jesus Christ, and become a member of the one Church He instituted-the Holy Catholic Church. The Catholic Church teaches that happiness in the temporal life is in following Jesus Christ, living in His Truth and Light, and working towards your eternal salvation in God’s presence.

    The founder’s unnamed Creator could have referred to the Jewish god, the Muslim god, the Hindu gods, the god of the underworld, or any other god. In any case, their understanding of God was not the same as the Catholic understanding of God because if it was, they would have named the creator they were referring to as the one, true God-the Trinitarian God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

    • TomD

      lwhite, in reply I will say this: you’ve set up an unreasonable, false dichotomy, which makes it easier to critique an opposing point of view, as evidenced by your initial claim that the U.S. was born not from “reality,” but from “the philosophies of the enemies of Christ.”

      While it is true that the Founders did not express, in its fullest form,
      the Catholic understanding of God, that is a long way from making them
      “the enemies of Christ.” It was not “the Muslim God, the Hindu Gods, the god of the underworld, or any other god” to whom they were referring as our Creator. It is not necessary, or reasonable, for our founding to be identified with “the enemies of Christ” even if the Founders did not fully believe in the Catholic understanding of God.

      We have been endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights. They are, in fact, a gift that the Founders identified as rights that they claimed for ourselves, and ultimately, for all of humanity. Those rights are not exercisable absent the context of their origin from God, nor are they exercisable absent the duties and responsibilities that we owe to God.

      Justice Kennedy’s excessive rhetoric, which has its sources well outside of the traditional understanding of American political and legal philosophy, about “a right to determine for themselves their own meaning of life, the meaning of the universe” is not compatible with our founding principles. It is a later day invention, with its origins in an extreme Enlightenment attitude which is ultimately incompatible with our founding, more in keeping with the French Revolution than with the American Revolution. While our Founders were heavily influenced by the Enlightenment, it does not necessarily follow that this requires, or must lead to, an abandonment of our Judeo-Christian origins as a nation. Extremists have taken us there.

      Did our Founders have a Catholic understanding of God. No. Does this fact make the origins of our founding as a nation from “the philosophies of the enemies of Christ.” No.

      • lwhite

        Without acknowledging God (the one, true God-the Triune God) as the Supreme Authority and ruler over man, no society and no nation can create a government or a social order that is not defective and will not lead into chaos and eventual tyranny. Extremists, as you note, will always gain ground in a society not living within the Truth.

        The founders were heavily influenced by the misnamed Enlightenment which was a rejection of some of the Truths of Christ and of the one Church He instituted. That makes them an enemy of Christ because a rejection of His teachings and His Church is a rejection of Him.

        I disagree with you that Kennedy’s rhetoric was outside of the traditional understanding of American political and legal philosophy. Both philosophies, rejecting the Truth and the Catholic Church, claim that man has a right to religious liberty, freedom of speech, and can perfect himself without God or without God’s Natural and Divine Positive Laws leading the ordering of society. They also teach that it is the will of people, unattached to God or Truth, that determines how the people will be governed and what laws they will adopt.

        Their false notion that religious liberty, freedom of speech, and the will of the people are the right tools to order society that can serve the good of the people and generate cooperation and peace among a diversity of opinions in opposition to each other, has only served to destroy liberty and encourage the extremists. It will lead to tyranny. It can lead to nothing else.

        • TomD

          Again, I think you’ve set up a false dichotomy. The Founders did not establish a political economy that necessarily leads to what you say in your fourth paragraph.

          Ultimately, people must freely choose to follow Christ and to live the virtuous life. And as Christians, we must lovingly bring our fellow Man to Christ. But the foundation of a flourishing human society must be founded on freedom. What we do with that freedom, how we honor God in our lives, is then the task of the society and culture, within a self-governing polity. It cannot be forced or coerced.

          The extremists in our midst have taken elements of a half-truth about our founding and grounded their philosophy on a misrepresentative distortion of that founding. That includes the legal/political/social philosophies of Justice Kennedy. The fact that some people personally misuse freedom must never serve as an excuse for denying freedom as an overall societal good. God gave us freedom and we must, even when it is a challenge, honor that gift in His creation.

          Thanks for the spirited discussion.

  • cminca

    “A real baby forces parents outside of themselves, to its and their good. Any baby needs the father and a mother that begot and identifies it in this world. To deprive a baby of this natural need on the basis of an “equality” and “right” to have what one wants, is to allow no reality external to oneself to define how we look at another existence, whose being we have nothing to do with.”
    Some reality for you:

    4 month old Gabriel Crystalus was taken from his adoptive lesbian moms and
    given back to his teenage bio-mom and dad and he died from neglect. 4 yo Zachary
    Dutro was killed by his anti-gay bio mother and her boyfriend – in other words
    raised by a man and a woman. 3 yo Ronnie Paris was killed by his anti-gay
    “Christian” bio father and his mother watched. Jed Maddalon from NC was born to
    heterosexual parents who chained him to a bed and barely fed him from a dog bowl
    on the floor until he was rescued at 3yo. He went through 29 families by the
    time he was 13 who were incapable of taking adequate care of him. When he was 14
    the state was ready to give up on him and throw him away like trash into a
    mental hospital. It was 2gay men, a couple, who rescued him from that fate of
    being permanently caged like an animal, gave him his 1st birthday party and
    raised him to be a civilized, well-mannered young adult who is now in college
    studying to be a social worker so what happened to him will not happen to other
    kids treated like dogs by their heterosexual parents.

    Heterosexual parents, not gay ones, are the reason why there are thousands of
    children flooding the foster/adoption system abandoned, rejected, or neglected
    by their hetero parents. They age out and are also reduced to living on the
    streets eating out of garbage cans, drug dealing and using, and prostituting
    themselves just to pay for a warm place to sleep & a scrap of food.
    (I saw the above on another website. The author’s name was Sean.)

    • Care

      Is any of this true? You took it from another website.

    • Zorg

      When one explains or defends what is normative, it is always with the caveat of “ceteris paribus,” i.e., all things being equal. No one recommends that children be neglected, physically harmed, abused, or murdered by people just because they are “hetero” or the biological parents. To imply such a thing is utterly ridiculous and irrational.

      Yes, it would be better for a child to be raised by non-abusive homosexuals than to be “caged like an animal” or murdered. Duh! What does this have to do with the actual issue of objective norms regarding marriage, family, and the needs of children? All things being equal, it is morally wrong to deprive a child – by choice – of a mother and father.

  • mohawkkateri

    I think the secular consensus is that children deserve to know their mother and their father, and that should be aimed for, regardless of what particular circumstances they in fact grow up in, and that a pretense that tells them that it’s ok if they grow up without that meaningful contact is fine will ring hollow for them.

    I think it interesting though that the reality is that the gay rights lobby has been joined at the hip for decades with the abortion lobby. This is longstanding and intractable. This is resistant to dialogue or discussion. It is so co dependent that numerous side industries, propaganda efforts, and lobbies, outreaches, organizing in community, you name it, have flowed from that “symbiosis”. One wonders why proponents of gay unions would desire, aim, and commit frenzied political money and action, over decades, for the purpose to eliminate, so much as possible, the products/offspring of heterosexual relationships. Further, some of the most vicious attacks, ad hominem, towards advocates of life have originated in activism whose apparent and stated purpose is gay rights. One wonders how that has suited an agenda, how that decision was made.

    Of course big abortion lobby and gay rights have made strange bedfellows, and reasonable people, even from a purely secular mindset get that. Because just as little ones with Downs or some other trait that is verified by recourse to prenatal testing, in the end consumerist mentality of selectivity will also irrationally eliminate the children who bear some hallmarks of other “conditions”. Look at China where this has already happened per force. Eugenics of course does not favor evolutionary diversity, by any stretch, nor tolerance for others’ as God has made them.

  • John O’Donnell

    When I was young newly-minted altar boy and served at my first wedding, I was shocked to hear the priest say, to paraphrase, “By the power given to me by the State of (blank), I now pronounce you man and wife. . . ”
    Whatever happened to separation of Church and State. Here was a priest in the full vestments of his religion, in the most sacred location of his religion acting as an agent of the STATE.
    A lot of the problems that the Church has incurred have happened because the Church and State were intertwined, e.g., the Inquisition. Generally speaking, theocracies are a bad idea for the Church and a bad idea for the State.
    CHURCH’S SOLUTION TO GAY MARRIAGE: Sidestep the issue. Do as they do in Europe, where there is a Civil Ceremony one day, and, for those who want it, a Religious ceremony later, usually the next day.
    Then, as far as the Civil Ceremony is concerned, It is all about Civil Rights!

    Let me address some anticipated objections first. Sexuality, is NOT a choice. Barbaric efforts to “convert” persons from one sexuality to another have a long history of dismal failure. The fact that there is documented evidence that homosexuality exists in more than 400 (and counting) species would tend to give the lie to the “unnaturalness” of homosexuality. Finally, even the very conservative Catholic Church has concluded that homosexuality is NOT a choice.

    When my great-grandfather wanted to marry my great-grandmother in the 1870s, in order to get a marriage license, he had to obtain a performance bond to care for his survivors should something happen to him.

    Why do I mention this? To demonstrate that before, marriage established requirements. Today, marriage conveys privileges in these days of FICA and other “safety nets.” There are other privileges, but I will address some of those associated with Social Security.

    Let us start with what happens when a single gay person dies. He and his employer have contributed to FICA for his entire working lives. And, you know what happens if he dies before retiring? Answer: Nothing All the money that has been contributed to his account is absorbed by the fund. In contrast, the survivors of a married person who dies receives survivor benefits for both his spouse and his
    children.

    Say the single gay is in a long-term committed relationship. When he reaches retirement age, he gets his retirement benefit. However, his partner when he reaches retirement age, get nothing. In contrast, a married person receives his benefit AND his spouse receives a benefit equal to half of his benefit even if she has never contributed a penny to FICA. If she has contributed to FICA, she has the option picking the larger of the two benefits.

    When a married primary dies, the surviving spouse receives a death benefit. Then the
    surviving spouse has the option of trading her lesser benefit for the greater benefit of her deceased primary, again even if she has notcontributed a penny to the fund.

    Let me address one final alternative “solution”–the so-called Civil Partnership. As SCOTUS rightfully stated in their memorable segregation decision: Separate is inherently unequal.

    Allowing gay marriage will eliminate this clearly unconstitutional treatment of gay people. And, this is just one example of the benefits that marriage conveys. There are significant othershaving to do with inheritances, taxation,and making decisions relative to each other.

    All who support the Constitutional right of equaltreatment under the law should support this decision!

    It is all about Civil Rights!

    • givelifeachance2

      The so-called marriage “benefits” come because society wants to support families, which issue from the marriage like fruit from flowers. Society has an interest in mothers staying home to care for their kids…this is the idea behind the marriage “benefits”. This does not pertain to homosexuals because they can’t procreate. Sorry, but homosexuals can only “procure” children, which chattelizes them, which is the greater civil rights issue.

      Oh and if we’re talking about civil rights and non-discrimination, why are Heather’s guardians discriminating against the opposite sex? Heather may have two mommies but she has NO daddies!

    • Fred

      Sexuality, is NOT a choice.

      With all caps yet. You know, for people who love to criticize others for their failure to perceive nuance, you “progressives” certainly are dichotomous thinkers when it comes to human sexuality, one of the most complex and “nuanced” subjects there is. Sexuality is not either/or. It exists on a continuum. At one end are people like fundamentally heterosexual prisoners who have sex with other prisoners, either because it’s the only sex available or to assert dominance. Clearly that is a choice. Some fundamentally heterosexual women, tired of being mistreated by men, become romantically and sexually involved with other women (I have personally known such women). Again, that is clearly a choice. A certain percentage of people (I’ve read it’s about 10 though I’ll admit that seems a bit high) have a homosexual experience of some sort before going on to live perfectly normal heterosexual lives. Bisexuals are supposedly attracted to both sexes. If that is the case, the sex they end up with is obviously a choice. Now at the other end of the continuum, there do seem to be people who, from some genetic, psychological, physiological, or environmental disorder (the cause(s) remain obscure) are attracted to the same sex through no fault of their own. But while those people may not choose to whom they are attracted, they most certainly do choose with whom they have sex. Whether that choice is a good one, whether it is moral and healthy is, perhaps, open to debate, but no one is served by basing that debate on oversimplifications and distortions like “Sexuality, is NOT a choice.”

      • John O’Donnell

        I am not sure what the point of your gobbledygook answer is. Kinsey alleged that there was a spectrum of sexuality. He had a scale of 0 through 6, with the extreme number being exclusively hetero- or homosexual. And, his conclusion was based on interviews with lots of people. And, I kind of think that he had something.
        Implicitly, you are,se I think, trying to arrive at what constitutes a person’s sexuality. Does one homosexual experience make one a homosexual? On the other hand, does one heterosexual experience make one a heterosexual? Most people would probably agree that one experience does not. In fact, my understanding is that even back when, the U.S. Army did not conclude that one experience made one a homosexual, tacitly recognizing situational homosexual experiences.
        And, then there are the cases, like the former Governor of New Jersey, who was both a husband and a father, who resigned to go live with another man, giving up a very successful political career to be “true to himself.”
        My point about sexuality and choice was specifically aimed at the fundamentalist who insist that it is a choice. That is, one can decide what one is going to be. And, while some homosexuals can engage in heterosexual sex, and vice versa, most people’s bodies kind of determine what their preference is. Hence, individuals are known to be attracted to a “type” whether the potential relationship is hetero- or homosexual. It is sad to listen to a person who has spent most of his/her life living a “lie.”

        • Fred

          Gobbledygook? It seems pretty clear to me. Perhaps you should read it again and actually look at what it says rather than impose your prejudices on it. My point was that there is choice in homosexual behavior, including the behavior of those people who, from whatever genetic, psychological, environmental or other dysfunction, are attracted to the same sex through no fault of their own, just as their is a strong element of choice in alcoholic behavior even in those who have a genetic predisposition to that behavior. I know liberals and gay activists don’t like to hear that. You “progressives” like to believe that a) homosexual attraction is an ironclad orientation imposed by genes at conception and b) that makes homosexual behavior ok. My point was that neither of those propositions is true.

  • Bridget

    Absolutely brilliant and probably inspired by the Holy Spirit ! Thank You Fr. Schall .



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