Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Officially Homophobic, Intensely Homoerotic – Michael J. Bayly – The Wild Reed

Michael J. Bayly " the executive coordinator of the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM) the editor of The Progressive Catholic Voice, and co-chair of the Minnesota-based Catholic Coalition for Church Reform." He is an author and writes on his blog, The Wild Reed. He offers a professional and realistic approach of integrating the fullness of human sexuality, particularly sexual orientation with the Catholic faith. In his own words he explains,

I established The Wild Reed as a sign of solidarity with all who are dedicated to living lives of integration and wholeness – though, in particular, with gay people seeking to be true to both the gift of their sexuality and their Catholic faith. The Wild Reed simply invites people to observe and reflect upon one man’s progressive, gay, Catholic perspective on faith, sexuality, politics, and culture.

The Published Works of Michael J. Bayly - Creating Safe Schools for LGBT Students: A Catholic Schools Perspective

Michael addresses the tough issues of sexual orientation to open up a dialogue that breaks the harmful silence that has been allowed to continue in the Catholic Church. His posting, June 9, 2009, Officially Homophobic, Intensely Homoerotic he gets to the heart of this silence and the harmful effects it has on us all, by presenting the author, Mark D. Jordan his latest book The Silence of Sodom: Homosexuality in Modern Catholicism.

An excerpt

The Catholic tradition is my Christian tradition. It is not only the one in which I found Christianity or the one I know best by experience, but it is the tradition within which I have had to work out the central paradox for any gay Christian: many Christian churches are at once the most homophobic and the most homoerotic of institutions. They seem cunningly designed to condemn same-sex desire and to elicit it, to persecute it and to instruct it. I sometimes call this the paradox of the “Beloved Disciple”: “Come recline beside me and put your head on my chest, but don’t dare conceive of what we do as erotic.” Perhaps it is more clearly seen as the paradox of the Catholic Jesus, the paradox created by an officially homophobic religion in which an all-male clergy sacrifices male flesh before images of God as an almost naked man. How could such a religion be officially homophobic - and also intensely homoerotic?

. . . To change Catholic teaching about homosexual acts would require changes under many other headings of Catholic theology. “Conservatives” are right to suspect this, though they are wrong to think that this is a reason for not correcting the teachings. The moral teachings on this topic are just the most visible sign of a larger failure. If the church could be so violently wrong about this for so many centuries, there must be some deep deformity in church governance. Any correction of teachings about homosexuality will have to begin by considering topics as different as the structures of church power and the styles of moral theology, the hypocrisies of the confessional practice and the screening of seminary candidates.

[Changes Required]

. . . What is required for a thorough correction of the teachings? No one knows. Homosexuality has been silenced so successfully in the Catholic Church that we do not have the kinds of evidence required for a convincing answer. A subject that Catholic theologians cannot discuss during centuries except with thunder, derision, or disgust is not a subject on which Catholic theology can speak.

Some theologians have indeed begun to speak about it more freely in the last thirty years, and they have made some helpful and even bold beginnings. We now have notable first essays in lesbian and gay theology, not least because we have lesbian and gay appropriations of liberation theology, feminist theory, the writing of church history, and so on. But three decades cannot undo two millennia. Catholic theologians will have to be able to speak freely about homosexuality for many years before they can write serious moral assessments of it.

In order for them to “speak freely,” many changes will be required. It is not enough for the CDF [the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith] to promise that it will no longer prosecute moral theologians who dissent from its diagnosis of homosexual orientation (though just that now seems utopian fantasy). The church, in some broader sense, will have to encourage homosexual Catholics to live openly and proudly. Serious moral theology cannot be principally the framing and manipulation of quasi-legal propositions. It must begin and end in the discovery of particular lives under grace. Lesbian and gay lives will have to become audible to the church, readable within it, before their graces can be discerned and described. . . .

Reprinted with permission from Michael J. Bayly

Read complete article - The Wild Reed

The Pope Converts by Mark D. Jordan When will the Roman Catholic Church come out of the theological closet? This essay is drawn from the introduction to Mark D. Jordan’s new book, The Silence of Sodom: Homosexuality in Modern Catholicism, available from University of Chicago Press.

Imagine this. Overnight, God changes the hearts of the majority of officials in the Vatican. They awake in the morning convinced that the Roman Catholic Church’s condemnations of “homosexual acts” are both untrue and unjust. They resolve to revoke them. What would they have to revise in church doctrine or practice in order to correct the teachings about gays and lesbians? Read more

About the author Mark D. Jordan from the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University School of Law

MARK D. JORDAN is Richard Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School. His research interests include the history of Christian teachings on sex, the relationship between Christian theology and power, and issues of homosexuality in the Christian churches. Professor Jordan is the author of numerous books and articles. Among his books are Authorizing Marriage? Canon, Tradition, and Critique in the Blessing of Same-Sex Unions; Blessing Same-Sex Unions: The Perils of Queer Romance and the Confusions of Christian Marriage; Telling Truths in Church: Scandal, Flesh, and Christian Speech; The Silence of Sodom: Homosexuality in Modern Catholicism; The Ethics of Sex; and Rewritten Theology: Thomas Aquinas after his Readers (forthcoming). He has won numerous awards for his teaching and research, including a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship.

 PhD, University of Texas at Austin CV - Projects - Publications - Essays/Lectures

Related link to Officially Homophobic, Intensely Homoerotic

Perpetuation of Generational Violence to Children -- Who Grow Up to Be Gay Harry Stack Sullivan, M.D. Dissociative Processes in Clinical Studies on Psychiatry gives insight, as to how this phenomenon Officially Homophobic, Intensely Homoerotic can happen not only to public figures but also to anyone.

Dissociative Processes by Harry Stack Sullivan

Have you ever wonder why some very prominent male public figures, who have been known for making harsh condemning public statements against homosexuality, only to find out later in the news media that these same men were caught engaging in “public restroom” sex or were paying to have sex with men. Harry Stack Sullivan, M.D. in his description of Dissociative Processes in his book Clinical Studies on Psychiatry gives some insight, as to how this phenomenon can happen not only to public figures but also to anyone.

Anxiety - Instant Smoke Screen

Dr. Sullivan considers his theory of dissociative processes in understanding how “an important system of the personality is effectively barred from any disturbing influence of personal awareness for a period of years and perhaps for a lifetime.” He explains how even a blatantly obvious issue of a person’s personality, which would be expected to be in that person’s self-awareness, however, it is successfully kept out. How is this possible? Sullivan begins by explaining the dynamics of anxiety, as having an “extraordinarily arresting effect on whatever was about to happen.” So when a disturbing issue is provoked and about to enter into one’s consciousness that person feels anxious. Sullivan states that the anxiety becomes more important than the disturbing issue that has been provoked. It sounds like anxiety can be used like a drug. Because when anxiety is allowed to flood the conscious mind, it preoccupies that person’s attention, and therefore any disturbing issue is blocked out of the person’s awareness. However, over time, if anxiety is allowed to run a person’s life, Sullivan states that it ...

… generally leads to an appallingly uncomfortable life. Take for example, a person to whom any sexual impulse, any movement of lust, is an intolerable ingredient of awareness. Presumably the only discharge of impulse, which concerned lust would occur in sleep or in some other very extraordinary situation. One would expect long stretches of waking life to remain in which the person was in the throes of lust. That would mean, from our standpoint, that he was anxious, and was therefore practically incapable of that application to reality that is necessary in order to carry out complex performances, to realize goals take more than momentary action (Clinical Studies on Psychiatry, 1956, p. 168).

Dissociation - Contradistinction to Anxiety

Dr. Sullivan describes dissociation in contrast to anxiety, because it “does not require disturbance of the contents of consciousness and which does not act as an impediment to the conduct of life in the areas where there is not dissociation…one is more efficient and much nearer happiness, contentment.” Sullivan describes what a person suffers being in a dissociative state by what people say who are recovering from a dissociation state. They report that “... they could now take things easier. Life is less exhausting; it was not so intense; it did not tire them so rapidly per hour (Clinical Studies on Psychiatry, 1956, p. 169)."

To illustrate the processes and effects of dissociation, Sullivan chooses the example of a married man, he calls, Mr. A, who has dissociated from all his thoughts and impulses of being a homosexual. On the surface, this man’s married life is picture prefect, except for his lack of sexual relations with his wife. Although, this man’s homosexual impulses have remained constant and alive from preadolescence to the present, he has been able to successfully totally dissociate from that whole part of his life. What this means is that this man has tremendous anxiety about being a homosexual, which likely began for him, as far back as his pre adolescent years growing up. And the way he has been able not to have his anxiety become overwhelming for him is by not consciously accepting the fact that he is a homosexual. In his mind he would have seamlessly reworked any indication that would lead to the conscious fact that he was a homosexual. It is this process that Sullivan is describing, as dissociation, a level of cognitive sophistication and specificity that is seamless, undetectable consciously by the person himself.

Process Of Dissociation

How this process of dissociation works is that a person is mentally reworking all perceived information from his surrounding social environment that would lead to the intensely dreaded indication that he was a homosexual. Dr. Sullivan illustrates “what a remarkable performance dissociation is,” by using his example of this married man, Mr. A. Sullivan begins by indicating that Mr. A did have a very happy experience, which was a definite homosexual relationship, in his preadolescent years growing up. However, now, as an adult, Mr. A has successfully dissociated from all conscious memory of this happy experience. Sullivan than describes how Mr. A. would react if he met someone new, Mr. X, as an adult, years later, that vividly resembled this special friend from his past. Mr. X is “the type to activate powerfully an impulse which … would lead to homosexual instances with Mr. A (p 171).” Instead, what happens with Mr. A is he will treat Mr. X “almost as a non-existent entity.” Mr. A will be polite but it will be a reduction of his normal social demeanor. If people notice that Mr. A’s behavior tends to be rather cool towards Mr. X, Mr. A will rationalize it by saying that there is just something about this new person he does not like. Sullivan goes through many examples of how Mr. A will continue to act cool, disinterested, continuously making derogatory remarks about Mr. X. However, Mr. A in his dissociative state “has anything but data on what he has been doing (p.173),” studying Mr. X’s physical profile, orchestrating to sit across from Mr. X at dinner, even to have a sexual encounter with Mr. X. Sullivan describes,

Thus here is an aspect of the self-organization which frequently appear in the major tendencies. That is, a patient with a dissociated impulse will experience special cognitive distortions about anyone whose combination of positive values horribly moves the patient to integrate his dissociated impulse. These positively valued people are then endowed by the patient with the negative of the feelings that would accompany this integration, so that one literally, suavely, and automatically misidentifies the meaning of such a person. In other words, in order that the dissociated tendency shall never disturb awareness, shall not provoke anxiety – because if it did, one would be anxious so much of the time that one could not do things which are necessary to life---the security system has come to include very elaborate pseudo memories, revery processes, and so on, which amount to a wonderfully thorough piece of fantasy that neatly and very adequately excludes any ordinary ways by which one would become aware of something. You need not marvel too much that such things can be, because our erroneous explanations of things are of the same type, and you know they run very beautifully unless they happen to break down in a particularly distressful situation (Clinical Studies on Psychiatry, 1956, p. 174).

The process of dissociation as described by Harry Stack Sullivan is a complex system of cognitive distortion of our perception of reality to securely avoid us from knowing some truth about ourselves. A truth, so feared, if known to us would flood our conscious mind with overwhelming amounts of anxiety, causing us to become incapacitated to function normally.

How To Stop Harming Children

Understanding the mind of a child, personal ghosts from childhood and dissociations, mentally distorting reality to avoid the conscious flooding of overwhelming amounts of anxiety are the necessary precautions to be able to effectively avoid harming children. The following postings on this blog will be dealing with the lives of real children, who have no one to keep them safe from the kind of harm that is past on from generation to generation. This kind of harm is an implicit form, not visible to the human eye, easily rationalized or denied. However, the telltale signs are left in the wake of this destructive force of this form of implicit harm. By identifying this form of implicit harm that it exists, is the first step to help prevent it from continuing and being past on to future generations.

First, making an effort to understand and learn how children are easily traumatized is critical. This, also, requires us to learn and know the ways that we may have been traumatized as children, because they are our ghosts that follow us into the nursery. It is in this way that we unknowingly past on this implicit form of harm to other generation.

Secondly, indiscriminately speaking out publically against a whole group of people globally, like homosexuals, should be the very first sign that some form of dissociation is taking place within us, personally. It is the first easy detectable clue that we our cognitively distorting reality because unless we know every homosexual in the world, we cannot in truth make such statements. Time and time again, we have witnessed in the news media major prominent male political and religious leaders publically condemning all homosexuals and then some of these same leaders are caught in some public sandal having sex with men.

Collective Dissociation - Harmful to Children

It seemed like the process of dissociation was working overtime this past election 2008, for many with the defeat of the gay marriage proposals. However, it also showed that the process of dissociation does not have as tight of a grip on people as it once did regarding gay marriage, because the defeat was not by any overwhelming majority.

It is critical for each person to be responsible for personally attempting to identify this form of implicit harm that can be caused to others by our own seamless process of dissociation. And that the harm that this dissociation causes, especially regarding homosexuals is generational being passed on from one generation to another, unknowingly. Read more

Other related links

‘Queerying’ gender: Heteronormativity in early childhood education - - by Kerry H. Robinson

Sexual orientation is less about sex and more about love, being one with another human being. Attachment Theory - - LOVE & RELIGION

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