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Define and address the issue at hand

Observer Viewpoint | Thursday, March 25, 2004

The recent debate on homosexuality and its place at this University would have made me physically ill if anything substantial had actually been said thus far. Instead, I find myself merely annoyed at the arrogance, rhetoric and avoidance that have characterized these letters thus far. Everybody thinks they know the answers, but nobody really wants to talk about the question that drives the whole affair.

Let’s look first to the “facts” both sides throw around. What, exactly, is being discussed? Nobody wants to say. Is it homosexuality, homosexual individuals, accepting them, supporting them, changing them, blah blah blah nobody wants to take a stand on that. People will dance around the issue of tolerance and acceptance and speak euphemistically of “the homosexual act.” It’s sex, people. You can disagree with it, but you can still say it. Sex. If it’s not sexual activity, but sexual orientation, say that. But either way, it ties to sex or the potentiality of sex. Any other euphemisms and fancy terms just dance around the issue and make everyone involved look childish. This is an important topic, we can call things what they are – or should be able to.

Now, we’re told people have to understand that this is a Catholic institution, and that Catholics are going to disagree on this topic even when they’re wrong. If they didn’t believe the Catholic doctrines were correct, they wouldn’t be Catholic, and likewise if the school didn’t enforce Catholic policies, it wouldn’t be either. But let’s be serious here. The problem here is sex. The Catholic Church can’t even fathom the idea that unmarried heterosexuals could, would or should have sex. You think they’re going to let homosexual sex slide? After all, homosexuality is strictly concerned with sex and isn’t a lens through which people of any particular sexual orientation view their entire lives, so there’d be no other benefit, right? Right? Why are you looking at me like that?

The Catholic Church is consistently intolerant of sex for everyone outside of procreative purposes. This comes from the quaint old philosophical idea, inherited from our old Greek friends Plato and Aristotle, that every thing and action has an end and that using it for something else is a perversion of the natural order of things and, extrapolated to a religious level, sinful. Of course this conveniently puts homosexuals in a sexual Catch-22. There’s a humorous side-note owing to the origin of this perspective, but I’ll leave it to the well-read and intelligent minds of the Notre Dame community to figure it out.

The point is that some people here are saying the Catholic Church is wrong. They’re saying that the will of God has been arrogantly assumed by human beings and that the will of the Church just might not be God’s will after all. It’s fine to say the Catholic Church is right, but that doesn’t justify your argument. You’re going to have to make more reasoned, intelligent and referenced arguments. Tell us why the Pope says this or that. Tell us why Saint Paul introduced this heretofore-unmentioned edict back in Corinthians. Hopefully, they’ll be countered by similarly intelligent ones from the other side. I think we’re mature enough to discuss this openly, without veiling what it is we support or object to.

Peter ScottjuniorCarroll HallMarch 25