Monday, September 05, 2011

Love and sexual attraction

Update to correct factual errors:

When I teach seminarians about SSA, I emphasize that the love between two men who engage in same sex activity may in fact be quite genuine. The problem is that the same sex activity undermines the love.

Two men are able to love each other deeply and genuinely and with great emotion.  This is a good thing established by God.  It is a great thing to recover this.

There is so much suspicion these days that men find it hard to show this kind of affection for each other.  I think that is why J.K. Rowling said she always thought Dumbledore was "gay" because of his obviously deep love for Grindelwald. I would say that the fact of the love does not mean that D. was "gay" or that he even had same sex attraction.  Now, I haven't read the books in which this is discussed, so maybe I'm off base.

At any rate, St. Leo the Great says in his sermon on the Beatitudes, "Even the most intimate bonds of friendship and the closest affinity of minds cannot truly lay claim to this peace if they are not in agreement 'with the will of God.' He's talking about the beatitude "Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall inherit the earth."  How do we know the will of God?  Ask the Church. She knows. If she in her wisdom says that same sex activity is contrary to the good of the persons and society, then we know that our love cannot be expressed that way, whether it "feels" like "love" or not. We've got to learn to distinguish between affection for persons and sexual attraction.

Or, we can do what Johanan, son of Kareah did and ignore the words of the prophet Jeremiah and flee to Egypt with all the people of Judah (including Jeremiah and Baruch). Look where that got them!

Same is true of fornication, adultery, etc.  Whatever genuine love might be in these relationships, it is obliterated by the action that is contrary to God.

I know I harp on this, but the best analysis of all of this is in Love and Responsibility, by a Polish guy named Wojtyla.


Nate said...

Dumbledore's SSA wasn't concerning Voldemort, but Grindelwald, the evil wizard before Voldemort. They had been best friends as teens in search for the Deathly Hallows which gave the person supposed power over Death. I think even if it wasn't the intent of the author, the closeness of that friendship excluded everyone else and resulted in the death of D's sister. It took a punch in the nose from D's brother to wake him up. Eventually he went on to defeat Grindelwald in one of the most celebrated wizard duel in the 20th century.

Really, this whole story shows what attraction gone overboard can do. It can harm.

Robert Gotcher said...

Right. The point is, there is even a distinction between going overboard in an exclusive friendship, which causes damage like you said, and same sex attraction and sexual activity. I think Fr. V. posted something about that on Facebook recently.

I fault Rawling for saying that the Dumbledore and Grindelwald relationship means they are "gay."

Of course, she's the author. Maybe she knows something we don't. But it isn't in the text, as far as I've heard.

Nate said...

I don't think it's in the text either. But whether Dumbledore had SSA is mostly irrelevant. He seemed to live a celibate life that was dedicated to the education of children. The fact that Rowling said he was "gay" doesn't bother me as much as what's actually in the book--his consequentialist attitude. (Although to be fair, he himself understands that that was a weakness after his death).

Have you taken a look at