Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Different Strokes for Different Folks: a Guest Blog Post

     My buddy, Russ Manley, over at Blue Truck, Red State (, gave me permission to reprint his following recent post, "Different Strokes for Different Folks."   Thanks, Russ!  And, thanks for being a fellow voice crying out in the face of the Gospel According to Hate.

     I used to have a certain admiration for the late Pope John Paul II as an indefatigable supporter of human rights in general, notwithstanding his also obvious support for the Catholic moral position on matters of sexuality.

      But I can never forget the cold and cutting pronouncement he made in his last book, Memory and Identity, reported in the news media just a week or two after my husband's death, that same-sex marriage was an "ideology of evil."  Yes, two men and a little dog living quietly and peacefully in a little town far out on the prairie, working their jobs, serving the community, paying their taxes, attending church, buying groceries, doing all the very same things their neighbors did, day in and day out, were "objectively disordered" and "intrinsically evil," points he had already made in a letter to American bishops twenty years earlier. 

      But now with my husband barely cold in the ground, I felt His Holiness's nasty, coldhearted, evil-minded words more acutely than ever before.  This was a man, it must be recalled, in a position of ultimate moral authority over more than a billion people; and for all his great intellect and wide experience, the best he could say about Cody and me is that we were evil, and promoting evil.  Really. 

      Well now come to find out, as Sullivan and others have reported, the late Pontiff
whipped himself with a belt, even on vacation, and slept on the floor as acts of penitence and to bring him closer to Christian perfection, according to a new book by the Polish prelate spearheading his sainthood case...

     "It's an instrument of Christian perfection," Oder said, responding to questions about how such a practice could be condoned considering Catholic teaching holds that the human body is a gift from God.

     "As some members of his close entourage in Poland and in the Vatican were able to hear with their own ears, John Paul flagellated himself. In his armoire, amid all the vestments and hanging on a hanger, was a belt which he used as a whip and which he always brought to Castel Gandolfo," the papal retreat where John Paul vacationed each summer.
     Sullivan, a devout Catholic, approves, saying
    I have every respect for the practice of self-mortification and self-denial. . . .  I see the last Pope's embrace of these things as affecting signs of his deep and genuine closeness to God.
     Yet despite his loyal support for self-flagellation - a practice which Jesus never indulged in, and never, ever recommended - that brilliant mind also has the independence to ask the pertinent question here:
    So why is self-abuse inherently wrong when it is done by hand and yet saintly when it is done by whip?
     Masturbation, of course, is also an "intrinsically and gravely disordered action," the Church says.

      So - if you jack yourself off, or you get off with your committed partner, you are committing outrageous evil.  And destroying civilization while you're at it.  Don't even think about asking for the law to protect your love and marriage, you filthy, twisted, disordered creep, you.

      But - if you whip yourself bloody in your bedroom every night, why, God smiles - and loves you even more.

      Now I ask you, fellas:  Just how fucked up is that?

      Christian perfection, my ass. 

      And again I refer my truckbuddies to Matthew 25 for clarification.


FDeF said...

I would like to reiterate my comment in response to this post, if I may:
As much as I agree with the sentiments that the church has inflicted unspeakable harm on non-heterosexual persons, and as much as I consider JPII to have been most complacent in the church's (Razinger's) attacks on homosexual persons, I must be somewhat of an apologist in this matter. Knowing that JPII must have had his demons and that he may have had doubts about his own worth and worthiness only makes him more human. He was, of course a product of a very different time, when Catholic theology due to all kinds of influences, saw the human body and human desires as obstacles to holiness. But Catholics are so good at "catch 22". I'm not sure who said "Holiness is like humility - as soon as you think you have it, you lose it." I never held JPII in high regard and shudder at prospects of his canonization; rather than despise him, I see only pathos.
(pathos:"quality that arouses pity or sorrow").

Russ Manley said...

Hey Tom, thanks for the plug, buddy. Meant to get over here sooner but the week got real busy.