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October 12, 2006

Catholic to Orthodox

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

After a lot of soul-searching, Rod Dreher converts from Catholicism to the Orthodox Church. I haven't taken a look at the Comments on his posting yet. 181 of them so far! I wonder how people are taking Rod's announcement.



posted by Michael at October 12, 2006


Interesting read. I had always thought that most of the priest-molestation claims were dubious, false recollections by the mentally disturbed at best, extortion attempts at worst. As the numbers keep piling up, however, I've come to the conclusion that there indeed may be some substance to most of the claims.

Posted by: Peter on October 12, 2006 11:12 PM

Well, I am Catholic. I attend St. Joseph's in Woodstock, and my priest, Father George, is an inspiration.

One cannot help but notice that homosexual pedophilia is at the center of Rod Dreher's lament.

I would begin what I have to say by noting that I've lived in the middle of gay communities for 35 years, in San Francisco and New York City... but it is hopeless to say this, and I know it. Respondents to what I have to say will simply ignore this and launch into their tirades about "bigotry."

In the 1990s, you could attend a lesbian feminist meeting and a gay male activist meeting, and you would come away with two entirely contradictory messages. I know, because I attended both. The lesbian feminists would scream out to God their outrage at sexual and physical abuse and they would say straight out that their sexuality was formed as a result of that sexual and physical abuse. The gay male activists would insist that their sexual orientation was innate and caused by nothing at all.

Pedophilia, sexual abuse and incest are the formative factors in homosexuality. The reason that gay men are so reticent about admitting to this is that we have a tremendous cultural bias against admitting that women commit incest, and physical and sexual abuse.

I do not say this without compassion. My late wife, Myrna, was prostituted to a gang rape when she was still a child. I know first hand how sexual abuse in childhood forms the sexual behavior of adults. I struggled and suffered with Myrna in an attempt to find a way to help her to feel loved and accepted.

We've gone, now, through a period of 30 years of pretending and lying about the formative causes of homosexuality. It is time to quit lying.

The Church exists to serve sinners. I have no interest at all in condemning sinners. Myrna was the greatest of sinners, and she was the most deeply spiritual and forgiving person I have ever encountered. Every one of you is diminished by not having known her personally. You do not, and cannot possibly, know what you have missed. She was brilliant beyond understanding. Her suffering was the source of her brilliance.

It is long past time for gay men to acknowledge openly the formative role of pedophilia and incest in the formation of their sexual identities. I do not know what the outcome of this will be. Maybe we will decide at the end of this cycle that all gay men should be out and married. But, I am tired of the lies. Lies don't solve anything.

If you have the opportunity to visit Father George, I strongly suggest that you do so.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on October 12, 2006 11:24 PM

Man, sometimes I do wish I were the sort of person to "change religions" as a kind of political show of solidarity for one group and punishment of another. As it is, I seem cursed to take metaphysical concepts individually and seriously.

Posted by: J. Goard on October 13, 2006 12:41 AM

When are you taking the plunge, Michael?

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on October 13, 2006 7:48 AM

As someone who was once a big fan of Dreher, and has had some harsh words since, I can only say that I hope that he finds what he is looking for. I disagree with Dreher in many ways (I still cannot bring myself to believe that one can find spiritual solace in a free-range chicken, no matter how carefully prepared)but he is obviously a seeker after Truth, in his own way, and there are certainly worse things to be than that...

Posted by: tschafer on October 13, 2006 9:03 AM

Peter -- The sheer number of accusations gets more and more impressive. I wonder what percentage is hysteria and copycat stuff ... FWIW, a friend of mine used to attend to sexual-harassment suits at a big company. She told me that as far as she could tell, one in three had some basis. The rest were hysteria and extortion. I wonder if similar percentages hold in other fields ...

ST -- That's all very interesting. So your theory is that gayness is caused by early sexual experiences? Or am I misunderstanding? I'm not even sure I have a theory of gayness myself. A lot of gays and lesbians seem so ... dramatically differently-constituted than most straights that I often feel like it has to be organic. But I don't tend to think of gays as deviating-from-the-normal. (Not that you do, I'm just indulging myself.) It seems to me like maybe a mistake to think of straight-and-narrow hetero-ism as 100% normal and everything else as a deviation from it. It seems to me more likely that "normal" encompasses a lot -- that the normal population includes superstraights, super-bents, and lots of others as well. That there's no one central standard archetype, with everything else a variation on it, but instead a sloshy percentage game, with (who knows) maybe 80% of people generally being straight or straightish breeders, but with maybe 20% of people not being that -- and with that kind of mix being what's really normal. But I dunno, maybe that's naive of me ...

J. Goard -- Some people really seem to want a home, or a team they can join, eh? Religiously, politically, artistically ... I mean, I feel the tug myself occasionally but have never found a standard-issue team where I could really feel at home. Psychologically interesting, though, this desire to wear a team uniform and root for your guys, etc ...

Charlton -- Any day now! Actually, I hear that Orthodox services can be fantastically beautiful, and I do love that Byzantine style of theirs. There's a church (temple? er, no idea) on NY's Upper East Side that's supposed to throw a mind-blowing Easter. I've always wanted to go. But I'm so unaware of Christian holidays (Xmas apart) that I never know when Easter Sunday is until I'm out in the streets and I find myself noticing women wearing the big hats. One of these days I'll get there, I hope.

Tschafer -- Rod's nothing if not a quester! I wonder what it's like for him to be doing so much of it out in public. Is he glad he's made religion his beat (and his own searches a part of it)? Or does he have some regrets about that. I don't mind comparing notes about The Meaning of It All and what I make of it with a few other people -- but in quiet, cautious, respectful ways. 90% private, in other words. Doing it out on a public stage ... I'd be very uneasy about that ... Such personal and delicate feelings. Yikes.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 13, 2006 10:43 AM

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