A GAY GUY HARRASSED BY HIS PARENTS

Hello Project, I finally find some time to write to you. A lot of things have happened in these weeks, but now I have to talk about my family. I will be very long in this e-mail, a real novel. But don’t worry, answer when you can. To endure the situation has become increasingly difficult, the fact that I live in a big city – despite coming home several times a month – keeps my parents in a state of absolute frenzy for the simple fact that they cannot control me. They are pathetic and incredibly oppressive, they are absolutely convinced, for example, that I go to the pool for some kind of obscure sexual reason, maybe because I met someone, so my father tells me: “It’s not that you go there to make some crap?”

Repeatedly and continuously they both say they will come to break into the house without notifying me. If there was only this I wouldn’t worry at all, the fact is that they are obsessed by the thought that I can be gay, so much to tell me constantly dirty things, which really so far I have never read in the e-mails of guys on Gay Project.

As soon as some girls appear on TV, my father comments disgustingly (in front of my mother) and then together they ask me questions like “Do you like them?” (Referring to half-naked girls’ tits), or ask me if I like their asses, they assail me with sexual questions!

Then I can also be holding back, but not hypocritical, so I will not answer these questions. And my father continues to insist, and to asks the same questions four, five times in a row, saying that it matters to him a lot. In practice they forced me to do a half coming out simply making me say that I don’t like female tits and asses.

My mother is not far behind my father. Watching a television service, in which was showed a manifestation of collective kisses, even gay, she grimaced, and his words were “What a disgusting thing, truly disgusting!” With an expression – that I know well – of such disgust, that I felt like dying. But the real boulder of this whole story is permanent, there is always and never goes away.

When we are together, I feel a sense of deep unease because they don’t respond as they should, sometimes they flash strange looks at me, all this in a climate of apparent normality but in fact I feel a never ending sense of guilt. I feel treated like someone who commits, who has committed or who continues to commit mistakes and, even if they don’t tell me, they are always there to remind me the same thing through the attitudes even if not trough the words. I cannot live anymore as if I had committed something, they make me feel wrong. And sometimes I believe it, and I tell myself that if I really didn’t have anything to hide of myself, I could very well tell the truth, but I never do.

I must add my uncle to contribute to this picturesque picture of the mentality of my family. One day while we are talking, he says to me: “Oh my God, do you know what happened yesterday in the bus? I was sleeping, but behind me I heard the voices of two lovers, at one point I turned around and they were two gays! So much disgusting! They were sitting there on the seats of the bus side by side, kissing each other and showing public effusions. Oh my God, too much disgusting! (And laughs amazed).

Even the driver could see them. Next to me on the left side of the bus, there were two old persons – a husband and a wife – who looked at them and laughed, how much they laughed! But I had checked that boy well, you could see that he was a bit poof, his behavior was strange and the hair very particular, and then waiting for him as if nothing had happened, there was his mother, as if it were all normal! Oh my God! Very disgusting!” Needless to say what I felt inside, however, I smile and say: “Here we are very narrow-minded, already in the north it’s something much more common.” He answers me decided: “No! Really! What rubbish, in public!” Conversation closed.

This is the mentality of 95% of the people of the lost little town in which I have the misfortune of living. Suffice it to say that my father – a man with a fixed idea (to have sex with women) – long ago, after all the psychic violence that I had to undergo by a psychologist to whom I was forcibly carried, he asked me: “So, are you healed? Are you sure you are healed?” For a man like him, the greatest divine punishment is a gay son. He doesn’t care about the university as much as he cares about the girls. He would much rather see me as a bricklayer with a family than as a lawyer without a family.

Speaking of sexuality, one thing I’ve never told you about sexuality is the distorted view I had when I was a child. I soon began to realize that I felt attracted to the boys, but I even remember that as a child (about 8 years old) when my mother was absent, occasionally – it happened no more than 3-4 times in all – that I dressed up as a woman, with heels and wig, and I played the woman, acted like a was a woman. It happened that once he caught me dressed as a woman, and I remember he did a real tragedy, while I didn’t give too much importance to the thing and I considered it simply a “forbidden game”.

However, when I was 12 and realized I was gay, in my mind I didn’t know the possibility of a love between man and man, I thought of the binomial man-woman as the only possible combination and so – as a boy falling in love with boys – I prayed all the evenings wondering why I had not been born a woman, why I was a boy and not a girl. Only with the passage of time I realized that I could love a man while being myself, that I didn’t have to be a woman, but I could very well be myself, and I finally understood the world, my world!

That said, it must be said that I’m absolutely not effeminate, indeed! Nobody who knows me superficially can think of me as a gay, so much so that people speak to me naturally about the various “pathetic scenes” that they see around, reiterating always the same thing just as a broken record: that “those” can be immediately detected.

The psychologist to whom I had been carried forcibly, do you know what he said to my parents? That a boy is gay if in childhood he disguised himself, if he played with dolls (something that I never did), if he had more female than male friendships, and similar things. Immediately my mother pointed her finger and said: “Yes, I remember that he disguised himself and played a lot more with the girls!” Today I think with anger at that idiot, however, not yet permanently disappeared from my world. He represented the one and great opportunity to really explain the gay world to my parents and push them to accept me, although I always denied everything.

Instead, after those forced sessions that have raped me deeply, their behavior has deteriorated considerably, and “coincidentally” in the last meeting they saw each other just my parents and him, without me. I don’t know what he could say, I only know that he was very close to the Church and the result is this, even if he constantly told me: “I have many gay friends, please open yourself with me”. I’m overjoyed not to have done it. To date I am increasingly convinced that it was a trap to make me “confess”.

I tell you this because somehow it relates to a particular episode that happened. Well, I returned home and in small towns like mine every bullshit, that is every small event that takes place becomes an unmissable event, so it happened that a simple comedy (also of mediocre quality, made by boys of about my age) became one of those unmissable events to which one cannot miss.

Sacrilege! I dared to refuse to follow the head of the family, the matron and the offspring, and for this reason, they did not spare their ruthless attacks when they returned. They told me things of all kinds, repeating many times the same phrase: “You don’t go out because of fear! You are afraid of people, you are an asocial (sometimes an abnormal) etc. “It has been a long time since I refuse to go out and (almost always) they accuse me of having “fear of people”.

I have good reasons for believing that it was the psychologist of that time who taught them this strange theory. It is precisely since then that they continue to say these things, but they have understood nothing. It is very true that I don’t go out in my little town at all, except for the times when I am obliged, but this happens for a simple reason: I don’t like going out with people who don’t are interested in me, because these are not friends but at most good acquaintances, for the reasons you know well, in addition to the fact that I don’t have a single topic in common with them, who run after gossip and grotesque events of the town like that of making an insipid comedy of poor quality.

But unfortunately I’m nothing short of isolated. On an entire town, everyone thinks that going out is sacrosanct and dutiful, everyone! It is a common opinion, from children to the elderly, people thinks that those who don’t go out at night have psychiatric problems and must be helped. The fact of preferring a film or a good book to a comedy of no value made by 15 years old boys or simply of preferring books and films to a simple exit in the evening in a village of 8 thousand souls, amazes them.

The theory of the psychologist that as I can deduce has been inculcated into the brains of my parents is this: “He doesn’t come out because he feels uncomfortable among people and this happens because he knows he is gay and recognizes that he is wrong, so you (my parents) have to help him suppress this diseased part of him by forcing him or putting him in the condition of frequenting normal people and going out.”

What happened? Just Sunday afternoon while I was back in Naples where I study, the daughter of a guy friend of my father (with his father standing nearby) calls me. Now, this girl I saw only once, before, asks me candidly: “Why don’t you go out? I called you because I never see you. I wanted to tell you that I would like you to come out with us or with me.”

Shocked! I was stunned, as well as deeply humiliated, and I was seriously tempted to send this silly girl to the hell, but then the kindness got the better and I explained to her calmly that Friday night I come home late, Saturday I’m busy with the sport and Sunday at 5 I go back to Naples, so I can’t go out. I assume without any doubt that all this was concocted by my parents, coincidentally the day after I missed the comedy. An episode, for a 21 year old treated like a child, of a humiliation that is easy to imagine.

Do you know what makes them infuriate more? It is the fact that every day more, as you have noticed, I raise my head and am more and more I’m proud of myself, of what I’m. And I make it understood in every way, in all possible implicit imaginable ways. I’m proud of myself and they don’t accept it at all. In the past, however, I was ashamed, blushed in front of gay characters on TV and they enjoyed it, as if to say: “he realizes he’s wrong, he’s in error”.

They understood that I’m proud of myself, and they are making life impossible for me. I’m alone like never before, I thank God every day for the fact that at least I’m spending a lot of time in Naples, far away, without them. At home I don’t even have a shred of freedom and dignity, since I cannot go not even in the bathroom without them spying me to see if I piss or do anything else.

I don’t imagine how it will be tomorrow, I’m working hard but in this situation I don’t know how much I will resist. I’m without friends and without – I don’t say love – but at least a story, and this is making me hard like a stone towards life. Sometimes I cry, remembering what it was like once, when I was 11-14 years old, when everything had not yet started, when the simplicity of friendships was the only important thing in my life. Now I’m disillusioned, dead inside, without even a family in the true sense of the word, with an incredible hardness, unusual to find in a 21 year old guy.

I see them, my peers, running for clubs, fighting for true friendships, crying for the first love ended bad, rejoicing for the first kiss, the first time, and pursuing the dream of a life, a life possible. My path of life instead will be perhaps not foregone, but in the meantime I dream of being able to go to discos for people like me, I cannot fight for true friendships, I don’t cry for the first loves ended, I don’t rejoice for the first kiss or for the first time, and I chase the dream of an impossible life.

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ANGUISH OF THE FATHER OF A GAY SON

Hello Project, I am writing to you for a reason that for some years does not make me live well, my son is a homosexual. Believe me, for me and my wife it was a very difficult thing to accept and we did many things that you consider absurd, and rightly I mean, because we didn’t know what to do. But I tell you the story from the beginning because you are a person who does a lot for the boys and you can give me a serious opinion.

I am almost 50 years old and my wife 47, our son is 24 and we also have a girl of 16, this to make you understand. We are not rich but we work in two and thank God we don’t miss anything. We don’t have a dialogue with our son anymore, maybe we didn’t even have it before. Until 14 years old he was a guy like everyone else, then, I don’t know how it happened, but he changed completely, while before we used to talk with each other, after, the blackout has been total. We thought at first that they were teenagers things and we didn’t worry. He developed early and at the age of 16 he was already a handsome guy, but he was on one side and we on the other. Everything we said was wrong for him. He used to shut himself up in his room and we didn’t know anything about him, he went out of his room hardly to eat, but at school he was good, he never gave us any problems, in short, we thought it was all right.

But he always wanted money, always money, he said for the phone and we got a little suspicious. I told him: give me the number and I can recharge the money myself and he agreed, so the money was really for the phone, on the one hand we reassured, but on the other not. We said to ourselves: but who’s he calling, spending so many money? We thought that there was a girl, because many of his attitudes made us think so, when he had to call he always called from his room and closed himself inside and nothing could be heard because he spoke very softly. Once we told him that he had to let us know the girl, but he replied that it was only his business and that we had to stay in our place.

The thing that really ruined our life (I say truly ruined) happened one day when he was 17 years old. He had to stay at school and I had to go to work in Naples. I arrived in Naples, in the place where I had to go to work and I could not access there because the firemen were there and sent us home, I don’t know why. I go back to my country by bus and pass near a place with wooden tables where people go to eat on Sundays and I see my son hugged with another guy I had never seen. It was a moment but it was really my son, because he wore a very particular jacket that I recognized immediately. So I asked the driver to make me get off right away and he stopped the bus, but the bus was already a long way ahead of where I had saw my son. I started running towards them and they were hugged in a way that you could not go wrong. As they saw me they got terribly scared. The one who was with my son was not a boy, he was 40, I didn’t restrain anymore and threw myself on him and my son defended him and told me such words that I would never have imagined by my son.

I screamed that my son was a minor and that I would have reported him to the police, but there was nobody, I wanted to kill him but he was stronger than me and it was he who was killing me and he left me on the ground that I could not even move then he took the car and ran away but I saw the license plate number. I wanted to talk to my son but he left me and went away with no word.

When I came home and told my wife everything, she was dying. At first I thought that I had to beat up my son badly and that other one had I to report him to the police, but what can you do in a village like mine? You cannot go to the village lawyer. I made an appointment and went to Naples the same afternoon but the lawyer told me that at 17 years is not a crime if there is no violence and the judge about violence asks the victim, but my son before saying that it was violence, would have killed me. You can imagine what I was feeling inside myself.

I come home that it was late at night and my son had not come back home. You cannot imagine what I went through that night, I thought that he had thrown himself into the river from the bridge and furthermore because of me. He didn’t answer the cell phone. I didn’t know whether to go to the police, I didn’t know what to do. Then my wife thought about and said: you have to apologize otherwise he can make some inconsiderate gesture, if he haven’t already done it, we thought of a message like this: “dad apologizes for what happened, it was a moment of madness forgive me!” I wrote it and we sent it, but you don’t even imagine how much it cost me. After a night of terror like that, that my son was a homosexual it seemed almost acceptable to me, as long as he was not dead.

I prayed to Our Lady saying: “if you save him, it’s enough for me, I’ll accept him well even if he’s a homosexual”. He replied to the message by saying that I had ruined his life and that he would have hated me for life, but he had replied, we told him that he had to come back home that we had now understood and that we would not have hindered him anyway. The next evening he came back home but slamming the door and avoiding to look us in the face. He entered and closed himself inside.

In short, so began the hell in our house and everything under the eyes of his sister. When we were at home he was locked inside, with us he never ate, he took from the refrigerator what he wanted and brought it to his room. In the morning he went out for school and I didn’t know anything about it. Then I went to talk with the teachers and they told me that he had been absent too many times, before I got into a fight with that guy but the teachers said that now luckily he had started going to school seriously because if he continued as before he would have risked the rejection. So he went to school and studied as well. He didn’t ask us for money, because he is also very proud and how he was able to move forward I don’t know at all.

But we couldn’t go on like this. In short, my wife and I took courage and we faced our son and understood something. The 40-year-old guy was gone and my son was angry. He told me he was homosexual because of us and then we got in the way to stop him. So we argued violently but at least we talked a bit. We didn’t know what to do. Hidden from him we went to a psychologist in Naples who told us that we had to go to him all together, I, my wife and my son, that he could help us to feel better but if my son was a homosexual, he would stay homosexual and we said that we were resigned to this but at least we were looking for some peace. We tried to tell him about our son but he looked at us like two idiots and told us that instead we really wanted him to become heterosexual.

My wife tried to tell my son what the psychologist had said but he thought it was a trick and he didn’t even listen to us. So even the story of the psychologist has ended in nothing. Our Lady! My wife and I talked a lot, we said, well, if you find a young boy of your age you can do it, if he is attentive to people, because here where we live if people find out that you are a homosexual you become the fable of the country and you can’t live here anymore, to other boys it happened so. We tried to tell him it and he became a fury: that it was only his business and that’s it. And, do you know what he did? He just turned 18 years old, and the day after he told the whole village everything, but with all the story that I had got into a fight with that guy. Our Lady! how much I was ashamed! Not of the fact that he was homosexual but of what people were saying, of how they considered him and us. So we were put on the streets as an subject to chat about, but the first to end badly it was him, it was something that could not go on and he didn’t want to go to school anymore and he had to do the final exam.

So we had to send him to a private school in Naples, we also took a mini-apartment, to let him feel free there and we went to live in the countryside but for me and my wife there were more hours of travel to go to work and for the sister to go to school. We were afraid that he didn’t want to go to at school in Naples because it was up to us to pay for it and also for the house, but then he didn’t create any problems because even for him it was impossible to live in the village.

Our phone calls are limited to: How are you? All right, bye. We send him money via money order, we never ask for anything, at 22 he took his first degree but he didn’t tell us and we didn’t ask anything, we knew it from a guy who studies the same things that he studies. In practice we have no relationship with our son, he considers us enemies, probably, I don’t know, but now he is 24 years old.

But why do things have to end this way? I tried to think how he can feel and I think he feels uncomfortable too. But why do we have to keep going like this? It is seven years that this story goes on like this and I don’t see light. He is homosexual, I understand it, I read so many things to understand better, even those that you wrote and that helped me a lot. Now I can say that my wife and I finally accepted it. If we made mistakes we didn’t do it out of malice but because we didn’t understand anything about these things. If you were now in my place, what would you do? Believe me, I tried many times to talk with my son but he did not want to know anything about it, but we love him, if he brings home a boy instead of a girl, for us it will be the same, but why should we look like two enemies? I tell you with tears in my eyes, I would embrace him but I’m afraid it will not happen anymore! If you want to put this letter in the forum, put it, but answer me only privately. Now I come to understand that you do good things for the boys, but believe me it’s difficult for a parent to get there.
I respect you so much. A. B.
[the original email shows full name and surname]

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GAYS AND SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS

The gays have long been engaged in the civil rights struggle and in particular to get the right to marriage or to a civil union, if you don’t want to use the word marriage, which produces the same effects as marriage. The conquest of civil rights recognized by law is a crucial first step towards a non-discriminating community, but remains nevertheless a formal step. You can realize this by observing the number of marriages or gay civil unions in countries where the law recognizes them. In general, only a very small minority of gay couples formalize their union in legal terms. On the other hand, in the majority of Western countries there is a general decline in the number of heterosexual marriages and a significant increase in free unions without any legal constraints.

It remains a fact to keep in mind: gay couples that choose not to use the tools that the law makes available to them to attribute civil effects to their union, very often do so because, even though the law declares the substantial equalization of the heterosexual marriages to homosexual ones or civil unions, public opinion remains on the back ground, and discrimination, though no longer on a legal basis, still exists at the social level, and gay people experience it also within their own families. The real core of the problem of equality of rights lies in social inertia, which means that what the law defines and the more enlightened society considers obvious ends up only to permeate very slowly the society as a whole.

The role of new generations in promoting a process of genuine social equality is extremely important because the concept of equality has many implications and the equality of sexual orientations is just a part of a problem that should be addressed in the whole. The role of the gay new generations is particularly delicate because films, television and the internet often offer a very marked and unrealistic picture of homosexuality, for ideological or commercial reasons.

You can nevertheless see very interesting gay books and films, which are in fact faithful reconstructions of real gay moments, because it is always to be remembered that saying “gay” means putting together, taking into account just a single feature, people who are really very different. Trying to transpose into a movie or novel the “gay” life as a general category means to make an ideological discourse. A good book or a good movie must tell the lives of real people, considered as individuals and not as a category.

What would then be the task of young gay men, who can be the true promoters of a new social culture? The answer is simple: who fights in order to make people recognize the normality of homosexuality doesn’t have to take ideological attitudes but simply has to live his own homosexual normality.

I try to explain it better: if it is right for gays to have a chance to meet with other gays, locking themselves in a ghetto that distinguishes “we” (gay) from “they” (straight) means favoring discrimination.

Let me make another example: a sign of the social mentality in the matter of equality of sexual orientation is found in the large libraries. In some large libraries there is a “gay” section; in others the gay-themed books are not placed in a separate department and, for example, among love novels there are also gay love novels and among Sociology books there are also those of sociology of homosexuality, etc.

Another crucial point, beyond the overcoming of the ghetto, is the normality of behaviors. In many countries, public coming out and family coming out are considered critical moments in the life of a gay guy because they are seen as formal and therefore risky moments, where guys are exposed to the judgment of others. It should be remembered that coming out is not a moral duty for anyone, but only an opportunity, if, and I emphasize the “if”, it can be achieved without substantial risks, otherwise it is a choice to avoid because it could be self-punishing. It should be borne in mind that often, in families who are not prepared for the idea of having a gay son, the coming out of the son may be disruptive for parents.

If we try to observe what happens to the straight guys, we can have a pattern of “normal” behavior that should be extended to gays. The straight guys don’t go by their fathers to say, “Daddy, I must tell you something very important!” just to tell them, “Daddy, I am straight!” The young straight guys begin to have straight behaviors from the earliest age, without officially declaring anything at all.
For gays, the road should be similar: attending other boys, taking them home, going out with a boy telling the truth to parents without any further specification, spending Saturday or Sunday with that boy, not answering too much questions.
Let me give an example: “But why do you always go out with that guy?” “Because he is very nice!” Gays often go to crisis because they have internalized the idea that being gay is somehow transgressive and that’s why gays need approvals and justifications.

While it is true that gays, albeit with rare exceptions, grow in highly straight-oriented environments, it’s also true that once they acquire awareness not only of their sexual orientation but of the dignity of any sexual orientation, they should automatically overcome the idea of being somehow subordinate, but this unfortunately does not happen because social pressures are very strong.

To clarify the concept, it’s useful to refer to the obsessive compulsive disorder, the so-called OCD. It is well known that some people, who have a tendency towards obsessive-compulsive character, can develop heavily-structured obsessive-compulsive behaviors around a well-defined thematic core that coincides with the content from which the person is most intimidated. For an old man suffering from an OCD, obsession can be linked to the idea that robbers can rob him and compulsive behaviors, in this case will concretize in armoring doors and windows, in the installation of latest generation anti-theft devices, and in hiding all valuables. Similarly, for a nun with OCD, obsession may be that of sin and compulsion may be that of confessing every day, always remaining with the perpetual idea of omitting something. For a heterosexual young man, obsession can easily be the obsessive fear of being gay and compulsions can manifest in an infinite series of tests (from tests of masturbation with gay fantasies to the use of  gay pornography) that, of course, never provide any answer that can be considered definitive and clarifying.

So, if we observe the incidence of the gay-themed OCD, which I repeat is a typical disorder of 100% heterosexual guys, it is noted that gay-themed OCD is common in Southern Europe of Catholic tradition and in Latin America, while it is very less common in Protestant countries (where the opening to gay couples is much more common than in the Catholic Church.) In some countries in northern Europe, where serious and mandatory sexual education exists, from the earliest age, and where homosexuality is no longer a scarecrow for anyone, the gay-themed OCD, in practice, doesn’t exist at all.

This is a clear sign that negative social judgment on homosexuality deeply affects the straight guys themselves, and causes some of them an obsessive fear of being gay. If this is the effect on heterosexual guys, the result on gay guys is certainly not less. The classic example can be found in the effort that gay guys have to make to accept their being gay as a value, because the Catholic Church affirms in a peremptory way that homosexuality, or rather homosexual acts, are a serious sin against nature. It is certainly no coincidence that a lot of gays in the countries of southern Europe, even though they are substantially  Christians, are nevertheless far from the Catholic Church.

Here comes another idea that generally finds a lot of favor among the gays, namely the idea that the diffusion of scientific thought would be extremely helpful in favoring greater rationality among the new generations.

In 1797, Francisco Goya called an etching of his “El sueño de la razón produce monstruos ” (the dream of reason generates monsters) and in fact, discriminations, which are totally irrational, are precisely the sign that reason has fallen asleep.

Awakening reason leads not to fear the ghosts, to rationally examine each statement before giving it some value. Mythical thought leads to the elation and the blackout of reason, rational thought leads on the contrary to sobriety and to the critical evaluation of events and ideas.

Even morality can be mythical or rational. A mythical morality is dogmatic, its content is stated in principle without any motivation. Rational morality is really such when it resists any criticism because it is endowed with objective evidence.

Personally, I believe that gays have often given impetus to deep innovations in the field of thought, favoring its openness to broader horizons and overcoming dogmatism. Philosophy, literature or art elaborated by a person are the result of the individual experience of that person, that is, they are somehow the daughters of individual psychology, and in a circular movement they tend to change the individual experience and the life itself of other people. That’s why commitment must be maximum: fighting ignorance and prejudice is not only useful for gays but it contributes to the improvement of society as a whole.
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GAY MARRIAGE: THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE FRENCH REPUBLIC

This post is aimed at comparing two different opinions about homosexual marriage, the first one emerging from an inter-religious conversation between Jorge Mario Bergoglio  then-archbishop of Buenos Aires (now pope Francis), and rabbi Skorka, and also from an interview with Monsignor Juan Vicente Còrdoba, secretary of the Columbian episcopal conference, and the other coming from the legislative solutions definitively adopted, on April 23, 2013, by the French National Assembly.

The comments in square brackets used inside quotations are by the author of this post.

Bergoglio and Homosexuality

On March 13, 2013, the day of the election of Pope Bergoglio, GayProject published a letter addressed by Cardinal Bergoglio to the Buenos Aires Carmelite nuns in 2010, when the same-sex marriage law was going to be approved in Argentina. https://gayproject2.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/pope-bergoglio-and-homosexuals/ .

In 2010 a book by Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Abraham Skorka, titled “Sobre el cielo y la tierra” was published by Editorial Sudamericana, Buenos Aires.

This book is a compilation of the conversations between the then-archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis and Abraham Skorka, rabbi and rector of the Latin-American Rabbinic Seminary in Buenos Aires. The inter-religious conversations are about different topics, such as God, fundamentalism, atheists, death, holocaust, homosexuality and capitalism and took place alternatively in the bishop seat and in the Jewish community Benei Tivka.

In the sixteenth chapter, “Sobre el cielo y la tierra” deals with “marriage between people of the same sex”. So rabbi Skorka opens the conversation: “In my opinion, same-sex marriage has been considered in a very partial manner, compared to the depth that the topic deserves. Cohabiting same-sex couples are matter of fact and are entitled to legal solutions to problems such as pensions, inheritance etc.. (which may be part of a new juridical figure), but equating homosexual couples to heterosexual ones is something totally different. It’s not just a belief question, but we must be aware that this problem concerns one of the most delicate elements our culture is based on.”

Bergoglio replies: “Religion, being at the service of the people, in entitled to express its opinion. And if somebody asks me for advice, I have the right to give it to him. Sometimes the religious minister calls attention to certain points of the private or public life because he is the mentor of the faithful.” Up to this point we can find the usual reaffirmation of the duties and  obviously also of  the consequential rights that religions are entitled to claim, nevertheless Bergoglio introduces a new element pointing out what “is not for religious minister, as he doesn’t have the right to interfere with anybody’s private life, and that’s for sure. If, during the Creation, God faced the risk of making us free, who am I to interfere? We condemn the redundancy of spiritual influence, which occurs when a minister imposes the guideline, the behaviour to follow, depriving people of freedom”. These statements, however, are not intended for possible approval of choices different from those suggested (not imposed) by the church because Bergoglio is quick to point out that “God let us free even to commit a sin. Talking clearly about values, limits, commandments is something absolutely necessary, of course, but spiritual or pastoral interference is not allowed”.

Skorka reminds that in Judaism there are some currents in which prescriptive approaches prevail, but he underlines that in Jewish Law there’s no place for homosexuality, and he adds: “On the other hand, I respect any individual who maintains a reserved and intimate approach to the theme”, then he refers to the Argentinian law of 2010 about civil marriage between same-sex people and access to adoptions by same-sex couples; he reminds the worth that scientists like Freud or Lévi-Strauss attribute to the prohibition of incestuous relationships and to sexual ethic, and he admits to be worried about the consequences for society that laws like that approved in Argentina in 2010 can produce.

Bergoglio considers the Argentinian law approved in 2010 as an “anthropological regression”, since it weakens “an institution millennia old, created in accordance with nature and anthropology”; this way the rejection of homosexual unions considered as equivalent to marriage loses the quality of religious precept, in the name of which church is not allowed to deprive anybody of his freedom, and  assumes the meaning of safeguard of the natural law in opposition to anything unnatural, and also of safeguard of a principle of anthropology, which affirms that heterosexuality is an intrinsic characteristic of the man as such.

Bergoglio then states something apparently open-minded: “Fifty years ago, co-living before marriage was not as common as nowadays. It was something degrading. Then things changed. Today, co-living before marriage, although it’s not right from a religious point of view, does not have any more the extremely negative social weight it had fifty years ago. It’s a sociological fact that clearly is not comparable to the completeness and  greatness of marriage, an institution millennia old that has to be defended. […] We too consider very important what you have just highlighted, that is the base of the Natural Law mentioned by the Bible: the union between a man and a woman”. Shorly, Bergoglio underlines that Bible recognizes the “real” Nature Law, which is identified, in sexual matter, as heterosexuality.

Bergoglio continues: “homosexuality has always existed. The island of Lesbos, for example, was well known for having homosexual women. But it had never happened in history that somebody tried to give it the same status as marriage. It was tolerated or not tolerated, it was appreciated or not appreciated, but never considered equal.” Bergoglio doesn’t even conceive that homosexuality can be considered equated with heterosexuality, because he said it doesn’t embody the Natural Law (strange concept of nature!).

Bergoglio continues with a statement: “We know that during some epochal evolutions the phenomenon of homosexuality sensibly increased”. Actually, in those periods of changing the repressive power of some institutions like Catholic Church weakened, that’s why homosexuality became more visible.

Bergoglio adds: “But in our age, it is the first time we face the problem of assimilating it to marriage, and I consider this as a bad value and an anthropological regression”.

Immediately after, Bergoglio presents the most convincing argument, according to him,: “A private union doesn’t hurt anybody nor the society. Instead, if this union is considered under the category of marriage and the right of adoption is allowed, there is the risk of damaging children. Each individual needs a male father and a female mother who help him shaping his own identity”. The idea of homo-parenthood as something dangerous is taken for granted, though many serious studies about the issue have demonstrated that those are only prejudices.

Bergoglio adds: “I insist: our opinion on marriage of same-sex people does not have a religious basis but anthropological”, and for this reason the limitation of the sphere of the individual freedom would be justified as well as the non-equalization of homosexuals with heterosexuals.

Bergoglio reminds that, for the first time after 18 years of being bishop, he had to draw the attention of a public officer when the major of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, refused to appeal against a first grade judgement that had authorized a homosexual marriage. But Bergoglio points out, twice, that he never talked about homosexuals or used derogatory terms against homosexuals and remarks that he confined himself to the legal issue.

Skorka then widens the subject on the natural law and he reminds that “in the discussion before the approval of the law, somebody invoked the “natural law” thanks to which Nature has in itself the rule leading the human behaviour. So, God himself infused this rule in the Creation. Now, a homosexual may rightly object it was God or Nature that made him that way. On the other hand, somebody declared that love between homosexual people has a multiple nature, because female love and male love co-exist together, although this does not implies a suitable condition to create a family”. These last statements of the rabbi, related to a generic “somebody”, are in fact quite curious.

Skorka introduces the question of the parental figures in the educative field and Bergoglio answers that “generally, people say that it would be better for a kid to be grown by a same-sex couple rather than living in an orphanage or in an institute for minors. Of course, neither of these situations is optimal”.

Bergoglio searches for a different solution which could allow to avoid adoption by same-sex couples. He states that “the problem is that the State does not do what it should, […] We have to consider the situations od children who live in public structures or institutes where everything is done but recover those children. NGOs, the different religious confessions or other kinds of organisations should take care of those minors”, but Bergoglio concludes: “a mistake from the State’s side [the excess of bureaucracy and corruption] does not justify another mistake by the same State [the legitimation of adoptions for same-sex couples]”. In this sense, if regulations and procedures for the adoptions were speeded up and bureaucratic rules “whose actual application encourages corruption” were eliminated, there would be no justification for adoptions by same-sex couples.

Skorka goes on quoting Bible and Maimonides, looking for images that compare the relationship between God and men to the matrimonial relationship between a man and a woman, then he concludes: “A homosexual person loves somebody he knows, a fellow. It is easy for a man to know another man, on the contrary it is much more difficult to know a woman, because he needs to decode her. A man perfectly knows what another man feels, and a woman perfectly knows what happens in the body and in the mind of another woman. Discovering the other sex, instead, is a true challenge”.

Bergoglio ends up this way: “Usually, in the homily for a marriage I tell the groom he must make her more woman, and I tell the bride she must make him more man”.

Monsignor Juan Vicente Còrdoba and the adoptions by homosexual people

Here below you can read, translated into English, an article appeared on the Columbian newspaper “El Tiempo”. The article is titled: “Monsignor Juan Vicente Còrdoba thinks that entrusting two boys to a homosexual man was a mistake”. http://m.eltiempo.com/gente/iglesia-rechaza-adopcin-de-homosexuales/10913132

The secretary of the [Columbian] Episcopal Conference, Juan Vicente Còrdoba, a professional psychologist, questioned the adoption of two little brothers authorized by the Columbian Institute for Family Wellness (ICBF) to an American homosexual man. It’s the case of the journalist Chandler Burr, who has taken back with him the two brothers after a long dispute, consequent to the fact that the adoption had been suspended when his sexual orientation was known.

What do you think about this case?

“I don’t want to judge that man or the ICBF, and I imagine there was a good intention behind. But what kind of investigation was carried out on the personality of the future dad? You have to be sure the adopters are a couple, a man and a woman, or a single man or a single woman with a stable psychology, if you want to entrust a child to somebody”.

Is homosexuality a psychological problem?

“It is not an illness, but a gender identity disease, about the identification of the gender. This is what universal psychiatry says”. [Homosexuality objectively has nothing to do with diseases or with gender identity problems, as World Health Organization confirmed many times.]

What do you know about Chandler Burr?

“I don’t know him and I’m not accusing him of anything, but one thing is clear: he has a homosexual tendency and a ten-year old boy and a thirteen-year old boy will be entrusted to him, among them there is a father-son relationship, they entrust him two boys of an age in which they can be attractive for him and so they can be a temptation”.

Do the children risk something?

“One says: why not giving him two girls? Why right two boys to a homosexual man? He wouldn’t feel any attraction towards two girls, if heterosexual fathers abuse of their daughters and even of their sons, then there’s more to worry about a homosexual man. It would have been better to give the children a father and a mother”.

So a homosexual man can’t house an orphan?

“He can, but he has to be a person with an internalized ability of controlling his tendency, his drives, his passions. It’s very hard not to fall in temptation if somebody has diabetes and he lives in a candy shop”.

What is you proposal?

“I believe that things have been made in a hurry, but it is possible to invert the trial as there was a fundamental fact nobody knew. Thus, revising the trial and bringing it back to a previous phase is something absolutely necessary. It will be very difficult for this man to be impartial and give a pure and transparent affection. Colombia cannot supply its citizens to another country like if they were just goods”.

The Prosecutor’s office investigates Chandler Burr’s couple life. The control authority expressed a negative opinion on Burr’s case, “especially about the psychological valuation test, according to which there are some evident inconsistencies about the existence of relationships with same-sex people”.

The control authority confirmed its request to ICBF for obtaining the revision of the adoption requests by mono-parental families or singles and announced that the case will be followed and this proceeding of adoption will be contested.

The choices of the French Republic

On March 24, 2013, Gay Project published an article: GAY MARRIAGE IN FRANCE AND STATE SECULARITY

https://gayproject2.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/gay-marriage-in-france-and-state-secularity/

The French law has finally closed the phase of the double track: marriage only for heterosexuals and other forms of cohabitation also for homosexuals. Without giving any “definition of marriage” was adopted simply a new text of art. 143 of the Civil Code which now reads:

“Art 143 – Marriage is contracted by two persons of different or of the same sex.”

All contrary provisions must therefore be considered amended accordingly. So the secular France has honoured the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity.

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THE REAL LIFE OF A GAY GUY

Hello Project,

about a month ago, while surfing the internet, I found gay project which surprised me because it is something unique. At first I was impressed by the simplicity of the sites and by the absence of erotic advertising, then I started reading and I was amazed by the fact that I was reading a lot of things very similar to those that have happened to me and this, for me , was very important. That’s why I decided to write overcoming so many doubts and resistances. My life does not have anything very important, I’m an engineering student, I come from a normal family after all. My father and my mother more or less get along, my sister got married last year and no longer lives with me. My parents do not know anything about me, and I’ll absolutely avoid to tell them how things really are because for them I think it would just be a trauma, I do not think they would be able to understand, they are good parents, not too invasive, according to the their way of seeing, nor too selfish to care only about their own business. I will not speak with them in order to avoid them to stress uselessly, the idea that children should adapt to be the image and likeness of their parents is too deeply impressed in their own head. I cannot say whether or not they are believers, and to what extent, they go to church on Sunday and I’m going with them as if it were a natural thing because they expect it, my mother goes to confession every so often and receives communion, daddy never, but at least they have the common sense not to put pressure on me about such things. Luckily for me I’m still young and they think that I should hurry to graduate and so the fact that I do not have a girlfriend takes second place, because it would be a distraction from the fundamental purpose. My father and my mother have attitudes toward gay people that make me very angry but I have to tolerate discomfort for a quiet life: they know nothing about such things but they believe they know and understand everything, they are sympathetic to gay people just as priests are, they are inclined to forgive the vice for the weakness of the flesh because “also gays are people” (what a great concession!) but they would never admit that two guys can love each other because “it’s so nice to follow nature” and “between two men or between two women love does not make sense.” I let them talk because they need to be convinced that they are right. By saying so I mean that practically the relationship with my parents doesn’t exist at all but they don’t even realize it, for them it’s much more important to be right. Breaking away from the mentality of my parents and beginning to think with my head it was not so easy. At age 18 I went to confession for the last time, I told the priest that I was gay and I was in love with a guy, the priest didn’t even conceive the idea that it could be a true and deep feeling, and started to repeat certain things that offended me deeply, and I thought that what he said was patently false and immoral so much that I got up and I went away. I do not accept the idea that a feeling that I consider the most important thing in my life can be outraged by those who don’t even understand what they say and think they are speaking in the name of God. I have not had second thoughts, sometimes in church, I hear homilies that I cannot stand absolutely but I act as if I was just thinking of something else, exams, university, etc.. In high school I still had many doubts, not doubts about what I was, but doubts about how I had to behave. I remember a specific fact, the penultimate year of high school the Italian teacher assigned us as a task to compose a short essay on violence. I thought of speaking about violence against women, racism and the usual things and also about homophobia, but then gave up the idea completely, when the teacher gave us back our works classified in the commenting on one of them said to a student: “You have considered many aspects of the problem: religious intolerance, violence in stadiums, homophobia, violence against women …”, at the word homophobia I felt myself freeze and the eyes of all the guys have focused on the student with whom the teacher was talking and there have been mischievous smiles. That guy is definitely not gay but the word homophobia caused a particular reaction among my classmates, for them it is only an allusion to homosexuality, something more or less ridiculous that they only know from jokes and has been interpreted just as a joke. Obviously I had been right not to talk about homophobia. I don’t think that my classmates were homophobic, for them the problem did not even exist, for them gays were a kind of tribe on the edge of reality, for them a gay guy had to have many characteristics that are recognizable, they didn’t even realize that someone could be hurt by the fact that they were laughing at the word homophobia, in the end they were not homophobic, they were just superficial (stupid) and had no need to understand, because it was something that they weren’t absolutely interest in. Instinctively I have always kept away from groups, from too close friendships and from the gossip and this helped me to finish my high school, maintaining the my reputation of fake straight. In high school I supposed that one of my classmate was gay, but my assumptions were totally wrong. In college I found myself immersed in a completely different world. I had gone to the classical high school, with a strong majority of women (more than 2/3 of my classmates were girls), in the Faculty of Engineering there was instead a strong male predominance, and in particular in my courses. For a gay guy who came from the experience of classical high school, being in an engineering classroom was just like being a child entering the pastry: a huge temptation, an environment that created a community almost entirely male. Some guys were very handsome. If ever I had some little doubt about the fact of being gay this doubt vanished soon after I begun to attend engineering classes We went to classes together at the canteen together, to the study rooms in the library together, we spent together intervals between classes, and inevitably there we would agree to spend free time together as well. I should add that the environment was not gossipy and the guys were not talking only about tits and asses, on the contrary, when it occurred, rather rarely, some speech that touched even homosexuality there weren’t giggles, jokes and things like that but serious talk very far from the stereotypes, nevertheless, despite the high number of guys who attended the faculty there was not even one openly gay, a sign that those who were there did not trust to come out of the closet, exactly what I did. After the first few days began to form stable study groups. The basic element of aggregation was the level of knowledge and skills of individuals. Those that were obviously ahead of the others tended to congregate together and so the selection was made, so to speak, on academic merit. After a few days, and after the results of the first tests of profit, the number of students has decreased quite dramatically, in practice about 40% changed their courses of study and two groups were formed, one of the geniuses always in the front pew during lessons, always with maximum scores, but we are talking about a dozen boys in all, highly motivated but in practice these were young people who lived exclusively for the study, and a second group, let’s say mid-level, with more or less twenty students, and then the group of those who took it for granted that they would not have finished their studies without losing at least one year. I was at the boundary between the first and the second group, I was coming from the secondary school of classical address and at the beginning it was very hard for me but then I went ahead well. Prior to joining the faculty I thought it would have been so much easier, then I realized that to stay afloat at a good level I had to struggle a lot. Those in the first group did not send a shot wide, sometimes I tried to enter their group but I didn’t held the pace and, objectively, they were at levels far more advanced than mine. There was another thing, those guys lived for the study, admitted that they had a girl, they probably saw her for up to an hour on a Sunday afternoon and, because I felt like the a child entering the pastry, I did not want to end up like them, I don’t say that I wanted to make a feast of sweets, but at least I wanted to taste one. In practice I was there certainly to study, but certainly not just for that. I decided that I would be among those to intermediate level, because with them the afternoons were not exclusively to study, there was even talking. I have read on the forum something about gay radar, well, in fact, when one is, or better when a gay guy is in an environment like that one where I was, the first thing is to go by eye, that is, look for the guys who are more attractive, but if this were the only guideline it would be easy to miss the target. And there began, about four or five guys, the exhausting game: is he gay or not? And since the first purpose was just studying and no one used to speak about different things, it was extremely difficult to give an answer about the gayness of my colleagues. At this point there has been an unexpected phenomenon. A guy who didn’t belong to the group of geniuses nor to that of handsome guys and not even to that of supposedly gay guys asks me for my notebook of class notes. I would not have given my block of notes to anyone for all the gold in the world because my notebook was my lifeline and I used to handle it with maniacal care, but that guy was asking for my notebook, I show it to him, then he asks me if he can photocopy it and I say yes, he smiles at me and says something complimentary, more or less that I would get them back the next day. At that time I thought I was wrong to give him my notebook, but I was also happy because it was the first real opportunity to hook a guy, I started to wonder how it would have been if that guy had been gay, but he was not one of the handsome guys, yes, he had a beautiful smile, but it was all there, I just lent my notebook to a guy who had a beautiful smile! Project, now you might think that that guy is now my boyfriend, but no, because he gave me an appointment for the next day to give me back my notes and then showed up accompanied by his girlfriend! I was like an idiot, my brain had begun to go on his own, but fortunately the situation became evident almost immediately. Project, in essence, the child entering the pastry, with his mouth watering has been left empty-handed! According to statistics of gay project among my colleagues there should be at least five or six gays, one is me, then let’s say four or five but they are well hidden, I wonder if they too are like children in the pastry or already have decided to devote themselves exclusively to the study. I would not exclude that some of those geniuses who know everything, then underneath are gays terribly frustrated. Then the second year came, we are further decreased in number and hierarchies based on the results of the examinations are now well established, I stay in the second group, I go forward, but I’m not the new Einstein and frankly I don’t even want to be. My dream is to live a love story, I do not know if I would be able, however, it is certain that I’d try. Until now it has not happened. Project, that’s all, it’s trivial, I know, no overwhelming loves, neither depressing disappointments, so many dreams just too big and a lot of very small achievements. Post this e-mail if you want. I think I’ll send you another e-mail tonight with three or four things that I did not understand very well. You are a great, you did a monstrous job that is really useful!

Gay Hunter (but in a good way!)

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ST. PIUS V AND HOMOSEXUALS

St. Pius V, Antonio Ghisleri (1504-1572) (Michael his name in religion) entered the Dominicans very young, right after having ruled several Dominican convents and churches, according with his request he was appointed inquisitor of Como (a little town in the Northern Italy), then he was called to the Roman Inquisition and became Commissioner-General of the Inquisition, in 1558 he was appointed Grand Inquisitor.

At the time that Ghisleri was Commissioner-General of the Inquisition two Dominicans, Valerio Malverni and Alfonso Urbino, inquisitors of Calabria, took care of the Waldensian communities settled in Calabria, in a mountainous region of the Kingdom of Naples . The interests of the Inquisition and those of the Kingdom of Naples, also the economic ones, where mingled with the repression of heresy pursued with the use of violence.

The Holy Office (i.e. the Roman Inquisition) issued on February 9, 1561 some ordinances intended to regulate the lives of the Waldenses of Calabria, usually called “ultramontani”. Were prohibited meetings of more than six people, the use of their language, the Occitan, the marriage between two of them for the next 25 years, “ultramontane” where only allowed to marry ‘Italians’. The children were to be instructed in the Catholic doctrine, everyone had to hear Mass every morning, to confess and to take communion every holiday. Men were forced to wear the “sambenito” also called yellow “abitello” (a sort of yellow blouse with a red cross of St. Andrew on both the front and back just like the one that was imposed by the Inquisitors to the heretics who had expressed remorse after conviction or in front of the fire. Women were forced to wear a “penaglio” a sort of hat saddle-shaped, considered a sign of penance, that was to be worn also at night and tore the hair of women making them bald. The doors of the houses on the Waldenses (at that time, in that place consisted of a single room) were modified by inserting a peephole, which could only be opened from the outside to allow anyone to check what was happening inside. Ghisleri (St. Pius V) was in correspondence with Melverni and approved his work, it is known that, when he became Pope, he was going to appoint him bishop of any diocese of the Kingdom of Naples, which was not the case for the opposition of Cardinal Santori.

When Malverni and Urbino proposed the Waldensians a choice between apostasy and death, Waldensians went into hiding, and around Guardia Fuscalda, San Sisto dei Valdesi, Montalto, San Vincenzo, Argentina, Vaccarizzo e Piano dei Rossi, was organized a colossal hunting to capture the Waldensians. 2200 men, women and children were slaughtered in a gruesome manner, other 1600 were captured. All this was the work of the Inquisition in defense of the faith, but there are also other considerable things.

Paul IV Carafa (also an Inquisitor as Pope St. Pius V) two months after ascending to the papacy in 1555, with the Bull “Cum Nimis Absurdum” established ghettos for Jews with a number of restrictions and harassments that gave the first impulse the escape of the Jews from the Papal States, it is basically a law clearly discriminatory and anti-Semitic. His successor, Pius IV, tried to mitigate and limit the weight of anti-Semitic policies of Paul IV but St. Pius V Ghisleri in 1566 with the Bull Romanus Pontifex restored the anti-Jewish legislation of Pope Paul IV Carafa, St. Pius V had a high opinion of Pope Paul IV because both came from the ranks of the Inquisition.

The Bull of St. Pius V “Hebraeorum gens” of February 26, 1569 decreed the expulsion of the Jews from the Papal States with the only exception of residents in the ghettos of Rome and Ancona, but beyond the mandatory content the Bull is a true manifesto of anti-Semitism. The Pope criticizes the “perfidious Jews” accusing them of having fallen out of favor of God because of their sins, that’s why they were condemned to continue wandering without a homeland.

Eventually Christian piety, pitying their sad fate, tolerated the presence of the Jews but they, however, with their wickedness and their perfidy have pushed the situation to such an extent that the Pope felt compelled, for the salvation of Christians, to curb the violence of such a disease.

The Pope accuses the Jews of being usurers and to exploit the poor Christians, of being thieves and fences, of being pimps and magicians dedicated to evil satanic tricks that lead to believe them to be able to see the future or to find treasures. The Pope then raises his voice against this scourge that causes enormous damage every day to the Christians, and decrees that all Jews must to go out of the Papal State within three months, after that term, if a Jew will be found still on the papal territory, his property will be confiscated and he will be reduced in a state of perpetual servitude. This is basically a form of racism mixed with religious intolerance.

After having considered this background we are going to analyze the position of St. Pius V against homosexuals. Following are two Constitutions that define the question. The documents use the “pluralis maiestatis” that is the Pope, referring to himself never says “I” but always “We” because of his majesty role.
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St. Pius V, Constitution “Cum primum” of 1 April 1566.
Rules regarding the observance of divine worship in the churches, and the observance of holidays, and also against simony, blasphemers, sodomites and concubines.
Pius bishop servant of the servants of God, for an everlasting memory

(Debut]
As soon as we received the apostolic office entrusted to us by divine disposition, soon we focused all our attention and all our meditation on the salvation of the Lord’s flock entrusted to our faithfulness and settled, with the help of God, to lead the faithful of Christ so that, abstaining from vices and sins, they will follow the path that leads to eternal life.

[The reason for this decision]
1. After facing the sharpness of our mind to remove all the things that might in any way offend the Divine Majesty, first we decided to amend without delay what may displease God to the maximum degree and could cause his anger, so as the Scriptures teach us giving also very serious examples: certainly the divine worship neglected, the scourge of simony, the crime of blasphemy and abominable vice of lust against nature, it’s just because of such things that peoples and nations are often affected for just revenge of God by calamities of war, famine and pestilence. Even if against those who have confessed so terrible crimes, have been issued by our predecessors many measures, however, since it is a small thing to issue laws if there are not those who make them effective in due course:

[Reaffirmation of the old sanctions against disobedience to this decree]
2. So that does not happen that someone dares to hope impunity by virtue of tolerance, we, knowing that most people are used to keep away from the will to sin much more due to the severity of the penalties that the fear of God, confirm all of the individual judgments the claims and the penalties that have been imposed on those who had committed these crimes and in fact, with our apostolic authority, we renew and in no way diminish their rigor, and warn those who have not been afraid to commit these crimes that they will not only be subject to the penalties as are prescribed by the sacred canons, but also will be subject to those civil laws set according to what the discretion of our decision will establish in relation to the quality of the people.

[Order to perform these provisions]
3. We order that Bishops and Governors in office of the cities and places of our ecclesiastical state, Bishops under pain of removal from ecclesiastical offices and Governors under pain of immediate and automatic excommunication, care to capture those who didn’t worship to God in churches with established rite or had been found guilty of heinous crimes, to condemn them to the established pains. Then the judges themselves must keep in mind that if after this our decree they will be negligent in punishing crimes of this magnitude, first of all they will be punished by the judgment of God and then they will also face our indignation.

11. If someone has committed a heinous crime against nature, because of which the wrath of God came upon the sons of perdition, he will be delivered to the secular court to be punished, and if he is a cleric, he will be deprived of holy orders and will be subject to same penalty.

13. And to enable judges to obtain very easily notice about aforementioned crimes of simony, blasphemy and rape nefarious, we want that they can proceed in every case if they are competent in jurisdiction or by reason of the type of crime or of the people, not only for prosecution and inquisition but also as a result of a simple secret complaint , in order to create among those men space for the prevention.

14. However, we warn each and every of you, so that keeping before your eyes only the fear of God and not driven by other bad affections of the soul, you will accuse only the guilty man and never the innocent one. Therefore, if it is discovered that someone accused another so libelous, we will and command that he must be subject to the rule of retaliation.
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St. Pius V, Constitution “Horrendum illud scelus” of August 30, 1568.
Against any clergy, both secular and regular, guilty of the heinous crime.
Pius bishop servant of the servants of God, for an everlasting memory

[Debut]
The horrible crime that soiled and contaminated the cities to the point that they were scorched by the terrible judgment of God with fierce pain assails us and severely disrupts our heart so that we concentrate all our efforts to suppress it as much as possible.

[Statements of the Lateran Council]
1. It is certainly well known the decree of the Lateran Council, according to which all clerics who were surprised involved in incontinence which is against nature and for which the wrath of God came upon the sons of perdition, must be expelled from the clergy or be forced into monasteries to do penance.

[The cause of this new decision]
2. But, in order to stop the contagion of such a disaster avoiding it to strengthen becoming more and more brazen in the hope of impunity which is the strongest incentive to sin, we have determined that clerics guilty of this heinous crime should be punished so heavy that they who are not scared by the death of the soul will remain terrified by the avenging sword of secular civil laws.

[Imposition of the death penalty]
3. So we want now pursue more comprehensively and strongly what at the very beginning of our pontificate we decreed upon these things, that’s why with the authority of this canon, we deprive of any clerical privilege and any office, dignity or ecclesiastical benefit each and every priest or other secular cleric of any degree of dignity who put into practice such a heinous wickedness, so that degraded by an ecclesiastical judge, he will be immediately delivered to the secular justice, to undergo the same punishment that is established for the laymen by the legitimate legal rules.
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St. Pius V, with the criteria of a modern international criminal court, could be accused of serious human rights violations and also of crimes against mankind, but he is still often cited as a moral teacher and a typical restorer of ecclesiastical costumes of the Counter-Reformation. His condemnation of homosexuality is considered an example of the doctrine of the Church, and I think that, unfortunately, it is the case. I want to emphasize that this is St. Pius V, a man raised to the honors of the altars and presented as an example to the churchgoers.

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HOMOSEXUALITY, MASTURBATION AND SEXUAL PLEASURE – SCIENCE AND CONFESSIONAL PROSPECTS

I reproduce below, in my translation, part of a major study that you can read on the website of the World Health Organization: “Sexual Health for the Millennium. A Declaration and Technical Document “a publication of the World Association for Sexual Health.

http://www2.paho.org/hq/dmdocuments/2010/Sexual%20Health%20for%20the%20Millennium.pdf

The passage is taken from Chapter 8 “Achieve Recognition of Sexual Pleasure as a Component of Well-being” pp.135-138.

SEXUAL PLEASURE IN HISTORICAL CONTEXT

Throughout much of human history, passionate love and sexual desire have been viewed as dangerous, a threat to the social, political and religious order (Hatfield & Rapson, 1993). During the current historical period, religion and medicine have had powerful influences on societal norms for sexual health and sexual behavior (Hart & Wellings, 2002) and in some important respects these institutions have inherited and continued the tradition of viewing sexual desire, and by extension, pleasure with varying degrees of suspicion.

It is not possible to make tidy generalizations about the extent to which the major religions have held either “sex negative” or “sex positive” perspectives toward pleasure and sexuality. However, it may be said that in various historical periods, many religions, including Christianity and Islam have focused on the reproductive aspects and function of sexuality. Consequently, they have sought strict controls on sexual behavior particularly outside of marriage between a man and a woman, behavior that does not lead to reproduction (e.g., masturbation) and viewed sexual pleasure, particularly that of women and homosexual men and women, with contempt (For extensive documentation and analysis of religious perspectives toward sexuality throughout history see Bullough, 1980, Hawkes, 2004). Numerous scholars have documented the disdain for sexual pleasure expressed by Christian theologians and institutions throughout much of the church’s history (e.g., Pagels, 1988). Masturbation, in particular, has been a contentious topic as its primary purpose is to produce pleasure (Coleman, 2002). Research on masturbation has indicated that contrary to traditional beliefs, masturbation has been found to be a common sexual behavior and linked to indicators of sexual health. While there are no general indicators of ill health associated with masturbation, it can generate powerfully negative or positive emotions for many individuals. It can be powerfully negative or positive, depending on the interaction between the prevailing societal attitudes and individual attitudes and behaviors (Coleman, 2002).

In fact, research has indicated that masturbation begins early and is an important part of healthy sexual development (Langfeldt, 1981). It is often a marker of sexual development (Bancroft, Herbenick, D., & Reynolds, 2002). Many young people learn about their bodies and sexual responsiveness through masturbation (Atwood & Gagnon, 1987). Masturbation also continues throughout the life span. For example, many adults continue to masturbate even though they are married and have ready access to sexual intercourse (Laumann et al., 1994). Masturbation can also help older people who do not have an available partner to maintain sexual functioning and expression (Leiblum & Bachmann, 1988). It is also a safe alternative to behaviors that carry a risk of a sexually transmitted infection, including HIV. The benefits of masturbation are illustrated by its wide acceptance in sex therapy as a means of improving the sexual health of the individual and/or couple (Heiman & LoPiccolo, 1988; Leiblum & Rosen, 1989; Zilbergeld, 1992).

Addressing masturbation within sexual health promotion programming can be controversial. However the available evidence suggests that including masturbation as a topic within comprehensive sexual health promotion is important and necessary.

There is a need for more research, including theory development and hypothesis testing, on the impact of masturbation on self-esteem, body image, sexual functioning and sexual satisfaction and the effective incorporation of education about masturbation within sexual health promotion programs.

It must be noted that positive and progressive perspectives toward pleasure and sexuality are emerging from groups from a variety of religious faiths. Nevertheless, it must also be acknowledged that the legacy of a largely negative interpretation of sexual pleasure, particularly if it is experienced in a context contrary to particular religious norms for sexual conduct, by many religious institutions is still with us today and continues to hinder the recognition of pleasure in sexual health promotion efforts in many parts of the world. With respect to international efforts to promote sexual health, the alliance of the United States, the Vatican and conservative Muslim and Catholic states in opposing the recognition of diverse sexual rights, including those related to pleasure, is testimony to the continued influence of conservative religious forces in shaping polices related to sexual health (Ilkkaracan, 2005).

Since the latter half of the 19th century, medicine and medical science has, particularly in the Western world, exercised considerable authority over sexuality and here too we find that sexual pleasure was often seen as pathology. As Hart and Wellings (2002) suggest “The long tradition of representing illness as a punishment for sin was continued when sexual behavior was medicalized and transformed into morbidity” (p. 896). For example, masturbation, homosexual desire and overt sexual interest, particularly if expressed by women was until quite recently seen by medicine as symptomatic of psychiatric illness and perversion.

Although contemporary medicine and some religious institutions have turned the corner in recognizing the positive and beneficial aspects of sexual expression, many remnants of the propensity to focus on the negative outcomes of sexual expression remains with us. “Today’s public discourse about sexuality is almost exclusively about risks and dangers: abuse, addiction, dysfunction, infection, pedophilia, teen pregnancy, and the struggle of sexual minorities for their civil rights” (Planned Parenthood Federation of America [PPFA], 2003. p. 1).

Although, in most cultures, sexual desire and pleasure receive their widest endorsement within the context of a relationship, sexual desire and pleasure are increasingly coming to be seen as intrinsically positive and rewarding aspects of human experience. While a concern with pleasure is sometimes thought of as a decadent preoccupation of a secular Western culture, it is important to note that many diverse cultures have strong traditions of affirming sexual pleasure. For example, within Brazilian culture the concept of tudo or “Everything” refers to the world of erotic experiences and pleasures (de Freitas, de Oliveira, & Rega, 2004). Indeed, a contemporary discourse of pleasure can be found in many non-western cultures. For example, in Turkey, a country not known for its affirmation of women’s sexual pleasure, a grassroots program that emphasized sexual pleasure as a women’s human right was conducted (Ilkkaracan & Seral, 2000). Organizations such as the South and Southeast Asian Resource Centre on Sexuality (Patel, online) are raising the issue of pleasure in the context of sexual health. From their review of historical and cross-cultural perspectives on passionate love and sexual desire, Hatfield and Rapson (1993) conclude that the tide of history is in the direction of “….an increasing acceptance of passionate love and sexual desire as legitimate, expressible feelings” (p. 91).

Sexual leasure is necessary and contributes to well-being, happiness and health

Romantic love is a primary feature of couple relationships and is expressed through sexuality and sexual passion for the partner (Esch & Stefano, 2005). Although social, political and economic differences across time and place can markedly impact upon sexual attitudes and behavior, cross-cultural research has found that people in all societies place a high value on being with a partner for whom there is “mutual attraction-love” (Buss et al., 1990). Sexual desire and pleasure are embedded in and a fundamental aspect of the mutual attraction between partners.

The mutual sharing of sexual pleasure has been shown to increase bonding within relationships (Weeks, 2002). As Tepper (2000) writes with respect to the neglected rights of people with disabilities to enjoy their sexuality, “Pleasure is an affirmation of life…It can add a sense of connectedness to the world or to each other. It can heal a sense of emotional isolation so many of us feel even though we are socially integrated” (p. 288).

In sum, the enjoyment of sexual pleasure plays an important role in contributing to the establishment, maintenance and stability of couple relationships and, without doubt, the quality of couple relationships is fundamental to the health and well-being of individuals and families. While sexual pleasure can be seen as an end in-of-itself, for many, if not most people, sexual pleasure is intertwined with feelings of intimacy and affection for their partner. Sexual desire and pleasure not only facilitate reproduction, they function as a mechanism of social attachment for the couple relationship, an essential kinship structure in all cultures of the world (Fisher, 2002).

At the most foundational level, sexual pleasure is rooted in the most basic of human functions as has been recognized by evolutionary psychology. In the context of adaptive behavior and its necessity in evolution, it would appear that the pleasure generated by sexual stimulation, orgasm or intercourse would be selected-for evolutionarily. Consequently, pleasure can be seen as an effective and important adaptive mechanism, the function of which is to ensure the procreation and survival of the species (Esch & Stefano, 2005, p. 182).

To the extent that a society is concerned with the well-being and stability of families generally, and couples specifically, it is in the interests of policy makers to recognize the importance of sexual pleasure and to implement sexual health promotion programs that address sexual pleasure as fundamental to individual and couple health and wellbeing.

The recent Global Study of Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors that examined various aspects of sexual health among a sample of 27,500 men and women aged 40 to 80 from 29 culturally diverse countries around the world offers strong evidence of the importance of pleasure and sexual satisfaction for the happiness and well-being of individuals and couples (Laumann et al., 2006: Nicolosi et al., 2004). The survey asked participants, among other things, questions about the degree to which they found their relationships to be physically pleasurable and how important sex is to their overall happiness. Over three quarters of men (82%) and women (76%) agreed that satisfactory sex is essential to maintain a relationship and the authors concluded from their findings that despite substantial cultural variation in sexual norms and values, subjective sexual well-being was associated with overall happiness in both men and women.

A White Paper published by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA, 2003) in cooperation with the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality extensively catalogues the scientific evidence demonstrating the health benefits of sexual expression. Taken together, the studies cited suggest that partnered sexual activity and/or masturbation can be associated with improved longevity, immunity, pain management, self-esteem and a reduction in stress.

In sum, sexual pleasure helps to cement the primary kinship structure of the couple relationship, contributes to the overall happiness in life of both men and women (whether they are in partnerships or not) and is associated with various aspects of good health. Seen in this way sexual pleasure is not frivolous or unnecessary: it is essential.

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