No matter how the church handles the gay issue, there will be a split.
Author’s Note: NovaSeeker started drafting this post on 2021 June 7, but left it unfinished. In his absence (due to work), and given the importance of the subject matter, Jack has taken the liberty of finishing this post.
Length: 1,600 words
Reading Time: 5.5 minutes
Will the Catholic Church embrace LGBT?
Oscar shared this article from PJ Media, Roman Catholic Church Affirms Teaching on Marriage, Media Hardest Hit ( 2021 March 15).
“On Monday, the Vatican reaffirmed the Roman Catholic Church’s 2,000-year-old doctrine that marriage is between one man and one woman and that homosexual acts are illicit. Therefore, the Vatican stated that the church cannot bless same-sex weddings because that would lead to confusion about the doctrine of marriage.
This should not surprise anyone with a basic familiarity with historic Christianity or with the Roman Catholic Church. The New Testament clearly condemns homosexual activity and Jesus explicitly affirmed the teaching of Genesis that marriage is between one man and one woman. The Catholic Church has a 2,000-year tradition of upholding this basic definition of marriage that, in historical terms, only came under fire yesterday.”
Reserved Catholics might take satisfaction in hearing the Vatican reaffirm their position on the time tested definition of marriage, but they should not allow themselves to become complacent about this, thinking that the battle is over. It’s not that the Catholic church intends to behave differently from the wider cultural drift. Rather, it’s more the case that the Catholic church is intent on following the prescription for convergence that was pioneered by Protestant denominations.
The “established sequence” is to ordain women first. The reason for this is twofold. One is that it “softens up” opposition to such changes downrange, among at least some, because they get accustomed to these kinds of substantial changes. The second is that once you concede that women can be ordained, you’ve already conceded that sex differences are not material for certain roles — that a woman can be a deacon (which is where it will start, just like it did with the Episcopalians), and eventually a priest, as well as a man can — and at that point, the door is wide open for dissociating one’s sex from other roles, such as the spousal role. If a men and women are interchangeable as priests, then they can be interchangeable as lovers, and as spouses.
Once you understand this gradual slide down the slippery slope, then it becomes obvious that if the Catholic church endorsed gay unions now, then it would not be following the same “order”, and would draw resistance that would otherwise be abated if the established process “order” were followed.
Trying to “skip” the women’s ordination “step” here could create a schism in the church, because the groundwork would not be laid for the liberalization of gays, as it was done in the Protestant churches. As far as I am aware, every Protestant denomination that conducts actual ordinations and has ordained women has also blessed same sex couples in some way — they aren’t separable, because they follow the same logic. This is why sex roles, gender issues, and homosexuality are inextricably intertwined within the broader fourth wave narrative. This is why the many twits on the Manosphere, and the “right wing internet” who are dead-set on sex differences and sex roles but who don’t want to touch gay issues with a 100-foot pole, don’t understand the game and how it is being played … pretty much at all, so they are getting well and truly played.
So in the grand scheme of things, this pronouncement by the CDF wasn’t very surprising at all. The thing to look for in the years ahead is the pressure to ordain women into the diaconate. That’s the proverbial brick in the dam for the Catholics.
The Coming Schism
It’s likely true that I’ve probably dealt with a lot more LBGT issues and the like being in the Washington DC area for the past 25 years. The LBGT issue, in my opinion, is going to lead to a schism in U.S. evangelicalism that mirrors what has happened in the mainline churches here in the past 30 years or so. The evangelicals are “behind” the mainline because of generational differences. In evangelical types who are above around age 40 (i.e. Boomers and Xers), the tendency is to have an approach towards LGBT like – “It’s defiled. Let them re-orient. Let other re-oriented ex-gays deal with them, and that’s that.” The people under 40, though (and it gets more intense and larger as a percentage the younger you go) are much, much less inclined to take that approach and are not “tolerant” of it, tending either to see homosexuality as a sin like any other (similar to adultery) or, in some cases, seeing it as a non-sin, provided it is channeled in the same ways normal couples do (i.e., marriage). These positions are very small among older evangelicals, but very entrenched among younger ones. The generational difference is massive, and it will lead to splits in the evangelical church just as the mainline has had recently. This will surprise many, I think, who tend to see evangelicalism as more monolithic on this issue, because the younger generation has not yet “come into power” in the evangelical church. When that happens, the split will happen soon thereafter, and I think that will blindside people as much as the swiftness of the acceptance of LGBT in the broader culture did.
I don’t see an easy solution. To me, it’s fairly comfortable, because the Orthodox Church is institutionally not set up to undergo massive changes like that, so I have the luxury of observing it elsewhere. Orthodoxy doesn’t see gays as uniquely “defiled” in the way evangelicals do. Someone who is an active homosexual is treated in the same way as someone who is an active adulterer, or someone who is openly fornicating and so on, and is not welcome at the chalice — but also not seen as singularly defiled in a way that the adulterer is not. Nevertheless, gay marriage, ordination of openly gay coupled clergy, toleration of gay relationships, and so on is not a thing in Orthodoxy, and likely never will be at least in any reasonable timeframe. The Catholics, I am not so sure about because their leadership is going left, but they are so large and have such an institutionalized traditional movement now that I think that unless the Catholic left plays its cards perfectly, any move to normalize gays there would likely lead to a de facto schism, at least in the American and other Western European Catholic churches. And it is unlikely to play out quickly there, either. I expect that if the left manages to hold power in Rome after Pope Francis dies, the top issue on the agenda will be getting women into the clergy by means of the so-called “permanent diaconate”, which would initiate a process that, everywhere it has happened, has eventually resulted in acceptance of gays (because it must … it is the same thing once you accept that men and women are interchangeable clerically, that they must be so sexually as well … it takes a generation to get there, but that’s about it). Adam Piggott, a Sedevacantist, has anticipated this game plan for some time.
In the evangelical world, however, I see this happening more quickly simply because evangelicalism is not structured in the same way, and is very “PR” sensitive. Among the peers that the younger evangelicals will be aiming to evangelize once they assume leadership roles, being against LGBT, or seeing them as uniquely defiled and so on, is like being a member of the KKK. It will make the kind of evangelism as we have known of evangelical types in the past (i.e., popular, aping popular cultural forms, expressions, memes, and experiences) essentially impossible, because this issue is a generational marker, period, for the young.
Mainline churches, evangelical churches, and the Catholic church are all on the same path to LGBT acceptance, with the only difference being that they are at different milestones along the way currently — the mainline being the furthest down that path, closely followed by evangelicals, and Catholics distantly trailing up the rear.
Protestantism is already too far down the yellow brick road to change course now. The mainline is already converged, and I do not see how evangelicalism (as we know it) will survive in any way intact once the younger wave reaches leadership positions which, given the way things seem to work there, won’t be very long now.
The USA will still have plenty of churches in 15 years, busy on Sundays. But they will be heretical across the board on any traditional teaching regarding sex or gender, while the Christians who still adhere to those will be considered to be KKK/Fred Phelps. That’s what’s going to happen, I think.
The church won’t fall, it will just be transformed. It already is. It’s just going to go further down the same path.
- Σ Frame (Jack): Can Christians be gay? (2018 December 12)
- Adam Piggott: Disempowering the priesthood. (2018 December 18)
- Σ Frame (Jack): The QTBGL agenda gets down on its knees to Islamic Law (2019 August 20)
- Adam Piggott: Is the pope a Catholic? (2020 October 21)
- Σ Frame (NovaSeeker): Dissemination and Dissolution (2020 November 7)
- Σ Frame (Scott): The 4 Big Lies of ‘Christian’ Therapeutic Moralistic Deism (2020 November 19)
- Σ Frame (NovaSeeker): The Amalgamation of Western Culture (2020 December 2)