Gerald Augustinus is a popular blogger who runs one of the best named blogs in the Catholic blogosphere, The Cafeteria is Closed. The title of his blog is a direct reference to Cafeteria Catholicism. Namely picking and choosing, like one would at a a cafeteria, which doctrines and teachings of the Church please the palette on any given day. Upon the election of Cardinal Ratzinger Pope as Pope Benedict XVI, Gerald cleverly quipped that the cafeteria was now closed. His blog has been on our blogroll since its inception. Now that will have to change.
Some weeks back Gerald posted his thoughts on the subject of homosexuality. His comments received quite a reaction from his readers, many of whom were not pleased. It was a rather long post, but some of the relevant excerpts follow. The post was written in response to a number of questions posed by a FR. RP. .
Gay people don’t “rub in” their sexuality (except for the more flamboyant participants of pride rallies or weirdos like the “Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence”) any more than straight people do. The fact that they act like any other couple is not “rubbing it in” (assuming there is no public indecency) but simply not hiding part of their lives. Since this is a free country, people can, absent injury to others, live as they please. The same freedom that makes it possible for you to be Catholic makes it possible for others to be “openly” gay. Obviously, the Catholic Church has every right to ban “Dignity” from church property, but that is where it ends, just like Muslims can’t ban others from the ‘right’ to eat pork in public. Tolerance doesn’t mean embracing those with whom one disagrees but rather to let them be. Unfortunately, P.C. sometimes goes so far as to outlaw opinions differing from mainstream culture. I’m very much a libertarian when it comes to speech and actions that don’t harm others.
Well, first of all, we’re always ‘in heat’, unlike animals. Again, being in a committed gay is not the same as being ‘enslaved’ to sex, much like an unmarried straight couple that’s not celibate isn’t ‘enslaved’ to sex by necessity of not being married. Sex addiction is of course a problem for people, both gay and straight. Promiscuity is easier, obviously, when only men are involved. Lesbian sexual behavior is usually different. Frequently, lack of sex can become a problem in a relationship.
While a church – or the law, for that matter – cannot offer ‘second’ options – say, “Well if you steal, try to steal only a bit”, a society certainly should be interested in a tolerant climate and committed gay relationships rather than guilt-ridden, marginalized, closeted individuals who once in a while go on a sex spree. And, once more, homosexuality is not about mere ‘biological functions’, just like heterosexuality isn’t. It can be, certainly, and more so when there’s only testosterone to go around.
This post garnered a very strong reaction from Gerald’s readers prompting many of them to ask Gerald if the Cafeteria was now open again. I think it is obvious that Gerald’s comments do not reflect Catholic thought. While Christians should treat all people with dignity and respect, I do not think that it is proper to encourage by word, deed, or legislative act sinful behavior. I certainly do not wish to people to be more committed to their intrinsically disordered acts ccc 2357.
In comment on the above post Karen Hall of Some Have Hats said the following which summed up well my sentiments at the time.
The ideal and the Truth are what are constantly being attacked — they take a much more tougher whipping than any minority group, and constantly. And we almost never get to see anyone stand up for them. With the exception of the Pope, who you may remember, is the reason your blog got its name. I have to admit, I’ve read it for a long time and right now, I feel a bit duped.
At the time I endeavored to give Gerald the benefit of the doubt. I thought perhaps he had become too attached to a libertarian line of thinking and that this had clouded his judgment. I could relate to this as it is a stage of political thinking through which I briefly passed some decades ago but soon dismissed due to its obvious shortcomings. I also wondered if Gerald was perhaps trying to give a secular civics lesson on a Catholic blog and in doing so ignored some of the explicit teaching on the church on these matters. Anyway, like I said, I gave him the benefit of the doubt.
Truth be told, however, I have rarely read his blog since that time so I missed some follow up posts on related matters that may indicate that the slack I cut him at the time may have been unwarranted. CMR pal Red Cardigan at And Sometimes Tea alerted me to some recent comments by Gerald that are even more troubling.
Gender identity disorder is real – it usually starts before school age. While the operation and the entire process [Hormone treatments and sex change operation] is easier before puberty, it’d seem wiser to let the person make the decision as an adult. Of course, parents have the right to decide on medical treatment – within limits.
Gerald now says that it would be morally licit for prepubescent children to undergo sex change therapy. This statement does not just reflect an overactive libertarian tendency, but an outright rejection of the teaching of the church on the nature of sexuality. Red Cardigan wrote in response:
I can’t even begin to express my sense of horror at the idea that children as young as ten might be give hormone treatments as part of a plan that includes the eventual mutilation of their sex organs as a way of treating what must be considered a deeply psychological problem.
I share her horror. It is because of the above that I am no longer assured that the Cafeteria is Closed will reflect Catholic teaching or can still rightly be called a Catholic blog. It is with regret that we feel that we must remove the Cafeteria from the CMR blogroll.
Gerald Augustinus, we are praying for you.