Thursday, August 07, 2003

What Happens When Non-Liberals Join the New Know-Nothing Party

On August 3, in the New York Daily News, self-styled "middle-of-the-road" columnist Mike Barnicle joined ranks with his colleagues in the liberal news media to bash the Pope for having the temerity to issue a document on July 31 which did nothing more than defend the universal, timeless and time-honored institution of marriage against those attempting to both weaken and radically ("at the root") redefine it by rushing gay “marriage” legislation into the nation’s law-books.

A central theme of the Vatican's document, aptly titled Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, is that what has always constituted and defined marriage was, and continues to be, determined by logic, natural law, and gender rather than the wishful thinking of a noisy special interest group.

In short: It's the biology, stupid.

On a sociological and psychological level, Considerations also points out, it has long been established that children grow and develop best under male and female parents. However, it remains to be seen that, on the whole, children --most of whom (if not all) are born heterosexual-- can do so (or worse, grow and develop adversely) under parents of the same gender; hence the Vatican's opposition as well to adoption by gay couples whether they are "married" or not. After all, it's one thing for two consenting adults to tinker with their own lives, and quite another for them to tinker with the lives of innocent children who have no say in the matter.

Moreover, as Considerations also points out, the institutions of marriage and the family, as the most fundamental building block of any civilization, predates both church and state by at least several millenia; hence, neither church nor state has the right or authority to reinvent it from the ground up by including same-sex "unions." Why, one may as well extend the definition of "marriage" to same-person unions (see our July 9 blog, Next Up In Canada: Same-Person Marriage, below).

Yet Barnicle doesn't even address any of the aforegoing concerns, nor does he address any of the other arguments against gay "marriage" raised by Considerations. It's as if the man never came across the term "philosophy," much less ever studied the subject. Instead, Barnicle opened his column with the following preposterous statement, which was quickly followed by other equally preposterous statments (emphasis via bold text and underlines added):

If you're Catholic, you really have to have faith to keep the faith these days. One day, a new archbishop is installed in Boston and instantly adds a breath of fresh air to a church that has been battered by the behavior of liars, hypocrites and obstructors of justice in Roman collars. Then, just when you think it's safe to relax, the Pope and the isolated crew around him issue their latest assault against homosexuals. That was predictable because the Vatican --hey, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church-- is petrified by sex.

Of course, the irony of the above statement is that the "liars, hypocrites, and obstructors of justice in Roman collars" to whom Barnicle refers are the very same homosexual priests who committed the crimes in question, along with the look-the-other-way bishops who protected them. After all, well over 90% of the clerical sexual abuse cases in the American Catholic Church are male-on-male, not male-on-female --a very relevant fact barely mentioned in the secular media and apparently ignored by Barnicle. In fact, had "the Pope and the isolated crew around him" staged a wholesale purge and defrocking of these clerics at least ten years ago --as they should have done-- Barnicle most likely would've waxed indignant about "their latest assault against homosexuals." Logic would suggest that if the Pope should favor gays taking marriage vows (as Barnicle apparently believes), the Pope should likewise favor gays taking priestly vows.

Nevertheless, in the remainder of his diatribe Barnicle showed nary the slightest indication of informed familiarity with the Catholic Church’s teachings in the areas of marriage (regarded as a sacrament by the Church!), sexuality, and sexual ethics. Nor did he present a shred of evidence to support his claim that Pope John Paul II & co. are "petrified by sex."

Instead of doing his homework in order to address these issues with something resembling coherence and intelligence, he apparently decided instead to create a straw-man which he then proceeded to dismantle. But such intellectual laziness seems typical of Barnicle, who according to the news media was once booted from The Boston Globe for repeatedly plagiarizing other writers' work.

On August 4, we sent the following response to Barnicle's column via e-mail to the editors of the Daily News. To date, our letter seems not to have seen the light of day there, much less any space in the Daily News' Letters section --even in a much shorter and heavily edited form. Nor have we yet to receive a reply:

Letters to the Editor
New York Daily News
August 4, 2003

Mike Barnicle's attempt on August 3 to "critique" the Vatican's rejection of gay marriage has got to be most clueless piece of balderdash on things Catholic I've come across since the last time I read a Jack Chick tract.

Barnicle claims, with zero evidence to back up his assertion, that Pope John Paul II, among other Church leaders at the Vatican, is "petrified by sex."


Obviously, Mr. Barnicle has never come across the vast corpus on marital relationships, sexuality, and sexual ethics --collectively known as "theology of the body"-- written by the Pope which proves the exact opposite.

Consider, for example, the following excerpts from the Pope's book Love and Responsibility, first published over 40 years ago in his native Poland:

"Sexologists state that the curve of arousal in woman is different from that in man--it rises more slowly and falls more slowly... The man must take this difference between male and female reactions into account, not for hedonistic, but for altruistic reasons. There exists a rhythm dictated by nature itself which both spouses must discover so that climax may be reached both by the man and by the woman, and as far as possible occur in both simultaneously...

"Non-observance of these teachings of sexology in the marital relationship is contrary to the good of the other partner to the marriage and the durability and cohesion of the marriage itself. It must be taken into account that it is naturally difficult for the woman to adapt herself to the man in the sexual relationship, that there is a natural unevenness of physical and psychological rhythms, so that there is a need for harmonization, which is impossible without good will, especially on the part of the man, who must carefully observe the reactions of the woman. If a woman does not obtain natural gratification from the sexual act there is a danger that her experience of it will be qualitatively inferior, will not involve her fully as a person…

"In the woman this produces an aversion to intercourse, and a disgust with sex which is just as difficult or even more difficult to control than the sexual urge. It can also cause neuroses and sometimes organic disorders (which come from the fact that the engorgement of the genital organs at the time of sexual arousal results in inflammation in the region of the so-called little pelvis, if sexual arousal is not terminated by detumescence, which in the woman is closely connected with orgasm). Psychologically, such a situation causes not just indifference but outright hostility. A woman finds it very difficult to forgive a man if she derives no satisfaction from intercourse…."

Does any of the above sound like something written by a man "petrified by sex"???

But perhaps Barnicle was merely trying to make a clever Peter-as-the-Rock pun based on Matthew 16: 18 ("And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church"): The word "petrified" and the name "Peter" --another name by which all Popes are known-- have the same root, the Greek word petros, "rock." However, we doubt that Barnicle is that original: Just ask The Boston Globe. And by all indications, he's not a New Testament scholar either.

As we've pointed out before, whether it comes from intellectually challenged secular pundits or backwoods semi-literate John Calvins, anti-Catholic nincumpoopery is still alive and well on planet Earth.

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