Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

let it bleed

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Feb 28, 2008

The egregious Bishop Gumbleton, who seldom passes up the chance to take a clear teaching and make it murky, muddies the waters yet again in his most recent effort at doctrinal sabotage:

When I think of how our church acts sometimes, and maybe without our knowing it, any one of us as an individual within the church, when we look at the way of Jesus and look at the way we act, we fall short. I think that within the church, Jesus was always the compassionate, welcoming, loving, forgiving messenger of God. In our church, we still reject people because of who they are. I've said this before and I repeat it today; we fail people who are of homosexual orientation. Most of them have not felt, and still do not feel, truly welcome, truly accepted as who they are and the person that God has made them.

The bogusness of this position has been exposed in OTR before: contrary to Gumbleton's insinuation, what makes you Catholic is not having a certain libido, but accepting Church teaching (inter alia, teaching regarding sexual acts). Further, we don't know and can't know the sexual appetites of our fellow Catholics unless they go out of their way to communicate them. Even if, contrary to fact, we wished to "reject people because of who they are," how would we know "who they are" in the relevant sense unless they announced it to us?

By an unhappy coincidence there's another specimen of the same flim-flammery in a California news story about blood donation. Pay close attention to the wording:

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to oppose the Food and Drug Administration's lifetime ban on blood donations by gay men and to encourage their federal lobbyists to work to overturn the ban. Supervisors said they took the largely symbolic step, proposed by openly gay Supervisor Ken Yeager, because major blood banks say they can screen for HIV infection far better now than when the ban was imposed in 1983.

The FDA says gay male donors are much more at risk of carrying HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, than the general population. The supervisors did not vote to ban blood drives on county property, out of fear of drying up blood supplies needed by Valley Medical Center and others, but said they might revisit the notion of such a ban in the future.

San Jose State University's president recently halted blood drives on campus, saying they violated the school's anti-discrimination rules.

Catch the glissade? We're indignantly told that the "FDA says gay male donors are much more at risk of carrying HIV." Does it? Let's go the FDA website and see:

Men who have had sex with other men, at any time since 1977 (the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the United States) are currently deferred as blood donors. This is because MSM are, as a group, at increased risk for HIV, hepatitis B and certain other infections that can be transmitted by transfusion.

NB: absolutely nothing about gays, nothing about homosexuals. The FDA bans "men who have sex with other men," period. Neither their libido nor their sexual self-identification has anything to do with it; it's strictly a question of medical history. A male hetero who, say, spent 30 months in prison and was forced into sexual relations with other males would be ipso facto excluded from giving blood. A raging queen who entered the clinic in drag, but who happened to be chaste, would be as free to donate as a hetero mother of five. San Jose State stopped all campus blood drives on the grounds of discrimination, but this is recklessly absurd (would refusing blood from needle-sharing drug addicts count as discrimination?): no class is penalized independently of disqualifying behavior.

In the California story, the word "gay" is dragged into a discussion where it has no relevance, in order to impute malicious motives where they do not appear; it's a tactical maneuver that's part of a larger offensive in the culture wars. In Gumbleton's homily, the issue of homosexual orientation is likewise fetched from afar in order to malign the Church: she must be defective and in need of correction if she rejects people just because of the feelings they have. The fact that the Church has emphatically and repeatedly denies this charge will be unlikely to occur to those for whom this bishop is their primary source of Catholic teaching. Yet by quietly introducing a fictional history of injustice the bishop has done his bit to damage the Church in their hearing: a bolt loosened here, a wire cut there, a door nailed shut somewhere else. He must be quite pleased with himself.

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  • Posted by: - Oct. 26, 2009 7:46 PM ET USA

    I know that the send off given by the american bishops for his father went to his head, but those self same prelates will not tell you that the message that Pope Benedicy XVI sent to his father was a papal blessing not a confessional absolution for his sin of aiding and abetting abortion. There is a difference. Those same bishops (Apostles) should be ahamed of themselves for not acting like religious shepherds. It's their responsibility to correct one of their sheep when they stray.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Oct. 26, 2009 2:11 PM ET USA

    You're really having a good day, Di.