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11/26/2014

Vatican's #Humanum event meant to paint gay families as 'evil' and 'obscene,' admits invited guest

by Jeremy Hooper

Even some participants at last week's Vatican gathering of anti-gay social conservatives are starting to admit that the happy, hunky dory, positive vibe that the attendees were so desperate to message out was, in fact, disingenuous. In fact, Catherine Ruth Pakaluk, an invited attendee and assistant professor at the Catholic Ave Maria University, argues thatScreen Shot 2014-11-26 At 11.31.39 Amthe real message is one that considers same-sex families to "evil," "vicious," and "obscene":

Last week I was privileged to attend the Humanum Colloquium held at the Vatican, and about which I wrote in advance with optimism regarding the use of new visual arts to convey old truths. Now, with the colloquium behind me, I find myself thinking about the lasting contributions of this international gathering. And it strikes me today that perhaps one of the most important things was an attempt to frame the current international debate about marriage in terms of the humanity owed to the innocent.

Much has been made of the so-called "positive" message of the colloquium — here is a gathering which wants to "celebrate and affirm" the beauty of complementarity and marriage. It doesn’t seek to reject and condemn. But I wonder if this isn’t a bit disingenuous. We know that there would not have been any Humanum were it not for the sense that we are losing the marriage debate both in law and public opinion. This was not a random act of affirming positive things. It was rather a deliberate act of asserting that it is evil to deprive children of a mother and a father.

...In the six Humanum videos, we are treated to a story, a story about masculine and feminine as archetypes in nature, a story about children receiving distinct gifts from mothers and fathers, and a story about marriage as the institution that binds men and women to each other, for each other and for their children.

In this art, there is an intentional depiction of the obscene: literally, obscene because it is off scene. An evil man threw sand in the eyes of the rhesus monkey. An evil person deprives an infant of a mother. We do not see it in these films but we feel it.

Now there are many ways in which a child may come to be deprived of a mother or a father. Some are acts of nature — a mother dies in childbirth, a father in an accident. Some result from marital failure — either the failure to form a marriage at the time of the child’s birth, or the failure to maintain a marriage while the child grows. In these cases — together with the child — we grieve what is lost and seek to remediate the suffering through adoption, remarriage, and other forms of familial and social assistance to broken families.

This leaves, by comparison, the most vicious ways that a child might come to be deprived of a mother or a father, in which we socially and civilly protect the creation of a child with "no father" (through anonymous sperm donation for single mothers and/or adoption into female partnerships) or "no mother" (through surrogacy and/or adoption into male partnerships). Of course all children have a mother and a father — but these are deprived of the chance to know them, deprived of the chance to be loved by them.

This is most vicious not because those involved are most evil. Rather, it is most vicious because it deprives a child of the longed-for parent, and also of the right to grieve that loss.
FULL: Defenders of the Family are Not as Warm and Fuzzy As You Think [Aleteia]
(h/t: Str8Grandmother)

I, for one, admire her candor. I mean, whenever I listen to one of the anti-gay Catholics talk about my marriage and my family, I know they feel this way. I know that they consider my family evil. I know that they would take their agenda further, if they had the chance. I know that they, through cruel rhetoric like this, are hoping to make the landscape even more inhospitable toward the emotional wellbeing of the children of same-sex parents. I know that they would rather attach truly inhuman words like "obscene" onto families like mine rather than get to know us and judge us by our happiness rather than their ingrained prejudices. I know that they hold events like the one last week because they do truly hope to rid the world of family structures that fall outside their myopic beliefs.

I'm just not used to them admitting it. Thanks, Mr. Pakaluk.

**

*Surprise, surprise: Pakaluk joined Mark Regnerus on an amicus brief calling on the Seventh Circuit to oppose marriage equality

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