Friday, December 11, 2015

Five Dominicans explain: "Aquinas and Homosexuality"

Immediately after hitting the “publish” button on my last post I see this related polemic at the orthodox Catholic site, First Things. Speaking of first things, and before I wade into this, I don't really give a rat's ass what Thomas Aquinas thought about homosexuality. The sainted Aquinas was a 13th century theologian and philosopher. Our understanding of sexual orientation has advanced considerably  over more than 700 years.
Is a Thomism friendly to the gay lifestyle the wave of the future? Is it the next phase in a scholarly, sophisticated kind of theology? Such is the impression given by the medieval scholar Adriano Oliva in his new book Amours, published in French and Italian. The work targets a broad audience. Among other things, the Italian Dominican calls for a revolution in the Church’s pastoral practice among the divorced and civilly remarried as well as sexually active homosexual persons.
Oliva claims that Aquinas said that homosexuality is “natural.” Five traditional Dominicans felt obliged to respond. With their reference to “the gay lifestyle,” they are not off to a very good start. The reference is offensive since it suggests that we are defined by our sexual orientation. Either these priest don't know or simply don't care that gay people find this offensive.

I am not going to comment on their four refutations. You can follow the link to the piece. Keep in mind that conservative Catholics have incorporated Thomism into the teachings of the Church. It expresses truth that is not subject to debate. If I have any of this wrong, please drop me a note and I will make a correction. It is pointless to further state that Aquinas is irrelevant to sexuality in today's world. The four priests and a nun conclude:
Overall, we find Oliva’s reading of Aquinas not only objectionable but irresponsible. The most basic principles for interpreting texts are not respected. Furthermore, the popular genre of the book has the potential to create major confusion among the Catholic faithful. For this reason, we sense a strong moral obligation to respond to Oliva’s claims.
I don't know (nor care) if Oliva is right or wrong. What they really find objectionable is submitting their guy's texts to debate. They also seem to think that their adherents are idiots. This goes back to an evaluation of the nature of priests and their need for arcana which only they can explain. The co-authors of this piece:

Fr. Bernhard Blankenhorn, O.P.
Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome

Sr. Catherine Joseph Droste, O.P.
Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome

Fr. Efrem Jindráček, O.P.
Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), Rome

Fr. Dominic Legge, O.P.
Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C.

Fr. Thomas Joseph White, O.P.
Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C.

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