Friday, October 31, 2014

A Halloween in Hell

Castro Street Halloween; circa 1990.
In years past, before the gay exodus from the Castro, primarily due to skyrocketing real-estate prices brought on by the advent of the Silicon Dot-commers moving into nearby Noe Valley, Halloween was a sacred day in San Francisco; especially for the homosexual community. When the Gay Pride was more of a public political statement, and less of an excuse to be a sexual exhibitionist, Halloween served as the ultimate outing party for those gay men who made the long trek to the West Coast from their oppressive towns in the Midwest and the Southern US. It was a day to unashamedly dance about like your favorite glamour queen, a pink-winged fairy, or even Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz.”
By the time I reached the Castro, in the late-1980s, the Grim Reaper of AIDS still lurked around every corner; and things had gotten a bit darker: faces were painted like bleach-skinned ghouls; vampire and devil costumes were everywhere. My much older boyfriend at the time, I was 19 years old, wanted me to dress as a boy scout. I liked the idea and agreed. That night, despite all the leather and skin, there was nothing exciting or sexy to see; for, everyone walked about with eyes filled by massively dilated pupils. The place was jam-packed, but; it was as if – no one was there. I remember it had been a rather pleasant day in the City, but I was cold. I felt like the only living soul among the dead. I wanted to leave right away.
Eschewing the festivities on Castro Street, later that night, I ended up in a Polk Street gay bar. Growing bored, my boyfriend came up with the idea of watching someone pick me up; seeing the same scenario in countless gay porn films – I said okay. It didn’t take long before a man tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around to see a figure dressed as a transvestite witch. I rolled my eyes and looked over to my friend; he nodded his approval. I knew what to do: I asked the guy to follow me into the restroom. Some minutes afterward, I reemerged with a little less of myself. The following year, the boyfriend had since dumped me, and I showed up at the Castro Halloween celebration in full bondage gear sporting plastic fangs.
Sometimes the devil takes you apart, piece by piece; sometimes, he takes a little, sometimes he takes big chunks out of you. (That strange evening, the devil took all that I had left.) By the time you are being ripped into shreds, you tend not to even notice anymore. You are blinded to it all. Even though I had grown up on the filthiest kinds of pornography, that first Halloween in the Castro still scared me a bit; for, unbeknownst to myself, there were still even darker passages to explore. But, it started to become easier. Because, once you take that first step towards evil, whether it’s clicking on to that porn site, watching that television program, or listening to that song, it’s tough to suddenly stop and turn around. This is mainly on account - that slowly – you get blinded. Soon, the sickening becomes sweet, and the heinous becomes the holy.

“The devil does not bring sinners to hell with their eyes open: he first blinds them with the malice of their own sins. Before we fall into sin, the enemy labours to blind us, that we may not see the evil we do and the ruin we bring upon ourselves by offending God.” ~ St. Alphonsus Liguori

Thursday, October 30, 2014

7 Steps to Freedom from Porn

“And he cried out, saying: Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me. And they that went before, rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried out much more: Son of David, have mercy on me.” (Luke 18:38-9)
1. Admit to Our Lord Jesus Christ and to yourself that you have a problem; say it out loud: go for a walk, shut the door, sit in your car – just tell Jesus that you cannot stop watching porn and you don’t know what to do.

“And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.” (I Cor. 2:3)
2. Pray: kneel down; nothing fancy – start with an act of humiliation (asking the Lord for help;) tell Him all that you are thinking, no matter how embarrassing or shameful; ask for His guidance, and Praise Him for hearing your prayers.

“Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess therefore your sins one to another: and pray one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much.” (James 5:14-6)
3. Go to Confession: (if you are a Catholic) go to the next available Confession time at your local parish, or better yet – make a private appointment to speak with a priest. If it’s been awhile, take time to meditate on the past: recall your former sins, if necessary, write them down, do not dwell on any particular sin, merely recall them, confess them, and move on.

“And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is my body. And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.” (Mark 26:26-8)
4. Return to Mass; preferably every Sunday and all Holy Days; if you are lax here, the probability of continued porn attachment is very high.

“And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.” (Matt 18:9)
5. Remove the source of temptation: if it’s the computer, or other handheld internet accessible devices, remove the computer from the home or move it into a public space of the house – out of the private office or bedroom; remove internet capability from phones and other devices; if you live alone – only have internet access at work and remove all home and private access.

“But this kind [demonic spirit] is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.” (Matt 17:21)
6. Fast: Start out by perhaps excluding all snacks from your daily diet, then – try missing a meal, maybe lunch. The hunger pains will soon overshadow the pangs of lust; also, offer up the discomfort of fasting for your own purification, in reparation for past sins, and for the conversion of sinners.

“Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.” (Matt 11:28-9)
7. Spiritual reading: In your spare time, instead of watching television, of course – instead of surfing the internet, read a good spiritual book (lives of the Saints, Bible commentaries, classic works from the Church Doctors;) this will occupy your mind as well as feed your soul.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

85% of Young Catholics in the US Think Homosexuality is Okay!

Fully 85% of self-identified Catholics ages 18-29 said in a 2014 Pew Research Center survey that homosexuality should be accepted by society, compared with just 13% who said it should be discouraged. Older age groups are less likely to favor acceptance. But even among Catholics ages 65 and older, 57% say that homosexuality should be accepted
Some of these differences may correlate with the frequency of church attendance. The Pew research has found that older Catholics attend Mass more frequently than do their younger counterparts, and that Catholics who attend Mass at least weekly are more likely to say that homosexuality should be discouraged than those who do not. But even among churchgoing Catholics of all ages – that is, those who attend Mass at least weekly – roughly twice as many say homosexuality should be accepted (60%) as say it should be discouraged (31%).
Similarly, despite the church’s continued opposition to same-sex marriage, most U.S. Catholics (57%) favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to legally wed, according to aggregated 2014 Pew Research surveys. And again, younger Catholics are particularly likely to express this view. Three-quarters of Catholic adults under 30 support legal same-sex marriage, compared with 53% of Catholics ages 30 and older (including just 38% of those 65 and older).

Authors note: Far too many Catholics disregard such surveys and toss them aside as meaningless; however, I think they are vitally important – for, they give us insight into what has gone so terribly wrong in the American parochial school system and the failure of Catholic catechesis. Because, if Catholic children had been probably catechized, these numbers (85%) would not be so overwhelming; and, the lack of church attendance by this age group goes part and parcel with their more liberal moral ideas; it’s a collapse on all levels; as, the spiritual life goes (the Sacraments, church attendance, devotionals) so does basic standards of virtue. For instance, as a product of the 1970s and 80s post Vatican II era, I can honestly testify that after 12 years of Catholic school – I knew relatively nothing; not a single prayer – and, therefore, how could I have learned anything about Catholic life. Sadly, in some sectors, little has changed. At the recent San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, I was approached by several cadres of bubbly laughing teen girls who proudly gave me the names of the various Catholic schools they attended; for the most part, these kids were thoroughly good-hearted, but, nevertheless, horribly clueless.  

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cartoon Network Show Features Animated Gay Kiss

The Cartoon Network series “Clarence” recently featured a gay kiss by two male characters: the scene appeared during a vignette featuring a woman waiting for her blind date at a restaurant; an attractive man walks through the door; the woman notices him; another man enters – the two men kiss and they leave together. On the surface, this seems rather harmless, but it does send the message that homosexuality is now nothing out of the ordinary; reminds me of the loathsome video for the Carley Rae Jepsen single “Call Me Maybe” which used the same tired old joke; that one was aimed at teens, this one goes after those who are much younger.
FYI: Cartoon Network is owned by Turner Broadcasting which in turn is a division of Time Warner. As of 2013, Cartoon Network is available in approximately 98,671,000 pay television households (86.4% of households with television) in the United States. Interestingly, Cartoon Network has, during its history, broadcast most of the Warner Brothers animated shorts originally created between the 1920s and the 1960s, including Bugs Bunny, but censored individual scenes as well as entire cartoons which depicted discharge of gunfire, alcohol ingestion, tobacco, ethnic stereotypes, and politically incorrect humor. Time Warner also owns the heavily gay-friendly CNN. 

Guest Blog: The Great Gay Divide; Part II

Imagine this Conversation

Monsignor (Msgr): She was quite distressed.
Priest: You spoke with her?
Msgr: I listened.
Priest: And you think I can help her?
Msgr: I think you can help me to help her.
Priest: How may I help you?
Msgr: What do you know of her son?
Priest: I haven’t seen him since his high school graduation. That’s a number of years ago. He’s out of college now and living in the city.
Msgr: Ahh, the city. The lure of the city. Can anything good come from the city?
Priest: Monsignor, if he’s in the city he’s probably immersed in the gay subculture.
Msgr: Yes, I imagine he is.
Priest: Which means his mother’s distress is warranted.
Msgr: Yes, I suppose it is. But I wish to help her as much as I can. And here I have a question for you. The mother has deep misgivings about her husband—about his relationship or lack thereof with the son. She worries that the boy is gay because the father was emotionally unavailable if not hostile toward him. What do you think of that?
Priest: I think there could be something to it.
Msgr: I think the poor woman thinks like that, but then she makes things worse.
Priest: Monsignor, I wouldn’t dismiss her perspective out of hand. There may be something to it.
Msgr: As a matter of fact, I don’t dismiss what she is saying. But I wondered what you would say. For that matter, what would your friend say?
Priest: My friend the psychologist?
Msgr: Yes. He.
Priest: Monsignor, I don’t know what he’d say in this case.
Msgr: But you speak to him about these things, don’t you?
Priest: Yes, in general.
Msgr: And what does he say in general?
Priest: He would probably say there’s a correlation between two facts in an individual’s life: having an emotionally cold father and having homosexual experience.
Msgr: ‘Correlation’.—That’s a psychological word. 
Priest: It’s a preferred word in scientific circles.
Msgr: It’s not the same as causation.
Priest: Correct. But in real life the two things aren’t far apart—the emotionless father and the gay son.
Msgr: They’re far enough apart for my purposes.
Priest: Which are?
Msgr: To relieve the woman’s distress. I think parents need to be reassured that they don’t cause their children to be gay. And this mother needs to know that her husband is not the reason why her son is gay.
Priest: Even if the father was emotionally abusive?
Msgr: ‘Abusive’?—That’s a strong word.
Priest: Ok. ‘Neglectful’.
Msgr: That’s rather tame.
Priest: Then how do you name it?
Msgr: I’m just being temperate in my choice of words. I advise the same. I’ve seen this family over the years. I would call it ‘profound neglect’. The father neglected the boy emotionally. Out of habit. Not intentionally. He appears to have been the same way toward his wife too. But whereas she’s an adult and could cope with him, the boy was vulnerable and could not. But for the mother’s concern, the boy’s revolt could be worse. In any case, it’s a sad state of affairs.
Priest: Sad—yes. But is the father off the hook for alienating his son like that?
Msgr: Many a wound originates in the family. But we can’t say there was intentionality there. The father’s aloofness was likely not intentional. And, let’s be clear, it doesn’t explain the boy’s homosexuality.
Priest: I’d say it’s connected to it.
Msgr: But it doesn’t explain it.
Priest: Well then, what does?
Msgr: Good question, Father. Of course, if it’s causation you’re inquiring about, let’s not forget our training here. Remember what we were taught about human freedom and volition?
Priest: In morality class?
Msgr: Where else? 

[Conversations to be continued.]

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Break from Blogging...

I will be traveling to Southern California this week. Blessings to you all.