Saturday, November 23, 2013


 (cross-posted from

I wrote recently on being gender-queer, and I promised that I write about transsexuality.

Before I do that, I want to give some idea of where I’m coming from on this issue. I recently wrote a paper on transgender and transsexual issues, and how trans identities relate to the traditional Catholic teaching on essential sexual complementarity. The paper was 5000 words long. I could have written four times that. As the foundation for writing I talked to trans people, read their writings, and listened to the stories that they had to tell about themselves rather than just approaching their experience through the filter of the “experts.” I’ve seen my own experience presented by experts often enough to know that there is often something missing in an allegedly “objective” account, and that the something missing is usually the heart of the human person.

Sex and Gender

(cross-posted from

I wanted to write a post on transgender/transsexual issues for the Day of Remembrance yesterday — but it wasn’t coming out right. I’m trying again today.

A couple of weeks ago, Ron received an e-mail from someone who was asking about trans people, and who wanted to know whether this is something that we’ll be covering at Spiritual Friendship. We tend to concentrate a lot on the LGB in LGBTQ, but the T, and to a lesser degree the Q, kind of get left out. The reason for this is simple: most of the writers here ID as L, G, or B. We don’t have any trans writers on board yet, and while I consider myself gender-queer that’s not really the same thing.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ordered Towards Procreation

Last time I said that I was going to talk about the argument that “unnatural” forms of sex prevent the great good of new life from coming into being. Most people, in any moral system, will agree that even if it's okay to pursue pleasure for its own sake it must be pursued proportionately: that is, the pursuit of any good (pleasure included) ceases to be morally acceptable if it gravely violates a greater good. So, for example, even though we acknowledge the pursuit of knowledge to be intrinsical good, we would characterize Mengele's experiments as profoundly evil because they involved pursuing the good of knowledge in a way that violated the basic rights and dignity of other human beings. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Flotsam on the Internet

Slave of Two Masters is now available as a Kindle e-book. It's only $2.87. You need to read it as a preparation for the grim commercial meat-grinder of the Holiday Season. Not so much to "put Christ back into Christmas" as to "put sanity back into December."

Monday, November 4, 2013

Hermeneutic of Suspicion

I've decided that I'm going to write a series that deals with the reasons why natural law arguments about sex are not actually an effective way to port Catholic sexual morality to secular society. My purpose is not to show that Catholic sexual morality is wrong, but rather to show that the arguments that we use to support it are not actually good arguments. This is important for two reasons: first because if a Catholic only believes in the teaching because of arguments that are ultimately inadequate, sooner or later they are likely to suffer the scandal of disillusionment – a scandal that often tempts people to reject the faith entirely. Secondly, as Catholics we often fall into the bad habit of thinking that people who disagree with us do so because they are fundamentally stupid, irrational, or addicted to sin. A willingness to look honestly at the flaws in our own arguments is essential in order to maintain the intellectual humility and compassion necessary for fruitful engagement with others.