Oh, My Pop Culture Jesus: Dear Fandom, It’s Not Always the Catholics

So, I have a little bit of a complaint here.

You see, I am a Catholic. In fact, not only am I a Catholic, but I actually decided to dedicate my life to the Catholic Church by studying theology. I am currently going for my Masters in Theology and further plan to go on to get my PhD. That means I have already dedicated about six years of my life to studying theology and I intend to keep doing so for the rest of my natural existence. Clearly, I care about my faith.

That being said, I am the first to admit when the Catholic Church does something wrong. Actually, because I am Catholic, I tend to come down harder on the Catholic Church and other Catholics for doing something wrong.

And I will come right out and say it—the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality is wrong. It’s not just kind of wrong, it’s completely and utterly wrong.

However, fandom, can you please stop making the Catholic Church seem like the freaking Westboro Baptist Church when it comes to homosexuality!

I have read a lot of fanfic and a lot of slash fanfic. Some are what you would call Alternate Universe, where instead of say Dean and Cas being a hunter and an angel fighting demons, they are both starting college and have been paired up as roommates—hilarious hijinks happen!

Inevitably, however, in slash fanfic set in our world a lot of authors tend to incorporate religion into the plot. After all, if one character has been taught their whole life that homosexuality is wrong and then realizes they are gay, well, that is a pretty dramatic and intense story. However, almost all of these fanfic have the uber-religious character be a practicing and devoted Catholic, which would be fine if they didn’t portray my faith like it was Nazism.

First, let me say what the official teaching of the Catholic Church is on homosexuality. According to the Catholic Catechism, a person can be born a homosexual—meaning it is not something that can be fixed, nor is it a choice. Furthermore, there is nothing sinful about being a homosexual. If you are attracted to the same sex, in the eyes of Catholic Church, there is nothing wrong with that.

However, while it is not sinful to be a homosexual, if a person engages in homosexual activity that is a sin. Why? Because they can’t have babies. The Catholic Church believes that there are two goods for sex: to foster and express the love between the couple (the unitive aspect), and to make babies (the procreative aspect).

Now before you tell me that this is wrong and doesn’t make any sense, hey: I have already stated at the beginning of this article that I think the Catholic Church’s reasoning for why homosexuality is wrong is incorrect. I am writing this all out to prove a point.

The point is that, I personally feel that the Catholic Church’s stance on homosexuality is far less harsh than many other Christian denominations, and other religions for that matter.

You will never hear a Catholic official say homosexuality is a choice. Nor will there ever be Catholic camps to cure you of homosexuality. Furthermore, the Catholic Church does not think you are going to hell for being gay. And if you have heard a Catholic say any of these things, know this—they are 100% wrong! The Pope himself would say they are wrong.

So it really, really, really bothers me when I read a fanfic and a character who is Catholic and a homosexual is sent to a camp to be cured. Or told by their extremely devoted Catholic parents that they were born wrong or going to hell for being gay.

The only reason I can think of for this is that Catholicism is very recognizable. And yes, the Catholic Church, and Catholic politicians, has been in the news saying that they are against gay marriage. But again, while I personally believe the Catholic Church is wrong on this issue, the Catholic Church is not nearly as bad as many other Christian denominations. Furthermore, American Catholics are more in support of gay marriage than ever before.

You might say, “Lady Geek Girl, it’s just a fanfic. So what if they make the Catholic Church seem wildly homophobic! What’s the big deal?”

The big deal is like with any medium, TV, movies, books, etc., people assume that what they are reading or seeing is accurate, at least to some extent. It bothers me that people will then believe something wrong about my faith. I further find it extremely damaging that about nine out of ten fanfics that I have read that use religion basically equate religious bigotry to being Catholic. As a Catholic it offends me and does damage to my faith and what people think of my faith.

If someone wrote a character, said they were Catholic and gay, then accurately portrayed what that struggle looks like, if they did their research at all, and still portrayed the Catholic Church as being wrong in their belief I would have no problem with that. All I ask is a little research and a little consideration when writing about not just Catholicism, but all religions.

Remember fanfic authors, you never know who is going to read your fic, so if you want to discuss religion you better check your facts or you may offend or even hurt someone who is reading your story.

5 thoughts on “Oh, My Pop Culture Jesus: Dear Fandom, It’s Not Always the Catholics

  1. I’m a Catholic myself, but I haven’t studied theology to the extent that you have. From what I understand about the issue, the Catholic Church’s stance, as you outlined it above, seems to be on the money–in particular, since there are several verses in the Old and New Testaments which condemn homosexual acts. So, please tell me how the Catholic Church is incorrect.

    And if they should change their judgment on this topic in the future, would that mean that Catholic doctrine is no longer infallible? I mean, I think that it is actually doctrine that homosexual acts violate the sixth commandment. But, I really want to hear your take on this issue.

    • Okay, I knew when I gave my opinion about this issue that this question would come up. I didn’t want it to. I was hoping it wouldn’t but I took a chance and here it is. The reason i didn’t want this question to come up is not because it’s controversial, but because I could literally write my Doctoral Thesis on this issue alone and because discussing this via internet blog I feel I will inevitably fall short. So I’m going to give you my very very bare bones argument about why the Church’s wrong on this issue. You will probably find some flaws in what I say, but I would hope that is because I’m not fleshing things out and not because my stance is horribly flawed.

      First, to address your specific questions. The Old (OT) and New Testament (NT) have condemned homosexuality… sort of. The OT actually doesn’t so much have a objection to gay sex as it does to “seed spilling” aka ejaculation. Why? Because during that time and for a very long time afterward it was thought that the man’s sperm carried everything necessary to produce a baby. All women did was cook the man’s seed into a baby. Women contributed nothing to the child other than sin (yay!). This is the same reason masturbation is considered wrong, but not lesbians. Nowhere does the Bible condemn two women being together sexually, only two men. This all has to do with an out dated understanding of reproduction. Furthermore, all most every other law mentioned in Leviticus is considered outdated now, but for some reason this one isn’t. In the NT Jesus says nothing about homosexuality. Paul talks about it though. Paul also had the same understanding of reproduction as the OT and Paul wasn’t really talking about homosexuality the way we understand it today. Today, our Bibles translate that word as homosexuality, but the ancient Jews and Christians didn’t have a word for people of the same sex being together, because it didn’t happen. Two men couldn’t get married, so most of the objections to homosexuality come about because they are having sex before marriage, or they were cheating on their wives, or the case of the Romans they were having orgies and were complete hedonists. The idea of a loving committed homosexual relationship didn’t happen back then. Though there is some evidence of possibly know homosexual Saints, but we won’t get into that here.

      Oh Lord, I already feel like I wrote too much. Okay next question, doctrine is doctrine and doctrine changes. Dogma cannot change. Anything that is considered Dogma the Church will never change their mind on. Things like Christ is the savior, the Trinity, and the Eucharist are all Dogma and cannot change. Doctrine can. The Church claims to speak infallibly on morality and tradition, but I never really understood that. The Pope speaks infallibly only when he speaks Ex cathedra which rarely happens and he never said anything about homosexuality when doing so. And other morals and traditions the Church has changed. For example, the Church speaks infallibly on issues of morality, but when the Church taught that slavery was okay and that slaves should accept their lot in life that was clearly wrong. The Church admits that now. Pope John Paul II apologized for many injustices that the Church was so certain was morally correct before. Contraception is another. The Catholic Church isn’t against contraception today, just artificial contraception, Natural Family Planning is contraception, but for years the Church said any attempt to regulate the process of conception and birth was sinful. So doctrine can change and I’m convinced that one day this will change as well.

      So here I have addressed your specific questions and a lot has gone into that already and there is more we could talk about. I’ll be happy to answer any more questions or explain further, but as I mentioned earlier there is a lot that goes into this issue and I am probably doing a poor job explaining things anyway. For better information than mine you may want to check out:

      Just Love: A Framework of Christian Sexual Ethics by Sr. Margaret Farley
      &
      The Sexual Person: Toward a Renewed Catholic Anthropology by Todd A. Salzman and Michael G. Lawler

      But again, I will answer any more questions you like, but I do think the above people are better qualified than I am. Plus, both books are a fantastic read anyway.

      • hey there ladygeekgirl,

        i read this post and was saddened that you don’t agree with the Church’s teaching about homosexuality

        i think this article has good arguments defending the Catholic stance on homosexuality and why homosexual acts are sinful:

        http://www.catholic.com/tracts/homosexuality

        you might also wanna look on the site (Catholic Answers) for explanations about how doctrine doesn’t change, but it can develop over time. there’s probably explanations there about the papal and Church’s infallibility, too, or about whatever you might want to look at, if you do a quick search there

        oh, and this article has a whole bunch of Catholic websites you might check out (if you don’t know them already) for more explanations:

        https://www.osv.com/OSVNewsweekly/ByIssue/Article/TabId/735/ArtMID/13636/ArticleID/15458/Untangling-the-Catholic-Web.aspx

        it also has lists of good Catholic websites for news, movie reviews, blogs, etc., if you ever want to check out a new website or something; basically its a rec list for great Catholic sites, in a lot of different categories

        hope you check out the links. bye 🙂

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