Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bottum-ing Out

So a Catholic thinker who once helmed the wonderful periodical "First Things" has come out in favor of same-sex marriage.

No big surprise, then, that the New York Times would trumpet this story to the nations as they did this morning.

I'm sure much more blistering and thorough destructions of  Bottum's meandering and fluffy essay are being penned at this moment by much more capable hands than my own.  I did want to share some reactions after reading the piece this morning.

1) The most stunning component to the entire essay is Bottum's belief that St. Thomas Aquinas's teaching justifies support for legalizing same-sex marriage.  This statement betrays hubris on a scale rarely seen in these parts outside of the executive branch of our government.   By comparison, Martin Luther believed that he was the first person to correctly interpret the Gospels over the course of 1500 years.  Bottum can perhaps console himself with the thought that he's only half as brazen as Luther, given that Bottum believes he is the only one to properly interpret Aquinas over the last 700 years.

Bottum doesn't say something like "I am starting to wonder if perhaps St. Thomas' teachings could be used to justify this" nor does he say something like "I plan to kick this idea around with lots of other people who are scholars of St. Thomas' teaching",...nope...he just writes that he has suddenly realized that St. Thomas's Summa DOES support legalizing same sex marriage.

Bottum has thought let it be done.

2) Most of the underlying current of the essay centers around a gay friend of Bottum's, and how their friendship cooled over the past few years because of the Church's stance.

I would love to ask Bottum "SO THAT'S YOUR REASON?  You've changed your heart because the Gospel caused some friction in a relationship? Dude, have you EVER read the Gospels?  Have you heard what Jesus said his Word would bring?  If you haven't, He said division.  Have you heard what Jesus said he would do to relationships between mothers and daughters, sons and fathers, etc.?  He said he would pit them against each other.  But you've changed your heart because of FRICTION?"

I'm sorry, but the millions who have been martyred for their Faith through the centuries weep for the fact that your knees have buckled and your faith abandoned merely from a strained friendship while their bodies were crushed on this Earth because they held to the Faith of our fathers.

While still at First Things and defending things Catholic, Bottum wrote the following poem:

If I have seen geese low on the east horizon,
seen the cold reeds strain in the dawn to follow,
watched the first gray ice of the season take
roots for the winter,

that scene is no great moment in days that fathers
greet a half-born child with a knife and daughters
name the pain-free murder of mothers most
prodigal mercy.

And they that speak strong words in the failing season—
sparking new fires, stoking the dampened embers—
scorn the faint hearts nursing a private flame,
skirting the darkness.

But still the cold reeds sway in the wind and whisper,
"Leave the great voice blazing to stave the winter.
Autumn’s own soft music has need of songs
gentle and dying."

Joseph Bottum - congrats this morning on doing just about everything you lament in the poem above.