Aaron Harburg

Unity from Hate or Love?

The thesis of Watchmen by Alan Moore seems to be that humanity will be united through a common enemy. The underlying principle seems to be that hate does a better job uniting us than love. As rational animals, the animal nature has a fairly predictable and stable pattern of response. Our passions or emotions follow a path that is baffling when dealing subtlety, but simple when dealing with the sensational. Aquinas himself says that “hatred is felt more keenly than love.” and that “we flee from pain more than we love pleasure.” This goes against what the whole project of what modernism seems to be about. An endless progress that unites humanity in a mutually beneficial pursuit of pleasure. The recent events in Paris indicate that unity is achieved much more swiftly and strongly in the face of horrible evils. Meanwhile, in Africa, thousands are murdered with barely a blip on the media landscape. But an enemy can only last so long. And if the enemy is remote, as in Africa, it yields little concern. Once the enemy is destroyed where to next? It is naive to think some positive tangible project will bring us all together in a common brotherhood. Without some sort of transcending standard, some eternal unchangeable good to pursue and evil to flee I do not think humanity will ever achieve the harmony we instinctively desire, but cannot articulate. 

Perhaps what I find to be utterly reprehensible in modern Catholicism in particular is the common enemies that seem to bring unity to the more conservative segments. It’s understandable, we are in the ruins of Christendom with many factions. However, it is not biblical. The greatest enemy is within us. It is our own tendency to commit evil. The next greatest is unseen. The least threatening is external to us. Those who are persons, who may well be our enemies, we are called to love them. What is love? St. Paul said something about it. I find the rhetoric attached to discussion about homosexuality from Christians to be lacking in that description. Of course, you defensive apologetically minded will be quick to point out that in 1 Cor. 13 “love rejoiceth not in iniquity,” but overlook “patience, kindness…not ambitious, not provoked to anger etc…”

If I’m honest nothing makes me want to leave the Church more than how this issue is addressed by Catholics while our liturgies continue to deteriorate and communities languish. I sympathize strongly with John Senior when he says in Restoration of Christian Culture that there is no reason to remain Catholic. It breaks my heart to admit this. Sometimes I wonder how much longer I can hold on. At this point I’m certain the only reason I am is because of the grace won by Our Lady. 

I am currently writing a book about homosexuality from a Thomistic perspective that I pray and hope will provide guidance or at least a different perspective. To change the discussion. But for now, please let your love cover my sin of impatience with any critique of LGBTQ persons or their supposed “agenda” when I have found more love with them than many of the cold factious Catholics I have associated with.