Monday, April 22, 2013

"Despite... the years of sinning, Elizabeth is winning"

The title is pulled from a song by Matt Pond PA.  Incredible band.  Worth a look.  The lyric came to mind as a contrast to the argument that bad things happen to us because of sin/the Fall.  More on that later.

I feel forced to respond to Leila's comment in this post.  Hers is the second to last comment in the string.  I don't think any post of mine has generated so many comments and they're not brief.  Each one is an thoughtful essay and should stand on its own.

Leila said that I did not interpret her comment on her blog related to gay marriage and how infertiles fit in to that scenario correctly.  I stand to differ.  Here is the entire section of her comment I am referring to:
I want to speak to you as a fellow Christian now, as secular folks don't believe in the Fall of man. But you've often brought up the issue of elderly folks getting married. They can get married as long as they can physically partake in the salient act of marriage (conjugal love). The reason old folks cannot have children is for the same reason that infertile couples cannot: The Fall. Defect, aging, decay, disease. All from the Fall. 
 This is what I said:
And on Leila's blog she took the time to say that infertility was due to "the Fall."  And that meant that I was defective, diseased, old, decayed. 
And this is how she responded:
If you put a direct quote up, and in context, you would see that I never said that and never "meant" that. I am very careful about the words I use (although in comments, they can be rushed). Never would I say that an infertile woman was "defective, diseased, old and decayed"! Just never.  
Let's run through the logic, shall we?  Infertile couples cannot have children because of the Fall and defect, aging, decay, disease emanate from the Fall.  It follows that my husband and I are infertile and do not have children thus we are "an infertile couple."  Infertiles cannot have children because of the Fall and defect, aging, decay, and disease all come from the Fall.  Therefore, our infertility is caused by defect, aging, decay, and disease.  If as a sufferer of infertility, I can call myself an infertile woman, I am defective, diseased, old, decayed.

JoAnna did in a manner of speaking support my statement by saying:
A healthy female and a healthy male can and will procreate eventually if they time intercourse accordingly and all systems are working as they should. If they do not conceive within a year, then there is an unexplained disease or defect (nutritional deficiency, etc.) that is preventing one or both of their reproductive systems from functioning as intended (biologically). 
I really can't tell how the gay marriage debate and denying gays the right to marry based entirely on the notion of procreation morphed into explaining why infertiles are infertile: the Fall.  I'm siding with Joy Beyond the Cross and the Misfit in saying that the Fall offers me no comfort and it really makes absolutely no sense to bring up this topic in the context of gay marriage.  Why did we get stuck on this?  Was it to divert attention to the issue at hand which is the unfair targeting of infertiles in the argument against gay marriage?


  1. I think it is a hard pill for me to swallow the infertility is due to the Fall because on that argument alone it does not offer me any comfort or anything I can due to fix it. It saddens me that my situation is being used for a political agenda and talked about as some idea or theoretical couple in an argument against gay marriage (not because i am for gay marriage). My infertility/subfertility is very REAL and personal not just some medical term. It is sad that this gay marriage debate has been the only time I have heard of infertility in the spotlight or even mentioned in the Catholic community hierarchy. On a side note : I love your new blog background! My hubby likes to draw graffiti art and I like to paint it :)

  2. I suppose I should clarify that I don't disagree with Leila theologically. I'm just not sure that the point is remotely useful. I don't think we're at, "Teacher, if God loves us, why do people get eaten by bears?" I think we're at, "God, if you love me, why do you ask me to suffer?" "Original sin" is (if explained) an appropriate answer to the first question, but not the second. I don't know Leila's audience, of course; there may be some theological novices there. But what use any of this is in a discussion around the pastoral wisdom of American church leaders as directed at the infertile community is beyond me.

    1. Misfit, yes, there are a lot of theological novices at my blog. My blog is designed to be a teaching blog, not a pastoral one. I hope to reach the masses of uncatechized Catholics, because I was one of them. My blog is about teaching the very fundamentals of the Faith, doctrinally, theologically.

  3. ATC, the "old" was referring to…. old people. The "disease" was referring to… diseases of the reproductive system. The "decay" was referring to… bodies getting older (again, old people, old ovaries, old bodies). The "defective" was referring to… reproductive systems that are not working as they are supposed to, for any number of reasons.

    I am going to have to trust that most people will understand what I was saying, and that my comment was not directed as a personal insult to you or to anyone (even old people, which you are not).

    I wish you nothing but peace.

  4. As several commenters said in the previous thread (and I agree), the Fall as an explanation for why infertility exists is simply that - an explanation. It's not supposed to be "comforting," just like it's not a comfort to me to know that the babies I miscarried died due to the effects of the Fall.

    It is a comfort to know that God did not actively will or intend for my babies to die out of a desire to punish me or etc., but no words will ever take away the pain of those losses. Only Heaven can do that

    ATC, I asked on the previous thread but I don't believe you responded (or if you did, I didn't see it) - if infertility is not a disease or disorder, then what is it?

    1. No, JoAnna, girlfriend... you missed it. I did say you were right that infertility (non-age related, i.e. post menopause) is caused by a disease or disorder. Sure, that makes total sense. What doesn't make sense is that this ad nauseum discourse about gay marriage and infertility are related and the Little Catholic Bubblites kept going on and on about how infertility is caused by the Fall. Who cares? And what relevance does this have? Count the infertility blogs that run through all the myriad of treatments, pills, surgeries they've gone through to discard themselves of infertility and have a kid! We have all done it.

      We didn't just say, "Hi, I'm infertile and it's because of the Fall. And I'm just sitting here waiting for a miracle." No, people put their butts on planes and in cars and hightailed it Omaha for some nifty surgery. I got rid of my infertility timeline because like, who the heck cares what happened three years ago but I did my time, too. That's why I can proceed into the future.

      So, if I haven't done a very good job these last few weeks explaining myself it's this: Why did you some other folks start harping on this Fall thing and infertility? Go on and argue against gay marriage. You have my support. But do some thinking. Review the Supreme Court argument transcripts. Go back over the Cordileone interview with USA Today. He showed a total ignorance towards infertility. And that's what I was pointing out.

  5. ATC, the answer is: we didn't.

    But whenever we (i.e., faithful Catholics) talking about how marriage is intrinsically ordered toward raising children, the first response from SSM proponents is always, "But what about infertile couples? THEY don't have kids and yet THEY can get married, so why not gay people???"

    So we always end up talking about how homosexual couples are sterile by biological design, not due to disease or disorder like infertile heterosexual couples.

    And yes, it's licit to try to cure disease or disorder, if we can. Just because the Fall brought disease and disorder into the world doesn't mean we're forbidden for trying to repair the damage caused with moral means. I'm not aware of anyone who claimed otherwise...?