Sunday, June 16, 2013
One Man, One Woman: A Catholics Guide to Defending Marriage by Dale O'Leary
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book is an excellent resource. Dale O'Leary provides a thoughtful survey of recent research on the development of same-sex attraction (SSA), how it manifests differently in men and women, and views on how people experiencing SSA cope with it, and how therapists and counselors approach treating people who come to them for help in dealing with it. It is absolutely fascinating.
Following that, O'Leary discusses marriage and its role in society, and how redefining marriage to include homosexual relationships is likely to affect society. She devotes significant space to looking at how children and vulnerable women will be affected by widespread acceptance of this new definition of marriage.
In one sense, it is unfortunate that the books is subtitled, "A *Catholic's* Guide to Defending Marriage". It is true she writes from a Catholic point of view, but she is neither strident, nor partisan, nor does she spend a great deal of time on Catholic theology per se. Any Christian, indeed, any person of good will, who would like a better understanding of the dynamics of the development of SSA would benefit from reading this book.
One of the main points of this book is the need to draw a sharp distinction between same-sex attraction and the acting-out of that attraction by engaging in sexual acts. SSA is a psycho-sexual developmental disorder that has a large number of factors involved in its development. There is no sin involved with having SSA. The vast majority of people who are sexually attracted to people of the same sex have no choice in how they feel, and would gladly not feel that way if they could. In this way, SSA is very analogous to alcoholism or clinical depression. People who suffer from any of these disorders need our compassion, support and care.
But that compassion and care can not include affirming people with SSA in the acting-out of those desires through sexual encounters. Those *actions* are harmful and degrading. They lead to a whole host of negative outcomes that are well-documented through research and which resonate with common sense. People suffering from SSA need to know love, acceptance, hope, and freedom. They should know our friendship and genuine care. And that care needs to be in accord with the truth, not with the politically-correct fads that would consign them to a life of self-destructive behavior.
It's getting very late and I need to get up for work early tomorrow morning. Let me just finish by recommending this book to anyone interested in a deeper understanding of the current political and social trends and conflicts involving homosexuality. It will be especially helpful to those with friends, family members, co-workers, or loved ones who have same-sex attraction.
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