Saturday, February 25, 2006

Self-exculpating dismissal of will and discipline

I sometimes chuck will and discipline out the door. More so when I was younger. Now I'm just addicted to blogging and trains.

Here's the biting the logic I find so appealing from some Catholics though... Richard John Neuhaus writing on Gene Robinson,


Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the first openly gay bishop in the Anglican Communion, has been in alcohol rehab since February 1. There is this in his letter to his diocese:

Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I am writing to you from an alcohol treatment center where on February 1, with the encouragement and support of my partner, daughters and colleagues, I checked myself in to deal with my increasing dependence on alcohol.

Over the 28 days I will be here, I will be dealing with the disease of alcoholism–which, for years, I have thought of as a failure of will or discipline on my part, rather than a disease over which my particular body simply has no control, except to stop drinking altogether.


One has the greatest empathy for people afflicted with alcoholism, but the logic is intriguing. It is not a matter of will or discipline but a disease of his particular body over which he has no control.

One might imagine a person severely afflicted with same-sex desires writing something like this: “I thought of it as a failure of will or discipline on my part, rather than a disease over which my particular body simply has no control, except to stop having sex altogether and live a chaste life.”

The self-exculpating dismissal of will and discipline as irrelevant to disordered desires is always a morally dubious step. Bishop Robinson will now be a recovering alcoholic. Good. If only he were also a recovering gay.
Sometimes it makes more sense Bishop to just say,

... sorry, I goofed up and need to dry out for a while.

and just let everyone figure out for themselves if it's nature or will because we all wrestle with mother-nature.

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