then one must also abandon the doctrinairenconclusion that acceptancenof homosexuality represents a declinenin Christian morality simply becausenit departs from such a position. Onenmust begin to examine whether tolerationnof gay sexuality in fact accompaniesnmoral decadence within thenChristian community and is associatednwith the abandonment of Christiannethics in general, or whether it is simplynpart of a softening of an extremenfunctionalism in Christian sexualnethics, perhaps within a context ofnconscientious Christian reform.nThe choice of the term “gay” embodiesnat least one of the confusions affectingnthis history. As Mr. Boswell andnothers use it, it is designed to blur, orneven eliminate, the distinction betweennfeelings and actions so that a man maynbe counted as “gay” even if he has nevernperformed a homosexual act. As a resultnof this confusion, Boswell’s pleanfor “the toleration of gay sexuality” impliesnnot merely that we show understandingnand compassion towards certainnpeople subject to certain feelings,nbut that Christian morality be sonchanged that Christians will be taughtnto acknowledge that it is all right fornsome people to engage in, for instance,nsodomy rather than regard it as alwaysnand everywhere sinful. Consequently,nBoswell’s history strives to make plausiblenthe claim that at different times enlightenednChristians did just that, i.e.nthought that sodomy was at least tolerablenfor some people sometimes. Ofncourse he never actually proves this, asneven favorable reviewers recognize. But,ngiven the current widespread ignorancenabout Catholic morality (including annunfortunately large number of clergy),nMr. Boswell will probably succeed inngiving the impression that he has provennhis point.nIf I have shifted from the term “Christiannethics” to “Catholic morality,” Inhave done so both to make a necessaryndistinction and to introduce the perspectivenfrom which I intend to comment onnMr. Boswell’s work. Since the days ofn221nChronicles of Culturenthe German Enlightenment there havenbeen increasingly large numbers of peoplenwho want to designate themselves asn”Christian” in some sense, but who setnaside many of the beliefs and practicesnessential to the Christian faith. An examplenmay be found in the abortion movement.nNothing could be clearer from annhistorical point of view than perdurablenChristian opposition to abortion andninfanticide. Yet in our day there arenmany who want to call themselvesnChristians but do not regard abortionnas a sin. Often they seek to have itntolerated legally and encouraged by thengovernment’s social policies. Before thenwidespread confusion about faith andnmorals which characterizes our century,nno one in his right mind could havenlinked anything that could be designatedn”Christian” with a favorable attitudentowards abortion. But it is done all thentime today, and, unfortunately, the termn”Christian ethics” is sometimes usednin such contexts. That being the case,nI must turn to “Catholic morality” tonname what I believe most people whoncalled themselves “Christian” during thenperiod Mr. Boswell treats would havenrecognized as the moral teaching of theirnfaith. It is still the moral teaching ofnthe Catholic ne foundation of this morality isnwhat Mr. Boswell indicated in the quotationnabove with the term “functional approach.”Thisnin turn is linked to his discussionnof what has been known in thenWest as Natural Law. His attack on “NaturalnLaw” morality begins early, and onenmight say it is the leitmotif of the book.nSoon that morality is definitively dismissed:n”The scientific, philosophical,nand even moral considerations whichnunderlay this approach have since beennalmost wholly discredited and are consciouslynrejected by most educated personsn…” Behind this sentence liesnMr. Boswell’s failure to understand then”Natural Law” and the use the CatholicnChurch has made of it through the centuries;nhis footnotes, which as one reviewernput it “climb half-way up thennnpage,” will mask this ignorance onlynfrom those who share it. (“NaturalnLaw” is in quotes because, although thisnis the most common term in recent centuries,nthe reality has been treated usingnother words. C. S. Lewis demonstratednthis when he wrote The Abolition ofnMan and called the “Natural Law” thenTAO.) Alasdair Maclntyre, an authoritynon the history of ethics, has just publishedna book analyzing why the ignorancenwhich Boswell exhibits is so widespread.nMaclntyre says: “We possessnindeed simulacra of morality, we continuento use many of the key expressionsnbut we have—very largely, if notnentirely—lost our comprehension, bothntheoretical and practical, of morality.”n(After Virtue, University of NotrenDame, 1981) Maclntyre explains thatnthis is due to the loss of a functionalnconcept of man. A functional conceptnof ” ‘man’ stands to ‘good man’ as ‘watch’nstands to ‘good watch’ or ‘farmer’ ton’good farmer.’ ” So, just as I can saynthat this is a bad watch because it doesnnot function as a watch ought to functionn(e.g. it does not tell time), I cannsay, this is a bad man because he doesnnot function as a man ought to functionn(e.g. he lies, he steals, he engages innsodomy).nMr. Boswell thinks that the functionalnconcept of man has to do with his nature,nthat it can be understood as onenmight understand a merely biologicalndescription. He then tries to distinguishnbetween those whose grasp of this “nature”nis, in his opinion, realistic andnthose whose understanding is idealistic.nThe whole discussion is misplaced becausenMr. Boswell seems not to understandnthe.classical use of the term.n(Maclntyre uses the .term “function” tonrefer to the classical understanding; Boswellnuses it to refer to something quitendifferent.) The misunderstanding leadsnto, among other things, a discussion ofnhomosexuality in brute animals andnreaches a moment of high hurnor withnan unwitting self-parody. Even afternhe has shown that some brute animalsnare homosexual, Boswell says: “If mann